Kristin is a girl after my own heart: smart, snarky (this is a complement), and willing to call it like it is. I was lucky enough to cross her Dusken Path while playing on the Pagan Blog Project.
Thanks for joining me here!
7 Spirit Rules (Or, How Not To Accidentally Sell Your First Born in the Otherworlds)
Let me level with you here, gentle readers. I die, you die, and I can wager you’re probably not the most honest of folk all of the time. I’m not either. You think that should change when we die?
You think a trickster deity is going to tell you the truth when you ask an outright answer (without handing you a deal you forgot you agreed to first?) Really. Think that one through. I’ll give you a minute.
Spirits are not automatically trustworthy. Repeat that with me a few times, because it’s very important.
Sure, saintly people die. But con-artists die too. And as far as I know some of those con-artists go on to become Deities or Guides or whathaveyou. I feel like this post is a long time coming because nobody seems to write in depth about the pitfalls and the nitty gritty of Spirit interaction, so I wrote up a handy list for those learning the ropes. These are the essential rules you need to know when you begin Spirit/Deity/Other interaction or you go traipsing around the Otherworlds.
Rule #1: Never Trust Anything (The Paranoia Defense)
No, I don’t care you think you’re contacting your Great Auntie Marge via your ouija board. I can bet you most of the money I don’t have you’re probably not actually talking to Auntie Marge. Never believe what a spirit tells you at first, especially if it seems too good to be true or extraordinarily fishy. This is the important part. I can die tomorrow and go around parading as a Deity, or a spirit, or the Christian ‘devil’ himself–and many DO, and that’s important–but that doesn’t make it true, and you need to always consider the possibility you’re being lied to. When you deal with the spirit world paranoia is almost your best defense. And yes, especially when something tells you it’s a Deity and then asks for a blood contract in exchange for lottery numbers. This brings me to Rule #2.
Rule #2: Have Common Sense (“You wanna buy a sun dial?”)
The common sense you use to get around everyday on this plane is going to be your best defense when dealing with spirits. If a shady guy comes up to you offering you a new house, car, and ipad, what’s your first reaction? Hopefully it’s “Yeah right.” and then proceeds into “What’s the catch?”. In this reality we’re well aware nobody gets something for nothing. The same thing applies on the astral. Never assume a Spirit is giving you a giftbasket for free, especially if you had to sign a paper to get it.
Rule #3: Never Tell the Truth (But Never Lie)
This is the one thing I hope you take away from the list. It’s extremely bad manners to lie in the Otherworlds or to Otherbeings; but it’s much worse for you if you tell the truth. If something asks you for your name, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GIVE IT. Names are undoubtedly powerful. Your name is often kept so secret in the Otherworlds you purposefully forget it yourself. Don’t screw around with names. The only Spirits that will ask for a name are usually those out to harm you or use it for their own means. Your guardian Spirits/Deities already know your name, so they will have no need to ask. This is probably the fastest way to weed out Beings with harmful intent, because they often lead with the name question.
However, when posed with a question from Spirit, don’t lie. Don’t give your name out, but don’t refuse either. A nickname that has nothing to do with your real name, but isn’t your name, is what I mean by not telling a lie but not telling a truth. (For instance, Ka-Chan is a nonsense nickname I gained in high school, and while not my name, it’s still something people use to refer to me. Make sense?) Telling a lie sometimes has worse consequences than the truth. If something asks you where you’re going, saying “To this specific place” is a lot more dangerous on your part then saying “To the land of sea and sand”. Spirit talking has its own kind of half-truth language that you must pick up before you can get anywhere without being bitten a few times.
By the same token, it’s generally bad manners to ask a name if you don’t know the Being. When I’ve asked Deities I know to be so, they often give me a title or a metaphor and not a name. That’s extremely common. Spirits are using the same tactics with you that you are with them, because before they know you, you could easily be Spiritual an axe-murderer. These rules tend to go both ways.
Rule #4: Confirmation (The Pancake Defense)
Once you’ve mastered the previous rules, you may say, okay, I’m now paranoid, extremely skeptical/suspicious and have learned the language of the con-artist, (not a truth and not a lie) but how do I proceed from here?
This is the point at which you need to ascertain who, exactly, you’re talking to.
To use the Great Aunt Marge example, did you two ever have a special song or a special place when she was alive that you used to go to? Did you go out for pancakes every Sunday precisely at 6? Ask her to describe one of those things in detail. If possible, ask her to recreate the place. Don’t volunteer any information and try not to lend any imagery by accident. If she’s really Marge, she’ll do so easily, and probably happily.
If the Being hesitates or refuses to do so, you’re probably not dealing with Marge.
The other fast way to weed out ‘fakers’ is asking intention. Marge probably has a purpose in visiting you, and she’ll probably volunteer what that is. A lot of times harmful beings or fakers are actually tripped up when you ask them what, exactly, they want in your house. Many of them just leave in a fuss without revealing the intention because you caught them in the act.
If a Being volunteers a name too easily, that might be a warning sign as well.
If you have confirmed guides around you, ask for them to confirm the legitimacy of the Spirit/Being/Deity. They are more likely to pick up on energy things than you are, especially in the Otherworlds. If they seem at ease with the Spirit, you’re probably just fine.
Rule # 5: The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Sometimes (rarely) you get Spirits that are Very Good Mimics. I’ve had Spirits actually try and masquerade as my main Spirit guide (who I will refer to as K so as not to reveal his name) to try and get me to volunteer information. The thing is, they usually give themselves away. When Beings try to mimic my guide (who is very much a one of a kind Being) 9 times out of 10 they forget he has freckles, or they get his eyes wrong. It’s very hard to copy minute details. Just as you do if you attempt Lucid dreaming, look for the thing that’s off.
If you know Aunt Marge always had a mole on her left cheek and it’s gone, you might have a problem. It’s true Spirits can change appearance at will, but a lot of the time they adopt a common form to allow you to know them better in that form. It gives you stability. A sudden change is probably indicative of a Mimic problem.
Rule # 6: Many Spirits Want to Look Badass (Just Like You and Me)
This rule is specifically to address the hauntings we all hear of in which the spirit starts telling everyone it’s the Christian devil or some demon name.
Just like human people who smoke, some Spirits want to look cool too. So often they jack their image up in order to inspire fear in humans. Many Spirits (‘Demons’) feed on human fear or anger, and the fastest way to do that is go around telling the world you’re possibly the most feared Being humanity can conjure up, because many of us have an involuntary fearful reaction to certain things. It’s actually very intelligent.
The important part of this is: Chances are, they’re not who they say they are.
As I stated before, Spirits can claim whatever they please. They can swear up and down they’re the Spirit of George Washington speaking to you from beyond the grave, but that doesn’t make it true. Those hauntings/possessions a lot of times are minor Spirits using names they know make us fear them because it’s good eats. (And trust me, poor Lucifer just wants to be left the fuck alone already because he’s old so just let him be alright?)
Rule # 7: Respect (Not EVERY Spirit is Out to Get You, Really)
Contrary to my list of rules, most Spirits are actually NOT out to get you, feed on your fear, steal your name or mimic your guides. But, even for those who do, you need to exercise this rule.
Respect. Even if a spirit is really skeevy, show them the proper respect. Send them on their way to sell sundials to some other unsuspecting human, but do it nicely and without giving up your name. Until a Spirit proves itself guilty or does something against you, treat it as you would anyone else.
If a Spirit legitimately in need requires your assistance (and many do) do what you can to help them. There are many legitimate Spirits out there that need help from people like us. If you can’t, direct them to someone who can, or ask them politely to return later when you can help them. A Spirit legitimately in need will wait, will probably be confused or scared, and likely won’t ask you your name. Make them comfortable and handle it with respect, as well.
And from one Spiritwalker to another, present yourself as you would anywhere else. Even the Otherworlds have little patience for assholes. Our worlds are more similar than you think.
Kristin is a Spiritwalker studying non-core Shamanism with serious Chaos magick leanings. She spends her time making herself angry on the internet, reading blogs, attempting to graduate Art School in one piece, and traipsing around the Otherworlds messing things up. Read more at her blog, Adventures on the Dusken Path (http://duskenpath.blogspot.com/)