It’s late, I’m tired, and my body is creaking from the day’s work. I sit down on the edge of my bed, stretch and feel my back crack. I look up and there is a see-through old man, standing, with tears in his eyes. He wears a button up white shirt, black pants, and his face is crinkled with age lines. He asks “Can you help me?” I want to sleep, but I stay awake, listening to him as he describes a long, hard life with kids who all but abandoned him when he was on his deathbed.
Spirits aren’t always on our time schedule. Sometimes they come to us when we least want to see them. Other times, they make come when we need them, but we refuse to recognize it. And yet some others may simply come to people because they are bored and are looking for company. Too many people react to the latter two kinds of spirits negatively, without analyzing what is going on and what may have prompted a visit. It is like me coming to your house and asking for a cup of sugar, only to be screamed at and bounced out.
I propose that we treat spirits, human or not, more humanely. Have a weird, eerie spirit that lurks around your closet? Maybe it likes the energies you put there, like my books and mementos. Maybe it wants you to notice something about yourself, your surroundings or your life. More than likely, in my experience, it wants you to notice it.
Here we can find several questions: What kinds of spirits come to call? What should we do when they come to call? How will I know if I am dealing with a spirit or something else? If I don’t want spirits in my place, what should I do?
To answer any of these will require you to have an open mind about the existence of spirits, whether earthbound former humans, elementals, or just that eerie sense of a presence. If you simply can’t believe in spirits, it’s likely that most will leave you alone. If you’ve closed yourself off to them, your energies will tend to be inaccessible, and there’s not much in you to attract them. While there are exceptions, you generally have to be open to a visit to receive one.
For those whose spiritual, religious, or metaphysical outlook can include spirits, your experiences reflect how you view the spiritual world itself. If you think that most spirits are out to get you, then that is in no small part what you will attract, or at least see everywhere you look. If all you are looking for is an external enemy, someone to blame for your problems, or a fight to be had, that is all you’ll find, because you’ve narrowed your focus and energies to accept only these into your life.
If you are to more than simply throwing spirits off your spiritual front porch, I would recommend a more balanced approach, one which engages the spirits around you. There is a knowing that you have boundaries which are not to be crossed, but still allowing them to be crossed when you know a spirit is not intending ill will to you or loved ones. There is also temperance in the treatment of the spirits that you allow across that boundary, knowing that one experience with a certain kind of spirit may not translate to another. Just as humans are individuals so, too, I have found, are spirits.
What kinds of spirits come to call? Depending on you and your personality, as well as that of the spirits, a wide range may come. I’ll give some basic archetypal names, definitions, and examples that I have experienced to help give common ground.
- Earthbound Spirits
Definition: Spirits that once had a living body on Earth. Ghosts, specters, and many haunting human spirits are attributed as Earthbound Spirits, but they may also be animals and plants that once inhabited a space. Their “age” can range from the recently deceased to the ancient dead.
Example: An old man who had died recently came to me just as I was about to lie down, wanting to tell me about his life. He was “passing through” and stopped by to pay me a visit. He scared the hell out of me; I almost threw him out of my place because he didn’t know to “knock” on my boundaries (more on this later).
- Ancestor Spirits
Definition: Spirits that are related to a living person by blood, familial, or metaphysical ties. These spirits tend toward guiding, guardianship, or simply part and parcel of being part of a family. Experiencing ancestor spirits tends to depend upon one’s view of blood relations, family, and whether metaphysical ritual do or do not place one into a lineage or spiritual family.
Example: I have blood relatives that contact me, especially my sister who passed on before I was born. She does not guide me or guard me in any overt way, but we speak on occasion.
- Elemental Spirits
Definition: Spirits that are tied to the elements, such as gnomes (earth), sylphs (air), salamanders (fire), and undines (water). I know that some look on these aforementioned archetypal spirits as faeries, but I differentiate the fae from these, the former being a kind of spirit all unto Itself.
Example: The woods near my home have several spirits of earth that reside there, both in the ground and trees. Some prefer to be called tree spirits, noting that while they may rooted in the same element as earth spirits, dirt is not a tree and vice versa. These tend to be communicative when I am quiet or dead silent, and I “listen” with intent.
- Spirits of Place
Definition: Spirits that are the overarching spirit of a place, a being composed of the various energies of an area. Spirits of Place can be a grove of trees as much as they can be an entire city. City blocks, even if the city has an overarching Spirit, may have its own Spirit of Place. Similarly, it can be seen how neighbors contribute to the spirit of a neighborhood, whether by their attitudes, how they treat their homes, how safe people feel there. Like with an environment, even the decor of the place can influence how the spirit of the area is formed, or what parts of a spirit of place people interact with.
Example: The spirit of my nearby grove of trees is peaceful overall, concerned with keeping its area clean and growing. The spirit of my town is concerned with a growing drug problem, its streets having more homeless on it, and its degrading streets and sidewalks because of reduced work on them. The former is part of the latter, but is autonomous, existing within the energy pattern that forms the spirit of my town.
- Spirits of Purpose
Definition: A spirit that exists to perform a specific function, such as protection, guidance, etc. These spirits can be sent from a God/dess, be part of another spirit.
Example: As an example, spirit purely of growth exists to make things grow for good or ill, whether it is a tumor or a patch of grass. Another example would be a spirit of blight, who feeds on and seeks to expand it within its area.
- Constructed Spirits
Definition: Spirits who are specifically constructed by magical practitioners. These tend to have specific functions, but there have been efforts made to create whole spirits who have personalities and motives all their own.
Example: I have created a spirit to protect my car and its occupants from harm, fashioning them out of my own energy. A great example of creating a spirit was carried out by the Toronto Society for the Paranormal (TSPR), “The idea was to assemble a group of people who would make up a completely fictional character and then, through seances, see if they could contact him and receive messages and other physical phenomena — perhaps even an apparition. The results of the experiment — which were fully documented on film and audiotape — are astonishing.”1
- Totemic Spirits
Definition: Spirits that are the overarching spirit of an animal or entity that is revealed to a person. It can be representative of the qualities humans see in the being, or may inherently possess the qualities dependent on the spirit and human involved.
Example: A totemic spirit of the Dung Beetle came to me a few months ago in a meditation and has worked with me on rolling the “poop” in my life up and making use of it. In this role, it guides me and helps me out, and I honor it by giving offerings and listening to his wide range of bad poop jokes.
- Spirit Companions
Definition: A spirit that develops a deep connection to a human by intent of the human or spirit. It does not necessarily mean a romantic connection; it can also be a friendly or specific purpose-driven connection.
Example: Calling up a spirit, befriending it, and no longer calling upon it. Being able to call to it and speak with it, and vice versa, and letting it go when it wishes.
- Deity Spirits
Definition: A spirit sent by or representing a Deity.
Example: This could be something like a fae messenger from the Tuatha De Danaan. Alternatively, it could be something like the Metatron or Hunin and Munin from Norse mythologies, who are the spirits of Forethought and Afterthought that sit upon the shoulders of Odin.
So now that we have some definitions to work with, what do you do once you and a spirit meet? Well, be cautious unless you absolutely know the spirit and where it comes from. Essentially, treat it like any other stranger you would. Ideally, with respect, caution, and a give-and-take conversation until you know each other better. But how would you even talk with a spirit?
To start spirit communication, you should be able to do a few things first:
- Be able to ground your subtle energy, center it and your focus, and direct your subtle energies reliably.
- Be able to mark out spiritual space for yourself, such as casting a magick circle, or creating an astral temple.
- Having some method by which you can interpret abstract input / stimuli or input / stimuli from outside yourself; not everyone uses vision for this, though this method dominates most books. Some people “hear” the spirit world, whereas some may “feel” it. I use quotes because many rationalize or have translation from their subtle body/astral body into physical sensation so they can process what occurs in the spirit world. It differentiates from physically seeing an object in the spirit, to spiritually “seeing” it.
- Have a person or people with which to share the experience. Sometimes the best thing to have is a sounding board for your experiences. They can not only keep you grounded, but if you are stuck, can suggest ways of working with your circumstances, and help find solutions to problems you may have down the road.
- Be willing and able to set boundaries. Spirits should not feel they can wake you at all hours of the night, nor should you feel obligated to let them. You should also know when not to communicate with the spirit realm, and when too much is too much.
With that out of the way, what about some actual methods for spirit communication?
- Communication on the astral plane. If you know how to do this, you can project yourself into a protected neutral space and carry on a conversation. For tips on how to do this in depth, I would recommend picking up a guide such as Ted Andrews’ How to Meet and Work With Spirit Guides, or Christopher Penczak’s Spirit Allies: Meet Your Team from the Other Side.
- Communication by talking board. One of the most maligned ways of communicating with spirits, but in my opinion, in can be one of the most effective if you use it right. Using it wrong is calling out to any spirit with no protective magick circle or knowledge of how to clear out entities from a working space, and accepting whatever the spirit says to you, with this or any other method, as gospel. Using it right would be spiritually cleansing the area where you will use the board, casting a magick circle for protection and guarding you in the circle, and having items for a quick clearing spell for the circle on hand.
- Communication by fire, smoke, water, or similar means. Perhaps more abstract than the previous two, I have found this method works best when you elementally align it with the spirit in question. This is because, in my experience, beings like elemental spirits might be more apt to respond via a physical representation of their element. Simply lighting a candle and gazing into it may draw out imagery that you can interpret for yourself as to the intent of the spirit.
- Communicate via a medium. Someone who can help interpret the spirit world can be a great aid, or a great detriment. Open and honest communication (i.e. you respecting their boundaries, they not sugar-coating messages) can empower a great working relationship that can deepen both parties’ spirituality and depth of experience.
- Communication by manifestation. This may sound odd at first, but think of it like this: you want proof the spirit you think is reaching out for you is real. To prove to you that something is trying to communicate, you ask the spirit to give you signs and coincidences that speak to you that others may not catch. Although this takes a bit of open-mindedness and practice, the results can be very interesting. I will caution that this way is probably the hardest and has the slowest way of bringing out results from working with or communicating with a spirit. However, when deity spirits have gotten in contact with me with this method, the messages have been unmistakable and direct, placed in such a way that I know for me that it is not my subconscious.
There are far more means of contacting spirits than I have listed here. Almost every culture has had some way of speaking with the dead and other spirits; even Catholicism appeals to saints for a wide variety of reasons, from protection to selling your home.
The greatest challenge you may have once you open this door is learning to close it. So long as you have established boundaries, such as making sure spirits know what times are off limits, and keep to them, most spirits should leave you alone as you ask. Let’s say for the sake of argument that a spirit won’t stop coming around at bad times for you, or is trying to intimidate or control you; what do you do?
Take a passage from Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Don’t panic.” The worst thing you can do is feed into the spirit’s ego, or empower it by giving it your energy by freaking out. There are some tried and true methods I have used to make spirits leave if they will not do so of their own volition.
- Rebuke them. That’s right; the power of Me compels you. Or the power of your God/dess, your dishsoap . . . anything that gives you the feeling of power and control of the situation. Using an empowered object by your Will, magick, what have you, and projecting energies that assert your authority, in my experience, are highly effective. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Whatever you do, it just needs to either remind the spirit (or yourself) that you are in control of your body / place / etc., and / or that it has no power over you. The rebuking itself can be as strict as a demand followed by a spiritual boot to the ass to leave, to a simple “No, this is my space.”
- Calling on deity / spirits / etc. Don’t be afraid to call in family, friends, and / or allies to deal with a spirit that refuses to respect you and your space. From something as simple as wearing a grounding stone to bed or placing it beneath your pillow, to fashioning an egregores to take your “calls,” you have a wider range of options with help. It is not weak to ask for it, and it is not weak to say “I can do this much, and no more.” In fact, that is oftentimes harder, and better for all involved.
- Using a sigil. Sigils are shortcuts, graphics that can be word amalgamations, random scribbles, or made from a standard sigil creator. It can give you a direct line to the spirit involved, especially if a spirit “gives” it to you in telepathic communication or automatic writing. A sigil can empower your Will against or with the spirit it is of, or aligning your energies much more naturally with it because you are engaged with its symbol. This works like a sympathetic link, much like having someone’s hair, or an image of a person, one more way of energetically connecting to a person or thing. I have found the Rosy Cross of the Rosicrucians to be an effective method for making sigils, as I have combining letters into a graphic. For instance, TBL for Table, as shown here:
- Cleansing. From a shower to a full-on ritual with a censer and aspergillium, the rite is to cleanse a place or person of spiritual ties or excess spiritual energies. A shower can double as a cleansing area, whether you perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram in it or visualize the excess energies dripping off of your body as you clean yourself. The specifics of it are up to you; if you want to rectify or keep the relationship with the spirit, don’t cut off all ties with the cleansing, but target the rite to help cleanse the relationship itself. Again, using the shower method, you can visualize your connections as colored cords connecting you to the spirit, washed clean but not washed away. If you plan on having a long-term relationship with a spirit, this may simply be good spiritual hygiene on your part.
- Putting up “walls” / empowering your “shields.” Putting up shields is projecting protective energy to make a barrier, preventing contact you do not wish to have, and accepting that which you do. I tend to meditate every day on my shields, through visualization, meditation and other practices layering them up or performing upkeep so they continue to work the way I want them to. Putting up walls is intentionally arranging heavy amounts of your energies, and / or energy body, to block reception and oftentimes the giving off of certain energies. For instance, if you do not want any kind of spirit communication from the outside world, putting up walls (again, through visualization and the like) will block any and all spirits from contacting you. Think about this: you are effectively cutting yourself off from a form of communication. Before putting up walls, weigh the pros and cons. What are you cutting yourself off from? What are you allowing in? What are you keeping in with your walls?
Should you decide to communicate with spirits, your own experiences will tell you best how to do so. This text is just a beginning primer to get your ideas flowing, to ease you into spirit communication, and give you some solid ground to lift off.
- Wagner, Stephen. “How to Create a Ghost”
©2010 by Sarenth.
Edited by Sheta Kaey.
“Angel” is a word that carries even more baggage than “soulmate” — baggage that goes back thousands of years to the beginnings of Judeo-Christian theology. While the most common definition of the word tends to be “messenger of God,” that raises the further question of “what is God?” and that’s a question I’m not going to touch with your ten-foot pole. It’s clear, however, that the Judeo-Christian majority in the Western world assumes that God and angels are known quantities, and that no one else should have any claim to them.
A long time acquaintance of mine has a relationship with a being many believe to be an archangel. His name is Azrael. My friend once told me, “Azrael says that angels are simply those who came before.” Meridjet appreciates the broad scope of that definition, and goes on to say that there is no explicit spiritual hierarchy as is often believed. There are no “higher” or “lower” beings, only less evolved and more evolved — further, if you like, but not higher. While the classification of higher and lower worlds and beings is useful, particularly in study of the Tree of Life, it’s important to remember that the map is not the territory. We should not fall into the trap of taking any symbol as literal truth, including the illusions of separation or hierarchy.
Most humans in the West, regardless of religion, tend to label worlds, planes, and beings of a subtler nature as “higher,” and worlds, planes, and beings of a less subtle, denser nature as “lower.” This labeling, while indeed useful for comprehension and aspiration, unfortunately grew into a judgment call. In time, any denser being was assumed to be evil, while any subtler being was assumed to be fundamentally good. While the hierarchical label itself isn’t a problem, the assumptions it invites are problematic because the nature of any being is not reliant upon its vibrational level any more than a television station on the “higher” digital band is essentially more divine than a television station on the “lower” analog band.
Angels, when reduced to the bare bones of the concept, are mediators between the divine and humankind, providing guidance, instruction, and service for the betterment of individuals and the whole of the species. This does not mean, however, that they are the light to a demon’s darkness in some cosmic polarity dividing the universe into “good” and “evil.” All beings have light and darkness within them, and all beings are capable of comforting as well as brutalizing us, if given sufficient cause. In the name of growth, most actions are acceptable. This is a very frightening thought.
In Thelema, my favored philosophy, there is the concept of the Holy Guardian Angel. This is not the usual “guardian angel” that hopeful individuals invoke in difficult or stressful situations, but something more akin to Socrates’ higher genius, what he called his daemon. Yet it is more than that. The function of the Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) is part higher self and part autonomous spirit guide, with a healthy dollop of animus (or anima, as the case may be), all wrapped up in mysterious, powerful attraction. It’s never firmly defined in any text, including this one, as it’s a concept that cannot be grasped without the experience to provide the Eureka!, the epiphany of understanding that accompanies all great truths.
The purpose of the HGA is generally described as “revealing your True Will,” “revealing your Great Work,” or “leading you to your life’s purpose.” These concepts, then, are often assumed to be synonymous. But as with the concept of hierarchy, these should not be taken merely at face value. I’ll attempt to explain them, and then circle back to illustrate my point. The “life’s purpose” is, of course, the reason you are here. It’s what you are meant to do. But how do you know what that purpose is? How do you discover it? Everyone judges the raison d´êtres of those who’ve passed on: When I was younger, people said that John Lennon had lived to promote peace and was killed when he’d learned all he needed to. Mother Teresa lived a life of sacrifice and love, caring for the poor; she was meant to set an example for the rest of us. Princess Diana’s life was meant to renew the inspiration of British royalty, while eschewing the status quo and traveling the world, revealing horrible conditions that even today we still seek to assuage. And so on. We speculate endlessly about the life purposes of now dead public figures because we find them easier to pigeonhole, to define according to our limited views of what’s important. Our own purposes elude us, and even as we seek them out, we may suffer doubt or fear that we’ve missed the signposts and are careening out of control, toward a death that will bring no easy epitaph.
Thelemites and magicians like to believe that they’ve got the inside scoop on what they’re meant to do with their lives. They talk about their HGAs and their True Wills, how “Love is the Law” and “compassion is the vice of Kings” as if they were members of a secret club giving out magic decoder rings to the worthy. Magical fraternities and orders perpetuate this belief by keeping certain teachings for the inner orders, available only by petition and initiation. “Would you like to learn why you’re here? Step right up and we’ll show you your life’s purpose!” This “life’s purpose” is the blind, or false information that sets the ignorant upon a pointless path, often found in magical texts and especially in the writings of Aleister Crowley. Or, if you’d rather, not really false information, in this case, so much as divergent information.
The Great Work is the term used by Thelemites to refer to the life’s purpose, which is revealed to the individual who receives Knowledge and Conversation with his or her Holy Guardian Angel (KCHGA). The blind exists in the novice’s assumption that one’s Great Work is mundane: to become something within the span of this lifetime that gains recognition, contributes something to the world, or in some way leads to the usual definition of “success.” When a magician claims to have KCHGA and in the next sentence refers to his Great Work as a mundane, finite goal, he reveals himself to be a fraud.
In actuality, the Great Work refers to the true (and infinite) goal of everyone, everywhere, regardless of race, creed, intelligence, or any other factor. This goal is simple: to evolve. To become something better today than we were yesterday. To grow as individuals. To put it in New Age terms, it’s the raising of the consciousness of humanity, ushering us into that New Age, or New Aeon, when restriction falls away and freedom equals harmony. It’s a pipe dream, when applied to the world as a whole; there is never going to be a recognizable dawning of a New Aeon, and certainly not in some great cosmic shift as so many like to believe. Dawn is incremental; by its very nature it is impossible to gauge except in retrospect: By the time the light of humanity (or day) shines brightly enough to be recognized, the dawn will have passed.
Furthermore, a single day’s worth of encounters with random humanity is enough to illustrate the vast number of people who have no interest in evolving unless it serves their most immediate needs. If they can’t see the payoff, they’re not going to bother. Case in point: Who believes that the wife-beater down the street who spends his entire welfare check on beer and weed has any desire to become more? But when you consider the individuals who do have an interest in that becoming, it’s at the very least food for thought. The world is made up of individuals, and someday maybe the majority will make that choice — to become more — one at a time, and will tip the scales in favor of that New Aeon. (In my opinion, this mundane universe is a compressed, self-contained learning system — a classroom — and eventually, everyone will move on to those “higher” vibrations and pass to a more enlightened universe. Whether this one ever really dawns into something more hopeful is very nearly immaterial.) And this brings us to the True Will.
The True Will is completely the property of the HGA. People, magicians, Thelemites can harp all day about making conscious choices and about how acting like a buffoon during an important meeting is their “true will,” but that won’t make it so. The True Will transcends conscious awareness, and it manipulates us in spite of ourselves. Make that choice, decide just one time that you’re going to seriously, truly dedicate yourself to your personal growth, and your True Will steps up to the plate and takes over. You may have never heard of the concept, but (unlike missionaries converting the savages to the love of Christ) it’s not necessary to know of it, because your conscious involvement is of little concern. The True Will is set into gear by your dedication, your choice, taking over like a spiritual autopilot, bringing you into line time and again. You may not get there — to “more” — via the most direct route, and you may not get there painlessly (in fact, the odds are against it), but you will get there, because once you’ve made the commitment, the Universe responds to every move you make with either momentum (supporting your conscious choices) or a slap upside the head. Have you ever felt battered by circumstances, asking yourself what you did to deserve this? Try looking around — what are you being shown? What is the Universe, and your HGA (KCHGA or not), trying to show you? Stop playing the victim, and take responsibility for the lesson. If you don’t, those slaps will just keep getting harder.
As the governor of True Will, your HGA will lead you in whatever way is necessary to accomplish your evolution. You’re now on the fast track, and look out, because (as a friend once said to me), your HGA will rip your arm off and smack you with it if he thinks that’s what will get the point across. I strongly advise listening before things get to the arm-ripping point.
Not your mother’s guardian angel, is it?
This article is excerpted from the upcoming book, Infinite Possibility.
Sheta Kaey is Editor in Chief of Rending the Veil and is working on her first book, Infinite Possibility. You can read her blog here.
©2009 by Sheta Kaey
Edited by Sarenth
A teacher is never a giver of truth. He is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself. A good teacher is merely a catalyst. — Bruce Lee
In his article on active imagination in the current issue of Rending the Veil, Frater Auxilior Arti describes something I found very familiar, so I elected to write a companion piece to his essay describing how I use it in my magical work. In my work with Meridjet (my spirit companion, or SC; see previous columns of Into the Aethyr), I utilize a similar method which I call Processing. In the opening paragraph of his article, Frater A. A. describes, “Jung noticed that he could find revealing and non-self-gratifying imagery just below the surface of the mind, by making a suggestion to himself and then sitting quietly to see what might develop in his thinking. He found that if he did not steer his thoughts in any particular direction, merely sat as a passive viewer of what his mind might show him, many wondrous things would arise, including solutions to troublesome problems, intuitions, insights into his own nature (and that of others) often with a wash of curiosities that would set him to further pondering.”
The Power of Free Association
He later notes, “. . . a group of problem-solvers in a highly productive think tank atmosphere . . . wrote down all ideas that occurred to them, regardless of how silly or inappropriate they might have initially seemed. By this method they were rewarded with a greater number of creative solutions that might have gone unnoticed had they been squelched promptly. It was as if the free-ranging creative process needed impropriety, silliness and whimsy to operate correctly and to arrive by whatever crooked path at useful solutions.” This method of free association is at the heart of Processing in my theurgic work with Meridjet and the other members of our Work (both words are capitalized to differentiate from the mundane sense) circle. It’s been a largely ineffable way of working, up to now, but people have asked about it so many times that I intend to do my best to describe it. I can’t claim that this is a common way to perform theurgic work; however, it works for me and for everyone who Works with us.
The bulk of our partnered Work takes place in text chat via Yahoo! Messenger; however, this is by no means a limitation — it’s simply that most of our friends live in far away places. When we begin with a new partner, we start with common ground. No doubt you’ve had the experience, particularly in magical or spiritual matters, wherein you find many parallels with new-found friends of like mind. Synchronicity can be a powerful validation at such times, and the more parallels there are, the more significant the new association appears to be. It need not stop there; if you can allow yourself free expression, synchronicity knows no bounds.
Meridjet as Director
During the get-to-know-you process, as parallels are discovered, we follow them, gaining mutual understanding and building enthusiasm. Something that Meridjet does with impressive effect is to center upon emotionally-charged events, associations, or triggers and stimulate them to bring issues to the fore. He does this with everyone, and after a certain time of working with him, the common ground we started with and the emotional triggers he uncovers become two sides of a single coin — a coin he flips at seeming random to stimulate Work. There is only one way to get to the true heart of the matter, and that is free association.
One of us will find that s/he is hurting, a mild heartache that still manages somehow to demand our focus and attention. It may come and go while she is busy with other things, but it will return at any moment of stillness, gaining intensity until she simply must Work to Process it. The source of the ache is generally a prior discussion that subtly triggered something deeper, an issue that is just now working its way to the surface as a deeply set splinter would find its way out of your finger. The difference here is that if you are serious about your Work, ignoring this is the wrong thing to do. With an almost sentient patience, the ache will wait until you face it, and like a sharply-stubborn loneliness, it gnaws at you relentlessly.
The first time this happens to a new partner, it is confusing to her. She will, depending on her personality type, either wish to talk about it incessantly or will try to bury it as not worth anyone’s attention. The resolution, however, lies not in indulgence of emotion, and not in repression of emotion, but in detachment of emotion. To suffer over your suffering is to whine without honestly dealing with your problem. To be the martyr and hide your pain (bringing it out on occasion to poke at it sadly, wondering why you feel so alone, and perhaps hinting at it to others) is merely another form of indulgence, but it is one that poisons you, rather than those around you.
Indulge in Detachment
Detachment — To feel your feelings, and to open to them, letting them flow, crying if necessary, but at no point giving in to them and suffering over them, you allow them to percolate through your consciousness and thereby heal, leave, vamoose, and get thee behind me. Anyone familiar with Dante’s Inferno will know that the way out of Hell is through the darkest, scariest reaches of the most inner circle. You don’t learn by avoidance, by escape, or by ingeniously finding ways to bury your psychological shite under layers of Happy-Shiny-People or I-Can-Cope-Alone-Cuz-I’m-The-Meanest-Fucker-In-The-Valley.
It takes practice. Once you’ve admitted your pain, you can move on to the real Work: banishing that issue by owning it. This may sound like stereotypical psychobabble of the ilk that tells you the only way to get over your childhood trauma is to relive it. No, that is not what I am saying.
Expression is the Means, Synchronicity is the Method
As you begin to verbalize (and this is the key) your issue, if you can trust yourself and the Process and let go the reins, expressing your associations as they arise (be they trivial or grave), you will find that your unconscious provides astounding insight and will offer you advice out of your own mouth. It is crucial, as Fr. A. A. stipulated, to express everything without first judging whether it’s worthy of expression. Trust your mind and your own psychological processes to lead you, and you cannot lose.
Synchronicities appear in the most innocent, inane comments. In the course of the interaction between the partner doing the Processing and the partner(s) in the support roles, little comments made off the cuff end up being huge in significance. External confirmation comes from so many directions. Perhaps a television show viewed that morning by your friend is mentioned in reply to a comment you made — because you allowed yourself to just talk — about a movie you saw in 1992, and the television show just happened to contain a scene with a tiger that she mentions precisely at the moment that you consider how you are reminded of the tiger totem you had never previously mentioned. The conversation, then, due to the shock of the validating reference, turns to totems, or tigers, or stripes, or something that leads to still further reflection — reflection that would never have occurred had you not been speaking to that friend at that moment, with both of you freely discussing whatever happened to come up, in the knowledge that this way lies resolution. Never underestimate the power of the Universe to take you precisely where you need to go, if only you don’t fight the current.
Meridjet, when he participates in the Processing chats, will not tell you like it is. He’s not a teacher who spells things out; he is a catalyst. He will talk without appearing to have any single topic or any goal or agenda. But he never does or says anything for the first perceptible reason. He will ask you questions designed to direct your thoughts so that you blurt out the answer to your own dilemma. He will answer questions with responses designed to incite emotion, for the same reason. He’s not an easy teacher, and he’s not going to coddle you — but by god, you will find the answers you need, and you will find that all he had to do was point — the answers were within you all along.
Free association and free expression of all thoughts that flitter by is the most effective way of healing past injuries, gaining understanding of the self, and growing at an astronomical rate that I have ever encountered. Stillness of mind is a wonderful thing. . . but to suppress the Process that holds the deepest, truest answers seems rather self-defeating to me.
Try it, and let me know what happens, will you?
©2007 by Sheta Kaey.
Sheta Kaey is a lifelong occultist and longtime spirit worker, as well as Editor in Chief of Rending the Veil. She counsels others with regard to spirit contact and astral work. She can be reached via her blog.
December 21, 2006 by Sheta Kaey
Filed under columns, experimental, holy guardian angel, into the aethyr, invocation and spirit work, magick, mysticism, religion and spirituality, self-created styles, spirit companions, thelema
An aethyr is one of a succession of worlds in the Enochian Astral planes, and the fifth element, or spirit, in Wicca and Ceremonial magick. Also, depending on tradition, a formless and invisible substance that pervades the universe1.
Greetings, and welcome to the first issue of Rending the Veil and the start of this column. I intend an eclectic mishmash of different things here that would not necessarily flow well as articles. For example, I will have the occasional column on tarot reading, as I’ve read tarot for over 30 years. I also intend to share channeled information from my spirit companion, Meridjet.
Meridjet has been with me since 1994, and has seen me through a lot of doubts, fear for my sanity, and so forth in that time. I’d never heard of the phenomenon of a spirit companion, though spirit guides were familiar to me. Meridjet is much more proactive and instrumental in the application of lessons for my growth, and he’s also a great deal more stubborn than any spirit guide I have ever heard of. Some people consider him my HGA, or Holy Guardian Angel, the Thelemic version of Plato’s daemon or personal genius. The function of the HGA is to reveal one’s True Will and guide one (sometimes rather painfully) to the fruition of that will. Meridjet certainly fulfills that function, but at times he also shares information that is of general interest. I will share that information here.
The Holy Guardian Angel (HGA)
Donald Tyson once told me that the HGA is simply a familiar spirit, an independent being who also serves the purpose of leading us to our potential. Ed Richardson wrote, “Theories on what the HGA is generally fall into three categories: psychological processes/concepts; external entities that have an interest in the magician’s life; and entities that are somehow part of the magician in the way that shamanic totems might be. I would suggest that it is foolish to fall into one camp; using as many concepts as possible will give a more useful point of reference. If you limit yourself too much here only a certain degree of success will be possible… Whatever the HGA actually is, it does seem to be ever watchful, knowing our interests and being able to offer insights as an ‘outsider’ might2.” This description fits Meridjet well, as he both seems to have information I am not privy to (such as events to come or events in another person’s past), as well as having what appears to be full access to my conscious and unconscious minds.
Another interesting remark that Richardson makes is, “Psychological models are also useful, but over reliance [sic] on them can kill any relevant experience with the angel by a sort of ‘death by reductionism2.'” For this, among other reasons, I endeavor to see Meridjet as external. Aleister Crowley once wrote, “It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them3.” This alone is reason enough for me to entertain the idea of external vs internal reality. I’ve ever been a rebel, and it’s my honest opinion that Crowley enjoyed leading the blind about by the nose while giggling behind his hand (figuratively speaking), and that far too many magicians just take Crowley’s word for things (or his initial subtext). Whether or not spirits exist independently of the perceiver may be immaterial (nice pun, that), but the fact is that most ceremonialists take it as a given that the spirits they encounter are nothing more than manifestations of their own psyche, there to play a role in their overall understanding of themselves — thereby falling into Richardson’s trap of “death by reductionism.”
Whether or not Meridjet’s more general messages are philosophically valid or are simply my unconscious mind jerking off on this page is up to you, the reader, to determine. I believe the information he conveys is largely outside the scope of my personal knowledge. Nevertheless, I still have many issues with a part of my mind assuming Meridjet exists deep within me somewhere and that when he is asked a question, I must somehow supply an answer. Typically this creates a slight feeling of panic in me, which then evaporates as I approach the question with nothing to say, and he comes in and practically gives a lecture on the topic. I don’t feel as if I am enlightened enough to wax profound at the drop of a hat despite feeling completely incapable up to the very second the message comes through. Tune in to future entries in this column to read some of his messages, and you’ll see what I mean.
’cause I’m looking at you through the glass
Don’t know how much time has passed
All I know is that it feels like forever
But no one ever tells you that forever feels like home,
sitting all alone inside your head4.
- Aleister Crowley Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae Sub Figura VI
- Lyrics from “Through Glass” by Stone Sour, ©2006
©2006 Sheta Kaey.
Sheta Kaey is a lifelong occultist and longtime spirit worker, as well as Editor in Chief of Rending the Veil. She counsels others with regard to spirit contact and astral work. You can read her blog here.