Small Spirits: Preparation

Before we even pour out our first offering to the faeries, we need to go over some basics. It’s important to note that everything I do starts from the standpoint that the spirits are autonomous and equal or greater than us. Both of those beliefs influence how I work and what I do. I am aware of other paradigms that people work in, but I won’t be exploring those in these posts.

Because of my beliefs, I take this work seriously, and everything I do is based on respect for the spirits. That is what my paradigm requires, and that is what you should expect when reading this.

Remember – we are establishing a relationship with the faeries.

Autonomy & Respect

These are the backbone of the work. When we understand that the spirits are autonomous, we recognize that we are engaging in a relationship with them (as opposed to trying to control them). The spirits can surprise us, behave in ways we didn’t expect, and voice their own opinions and preferences. As with all relationships, respect is required. This means that we are not trying to use the spirits as toys or playthings, nor are we trying to milk them for resources or favors.

We are seeking to establish a relationship. Ideally, neither party – human or faery – is dependent on the other, but instead helps each other and brings to each of our lives a greater fullness and vibrancy.

Saying that the spirits are grateful just for our acknowledging their existence, no matter how we use or treat them, is antithetical to this paradigm. We do not assume that our own existence is a blessing. Nor do we assume it is a curse. If we’re going to engage in this work – whether going very deep or ‘just’ establishing a weekly offering – we need to be balanced. Self-reflection is required, so that we can better evaluate if our behavior towards the spirits is appropriate.

Communication & Consistency

This flows out of the respect we give the spirits. As with other relationships we build, we need to communicate. When we pour out our offerings, we voice aloud that we are giving the liquid to the spirits. We vocalize or burn paper with our words written on it, or we use gestures to communicate.

When we give offerings, it is important – as in other devotional practices – that we do so consistently. I recommend no less than once a week. Once a relationship is established, we can negotiate with the spirits, adjusting our offerings and timing according to what they need and what we can provide. Some spirits will want us to be largely hands off, perhaps giving offerings only once a year, while others will want daily offerings.

If we understand spirits are autonomous, we should aware (and expect) that we will get along great with some spirits and horribly with others. This does not mean a spirit is evil or malevolent, though I’ll also discuss handling malevolent entities, but that we simply don’t get along. Some relationships will be incredibly deep and create intense emotional bonds, while others will be business-like. There is no preferred relationship. There are many different relationship we create.

But if we want to keep these relationships, we need to be consistent. We need to communicate – speak to the spirits, apologize if we’re late with offerings, let them know when we’re changing something, recognize and identify if the relationship is lacking or becoming problematic. What we give should also have some consistency; individual spirits or types of spirits may want the exact same offering all the time, while others will want some change.

the faeries in my home prefer cookies and cupcakes, though milk is a more common offering.

Of course, oftentimes, especially when we begin, our communication will seem very one-sided. We can use a variety of divination techniques to help us hear the spirits, as well as keeping ourselves open to ‘paranormal’ activity. In the paradigm I work in, behavior such as knocking on/in walls, footsteps, disembodied voices and giggling, and shadows or lights moving around are not considered strange. They have become common enough in my house that most visitors experience some type of such phenomenon. From here on out, such behavior will be called ‘spirit activity’ rather than paranormal or supernatural activity.

Knocking and other behavior is common when we work with the faeries, as well as shiny or small trinkets going missing. Especially common when beginning this work is for a small item to go missing and then returned when we put out an offering and ask for the item to be returned. ‘Stealing’ is common, but that behavior can be avoided if we keep a bowl of shiny gems, marbles, and glass for the faeries to enjoy.

For me, the type of knocking indicates what sort of offering is needed. Knocking occurs in the ceiling when I need to make more frequent dairy offerings. Footsteps and giggling occur when the spirits are pleased. We can learn how to receive feedback from spirits through…

Discernment

Discernment allows us to figure out if we are talking to spirits or if we’re talking to sockpuppets. I’m putting aside the complicated issue of when spirits spring out of our own minds, though in my writings on the Otherfaith I plan to engage more with that issue.

Basically, we need to use critical thinking. Humans are very good at making patterns that aren’t actually there. My discernment involves divination, meditation, self-reflection, checking in with others (both people who believe similarly and differently than myself), and time.

Divination only works if we are honest with ourselves and the results. In one group I was with, divination was treated as a way of seeing was ‘goodies’ we got from the spirits after performing (badly done) rituals. I eventually left that group for that reason (and being pressured to draw a divination that I was not in any way comfortable drawing). We need to be good enough at divination to understand what the spirits are saying through our preferred method. Receiving divination from readers or seers we trust is also good. It’s important to note that shopping around for many divination results is not actually encouraged. This behavior usually occurs when we just want an answer that pleases us (and for this same reason we should not as the same question over and over and over again). Go to people you trust can actually interpret their method of divination. Beginners are not recommended.

Meditation and self-reflection help us go within and identify wish-fulfillment and our own inner voices, which may distract us from what the spirits are saying. Critical thinking is a must. This said, we must not resist something just because it is pleasurable or something we desire. Self-reflection allows us to better understand our own influences and identify the voices of our sockpuppets. The spirits can challenge us and help us. Self-reflection is so necessary to this work because there are no always and forever rules. One spirit may challenge us all the time, while another may be a comfort. Just as with people, we see different sides of different spirits, and we have different relationships.

Taking our time is also vital. We do not need to rush. For many spirits, linear time is a confusing idea. We need to remember to slow down. This work is supposed to take a long time. If we rush, we often toss discernment to the wind. Go slow, take moments to be silent and meditative, and remember that there is no need to rush. You will be much stronger in your devotions and relationships. Going slow can also help us discern what was chatter and what was a spirit. Spirits will come to us whether we are thinking of them or not, and sometimes they won’t respond when we call out. By waiting, we have more time to check and research and reflect, and we can see what spirits come to us of their own volition.

Adjusting Our Expectations

This last point is arguably the most important, which is why I wanted to put it at the end.

You can put out offerings – daily offerings of milk and bread, or weekly offerings of milk and honey, extravagant offerings or plainer offerings – for years and not hear a peep. Maybe there aren’t spirits where you are, or spirits that are interested in interacting with you. Maybe you’re just not equipped – in some form – to work with the spirits in any capacity. There are hundreds of reasons why spirits may not be responding. If you’re concerned, you should approach a spirit worker or diviner who can look into the issue. But most people have brief spirit activity and not a peep afterward.

Sometimes, after all the offerings we give, all we ‘get’ is a peaceful, happy, safe home. A good, growing garden.

And this is why we have to adjust our expectations. We need to focus not on ‘getting’. Whether we get lost in faery land or not, our work is important. Not all of us have to be super-devoted give-up-everything-else people. That’s not what we need. We need variety and diversity.

When I talk about adjusting our expectations, I mean that we need to evaluate what we want to happen. And we need to accept that what we want to happen might not. Giving offerings, being consistent in doing so, making it a part of our lives – it benefits the spirits. And it does benefit us, even if the spirits cannot or do not interact back with us in easily identifiable ways.

Maybe the ‘only’ benefit we receive is some stability.

Don’t expect big flashing lights or external voices. Don’t expect 24/7 spirit activity. Don’t expect best-friend spirits.

Start the work because you feel called to or because you want to care for the spirits. Not because you want goodies. Don’t do it for ego. Do it for the spirits.

Previous Posts

Small Spirits
Four Faeries
Four (More) Faeries 

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About Aine

Aine Llewellyn is a 20 year old girl creature currently mucking about in southern Arizona. She enjoys the winters and rain but can’t stand the heat. She is a difficult polytheist that natters on and on about her faith.

  • Bianca Bradley

    Interesting, and a good start. I would suggest maybe instead of autonomous, maybe explain it more in intercultural communication. Like Americans and Aisians while still autonomous have different cultures and if you don’t take the time to understand the context of those cultures misunderstandings will happen. They fey, are even more different at times.

  • Bianca Bradley

    I thought about this comment for a bit, but I’m going to toss it out anyway. I don’t think it is good policy to sugar coat the fey. I think you are doing that in your third paragraph on communication and consistency.

    You get along with the fairies, not all do, not all won’t, and new comers need to know more then some you will get along with some you won’t, some will be downright dangerous. People need to know what to do, when they encounter that. John Michael Greers book on Monsters is a good resource(I endorse it only because he doesn’t have his head stuck up his butt, pulls from various cultures the various spirits you may encounter and solutions to them that aren’t from just one magical tradition)

    • Aine

      I already addressed this issue in a previous post on the subject – I wrote that no matter how ‘little’ a spirit is, they can still wreak havoc in our lives. I can link to that post, if you think it would be helpful.

      • Bianca Bradley

        I respect the fairies, the wee ones or by whatever name they go by. I also know what it’s like to walk the path of the fool in the tarot deck at times.

        I do think that linking, your previous post, that in your article would be helpful.

        I’m also going to suggest a balance on this. People who come to the fairies, often have victorian images of them in their mind. Awww cute little flower fairies and forget the Irish and Scottish country side view, where they call them the bright folk or wee folk for a reason. they forget to quote brocktn (from live journal) why the red caps cap is red. I would suggest, a balance of warnings.

        People will go to them, and expect them to act human. They aren’t human, and they may have been once(if Kveldulf Gundarrsson in elves wights and trolls is right) but they aren’t anymore. They are not modern humans either.

        To put it as an analogy. To many people will see them as safe Teddy Bears when they should be viewed as Bears. Depending on which spirit, Black, Grizzly or man eating Polar Bear.


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