No, friends, I’m not dead, nor have I hung up my robes. Metaphorically speaking, I mean; I hang them up after every ritual, and even on occasion get them dry-cleaned. But no, I’m still here. I haven’t been writing much on magic because I haven’t been doing much with magic, and from what I gather, that seems to be a fairly common thing these past few months with a lot of the magicians I know. Whether it’s a matter of collective and communal burnout or fatigue or just something in the stars affecting large swathes of occultists is beyond me, but I do feel bad all the same. I feel disrespectful towards my spirits, towards my practices and traditions, and towards my teachers that I’ve been doing so little this year. I am making an effort, however, to get back up and running; baby steps first, though, and slow work is in the foreseeable future for the time being.
That said, I haven’t been completely inactive.
A while back, about two months tops (time doesn’t really register between awake-time and sleep-time during the summer), a new job opening was posted in my office. I applied, since it’s an increase of pay and rank, and I figured I had nothing to lose. A few weeks later, I interviewed with three managers, one of them being my current manager; I had thought before that it was just an opening in the current office and branch where I currently work, but it turns out that it was similar openings in three different offices handling completely different programs. Last week, I was offered the job I applied for, and I accepted it earlier this week. Thing was, the job I got wasn’t the one I expected; I expected it to be in my branch, but the one I got was in a different branch. Funnily enough, it’s the other branch and manager that interviewed me five years ago when I got my current job, and I turned her down then in favor of my current manager.
I asked my spirits to help out along this whole thing, and I reminded myself of a very important aspect in working with spirits directly. I’m used to simply calling on favors after making regular offerings and building a relationship, but not all spirits (especially ones you only introduced to your household earlier this year) operate on that kind of practice. I called on some of my spirits to open the ways and help me out through this job application process, and they did, right up through the time I got the job offer. However, because I got a job offer from a source I didn’t expect, I held off on accepting it until I ascertained whether it was really the one they had helped with. To that end, I had three divination readings done: one directly consulting the spirits who were helping, one with geomancy on whether I should take the job, and one done by a friend.
The first reading I did was with the spirits, and the interchange went something like this:
- Should I take the job offer I was extended? “Nope.”
- …uh…just to make sure I got that clear, should I not take the job offer? “That’s correct.”
- …this is the job you guys helped me out with in the application and interview, right? “Yup!”
- And this is the job I asked for? “Mmhm!”
- And I should not take the job offer? “You got it.”
- …okay, then. Anything else I should be aware of? “Nah, you got it.”
Admittedly, I didn’t feel like the reading was complete when I closed it after that final question, and there was an air of…sarcasm, an aura of a smirking child hiding something politely over the place where I consulted the spirit. Needless to say, I was confused, since my gut and my intellect were both telling me to take the job. Additionally, my geomancy reading strongly and favorably confirmed that I should take the job; to check that reading, I did an inverse reading (“should I not take the job offer”) which was thoroughly denied with geomancy. And, add to it all, the reading my friend graciously performed for me again verified that I should take the job I was extended.
So here I was, faced with conflicting and confusing information. Happily, I wasn’t embarrassed as a diviner when it came to these answers, since the readings were all completely correct and valid. It wasn’t a problem with the divination, but with how I approached the spirits themselves; it was another friend who pointed out to me that, yes, this particular kind of spirit can be very sarcastic when he replies; there was definitely more to the story than I was guessing at. Worse, I realized that throughout the whole process of this, I asked for help but never extended anything in return for getting the spirit’s help.
Herp derp. That’d’ve been my issue right there: you can’t get something for nothing, after all. Regular offerings are good because the spirits and gods deserve them as spirits and gods, but a bit of rum or wine here and there doesn’t always translate to payment when it comes to real work being done. For some spirits, that method works, but not so with this one. I went back and consulted the spirit again, and confirmed that, yeah, they gave me all this help that I asked for, but weren’t about to give me the all-clear until I had promised at least something in return. I checked out what they wanted (nothing much, nothing unexpected, but all worth it in the end), confirmed that they wanted it in exchange for this, and that in doing so they gave me the all-clear I was after and much more favorably than before. No lingering smirks in the air this time, but broad smiles. So I went ahead, finally accepted the offer, made a beeline for the local store, and got exactly what the spirits asked for. Everybody’s content, especially me.
So what’s the moral of the story here? Simple: you can’t get something for nothing. Building up a relationship is one thing, and if you get to the point with a spirit where you can call on them for favors without promising or vowing anything, awesome! That’s the exception to the rule, however, and the rule is that for everything you ask, you make a payment. If the spirit doesn’t come through, don’t pay them, and figure out what happened along the way; if the spirit comes through, you should, too, and fulfill your end of the bargain. Even if it’s something innocuous, if you want the spirits’ help, you give them something in return for it. It could be just for their mere pleasure, or it could be to sustain them throughout the work, but something should be given regardless. If a car can’t drive on an empty tank, or if a man can’t work on an empty wallet, then a spirit can’t work on an empty plate, either.