I’ve lately been pondering the question of why spirits work with us, prompted in part by reading a book where the author claims that angels have no choice but to do what we ask them to do. I don’t agree with that perspective and my experiences with Angels, and for that matter other spirits, doesn’t fall in line this approach. It also seems pretty thankless for any spirit to work us because they have to. But I recognize as well that I’m making a human assumption about the motivation of beings that is likely not accurate.
But it’s precisely because there’s an assumption that I ask the question why spirits work with us. I don’t ask this question because I expect an answer, but because it allows me to reframe the experience of working with a spirit from a different angle. I may find an answer, I may not, but by asking such questions, I invite critical inquiry into the interaction I have with spirits, which in turn opens the door for experimentation and discovery.
Asking this question also enables me to challenge my own theory about why spirits work with us, and not get too comfortable with it. I never want to be too comfortable with my own theories, because if I am I’ll become complacent as a magician and a person. The same should apply to any person who would call themselves a magician. If you uncritically accept what other people tell you about magic, and never question it, you’ll never discover what magic is or who you can be. And if you never challenge your own theories and ideas about how magic works, you’ll never learn from them.
My own theory about why spirits work with us is that we have a symbiotic relationship with them. We provide them access to the material world and in return they provide us access to resources and knowledge we couldn’t easily get otherwise. But as my spiritual path continues to change, I come back to that theory and ask myself if its accurate or if it needs to be refined. Of late, I’ve been considering that what spirits connect us to is aspects of the universe we need in our lives but can‘t easily access ourselves. They mediate those aspects for us, help us connect with them safely. And in turn, perhaps we mediate the material world for them, help them safely access it.
I couldn’t come to this possible answer to my question if I didn’t ask the question and if I didn’t take the context of my experiences and the work I’ve done and reframe it through my question. This is why critical thinking is essential to magical practice, because it opens the door to changing what we know, through what we can learn. If we never question, if we just accept the casual explanation without really digging in, we never open ourselves to the opportunities that seeking after answers brings about. Those answers will change as we change. but that’s the evolution that naturally comes about when we challenge what we know with what we can learn.