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Right Relationship with Spirits: Knowing when to stop working with spirits
When I think about the work I do with spirits and my relationship to them, I frame that work and relationships in the context of right relationship. And what right relationship means to me is, "Is this relationship healthy for me and the spirit and is the work we're doing contributing something meaningful to the relationship between us as well as the distinct identities we inhabit?"
Recently, I decided to do a review of the spirits that I'm working with. I've gone back to ground zero with my magical practice and work and I felt it useful to examine my relationship with the spirits I've worked with, so that I could ask myself and them some important questions:
1. Is this really working for either of us anymore? I decided to take a hard look at my relationships with the spirits I've worked with and ask whether that relationship as it is, was still working for us. And I asked them to tell me if they felt the relationship as it was still working for them. I didn't want either side of the equation to feel like a relationship had to be maintained, unless the relationship was actually working.
2. Am I continuing to work with you out of obligation or because there's a genuine joy to the relationship? I also asked myself if I felt any sense of attachment or obligation to working with a spirit. If there was a sense of obligation or attachment, I wanted to own that and let go because then the relationship wasn't coming from a place of genuine connection and joy (and yes I know its not always easy to work with spirits, but I do feel there ought to be a joyful connection with them even when the work is hard).
3. Is my work with you creating more complication than anything else? I'm not a fan of needless complexity and when the work I'm doing with a spirit becomes needlessly complex it takes away from the relationship. Needless complexity comes down to doing things where it isn't clear why you're doing it and it just gets in the way of the actual work.
4. Is there a clear purpose for us to work together? There may not be a clear purpose for why you're continuing to work with the spirit. And if you're not clear about the work or the relationship, then why continue in it?
As a result of asking these questions, I decided to stop working with a few of the spirits I'd bee working with. It wasn't clear to me that was the work was beneficial or that the relationships would continue to serve a purpose that was fulfilling to either side of the relationship.
Coming to this decision was hard, because it meant I had to recognize that I was attached to certain spirits out of a sense of obligation. Recognizing that the relationship was no longer serving either side meant also realizing that simply sticking with a relationship with a spirit without really checking whether that relationship was healthy wasn't ideal for either party. How could I genuinely show up in my spiritual work if part of me wasn't fully engaged.
Yet this decision was also liberating because I gave myself permission to stop holding onto something which no longer felt right. And clearing out my spiritual house felt good, liberating and refreshing. I found myself able to focus on the spirits and work which really called me to instead of putting energy toward maintaining connections that weren't speaking to me or the spirit.
What about you? Do you ever stop working with spirits and why.
Taylor Ellwood experiments with magic and writes about his experiments at his site magical experiments.
Photo by Josh Marshall on Unsplash
Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The magic of: Bay

The magic of: Bay

(Laurus nobilis)

The bay grows as a tree - the laurel, but it does grow slowly so it does very well in pots if you have a small garden.  You can pick the bay leaves all year round.

Last modified on
Peter on Reading Neoplatonists (Part I)

Imagine an ice cream factory that fills an entire city block.  You have teaspoon.  You go in the front door and you have to run as fast as you can through the building to the back door and out onto the next street.  Along the way, you get to scrape your spoon across any tubs of ice cream you pass, licking the different flavors as you’re sprinting by, but those tastes are all the ice cream you get.


Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Cat Chapin-Bishop and Peter Bishop
    Cat Chapin-Bishop and Peter Bishop says #
    You are in luck! Part II is now up at
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Great article! I would like to learn more about this.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Bishop, As a Hellenic Neoplatonist, I revere Iamblichus and his teachings. Studying Plato, and his worthy successors, was lik

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Letting Go

Winter is upon us – in the northern hemisphere.  Harvest is done (hopefully). Nature is shutting down to rest and rejuvenate.  It’s a time when I look within to see what needs to go, what I need to let go.

This year is difficult for me as my mother is experiencing some health issues.  Now I’m the youngest of six and we all have strong opinions.  We don’t ever agree – or rarely.  But then there’s mom.  Mom is 86.  She’s feisty, sassy, stubborn, and frail in some ways (though don’t call her that or you’ll get an earful).  

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Eileen Troemel
    Eileen Troemel says #
    Thank you. Mom is in a nursing home in the city most of my family lives. We are each taking a little time to go visit her (at le
  • Angela
    Angela says #
    I want you to know that I understand with all my heart and soul what you are going through. Last year, at this time, my sister an

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Being True to Myself at Yule

I confess that I’m not much of a kitchen witch. I can cook, but it doesn’t thrill me to labor over a hot stove. I eat to live; I don’t live to eat, and that attitude is almost an abomination in the South. People vacation here mostly for the culinary delights, especially the barbecue, and it is no wonder. Every issue of Southern Living is loaded with food porn. Thus, when you hail from a place that practically worships food as a god, it is generally expected that you, too, shall fall in line and pay homage to the almighty cookbook. I don’t, which makes the holiday season of gathering and feasting a bit awkward. So much of it centers around gastronomy, and that’s just not my focus.

What I really want in the weeks leading up to Yule is peace and quiet. I want reflection. I want a stack of books, a cup of tea, and solitude. I want that pregnant pause before another year begins. I want to review what worked, what didn’t, what changed, and what I’m doing with my one wild and precious life, as Mary Oliver wrote. In order to cultivate this for myself, I’ve had to say NO to all the voices yelling at me to buy this, go there, do that, cook this, and please him/her/them. I don’t have the time or energy for anything unless it feels like an authentic YES.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Solitarieone
    Solitarieone says #
    Ahhh. Your post made me feel so good, Jennifer. Someone who feels exactly how I feel. I live in the South, too, and I know the imp
  • Agnes Toews-Andrews
    Agnes Toews-Andrews says #
    Beautifully said and my sentiments, exactly, Jennifer. Thank you. Bright blessings! Agnes.
  • Dianne McGehee
    Dianne McGehee says #
    This is exactly how I feel. Thank you for expressing it so well. Oh, BTW, I live in Gulf Shores, AL, so your writing is really mea
  • Jennifer Miller
    Jennifer Miller says #
    Howdy neighbor! I'm glad to know another southern witch.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Those two boys are walking awfully close, I thought.

As they came nearer, I saw why.

They were holding hands.


Beep beep beep.

As the car went past, I saw that it was our coven's newest member.

Witch said the sticker on the bumper.


I raise my hand in salute to fearless youth.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Where Are Other Heathens?

A Frequently Asked Question in the group I manage, the Asatru Facebook Forum, is: Where can I find a kindred or other Asatru and / or heathen people in my area?

Several sites and organizations have maps and locators for the members. Although the American Asatru Association no longer exists, the kindred locator map is still on the old wordpress site: 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • James H. McCoy
    James H. McCoy says #
    I have been Heathen for going on 30 years and live in Indiana. I am deputy steward in Indiana for The Troth ( and

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