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Author Topic: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits  (Read 1321 times)

Tom

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Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« on: March 27, 2017, 05:45:52 pm »
A practice that I keep meaning to work on or at least start work on is getting to know local spirits in the area I live in or want to live in, but I always come up across some hurdles, one of which is basically a weird mental hang-up on my part and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to deal with it.

My main problem really, is that I am afraid that by developing relationships with the local land and nature spirits, I'll end up somehow tying myself to a place that I want to move away from within the next few years and somehow sabotage this thing that I want to do someday. Basically, I guess I'm afraid of putting down roots in a place I don't want to be in. And while maybe I won't have this problem in the city I've been wanting to move too, I can also see myself making the same excuse of "well, I might not want to be here in four or five years, so maybe I shouldn't".

The other thing is that I've also seen other suggestions that one should reach out to spirits in the locale where you want to move to or get a job in, but how do you do that when you can't physically go to those places for the most part to make that contact?

So does any one have any suggestions on how to deal with these problems of developing relationships with spirits? I suspect that it's not that much different than making friends in those places in some respects because I have noticed similar behaviors on my part regarding connecting to human beings, but they at least I can continue to keep them as friends when I move thanks to the internet.

Faemon

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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 08:10:52 pm »
Quote from: Tom;204272
I am afraid that by developing relationships with the local land and nature spirits, I'll end up somehow tying myself to a place that I want to move away from within the next few years and somehow sabotage this thing that I want to do someday. Basically, I guess I'm afraid of putting down roots in a place I don't want to be in.

(...)

So does any one have any suggestions on how to deal with these problems of developing relationships with spirits? I suspect that it's not that much different than making friends in those places in some respects because I have noticed similar behaviors on my part regarding connecting to human beings, but they at least I can continue to keep them as friends when I move thanks to the internet.


I liked what Edward Said wrote about it: The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard once wrote an analysis of what he called the poetics of space. The inside of a house, he said, acquires a sense of intimacy, secrecy, security, real or imagined, because of the experiences that come to seem appropriate for it. The objective space of a house—its corners, corridors, cellar, rooms—is far less important than what poetically it is endowed with, which is usually a quality with an imaginative or figurative value we can name and feel: this a house may be haunted, or homelike, or prisonlike…The same process occurs when we deal with time. Much of what we associate with or even now about such periods as “long ago” or “the beginning” or “at the end of time” is poetic…
 
In an argument that "the East" is a social construct...or I guess the same would apply to the human concept of "the Western world" which for some reason also includes Australia despite that place being further East than I currently am.

With the model of spiritworking as in with autonomous individuals, surely it's a matter of individual negotiation, so it might turn out that links with the land wights or whatever the proper term is, requires grounding in that place...but, theoretically, the feel of a place isn't necessarily tied to a definitive place beyond socially constructed conception?

I mean, I had an experience that I waffled a lot over whether or not that was Sequana, because I was in Southeast Asia and Sequana is associated with the source of the river Seine. Diaspora gods are common—I should hope they are common!—but gods of a specific place being found at another place got me scratching my head.

I guess it also helps if their sphere of responsibility isn't so "pure"; I believe that I work rarely with a road spirit at the University town I live in. To my mind, ey're also a spirit of youth, privilege, social butterflies, and fun things on a tight budget. The road ey presides over is a prominent symbol and very strongly associated, but I'd like to think that were I to leave the road, I would still meet em due to other associations. Or maybe I can pick a particularly large chip off the asphalt or the sidewalk and wire it into a charm bracelet or something. And then ey'll always potentially be with me.

As I recall, a fair few gods and saints are patrons of specific cities in addition to the other stuff they do, perhaps even preside over multiple cities or other locations?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 08:14:01 pm by Faemon »
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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 10:54:34 pm »
Quote from: Tom;204272
My main problem really, is that I am afraid that by developing relationships with the local land and nature spirits, I'll end up somehow tying myself to a place that I want to move away from within the next few years and somehow sabotage this thing that I want to do someday. Basically, I guess I'm afraid of putting down roots in a place I don't want to be in.


I've never had this problem, but I think it helps that I've never made commitments to local spirits, only had a reciprocal "I'm making offerings and I'd like X and Y in return" kind of relationship. In fact, when I was job-hunting, I was actively working with spirits of both the town I was living in and the places I was interviewing.

Quote
The other thing is that I've also seen other suggestions that one should reach out to spirits in the locale where you want to move to or get a job in, but how do you do that when you can't physically go to those places for the most part to make that contact?

 
If you can't go there at all, I'd look for stand-ins - postcards are probably the most ubiquitous, but other touristy stuff, iconic art, or things with relevant symbolism would probably work. If I wanted to get Seattle's attention, I might start with a model of the Space Needle, something for the Seahawks, something for the university and maybe postcards of the Public Market and the library.
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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2017, 03:48:29 pm »
Quote from: Tom;204272

My main problem really, is that I am afraid that by developing relationships with the local land and nature spirits, I'll end up somehow tying myself to a place that I want to move away from within the next few years and somehow sabotage this thing that I want to do someday.


As others have said, there's a difference between 'interaction' and 'long-term commitment'. Personally, I'd be at "Here I am" but avoid long-term commitments (anything that commits you to repeated actions, etc.)

I think this is generally a good idea for any spirit that's very tied to place - a "While I am living here, I will have a mutually beneficial relationship with you" but keep it a bit less long-term "here's what I will do for you for years" than you would with, say, a deity. (Though I think there's excellent reasons to take a long time to - years - to get to that point with a deity, too.)

Another option is to make explicit cycle commitments (3 months, six months, a year) but renew them regularly, giving you some flexibility but also a more sustained commitment if that becomes relevant. (My own experience is that the spirits of place I've done the most with have sometimes wanted me to stay, but understood if/when the time meant I couldn't.)

Quote
The other thing is that I've also seen other suggestions that one should reach out to spirits in the locale where you want to move to or get a job in, but how do you do that when you can't physically go to those places for the most part to make that contact?


Visit.

Learn about the place. This is a place where a question by email to a major local library in the area can be great: when I was considering a job in Baltimore, I asked their question service for recommendations of books about the history and culture of the city and got some great suggestions, both non-fiction and fiction). Other libraries can help you find stuff, but local libraries will obviously have particular info about their immediate city / region.

(Also historical societies and historical blogs: a lot of state or even city-sized ones will have online exhibits that can tell you a lot about an area.)

I also look for fiction set in a place - this can be a bit hit or miss depending on who is writing and how recently they were there and what they know about it, but when someone gets it right, it's an amazing view of the area.

I'd also look at connecting areas - for example, places along the East Coast of the US may not be contiguous but have the Atlantic in common. Places along the Mississippi have that river in common. Looking at drainage basins, flow of rivers, mountain ranges, other large geographic effects might be a way to connect where you are now to where you want to be and build a relationship with something that could bridge the two.
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ehbowen

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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2017, 06:03:19 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;204346
I'd also look at connecting areas - for example, places along the East Coast of the US may not be contiguous but have the Atlantic in common. Places along the Mississippi have that river in common. Looking at drainage basins, flow of rivers, mountain ranges, other large geographic effects might be a way to connect where you are now to where you want to be and build a relationship with something that could bridge the two.

Just as a question: In your experience, would it also be beneficial to look for products or businesses related to that area as a possible "link"? For example, if you're looking seriously at Seattle, go to a Starbucks and do/say something which expresses the desire to open a line of communication. For Southern California, do the same at a movie theater. For rural Texas, perhaps purchase or mail order some Blue Bell ice cream. (That latter is highly recommended whether you're actively looking to make a connection or not....;))
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 06:03:37 pm by ehbowen »
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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2017, 07:44:52 pm »
Quote from: ehbowen;204351
Just as a question: In your experience, would it also be beneficial to look for products or businesses related to that area as a possible "link"? For example, if you're looking seriously at Seattle, go to a Starbucks and do/say something which expresses the desire to open a line of communication. For Southern California, do the same at a movie theater. For rural Texas, perhaps purchase or mail order some Blue Bell ice cream. (That latter is highly recommended whether you're actively looking to make a connection or not....;))

 
Not the way I'd do it, the examples you've given? There's not necessarily a very strong connection to particular locations based on where their headquarters are. (And in the case of Starbucks, the actual ingredients come from all over the place!)

If someone was looking to go that route, I'd go for stuff that you could clearly identify as being made within a suitable radius.

Actually, what I'd probably suggest is hunt for honey or beeswax candles made from wax from the area, because of the way both pollen and water sources are tied up in a very local way in the end item (Etsy is a good starting place for this, but a local Pagan store or natural food store in the area might also have stuff and be willing to ship it.) But only from people who can tell you exactly where it came from - small beekeepers or someone who works directly with them.

In some cases, other foods might also work (jam and jelly from a small cottage business, some kinds of cheeses, maple syrup from small identified sources, etc.)

There are a few cases where highly specific other items (particular sodas, for example, can be strongly regional) might work, but I think in most cases, the range is too big unless you really don't care about where in the range you end up. (I grew up in a Vernor's loving household, and Maine has a lot of Moxie fans which baffles most other people...)
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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2017, 09:26:01 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;204355
Not the way I'd do it, the examples you've given? There's not necessarily a very strong connection to particular locations based on where their headquarters are. (And in the case of Starbucks, the actual ingredients come from all over the place!)

 
Just curious because of an incident which happened to me in the summer of 1999 when I was first leaving the rails finding my personal path...I went down to City Hall late at night and spoke, out loud, a "to whom it may concern" message. The very next day, IIRC, I had an encounter with a restaurant customer who spoke of being "all over Houston". (We spoke only pleasantries and business; I was working as a waiter at the time.) A day or two after that, a family of three came to the restaurant and made a point of having come directly from Washington, DC. When I showed them the dessert tray, the (apparently) teenaged daughter said, in a slightly patronizing tone, "We have a lot more desserts than that back home...."

Again, only pleasantries. Still, I'm curious to find out whom and what those personalities really were/are...and what they might like to say now.

[Postscript: There have been a few more since then which stick out, including a couple at Astroworld (since demolished) that same summer and another family in Galveston in September 2015 who insisted that I had dropped a $100 bill...which then turned out to be two $100 bills. (I didn't have any hundreds in my wallet at all that weekend, and tried to tell them so, but, as I said, they insisted....)]
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Tom

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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2017, 10:56:36 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;204346
As others have said, there's a difference between 'interaction' and 'long-term commitment'. Personally, I'd be at "Here I am" but avoid long-term commitments (anything that commits you to repeated actions, etc.)

I think this is generally a good idea for any spirit that's very tied to place - a "While I am living here, I will have a mutually beneficial relationship with you" but keep it a bit less long-term "here's what I will do for you for years" than you would with, say, a deity. (Though I think there's excellent reasons to take a long time to - years - to get to that point with a deity, too.)

Another option is to make explicit cycle commitments (3 months, six months, a year) but renew them regularly, giving you some flexibility but also a more sustained commitment if that becomes relevant. (My own experience is that the spirits of place I've done the most with have sometimes wanted me to stay, but understood if/when the time meant I couldn't.)



Visit.

Learn about the place. This is a place where a question by email to a major local library in the area can be great: when I was considering a job in Baltimore, I asked their question service for recommendations of books about the history and culture of the city and got some great suggestions, both non-fiction and fiction). Other libraries can help you find stuff, but local libraries will obviously have particular info about their immediate city / region.

(Also historical societies and historical blogs: a lot of state or even city-sized ones will have online exhibits that can tell you a lot about an area.)

I also look for fiction set in a place - this can be a bit hit or miss depending on who is writing and how recently they were there and what they know about it, but when someone gets it right, it's an amazing view of the area.

I'd also look at connecting areas - for example, places along the East Coast of the US may not be contiguous but have the Atlantic in common. Places along the Mississippi have that river in common. Looking at drainage basins, flow of rivers, mountain ranges, other large geographic effects might be a way to connect where you are now to where you want to be and build a relationship with something that could bridge the two.

 
The place I specifically want to move to is Philadelphia and unfortunately we don't share the same drainage basin as them. Also most of the things that come to my head immediately for Philadelphia are also things that can also have alternate associations like the liberty bell. It's a pretty historic city, so with some research, I probably shouldn't have too much trouble.

(Interestingly enough, I keep feeling a pull to the Baltimore area, but that's likely because I know that city much better as I have personal connections there. I'm just not sure if I'm currently in a place where getting a job is feasible there.)

I think some of my issues with setting up boundaries and knowing that I have trouble setting boundaries for myself might be why I've been scared to reach out to spirits because asserting oneself that a thing has a time limit is hard apparently?? I also know that sometimes I am prone to being flaky and forgetful, so that's also a worry.

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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2017, 10:59:34 pm »
Quote from: Tom;204360
The place I specifically want to move to is Philadelphia and unfortunately we don't share the same drainage basin as them. Also most of the things that come to my head immediately for Philadelphia are also things that can also have alternate associations like the liberty bell. It's a pretty historic city, so with some research, I probably shouldn't have too much trouble.

(Interestingly enough, I keep feeling a pull to the Baltimore area, but that's likely because I know that city much better as I have personal connections there. I'm just not sure if I'm currently in a place where getting a job is feasible there.)

I think some of my issues with setting up boundaries and knowing that I have trouble setting boundaries for myself might be why I've been scared to reach out to spirits because asserting oneself that a thing has a time limit is hard apparently?? I also know that sometimes I am prone to being flaky and forgetful, so that's also a worry.

 
....Hilariously enough, Philadelphia has a food route, though I doubt I'd take myself very seriously using the Cheesesteak sandwich as a way to connect to the city. I did somehow find myself near a restaurant that claims they have the best Cheesesteak when trying to find a bead store in West Philly when visiting though. Completely by accident, though I figured out what it was because of the long line.

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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2017, 11:08:56 pm »
Quote from: Jack;204298
I've never had this problem, but I think it helps that I've never made commitments to local spirits, only had a reciprocal "I'm making offerings and I'd like X and Y in return" kind of relationship. In fact, when I was job-hunting, I was actively working with spirits of both the town I was living in and the places I was interviewing.


 
If you can't go there at all, I'd look for stand-ins - postcards are probably the most ubiquitous, but other touristy stuff, iconic art, or things with relevant symbolism would probably work. If I wanted to get Seattle's attention, I might start with a model of the Space Needle, something for the Seahawks, something for the university and maybe postcards of the Public Market and the library.

 
Yeah, I'm starting to think that some of it might just be personal stuff I need to work on like feeling like I'm able to reliably do my side of things and the ability to set clear boundaries with a spirit. Also to identify what is a good place to work with.

Post cards sound like an excellent idea.

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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2017, 11:29:34 pm »
Quote from: Tom;204361
....Hilariously enough, Philadelphia has a food route, though I doubt I'd take myself very seriously using the Cheesesteak sandwich as a way to connect to the city. I did somehow find myself near a restaurant that claims they have the best Cheesesteak when trying to find a bead store in West Philly when visiting though. Completely by accident, though I figured out what it was because of the long line.
O mighty spirit of the cheesesteak
Help me to find a job in your true home
The city wrapped in the great lines of your temples
Teach me to be nimble as the steak upon the grill
Tenacious as the wiz seeping over the meat
And resilient as the onions that only grow
Tastier as heat is applied!

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Tom

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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2017, 11:41:26 pm »
Quote from: Jack;204366
O mighty spirit of the cheesesteak
Help me to find a job in your true home
The city wrapped in the great lines of your temples
Teach me to be nimble as the steak upon the grill
Tenacious as the wiz seeping over the meat
And resilient as the onions that only grow
Tastier as heat is applied!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk

 
I am equally horrified and awed. A plus job. XD

(Now I'm craving one.)

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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2017, 12:19:48 am »
Quote from: Tom;204369
I am equally horrified and awed. A plus job. XD

(Now I'm craving one.)
*bows*

If you are craving a cheesesteak, then the spirit of the mighty cheesesteak has come upon you.

Actually, that makes me think about the cheesesteak joints I've tried out here and how they're always set up as shrines to Philadelphia - Phillies and Eagles gear, photos and iconic movie stills, Genuine Tastykake Cupcakes...

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Re: Difficulties re: reaching out to local spirits
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 04:13:43 pm »
Quote from: Tom;204272
A practice that I keep meaning to work on or at least start work on is getting to know local spirits in the area I live in or want to live in, but I always come up across some hurdles, one of which is basically a weird mental hang-up on my part and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to deal with it.

My main problem really, is that I am afraid that by developing relationships with the local land and nature spirits, I'll end up somehow tying myself to a place that I want to move away from within the next few years and somehow sabotage this thing that I want to do someday. Basically, I guess I'm afraid of putting down roots in a place I don't want to be in. And while maybe I won't have this problem in the city I've been wanting to move too, I can also see myself making the same excuse of "well, I might not want to be here in four or five years, so maybe I shouldn't".

The other thing is that I've also seen other suggestions that one should reach out to spirits in the locale where you want to move to or get a job in, but how do you do that when you can't physically go to those places for the most part to make that contact?

So does any one have any suggestions on how to deal with these problems of developing relationships with spirits? I suspect that it's not that much different than making friends in those places in some respects because I have noticed similar behaviors on my part regarding connecting to human beings, but they at least I can continue to keep them as friends when I move thanks to the internet.

 
We often find ourselves in places we don't want to be, or be for long, but the point is we ARE there, for whatever amount of time. Whatever roots you do put down can be there only as long as you need them to. The here-and-now is pretty important, especially in this context, and we are where we are for a reason. Hopefully, keeping this perspective in mind can help you be more comfortable in forming connections with local spirits and wights and energies. You can always leave something of yourself in that place when you do leave, if you feel good about doing so that is, or you can also take something with you if you have the spirits' permission and that can help you maintain a connection (if you decide you still need or want it) just as you would with a friend that you can stay in touch with through the internet.
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