[Back to Basics] Communicating With Goddesses & Spirits

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Thank you for calling the Moirai.  Your call is very important to us.  Please press one if you are having god related technical difficulties, two if you are unsure about the destiny assigned to you, three if you are considering becoming immortal.  Please hold.
Thank you for calling the Moirai. Your call is very important to us. Please press one if you are having god related technical difficulties, two if you are unsure about the destiny assigned to you, three if you are considering becoming immortal. Please hold.

A note: I use Goddess/Goddesses as gender neutral terms.

And even God Herself/Has fewer plans than me
But She never helps me out with my scams for free,/ though She grabs a stick and then She points it at me/ When I say nothing, I say everything/ Yeah when I say nothing, I say everything. – Lazaretto, Jack White

Sometimes God Herself Finds You Super Tedious
As some of you may recall, I was raised Catholic.  There was a lot of God works in mysterious ways and a lot of one sided conversations.

The idea that you could (sometimes literally) hear a goddess speak to you, was incomprehensible to me when I first became a Witch.  Prayer always seemed to require a lot of tedious repetition, waiting and then repeating steps 1 and 2 and never ever getting mad at God for failing to deliver ponies, boyfriends, good hair or extra trips to the library.  Getting pissy with God meant that you doubted Her plan, weren’t patient and were possibly faithless.  Also, God is very busy and She doesn’t have time to fulfill every boring little request you put in.  It’s always like requesting paid time off in August when you work for an eyeglass store.  Maybe, just maybe, but probably not.

I was no Lady Margaret Beaufort even on my best of days.  I got restless from being on my knees too long, I didn’t want to fast, there were no religious destiny dreams being sent my way, I cussed a lot, I got into cars with boys and few people would describe Catholic Teen Deb as pious, though I was as faithful as I knew how to be.

When I became a Witch, it took some time before I met people who had two sided conversations with Goddesses and Spirits.  It took me a while to trust that voice because . . .hearing voices was usually not the sign that a long and prosperous life was impending for most people.

I’m still not one of those people who receives verbal messages from goddesses all that often.  My indicators that my Witchcraft is working tend to be more along the lines of radiomancy, Golden Moth Illumination and sometimes dreams.  My sister who is generally universally thumbs down on all magical experiences regardless of spiritual background, is actually more attuned to the other side of the veil than I am.

Reading Eat, Pray, Love of all things actually made me trust in my connections to my Goddesses more:

“Of course, I’ve had a lot of time to formulate my opinions about divinity since that night on the bathroom floor when I spoke to God directly for the first time. In the middle of that dark November crisis, though, I was not interested in formulating my views on theology. I was interested only in saving my life. I had finally noticed that I seemed to have reached a state of hopeless and life-threatening despair, and it occurred to me that sometimes people in this state will approach God for help. I think I’d read that in a book somewhere. What I said to God through my gasping sobs was something like this: “Hello, God. How are you? I’m Liz. It’s nice to meet you.”

 
That’s right—I was speaking to the creator of the universe as though we’d just been introduced at a cocktail party. But we work with what we know in this life, and these are the words I always use at the beginning of a relationship. In fact, it was all I could do to stop myself from saying, “I’ve always been a big fan of your work …”
 
“I’m sorry to bother you so late at night,” I continued. “But I’m in serious trouble. And I’m sorry I haven’t ever spoken directly to you before, but I do hope I have always expressed ample gratitude for all the blessings that you’ve given me in my life.”
 
This thought caused me to sob even harder. God waited me out. I pulled myself together enough to go on: “I am not an expert at praying, as you know. But can you please help me? I am in desperate need of help. I don’t know what to do. I need an answer. Please tell me what to do. Please tell me what to do. Please tell me what to do …”
 
And so the prayer narrowed itself down to that simple entreaty—Please tell me what to do—repeated again and again. I don’t know how many times I begged. I only know that I begged like someone who was pleading for her life. And the crying went on forever.
 
Until—quite abruptly—it stopped.
 
Quite abruptly, I found that I was not crying anymore. I’d stopped crying, in fact, in mid-sob. My misery had been completely vacuumed out of me. I lifted my forehead off the floor and sat up in surprise, wondering if I would see now some Great Being who had taken my weeping away. But nobody was there. I was just alone. But not really alone, either. I was surrounded by something I can only describe as a little pocket of silence—a silence so rare that I didn’t want to exhale, for fear of scaring it off. I was seamlessly still. I don’t know when I’d ever felt such stillness.
Then I heard a voice. Please don’t be alarmed—it was not an Old Testament Hollywood Charlton Heston voice, nor was it a voice telling me I must build a baseball field in my backyard. It was merely my own voice, speaking from within my own self. But this was my voice as I had never heard it before. This was my voice, but perfectly wise, calm and compassionate. This was what my voice would sound like if I’d only ever experienced love and certainty in my life. How can I describe the warmth of affection in that voice, as it gave me the answer that would forever seal my faith in the divine?
 
The voice said: Go back to bed, Liz.
 
I exhaled.
 
It was so immediately clear that this was the only thing to do. I would not have accepted any other answer. I would not have trusted a great booming voice that said either: You Must Divorce Your Husband! or You Must Not Divorce Your Husband! Because that’s not true wisdom. True wisdom gives the only possible answer at any given moment, and that night, going back to bed was the only possible answer. Go back to bed, said this omniscient interior voice, because you don’t need to know the final answer right now, at three o’clock in the morning on a Thursday in November. Go back to bed, because I love you. Go back to bed, because the only thing you need to do for now is get some rest and take good care of yourself until you do know the answer. Go back to bed so that, when the tempest comes, you’ll be strong enough to deal with it. And the tempest is coming, dear one. Very soon. But not tonight. Therefore:
Go back to bed, Liz.”

Indeed.

How to Win Friends and Influence the Universe

1. Who is initiating this conversation?  Sometimes, when a Goddess or Spirit is interested in you, much like when a corporal person is interested in you, They will show little signs that They are interested in you.  A small bit of good fortune with  something that symbolizes Them, seeing and hearing about Them everywhere, a dream with Them, etc.

If you are Not That Into Them, much like in regular life, either keep hitting ignore until They get the message or firmly (but kindly) let Them know that you aren’t into it.

If you are interested, you could ask for a specific omen that the Goddess/Spirit you think is trying to contact you is actually trying to contact you.

If you are the one trying to make contact, it is generally good manners to try to make contact with the Goddess/Spirt much like when you are invited to someone’s house for the first time.  Tell Them what you admire about Them, offer gifts (tea lights, fresh water, incense and flowers are just about universally well received) and be polite.  Do this once a week for a month.  After the second week, start asking for a small omen that They are interested in continuing the conversation.

If They Are Not That Into You, you’ll know because either things will get worse in your life, or more likely, nothing happens.  All your little niceties will amount to a dead, wet, cold fish on the floor.  Jesus is tasked to love all of our sad, sorry little selves.  The rest of the pantheons are not.

2. Received a positive omen!  What next?  Well, what kind of relationship do you want to have with this Spirit or Goddess?  What kind of relationship do They appear to want to have with you?  Do both visions match up?  If you want to be equals and pals and She wants you to be a devotee with devotee boundaries, that may not be a great fit.  How deeply involved do you want to get?  Do you want your Witchcraft to be centered around this relationship or for your Craft to be something that you do and your Goddess or Spirit occasionally steps in to lend a hand?

3. Don’t Give Into Spiritual NRE (New Relationship Energy).  You know when you first start dating someone, you want to spend every minute of every day with that person and you would promise them anything?  You know how you think that person is the smartest, prettiest, funnest person alive?  You know how three months later you sometimes would rather light yourself on fire than spend another minute with this person?  You realize you have nothing in common, and you now think this person is vain, shallow and stupid?  Welllllll.  That experience isn’t limited to the physical world.  Sometimes it feels like a “click” with a Goddess or Spirit and you make vows and then you don’t want to keep them in a few months.

The problem is, generally speaking Goddesses and Spirits have access to energy that you don’t have access to.  That’s part of why you decided to work with Goddesses and Spirits.  It can be a really good reciprocal relationship but if one of you no longer wishes to reciprocate, then it can be a problem.  Imagine working in a company of ten people and you start dating your boss.  You dump your boss after promising your boss you would be together forever and spend every Sunday at her beach house for the rest of your lives.  Boss didn’t want to break up.  Jobs at other companies in your field are few and far between, you’re stuck at this company.  How do you suppose the next few years at this company are going to play out?  Not well, friend.  Not well.

So don’t make any crazy vows or promises in the beginning of your new (spiritual) relationship unless you are willing to accept the consequences of your actions.  Do something super crazy: get to know each other, keep giving offerings, get yourself attuned to Their energy, see if you’re both a good fit for each other.

4. Start as a bottom feeder.  One of my mentors refers to herself as a spiritual bottom feeder.  Meaning, for her, the relationship needs to be reciprocal.  A favor for a favor.  Start with small favors.  Small favors I’ve asked for included: getting rid of a cold, a long baby nap, for an evening to go smoothly, etc.  I do X (Japa, offerings, etc) and ask for Y.  If I try this a few times and it doesn’t work, there’s something wrong with the connection.  That Goddess or Spirit is Not That Into You, you’re too grabby, They don’t want to grant your requests for whatever reason, etc.

Goddesses and Spirits aren’t spiritual gum ball machines, if you’re always going to them with your hand out, they’re going to get annoyed with you.  You need to build an actual connection between you both, one that isn’t built solely on the granting of favors ideally.  Think about it this way: If you ask a bunch of strangers for $10, one of them will maybe give it to you, but probably not.  If you ask a friend for $10, they will probably give it to you.  On the other hand, if you’re always asking that friend for a ten spot, they are going to feel used and abused and either cut you off as a friend or cut off the money.

But friends and family do often want to help you, especially if you’ve helped them in the past.  The same is true of Goddesses and Spirits.  If you are asking for a larger petition, you need to be willing to give more yourself.  More time, better jewels, more energy, more tapas, whatever your Goddess or Spirit is into.  Often, when asking you would give the Goddess or Spirit half up front and the other half when your petition is granted.

But remember, Goddesses and Spirits can be just as opportunistic (if not more so!) than any human.  If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, He’ll Probably Want a Glass of Milk.  In other words, if you’re going to keep giving and giving and giving and not ask for anything back in the relationship, that Goddess or Spirit is going to ride you like a prize winning show pony until you have nothing left. If that’s not your goal, then you need to set some boundaries and the expectation of reciprocity.  If that Goddess or Spirit is not willing to work within your boundaries, you need to do some serious thinking about whether or not you want to be in that relationship anymore.  If you don’t, you may need to consult someone (a mentor, a Goddess or Spirit you already work with, etc) about how to extricate yourself from that situation.

5. Stranger Danger.  For some reason, when dealing with Goddesses and Spirits, some people completely disengage their common sense.  After all, speaking with Someone(s) from the Spirit world isn’t common, so common sense shouldn’t apply, right?  Wrong.  Until you get to know your Goddess and Spirit, your guard should be up as much as it would be with a new acquaintance.  Once you better get to know your Goddess or Spirit, your guard should be about as up as it would be with a close friend, a sibling or your spouse.  They most likely would never willingly hurt you, but there’s always that chance that they will.  If something seems off, don’t rush into agreeing.  Meditate on why it feels off.  Ask for clarification.

You don’t need to be hostile, you don’t need to be armed to the teeth . . .unless you are using force in your invocation and compelling your Spirit to be with you.  That’s sort of like trying to make friends by ethering a stranger, wrapping her in a rug and tossing her in the back of your windowless white van.  BFFS, right?!

If you want to consort with Spirits that are known to be more dangerous, hey, it’s your party you can cry if you want to.  Personally, I don’t consort with people that require me to have a gun in my purse in my regular life, I don’t have any desire to consort with Goddesses and Spirits that require me to do the same.  Just remember much like misunderstood teens at the Hot Topic at the mall, “dark” doesn’t always equal dangerous and “well known and well liked” doesn’t always equal safe.  Use your critical thinking skills, use your gift of fear, use your common sense.  It’s a wild ride, but that’s why we’re Witches, right?

p.s. Today is the last day to buy Bewitched or Haunted!

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Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  

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3 Responses

  1. Oh Mah Gahd Number Three! O.O
    When Someone-with-a-Capital-S got in touch with my wife, I was like “Honey, I get why she likes you, and I think you’d be a good fit, but zomg: Don’t. Promise. Anything. No deals!”
    Which, of course, is not what happens BUT she seems to be doing things carefully and also the Someone seems to have her best interests at heart and will straight up tell her “Don’t ask for X because the price is too high for you to pay”.
    (Don’t get me wrong, I love my own Girls, but I’m kind of glad that it’s my wife who gets/has to deal with the Big Deities…)
    Meliad recently posted..V is for Veil (and Victuals) – Pagan Blog Project 2014My Profile

  2. Hi, I am total newbie, and just wanted to know, what do you do with your offerings after they’ve been offered? For example, if they’re food, do you throw it away? bury it? eat it?

    Thank you

    • Hi Valentina!

      If it’s food that animals can safely eat, I dispose of it in the woods. If it’s work with Hindu goddesses and some of my ancestors, I eat it or share it with my husband. If it’s jewelry, perfume, etc. It’s theirs now on the altar unless I have instructions to give it away. When none of that applies, I say a little prayer and toss it. <3

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