Notice it’s lower-case: it’s a description, not a title.
Spirit work has no hard defined lines, no set of rules that apply to everyone who is picked by a certain deity. I mentioned this earlier.
It’s this very idea of gnosis or immanent deity that many either cannot handle, or cannot fathom – and many just don’t want. Having the deity that not only chose you, but has their hand in every aspect in your life, and will happily speak, shout, growl, or otherwise communicate with you; and, at times that are not on good scheduling. At first, it is not only bewildering, overwhelming, and frustrating, but with dedication, discipline, and learning you can sync the work in the Other-worlds with the physical, albeit a high maintenance relationship.
Some would call my gods ‘little,’ or ‘tribal’ Gods. Honestly, there is nothing ‘little,’ about them – and they speak to more than just me. When the Gods pick you, there is a choice: But, life will get shittier, sickly, and costly at the denial and the folkloric ‘illness,’ takes it’s toll. Doctors won’t know what’s wrong with you, nor anyone else. To the world, you will be an insane, sick person who needs to be shot behind the woodshed. But the Gods are only just beginning.
The Gods who pick you are outside of one’s control. It is just the way it works. Granted, other Gods will come and go in one’s life, but the ones who purposefully chose you out of a crowd won’t leave – even when they’re silent.
My own initiation was of bone, stone, and metal. It took three years to finish, each year a re-making of who I was, until I was considered ‘done,’ by Arta Herself. Initiatory mysteries are harder not only when you’re alone- but by their truest nature: There are no rules, just a fluidity and intensity that many may not be prepared for.
At the end, I’ve learned their symbols, their rituals that they have taught to me, and the year in it’s seasons that are not attached to farming, or ranching. It’s a tradition of today, by a modern practitioner. In spirit work, I have yet to find any hard and fast set correspondences, rituals, or even the same type of relationships with their Gods. That’s just the way it is.
Spirit work does not fit into many Pagan communities due to the immense intimacy between not only the Gods, but the Spirits, and Ancestors as well. There is no ‘putting away the altar,’ because a major part of this altar is one’s life. There are many times I double check what I’ve learned, not as an insult to my Gods, Spirits, or Ancestors – but to make damned sure it’s not my brain poking into the conversation – but true divine teaching.
I not only work at my altar, but I will travel to places few people have seen, as well as the crossroads, rivers, to the tree of the Genius Locii, graveyards to honor the dead, and more places besides. The crossroads for this spirit worker (and I think this applies to more than just me) is not only the place of intersection delineated by physical roads or trails – but the constructed one intended for work that intersect within worlds. I don’t even think that covers it, sigh… I wish I had a silver tongue right about now to aid in poetic description..
For my spirit work, the hearth is central. This is the ‘center’ of the home, or where the family convenes every evening. It could be the den, living room, part of the dining room (I’ve lived like this as well), for us it’s the middle of the house, and we have couches and furnishings – but we sit on the floor (hey, it’s the biggest seat in the house!) because it’s more personal, intimate, and it puts everyone on the same basis. That’s just how we do things. I have a copper cauldron in my hearth because I also believe no home has it’s hearth unless a cauldron is within it – again, it’s just me. The ‘hearth,’ is so alien to our culture it isn’t funny.
The hearth is not just a fireplace, pot-belly stove, or anything like that. You can have a hearth without these. So many insurance companies refuse to insure homes that have these, so many are living without. It’s a shame, but still a fucked-up truth. The hearth is that ‘center’ of your life, and some modern practitioners set theirs up in living rooms, kitchens, hell a mini altar next to the stove! I admit I do too.. But the hearth is the ‘place of places,’ as well as a ‘place outside of places.’
I tend to work in squares and triangles, and not so much in circles – but that is just what I do. My creed that I personally live by started with three – honor, loyalty, and courage; and now it’s finally finalized at 12.
Many spirit workers work with literal directions, unlike many modern practitioners. Because of being an American, this is my homeland. I was born here, I live here, I was in the Army and defended this land – I will probably die here. I align myself here, not in some far off land that I no longer live in, but where I live, practice my spirit work, and my daily job as well. Water is in the north, fire to the south, air to the east, and earth to the west. I’m studying the four-elemental system, I admit it’s alien to me; but very practical.
Spirit work is living in-between, but not entirely in either. That’s all I have for tonight, I know I can’t describe it to you – you have to live it. I really hope any of this makes sense.