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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in spirits

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

So far I've been spending my time here setting the stage for introductory spirit work. But what about the spirits themselves? Who and what are these incorporeal beings that we're trying to communicate with in the first place? The answers to those questions, in complete, are much longer and more complex than I can cover in one article. So consider this a very brief and incomplete overview of some of the sorts of beings in the spirit world.

Ancestor Spirits: These are the spirits of humans who have passed away. Some people feel the ancestors still exist in this world with us, unseen but around us all the time. Others believe they inhabit their own afterlife-world, but can be called on for advice or help in times of need. Depending on who you talk to, any family member, friend, or other important person in your life can be considered an ancestor—in fact, since we are all of the same species we all share ancestors. Others are more strict, keeping it specifically to one's own immediate family and direct predecessors. Ancestor spirits are generally seen as protective in nature, though they can be angered if not propitiated properly (and, not surprisingly, what is considered “proper” is not universal).

Nature Spirits: This is a fairly broad category, since it includes not just the spirits of animals, plants, and fungi, among other natural things, but also spirits which are more abstract representations of natural forces. For example, one of the main parts of my practice involves working with animal totems. These are not just individual animal spirits, such as a gray wolf or a least tern, but archetypal beings that embody all of the qualities of the species Gray Wolf and Least Tern. Some people also consider faeries and devas (often taken out of their original cultural contexts) to be nature spirits, though the fey are also often thought to have originally been ancestor spirits, and the New Age conception of devas has deviated quite a bit from its Buddhist and Hindu roots. (This, incidentally, is part of why mythology and other cultural materials need to be part of your spiritual research!)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Face To Face with Neglected Ancestors

And they are kind of cranky.  Let me give you the backstory, if I may.

About once a month, a small group of us get together for some trance work.  Sometimes we hold trance postures, sometimes we dance.  We crank up the "tunes" and turn off the lights.  Some of us cover our eyes.  We have a separate room where we can sit it out for a bit--or write what's coming in for us.  Then we can choose to return or not.  When we are all in the separate room and sitting quietly for a bit, someone will ask if we've all returned and we do a self-check to make sure we're fully present.

Fairly standard for this sort of thing.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I mentioned in my past two posts that you can cleanse yourself before and after spirit work, and banish spirits as need be. Some of you may already have your own cleansing and banishing practices, but here are a few basic ideas to start with.

Cleansing Self, Space, and Items Beforehand

Some people feel better about their ritual work if they cleanse themselves and their ritual area prior to getting started with the rite itself. Cleansing is at least as much about getting yourself into the right headspace for ritual work as it is about removing unwanted influences from your working space. The best cleansing rituals are not just physically active, but psychologically convincing.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte says #
    Hailings.... Cleaning & Cleansing. Cleansing & Cleaning. I read your article with great interest. There is much I would like to

So in my last post, I gave a brief rundown of why you might wish to communicate with spirits in the first place, and also offered up some ideas and an exercise for spirit communication using tools like spirit boards, pendulums, scrying tools, and the like. Now I'd like to cover communicating without using tools other than your own mind and spirit.

There's nothing inherently wrong with tools, of course. I have run into people over the years who thought that tools were just training wheels, and that a true practitioner of spiritual arts is someone who can do everything empty-handed. In my experience, it comes down less to how good someone is at what they do, and more about personal preference. For some people, tools are like Dumbo's feather--they train your mind to be able to perform amazing feats, but the tools themselves eventually aren't needed even as a reminder. For others, the tools have a life and spirit all their own, and these spirits become allies in the person's magical and ritual work.

So talking about tool-less spirit communication isn't a value judgement--it's just a stylistic preference, ultimately. Why might a person wish to forgo tools? For some, tools may feel cumbersome and distracting, like "Wait, what do I do with the pentacle again? And I'm not sure why I have a wand, and the incense is making my sinuses hurt..." There are also people who may not have a lot of space or time or money for acquiring an assortment of tools, or who like to do their spirit work in more remote areas where it may be inconvenient to haul along a bunch of magical effects. Whatever the reason you have for not using physical tools, you still have options for communicating with spirits.

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It comes up time and again, and I'm not sure I understand it – Ghost Hunting. I have a love/hate relationship with the practices seeking out the spirits of the afterlife. While I think it can be quite helpful, healing and even practical to have some skills in this area, I see people get caught up to a level that distracts them from their own spiritual evolution.

What I”m specifically talking about are Witches, Magicians, Shamanic Practitioners, Pagans, you name it, going ghost hunting for fun. People without a magickal background, who are looking for “proof” that consciousness can exist after death, I understand their fascination, but I don't understand those in the magickal community who do it.

I do understand those who are what I would call Death Walkers, who help those entities that are in pain to cross over. That makes sense to me. It's part of our service as magickal practitioners. I do understand those of us called to clear a haunting, and having to deal with anything from a mischievous to malevolent spirit. I've gotten that call quite a few times since putting up my metaphoric shingle as a public witch taking clients. Disappointing to most whom I tell, the vast majority could be summed up by “bad Feng Shui” or simply toxic energy accumulated, seemingly taking on a life of its own. Or disturbed nature spirits. Very few have been deceased entities or close to what I would describe as truly demonic forces. Just misplaced force, which I guess is my definition of evil in the world.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Johnny Allison
    Johnny Allison says #
    I have to wholeheartedly agree. I have heard people taunt and jeer at these entities in the hopes that it will draw them out. I
  • Christopher Penczak
    Christopher Penczak says #
    Thanks! I think most things people encounter are cast offs and shells when they think they have a trapped soul, and lot of it is j
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Good piece. I agree that if you really are dealing with the dead, they are not for entertainment. But there may be "cast-offs" and

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Lupa_136_raw.jpgOh, all manner of things! Rocks and bones and potted plants and tubes of paint and antlers and bits of wood and other natural ephemera, just to name a few. But what’s it doing here on PaganSquare?

Historically I’ve reserved most of my how-to writing for my books [http://www.thegreenwolf.com/books.html], and my blogging and articles have generally centered more on spiritual issues and concepts, personal experiences, and the like. But I do get a lot of people writing to me asking how to do such-and-such practice, or work with this or that spiritual entity. So I’d like to make this more of a center for that sort of writing, and I am open to suggestions.

Of course, you may need a little context, so here are some of the things I work with:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Eddie Black
    Eddie Black says #
    Surfing around I happen to stumble upon this page and I saw your name. I used to read you regularly way back in the LiveJournal da
  • Lupa
    Lupa says #
    Hey! I remember you! Good talking to you again I still have LJ though I barely use it; I'm on FB and Tumblr mostly, and I blog h
  • Tabitha Cole
    Tabitha Cole says #
    Lupa, I am very much enjoying your articles, they harmonize very much with my own spirit

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