Sometimes its really easy to let your relationships with your spirits fall away. You get busy with living your life, working your work, and whatever else and despite your best intentions, the relationship you have with the spiritual part of your life falls to the wayside. Recently I was having a conversation with my friend Felix and he was telling me how our mutual spiritual daemon Eligos had been showing up and I thought to myself, "I haven't had a conversation with him in a while."
As I shared in a recent Facebook Live video, Eligos and I did have a conversation shortly after and we both agreed that I'd been so busy writing (which ironically is his domain) that I needed to take a break from it and my break should be dedicated to him. Then my other spiritual entities chimed in and said they also wanted the break dedicated to them...so end result they're all getting a dedication on the first day of my retreat, coming up in a couple weeks (and I'll likely do a live video of that).
Over the years my relationship with my spirits has changed. At the beginning I believed in them as objective beings, then somewhere along the way I thought of them as psychological constructs...Now I've gone back the other way and I suspect I'll stay that way. I've had too many experiences occur that have convinced me it's NOT all in my head. But keeping your relationship with your spirits is its own commitment.
I do a daily prayer, but there's something to be said for having a relationship where you walk with your spirits. What I mean by that is that your interaction with them isn't so formal and set up that you always need a ritual in order to connect with them. In my case, I can feel Eligos when I write. And I can feel him when I'm reading or watching or really drawing inspiration from any source of creativity. Now some people will tell you not to take this kind of approach to working with spirits, but honestly I've never been one to go with conventional wisdom. It's sooo...boring. More to the point I've always wanted a different kind of relationship with my spirits.
So often the relationship people have with their spirits is either one where the spirit is called up and asked to do some tasks or the spirit is communed with, worshiped. I've done both in my time, but in choosing to walk with my spirits, what I've really looked for is a more intimate relationship with the spirits who are part of my life. I'm not talking a romantic relationship or a sexual one (They aren't really interested in either, unless its as a way to connect). The intimacy is found in what is shared voluntarily, and so much can be shared without bring romance or sex into the equation. In fact, when I see people talking about having a romantic connection with a spirit or the spirit sex they want to have, what it really tells me is how much they aren't in touch with themselves, because what they've fallen for (to be honest what all of us have fallen for at one time or another) is the misguided notion that romance and sex is the only way to be intimate. Romance and sex are just a couple of ways to be intimate and there isn't always intimacy even then. Real intimacy takes work and you won't find that truth shared in romance novels or porn films.
Intimacy is found in sharing and sharing can take many different forms.
To be intimate with your spirits is to invite them into your life, to walk beside you. It is to make an offering of experience, to share the moment across the boundaries of flesh and spirit. When I eat food and one of the spirits is along for the ride to taste what I eat, that is intimacy. Or when I go on a walk and I open my senses to the spirits so that feel something of what I'm experiencing that is intimacy. And sometimes the intimacy is found in doing the art or the writing and just letting yourself be open to experiencing the divine inspiration.
It's a conversation, but rarely with words and when the words are expressed its just another form of sharing, sound reaching out to connect with the internal reality of the spirit, evoking it forth so it is here, right here, with you in this moment. But they're always there to some degree or another, if you let them. It's a lot less complicated than most people portray it because once you have the connection it's always there to some degree...it's just a matter of choice...do you want to let these spirits in that you've worked with or do you only want to bring them in on special occasions. I opt to let them in on a regular basis.
Most magicians will tell you not to do that, by the way.
My first real intimate experience with the spirits happened when I was eighteen. I'd been reading these books on elemental hermeticism and I decided I wanted to connect with the elemental faeries, really connect with them. I didn't want to just do a ritual. I could do those and they worked, but I knew there was something more, something deeper to be had. So I did a ritual working, but this time in the ritual I did something different.
I gave them something.
I know offerings have become a fairly popular topic, but at the time I was doing the ritual there wasn't any writing out there on why you needed to make offerings to spirits, or if there was, it wasn't in any book I was reading. And the offer I made was a bit different. It wasn't food, it wasn't drink. It was part of my life essence, in the form of blood. Pretty damn intimate.
Most magicians will tell you not to do that, by the way.
I gave them blood. And I asked them, in return, for some of their life essence. I wanted to connect with them in the most intimate way possible by making them and I part of each other. They agreed. We exchanged life force and from that experience what I learned was something significant.
What you are willing to give and what you are willing to take on is exactly what determines your relationship with the spirits.
I've applied that realization to every relationship I've had with the spirits (and to a number of relationships with people) and its worked for me. So when my relationships with the spirits isn't top of mind what I recognize really is I'm giving less and taking on less and its up to me to change that, with an occasional nudge on the part on one spirit or another.
I couldn't imagine taking the standard approach to working with spirits that I see so many people take. And the inevitable questions I get about my own practice usually focus on why I have such a different relationship with the spirits I work with. My standard answer is I treat them with respect. I figure that answer is what they really need to learn first. Are they even respecting the spirits they work with? Are they trying to form a collaborative relationship? Usually they aren't because they've fallen for the stereotypical approach of call a spirit up, threaten it to get it to work for you formula...So really they need to learn a different way, one that's focused on respect.
To this day I've never had any negative experiences with the spirits I've worked with. I've heard stories of other people having negative experiences with some of the same spirits I work with and what I see missing is the respect...and what I wrote above about what you give and what you take on.
It comes down to respect and responsibility...and intimacy.