If you’re a history lover, an antique collector, or simply someone who senses the mystical in the mundane, you already know that there’s something alluring about skeleton keys.
Yes, in a literal sense, they were a means for our grandparents to lock and unlock doors—but what else can they open?
You may have heard stories about ancestors using skeleton keys to communicate with spirits—also known as cleidomancy. Divining with keys is like dowsing with a pendulum. The practitioner dangles a skeleton key from a string or chain and asks yes or no questions. It’s up to the owner of the key to interpret answers from the key’s movements.
Some of our ancestors also incorporated the bible or another sacred text into this ritual, which is part of the reason that cleidomancy took place behind closed doors. If you had an important question, you would place the key inside of a holy book and bind it tightly with ribbon. With the key secure between the pages, you’d pick up the string that’s attached to the key to lift the book. With the book hanging freely, you could ask a series of questions. When the key slips from the pages and lands back on the ground, you have your answer.
If you feel drawn to skeleton keys, there’s likely a profound reason that reaches beyond their aesthetic appeal. Wearing or working with the tools of our ancestors is a way to honor their spirit and the customs that came before us.
Sterling silver pendant and chain. Pendant measures 1 inch.