The other day a friend pointed me to this link, where I ended up learning about Tulpamancy. Tulpamancy is essentially the creation of an imaginary friend who shares your body with you. The practice reminds me a bit of otherkin, only in this case instead of the person claiming they are some type of non-human entity, they instead claim that they are creating a spirit being and hosting that spirit being. Most of these Tulpamancers think of the tulpa as a psychological construct, though some ascribe metaphysical aspects to their tulpa. None of them, so far, as I know, seem to practice magic and this is only significant because they've taken a technique which is magical and applied it to their own lives without focusing on the magical aspects of the practice.
The concept is actually a familiar one in occultism. The word Tulpa originates from Tibet and refers to the practice of creating a thought-form. Whether you know the concept through the label of thought-form, servitor, magical entity, or for that matter Tulpa, what the concept boils down to is the creation of an entity that becomes a spirit ally or performs a specific function for you. The main differences are that the magician typically doesn't house such an entity within themselves, isn't necessarily setting out to befriend such an entity, and may set up a deadline for certain task to be performed, or for the entity to be dissolved.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh, 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.