Astral Destinations: The Grief Place

There’s a place somewhere between the realm of dreams and spirits that is for release of grief emotions.

Perhaps you’ve been there. A place where sorrow is understood and, despite the beings moving around you living their lives, you feel comfortable to be in your grief.

It starts at a sandy altar. A table-style of sandstone, about mid-chest to waist high on an adult. Incense burns here, billowing individual trails of smoke coalescing into a wind of fragrant prayers. The altar is in a courtyard with a blue open sky above, but shadowed by the surrounding pale sandstone walls. Awnings of hand-dyed fabric hang high over the altar, protecting it from rain.

In the dream or astral visit, you start here. Most often you’re at the altar and light incense, shakily pray, or simply try to say goodbye through a pinched, watery smile. Some people linger here, wrapping themselves in black homespun fabric and tucking themselves into corners to cry. Sometimes, people are with you, other times they are not. Who? They could be family, friends, lovers, or strangers that could have been more. Sometimes, its just you.

Who is there depends on what you’re mourning. Mourning a family member, a loved one? You may have loved ones alongside you, family to support you, friends to carry you, lovers to hold you, pets to comfort you. If you’re mourning an event that could have been, a situation you might have had or was in, or just losing a piece of yourself, you’re usually alone.

Either way, there you remain. Until finally, you’re ready to move on. You place your final piece of incense on the altar, say a final goodbye that feels like a loss all on its own, a goodbye that isn’t quite as shaky, a smile that isn’t quite as heatbreaking, and you slip through the archway to the left of the altar.

People move here, work here. It’s a dyer’s marketplace. Baskets of little ornaments, flowers and florals, bolts of fabric, and pocket charms sit on sun-bleached tables. You cannot see the sun though. The entire space has flapping cloth awnings on tall pole, protecting the workers from the heat of the sun, protecting you. More fabric hangs, little banners and flag, swatches of material in all manner of hand-dyed goodness. Blues, greens, reds, oranges, purples, and pinks. Natural linen color dominates with a rainbow of tucked away color. In the distance, you may hear chatter, soft and indistinct. A weaver’s loom works, but it’s comforting. the passage between these stalls, with gently smiling people sharing actual kindness, is narrow. People do not get in your way. As you move, they seem to never be in your way or make you slow down or stop unless you want to stop. They don’t readily acknowledge you either, unless you glance at them first. A smile, a pat on the arm, maybe soft murmuring that’s meant only to be comforting, supporting. Then they move on.

The passage is like a C, but there are other corridors that lead elsewhere to the marketplace. You can even sometimes glimpse where the fabric awnings break into brilliantly, unbelievable blue sky.

In time, you do weave your way through, following a course that you only seem to know in your head. Sometimes you find yourself with dried flowers or charms pressed into your hands. A long string of beads around your wrist, a shawl of soft mauve around your shoulders.

At the end, you come out to of the space with nothing before you. More sandstone buildings are to your left, but the doorway is hidden in the depths of that fabric maze. Beyond the buildings and marketplace is nothing but endless white plains and blue, blue sky. Sometimes family and loved ones stands before you, waiting for you. They may even have a car ready to go. Sometimes its just you.

The dream or astral visit ends there. I’ve been to this place several times, each time mourning different things or people. And it is always the same altar, the same sky, the same place, the same twisting, fabric passage.

What happens during that time varies. Once I came out with a long length of wooden beads around my wrist, neither a mala or rosary. Another time I came out of that comforting place with a bunch of tiny purple and blue flowers in my hands. It varies.

This place, a place of letting go of your grief, should be sad. Instead, I’d say its more comforting than anything. Like finally being able to catch your breath or how much better you feel after crying. You’re still miserable, but there’s a feeling of releasing, letting things go. It’s a somber place, but one of profound peace and change.

Have you been here? Does this place sound familiar? I honestly can’t tell you how to get here. I think you just arrive when you need to be there. I hope that introducing people to this special place will encourage more visitors.

As to whether its a dream or an actual astral destination… I think it’s both. I think a place can be both a dream and astral. The astral is connected to dreams. It can be influenced by dreams. And dreams can slip into astral travel. I think its both.

Spirit Destinations: When Spirit Worlds Connect to the Physical World

The astral worlds are not a free-for-all. Not all of them at least. Anyone who has dealt with the fae are definitely aware of this but many other places outside of fairylands have rulers that hold territory. Knowing you’re in someone’s territory can be tricky and knowing where those territories begin and end, especially because they change all the time, is a full time job. My best advice is to assume you’re trespassing and be polite as possible if confronted (and run away if you need to).

But there’s another territory to think about. Another weird thing that can happen. Sometimes the astral spirit worlds and the physical worlds mesh together.

Sometimes you step into a place here in the physical world and you think, “oh crap, this is connected to the spirit worlds, somewhere”. You might even feel unsafe and need to hightail it out of there. And other times it’s the best place ever to meditate and be safe.

This is one of things that you’ll know if you’ve experienced it because it’s often a defining moment for you. One you’ll remember. It’s also similar to fairy tales and legends of wild hunts and faerie proceedings.

 

When Spirit Worlds Connect to the Physical World by This Crooked Crown

 

What are the signs?

There are numerous signs that indicate that a particular area is experiencing a merging or an overlap. Some of the signs appear for other things like a psychic attack so be aware of that possibility and look for multiple indications that the spirit world is overlapping into the physical world.

As always, if you feel like you’re being hunted, stalked, or in danger, leave the area immediately and go to a safe place where you can calm down, ground and center yourself, and get something re-energizing to eat.

  • A weird energy signature
  • An immensely powerful energy
  • Feeling yourself being drained of energy
  • Feeling your energy hum
  • Feeling an increase in energy, like adrenaline, but is likely difficult to control
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Pressure in your head or body, especially forehead
  • Surge of emotions, images, sounds, or smells out of nowhere that are not your own
  • Hearing voices or music or sounds without a discernible source
  • Smelling scents that are out of place and without a discernible source
  • A sense of flightiness or lack of control like intoxication
  • A feeling of dream-like fog
  • Feeling of being small or in front of something large
  • Being overwhelmed emotionally or spiritually, like a wave overtaking you
  • A feeling of open-ness in a small that should not feel that open
  • A feeling of disconnect, like watching yourself do something outside of your body
  • Feeling watched or not alone
  • The feeling of immediate danger
  • Time is working too slowly, too quickly, or you seem to be out of time
  • Becoming lost in the physical space
  • Objects, pathways, walls, and other things seem to move or become blocked when they weren’t moments before

 

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Walk along the water with me?

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What triggers these connections? 

Spirit worlds connecting to physical worlds can happen in any number of ways. These connections are not permanent and some will disappear even a few hours after it appears. You can remove a connection with enough time, effort, and energy but it would be a hard-won fight.

Anywhere can be connected at any point in time to the spirit worlds but it often happens when no where is there and therefore there isn’t conflicting energy. Or they are areas with lots of potential but nothing happened. Or they’re areas of high energy. Liminal places, like crossroads, rest stops, buildings with lots of empty hallways (schools, offices, abandoned buildings), and bridges are common targets as well. Any place you’d expect spirit activity is particular susceptible to this kind of phenomena.

These are a few ways that the spirit worlds and physical world can become connected. Keep in mind, these aren’t the only ways and not every method will works for every area. Some places seem more susceptible to certain methods than others, likely due to energy reasons.

  • A land spirit makes the connection or holds significant power in that place
  • It’s a height of power and energy for some reason and thus easily accessible to spirits
  • A human dreams or recreates that space in the spirit world
  • They are so similar of places in looks, energy, or history that they merge for unknown reasons
  • Spirits gather there for unknown or multitude of reasons, thus making the physical world more like a spirit world.
  • A practitioner connects them for easy access to the spirit world
  • A practitioner has cast a lot of energy or spells recently or invoked a spirit, opening the way for this sort of thing
  • There’s been a wild hunt style procession recently through that area
  • Construction, death, powerful emotions, trauma, or other events can cause havoc, not unlike ghosts getting riled up during a home remodeling.

 

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Twilight cherry blossoms

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What to do

What you can do with an area that is connected to the spirit worlds is up to you. I recommend leave it alone. It’s probably not hurting anyone (except you might see a rise of headaches and emotions in that place) and it will often go away on it’s own. As mentioned above, you can try to get rid of the area but you must be very sure of yourself and your ability to manipulate the spirit energy in order to do this properly. You can patrol or guard the area, making it sacred, and thus keeping outsiders from going into it.

Most of the time, if you leave the area (and spirits inside the area) alone, they’ll leave you alone. They’re essentially just visiting.  However, if the spirits begin to get aggressive, you may want to step up and remind them that while the area IS theirs, most humans cannot see or sense them and therefore do not know to stay away. You could even banish them from this realm, leaving the territory connected or go ahead and sever the connection. Whether you do not this or not is up you. It’s personal choice.

As for myself, I typically leave spirit connected areas alone. I might go and remind aggressive spirits to play nice or I’ll have do something about them but most often, I leave them alone. So long as they’re not actively hunting humans, I have no problems with them. I find such areas a delight to visit because I truly love the spirit worlds and knowing I can connect to them here in the physical world at times is something I find absolutely amazing.

 

Money in the Spirit World – Astral Currency & Trade

Money in the Spirit World

 

Here’s some real talk: shit costs money. This is true with your spirit dealings as well.

Historically, money has been used in multiple cultures as offerings to spirits. (Also, historically paying the people who dealt with spirits, such as practitioners, was and still is a thing.)

However, it’s not always about the amount of cash you can put out. Trading expensive goods is also something that’s often used. Are you giving that expensive alcohol as a gift – or a bribe? Or is it really for services rendered on your behalf?

Offerings are made for a lot of reasons. They can be made from a place of love or fear. As a perfunctory action to something you’re excited to share. There’s lots of reasons to give offerings. It’s not necessarily part of a commerce-based action. You can simply do it to please the spirit or deity you’re with.

But, what about commerce? What about actions made that are not an offering? How do you trade with spirits? How does money work in the astral? To be honest, it’s not that much different with how money works here.

 

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My payment for services rendered today. Iron and brass.

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Commerce isn’t always going to be based on coins or paper money. In fact, most of the time, it isn’t. If you’re operating in a territory controlled by a specific ruler, that territory may offer currency, like any country would. But that currency will probably be worthless outside of that territory.

Trading services or items is probably one of the easiest ways to get something. Can you draw? Suggest that. Can you cast a spell or create a magical item? Did you find a pretty astral stone or grow a particular herb in your astral home’s garden? Try that as a means of trade.

Of course, you can always trade information. Information is, almost always, the most appreciated sort of currency. Tell someone where to a particular river, give directions to someone, mention where you last saw a particular spirit. Even gossip and rumors have their own weight and merit. Best of all, you can use the same information gained with different people and some people will pay very highly for information. The more desperate they are for that information, the more you can charge. It’s a very good idea to keep an eye on what kind of information you have to share and how much that’s worth to some people.

 

Another option is to get a job. This probably is the least liked option but is certainly going to get you what you want. If you do take on a job for someone, be sure that your terms are agreed upon in a very plain fashion. You will do X for Y and that’s it. Courier is a very popular job for dreamers and spirit walkers like us.  You can also be a freelancer of any skill you’re good at or even a mercenary. The tie-less kind of jobs are quite suitable for us as we aren’t consistently able to access the astral.

 

 

If you have you own territory or home, you can grow, make, rent, or create something there to sustain yourself. Maybe you’ll grow herbs or you have the only water for miles. You could be the only person in the area that can heal or has light or a safe place to sleep at night. Trade for these commodities and go from there.

You can also see if a local spirit has work for you to do. Working under the service of a spirit ruler or any spirit will be like working in you regular day job. The only exception is the work will probably be different and there probably isn’t a lot of rules in place. Make sure that you know your rights and how to get out of the job if you no longer want it. You can even make agreements to when your job ends if you don’t want it with the person that hires you right off the bat. Help yourself and make these demands and agreements at the start so you don’t have to worry about it later.

You can also make agreements to do something in the physical realm for the spirit. This works very well for us and it’s utterly unique to use dreamers and spirit walkers. Spirits can’t do this for one another usually so it gives us a unique advantage. However, I’ve found that the more you pay attention to a spirit while in this realm, the more control they have over this realm. For example, if a spirit asks you to make them a shrine in the woods and some kids find that shrine, it may give that spirit more power here because more people believe in them. It’s hit or miss as some spirits don’t work in the manner.

There’s pros and cons to each of these methods. You’ll have to talk to people and have a good grasp of people in order to trade information. Working under a spirit ruler may gain you some enemies because of your association but you’ll probably also be under their protection. Grow herbs to sell and you’ll have to actually, you know, grow them. Weigh your options before you decide what to do.

 

 

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to make trades and arrangements in front of a third neutral party. There are even mediator spirits you can hire for this specific purpose. But, anyone can serve as a third part. These third parties will verify the agreement of the trade (or whatever) and if one side of it is broken, then actions can be taken.

There are also spirits that work like money lenders or even currency exchange. These spirits will vary wildly in temperament so you might wind up dealing with a very nasty spirit or someone who is a complete sweetheart. Currency exchange will usually have a direct price – you bring 8 X and get 5 Y. The spirit making the exchange will take a small percentage of the trade for their own payment.

Keep in mind that breaking promises or agreements is considered extremely bad. Note, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a loophole to your advantage. Faeries are really the experts at this – they won’t do something outright against the agreement but they will find every loophole ever and use it instead.

Theft is an additional problem to remember. Items, even those in the astral, have energy and some people – even some practitioners – can track that energy like a bloodhound. So if you steal something and someone is skilled in tracking energy, they could hunt you down.

 

 

Not everything you can trade or do will be useful so cultivating many skills or keeping items around like some pack-rat RPG hero can help you figure out exactly what to offer at the time.

It’s tricky to get the hang of so don’t be surprised if you get up getting proverbially robbed during a deal. It happens. Live and learn. Like in real life, it takes time and practice to develop a good system of deal-making.

Why should you jump through all these hoops? Well, not everyone can create everything in the astral. And some items require knowledge to create that you don’t have. It also fosters relationships within the community. Plus, some things are just easier to buy than make.

The astral is a truly fantastic place and spirits of all kinds exist there. Some will have wildly different ideas of what’s useful or worth currency. Ask questions politely and you’ll probably do just fine.

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.

Aggression cleansed at the crossroads

I glance at my phone in surprise because the person calling can’t have left my house more than a minute ago, if that. I answer with a smile in my voice, thinking they had forgotten something. Instead I get this:

“When I was coming out of your house and passed through the gate is slammed a bunch of times and I heard footsteps follow behind me to my car. Then I saw a face in the mirror standing outside my car by the headlights.”

I pause, taking it in. “I’m sorry.” I say immediately because it is a serious issue for a guest to be harassed when leaving my home. I may live on the crossroads but my guests should always feel safe coming to my home.

“Don’t apologize. I just thought you should know.”

I swallow down a second apology and after a few more minutes we end the conversation. I glance towards my window and extended my senses. Yes, something was there, something new that hadn’t been there this afternoon when I dealt with a different, friendly spirit that afternoon. This new thing was aggressive, tumultuous and dark, filled with a confusion of emotions. Not one of mine.

My brother and I are both practitioners. Both of us are mediums and channel spirits at will, we both see them and sense them as naturally as breathing. I have always preferred the non-human spirits but my brother’s craft is that of a necromancer. He works almost exclusively with the dead. Our home is located at the top of hill between two crossroads, one of which is a corpse road. We live directly behind a funeral home and down the street from a swamp. Since we both share a household we split the duties of dual crossroad keepers. I care for the non-humans and tend to the cleansing of the crossroads and keeping the household wards, as well as serving as seer and vigil as needed. He keeps the human spirits, of which we have a great many passing through and serves as backup and exorcist when needed. It suits us and our practices.

Since this aggressive spirit wasn’t one of mine, I climbed up the stairs and tapped on his door. “Test the boundaries.”

“What?”

I repeated my friend’s story to him. He sighs and has me fetch out his equipment since I was closer. He shifts around his violin and murmurs to himself, checking. He sighs again.

“It’s one of yours, isn’t it?” I asked. “We can’t have it attacking guests. That’s just rude.”

“I don’t know. I think some of my friends could use a spiritual kick in the ass.”

I laugh, because he’s not wrong. We negotiate a price for him taking care of the problem I noticed (rather than me doing it myself) and he gets ready to go cleanse the crossroads and chase the spirit away while I set about doing the dishes. The spirit was being tricky. It kept moving between the front and back of the house, causing my brother to have to cross the house twice to find it. During that time, I dropped my active barriers, offering one room of my house as refuge for the spirits that would be cleansed from the crossroads.  I felt the house flood with new energy but the spirit my brother hunted was too distracted to take advantage. Other spirits didn’t take up the offer, including the one spirit I warned my brother against sending away.

Finally my brother stepped outside. I felt him issue a spiritual challenge of sorts followed by a dull response. Then two pulses of energy and the crossroads were cleared. My brother came in and announced it was done. I nodded, thanked him, and we set about making dinner.

A while later I returned to my flat downstairs. Many spirits had slipped back through the hole in the wards to return to the crossroads, to go about their business now that we’re not interrupting them. Others hid. I bent over and glanced under my bed where a small, fat spirit with a large face quivered, just under the blankets.

“Is he gone?” The spirit asks.

I smile kindly, voice soft, non-threatening, and very fond. “Yes he’s done. He’s not that scary. We just needed to get rid of that aggressive guy.”

The spirit understands and I straighten as the spirit comes out. Others move from corners and make their presence fully known. The room plunges into the cold but I ignore it and turn towards the affected crossroad.

“Hm, he did empty it, didn’t he?” I reached out and pushed my energy out towards the crossroad. The cold, empty feeling of the crossroad warms significantly and the spirits begin to move towards it, pleased. No one thanks me but the feeling of gratitude is there. I didn’t expect anything else. The crossroad’s reset and now it’s filled with energy and life, the way it should be.

“You really are a good [redacted].”

I whip around as a different spirit than I expected stood behind me. It was of the same class, so to speak, as the one from this afternoon and the one I told my brother not to cleanse. I drew myself up and nodded.

“I do my best.”

“It’s good enough.” It says and moves towards the busy crossroad. There was a finality to its voice, a hint that I was examined and passed a test, even if I didn’t personally cleanse the crossroads. This was going to be a new thing, clearly. This class of spirits has taken an interest in me. Internally I sighed and sit down to eat my pizza.

[Another episode of living at the crossroads. Commentary paraphrased and certain names and titles redacted but the events and essence of conversation was real.]

Snippet from the Demon Feast

I slip my arm through his and nudged him through the grand doors and into the moonlight balcony gardens. The roar of the sea under us was great and the wind whipped across my flesh, instantly cold and utterly satisfying. I sigh with contentment, abandon him, and step up to the very edge of the balcony, the pressed sand wall pushing into my knees. Annoyed, I concentrate for a moment and the sand parts at my will. I take a final step closer, toes curling over the edge as close to the ocean as I could get without being in the water. I take a cool, deep breath and suck in the sharp salt air. Distantly through the roaring of the sea, I hear the dock hands and sailors on the ships that have anchored on the newly built docks, still mostly under construction and barely heard of. Soon, they will be bustling but for now they are empty, dreams that have been birthed but not yet started to live.

He is silent, as always, but watching me. I spin and smile at him. “I miss the sea.”

He waves with his non-sword hand, barely a gesture before the hand returns to a fighting post. Always ready to fight, my warrior. “We’re right here.”

I shake my head and step closer to him. “I miss the sea in my physical form. It’s too far. I need to bring it closer.”

He tilts his head. “You have a plan then.”

My grin is wicked and razor sharp. “Don’t I always?”

The Spirits That Serve and Busy Times

Radio silence was brought about by the busyness of my schedule (which I’ve added to the right menu, I believe). For the moment, I have a reprieve as this is the week of my birthday (June 6th) so much of my time is visiting with friends and family as well as renewing personal protections and goals.

I’m not going to talk about that much. Instead, I’m going to introduce three sets of spirits that work with me. (Also, congrats to me for making 50 posts. For those who caught it this morning, I made and deleted a test post for something that was technically the 50th post. I had to write a real 50th quick post to make up for it).

First, quick information. These spirits work alongside me. They’re not guides in the traditional sense although I suppose they could technically be termed that. They work for me and they get something in return. It’s a pact, not something done because they like me. (Well, they wouldn’t hang around me if they didn’t like me but you get what I mean.) A lot of this is wrapped up in my position on the other side and complicated with secrets and spoilers but essentially, I’m in a position to get them what they want so they work both for me and alongside me for my goals, whichever those may be at the time. I call them allies, vassals, or when I’m being snarky minions (but only if one remember the original etymology of minion being “dear one” and combining it with the common usage of “lackey”).

The Maidens – I have the least control over these spirits. There’s four to five of them, agender although they tend to appear as beautiful maidens for the most part to me. They aren’t hived minded but they think similarly enough, I believe, to be able to know what each other is thinking which gives the appearance of sharing a mind. They’re matchmaking spirits. It’s their thing. They enjoy messing about in the realms of love and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to do it. Patient and impatient, they have an Agenda and Plans and those Plans tend to muck up everyone else’s plans. They’re more focused on romance than sex however and that should be remembered. (Not that they don’t also have influence over sex, it’s just not a focus.) They also influence beauty, which is so closely tied to romance. They truly get people which makes them fabulous in other areas of life, like fashion. Honestly, they’re a bit catty but I love them for it. They are fierce entities who champion romance above all else.

Serrah – Serrah’s snarky and is what I’d call a crossroad merchant spirit. This is a spirit that parks itself at the crossroad and either sells wares or gathers and/or sells information at crossroads. They derive their energy from these crossroads and the energy of those passing through the crossroads. Nearly ubiquitous, they have a tendency to come off as slimy car salesmen most of the time. Serrah’s not oozing yet but he can be very smug unnecessarily. Still, he’s (and that’s just the pronouns he picked, he sometimes appears as a woman) very good for folks who owns a business as he can offer advice – for a price. Be sure to check the fine print and watch your words as he’ll use loopholes and mistakes against you far quicker than most spirits that double as guides. You may also want to check for a knife in your back, just in case betrayal is a thing.

The Warrior – Probably the most mellow-tempered and reasonable, the Warrior is just as he sounds: a warrior. Highly skilled, he was originally a human spirit who became something else. These spirits are the best to deal with for beginners as they’re easier to understand. While they aren’t human any longer, they tend to retain enough of their humanity to make it easy to work with. The Warrior in particular beat out several dozen other warrior-eque spirits for his current position. He (definitely prefers male form and pronouns) tends to variate in appearance but is mostly ghostly, which is somewhat odd in my experience.

Fox Guard House – An entire family clan of a spirits. Rather fox-like (hence the name), they are golden and are very similar to light or fire. They appear as bipedal foxes, a little shorter than five feet tall, and nearly identical to one another. Incredibly cunning. Take extreme caution when dealing with them. For a personal example, we made a deal and they were planning, as a whole, to murder me to get a better position, so to speak. I outmaneuvered them, reminded them why I am who I am on the other side, and then raised my original offer alongside the original pact. I fully expect them to attempt assassination again but it’s not a huge priority for them right now. Other lives to destroy elsewhere, for the moment.

So what do I do with these spirits? Since they’re in my employ, they do what I hired them to do. Serrah’s busy building up a port town in the astral, for example. The Warrior checks over battlements and ensures that the Fox Guard House doesn’t put their original plans of murdering me into effect. The Maidens just sit around and cause havoc in the name of love which is actually what I hired them to do. (Yeah, on purpose. It’s a long story) The Fox Guard House does what they can to connive others and be a general pain in the ass for other spirits. (Yes, this was also planned.)

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The storm clouds tonight are lovely.

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The thing with working alongside spirits is they have plans and agenda to see to. They have desires and goals and because they have those things, they can be worked with like any other being. Just be very careful because cultures are different and that can, of course, cause issue. When making a deal or pact with a spirit, be certain of the terms of exchange. Know what you’re expected to give up and what you’re getting. Know what ways that spirit can backstab you and take off with whatever you were to trade and what you came to get.  Working with spirits is absolute fascination and a lot of fun – there’s so many different things to see, learn, and talk about. I know I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Closing and the Leaving Festivals

Last night was the closing festival for my Demon festivals. It was the final Court day. And today marks the start of the Leaving. Well, until next year. Last night began a mass exodus for the next two days while spirits leave my area and festivities to return from whence they came. Some will be returning to their patches of the spirit realms, whatever those may be, and others will be returning to locales they’re from.

I feel like I should post a “Spirit Crossing” sign somewhere. Perhaps one day I will.

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Might need to touch up the sign a bit, hm?

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The last three and a half months have been amazing. The spiritual activity has been vibrant and full of import. Occasionally ridiculous and fun, mischievous and devilish. Other times it’s been sad, depressing, or inciting rage and soberness. These are all things I expect when working with spirits. I keep my doors open to all spirits, all demons, all fae. Everyone’s welcome, even the marked enemies. This is a time for celebration, for striking deals, for making plans, for avoiding and even waging war.

And deals have been struck. One new alliance has been founded, an assassination has been avoided, and another alliance and acquisition is in the talks and will likely be concluded before winter season truly begins. I’m grateful for what’s occur during this time and I’m fascinated, as always, by the political and social mechanisms of spirits.

The last few nights have been interesting around here personally. A lot of things have fallen over or been moved. Dials have been turned that haven’t been touched in years (like on the sewing machine), items placed at the bottom of the trash have mysterious been taken out of the trash, twice, once the trash can was knocked over, an empty drink can tossed across the room, and a towel thrown. Gravity could be to blame, certainly, but it is suspect. Additionally, the giggling and conversations that have been occurring around here when there is no one to be having said conversations is worth noting. The goblins are preparing to ride out, to bring their chaos and deviltry to others. You’ve been warned.

Other spirits, stronger, older, wiser, more politically strong or personally powerful spirits are preparing their appropriate entourages and preparing for their own journeys home. I wish them the best, sincerely, and hope to hear from many of them soon. (And, well, maybe I’m sort-of looking forward to the gifts I’m always given at the end of the season. Maybe.)

Most notably, because of this mass movement, those who are looking to work with spirits may wish to put out offerings for them. Just remember, because I work with all sorts, be sure to give a few days trial before setting but anything long-term. Just because they seem sweet in the beginning does not mean they always are. For example, those trash-throwing goblins also broke no less than four drinking glasses this season. In two days.

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Burn baby burn

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Seasonally, it’s starting to feel like the middle of fall. Jackets and coats are needed and sandals have been tucked away. Scarves are out in full force and whispers of snow tipple from the lips of news reporters. While we wait for the snow, pedestrians get their final warm days in, their shoes crunching in the brightly fallen leaves, taking in the beauty of the decay around them.

My next festival isn’t until the Feasting at the end of the month, where I bake up a storm to celebrate the United States’ holiday of Thanksgiving, but also invite friends, both human and not, to join in on new recipes, home brews, and delicious food. To celebrate our friendships, gossip and talk trash about since we’ve last seen each other. Some of the spirits that have been here for my Demon Festivals will be there was the Feasting and this further ties out alliances closer together. It’s also a great time to enchant food consumed by loved ones for their prosperity, wealth, and good health.

I love celebrating with spirits. I love enjoying their company without ever requiring them to give me something in return. And I love giving them the chance to interact and ask questions about humans that’s in a no-pressure sort of way. Sometimes spirits don’t want to be worshiped. They don’t want to help us, guide us, or even be offered something. Sometimes they just want to do the spirit equivalent of running to the store for milk. And my festivals, although sounds highly ritualistic, are actually just giant parties where spirits can let down their not-always-metaphorical hair and breathe.

But at the same time I’m very glad for the festivals to be over. Some things I’ve let slid since the festivals started, partially because I’m only partially here; there’s always some bit of me there, traveling and riding in the wild hunts, celebrating and raising a glass.

It’s been a good run. Now to start thinking about buckling down for winter.

Stipulations

I barely give permission before I am pulled over.  Al shows me around a glen not too far from the sea and I sense people beyond it. I manifest a more appropriate outfit for meeting folks than a simple shift and move with Al, hand in hand.

Before me the entire family is laid out, working on various spells for this and that.

“We want to make you as strong on That Side as you are on This Side. Someone worth following.”

I express my appreciation and after a while pull back. Al asks if there’s anything else I want, anything else they can do for me.

“You do know,” I said, casually but seriously, “that I will cull your entire family, everyone you ever will or have loved, everyone your family relies on if you attempt to usurp me, right? I don’t mind you trying to rise up amongst the people and become my second. I don’t mind that you intend to gain power and prestige for your entire family through me. I don’t mind any of that. I don’t even mind if you claim a nearby kingdom with the power I’ll give you. I don’t care about that. But I will destroy everything your family holds dear if you try to take my throne from me. You understand that right?”

Al hesitates for only a minute. There is a moment of gravity where Al considers my words and realizes that I may not be the fool they assume me to be. That I am just as dangerous as rumored and to tread carefully in case my ire is set upon them. Al answers as confidently as before,  “I will ensure that the entire family is aware of these stipulations.”

“See that you do. Now when will these spells go into effect?”

Castle of Sea Glass and Sand

I live in a castle sculpted of sea glass and sand. Soft, it is not. The walls bite into your skin when you fall against it, the wet sand around the internal waterfalls works as quicksand, taking invaders into the depths and under workings of the castle.

Beautiful it can be, breathtakingly so in fact, but as with most beautiful things the danger is apparent only upon close inspection.

Servants and staff move quickly, almost silent under the rushing of the decorative waterfalls and the crashing of the waves only steps away. Sea glass filters the bright sun and casts a hazy light show every rise and set. At night, it is so dark the shadows are gone and the eldritch horrors of the ocean and the night seem to dog your steps.

Magic is common here. Scullery maids wash dishes without ever touching the water with their hands and even stable boys use minor charms to care for the mount raiment. Courtiers walk on slipper- shod feet, whispering and consulting with their spies and attendants while warriors push their way through, having places to go and people to kill.

And the ruler sit on a throne of fulgurite, huge and dark, so massive that they sometimes fade into it. They wear silks and furs, leather and steel. Their hair, golden and bright, tumbles in wild curls down their back to tap their knees, a cloak in its own right. Their crown is jeweled and yet the edges are so sharp it can finely slice flesh without the victim even being aware.

This wasn’t originally their home. No, no. They carved their territory from crossroads and urban lands. Then they took the forest, slowly encroaching like the dawning sun through until it was all theirs from the golden bird trees by the hillside outside of the city to the distant mountains.  And when they saw the failing seaside kingdom to the south, the people starving and suffering, fleeing for better places, they rose in their war-gowns and armor to conquer, taking down those necessary until they were the only one remaining to sit on the throne in a castle made of sea glass and sand. And still, the kingdom grows.

I live in a castle of sea glass and sand. It is a beautiful place, busy and full of life. The sea roars, a steady sound like a heartbeat. It is home.