****This is part 2 in a series about the basics of communing with spirits written by Hovik. You can find the first part here
You set up your altar, bought the candles, cleansed, and invoked the spirits of your gods. Now what? Well now you need to start working with what you have. A lot of people seem to come to a standstill once they reach this point. I feel it is because up until this point there is a lot of material available that explains how to do all these things. No one really talks about working on your altar or working with the gods and spirits in much detail. Is there a method to the madness? It seems that everyone around me seems to get things done, but I don’t know where to start. How do you ask your spirits or gods for help? I know how to do a spell, but do I need an altar for that? I see other people raise energy in a circle or group to charge a spell working, but how do I do that on my own on the altar with my statues? How do I know the spirits are willing to help me? Each one of these questions could be a blog post on their own, but I will answer them here in a concise and effective manner to at the very least get your gears turning and headed forward.
Is there a method to the madness?
This is a hard one to answer, for some who have been doing this sort of work for a long time, it can be hard to articulate our methods to not be madness to the onlooker. Depending on your path, there may be certain guidelines to follow in terms of how you do magical work. For my path, I follow a Wiccan influence so my methods are a little more structured, but I always incorporate a little art in my craft. See what I did there? I am really good with words, simple rhymes, chants, and charms so I use them in my workings. I usually allow them to come to me from the gods and work them into my rituals. When you are first starting out I always recommend people to try out tried and true methods from spell books or other practitioners. I know it seems a little counter to most books that say do what feels right, but when you don’t know what that is, using a template or formula will help you discover that.
How do you ask your spirits or gods for help?
First and foremost, I want to say this: All Gods are spirits, but not all spirits are Gods. This is to clarify how you approach them to ask for help. Gods I view to be slightly towards the top in terms of their position on the metaphoric pyramid. When I want a God or Goddess to aid my work, I usually will make offerings to them and create a space in which I evoke their spirit. What that is, depends on the God. Then I will either write out a petition on a piece of paper or use some symbol to represent what I would like and give that to the God or Goddess to apply their juju. A common follow up question to this type of work is, how long do you wait before it needs your attention again? I typically go with a moon cycle or about a month before I try anything again.
Working with other spirits who aren’t Gods or Goddesses, is a little different. With these spirits, you can be a little more aggressive and pushy (within reason of course). Also, your spirits and guides share a bond with you so it’s more like a working partnership than a divine force to call upon. They can go in between the physical and spiritual worlds to give you tools to make whatever change you wish. They are working with you so the aid they bring is dependent on your ability to use it. I also feel that working with spirit guides provides a little more practical magic. They aren’t divine beings who are bright and harmonious with the universe, they are just like you and me. They exist and work one side of the veil just as we work the other. It can sometimes be easier to get what you want here because since you aren’t asking Gods for help, the grand plan of the universe is a lot less imposing on your work. A good metaphor for this is think of spirits and guides like minions; they are here to help, but if you mess it up or it doesn’t work you can go back to the drawing board and try again. Gods and Goddesses are like the bosses, their word can be final. It takes a lot more to convince a God to give you another shot than a spirit guide.
Do I need an altar to do spells?
An altar is not necessary to do spells. An altar is a dedicated space that is set to allow for you to commune with your gods and make offerings to them. You can use an altar to do spells and such, but it is not necessary. I personally like the idea of having an altar for magic because it allows for me to focus and view the work as something magical and separate from the mundane.
How do I raise energy on my own on an altar with my statues of gods and spirits?
This one is a tough one because a lot of people think it’s silly or difficult to raise energy when they are alone. I think part of this comes from the idea that you need a group of people to raise energy and also that the method for raising energy with a group is the same when you are working solo. This is not the case in my opinion. When you are doing work with a group of people, you have more bodies to work with so you want to make sure everyone is involved. A ritual would look a little silly if everyone stood around and one person ran around the space or drummed or sang to raise energy. Also, with a group you have multiple bodies and multiple energies so working with everyone to create a singular flow of energy is necessary. When working solo with you and your gods or spirits, I suggest playing invigorating music or some form of simple movement within the space you are working. I sometimes even will just clap my hands or tap on the table in a simple beat and slowly increase the tempo to raise power. Visualization is also super important here. Try and see or feel your spirits in the space with you moving as you do and not just sitting on the altar. Remember, when you are alone with just the spirts, folks can’t really judge your actions and give you doubt.
How do I know the spirits are willing to help me?
This is the easiest question to answer. Simply put, the spirits are always willing to help you. The reason for it is because you are willing to be making an active change to your environment. Spirits and Gods love it when we are willing to take an active role in our lives. It shows that we want to take responsibility for our lives and actions. As a fellow mentor and teacher once said; “You are not a human having a spiritual experience, you are a spirit having a human experience.” “Get messy and make some mistakes. Take the time to learn and grow as you wouldn’t be able to as a divine spirit.”