Let’s say you’ve conjured a big ol’ mess pile of spirits using the Feast.
Getting contact with spirits is easy, but forming a close relationship with one can be significantly harder. There are a few contributing reasons:
+ Most magicians are asshats toward spirits
+ People usually summon the spirit that fits their purpose, not the one that fits their personality
+ Many people have a hard time listening to spirits
By using the Feast of Spirits you automatically eliminate the first two problems. You’re inviting an abundance of spirits, which increases the chance you find one you actually get on with; and you’re treating them to a social occasion, showing your goodwill rather than just summoning them to demand something.
So now you just need to have a way to actually “hear” them (or “see” them, etc.). Technically this is a problem that’s all in your head – with time and experience you can easily sense spirits and know what they’re saying with no tools and no effort. But that’s not very helpful for someone just starting out so let’s look at how to make it easier.
There are two difficulties in communicating with spirits. I refer to them as the hard problem and the soft problem.
The hard problem is actually sensing them: hearing what they’re saying in the first place.
The soft problem is not distorting it with your own mental clutter.
It’s funny, because the hard problem is the one people agonize over – how do I talk to spirits? What if I can’t do it? – and barely think about the soft problem. It isn’t discussed in most magic books, not in depth. But it’s the tougher one to overcome.
So let’s look at both of them.
1:/ Sensing Spirits
There are many ways to make this easier; feel free to port one in from your preferred system of magic. The best method I’ve seen is using a mirror.
Mirrors are perfect for this. As a scrying surface they’re fluid and dreamy but not totally subjective: they still present an image on a surface, and if the image changes it’s easy to notice and be sure.
Remember, if you’re using the Feast of Spirits you’re alone in a room with only one candle giving light. A mirror is going to reflect mostly shadows. Perfect.
I recommend a small mirror, and one you no longer use for anything else but this, because that’s sweet. I position it in a way where it does not directly reflect the burning candle. Adjust to suit.
When you first make the invitation in the Feast, simply close your eyes. Take a few minutes and give the spirits time to come. When you get the first inkling that something else has come – a hunch, a feeling in the heart – then open your eyes and gaze into the mirror.
With a soft gaze, you will start to see things move and change form. This is all in your head, but it isn’t. Welcome to sensing spirits.
Play with this: when you ask questions, ask for a name, ask what they look like, you will get changes. And you will feel it in you, too, and that’s much more important than what’s in the mirror. But the mirror will be your tool in amplifying those inner communications and making them obvious to you.
A black mirror is better, in my experience, but a regular mirror will work.
2:/ Not “Spirits”
That brings us to the soft problem. The soft problem, simply stated, is this:
You are likely to replace what spirits actually say with what you want them to say.
When a conversation takes place entirely in the silence of your consciousness – as any conversation with spirits will, otherwise see a doctor – you have a unique power to just “imagine over” what’s being said.
This isn’t easily solved by adding in some magical tool, because it’s a phenomenological event. It really has more to do with your discipline toward your thoughts, and how well you know yourself. Both of those factors can be sorted by awareness meditation, so go do that for ten years before trying the Feast and it’ll go really well.
Or you can take simple precautions. Use the Feast initially just to meet spirits, not to go to them with some dire urgent need. You’re more likely to listen to them this way.
And when you listen, watch what’s coming out. If it’s exactly what you hoped they would say, take a step back. Ask a different spirit. Clarify. This is probably your mind talking. (The same thing goes if it’s exactly what you feared they’d say. We’re sick puppies.)
If you can manage that, you’ll have a clear channel to actually getting to know these spirits. Treat it lightly – not too much angst, not too much drama – and you can identify a spirit who would make a great familiar.
Once you’ve gotten this far, forming a bond with one of them is the easy part. You can also think of it more as signing a contract, if you’re more businesslike: that’s a good analogy.
You’ll probably know which spirit speaks to you as a familiar the moment it arrives. This is particularly true if you have a firm purpose in why you want a familiar. Often it will be one of the first spirits to show up, but it will hang back. Be patient.
I wouldn’t ask it for anything on the first visit: hold the Feast several times, and if it keeps coming back and you keep feeling just as good about it, it’s a keeper.
By the time you’ve spoken to it at several feasts you should already know:
+ The spirit’s name
+ What kind of offerings it likes
+ If it has a particular symbol or sigil
(Hint: you find these things out by asking.)
In which case, hold a more intimate Feast: put out the offering this particular spirit likes, draw its sigil if it has one, and invite it by name. I wouldn’t necessarily turn away other spirits, but make clear that this is a special invitation.
And then ask if it will work with you as your familiar spirit.
It will likely have conditions. It may want a certain kind or amount of offerings on a certain basis. If it’s reasonable, agree. (And then live up to it, or watch your friend go poof.)
And if you do?
Congratulations, you just got a familiar – one who actually wants to work with you and, as a result, will go out of their way to help you.
Did I leave anything out? Do you have more questions about familiars? If so, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer.
If you’re ready to add magic to your life, grab a magic spell card and feel it for yourself.