I find that there’s a considerable amount of fear surrounding this sort of work, people are afraid of running into “bad” spirits or attracting spirits that have malicious intent. Having worked with my fair share of spirits who, at first glance, appear to be bad or malicious I can certainly understand this fear. From an external perspective, these beings are just plain scary!
In my experience, this fear of “bad” spirits is the spirit workers worst enemy. And it’s not the fear itself but the judgment behind the fear that causes the true problem.
About a year ago I had a friend who was being plagued by a spirit that had attached to her like a leech, draining her energy and causing her to have an obsessive preoccupation with another person that was quite out of character for her. She had tried many different ways of ridding herself of it but could not for the life of her shake the thing so she came to me for help. One look at this spirit told me something was amiss, the spirit was clearly hurting her but it didn’t seem angry or hurt.
It seemed desperate.
I tried a few gentle methods of removing the spirit to no avail, this sucker was intent on staying attached to her. After several failed attempts we finally managed to remove the spirit through fairly aggressive means and trapped the spirit in a container so that it wouldn’t return to her.
She left, happy to be free of the leech. Many spirit workers would leave it at that, the spirit was clearly causing harm and would stay in the container indefinitely or be destroyed. As a mediator, however, one party walking away happy while the other is still seething is not necessarily a success.
And so, I set about working with this spirit, trying to unravel its story and understand why it had acted so aggressively toward my friend.
After a time it came to light that this spirit was completely unaware that it was hurting anyone.
What I discovered (and later verified with my friend) was that the spirit was actually the father of the person she had been obsessing over. He had abandoned his son early in his childhood and then later died. After his death, this abandonment weighed on him so much that he returned to his son and attempted to prevent anyone else from leaving him. The result was, of course, disastrous, the son had a string of tumultuous and painful relationships that had left him even more emotionally battered than before but the spirit of his father was so lost in his guilt that he couldn’t see that.
He had regressed, as spirits often do, to a state of hyper-emotional existence. This guilt was so all-consuming that it became who he was, his singular motivation, and it blinded him to any evidence that his actions were harmful.
At this point, my purpose with this spirit became obvious, I had to help him see the error of his ways and release the guilt and sense of obligation that had kept him tethered to his son. It took time and effort but eventually, I was able to calm him out of his hyper-emotional state and show him the truth of what he had been doing. After this realization the spirit changed completely, he was no longer riddled with guilt and shed the years of internal torment that he had been carrying with him. He appeared and acted exactly as I expected he must have when he was alive. He was rational, a bit apologetic but otherwise very amicable and he quickly left this world for the next soon after.
Of course, not every harmful spirit is like this. Some are simply mean, I won’t deny that, but I would wager that far more of these “bad” and “scary” spirits are simply hurting or misguided.
Judging spirits or magic as “bad” or “evil” does no good for anyone. All it does is assign a preconceived set of assumptions to something that may or may not have any truth to it, thereby clouding the truth and keeping you in the dark.
Witches are seekers of the hidden and secret, we cannot accept falsehoods based on assumptions. In spirit work and in our magical workings as a whole we must strive to seek what is beyond the veil of first impressions and easy assumptions. The truth that hides in the dark, hidden from the world, is where true knowledge and power lies.
That said, there are times when a spirit, of malicious intent or not, will not let go of their host. You may understand their plight, but that does not always mean that you can help them. And then, there are of course the spirits that are NOT simply in pain or confused. These spirits do exist and while in my experience they are few and far between, it’s better to know how to handle a troublesome spirit the forceful way than not to know and end up in a bind.
As far as possessions are concerned, true full possessions are unusual. A full possession is what most people think of when they think of possessions; the spirit basically uses the host as a vehicle and takes full control of their body to masquerade in physical form. This can happen but it’s usually a combination of a particularly twisted spirit and a particularly vulnerable person that results in this phenomena. If you’re following even 1/3 of the advice in the Level 1 course there’s essentially no chance of this happening to you. A particularly vulnerable person would be someone who is deeply traumatized, abused, depressed, grieving, or otherwise mentally and spiritually repressed. If you find yourself in any of these emotional states (which I truly hope you do not) take EVERY measure you can to protect yourself. Combine the techniques in the Level 1 course with a ward (or several!) in order to protect yourself while in a vulnerable state.
Most possessions are quite benign, they’re really more of an annoyance than a danger half the time. The spirit I mentioned previously that I helped my friend with was a partial possession. It had attached to her but didn’t have the strength (or the desire) to fully overtake her. She ended up experiencing a sort of personality melding with the spirit, taking on his obsession and desire to be there for his son. For her, these feelings were very obviously not her own. She said to me many times throughout this process that she “just hadn’t been feeling like herself”.
Personality or preference changes are usually the one big indicator that someone has a spirit attached to them. You might experience a sudden change in your likes and dislikes, you might find yourself with new or unusual obsessions, feelings or emotions that are not your own, and compulsion to do things that you normally never would. You might also experience pain (usually in the area the spirit is attached to but sometimes in other areas related to the problems the spirit has), sleep disturbances, memories or dreams that are not your own, or thoughts in your mind that are not your own.
The approach you take to ridding yourself of an offending spirit will differ based on your own proficiency with spirits and its willingness to talk. You may be able to communicate effectively with the spirit and help it move past its problems so that it leaves of its own accord. If you do not have this ability, or if you do and it does not result in any improvements, then it’s time to move onto more forceful means.
Begin with a cleansing bath that is meant specifically for spirits. (you can find procedures and recipes in The Cleansing Bath Masterclass)
If your problem persists, you will next try banishing the spirit and warding yourself immediately.
If this still does not solve the problem, you will need to bind the spirit either permanently, or so that you can take it to a spirit worker to be rehabilitated so that it can move on. I suggest the second option since once bound, the safety of the spirit becomes your responsibility.
Spirits can also simply be bothersome without attaching to someone. For these spirits, a simple cleansing, banishing, and warding will almost always do the trick.