The arte of direct spirit communication is a subtle praxis that, for many, is hidden in the midnight forest of Stardust Compass. Among the pitfalls a practitioner oft stumbles upon in their quest to manifest this cunning arte, a novice often stumbles when presented with the quandary of how to distinguish their own internal dialog from that of spirits.
Note: for the purposes of this article we are discussing a one-to-one direct and clear communication which occurs between an entity and a witch of the Stardust Compass. Often these interactions are seen as being as clear as a “telephone” exchange, and / or even more robust. Further, while this article is focused on spirit-to-witch interactions, nearly all of this information can apply in to deity-to-witch interactions. This praxis is not typically recommended for (or able to be accomplished with a high degree of success by) novice practitioners, are requires a competent understanding of a wide array of techniques including divination, shielding, grounding, centering, acute focus, fetchwork, and more.
While for some people the discernment of the various voices in one’s head comes naturally, for others it is a long cultivated talent that often requires a focused devotion to the praxis. Familiarizing oneself with the variances that exist within this varied form of seership are not often the easiest, and can often take years of devotion to acquire at an even moderately satisfactory level for the practitioner. However, it is worth noting that the path leading through the dark wood of this praxis is treacherous but not impassable… and acquiring mastery of this arte can often change one’s life in amazing and wonderful ways.
Practice, Practice, Practice...
One of the most tried and true methods to discern the differences between one’s own mind and that of an external intelligence often starts simply by sheer repetitive practice. Frequently engaging in the work of seership (via various medium methods like scrying, oracular trance, fetch flight, etc) is one of the best ways to begin to build the “muscle” that is discernment. Over time, as one’s skill develops, notable variances will rise to the surface in much the same way that a person first seeing a litter of puppies may initially be unable to uniquely distinguish individuals, but eventually will be able to identify each of them with ease.
Note: when engaging in repetitive practice, a witch is encouraged to take the incoming information with a grain of salt; documenting it ruthlessly but trusting nothing until repetitive verification denotes patterns. Once a witch begins to discern those entities which are communicating benevolent information on a regular basis that, the witch should explore the possibilities of forming a deeper working partnership with that entity.
It is advantageous for a member of the Wandering Coterie to form a partnership with at least one intercessory entity which is known to be aligned with this type of work as they engage with this particular arte. Such an entity can work to teach the witch the nuances of the arte, aid in keeping trickster spirits at bay, and help to introduce the witch to additional entities which would be beneficial to engaging with in partnerships for varying capacities. Within the Stardust Compass specifically, Hekate is highly recommended for this arte (as well as any known tutelary entities already beholden unto the member of the Wandering Coterie that align to this praxis).
When seeking a intercessory entity, it is initially recommended that a witch start both with entities they might already have a relationship with. However, if a witch has yet to pre-establish a relationship with an entity of this station, it is recommended that they seek out an entity who they feel a personal affinity for, is known to work benevolently with humanity, is aligned to their path, and has a preternatural talent with regards for the work at hand. Upon locating such an entity (be if a sovereign spirit or deity), the witch should perform at least one full lunar cycle of daily devotionals unto that entity, then seek the counsel of a third-party oracle to verify that the workings have been accepted and one’s seership praxis can commence utilizing that entity as an initial touchpoint.
Tools of Clarity
Beyond looking towards an outside entity for assistance, it is recommended that the witch take up a form of physical divination which relies upon a manifest toolset for gaining oracular information (such as tarot, runes, etc). Doing so allows the witch to have notably less-biased perspective on the information gathered during their spirit communications. Further, the novice witch to this particular arte can therein cross-check their information’s validity, source, clarity, and more.
Utilize one’s own judgement with both the oracular tool chosen and the method in which it’s added to the practice. One commonly suggested implementation is to evoke the entity in the appropriate fashion, performing an initial divination to verify the presence of the entity evoked (including, but not limited to, their identity). After this, continue to utilize the divination tool during the engagement, cross-checking each response once received. With this method, were a member of the Wandering Coterie to receive divinatory answers which were misaligned to the information received from the spirit, they could then examine why the two sources of information varied and learn invaluable lessons from the results of that inquiry.
Often sometimes called trickster spirits, there are multiple entities in the Otherworld who will gladly tell a practitioner nigh-anything in order to acquire offerings and energy in return (e.g.: a free meal). These spirits are often not intentionally malevolent towards the practitioner, but simply place humanity much lower on their priority list compared to their own personal desires. Realizing that they can flit from practitioner to practitioner (regardless of spiritual path), preying upon the desires of those ignorant to their ways, spirits of this caliber will utilize their gifts for deception and lies without prejudice or bias - doing anything they can to cheat someone out of a legitimately beneficial return on their energetic investment to the work.
Thankfully, many paths are “protected” from a large number of these spirits via the guardian entities which watch over those paths (often acting as “bouncers” of a sort, whether the practitioner is aware of it or not). Sadly, there are generally more miscreants then guardians, often leading many practitioners to find the praxis of spirit communication problematic as they are beset by a plague of misinformation and ambiguity. Again, herein the evocation of intercessory entities can prove highly beneficial, frequently keeping the riff-raff of the spirit world at bay.
All members of the Wandering Coterie are strongly suggested to acquire identifying information regarding any-and-all entities with which they come into contact with where available. While some entities might refuse to share this information initially for various reasons, it behooves a practitioner (especially a novice in the praxis) to request it every time they engage with an entity (both new and returning).
Name and identifying sigilum (aka: signature) are the most common elements shared by a spirit, but there is much more information which can be documented by the witch such as: detailed descriptions of specific elements of their history; a listing of the areas with which they have expertise; titles and names they can be known by; secret passwords, images, or phrases they wish to use to verify their identity to you; alternative forms they can take; omens upon which they will make their presence known; and much more.
This information is truly invaluable to a novice seer as it enables the witch to not only begin to properly identity spirits from each other, but also can be used to “test” spirits who are evoked by verifying their identity when it is called into question. Some witches will even test all spirits evoked, regardless of the length of the partnership they have had with them. Use your best judgement (combined with that of the intercessory spirit and divinatory tool) to determine what is right for you, but if you are getting a sense that “something isn’t right” then a test of that spirit’s identity is strongly suggested.
The aforementioned trickster spirits will often vacate the premises once a witch turns up the heat simply by asking them to verify their name, sigilum, or more (especially if the powers of the intercessory entity are evoked to aid in this part of the working). Additionally, putting questionable spirits to the test will also begin to help the member of the Wandering Coterie establish a “name” for themselves within the Otherworld as a practitioner who doesn’t put up with nonsense; often resulting in less and less incursions by freeloader spirits over time.
One last tool which can greatly aid in spirit communication is that of spirit houses for particular entities with which they have formed a long-term partnership. Witches who utilize them often find repeated contact with that particular entity greatly improved, and the aforementioned “problems” with identification and communication lessened, if not vanished entirely (especially with long term use).
The process is relatively simple: once a witch has established a long standing relationship with a particular entity, they should ask said entity if they wish to have a spirit house created for them. Nigh-universally the response is “yes” in instances where the partnership is healthy, and both witch and spirit trust one another.
Spirit houses can be nearly anything: the oft romanticized tiny house frequently seen in kitch magazines, a doll, a bowl or vessel, a statue, or even a simple stone or branch. Often the spirit will have their own suggestions, but it is worth remembering that the witch should always insist on the partnership being balanced. Never extend oneself in the creation of a spirit house beyond one’s means in an unhealthy way. Of course, if the aforementioned steps are followed it is highly unlikely an unbalanced request would be made.
Partnership Not Contracts
Lastly, it is worth noting that within the Stardust Compass it is always suggested that one engage with spirits via a mutually beneficial partnership rather than contractual agreements or forced pairings. Doing so allows either party to walk away at any given time, ensuring that the relationship is one of mutual respect rather than forced servitude which (as we know from myths) can often lead to one or both parties acting harmful towards each other.
While a contractual relationship is feasible in certain instances, it is not recommended even for the advanced practitioner in nearly all circumstances. However, if a witch is able to prove to themselves that doing so is wisest course of action (cross-verified both by divination and deity contact) then so be it.
Spirit contact isn’t easy, and is a praxis which can take years of devotion in order to manifest in a way to which the witch finds acceptable. Within the Wandering Coterie it is understood that not everyone has the patience nor desire to walk this difficult path. It’s a dark & crooked way, and path is beset with brambles, pitfalls, and teeth. Go slow, take your time, build trust, find an intercessory spirit, use a divinatory tool for verification, seek identification, and be patient. It will come, when the witch is ready.
Image: “Teetering" by A. D. Wheeler