I’m going to start off by saying that I am by no means a master of spirit work. I am no elder, sage, or grand high poo-bah of the astral. I’m just a gal that’s getting close to doing spirit work for five years now and has made some observations about how to work with people just getting into this stuff. I’m also just as set in my ways as most other spirit workers are. This post is mainly in reference to knowing people face-to-face rather than over the internet.
Compared to other “woo” subjects, spirit work doesn’t really have a place in the public eye. Witchcraft is pretty well known in pop culture and a lot of people are aware that their are people that practice in real life, even if they aren’t sure what that practice entails. Mediums are also pretty well known in the public eye, but the majority of people think they are just scammers. Spirit work though, as in someone going to the astral and working with spirits that aren’t human or animal? That is something that is not nearly as common in the public eye. People might think of some “Ancient Native American Wisdom” (man, that was painful to write) but that is not a guarantee. What I am getting at is that if you are brand new to spirit work, especially if you don’t have any experience in other woo areas, you really don’t have a frame of reference for what’s going on around you.
So it makes sense that brand new spirit workers can be very excited when they meet someone that is more experienced than they are. I know I was super excited when I found the blog of someone that had been doing this for a few years. They introduced me to the term spirit work and helped me understand that what I was experiencing was something that others were too. It also let me know about some of risks and safety measures that I wasn’t even aware.
The question for me now though, is what do I do now that I am the experienced person and a new person is coming to me for advice? For me, the answer has been to be very general and ultimately try to get the person to do their own thing. Spirit work has a so much variety that really I can only speak in generalizations. The person will ultimately need to find out on their own how they best work with spirits and what kind of spirits they connect with. I can warn them to be cautious and to use discernment, but holding their hand is only going to make me a helicopter parent that refuses to let their kids learn things on their own. I can also teach them basic safety measures that they can modify themselves. I can also point them in the direction of good resources and warn them about bad ones. But other than some basic ground rules, etiquette, methods, and reading lists, I can’t do much more for a new person. I am one of those people that believes that you need to learn some lessons the hard way and sometimes you need to screw up so that you can learn from it.
I’m not saying that I am going to completely abandon a new spirit worker. If they have questions, I will answer them. (That is unless the person is excessive about their questions and is asking me for help for every single step of the way.) Something also worth noting is that spirit work can come in stages. Much of my work is currently done on the astral. That is the main way that I interact with spirits these days. I am not going to throw a new person into the astral just because that is what I am used to. I’m also someone that pushes working with spirit guides because they know what you need a lot better than I do.
One final note that I will make about this is about the mentor. Spirit work really doesn’t have a high retention rate in my experience. The amount of people that commit and make it to the two year or even one year mark is probably only around ten percent. While that can be for various reasons, I really don’t want to invest a ton of time and effort into someone that might not even continue down this path. I have also had quite a few people who have had either really bad egos or wanted to be seen as special to get attention. Me being vague protects my spirits and myself. I’m not going to deal with drama or egos when I have my own practice to get on with. The hands off approach tends to keep the people that really do want to practice spirit work going and finding out about themselves, while also not feeding egos or feeding the people that just want attention.
That’s been my experience thus far with mentoring young spirit workers, or just being the more experienced person at the table. My opinion on all of this might change in the coming years, it might not. Ultimately I think that letting people find their own path with spirit work is the best course of action. I give them some basic tools and advice and have them figure out the rest. I am there if they need me, but I am not going to make students that end up looking just like their teacher.