In the Witch Power Series, (The Witch's Book of Power, The Witch's Book of Spirits, and The Witch's Book of Mysteries) we take a deep dive into the concepts of power and how we as witches cultivate it. One of the central themes throughout the series is the notion that witchcraft and the spirit world are uniquely tied together and that building a deeper practice often means building bridges between ourselves and the spirit world. This isn't always easy; society conditions us to trade our ties to the otherworldly for a sense normalcy and control. As witches, however, much of what we do depends on breaking through the copacetic and embracing the transcendental. Here are six things you can do right now to start building deeper relationships with the spirit world.
- Be here now. One of the trappings we easily fall into as sentient beings is losing ourselves in thought (especially about the past and future), completely overlooking the importance of the moment. The should-haves and what-ifs are always going to be there—that is a normal part of life. They can't, however, take over, which is what tends to happen when we let ourselves slip into streams of regret, fear, anxiety, and worry. Each of these things is a necessary component to a healthy mind, but they also can get in the way of living in the moment.
When we invoke our spirits, we often seal it by commanding them to, "BE HERE NOW!" This, too, is a requirement of us. We have to meet the spirit world halfway. Practice mindfulness techniques, like savoring meals and acknowledging the origin of your food, taking sixty seconds to check-in with your body throughout the day, checking in with your spirit allies on a regular basis, and observing your environment with your ESP skills. When in doubt, remember to think, "Where, What, How, Who." Where am I? What am I doing? How does it feel to be me right now? Who (of my allies) is with me right now? Answering these questions will help bring your attention to the present moment and empower your connection to your spirit allies.
- Stop waiting for a phenomenon to feel your connection. We tend to wait for some preternatural event to happen before we really tune-in to the forces that surround us and pay attention to the messages we are receiving. It shouldn't take that much work to get the point across to us, nor should that level of effort be a requirement for communication. Spirits are everywhere, and they are constantly reaching out to us through coincidence, inspiration, dreams, and symbolism. Those spirits capable of doing something flashy to get our attention are few and far between, so waiting on them to mysteriously enter our life to jump start our spiritual awakening isn't likely to be fruitful.
If you struggle to get clear messages from spirits, try working with a tool such as a talking (spirit) board, the tarot, oracle cards, runes, or a dial plate. I use these tools constantly to help clarify communication from the spirit world when my other gifts feel cloudy. I often recommend dedicating a deck to the ally(ies) with which you work with the most and then incorporating a daily reading into your practice to build your connection to them.
- Carry your base of operations.
Because we are essentially swimming in an ocean of spiritual energy, it is vital to create spaces for specific energies and spirits to coalesce. Traditionally, we do this by building altars, crafting ritual rooms, and dedicating sacred groves. These become the base of operations, where our human lives become uniquely intertwined with those of our beloved allies. Having a space where we can meet the spirits we work with is excellent, but not always something we can do, and aren't things that are particularly portable. We don't always get to go to or have access to these designated spaces, so carrying them with you is important.
We can do this by dedicating and empowering amulets and talismans, or even by tattooing our bodies. Now, I am not suggesting everyone go out and get a tattoo to commemorate their connection to the spirit world, but having a direct link no matter where you go can be an incredible boon. We often refer to our bodies as temples; if this is true, then our skin is the altar. The jewelry, clothing, and accessories we wear are all part of how we dress that altar. Wearing articles that are empowered to keep you connected to your altar, and the work you are doing there, will help to anchor that magic in the everyday and connect you to your allies in a deeper way.
- Go where the spirits are. One of the best way to learn a language is through the process of "total immersion." The concept is to essentially stick someone in the middle of a location where a different language is spoken, and that by necessity we will pick up that language more quickly than we otherwise would have. We can apply this same concept to learning the language of spirits. It may sound obvious, but visiting places where spirits are known to gather can give you deep insights about your particular psychic abilities and how spirits interreact with them. I am often referring students to cemeteries, hospitals, natural wonders, and other locations known for higher levels of spirit activity.
By visiting these locations, you can gain hands-on experience dealing with all kinds of spirits, in a mostly controlled setting. Because it is highly unlikely that a spirit would follow you home from its own home, going to these places and making offerings, petitions, or even just to clean up, are all excellent ways to make yourself known to them. Being sure, of course, to check-in with your own spirit guides before venturing off to do so.
- Don't be boring. It is a well-known fact that spirits hate boring people. Don't blame me, I’m just the messenger! In all seriousness, though, it isn't very likely that spirits will find you interesting if you don't find yourself interesting. I mean, could you blame them? Who wants to hang out with a boring person all day long, hoping that they would break their boredom long enough to notice them?
One of the best ways to increase the consistency of your spiritual encounters is to go do something! Especially if you feel inspired by it. When we light up with passion, the spirit world goes wild and, like moths to a light bulb, new allies will present themselves. This can happen on a regular walk through the park, when you're working on a project, even when you're cooking! Whatever you're passionate about, go do more of that. If you don't have a passion, then start exposing yourself to new experiences. At the end of the day, we need to stir up the energy in our lives that would otherwise become stagnant and keeping yourself from being sedentary in mind, body, and spirit is an excellent way to ensure that happens.
- Recognize your existing connections. Spirits aren't just something that we find later in life—we've had spirits around us since before we were born. Often we approach the work of building bridges with the spirit world as a new task, when in reality we have always been building these bridges. Understanding that you are guided by the spirit world means understanding that this has always and will always be the case. Reach back through your memories and identify those allies who have been with you since the beginning.
To do this, I recommend looking back on big moments in life: graduations, weddings, the birth of a child—even the not so good things like car accidents or the loss of a loved one. In those moments we are surrounded by our spirit allies, even if we don't perceive them in the moment. In meditation, go back to those times and relive that memory as an outsider, this time looking for the people you couldn't see before.
Spirits and witches go together like sunlight and solar panels. The more time we spend soaking up their wisdom and magic, the stronger our craft will become and the brighter we will be able to shine. Beyond grand acts of ritual there are real-world, practical things that we can do in the moment to bridge the personal gap between ourselves and the spirit world. Often it comes down to taking time for ourselves and our allies, but beyond that the work involved requires us to live in the moment and to embrace the power that we already know is there. Sometimes the tools necessary to do this are right in front of us, while sometimes we have to find new ones, but as witches we never stop building our bridges to the other side. Building them with intention and purpose, however, allows us to truly thrive.