Monday, July 23, 2012

The Finer Lines.

Spirit are Real, Spirits are People too.

I had a task that a spirit needed to be sent on, and went to my most-trusted Familiar (DB) for this task. I made my offer, he made his counter-offer, and after that brief negotiation I found the terms good enough to shake on it.

          Contention: I should've simply asserted my Mastery over the spirit, told him he'd do as I say, or he'd get the hose again.

          Response: No. Not how I work, wouldn't be successful. I would not call up a friend of numerous years and say "Go do what I tell you to do or I'll subject you to unholy, supernatural, torture." I'd say "Hey, bruh... if you have the time there's something I need help with. I'll buy you a six-pack if you come help me." and he'd said "Make it a twelve and we're good.", "Well, it's important, so that's no skin off my ass. You're happy, I'm happy. Gravy."

So, Familiar went off and did what needed doing. And my god, he did it like a champ. What I thought was impossible he handled in three hours and practically left a fuckin' mint on my pillow after. He deserved an extra treat for doing such an above-and-beyond job... so I asked him what he'd like.

          Contention: A familiar is never "Treated" - it got it's pay and it'll get greedy and/or lazy if you over-spoil it.

          Response: Each spirit has a different mind, and nature. One spirit would laugh his ass off if I approached him in the manner of a Solomonic rite, and then get very cross with me. Another will simply shoot me the finger if I approach with anything less than precious resin fumes and Latin incantations. Some are new - we're still in the process of my leaving bits of raw meat lying around, and making reassuring noises. Apparently some resident familiars find it funny to scare the newbies.

But I'm Still the Damn Magus 'Round Here.

"We don’t know anything spiritual is real for absolutely sure. [snip] If, for example, a spirit in a tanned hide says it wants to go back to the earth, I refuse and offer it other options, because I don’t want the residues from the tanning chemicals going into the soil or water. Sometimes we have to tell the spirits to suck it up. We can’t let ourselves be terrorized into doing stupid shit by the fear some angry spirit will ruin our lives." - Lupa
 I remember working with Deadboy a number of years back, when he asked for something a bit untoward. Y'see, he wanted me to find some poor, unsuspecting, schmuck to let him slide into and work like a puppet for a while. I said "No." He said "I will get pissed and wreck shit." I said "If you do, -I- will get pissed and wreck shit, bub. Pick. Something. Else."  We negotiated a bit of fun for the both of us, problem solved.

Another spirit felt that it's jar wasn't large enough - the jar it had specifically begged and pleaded for - and would cause a racket. I could hear it all night long - the sound of a moth trapped in a jar. I politely informed it that it would have to wait for a larger jar, and if it did not like the arrangements it could either be patient or I'd put it's current jar outside. No more noise.

It's a finer line than most people like, between "Acceptable" and "Unacceptable" - and that line becomes fuzzy when you involve more than one opinion. In short: 90% of what I do is directed by experience with the spirits, and I tend to think (I mean, I would, right?) that this is the way to go. Don't be a push-over, but don't treat your disembodied friends like shit - safe advice.


  1. Disembodied or not, treating your friends like shit means that you are not their friend and not worthy of their respect and friendship.

    Great post, as usual.

  2. Excellent post! I can think of nothing to add but my agreement.

  3. 'Respect' is a good practice to hone.

  4. I agree that we should not let ourselves be bullied into doing stuff we'd otherwise not do just because it's spirits doing the bullying. *However* that is NOT because "we don't know anything spiritual is real for absolutely sure" (which seems a strange perspective for a "shaman" to take) but because the spirits ARE real and need to accept that WE are real too and have our own priorities, customs, taboos, etc. Hence it becomes, as you describe, a negotiation.

    1. I think, again, that one is going to vary from person to person. An ongoing bit of "LOL! Me too!" I've been having with another blogger is our interpretation of the Chaos aphorism "nothing is true and everything is permitted"

      It's flux I keep myself in - it's all real, and therefore all not real, and therefore all equal. In meme language, a bible with "Proof of God" under it, and a Spiderman issue with "Proof of Spiderman" under it... If a spirit says "Call me Spiderman" doesn't mean it's real, doesn't mean it's not real... because in our wacky world a human trying to label something real or not real is a knee-slapper.

      To me, my spirits are real. To my neighbor they are not. Who's right? BOTH of us.

  5. I have always wondered about the commanding-spirits type magic just who these spirits are. Some of them appear to be old gods, and yet the mage is supposed to command them? To me this is a recipe for disaster, but what the hey, it is not the kind of thing I do. I just feel curious about who these spirits are that can be commanded.

    The vast majority of the spirits that have contacted me I would never dream of trying to command. It is difficult enough to work in some kind of partnership with them. And to me the issue of commanding raises the issue of trust. Why work with a spirit that would only do things if somehow forced to? I would always be wondering what kind of crap they would get up to, like I invited at best a brat into my life. Historically, it seems to me that witchcraft has had a different attitude towards working with spirits than Solomonic type magic has. Familiars seem more like very independent entities a witch can work with but there is as you describe a negotiation going on that goes both ways.