Jack Frost nipping at your nose

Or, more properly in my case, causing snow as soon as I step outside.

As blog followers know, I don’t really worship things. Not my cup of tea. But Jack Frost and snow spirits hold a special place in my heart and thus they get a little more attention than your average spirit. Namely, I try.

When the snow began to last week overnight, it was a soft dusting that didn’t survive the dawn. But I knew it had snowed so I brought out the snow related items and went about my day. When I stepped outside to fetch some groceries, a light sprinkling of snowflakes began to fall. Not enough to even be called snowing. It was the middle of the day and was too warm, scientifically speaking, for snow to be falling yet here it was, just for a few minutes, the snow was falling. And Jack Frost was there, waiting anxiously for acknowledgement. So I did what I always do when I spot a spirit: I say hi. He was delighted and danced off to spread his snowy glory elsewhere and I went about hauling in baking supplies.

Jack Frost appears to me as an ageless youth. Often accompanied by a snow maiden or maybe a few smaller snow spirits, he’s usually a fun spirit. Cruelty comes to him quickly though at times and one should be wary of that. I find that children spirits (and his demeanor is often child-like) act this way pretty often and mostly they want attention and affection. Give them both and they’ll add a light-hearted air to your relationship. These spirits, and snow spirits in general, don’t tend to work as some others do. I find they’re not interested in trading tit for tat but instead want the attention because you want to give it to them which is a good match for me.

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It snowed the other night! ☃

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Because I don’t have a working shrine space (and I don’t want one) when I decide to show a little love to spirits, it takes the place at random and casually; a homemade candle on the table, pressed incense on the counter, a garland along the wall, an offering dish next to the coffee pot. Little bits of witchcraft and spirituality scattered throughout my life.

It’s just something I like to do for our winter wandering spirits. They’re just as important as the spirits of spring so honoring them with a bit of food and drink is something I enjoy doing.

Dealing with Spirit-Induced Trauma and Injuries

This is one of those posts I bring back once a year or so to remind people that it’s definitely a thing that needs to be discussed!

My friend duskenpath got an ask on tumblr about links for dealing with spirit-induced trauma and I remember kicking myself as I read it because I actually have a fair amount of experience with this and I haven’t posted on it. Which I feel guilty for.

First, let’s talk about spirit induced traumas and injuries. You can absolutely be abused, harassed, raped, assaulted, and tortured by spirits. You can absolutely bare physical injuries caused by spirits. This can absolutely happen and anyone who says otherwise… well, they haven’t talked to enough people then.

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From our friend's dock while visiting yesterday.

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I have a finger that was broken by spirits. My finger grew crooked afterwards, the nail growth stunted, and now fifteen years later it causes me pain enough to wear a finger brace and have to pop it back in place daily. I have a knee that was damaged in a fight with a monstrously sized hill toll. I played a decoy for my companions and for my effort I was snapped up into the air, whipped back and forth like a child’s toy with my knee being the bending point. I couldn’t walk for days afterwards and now, almost two years later, my knee still gives me trouble as if I had physically injured it. I’ve seen scratches pop up before my eyes after a spirit encounter where I’ve only been sitting in the middle of a couch with no way for such marks to appear otherwise. I’ve been possessed and nearly thrown off cliffs before. Sure, maybe it is psychosomatic but the point is you can be injured by spirits. But I have and always will attest this: just because your mind is producing the phenomena doesn’t mean that it isn’t also real. It may simply be that spirits use our minds to hurt us.

Experiences in the astral can be extremely traumatic. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been trapped and tortured where in a single night days worth of trauma was inflicted. Time doesn’t work the same way in the spirit realms. So much can happen in a short period of time. Seeing someone murdered – or murdering someone yourself – can still affect you. Although it’s rarely spoken of, we have a tendency to view spirits as “others” and thus murdering or harming them doesn’t count. You can wake up and it’s over, not matter how much you’ve hurt a spirit. This isn’t universally true, of course. Some people treat spirits as equals and others will have to deal with the consequences of their actions long after the event occurs. It depends on the situation and the individuals involved. You can be hurt by them and they can be hurt by you.

Trauma caused by spirits isn’t just spiritual in nature however. You can be affected even outside of the astral. You can be abused, manipulated, and gaslighted. The abuser could be anyone from a ghost, to a nature spirit, or even a deity. Just because these individuals might be nice and beneficial to someone else doesn’t mean they won’t hurt you. Never think that. These beings are far more complicated and complex than many practitioners realize. There’s no reason to think that a deity could be a savior or role model for one practitioner wouldn’t also be a spiteful, cruel abuser to another practitioner.

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The storm clouds tonight are lovely.

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The ways to deal with the situations as they arise can be easy. Say no. Defend yourself, violently if needed. Distance yourself. Protect yourself. And let others know of your experience so you can help help.

These steps get trickier when the being is non-corporeal. Binding, banishing, and cleansing can do wonders. Surround yourself in protections and wards designed to keep them specifically out. And keep saying no.

But just because they’re gone doesn’t mean the situation’s over. Spirit wounds take longer to heal and the trauma you’ve experienced isn’t suddenly gone. It’s a long road to recovery. Spirit wounds linger and should be treated with both healing spells and magic and physical healing techniques like physical therapy and appropriate medicines. Improper care can lead to long-term damage and some wounds won’t heal (like my knee which did receive proper care but was shattered horrifically in the astral.)

Trauma should be handled similarly. Look up treatments and ways to handle similarly experienced trauma like PTSD. And take it slow. What’s good to keep in mind is that just because you experienced the trauma from a spirit doesn’t invalidate it. Try to find an open-minded or pagan-friendly therapist. You may also want to find a clergy member, community elder, or mentor that can help you work through the trauma and be someone to talk to. While licensed therapists are better, they’re not always the best solution for all problems so choose carefully. There’s also support groups that meet to discuss and support one another through the recovery process.

 

Victims of trauma suffer a wide variety of symptoms and trauma can occur from a wide variety of sources such as breaking up a significant relationship (which many spiritual relationship can also fall into), abuse, car accidents, humiliating or disappointing experience, physical assaults, surgery, death of someone significant, sustaining an injury… It’s actually very common. The thing to remember is that your reactions are normal for an abnormal situation – whether that trauma’s from a sport injury or a spirit injury.

Symptoms can wary widely but the most common is to be in shock and deny it ever happened. Anger, irritability, and mood swings are also common. Guilt, shame, and self-blame are extremely common, especially when one’s in a situation where they felt helpless or hopeless. Continuing sadness, hopelessness, and feeling disconnected or numb also occurs. Suffers may also feel confusion, have difficulty concentrating and withdrawn from others. Fear and anxiety, sometimes coupled with depression can linger long after the event occurs. Physically, nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia, agitation, and inability to focus can happen. The opposite might also be true. You may have blank spaces in your memory and sleep excessively while plagued with fatigue and apathy. The body also responds with aches, pains, muscle tension, and paranoia which can lead to being easily startled.

Each person responds differently to trauma. My brother, for example, was hit by a car and permanently damaged for life when he was 13 while riding his bike. His dream of opening a dojo could never be realized with his injuries and he was bedridden for two years. He’s never ridden a bike since. He hates driving for any length of time and driving for longer than ten minutes will result in chain smoking and extreme agitation for him. He will always prefer someone else driving him someone to the point where he’ll schedule appointments around other people’s schedules. That’s trauma. He also experienced spiritual trauma. A few years before his accident we lived in a severely haunted condo complex. The kind of haunted where we didn’t go into certain rooms and visitors reported seeing a child ghost. Every single visitor, including the ones from out of state and never met described the child the exact same way. My brother and I have always been sensitive to spirits and always had them attracted to us. By this point I had buckled down my personal protections so spirits’ attentions shifted to my brother. Nightmares every night and physically seeing the faces of the dead. Therapy did nothing and everything I did to help didn’t help. Eventually he got sick of it and started to destroy them and banish the spirits. It led him down the path of necromancy and dealing with the dead because if they wouldn’t leave him alone he’d make them leave him alone. That’s also trauma.

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Pretty pink roses!

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Knowing your triggers are key. I know that being held against my will, even for a few seconds, will result in me lashing out with extreme violence. I’ve literally thrown a six foot 260lbs man across the room and drew out a knife because he wouldn’t let me go when I said so. I know this and so when someone grabs me even while playing around I warn them in a no bullshit voice that if they don’t let me go I will hurt them. I let that boundary be known. Communication is important to making sure that boundaries aren’t crossed and triggers aren’t hit. That’s not always easy or doable for everyone though.

Isolation from the situation is common. You may pull back from astral travel and all spiritual contact. You may even pull back from talking to friends about spiritual pursuits and stop your practice all together. Stop your practice as needed but don’t isolate yourself. Talk to others in the community. An elder, mentor, or clergy member may be able to help you and there are support groups that can help. Talk to people, even if it’s not about the problem at hand. It might take a lot of motivation to do it but try for just fifteen minutes. If you still don’t want to after fifteen minutes, then don’t.

Grounding yourself and staying grounded is really important. Grounding techniques vary but my favorites are eating high carb foods like bread, pushing the excess energy into an object like a ball or necklace, or sitting/laying down and letting the energy bleed away from you. This isn’t just good for excessive energy. If you’re feeling confused, disoriented, anxious, or lost, sit down and take slow, even breaths. Rocking may help keep your breathing even but it depends on the person- it might make you more anxious. You may even want to concentrate on keeping the body tight and pick out objects in the room to concentrate on – like all the green objects. Feel the ground around you. Touching solid things may also help steady you.

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Close up ♡

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Allow yourself to feel what your feeling. I hate that I lose my compassion when I’m triggered. I’m angry, violent, wild. I hate it. But I let myself feel it. I get it out and forgive myself later. It’s not always easy though. It may take days of self-care and losing myself in books or video games to reconcile it with myself. Doing normal things and keeping to my daily schedule also helps. Doing dishes, going for a walk, petting the cat. All these normal things helps. I’m a big, big fan of breaking up big tasks into smaller ones in any circumstances but it’s especially nice to even write them down when I’m feeling triggered. It helps ground me that these are things I can do. Accomplishing those things helps even more, even if it’s something like folding laundry. Keeping up your practice, even if you aren’t reaching out to anything spiritual, can help cement things for you. There’s many elements to many spiritual practices that don’t requires spiritual involvement.

Be kind to yourself. Self-care isn’t just about mental care but also physical care. Eat balanced meals regularly. The easiest way to do this is to make a huge bowl of salad and cut up hard boiled eggs, meats, cheese, and other additives and keep them separate. Mix and match at will. It keeps you from being bored and still having regular, balanced meals. Avoid drinks and foods with lots of sugar or caffeine in excessive. Chocolate may help calm you down but six ounces of chocolate and ten coffees isn’t healthy. Avoiding alcohol and drugs is also recommended as they might make symptoms worse or could give you an escape route from the trauma that can lead to addiction. Exercise, even just stretching, can give you an excellent venue to use excess energy or work out aggression or anxiety. It can also keep you grounded and feel more in control. Sleeping regularly the recommended amount is ideal. Not too much or too little. 7-9 hours is recommended by physicians at the moment.

Meditation and yoga can be useful. I’ve written on meditation before so pick the kind of meditation you prefer from the more “I’m going to sit here and ponder this” to the more new agey “breath in and out and go on a spiritual journey”. It might be more useful for you to do neither and just spend time sitting and listening to soothing sounds. I recommend the noise generators over at mynoise.net. Deep breathing, swimming, or activities you enjoy will also work. I like napping outside in the sun. It’s grounding, relaxing, and provides a favorite hobby: falling asleep while reading.

Many times we can treat our own trauma with time, patience, and self-care. This isn’t always the case. If you find yourself unable to engage in relationships or the trauma is affecting your life long-term such as affecting job performance, sleep months later, or trouble functioning in day to day life. Escaping into addictive behaviors such as alcohol, drugs, video games, or sleep is also a sign. Depression and enhanced anxiety or fear are also signs. If this happens to you seek out a professional therapist. If you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please seek help.

 

You may need to revisit the event in order to move past it. Coming to terms with what happened often is part of the healing process. This might not happen for years later but it probably will happen. For some people, it never will. For spirit related traumas, I usually recommend joining in on a group ritual where someone else is in charge and someone is aware of your history. That last bit is exceptionally important. They watch to see if you’re overwhelmed and extra protection can be laid on you as needed. You may even want to watch a ritual instead of participating to help soothe your anxiety. One-on-one sessions with another practitioner who has a solid hand on the spirits they work with is also a good idea.

This isn’t always possible however so lead meditations or contacting healing spirits may be something you’ll want to look into. Go slowly and take your time. If you ever feel unsafe, disengage slowly and ground yourself. Reach out and contact people to help solidify that you’re here and safe. It’s a good idea to keep some protection and cleansing implements at the ready to boost your space’s safety and to reduce any anxiety.

When dealing with spirits afterwards, it may be a good idea to come up with a set of rules on how to treat each other. Penalties of the rules should also be listed. For example, my home has a “no assault” rule. No one is to be touched. So when an aggressive spirit chased a friend this past winter to his car, my brother and I didn’t just chase the ghost away but purged the entire crossroads my house sits at. I later invited back those spirits who had been banished but had done no harm. The rule stands however and no one has harassed us since. Spirits should agree to the rules but watch the way they agree to them. They might try to find loopholes just because they can. (Fae are especially known for this.)

 

What’s really important to keep in mind is that healing will take time but your experiences and feelings do matter and are important. Just because the person or situation responsible for your trauma is spiritual doesn’t make it less valid. You’ve been hurt and the wound sits deep in you. It will take time, patience, and work to heal. Each person is different and your healing process may vary wildly from someone else’s. Just know that you’re not alone.

Spirit Destinations: Valley of the Witch Seer

Valley of the Witch Seer is a massive valley filled with a vast forest surrounded by tall mountains and a wide ocean. It has a wide, white sand beach that’s excellent for lounging on. Ruled by a well-known spirit seer, this area is largely peaceful and friendly.

This is my go-to area when entering the astral. It’s peaceful, it’s relaxing, and people let you do what you want without bothering you so long as you aren’t cruel. War is kept to a minimum too which is always a bonus.

Names

Something to know is that “Valley of the Witch Seer” isn’t actually the real name of this area. It’s also known as “Valley of the King Seer”, “Valley of the Seer King”, “Witch Seer’s Kingdom”, and similar combinations. The king here sometimes calls it “Myrdin” or “Myridin” and various approximations of that but that’s fairly rare. Largely, it’s just left unnamed. Before it was known as the Golden Tree Valley or Deep Forest. The beach and ocean area wasn’t part of the original territory either and had a wide-variety of names that have been largely forgotten since the ruler left the forest and conquered the beach.

These cliffs are known as the Hanging Cliffs or the Golden Cliffs. The mountains to the far left (straight across when passing by the Hanging Cliffs) are  known as the Aerie locally. Elsewhere, they’re known as the Diamond Cut Mountains, or the Waves of the Earth.

The ocean is known as the Ocean of Fallen Tears, Sea of the Giant’s Tears, Sunlight-Glances-Off-This-Body-of-Water-and-Dances-Across-the-Sands-to-Scatter-on-the-Sea-Glass- Castle-and-Dies-at-Sea. Locally, it’s known as the King’s Sea or Dragon Sea or Mermaid Cove.

 

Directions

You’ll have to travel past a modern-appearing city known as Raika or  Toreeh City. This city is really great for commerce or dance clubs. The modern roads go right to the edge of a cliff where it switches to dirt. Asking directions from this location usually gets you into the valley fairly easily.

Following the road  as it winds around the bottom of the large bluff and cliffs known as the Hanging Cliffs or the Golden Cliffs. This road dumps you into the huge forested valley.

Sometimes the road’s called “The King’s Road” but it’s mostly only called that by the locals.

When asking for directions, you’ll probably do best by asking directions to the witch seer (king). The king is largely implied for this particular ruler but most people will be able to fathom out which seer you’re asking about. Information brokers and certain fox spirit clans in particular are good sources of information. The kingdom is very large so it’s a popular destination, despite the sparse population.

 

Climate and infrastructure

Infrastructure in this area isn’t terribly well-built. Homes and villages are constructed with wood, stone, and magic but some residents live in trees or burrows. There are a few scattered buildings but the most noteworthy building is the ruler’s castle. It is made of sea glass and sand, towering up like the mountains it mirrors on the right of the beach. It half sits on the water. The is a modern-appearing city on the other side of the cliffs before entering the valley.

Trade is flourishing in this area and the villages tend to be friendly. The port attached to the castle especially is a current focus. If you need a place to stay, you may be able to find room & board in the villages or even in the castle. You can also camp out in the wilderness.

Roads do exist in this area but there isn’t a road to the castle. Instead, roads lead in and out of the valley and to villages or the mountains. Water is extremely common in this area and you can follow most streams and rivers  to villages or right to the beach itself.

Temperature wise, this area is temperate with a late summer-early autumn season. It does snow, on occasion but that largely depends on the ruler’s moods. This realm is largely stable, topographically speaking, but the weather fluxes to the ruler’s moods. The sky is usually very blue and the forest near the entryway will be golden and red birches fading into your “average” green forest trees.

There will be tall mountains will be in the distance on all side of the forest, save for the road you’re on and the sea. The mountains are very hard to climb and tower so high they are cloaked by clouds. The ones right of the castle are known as the Taira Mountains. In the mountains and cliffs there’s an aerie city of griffins. There’s other beings living in those mountains so it can be pretty fierce at times. Clan members of the fox guards also live at the base of the mountains by the edge of the cliff overlooking the ocean so be wary of hurting any of them. This fox clan tends to hold a grudge.

The ocean in the distance is very blue and cool. The sand is bright, white, and clean. It smells slightly floral, from the local beach flowers along the edges. the beach is framed by low cliffs on the left and right sides. The ruler’s castle sits to the right on the beach.

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Spending the afternoon on the lake.

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Friendliness of the locals and how to identify yourself

Identify yourself as a “dreamer” or “spirit walker” if you don’t specifically have a name or title you want to be known by.

This region is extremely welcoming to humans so don’t be afraid to say hi to people. Even the king themselves is rather friendly. The king’s court is large but often has time for visitors.

If you run into trouble or are attacked, you can informed the king. Whether they address the issue or not depends on the situation but they’ll take care of problematic people.

 

People to know in the area: 

The spirit ruler is very powerful both personally and politically. So long as you don’t cause a fuss or incite violence, they won’t concern themselves with you. Don’t cross them though and don’t hurt their people. They’re vicious when necessary and they might not use violence to get back at you. They may just smear your name for all to hear or to block you from the astral.

Many guards are fox spirits so they make tricks or try to bribe you – you do not need to pay to gain entry into the kingdom or the palace. They also don’t appear human so prepare yourself mentally. Much of the staff is like this.

There’s a lot of staff that’s willing to help out but we’ll get into that in a future post.

 

Sights and things of note in this area:

That castle has a pool and waterfall of cleansing water. Visitors and staff can bathe in the lower public part of the castle to cleanse themselves spiritually and receive minor healing. There’s another part of the pool in the ruler’s audience hall which is worth seeing because it’s beautiful but they’ll gut you like a fish for trying to use it.

The spirit king here uses magic, especially in combat often leads battles. It’s kind of like watching a video game or anime so they’re worth watching from a safe distance if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

Warnings and things to be wary of: 

Be careful around the beach. There’s a very large sea dragon that likes to bask in the sun there. The dragon’s pretty ambivalent in general towards most things and won’t like being bothered with questions.

Merfolk also like to sun themselves on the beach, near the rocks, but they might try to drown you for the fun of it. The ruler and/or their staff will probably stop them but it’s better safe than sorry. The dragon, however, won’t help.

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Another image from the lake yesterday.

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Honestly, this is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a less modern and less populated area. The folks are friendly and helpful but it’s sometimes a journey to get here. But, if you want a good place to start your astral exploring, this is a good beginner area.

 


I’ll add to this post when there’s a new information to add so check back often.

Does some of this sound familiar? This location and people have been mentioned here, here, and here. Been here before? Drop a line and let me know if I need to add information.

How to Share Your Home with Ghosts & Spirits

Living in a haunted house is some people’s dreams. And for others, it’s nightmare material. We’re apathetic here. We moved into a somewhat haunted house but the initial spirit fragments that remained behind went away eventually and now the only spirits that are here are either passing ghosts looking for help from the Necromancer or my own spirits doing their thing.

You can absolutely live harmoniously with spirits. It’s totally doable. Here’s how.

 

Be respectful

You’re sharing space. It’s a non-corporeal roommate. Remember that whoever is staying with you might not be human (anymore) but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a person. Respect their rights. If they’re not human to begin with, such as fae or other spirits, then you’ll want to pay special attention to their particular cultural habits.

That being said. They should also be respectful of you. You’re paying rent after all. They’re not. You get to set the rules first.

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Protective tree entrance to historical cemetery.

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Set up your protections

Setting up protection spells can be as easy as dumping as many protection spells as you can cast on your space. But how do you set up those protection spells that will still allow spirits in?

Easy. You specify in the spell that you want only malevolent spirits or those with ill intent to stay out. It’s as easy as that. If you already have protection spells set up, you might need to tear them down and put the back up accordingly.

Save yourself some trouble and put up your regular “no entry at all” protection spells in private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms. You only need to look up to see a ghost looming over you in the bathroom mirror once to make sure that it never happens again. (FYI, in such an example, don’t punch the mirror. It doesn’t help. Trust me.)

 

Establish household rules (Set up a magical information board)

One way to do this is to pick up an object and magically set the rules. The information could be something like “anyone who harms a member of the household evicts ALL spirits” or “no playing music at three a.m.”. That usually makes sure that spirits govern each other and gives you less work to do. Set the item in a window, by the door, in the yard, or by the offerings. If the spirit has a space, leave it near their space (but not in the space).

How to do this is easy. Pick up your selected object and let it sync up with your energy. Keep the energy level minor (you don’t want to hurt the entity). While passing on a light trace of energy, also think or say what you want to say. A quartz crystal is especially good for this.

If you’re really lucky, you’re rooming with an entity that can also do magic and you can pass each other imaginary memos about stuff. Which can be really cool or completely weird.

 

Set up some offerings

This is hit or miss. I leave offerings but not daily. It allows me to keep my schedule flexible and makes sure people don’t get greedy. There’s nothing worse than spirits setting off fire alarms or breaking stuff because you didn’t give them a glass of water.

It’s up to you though. Do what you want and work that out among yourself.

 

Leave a space for them

This might not be doable for you but leaving a space that’s their is important. Usually spirits will treat to less used areas when we inhabit homes. Leaving a space dedicated to them means that you know where to go when you want to talk to them and you’ll know where they hang out.

You should not enter this space unless you need to talk to them or need something stored in this room. For example, our spirits have three rooms, technically but two rooms have animal inhabitants so the spirits tend to stay away. Instead, they hang out in the heater room is where we store things like paint cans, tools, and cat carriers. Since we rarely need those items or check the machines in there, we leave it for the spirits.

That’s only possible because we have a lot of unused space in our house. Your situation will be different. A closet or basement is popular but might not be ideal merely for the creepy factor. You could also set aside a chair or something similar for them instead.

 

Warn when you’re going to cleanse the space

Cleansing is the “did you turn it off and on again?” of magical practices. Which means we tend to do it a lot when weird stuff happens.

But cleansing can be harmful to spirits. To hedge your bets, give the spirits a warning when you plan to cleanse the space. A simple “hey, I’m doing a cleansing. Clear out for a while” works just fine.

 

Have your banishing tools on hand

If a spirit becomes aggressive, banish it and cleanse the space. You may want to adjust your protection spells or you can let it back in once it has learned it’s lesson. Up to you. But keeping those tools available on hand can save the day.

 

Be patient

Just because you’re sharing space doesn’t mean that they’re going to be around all the time. You may never physically see the spirit sharing your space. That’s OK. You’re not meeting them on their level either so they probably won’t try to meet yours.

If you do want to see them, then you may need to try some meditation or astral projection in order to sync up spiritually. Even then, you’re more likely to sense them than see them. Physical manifestation is difficult for spirits to do and for people to see. The mind doesn’t really like it. Be patient and know that it may never happen.

 

htsyhwgas

That’s it! Living with spirits is a lot like living with people. Sometimes they’re annoying and sometimes they’re awesome. It can take a while to get use to living with them but the most important thing to remember is to stand your ground. You pay for rent, not them, so you get to make the rules. When in doubt, kick them out.

How to Talk to Spirits of the Dead

Ghosts are probably both the easiest and the hardest types of spirits to have conversations with. Partially because we expect so much and get so little.

Talking to ghosts is one of those things a lot of people want to do. I have a quick guide on how to talk to ghosts and spirits of the dead. This may not get you evidence of the paranormal but it may help you make contact.

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Protective tree entrance to historical cemetery.

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How to find a ghost

First, you’ll need to go to a liminal place. A liminal place is somewhere between worlds. A cemetery might be a good bet but you probably have just as much success there as an old crossroad or site of death. Don’t just pick a place that looks like it should be haunted. Pick a place that has rumors of being haunted that you can legally enter. That last bit is important. Don’t trespass just to spot a ghost.

Liminal places aren’t just locations but also things. Doorways are liminal spaces. As are windows, gates, mirrors, corners, and staircases. Rest stops, crossroads, hotels, parks, and gas stations are other liminal places. You can spot ghosts and spirits there at times.

Activity will also increase when spaces are becoming liminal. So houses that are undergoing renovation, for example, will see an increase in activity.

You can, of course, ask for a ghost to come to you. If you’re doing a seance or summoning a ghost, make sure the cleanse the space first and set up protections around yourself.

Remember to sit as quietly and calmly as possible. As much as you might want to wander around in a space, you’re probably more likely to run into activity if you just sit there and are quiet. It’s not as much fun as hunting the ghost but it’s friendlier. It also allows you to get in tune with the environment so you can start noticing the unusual. Cold spots, odd sounds, that sort of thing.

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Another image from the lake yesterday.

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How to make contact with a ghost

Bring an offering to the table. An offering of something to the ghost is a good way to show that you mean no harm. A shot of alcohol, especially clear alcohol is good. Rice, bread, tobacco, incense, and water are also good choices. A ball is good for children and animals. Leave the offering nearby and within sight but out of arm’s reach.

You can also light a candle in their honor and memory but remember your fire safety too. Don’t leave a candle unattended.

Using a calm but confident and sure voice is ideal. You might be a bit scared, especially if you’ve worked yourself up with anxiety. Talking calmly will both calm you down and show that you don’t mean any harm. You can’t do much to spirits anyway but they’re less likely to appear when you’re angry.

Feel free to ask questions and listen for answers. You can use electronic devices, divination techniques, or just listen. You can ask for responses. Avoid demanding answers. That’s not a way to start a conversation. That’s just going to anger anyone around and draw the wrong kind of attention.

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The Necromancer has appeared!

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Open you mind. Take a deep breath and remain calm. It’s easy to get caught up in emotions not your own. Allow yourself to drift, as if daydreaming, and let instinct and intuition rule. If you feel like walking out of a room and up a flight of stairs, do it. Don’t try to control yourself overmuch unless you’re in danger or risk hurting yourself.

The key here is to allow your mind to seek out the otherness of a spirit. You’re not looking to be possessed or even to commiserate with them. You’re looking for a conversation. Pay attention to weird thoughts not your own. They may be just passing thoughts that we all have but if they’re followed by emotions not your own or there’s a lot of thoughts, someone might be trying to communicate with you

If you feel like you’re losing control or get scared, take control of yourself completely, coming to attention. Pull away, thank the spirit, and take a few moments to ground yourself. Have some water, drink some coffee, eat some chips. Talk to someone, get a hug, or leave the area. Don’t stay connected too long or you risk partial possession and energy draining.

Mediums and other sensitive people have somewhat of an advantage here but pretty much anyone can have a conversation in this manner if given time and the right circumstances.

Divination is a popular tool to speak to the dead. You can use whatever divination method you have on hand. I tend to use pendulums or cartomancy but use a method that you’re skilled in. This isn’t the time to break out a tarot deck if you’ve never read with cards before.

Look for surface meanings. Digging deep for symbolism isn’t going to mean much to a ghost since the chances of them knowing the divination method well is unlikely. The Death card is probably going to mean death. You might want to stick with the Major Arcana if you’re using tarot cards.

Pendulums are great tools for talking to a ghost because you can get “yes” and “no” answers pretty easily. You may even be able to use the pendulum to track or find a ghost. Make sure you keep your arm and hand steady.

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Scenes from Gettysburg

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Working out a communication system is always a good idea, especially if you’re planning on long-term communication.

Having a ghost knock once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no’ is a common means of communication. Passing by a light or fussing with a light is another good one. You can do active communication by asking a question and rewinding to listen for an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) response.

I’ve even used a method of having a spirit tap my right shoulder for “yes” and left shoulder for “no”.

It may take a while to work out which system works best for you, especially if you’re limited with equipment.

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Behind the scenes: recipe researching

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Finally, remember to document everything. Whether you update a blog, write in a journal, or jot a note down on your phone, make sure you document everything. It’s unusual to have activity in one night. Instead, focus on tracking that activity over the course of a few days to determine the type of spirit around.

Spirits exist in various manners. Even ghosts are not a singular “type”. Poltergeists are more vicious than a ghost and a residual haunting is tends to be less aware than a ghost. Memories or fragments are barely conscious and tend to be something of a one note kind of haunting.

You can do research to figure out what kind of ghosts there are but you’re not going to be able to hold a conversation with a fragment or residual haunting. You’re looking for an active and aware consciousness.

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Mushroom, mushroom

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Overall, the best way to talk to a ghost is to remember that they were once people. They had lives, loved ones, and jobs. They existed and, despite being dead, they’re still people. People without bodies but still people. Be respectful and patient.

Have fun!

5 Differences Between Your Imagination and Astral Travel

I think one of the number one questions I get about astral travel is how to know if you’re actually astral travelling or if you’re imagining it.

Here’s the secret – there isn’t a way to know, for sure, that you’re not imagining things.

But there is a difference, to some degree. You see, imagination is something you’re creating for yourself whereas the astral and spirit realms exist without us. That being said, dreams and your imagination are somewhat connected to the spirit and astral realms. Your spirit is somewhat connected, after all. You can affect those realms and we can create changes within those realms. It only follows that we can even create those realms with our minds.

We’re more powerful than we know, after all.

But there are ways to make sure that what you’re experiencing isn’t merely made up in your head.

  1. Is everything centric to you? We tend to play hero in our own heads. So a good way to tell if you’re making things up is to do a Mary Sue check. Does everyone love you? Does everyone hate you? Do you always succeed? Can you never be hurt or are your injuries easily remedied but seem super serious at the time? You might be making things up if this is true.
  2. Can you change form? In the astral and spirit realms, you can shape-shift but it’s fairly rare in your imagination to picture yourself as something else. Oh, it’s extremely common to imagine yourself more (or less) beautiful than you are. The change I’m referring to is turning yourself into a frog or something. Can you do that? Then you’re probably not making things up.
  3. Do the people around you live their lives without any thought to you? Spirits have lives of their own to attend to. It’s kind of unusual to daydream yourself in a crowd with no one acknowledging you unless that’s the specific things you’re intending to imagine. Spirits may acknowledge you the same way you acknowledge someone walking by you on the street. That should be the same. If that’s not the case, such as no one paying attention to you no matter what you do or everyone paying attention to you, then you’re probably making it up.
  4. Check gravity and physics. Things in the spirit and astral realms don’t operate according to physics and gravity. It’s fairly uncommon to run into this in your imagination without it being purposeful.
  5. Are you experiencing time skips? I find that time in the astral and spirit realms is fairly useless. You can live an entire day in the spirit realms but only a few minutes in the physical realm. Conversely, you can sit down to dinner with friends in the spirit realm and find that you’ve lost several hours rather than the twenty minutes you might have expected. That doesn’t happen usually with daydreams.

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The storm clouds tonight are lovely.

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Bonus: consistency is sometimes hit or miss. With your imagination, you might dream up new and better ways to accomplish the core of the daydream. But with the spirit realms, that probably won’t happen. Things will stay the same. That being said, you can affect the spirit and astral realms, so you might find that things change quickly. It’s very YMMV.

It’s going to be hard to tell the difference at first but with practice, you should be able to pick up on the differences fairly easily after a while. Be patient and good luck!

Spirit Destinations: How to Find Your Way in the Astral

Treading the spirit realms can be really difficult. It’s like going to another country: you don’t know the language and the culture’s a bit weird. You make stupid mistakes, and probably end up in a not-great neighborhood at some point.

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From our friend's dock while visiting yesterday.

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Getting directions to anywhere in the astral is complication. Super complicated. I’ll explain. The spirit realms are always in flux. There’s always some conflict to avoid, some danger to be wary of. The topography and land itself changes at the whims of residents in the world. Wars and battles cause lots of detours. When a new ruler takes over, the entire land can shift and change. The very land itself can morph to suit the whims and personality of the ruler. The rulers become, in part, land spirits, protecting their territory from harm. It’s not unlike the story of the Fisher King. Even if the land doesn’t adjust to the ruler, there are dangers in the environment to watch for. Then there’s the people. Look at our own world. Look at all the cultures, all the taboos, all the knowledge and secrets that exist in it. Look at the hate and love we have. And we’re all humans, a single species with that much diversity. That diversity exist in every species, without fail. There are uncountable numbers of species and races in the spirit realms. You may be able to make some generalizations but most of the time, you’re a fish out of water. Add onto that each person’s own free will and individuality and you have a mess to deal with. Everyone has agendas of their own. People – and they are people – have , jobs, obligations, families, and lives to attend to. After all, how often do you pause to give strangers directions? The residents here might not pause their lives for you either. And that’s OK. We’re all people and have busy lives. Some folks will help and some won’t. Some people are nice and others are cruel. Variety makes the worlds wonderful, after all. But with all of that variety and flexibility comes a massive problem: how do you to find anything in a world that changes so much?

 

Asking directions can be a chore in and of itself. You may have to barter something just to get some complex set of instructions. Those directions might not even be accurate. Things change so often that halfway through the trip, there’s usually some change. Even if you get directions that are accurate, the names for things aren’t the same. For example, I live by an ocean when in the spirit realms. It has a lot of names: Ocean of Fallen Tears, Sea of the Giant’s Tears, Sunlight-Glances-Off-This-Body-of-Water-and-Dances-Across-the-Sands-to-Scatter-on-the-Sea-Glass- Castle-and-Dies-at-Sea (yeah, really). And that’s just the three I know. I’ve heard it called other things. The valley I live in itself doesn’t even have a name. The ruler’s been stable for years but hasn’t come up with a name yet for it. How do you give directions to a place with no name? Directions aren’t like google maps either. There often isn’t a “Take a left at exit 64 and travel 6.4 miles to veer right onto Main Street”. Instead it’s more like this: “Go to the Forest of Dean (but not that Forest of Dean, no, not that one either, that one) and talk to the fox spirit there. He’s going to try and eat you but once you deal with that, give him this ball of magic black ooze. He’ll tell you where to go next. He’s going to lie to you at first but wait a few minutes and he’ll give you your next destination.” That’s a lot of work just to get a new pair of shoes or something.

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Alleyway near Jackson Square

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See? Lots and lots of complications. But, never fear. It’s not all that daunting when you have an adventurous spirit. Here’s some tips on how to somewhere in the astral.

  • Get the right directions. Ask around and see what directions people give. Spirit allies can probably provide help, if necessary. Seeking out an information broker is a good alternative. Information brokers tend to avoid giving bad directions. Their reputations rely on them go doing their jobs successfully. When in doubt, go to a trusted information broker. Just expect to pay an arm and a leg.
  • Check in often to determine your true location and get local news. Inns are specifically designed for this but roadside restaurants are surprisingly excellent too. Detour if necessary but try to stick to your directions. If you detour too much, you’ll end up somewhere else entirely usually with more trouble than you need.
  • Don’t tell everyone where you’re going. Instead, pick a location nearby where you’re heading. For example, if I was going to see the ruler of the territory, I might ask directions to the forest the ruler lives in. Save yourself trouble by being cautious with your business.
  • If you’re told not to stop, don’t stop. The best example of this in direction is from Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. “Go to the main road outside of the city and follow it away from the mountains,” said the frog. “After a while, you will come to a small pavilion made of gold, surrounded by trees made of silver with emerald leaves. Go straight past it without stopping, and don’t answer if anyone calls out to you from the pavilion. Keep on until you reach a hovel. Walk straight up to the door and knock three times, then snap your fingers and go inside. You’ll find some people there who can help you out of your difficulties if you’re polite about asking and they’re in the right mood. And that’s all.” (Page 11)
  • Landmarks aren’t always landmarks. Sometimes you’re given directions that include people as a landmark, like the fox example above.
  • Travel in groups. Traveling together will allow for more interpretations of the directions. Extremely useful when the directions are hard to fathom.
  • Hire out a means of travel. Hiring a car, ship, horse, chariot, carriage, may be expensive but worth it.  You may even hop on the bus or spirit subway to make things much faster.
  • Think in alternative means of travel. You might walk everywhere but discover that you need to fly to get over a ravine. So sprout some wings,  hover, or ask for aid as necessary.
  • Remember that the spirit worlds are intertwined with this one. It is the strangest feeling to realize that you’ve been in this subway station before in the astral.  You’ll also want to remember that the spirit world isn’t always an accurate representation of this world. Sometimes walls are missing or there’s extra doors or a staircase to nowhere. In these sorts of liminal places, you can easily slip into the spirit realms. Those with second sight can see a merging of worlds in these places as well.
  • Sometimes you can just appear there. Teleporting in the astral is totally doable. You can also slip back into you body and re-enter the astral in your destination. This is a bit like cheating when you’re suppose to be on an epic journey but it can certainly make things easier. Please note it’s rude to appear in someone’s living room so aim for a backyard or something instead.

So that’s it! That’s how you get directions in the astral. It may be really complicated but that’s the fun of it. Now get out there and explore!

Introducing a New Series: Spirit Destinations

The astral and spirit realms are immensely vast. Possibly too vast to even understand. This is an amazing place full of adventure, dangers, and wonder.

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Scenes from Gettysburg

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Everyone has the capability to astral travel. It takes practice to be able to slid out of your body, to ignore the physical feeling of your body, and cast your mind elsewhere. Even the most established practitioners have trouble with it at times, depending on their own spiritual turmoil and stress. There are hundreds of names for this journey and thousands of ways to do it. Research, experimenting, time, and practice will help you determine which methods are best for you.

The crossing to these lands is described as the most difficult part. But that’s not necessarily true. Knowing where to go is. Once you have a means of travel the destination becomes the question. When dreamers or spirit walkers arrive in the realms they either in an entirely strange place or somewhere familiar. (If they’re not aiming for a particular destination, that is.)

Finding a safe place to land and explore can be extremely difficult. Even if you do find a place, it can be hard to find it a second time. Asking directions in the astral is nearly impossible. The worlds and very topography change with the whims of the residents and rulers of the territories.

The best way for beginners to start is to know where they’re going and to know that place is safe and welcoming.

So, I’m launching a new series called “Spirit Destinations” that detail as much as possible where to go in the astral and spirit realms and what to find while you’re there. I will be personally vetting each location so you’ll know what and who to avoid along the way.

I’m really excited to share these places with you and I hope to see you in the astral!

Book Review: A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics 4/5


A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics
by Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel, & Thomas Peisel

4/5 – You should be reading this [TCC review guide]

Warnings: Glossed over science and history

Overall, this book was pretty good and I’ll be looking to add it to my personal library. It’s a great how-to guide to lucid dreaming and many of the techniques can be used for astral travel as well.

You can pick up this book over on Amazon.

Continue reading

Tips for Crossing Over, Being Safe and Coming Back (tumblr repost)

Breathing life into an old post. Tips for Crossing Over, Being Safe and Coming Back  is one of my more popular (and important) posts I wrote about two years ago. So here it is again.

ruiner85 asked: My bestie (thesecretlifeofpyris) recommended asking you about a reliable and safe way to contact spirit guides, I’m hoping to start out slowly & build a rapport so that I can go with my eyes open before even attempting anything astral. I’ve looked on-line and saw a lot about getting to the astral, but very little on staying safe or getting back. We’re currently researching formal rituals for contact and would appreciate any information or guidance you may be able to provide. Thanks

Hi! This is long and rambly. Hope your research is going well and sorry for the wait.

Unpopular opinion time! I don’t use spirit guides. I never have and, not to sound like an asshole, never saw the point in them. I still don’t. Logically I get it but…, eh, not really. To be honest, I don’t trust spirit guides. I don’t trust anyone who says they’ll helping someone just because they can. That sounds like a load of bullshit and I’ve NEVER met a spirit that’s acted like that. Ever. Even spirit guides get something by dealing with you, even if you don’t know what you’re giving them.

You don’t need them. Exploring the astral is like going to a large foreign city. You might speak some of the language but not all. It’s a weird culture and you don’t want to offend people so you’re super cautious because ajfdjalsj you don’t want to be an asshole but you also don’t want to be taken advantage of. Actually, I’m going to quote Doctor Who, since it’s always relevant on my witch blog:

“You can’t just read the guide book. You’ve got to throw yourself in, eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers – or is that just me? Stop asking questions. Go and do it”

– Ninth Doctor, Doctor Who, Episode 7, The Long Game.

All of that being said, the other side is a dangerous place and you have to be willing to accept that danger by going into it. Prepping yourself for it is a BRILLIANT IDEA THAT EVERYONE SHOULD TRY TO FOLLOW.

How to Stay Safe:

  • Remember that the astral/other side/spirit realms/faery land/whatever the fuck you call it IS DANGEROUS. IS NOT SAFE. IT IS DANGEROUS. I literally cannot stress this enough. It is not a playground.
  • Be flexible and adaptable. You were planning on heading towards a wheat field but ended up in a desert? Roll with it.
  • Don’t be aggressive (unless necessary). That’s pretty much asking for a brawl.
  • You have the right to defend yourself. And sometimes the best defense is offense. And running away is almost always an option, even if it isn’t the best option.
  • Remain vigilant and doubt everything. This sounds like a terrible way to live and it is. But this had saved my ass more times than I care to tell you.
  • Train yourself. Your body over there doesn’t have to be the same way here. Some people change shape depending on their mood, location, or job. I’ve met a few folks who never stop shifting, always moving. Others become their true selves. And more still just have little subtle changes in how they best reflect themselves. With this new ‘body’ you can do whatever you like. I recommend training your body to be respond yourself best. Maybe even train yourself with a weapon if you notice yourself getting into trouble.
  • Don’t get caught up on deciding what’s a spirit, fae, demon, god, etc. The lines get blurred. And really, what does it matter? They’ll either let you know or you can figure it out via context. And if you can’t, then it’s probably not important to know anyway.
  • If you’re paranoid then come up with a way to banish each and every being you meet.Seriously. If you’re that concerned about it, take the precautionary step. But if you are that concerned then you may wish to reconsider traveling to begin with. It’s not necessary. You can do witchcraft without it.
  • Don’t eat anything. This should be obvious. Sometimes you wander into faerie realms without knowing it. Accepting food offered (or eating random shit you find) is unwise and best and can get you seriously fucked up at worst.
  • Assume everyone’s out to get something. I have never met a spirit that isn’t looking for something. I know they might not say anything and maybe they’re acting really nice and generally are, but they ARE getting something. Maybe they’re studying humans. Or maybe they’re leeching energy off you or selling information about you to someone. You don’t know.
  • They are not human. Do not forget that. [UPG Alert!] I’m of the belief that many spirits don’t think the same way we do. They don’t hold things to the same level of importance, they certainly don’t seem to value the same things or have the same morals or ethics. You can’t expect them to act a certain way or do something in a particular fashion. It’s like expecting an alien from Pluto to be able to know all the intricacies and eccentricities of your culture.
  • Avoid politics. Politics is a game no matter who is playing it or what field it is on. A deadly, horrible, necessary game. Try to avoid it if possible. If you can’t (as many constant travelers cannot) at least keep your wits about you.
  • Know who’s top dog. There are a lot of spirits out there that  have territory. Some of those spirits are just holding that territory for someone bigger and badder than they are. And some of those territories have land that translates into a place on the physical realm. Yeah, you can literally walk into a spirit’s territory here by accident and have to deal with it over there.
  • You are not at home. Stop acting like it. You’re traveling. Tra-vel-ing. No one owes you a thing (unless they do) and acting like they owe you secrets and knowledge is a great way of getting no where fast and pissing everyone off. And ruining the party for everyone else.
  • You can get hurt. Spirit wounds happen. All the time. Sometimes it’s bruises, scratches, or random aches and pains that shouldn’t be there. I’ve woken up with visible six fingerprint and one thumb-sized bruises on each ankle even though I was in the house alone except for the cat and slept only three hours. I’ve noticed these tend to appear overnight and will last for much longer than normal, despite any treatment towards it (although, spells do seem to soften them). Hint: treat the wound on the spiritual realm as well as the physical.
  • Prepare yourself for the morning after. Using the assumption that you intend to travel at night, prepare your morning as you would if you expected a hangover. A hearty breakfast, lots of fluids, headache and nausea remedy. Sometime the herbals used to cross over will you give a hangover type feeling. This occurs even if the herbal is consumed via oil, ointment, or smoke. If it does occur, keep records and test it. Some people react to certain herbs that way, others discover it’s because they gave themselves too much or combined it with something.
  • Keep records. As mentioned above and previously, keeping records is highly important. I don’t even note in my records what I do (although that’s a personal preference). I just note that I crossed over at what time, what I took with the dosages (leaving a sample aside nearby my notes in case something goes wrong), and when I return what time I did that. This is also useful if you find yourself crossing over at random. Some folks get triggered by shit. It’s best to keep the records so you learn from it all. Do as you will. Most people keep everything in a journal. I keep mind in a binder and have a form I fill out each time, similar to a lab report. Ugh, paperwork but brilliant at the same time.
  • Your UPG is as valid and true as everyone else’s. UPG [unverified personal gnosis or some form thereof] means that what you’ve experienced is real to you. It’s valid and true if you say it is. No one should be able to deny your experiences (if they do then call them out although if you’re operating on historical or mythological fallacies someone will call you out on that.) That being said, your UPG does not have to match anyone else’s UPG. Sometimes they match up and that’s awesome. Others times you’re all by yourself. That’s awesome too. Just remember that just because you’ve experienced something and someone else experienced something else entirely, does not mean both of you aren’t correct. Treat other people’s UPGs as you’d like yours to be treated.
  • Spirits lie. They’re also assholes. All the time. Some they lie about who or what they are. They do it for reasons you can’t understand, for their own personal agenda, just for laughs, or to fuck with you. Gods are not exempt from this.

Getting back depends on how you got there in the first place. A lot of just ride it out till they come back. Others have a series of techniques like the ones below. It’s a good idea to keep trips short until you can find your way back without trying to (although, some people never get to that kind of familiarity with this so YMMV).

How to Get Back:

  • Return phrase. Some people have trained themselves to return to their senses when they utter a particular word or phrase. (Likewise, some people have trained themselves to cross over with a different word or phrase)
  • Alarms. If you travel while asleep or fall asleep while traveling, setting an alarm will shock you out of whatever realm you’re in, most of the time. This isn’t exactly recommended because it’s really disorienting. It’s best to use an alarm that starts softly and gains volumes as it goes. (You can usually find a digital one in a department store for around $12 USD, last I checked.) You can likewise try to use an mp3 that starts soft and gets loud to do the same thing if that works better for you.
  • Tether yourself. If you can, when you first cross over, try to extend yourself back and feel where your body is. Keep that feeling in the back of your mind and you’ll be able to find it again. You can make a “physical” reminder of this by wearing a rubber band or bracelet, ring, whatever, to remind yourself. Ensure that you appear on the other side with it.
  • If you travel with a spirit, that spirit can shove you back. (It should be noted that other spirits can do this too and will sometimes do it to be assholes). In non-allies, it’s a dominance play. Also known as a dick move.
  • Have someone sit by and wake you at a certain time. Switch out who watches who to make things even. And give that watcher something to do. It’s boring watching a sleeping or meditating person most of the time.
  • Have a start zone. Find a place where you will always first visit when you cross. If you appear anywhere else first, go directly to the start zone. This way, you will feel best connected to that spot and will feel most closely connected to reality there. Then you can jump back and forth as much as you’d like.
  • Food. This is going to sound weird. Traveling is draining to many people and I always recommend prepping a carb-filled or grounding food for yourself for after. If you eat the same thing after each trip (like ritual bread or whatever), remembering that smell, taste, texture, sight, etc can bring you back.
  • Keep records. As stated above. Not a way to get back but something to keep in mind.

I rambled a bit there and sounded a bit like a arse but I hope this helps!

[Originally posted here.]