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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Spirit Work  (Read 473 times)

Melissa

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Spirit Work
« on: February 11, 2018, 12:10:49 pm »
Recently, I have been speaking to some friends about paganism and how I am researching and studying to worship Gods and spirits. I got a HUGE warning from a friend who told me a story of how someone she knew died in a very tragic manner and his family is in chaos because he angered the Gods and spirits. My friend and I have been close since we were really young, so she would never made up stories to fool me, furthermore she was really serious and upset that I am dabbling myself into this. My parents who are pagans (but not so serious ones) also warned me against working or worshiping any particular spirits because they are afraid I would get cursed and told me many true stories about what happened to others and how some of them lived very bad lives because they can't live up to the worship or they anger someone.

Does anyone have any experiences in angering Gods and spirits? And how bad can it be?

To be honest, those warnings kindda deter me from studying or researching or trying to connect with any deities. Instead, I am thinking of just worshiping nature and the living things.

Any information in regards to this is much appreciated.

Άχιλλεύς

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Re: Spirit Work
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2018, 03:24:41 pm »
Recently, I have been speaking to some friends about paganism and how I am researching and studying to worship Gods and spirits. I got a HUGE warning from a friend who told me a story of how someone she knew died in a very tragic manner and his family is in chaos because he angered the Gods and spirits. My friend and I have been close since we were really young, so she would never made up stories to fool me, furthermore she was really serious and upset that I am dabbling myself into this. My parents who are pagans (but not so serious ones) also warned me against working or worshiping any particular spirits because they are afraid I would get cursed and told me many true stories about what happened to others and how some of them lived very bad lives because they can't live up to the worship or they anger someone.

Does anyone have any experiences in angering Gods and spirits? And how bad can it be?

To be honest, those warnings kindda deter me from studying or researching or trying to connect with any deities. Instead, I am thinking of just worshiping nature and the living things.

Any information in regards to this is much appreciated.

Hello Melissa,

Many ways of paganism will give you many different answers,
I will answer with my own view which is the the worship of the Greek Gods, A path I took 6 years ago,
I personnaly have never heard any storys of this sort, I believe that finding your way and researching is a very important part of finding your own paga path, If you do it in a respectful way of wanting to explore and learn then there is no reason why you would upset or anger any deity or spirit, I do have a nice suggestion for when you study about any pagan way, leave a small offering for those gods as a thank you, I'm sure that won't hurt. Gods are supreme beings and if you do not do anything to purposely anger them then nothing bad will ever happen to you.
Good luck with your research and path,
If you ever have any questions about the hellenistic path feel free to ask.

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Re: Spirit Work
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 03:53:06 pm »
Recently, I have been speaking to some friends about paganism and how I am researching and studying to worship Gods and spirits.

So, my basic take on this is that there are some useful safety precautions, but they are mostly (with one or two exceptions) the kind of thing that is good general mundane advice and common sense.

My experience is that unless you go a bit out of your way to provoke something (whether accidentally or on purpose) it will leave you alone. Very rarely, something may want to bother someone or something who didn't bother it first, but just like with human beings or animals, that's pretty rare. (Not never, but rare.)

In other words: we take safety precautions about locking our doors (if you live in a lot of places) or how we deal with cars in a city, or avoiding stepping where there might be poisonous snakes, or attracting bears if we're out in the woods, but there are plenty of steps we can take to do those things that are common sense, and most of the time we can wander around and get on with our lives and activities without major risks.

So, what does that actually mean?
There are three big ways people get in trouble with Pagan/magical/esoteric stuff that don't quite fit into the above.

1) Making and breaking specific oathed commitments to deities or other entities and beings.
2) Trying to do a thing they don't understand (especially out of context of that practice.)
3) Poking at stuff that would like to be left alone.

Commitments:
The most common way I've seen people get in trouble is breaking commitments to deities. Fortunately, this is avoidable, and not just by not making commitments in the first place.

One good starting place is to begin with short-term commitments. For example, I advise people who are working on building a relationship with a deity to start small. Commit to 3 months learning more about them. Commit to six months learning more about them in a deeper way and trying some initial practices or rituals that honour/work with them/etc. If those go well, try committing for a year. Do that several times before you consider longer-term commitments.

(Teachers, traditions, etc. may have other approaches, but often those traditions or people will have existing relationships with those entities and can advise/mediate/etc. If you're doing it on your own, slow and steady is really good.)

Another part is about how you frame those commitments. My training included a significant section on how to do this, but it boils down, often, to 'don't promise things you can't keep up', and 'define the terms for breaking the commitment when you make it'. It's a lot easier to avoid problems if you do. Think through what the options can/should be if you can't keep it up for good reason.

(A clause like "If I am not able to continue, I will return to properly part" is a common thing in group oaths, for example. Not everyone does, but it gives everyone a thing to aim for and work around if someone can't or doesn't return. Some people make an explicit renewal clause every year.)

Don't make a commitment that takes 30 minutes and requires quiet and a certain set of items or tools - the first time you're stuck in an airport or hotel or hospital room or visiting a relative where you can't do things, or whatever, you won't be able to do that thing. (A lot of deities will be understanding about this, mind you, but it's still a bad place to be in.)

Be really really extra cautious about commitments that are linked to a specific location - what happens if you move away, or have health issues that mean you can't get to the place, or the land is sold and you can't get onto it again? Build anything like this with an out clause, where you can wrap up your commitment in an appropriate way if you need to, at a bare minimum.

The places I've seen people get in trouble most are people who make commitments, and break not just the technical terms of it (like getting stuck somewhere they can't do the thing when it's not really their fault) but break the spirit of them somehow.

It seems especially true for deities or entities where the commitment involves other people (like commitments about teaching or ethical treatment of others who might be vulnerable) or situations where the deity or entity expects you to be all-in on making a goal a huge long-term focus (some are, some aren't.) If you make that kind of commitment, you don't get to drift off and do something else in six months because you got bored: there will likely be some consequences.

(And yeah, in that case, the consequence are not fun. The ones I've seen have usually been fairly parallel to the thing that was broken. They can sometimes be mitigated by figuring out how you messed up and doing your best to fix the actual problem, and by really really attentive work with personal energy and psychic hygiene, but that's 'mitigated' not 'removed'.)

2) Trying to do a thing they don't understand
Don't summon stuff you don't know how to banish. Don't make commitments to beings you know a page of scattered research about. Don't do a magical ritual you found in a book just because it sounds cool, in a language you don't know anything about, using herbs you haven't checked out.

There's a reason a lot of magical and ritual traditions have a set of beginning exercises and skills you're supposed to master first - they're a big help in avoiding these kinds of problems. First, because they give you skills to manage yourself better (often things relating to self-awareness, etc.) but also because structured properly, you learn how to undo each step as you learn how to do it, so that by the time you get around to doing complicated things, you have some skills in noticing small stuff going weird before it gets big, and in undoing stuff if you need to.

If you're working outside structures that can help that, then be really rigorous in figuring out what you try. Start small. Don't try five new things at a time, do one or maybe two new things. See how they go. Do them a couple more times, until you feel confident in what's supposed to happen, before you add a new thing.

(Think about how you learned to cook or to drive, or anything else we do that can kill us if we do it wrong. You don't start out driving on a twisty highway at full speed. You start in an empty parking lot where you have lots of space to see things, going really slowly. You don't cook complex food that can hurt you if you do it wrong, you start with simple foods.)

3) Poking at stuff that would like to be left alone.
The last one is pretty self-explanatory, but is a 'if you don't want to get bitten by snakes or other things, don't go sticking your hands into dark holes where they might live' guideline.

Be thoughtful about how you go try things that might bring you into contact with stuff you don't know/understand/know how to take appropriate precautions about.

That doesn't mean don't do it ever, but research, learn the appropriate precautions, from reliable sources. See if you can do a thing with someone who has repeated reliable experience with it first.

A lot of times people get into trouble because they go poke a haunted house or a place where it feels bad, without realising there might be reasons for that (and yes, maybe people can help, but poking a stick at it probably won't, right?)

Being Very Polite to random entities you bump into, and not making any kind of promise/commitment/gift (in some cultures, gifts imply obligations) unless you're sure who you're talking to and the appropriate protocol for that being also doesn't hurt.

More to think about
There are two articles on my website with additional things you might want to think through - What are the actual risks and Safety tips.

Also, weirdly, two sets of fiction: Lois McMaster Bujold's Curse of Chalion and the sequel both deal with some of this, and I would recommend Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series for a look at different customs and how to be polite (or deliberately enforce boundaries) across them. The latter is an urban fantasy series that has many different cryptid species - they're fun reads, but also really good at 'not everyone takes the same thing from a set of interactions' in a way that is really informative.



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Mivi

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Re: Spirit Work
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2018, 07:41:28 pm »
Recently, I have been speaking to some friends about paganism and how I am researching and studying to worship Gods and spirits. I got a HUGE warning from a friend who told me a story of how someone she knew died in a very tragic manner and his family is in chaos because he angered the Gods and spirits. My friend and I have been close since we were really young, so she would never made up stories to fool me, furthermore she was really serious and upset that I am dabbling myself into this. My parents who are pagans (but not so serious ones) also warned me against working or worshiping any particular spirits because they are afraid I would get cursed and told me many true stories about what happened to others and how some of them lived very bad lives because they can't live up to the worship or they anger someone.

Does anyone have any experiences in angering Gods and spirits? And how bad can it be?

To be honest, those warnings kindda deter me from studying or researching or trying to connect with any deities. Instead, I am thinking of just worshiping nature and the living things.

Any information in regards to this is much appreciated.
Other than Jenette's excellent advice:

Korean gods are KNOWN for this. Like beyond anything else, their impatience and willingness to punish is a first and foremost. There is every right for people to fear them. They do not hesitate and they can and WILL persist for our entire lifetimes. That's why when we're called to be their priests, we cannot say no. Otherwise we are asking for them to kill us and our loved ones.

One mudang misread her dreams and put up a god image that didn't get along well with the gods that were already in her pantheon. She dreamed of them fighting loudly and constantly. She ignored it. Not a week later, the house burned down.

But that's with korean deities. I think Egyptian ones (Netjeru) are quite a lot more lenient.
Mivi | Mudang (Korean shaman-priest)

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Riothamus12

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Re: Spirit Work
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 08:37:14 pm »
Recently, I have been speaking to some friends about paganism and how I am researching and studying to worship Gods and spirits. I got a HUGE warning from a friend who told me a story of how someone she knew died in a very tragic manner and his family is in chaos because he angered the Gods and spirits. My friend and I have been close since we were really young, so she would never made up stories to fool me, furthermore she was really serious and upset that I am dabbling myself into this. My parents who are pagans (but not so serious ones) also warned me against working or worshiping any particular spirits because they are afraid I would get cursed and told me many true stories about what happened to others and how some of them lived very bad lives because they can't live up to the worship or they anger someone.

Does anyone have any experiences in angering Gods and spirits? And how bad can it be?

To be honest, those warnings kindda deter me from studying or researching or trying to connect with any deities. Instead, I am thinking of just worshiping nature and the living things.

Any information in regards to this is much appreciated.

In my experience, they tend to be much more difficult to anger than many would suggest, regardless of who they are. Even more wrathful Divinities are not so vindictive. What punishment is dealt tends to come through a mechanism similar to karma. However, when push comes to shove, if you wrong a spirit or a Deity in some fashion you will feel it. Such is the immediate reaction of the universe itself. The Divine is not petty, but does not fail to reprimand. If one is suffering, it is not so much because they are offended, but because you committed a moral breach. There is no one right way and so they are not as picky, but some do seem a bit more picky than others, but even these are not so petty. One should still pay attention to how such Divinities are traditionally shown reverence for there is a reason that those methods were used. My experience is that you do not need to do absolutely everything according to a single tradition, but one should be mindful of tradition as to avoid doing something that might unintentionally invite punishment or negative forces. If you perform a ritual with a particular type of spirit or Deity using methods that seem extremely removed in some way (for example, performing a water focused ceremony to invoke a fire Divinity), then they may simply not respond. They may not punish you for it, but you are not likely to achieve the connection or other end result you desire. Similarly if you completely ignore tradition, the same thing will also likely happen. You may not need to follow one traditions methods in their entirety, but you should incorporate significant elements thereof.

Similarly, if you invoke certain forces, Spirits, or aspects of Deities lightly, it may bring misfortune because you are seeking to channel their power for petty reasons, acts of hubris, or simply in a wildly inappropriate fashion. There are for example, certain mantras dedicated to Kali that one should not use unless absolutely necessary because to invoke such a force of destruction lightly, even a benevolent one such as her, is not something one should do for those very reasons. The Divine may not be vindictive, but it is not afraid to reprimand. Ancestors in my experience, are the most supremely picky because they are the souls of departed mortals and mortals are perhaps the most picky beings in the universe.

As a side note, the Aos Sidhe (Fae) are known to be quite beneficent, but when wronged, their fury is legendary.

Click it or something.It just seemed like it would be fun to toy around with.

Eastling

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Re: Spirit Work
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2018, 02:50:04 pm »
Does anyone have any experiences in angering Gods and spirits? And how bad can it be?

To be honest, those warnings kindda deter me from studying or researching or trying to connect with any deities. Instead, I am thinking of just worshiping nature and the living things.

Any information in regards to this is much appreciated.

Flippant answer: don't ask me, I learned all my magical instincts from John Constantine as a kid.

The serious answer is a little more complicated. I have in fact "angered" deities. Multiple times. They can be harsh in response, but it's something I've learned to deal with. My Powers tend to work with me when I do something they don't like, not curse me and cast me off. This is true of most (though not all) spirits/Powers/deities/etc you could work with--regardless of what exactly they are (nature spirits can presumably be scary too). Generally, deities do expect us to make mistakes or get it wrong sometimes, and the consequences will usually not be more than we can handle. But it does help to get to know a Power before you make commitments to them, as was said above.

It also helps to hone and develop your spiritual/magical instincts. Get to know the Powers you work with; regularly practice, on a small level, with whatever techniques you find good for you. You won't be fumbling blind forever. Eventually you're likely to develop a sense of what's a good idea and what's not.

Yes, magic, spirituality, and mysticism can go very wrong, but as Jenett mentions a few times in her excellent reply above, so can a lot of other important things we do on a day-to-day basis in order to lead fulfilling lives.
Utterly Pure, a virtual shrine in progress to Ariadne; Someday Comes Back, my general mysticism/pop culture blog.
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kaleidoscope.woman

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Re: Spirit Work
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2018, 04:12:41 pm »
Recently, I have been speaking to some friends about paganism and how I am researching and studying to worship Gods and spirits. I got a HUGE warning from a friend who told me a story of how someone she knew died in a very tragic manner and his family is in chaos because he angered the Gods and spirits. My friend and I have been close since we were really young, so she would never made up stories to fool me, furthermore she was really serious and upset that I am dabbling myself into this. My parents who are pagans (but not so serious ones) also warned me against working or worshiping any particular spirits because they are afraid I would get cursed and told me many true stories about what happened to others and how some of them lived very bad lives because they can't live up to the worship or they anger someone.

Does anyone have any experiences in angering Gods and spirits? And how bad can it be?

To be honest, those warnings kindda deter me from studying or researching or trying to connect with any deities. Instead, I am thinking of just worshiping nature and the living things.

Any information in regards to this is much appreciated.

I was really nervous about starting to work with deity because of this, as well... I chose to honor Brigid; and my relationship so far with Her has been a compassionate, comforting and inspiring one. I've heard many stories that are similar to my experience with Her, and I've heard stories about Her direct and to-the-point side, as well (I've yet to experience that). Overall, after working with Her, I am very comfortable with it now. I feel as though I'm developing a relationship, She is a very warm being, and has made my life greater!

Then again, I have not made Brigid any commitments; I just humbly worship Her. I have not formally devoted myself to Her. I have not promised anything to Her and I have not been called to do that, either. So, I would say that's where things get tricky. When working with deity, only do what you are comfortable with. Do not make promises that you don't intend on keeping. And of course, the obvious; do not be disrespectful, practice reverence.

The way I see it, though; as long as you aren't making any promises to this deity, then you should be in the clear! Another thing; put in a lot of research on what a deity represents, the different aspects of Them, and really think hard on whether or not you want to invite these aspects into your life.

I can honestly say that since inviting Brigid into my life, I've undergone plenty of transformations! A lot of opportunities have come my way. I made the biggest physical move of my life so far, and I brought Her with me. I love everything about Her, and what she represents; and I adore having Her energy in my day-to-day life.

Working with deity is an unforgettable experience. I was very wary about it at first, and skeptical... But with time, repetition and an open mind; I felt Brigid, and feeling Her presence was/is one of the most special experiences I've yet to have in my life. It is an awe-inspiring and ancient experience; an experience as old as our most ancient ancestors: connecting with an entity more powerful than oneself. Be open to it; just be careful.

Many Blessings!
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground. There are a thousand ways to go home again.” ~ Rumi

Emma Eldritch

Re: Spirit Work
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2018, 11:17:43 pm »
Flippant answer: don't ask me, I learned all my magical instincts from John Constantine as a kid.

I was JUST joking about that exact thing like, a day ago. Funny old world.

Quote
Yes, magic, spirituality, and mysticism can go very wrong, but as Jenett mentions a few times in her excellent reply above, so can a lot of other important things we do on a day-to-day basis in order to lead fulfilling lives.

Agreeing with both you and Jenett.

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