When Spirits Speak

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 8.10.27 AMMy home is a guarded space. My wights and I, we have an understanding, we have a working relationship, a partnership. They will own these bricks and beams, this wood and stone, this dirt and land, long after my family and I have left. It’s really more their’s than it is mine.

Yesterday, I arrived home from my muggle life and I had a feeling: an urge to offer. So I poured salt in my hand, coarse and purified, and I sprinkled it along the boundary of my fence and house. I sang to the wights and spirits, I called on them with the salt, both an offering and a warding.

This place is ours. Let nothing in that would do ill. This place is ours. Accept this offering, heed my will. 

The wights are listening, the wights are always listening even when you think maybe they’re not. They live in everything.

Your home is made of wood that was once a tree. Does the tree not have a spirit? Your home is made of brick that was once clay and shale. Does the rock not have a spirit? Your home sits atop the ancient land. Does the land not have a spirit? Maybe neglected spirits, maybe forgotten spirits, but spirits nonetheless.

After my offering of salt and song, I came inside and found crawling about on my hand a wee spider. The spirits are always listening. I took the little guardian outside and I thanked her for her weavings. There is power and craft in a spider’s web. Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 8.09.54 AM

In my backyard are frogs and rabbits, spiders and cardinals, mushrooms and weeds. They own this place.

Keeping Wights and Home

If you are familiar with the old Russian hag Baba Yaga, then you are no doubt familiar with the story of her encounter with a pair of orphaned children whose cruel stepmother sent them to work for the ancient witch. While Baba Yaga was away, the kind-hearted children managed to escape from her chicken legged house with help from the witch’s neglected household. When Baba Yaga returned home to find the children gone, she demanded answers from the disobedient trees, animals, and gates that allowed the children to escape. The household replied:

“We were always ready to obey thee, but thou didst neglect us.” 

 

So, it was not that the children were good and needed to be saved, though I can understand why some might interpret the story thusly, but rather it’s simply that the children respected the needs of the household. They fed the mice, dogs and black cat, placed ribbon on the birch trees, and oiled the old gates and were rewarded for their appreciation. The household doesn’t complain that Baba Yaga was cruel to the children or that she herself is “evil” (in fact no indication they have any thoughts regarding the morality of the situation) they merely wanted acknowledgement and respect.

Your home is alive. From the cabinet doors in your kitchen to the wooden beams behind your walls, your dwelling is absolutely infested with spirits. Maybe they followed you there, attaching themselves to your person or your ancestral lineage, maybe you invited them with craft or will-working, but most likely they were there before you arrived and will be there long after you’re gone. It has been my experience that very few things in life belong solely to one being. You have to learn to share.

So here is my three point list of recommendations on how to keep your house wights happy.

1. Cleanliness


As my oma would say, it’s important to have a little Putzfimmel: a cleaning obsession. People don’t like to live in filth and neither do wights. I recommend a weekly cleaning schedule to keep your house or apartment in good condition and a monthly schedule for deeper cleaning. I know that might feel overwhelming when you work full time and/or have children to take care of, but trust me it’s worth it. Even if keeping wights happy isn’t your main goal, everyone deserves to live in a clean home. Many folks I know also have maid services, which is fine, but I would suggest maybe once a month or so doing at least some of the cleaning yourself to help establish a connection with your wights. They’ll appreciate the effort. 
Have you ever walked into a house and thought “Holy fuck, get me the fuck out of here.”? Have you ever walked into a house and just known the people living inside were unhappy? We leave those emotions around us, like a pollutant, and the wights can feel it as well. Your wights and spirits live with you, they’re around you as much as members of your family, so just as their happiness affects you, your happiness affects them. Remember to emotionally clean up and take care of yourself as well.

2. Offerings

These don’t have to be grand gestures and actually, I’ve found that wights rarely appreciate a large effort and find it to be insincere. Maybe my wights are too Germanic for their own good, but some smoke from my pipe and a good beer usually does the trick. You might try asking your wights what they prefer and how often they’d prefer it. Walk about your house, property, or apartment and feel for your wights, establish a connection. Which brings me to my next point-

3. Communication

This is simple- talk to your wights. Going out of town? Let them know. Is someone coming over to take care of your fur-babies? Let the wights know. If you establish an open line of communication, your wights are more likely to listen and talk back. Don’t expect them to speak in words and phrases, they’re not people, they’re not even corporeal beings. They’re the very inhuman consciousness of your dwelling. Like I said earlier, you have to feel them and the more you talk to them, the more likely they are to respond.

I hope this has been helpful! Just remember happy wights, happy life.

Impromptu Binding or Why You Don’t Fuck With Me

Yesterday as I sat at home by myself, sipping a glass of wine and listening to the steady breathing of the cat asleep next to me I began to think. I began to think about a few people who are in my life who I really wish weren’t and I began to think about how they have manipulated and harmed someone close to me and then, I began to grow angry.

Quite angry, in fact. I was pretty fucking pissed.

I stood up and looked around. I put down my wine glass and clenched my fist and I thought to myself, “Fuck them.”

And then I thought, “I don’t have to put up with this shit.”

I walked to my bedroom, where my altar sits, and while I was walking I began banging on the walls and doors to call my spirits. I sang to them, calling them to me, letting the pounding of my knuckles on the wood and drywall be like a drum leading them home.

Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Bone, Spirits of Shadow, I call you home.

From my altar I took my mother’s pocket knife, my grandmother’s silver thimble, the picture of my great-grandmother, my Freyja blessed cat statue, sage, and my megalodon tooth. I held these sacred things in my hands, still chanting to my spirits, and I took them to my kitchen.

I laid out my supplies on the counter and grabbed a cord and sheet of paper. I lit the sage and inhaled the smoke into my lungs. Filled with righteous fury at those who had wronged me and mine, I began to sing to myself.

Sacred is the bitch, for she is vicious in her power. Sacred is the bitch.

I tied the cord three times and began sharpening my mothers knife, calling on my ancestors for their help. I walked around the kitchen sharpening the knife, honing my intent.

On the paper I wrote the names of those I wanted out of my life and I chanted, demanding they leave my family alone. I sealed their names with a bind rune created from perth (who knows me best), algiz (who understands protection) and tiwaz (who understands violence).

I folded up the paper tightly, chanting to my ancestors, and when the paper was good and folded I took my mothers knife and stabbed it in the middle. Holding the paper down with the knife, I spun the paper counter-clockwise and chanted “Stay away.” until I had worn a hole through the paper. Then I took the thrice knotted cord and I tied the note up, whispering incantations and prayers to my spirits and my ancestors.

I need to bury it, I thought to myself. I need to bury their names so the dead can find them, so my ancestors can do the work. I put the bound paper inside my mouth and wiped my saliva onto it and then I took salt and rubbed it into the paper, then I dipped it all in my wine. An offering, an offering for the dirt of spit, wine, and salt.

I held the bound paper, the bound names, close to my mouth and I whispered, “Send my words to the dead, send my words to the ancestors.”

I went outside into my backyard and dug, continuing my whispered chants.

Send my words to the dead, send my words to the ancestors.

I dug a hole with my bare hands, huddled over the ground on my knees, dirt beneath my nails. I stuffed the paper into the ground and covered it. I saw an old rusty screw next to me and I smiled. I grabbed the screw and pushed it down into the dirt and I whispered.

You have no power here.

And I went inside and I finished my wine.

Daily House Cleansing

When I have free time during my day I like to cleanse my house, but really it’s less a cleansing and more of a make-the-house-wights-happy. Happy wights, happy life. I have  found that the wights of my home like to be acknowledged, they like a house kept clean and looked after, they like libations, and they like smoke. So I pack prayer smoke into my pipe and light it with a sigh. I walk my house, inside and out, and I sing to my wights, drawing a bindrune sigil of my own invention for them.

Wights of Place
Of hearth and home
Of brick and beam
Of wood and stone

Heed my sigil
Drawn with power
I gift these evils
To your mouths; devour.

I have found house wights to be not necessarily benign creatures. They are prone to moods and opinions similar and much different  to us and it’s good to keep them on your side. So instead of asking them to banish negative energies or people or spirits, I ask them to devour and destroy anything that would harm our home. It seems to me better to destroy your enemies rather than shoo them away.

Capture

Freyja Invocations

My witches and I have been experimenting with casting a triangle rather than a circle for rites and rituals. Below is an original triangle invocation I wrote calling on the three aspects of Freyja- Lady of the Vanir, Chooser of the Slain, and Mistress of Seidr- for a Freyja possession rite we conducted last week. More on the possession rite later!

Daughter of the Vanir – White

Casting: Daughter of the Vanir! Lady clad in white! Your beauty is unrivaled and your wisdom has no equal.  You are leader of your people, mighty in peace and mightier in war.  Oh come and be our necklace.

Dismissing: Farewell, Daughter of the Vanir, our Lady of White. Mighty ruler and mightier warrior, the shining jewel of the proud Vanir. We thank you for your presence in our triangle tonight.

Chooser of the Slain – Red

Casting: Chooser of the battle slain! Lady clad in red! Like the  winged Valkyries we are yours to command. You are power and desire, you are strength and viciousness.  Oh come and be our chariot.

Dismissing: Farewell, Chooser of the battle slain, our Lady of Red. You who select the most honorable of the noble dead from the battlefield. We thank you for your presence in our triangle tonight.

Mistress of Siedr – Black

Casting: Mistress of Siedr! Lady clad in black! Sing to us your ancient secrets, teach us the dark mysteries of our souls. You are The Witch and The Oracle, The Weaver and The Web. Oh come and be our veil.

Dismissing: Farewell, Mistress of Siedr, our Lady of Black. You are darkness and power and where others turn away in fear, we turn towards you in reverence. We thank you for the presence in our triangle tonight.

The two witches I work closely with and I have been experimenting with red, white, and black imagery and associations. Each of us have taken on one of the colors and the associations we’ve assigned to it, thus the inclusion of the color imagery.

Feel free to use and adapt these invocations to your own needs or intentions.

 

Blood and Bones and Ancestors

I was raised with aunts and cousins and grandparents living together under one roof. I was raised to be my brother and sister’s keeper. I was raised with a fierce knowledge that there is no bond more relentless than the bond of blood.

At holidays we would gather on chairs and couches and retell the same stories of hardship and hilarity, of the living and of the dead. We would remember their names, looking at photographs and home movies. At the time I didn’t realize it, but now I know that by remembering and celebrating we were venerating. We were keeping alive an ancient tradition that this new world has forgotten.

But I will not forget.

Modernity has forced us into isolation; many of us live without family in our homes. We’ve replaced the familial and ancestral bonds with technological conveniences, the wisdom of our elders has been usurped by the collective humming of the internet. In the past your family meant your survival or your destruction and the bonds you forged with them and the work of those who came before you were fundamental to your success.

In times of old we could turn to the wax masks of the ancients hung in our homes, we could look to their graves and tombs. Now we must seek them out on our own, devising both new and forgotten paths to the dead through bones, and blood, and shadow. Chanting, singing, dancing, screaming into darkness, beyond hedges, and through veils, I reach out to my ancestors, to my family, to the dead. I beat at my chest and stomp my feet not in mourning, but in celebration, for the dead speak and they have many secrets to tell.

When I die, burn my body and release my spirit so that I may fly across worlds on shadowy wings. Mix my ashes with the dirt and mud. When my children’s children dig through the earth and call for me, I will hear them and I will whisper to them. I will sing them twisted songs of curses and cures and I will not be forgotten.