Last week we took an in-depth look at how to determine whether a spirit haunting has a mundane cause or is truly a spirit. Tons of normal, everyday occurrences can seem like a spirit haunting, even though it’s really not. What do you do when you’ve eliminated all of those possibilities though? How do you approach the situation when you’ve determined that you really do have a spirit haunting? That’s what we’re going to be talking about today.
If you haven’t already, please go back and read the previous post in this series to make sure that the spirit you’re dealing with is actually a spirit! Remember, all the magic in the world won’t help you if the problem is mundane in nature. Once you’ve determined that your spirit is the genuine article, it’s time to figure out what to do about it. Let me take you step-by-step through the process that I use when confronting any kind of spirit.
So You’re Haunted. Now What?
Okay, you’ve determined that your spirit is the real deal and you are really truly haunted. The spirit might be bound to your house, a neighbor or a friend’s house, a workplace, an object, or to you personally. You may have no idea where this spirit came from. That’s okay! We’re going to take all of that into account as we move through the steps for managing a spirit haunting. Please keep in mind that while I always suggest a more moderate approach, if you are uncomfortable or scared and a moderate approach doesn’t feel right to you, that’s okay. We’ll be discussing how to take a more aggressive approach as well so that you can have peace of mind.
Step 1: Is The Spirit Aggressive?
The first step in dealing with any haunting is determining whether the spirit is aggressive. When I say aggressive, I mean truly aggressive. Aggressive doesn’t mean that the spirit causes bumps and creaks in the house. It doesn’t mean that the spirit is scary. It doesn’t mean that the spirit yells at you or gives you bad dreams. When I use the word aggressive, I mean aggressive in the sense that the spirit is either making direct threats against you or has attempted to harm you, another person, or your pets in some way.
In other words, does this spirit pose a direct threat to your well-being or the well-being of the people around you? If the answer is yes, skip directly to step six and take magical action ASAP. We do not allow aggressive spirits to continue being aggressive. You have to take a no-tolerance policy to this. The minute a spirit becomes truly aggressive, you boot their ass out with decisive magical action.
Anything less than real aggression is probably workable. Many spirits become irate, confused, irritable, or scared and act out as a result. Often, these spirits can be dealt with much more gently and you can turn a spirit that is unhappy or confused into a spirit that can happily coexist in your space and potentially even help you with your magic. Alternatively, you might be able to meet whatever needs the spirit has and help them to pass on, or come to an understanding with this spirit and have them leave peacefully and of their own accord. I am always aiming for the best possible solution for everyone involved, including the spirit.
Step 2: Determine Your Spirit Tolerance
Once you’ve determined that the spirit is not aggressive, the next thing to think about is your personal spirit tolerance. Some people have no tolerance for spirits. They’re either afraid of them, too freaked out by the idea of spirits in general, have had bad experiences with spirits in the past, or maybe they simply just don’t have time to deal with a spirit in their environment. These are what we will call “zero tolerance” people. They have no interest in helping the spirit, having the spirit remain in their space in any capacity, or communicating with the spirit on any level. If you are in the zero-tolerance category, go directly to step six.
If you have some level of tolerance for spirits, you will need to think carefully about how much tolerance you have and what you are willing to do in the process of dealing with the spirit. Someone with low tolerance may be willing to deal with a calmer, more reasonable spirit but not an irate or upset spirit. A person with a high tolerance like myself is usually willing to deal with just about anything short of direct threats and aggressive behavior. Take a minute to think about where you fall on the scale and keep that in mind as you move forward. Your tolerance for spirits can also change over time depending on what’s going on in your life, how much time and energy you have to invest into the situation, how experienced and confident you are in your craft, etc. If at any point you feel that your level of tolerance has been crossed and you can no longer deal with the spirit, go directly to taking magical action to resolve the situation. Even if you would like to be kind or understanding with the spirit, your well-being always has to come first.
Step 3: Why Is The Spirit There?
Next, we want to see if we can determine why the spirit is haunting you. If you can communicate with spirits and this particular spirit is willing to communicate, this can be as simple as having a quick conversation with the spirit. If you struggle to communicate with spirits or the spirit either can’t or won’t have a conversation with you, things get a bit trickier.
The biggest thing we want to avoid is assuming that we know why the spirit is there. Often, fear causes our brains to jump to conclusions and fill in blanks with worst-case scenarios. We do not want these assumptions clouding our ability to work with the spirit, so throw all of those out the window right now. If you have an intuitive nudge that you think is informing your assumptions, that might be worth looking into, but don’t just allow your assumptions to stand without scrutinizing them.
The best way for people who are not psychically gifted to figure out why the spirit is there is through the use of divination. This is what Ouija boards were designed for! If you’re comfortable using a Ouija board, I highly recommend going that route. Make sure that you’re speaking to the correct spirit and asking the right kinds of questions to dig down into the real reasons behind this spirit’s presence. If you’re not comfortable with Ouija boards, that’s okay, you can use tarot cards, a pendulum, scrying, or any other divination method that works well for you.
The key to getting good results here is to go in with an open mind, avoid leading questions, and keep your focus on the root of the problem. Remember, spirits are often very confused, which can make communicating with them difficult. It’s very easy for spirits to get off onto tangents and lead you on a wild goose chase that doesn’t end up answering your questions. Make sure that you are keeping your focus on what you want to know. The most important things for you to determine are why the spirit is present, what it is struggling with, and whether it needs your help.
Not every spirit will need help with something. Growing up, I lived in a house with the spirit of a little girl. My mom desperately wanted me to make her go away, but the little girl wasn’t really doing anything. She wasn’t struggling to pass on or upset about anything. More than anything, she was just kind of bored. She would play harmless practical jokes and turn on the radios in the house, but beyond that, she left us pretty much alone. I found that by simply leaving music on for her, I could mitigate all the uncomfortable behaviors that were bothering my family. After we came to that agreement, she didn’t bother us very much. She would occasionally come and chat with me or request a different kind of music, but she was largely content.
Keep in mind that the majority of spirits have not come into your life to victimize you personally. It’s probably not personal at all. They might just be tied to a location or an object and you’re the closest person. Or, they may have picked you specifically but not for some nefarious purpose. During a consultation, I helped a woman with a spirit that was really scaring her, and by the end of our hour together we had determined that this spirit was simply struggling to communicate. It was actually the spirit of her great-grandmother trying to connect with her and struggling. Figuring this out completely eliminated the fear and uncertainty in the situation and allowed this woman to build a very comfortable, productive relationship with the ancestral spirit. When you’re trying to find out why the spirit is there, try your best to put aside all of your fear and your assumptions and approach the spirit with curiosity.
Step 4: Can This Be Resolved With A Conversation?
Lots of people want to jump directly to magical solutions to their spiritual problems but often, the magical solution is the more difficult solution. In many situations, resolve can be found with a simple conversation. Whether that conversation is helping the spirit figure out what’s so confusing or upsetting to them or helping them to understand why their behavior is bothering you, sometimes they simply don’t realize that they’re crossing a boundary.
You don’t necessarily need to be able to hear or see the spirit to speak to it. It can hear you just fine! If the spirit tends to show up at a particular time or in a particular location, it’s best to attempt talking to them at that time and place. Make sure they know that you’re speaking to them by announcing your intentions and then simply tell them how you’re feeling or let them know that you’re interested in helping.
Use plain language and try not to become overly emotional when you’re conversing with the spirit. Spirits are energetic beings, which means that they are very easily influenced by the energies around them. If your energy is erratic, upsetting, or particularly anxious, you may exacerbate the behavior of the spirit. It’s also worth noting here that directly interacting with the spirit can cause its behavior to become more intensified. This does not necessarily mean that you’ve upset the spirit or that they’re mad at you. Usually, it’s just an indication that the spirit is overwhelmed at finally receiving some kind of response. Speaking directly to the spirit can also have the opposite effect, where getting some kind of acknowledgment allows them to calm down and stop whatever behavior they’ve been doing to get your attention. Keep your preferred divination tools on hand just in case you get the sense that they would like to respond to whatever you’re saying.
Step 5: Set Some Ground Rules
If trying to have a conversation with the spirit hasn’t resolved the behaviors that are disrupting your life, it’s time to set some ground rules. One of the most important things that you can understand about the spirit realm is that you are actually more powerful than they are. We live in a world that is both physical and spiritual as both physical and spiritual beings. This means that we have the upper hand on purely spiritual beings within this realm. They’re in your house, baby. This means that what you say goes. Most spirits are completely aware that a well-informed human is more powerful than them. Many spirits will try to convince you that they are more powerful, but that is just a bid to take advantage of your naivety. Do not fall for it.
If you’ve gotten to this point and the problem persists, you need to set ground rules. This means coming up with a list of “house rules” that the spirit has to follow. If the spirit breaks your rules, you kick them out. You set out these rules in no uncertain terms and you make sure that they understand the consequences of breaking your rules. Below are some of the rules that I set in my house. Feel free to use these or come up with your own list.
- Absolutely no hurting, scaring, or antagonizing the people or animals in my house.
- No breaking things.
- No stealing things from me or anyone else.
- No interfering with magic. They are allowed to be involved in my magic if they ask politely, but tampering or damaging my magic is out of the question.
- If they wish to talk, they can move things, leave messages, or whatever else they find convenient as long as it isn’t overly jarring or damaging.
I will usually write these rules out, post them in an area the spirit frequents, announce the rules out loud, and then let the spirit know that if it breaks these house rules, they will not be allowed to stay in the house. Remember that you’re not threatening the spirit at this point, you’re just letting them know that this is the behavior you expect and if they can’t hold themselves to that agreement, you will take the necessary action. In the majority of cases, this will solve the problem. Most spirits become attached to either a place or a person and do not want to leave it. By telling them exactly what you need them to do to stay, you’re giving them every opportunity to stay where they want to be. Most spirits will comply without putting up too much fuss.
In some cases, the spirit might try to test the limits of these rules by breaking them in small ways. This is not flagrantly ignoring your rules but rather, pushing the boundaries to see how you respond. If you think the spirit is testing to see if you’re serious, you should still follow through. Often, if I think a spirit is testing me, I will push them out of the house and set up a ward for a week before letting them back in. When I let them back in, I let them know that next time they break a rule it’ll be a month. I’ve never had a spirit test me twice.
If a spirit completely ignores your rules and refuses to work with you or talk to you reasonably, then it’s time to break out the big guns and start using some magic.
In many cases, these first five steps will be enough to build some rapport with the spirit and get it to start working with you rather than against you. If you’ve worked through these steps in handling a spirit and you haven’t seen any improvement though, not to worry. There’s one more step that you can still take. In next week’s blog post, we’re going in-depth into how to use magic to remove the spirit from your house when you need to. We will be covering the exact spells that you need to use to get rid of your spirit problem once and for all.
Ready to learn more about Spirit Work?
The world of spirits can be an overwhelming place for beginners and more experienced witches alike. There’s no telling what you might run into when you open that door!
This practice doesn’t have to be so scary though. As with most things in the craft, it’s been built up to be way more difficult than it actually is. With the right guide and a little prep work, you can be working with spirits without all of the fear and trepidation.
In Spirit Work for Witches, I give you a look at look at beginner-level spirit work, dispel common misconceptions, teach you how to stay safe while working with spirits, and ease you into some easy introductory spirit work that anyone can do. Whether you want to learn to work with spirits or you want to learn to keep spirits away from you, this is the course for you.