People frequently ask how to get started with spirits. Often they will ask “which goetic should I conjure first?” I think there are three parts to answering that question.
First, the pedantic answer…”goetic” isn’t a type of spirit you don’t conjure a goetic, goetic describes a host of practices. The spirits are demons, or devils, or infernal spirits.
The second part of the answer would be…summon the spirit you need. There is no reason to call one just to call one. They each have things they do. Make a choice based on what you need to call one for. Of the handful that seem appropriate to your need or goal, do divination to pick the right one…or work with your spirits. Wait, you don’t have spirits? Well then that leads us to the third part of the answer.
The third part being…that might not be the place to start if you’re just trying to experience spirit contact. Develop the skill set. Develop facility with the spirit world. Develop a support structure in the spirit world. If you were born with spirit connections you should have spirits – usually of the dead sometimes not; who have come to you and developed with you through life. If that’s not the case, spirits of the natural world, of the places you frequent, they are easy to approach. From there, the Olympic Spirits and The Dead are the easiest to start with. Beginning work in a more formal structure is probably best started there…although both involve much less formal structures than what you’ll do when working with infernal spirits.
So how do you get started with the dead especially if you don’t have a group of spirits you work already?
If you have work that connects you with the world of the dead, journeying there in spirit, approaching its guardians and asking for access to the spirit with whom you want to make contact can be a good way to start. But it’s a method that can be kind of involved.
If you have deceased relatives who you knew in life, they can be easier to connect with initially. They may also be harder to choose to connect to depending upon your relationship with them. One thing to remember is that your pool of ancestors is much bigger than the people you knew in life. Those people might just seem more immediately reachable. But your blood ancestry spreads back multiplying over and over. Beyond them you have friends, friends of family, professional ancestors, and many others who may have a connection or interest in you.
So how to reach them without a katabsis?
Start with prayers to those who keep the dead and those would can help you reach those keepers and the dead themselves. Move to prayers for the way to be made open and for the dead to be brought. Offer that those who aid may receive a portion of whatever is offered. Once everything is set, light a candle for the dead, or for each of the dead, say their names as you do so. Then pour water for them. Either a glass or a small cup for each.
Offer the candle light as a guiding light for the dead, but also as warmth and energy with which they can burn through into this world, and as a shining place which they can inhabit as we sit with them. Offer the water to cool and soothe them and as a way to receive their presence.
From there, incense, food, honey, flowers, liquor, and other special tokens can be given as offerings.
The big thing at this point is just talking with them. Let them know you’re happy they’re with you, thank them for help they’ve given you, ask them to keep looking after you. Tell them what gifts you’re giving them. Talk with them about your life. About your concerns, about your family. Talk with them about things you’d talk about with someone who cares about you.
In the end thank them for the time they’re giving you and for sitting with you.
That’s pretty much it.
While its going on just be open, listen, feel, but don’t chase it. Don’t hope for it, don’t worry about what comes or doesn’t. Rest in the space of the work and you’ll get to the point of connection more easily than you might expect.
For the purposes of this post, I want to draw some attention to something cool…the Luxumbrian Church of Light and Shadow. Witchcraft Christianity.
So the example I’m going to give for ritual will be one modeled for that context. When you build a model for working with the ancestors, model it to your religious context, or at least your beliefs regarding the dead. This example will work for you if you’re working from a Luciferian Catholic perspective.
You will need a candle, an incense burner and coal, incense – preferably Church or Temple incense, or Frankincense; a candle for each of the deceased and a small cup for water. Any other offerings you wish to make.
Light an initial candle.
Say: Lord hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee.
With the words “pray for us” make the Sign of the Cross
Saint Peter, pray for us
Saint Cyprian, pray for us
Saint Benedict, pray for us
Saint Lucy, pray for us
Saint Barbara, pray for us
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us
Saint Azrael the Angel of Death, pray for us
Lord, those who die still live in Your presence. Their lives change, but do not end. I pray in hope for my family, relatives, and friends and for all the dead known only to You. Unite us together again in one family, so that we may reside together in peace forever and ever.
Morning Star, who marks the dawn of the day, Evening Star who marks the dusk. Light Bringer who is at our beginning and at our end, be with us now. Christ, whose spirit is joined to the spirits of all mankind, Lucifer who serves the Father as the Light of the World, be a light for the souls of the dead, be the light by which our sacred flame shall serve to guide, bring forth, and cradle the souls of the beloved dead.
Hail Mary, mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, Queen of Heaven, Lady of the World, Empress of Hell, have mercy on us and on all people, both, living and dead in need of your mercy and your strength.
Saint Peter, foundation of the Church, be as to us the foundation of this rite. Christ gave to you the Keys of Heaven and Earth, call forth from the Book of Life and make open the way for our beloved dead.
Put a bit of incense on the coal and say
May the world be made sweet to receive the dead and the blessings of the Lord and his retinue.
At this point light a candle for each ancestor you wish to invite saying their name and pouring them a cup of water. Make any offerings you wish to make for them and for the Heavenly powers that aided in bringing them. Then talk with them openly and candidly. The more you treat them like you would other guests the closer they will come.
Again, if this isn’t your jam, then you can use this same structure but change the prayers out for the powers and spirits appropriate to your approach.
If you enjoyed this, my book Living Spirits: A Guide to Magic in a World of Spirits has copious amounts of material on ancestor work and other work with the dead.
To explore the intermingling of traditional Witchcraft and traditional apostolic Christianity check out The Church of Light and Shadow.
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