Category Archives: animsim

5 reasons not work with local spirits

Recently I came across this post

My post is not a rebuttal, but an ad joiner to the possible undesired experience that come from seeking connection with local spirits.

5) Just because a spirit is there, doesn’t mean it wants to “work” with you.

For one thing, let me clarify a term. In conversations I have had with other spiritualist minded folks and people who get into trying to chat up spirits, there is a difference between veneration and “working”. Veneration can be very simple, is pretty much devotional, and doesn’t expect much between the two parties except for a simple exchange of “pleasantries” and expressions of good will. Of course, if you get a negative feedback, it maybe because you have offended said local spirit, but we’ll get to that later. Generally veneration is just a way to say “hi” and “thanks for all that you do” and “lets be friendly and polite with each other”. Venerating ancestors, venerating local spirits, venerating Gods, and heroes and every thing else. It’s all just a way of making nice. This niceness can lead to “working” and help build relationships that can be quite beneficial in the future, and possibly even buy you a Free pass when you make a mistake, but don’t always count on it.

“Working” indicates that there is a request being made of a specific variety and purpose to a specific end for your benefit. Whether it is protection, wealth, love, knowledge etc…, what makes it different is the specificness and that you are making a specific request for something you want accomplished. Often it will entail behavior on your part that reciprocates to the spirit that you are willing to work for them. A number of spiritual beings are known to be workers, who are quite open to requests for things. Gods, Saints, Angels, Demons etc… and there are books quite busting at the seems with them. But local spirits, you’ll notice, don’t seem to function that way universally, for everyone in the same way that say, St. Expedite can for so many people. One person can have a great relationship with a local spirit, and another person may get bubkis. That’s just the way it seems to go. Just because you are aware of spirit that is tied to a certain local, doesn’t mean it wants to work with you, and it will often make that perfectly clear as soon as you attempt to connect with it.

4) Just because a spirit is there, doesn’t mean it’s going to know a lot of about anything in the area.

Or for that matter, be able to communicate it in a useful or intelligible way. A spirit of the tree is mostly going to know about Tree things, and if it notices if someone stole your bike or not, will have more to do with if that bike thief happened to interact with the tree shortly before or after. If you happened to have your bike chained to the tree, it’s only thought maybe “heavy earth thing was leaning against me and now it’s not” and that’s about it. Of course a larger local spirit (say of the park) might notice, but unless your bike was important to it for some reason, why should it even care. Unless you interact with a local spirit that has vested interest in human affairs and a reasonably intelligible way to understand and communicate it, you’re really not going to get much. It is for this reason that you’ll notice a lot of cultures often have a greater spirit of a particular thing (plants, animals minerals etc…) that is often more understanding of humanity and better able to connect with it. Most people, in my experience, are usually connecting with the larger overarching spirit then the much more limited spirit of the specific object, plant, mineral, animal or place and those spirits are not “local” per se.

3) Most local spirits could give about two cents to you and your issues

this of course, ties in nicely with my last point. While the various local spirits might be quite appreciate of offerings, veneration and devotions done to them, and thus you might get them to be more favorable inclined to you, which could generally make your going about in the locale easier over all, when it comes to specifics (theft, health, wealth, love, etc..) you know, all those things that humans value in interacting with other humans, local spirits quite literally don’t understand, or for some of the larger ones, don’t care. If there is some kind of human pandemic experience going around, it might peak some of the larger more understandings ones interests (like high murder or suicide rate, or a larger number of clinically depressed) because being that we are part of their environment that they govern that might be somewhat invested in it being harmonious for everyone, but the local tree spirit, rock spirit, spirit in the park, is going to be completely uncaring to your issues, if they understand them at all. If they are even open to working with you, they might still not understand something, unless you explain it in as naturalistic terms as possible (literally think birds and bees and pollen and trees people) otherwise, you’re going to get a kind of shoulder shrug, if anything at all.

2) They have needs that you can never provide for.

Do you know how to pollinate a flower? Probably not. Even if you do know, do you have the time and patience to do it for every flower during a 3 month period? I’m guessing not. What about trees? Or, the local watering hole? Maybe you could organize a community event to help clean it up if it was dirty or only barely polluted with trash, but if the spirit is telling you it wants to flow over there, and not there, I think you’re going to have a problem convincing those people in their nice homes to make way for the creek you feel ought to build. Generally, if you’re getting a quite possibly impossible request from a local spirit, it’s politely telling you to Go away! Because it doesn’t have time for your nonsense, human.

1) Just because a spirit is tied to specific locale doesn’t mean it’s smaller.

There is such a thing as Local Gods. These being are Gods, Divine beings in their own right, who don’t need to be worshiped or venerated because their divinity comes from their locale. Perhaps a shrine might exist to them (like in Japan, or China or places that have long standing animistic spiritualist traditions) but generally there won’t be one, and they don’t really need it. You might be able to identify it with some dowsing, but it could very well be very hard to reach, and the local god may not want you to reach it in the first place. So, they being a local God can really make things miserable for you if you offend them, much like any god, and more then likely, they will be much more easier to offend and will stay offended longer then a more transcendent Divine being that is not tied to specific location. The Spirit of the The City you live in, the spirit of your neighborhood, even the spirit of your building (which in very large apartment buildings can be quite powerful) and of course, there could be more natural spirits of ecosystems and environments that are quite mighty and powerful. If you ever notice that when you enter into some areas that you get lost easier, seem to have ongoing problems with minor nuisances (insects, muddy puddles, bumps in the road, tripping over roots) is probably because the local spirits find something about you vaguely offensive. You could try to clear it up, make an offering and appease them, and can work, but some people just don’t like some people no matter what. You just plain smell bad to them, and they will never like you and they have no compunctions about making their dislike and displeasure known. You may not experience this if you only visit, especially to a major city or tourist area, but if you try to stay and settle in, is when the problems start to occur.

Of course, there are other smaller beings, but they are often in league with the larger beings of the area, and will tend to take directions from the “top” on down. They might be willing to work with at first, but after some time, will be less friendly and sociable if your general essence is just not compatible with the local area. If that is the case, you’re probably better off moving, then trying to make a go at it. Good luck explaining that to your friends and family who moved with you, or the cost of the move in the first place.

It is also my experience that smaller spirits are far more dramatic and showy then the non-time space fixed transcendent beings. Most hauntings are caused by smaller spirits, not by gods and actual major demons (despite the name they toss around). To make a ready and known comparison, think of a Midsummer’s night dream. Oberon doesn’t do the dirty work himself, he sends Puck, a servant, to do it for him. A similar situation will apply in naturalistic settings. Most major local spirits won’t do something directly if they can avoid it. They will send a representative to do it for them. Of course, if you enter into an actual working relationship with one, you may very well end up being that representative from time to time as part of your deal in desire fulfillment.

Finally, for some people, in some situations, none of this, both helpful or harmful will hold true. Some people are, as I like to call it, Unicorns. Gifted mediums who are favorably received by all spirits. People gifted with spiritual authority, that allows them to work better with spirits, and perhaps from time to time, command them when needed. Others are favored by the land, or the Gods, or a God and in certain situations that favor will manifest things for that that others will never receive within the Land, or Gods, or God. Your mileage may vary.

Urban animism

So, prompted by a discussion I had Kenaz Filan on his blog, it got me to thinking about animism in an urban setting.
This is not really a new idea. There have been books before that brought up this concept, and based upon my own study of chaos magick, there is an intention of interacting with the metaphysical in whatever environment you are in. A communion with the spiritual forces and the spirits that occupy the urban landscape and yet so often the urban landscape is rejected while the people in it seek an escape to a “natural” environment. This, I think, is more of a reflection of the pastoral fantasy people carry in their head, that being in “nature” is better, closer to perfection, and more authentic. However, I see the urban landscape as a natural environment, created by the animal who needs it to live, namely, humanity.
Humans are a part of nature, and yet so often the works and creations of humans are dismissed as “man-made” and “unnatural.” Yet, so often it seems that it is forgotten that humanity is as much a part of nature as any other animal, many of which change their environment to make it more suitable for them. So in the cities and metropolises that humanity has created, we are participating in a natural environment that we have created to make it more suitable for us as a species, but also that other animals have adapated to living in these environments as well. These are the animals we live and are surrounded by on a regular basis, even though we don’t always recognize or even see them most of the time, but when some of them are seen, the illicit strong responses from humanity.
But not only the animals, but the landscape itself also has consciousness. Buildings, roads, cities, districts, vehicles, structural materials can all be seen as having a spiritual essence, and so a spiritual intelligence that can be communed, allied, fought or negotiated with, much as a spirit worker in any culture would have to interact with and being the herald and diplomat for the his community with their environment. Yet if often seems that the urban spirit workers don’t engage with the spirits of their environment, from the animals that also live in it with humanity, to the spirits that are connected to the homes and structures they live and work in, to the roads they travel, or even to the city itself. These spiritual intelligences are neglected, in favor of the pastoral mystique, of majestic wild animals far removed from the workers environments, animals that many of these workers will never experience first hand in their natural environment.
Of course the spirits of the land have become part of the spirits of the city that covers it. One could just as well connect with the spirit of Los Angeles, or seek the spirits that serve within it, such as Hollywood, Koreatown, or even Downtown LA. Within those are the spirits of buildings themselves, from the spirit that governs your home, to the office building you may work in all have spirits that can be cajoled, placated, and interacted with. Some might be very strong, old and wise, while others might be very young, and enjoy having the attentions of the local spirit-worker who brings them offerings to make them stronger, and so help her community.
Even more local and specific are the ghosts and lost souls that wander in the urban landscape. Often the older the city, the more ghosts there are, as stories are told of the house where people were died and they return and are seen, to the street where an old gunfight occurred. I was told by a friend once that the lost dead wander the alleys of cities, and thus to avoid allies at night as much as possible, otherwise you might find yourself with a companion following you. Of course cemeteries exist with the city, the places designated where people are laid to rest. The dead can be accessed there, although you might want to learn some of the rules followed by various cultures that are friendly with the dead on how to interact with them. But ghosts can be found in many other places across the city, as most older places have stories associated with them, and sometimes after building have been torn down and replaced, the ghosts of the prior building linger on, to continue to haunt the new building.
These are just examples of the many crossroads that spiritual beings make with humanity, and with the spirit-workers among humanity. Suffice to say that there is much to be experienced within the spiritual landscape of an urban environment. Wisdom, allies, aid can all be gained by connecting with the spirits around you, and as the spirits of the land and personal environment play a more direct role, they are spirits worth communing with.