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can you tell me what you know about leaving offerings for the spirits that we work with?
I’m going to give you the Direct Magick answer, which is different than the Voodoo or Golden Dawn or other answers. It’s not that I’m right and they’re wrong, it’s that I’m coming to this with a different set of skills and goals, so I wind up at different answers. I’ll cover that too.
So here’s the deal with offerings in Direct Magick: I’ve tried offering energy. I’ve tried offering heartfelt thanks. Both are OK. But the only one that seems to really matter is knowledge.
By knowledge, I mean training the spirit in something they care about. The best is a technique, such as teaching them a better way to awaken ethereal muscles or some other aspect of magick. Human knowledge can be good too, such as medicine to computer algorithms, but it needs to come with an explanation of how to apply it to magick techniques the spirit uses. To anyone who wonders how I network with spirits, that’s how: Train them, and they’ll view you as a peer, and be eager to work with you.
But… That’s not easy to do. It took me nearly 20 years to get there. I had to learn:
- Precise communication. When I started working with spirits, I would get a few concepts and unconsciously fill in the details. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I started learning better communication techniques. It kept me from communicating precisely (because I was mostly hearing my own unconscious expectations), which would keep me from sharing anything of value.
- I also needed a technique to train the spirits in. This isn’t a favorite visualization or a phrase you chant or any other aspect of typical magick practice. Those are for getting your intent to your unconscious. Instead, it’s got to be something done the way spirits do it, by reaching out with connections and altering ethereal structures directly. I discuss the difference in this post on visualizing vs sensing.
I know good techniques for both communication and training, so the only offering I use is an exchange of knowledge. But what about before then, when I started working with spirits?
I’ve asked the spirits I work with today, “Why did you train me back then?” (I don’t work with all the same spirits, but I’ve kept in touch with some of them.)
Their answer is partly that it was easy to help, partly that they enjoy helping and seeing me learn, but mostly that some percentage of the people they train develop new techniques and help them in return.
(I get the impression that humans come up with ideas that spirits wouldn’t, which adds to the value. I can certainly say, the new techniques I’ve developed owe a lot to having a physical body, to looking at some aspects of energy healing and magick that spirits often ignore, and to drawing from cultural ideas that they don’t know. It’s not that I’m better than the spirits — I’m definitely not, they learn my new techniques almost instantly, while I struggle with half of what they teach me. It’s that anything new is valuable, and often leads to many other new ideas.)
But while they’re training you, before you can contribute new techniques, what offerings can you give? A simple “Thank you” is often sufficient. Focus on the feeling of gratitude while you say it, since most communication happens in concepts, not words, and they can feel your gratitude.
I suppose, in a way, saying “thank you” is an offering.
On other offerings: I view “valuable” offering (like a plate of food) as an elaborate way of saying “thank you.” The spirit doesn’t actually want your food, but the action helps focus your mind on the help and the gratitude. Can any practitioners of offering-based systems share insight here? (Perhaps a certain professor of religion?)
What about offering energy? Some spirits seem to like it, but I’ve never enjoyed working with them. They often drain more than you’d like, and the most skilled spirits seem uninterested in my energy. They have enough of their own, thank you very much.
So that’s my answer: Offer knowledge. And until you get there, offer thanks, and keep learning.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.