The Magic of Communication

I have often joked that spiritworkers are the laziest practitioners under the pagan umbrella because it’s our relationships with spirits that truly make us powerful. Rather than doing all of the heavy lifting ourselves we, more frequently, tap one of the myriad of names that we keep in our spiritual rolodex; opting to utilize offerings in lieu of emptying our personal reserves of energy to accomplish magical tasks. It is this role of being someone who knows someone that make spiritworkers more like the social networkers of the pagan world. It’s important to understand that we must work to cultivate these relationships with a foundation rooted in respect, and mutual benefit. Co-creation is the name of the game for us and requires that we live up to our end of the bargain in order to ensure that the relationships remain healthy and empowering for everyone involved.

Now, here’s the fun part… That whole process of cultivating relationships with spirits also applies to living, breathing people. This emphasis on respect, equality, and equitable exchange is one of the very special ways that the path of spiritwork teaches us to be a better human. When the healing strength of my labradorite requires me to be kind and sing to it in order to help it feel appreciated and empowered, that forces me to remain aware of how deeply important compassion and my connection to all things truly is. Let’s really dig into the skills necessary to do this work.


Communication: A strong grasp on communication is at the top of this list. Communicating with spirits is incredibly tricky. Even if you’re one of the lucky spiritworkers who can receive auditory messages, not all spirits speak. Some spirits are only capable of communicating in images, or feelings and the strength of that communication may not be great depending on the spirit, or the spiritworker in question. This means the images could be blurry, or vague. The feelings or intuitions may be subtle and easily missed. The words spoken to us may be so quiet that we must be ready, and concentrating, in order to hear them. That means you have to really be on your A game with listening skills. Then, there’s the idea of communicating your own needs and boundaries to the spirits. When we are negotiating with a spirit for their aid, the idea is to ensure everyone gets a fair deal. This requires you to get comfortable with telling the spirits what you need from them, and what you are and are not willing to do in return. You must learn to tell these beings “No,” when they ask for something you can’t provide because if you fail to provide it, then they will be offended. An angry spirit might just abandon you, but they might also cause problems. Beyond that, if you take on a task you’re uncomfortable with, you run the risk of compromising yourself morally, or even your health. The more you learn to listen, speak your truth, and negotiate for equitable exchange with spirits, you will find yourself applying those same skills to your daily life.

Compassion: This is one of my four C’s of spiritwork and is incredibly important in dealing with spirits. Going back to my labradorite, I don’t get to just use it all day to heal myself and other people today and then stuff it in a box and ignore it until tomorrow. Again, it wants to be held and hummed or sang to. That tells me something very important about spirits. They have feelings. That the spirit of this crystal will stop working if I disrespect it tells me that it can feel disrespected. It can feel used and unappreciated and it needs time and some TLC paid to it in order to feel well enough to continue working. All spirits, just like all people, want fair and compassionate treatment. No one likes feeling used or unappreciated. The more you are able to lean into that understanding, the more your interactions with all beings of all kinds begin to really take on a healing and productive quality. If you can accept that something like a crystal won’t work for you if you treat it poorly, then you can also appreciate that neither will your friends, partners, coworkers, or employees. By cultivating compassion, it becomes a part of your nature to check in with all beings. You begin to ask the important questions like, “Are you comfortable with this?” “How can I help you feel better?” or “What do you feel you need right now?” This changes the tone of all of your interactions.

Boundaries: Spirits are fully capable of invading our space unexpectedly and unannounced. It is not uncommon for me to hear that someone was trying to brush their teeth, or drive to work, when suddenly they have a voice in their head or can literally see a spirit in the way of what they’re doing. That kind of encroachment can be startling, frustrating, and even dangerous sometimes. Furthermore, spirits may ask for things from us that, even if we are able to give them, are more or beyond what we are able to do so comfortably. The offerings they request may be too expensive, or too difficult to get our hands on. The tasks they ask of us may be too demanding, against our values, or even dangerous. Death gods…for example… have some pretty loose opinions about our legal system. So it’s important to know, and assert, our boundaries when we deal with spirits. As hard as it may be to turn a spirit away who is desperate to get a message to their daughter, we may not have the bandwidth to do so without completely exhausting or tapping ourselves out. As much as a friend, family member, or partner, may beg (or demand) us to do something for them, so too may that be more than we are truly able to give without it being more of a cost than we should be paying. Learning to say no to spirits, and people, is deeply important. It also requires you to turn the compassion I already talked about onto yourself, which can be both extremely difficult and vital to our health and well-being.

These skills are all vital for maintaining a productive practice of spiritwork in our lives. Honing them is an excellent way to ensure that your interactions with all beings remain healthy and mutually beneficial. Yes, there may be times in which we have to sacrifice for those we love, but that shouldn’t be the norm. Your day to day life deserves to be one built around the idea of respect and compassion where you, and those around you, communicate their needs while listening to those of others. And, when that breaks down, your boundaries are there to make sure that you don’t suffer at the cost of the messiness of others.

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