I realize that this sounds like a spiritual journey practice, and it could be, but I am referring to getting to know your spiritual neighbors where you live. I believe that spirits are everywhere and in everything and thus everything is spiritually alive. Even the most mundane man made item has spirit. Not all spirits are active and awake however and most of them are what you could call asleep. But those places where spirits are present and active almost always leave a mark on humanity, especially where we live and our environments and interactions. Even if you live in what you think is the most mundane and boring place, there is often a hidden or “occult” current of “weird” phenomena that can be tracked down, and where those places are, spirits can often be found there. Other places may not be thought of as weird, but may be seen as spiritually powerful and connected and just stepping into them people often find they feel refreshed and restored.
Where to start
I recommend digging up folklore and history of the place where you live. History can be easy. Often a library or the internet can have information about the history of a place, and the people who lived in it. A local historical society may also have information, with them having done a lot of the research for you, especially into historical figures relevant to the places around you. Have you ever wondered why your town or city has certain street names and where they come from? Quite often it’s from people who played a role in the past in building up the city and making it the way it was.
Folklore can be a bit harder to find. Some things may be in the history, but other things may just come from talking to people, especially if they have lived there for a while, or have had multiple generations living there. Historical societies again may be beneficial here, and sometimes the internet may turn up interesting things, although that will tend to be limited to well known subjects, Haunted buildings and locations for example.
If you live in the USA, or anywhere in the America’s, you should also look into information about the original residents ie Native Americans. They often had their own sense of place and stories that go with it. Some of these might have been preserved, and of course, some of the older cultures in the Americas had fallen and been replaced long before Europeans ever came to these shores. As you do so, remember to be respectful. You are most likely a stranger to these cultures, and you’re also probably not a trained archeologist. Don’t go tramping onto the known location and don’t try hitting up the spirits there, and don’t assume to speak for those spirits if they make themselves known. Some locations may actually be protected sites, but lacking the funds and fame to secure them from trespassers.
Once you have accumulated some of this knowledge, now you should take a look at the current layout of your environment. Check to see if historical places are accessible, as well as places that have built up folklore or urban legends around them. You can schedule a visit during accessible hours, and if it’s your first time, you should definitely go during the day and several times before trying to make contact.
Of course, some places may not have any lore built up around them, but can still have a vibe all of their own. Most of these are man made structures, but by having been around for a while and serving a specific purpose can be a means of reaching out to the spirits drawn to those places. The most obvious of these are churches and cemeteries. Churches are the traditional and common place of spiritual interaction in Western Occulture for a long time. Of course not all churches seem to vibe the same, but you can usually tell which ones are the right ones to go to. They will often be older and just have a “vibe” around and in them. This also applies to synagogues, mosques, and temples of other religions that may be in the area.
Cemeteries are also obvious, as the place where most communities lay their dead to rest. The oldest cemeteries in the area will often have the graves of community founders whose names dot the streets and buildings that they built, or their descendants built to memorialize them. These are excellent places to commune with the spirits of the dead of an area. Some may also have potter’s graves, the sites where people who died without a name, family, or next of kin. Giving respect to these dead, and bringing them offerings can often be beneficial in opening up communication channels, as the respect given may spread among the spirits.
The next places are places of knowledge and learning. Libraries, Schools, Universities, especially older ones of each will attract the rarefied spirits who are drawn to such intellectual endeavors. Getting to know the public library that was built over 100 years ago, or visiting the Medieval university that was built centuries ago and connecting with those spirits. These places have always been a place of unusual ideas and running into spirits who understand magic and can teach you some rare tricks, or lead you to metaphysical or occult texts in the building that may be of interest to you.
Another place to get familiar with are area hospitals. Hospitals are places where often many people are born and die every day. These intense human experiences which can shape are life, and also the entrance and exit from existence for most people. These places have intense experiences, and intense emotions and honestly are not for the faint of heart. If you want to meet some of the spirits that are attracted to hospitals, prepare yourself.
Courthouses, Government buildings, and Police Stations are other loci of spiritual power. For the obvious reasons that these places deal with law, order, and structuring society. Even the most mundane of city council buildings or local civic building can help connect you with spirits that deal with these parts of life, which impact everything that people do constantly, even in ways that are not always obvious to most people. After all, if you’re lucky you never have to visit a court house or a police station for unpleasant reasons, but you will have to visit government buildings and often in your life. From filing paperwork, to picking up birth and death certificates, voting in elections, or participating in local government and how the laws and those who make them, enforce them, and interpret them can affect a community profoundly. It is better to have those spirits on your side, then working against them.
Another manmade location are crossroads, any place where two or more roads cross. Anyone listening to this show is probably familiar with crossroads and all the ways they can be worked with, and the spirits that can be found there.
In general cities and buildings have their own spirits too. Reaching out the spirits of your home or building and connecting with them can be a way to help protect your home. These spirits will tend to be subtle with residents, but can be quite obvious to visitors, or even unwelcomed interlopers. Some of them may also be guardians set by other workers to protect their homes, and may make their presence known if they think you’re violating a boundary.
Finally are natural locations. Depending upon where you live, certain types of spirits are going to be more prevalent. Do you live near the ocean or other bodies of water, or a large river? You can expect water spirits to be present. Do you live in the mountains? Expect mountain spirits to make themselves known. Living in a forested area and the many spirits of trees and plants will be present. A rural farming region will often have seasonal spirits whose natures change depending upon the season, but also earth spirits who are tied to the fertility of the land. And everywhere you go one can connect with spirits of wind, sky and weather, as they are always overhead and about. Protected wilderness refuges may also have spiritual guardians and if you’re engaging in spiritualist practices near them, you may peak their interest.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the lay of the land around you, and you have visited these locations and made your introductions, one way you can deepen your connection to these sites and spirits is by buying dirt from these locations. Much like buying graveyard dirt to work with a spirit of the dead, you can buy dirt from the spirits of the land around you. You should prepare offerings that could be acceptable. In some places, the desired offering may just be water that you have spiritually enriched. Other places and their spirits may desire more, or accept an offering of spiritual energy without physical supports. By visiting these places before hand you should have an idea of what to expect. Take your offerings and go to the location, and pick a suitable spot to relax and commune with the location. Openly or silently recite an invocation asking the spirits if you can have a boon of earth from their place and their power with it. Silence yourself and wait for an answer. You may feel it quickly, or some kind of natural phenomenon may arise which will give you the answer. If it is no, tell them thank you for hearing your request and still leave the offering as gratitude for communing with you. If they say yes, collect a small amount of soil from the place. Some of these may come from planters on the location, especially if you are in a very urban location. Others may be collected from any open earth location or area of lawn. Leave the offering where you took the earth from and thank the spirits for their gift. The earth can help bring those spirits into your personal sphere in your home and ritual space. That same earth can also be used in magic related to their sphere of influence. Earth from a church can be used in spells for holiness, blessing, and protection. Courthouse or government dirt can be used in legal spells, or when needing to influence government employees and officials. Library earth is useful in spells for knowledge, learning and clarity.