I was inspired by my relative asking for advice and thought it would be a good subject to write about during the Halloween/Samhain season. I apologise in advance because this last post is going to be a bit of a rant….
The Ignorance of Youth
Back when I was living in London in my mid to late twenties, a friend of mine in her late teens/early twenties was exploring Paganism and Witchcraft with new friends of hers with similar interests. I got a little concerned when she described some of their activities as “Visiting a haunted graveyard and Smishing the entity that resided there….” Smishing was their word for attacking the spirit of that place.
More recently (this year), the younger crowd who come to the open ceremonies held at every festival went into the caves of the pub we drink in after to hunt for ghosts and spirits. Within 30 mins I feel a “….disturbance in the Force” and head down there to find two of them shouting and screaming at whatever they supposedly found. The energy they shared (fear, panic) was palpable. I talked them down, spoke to the “being” one of them was in contact with until it quietened down. I used the Druid Peace Prayer and that seemed to help a lot. Once everything was calm, I told every one to get out of the cave and stayed behind, apologising to the spirits bothered about what had happened. The younger members are still banned from going down there when we hold our ceremonies.
Ok, in the latter, it was irresponsible to have let them down there in the first place. They’d done it before and there was never anything bad recorded previously. Except that one time when one of them got a stone thrown at them, to which I chided: “Well, don’t piss the spirit off then” or similar.
Two very different occasions, but one concerning outcome: these were young people who have been drawn to Paganism and Wicca and Witchcraft through books teaching them how to do things themselves. This in it self is not a bad thing, I myself, went down this path and then got my real experiences later and during my “education years”. The difference was they decided to go and try something out in a known haunted location and then see what was there…… with no respect or concern for the spirits who might not want their attention. The spirits in question certainly wouldn’t want any youths who, after maybe a couple of spells that worked and now thinking they were all-that-and-a-packet-of-crisps daring to invade their space, start doing shit and telling them what to do!
What happened to common sense? You might have read a couple of books, tried a few things out and then you get all panicky because this spirit in that haunted place didn’t behave as expected then you lost control of the situation. Who the fuck did you think you were?
I was lucky, I guess. I was interested, as a child, in ghosts and the paranormal before I discovered Paganism or even heard of Wicca. And yes, I know Wicca and Witchcraft are not the same thing. Back when I was reading those books on ghosts, I came upon lore. Such as a spirit known as a ‘Graveyard Guardian’. My memory is blurred, but this was either the spirit of the first or last person to be buried in a cemetery and supposedly protects the site from robbers and other undesirables, possibly to keep any other spirits in check? I might have made that last up. It was this entity that my friend was involved in “smishing”. The problem here is lack of respect as well as no guidance.
There’s a reason our ancestors had a respect for otherworldly beings, there’s a reason other cultures leave offerings.
We assume whatever spirit we come across was a person once and will behave as such. What about those that don’t behave as we do? Spirits of animals are one thing, elementals, spirits of the place, woodland and cave entities are quite another.
A ghost, a real ghost is just that. It’s an echo of someone doing the same thing over and over again. These are sometimes called “Repeater Ghosts”.
A spirit is interactive to a varied degree. And not all of them are Human. Not all of them are even dead, most never had a physical body to begin with. Spirits, to my limited understanding, can include, but are not restricted to:
- Elements (spirits of the place, forces of nature- such as storms, water, the wind, earth etc)
- Elementals (Type 2) beings that elicit a response to feed off emotional energy of a certain kind, e.g. fear, lust, anger, sadness.
- Barghasts (sometimes called Boggarts)
- Woodland and household spirits
In fact, I’ve come to look at spirits like animal pests: they are only considered a nuisance when they start interacting and interfering with our world. It only becomes a “haunting” when it interacts with our everyday existence, sometimes with subtle or terrifying results.
And this brings me on to my next point: say there is a spirit present and you want it removing….. performing a Catholic exorcism isn’t going to work on a being that has A: been there for a very long time. B: it neither recognises or respects the religion now being pushed on to it. And C, really doesn’t like these beings of flesh telling it what to do.
With a few exceptions, those few spirits I have encountered have responded positively to being treated respectfully and as beings in their own right. For anyone who wants to give “Smishing” a bash, please remember you are dealing with either someone who was alive once, or you are dealing with something else…… neither of which deserve you disturbing it nor do they deserve you shouting and hollering at it because you want to play at being “spooky” and think you have a right to prod something you know nothing about.
NB: Please note that not all spirits are neutral in nature and some can not only be quite volatile, they can be harmful too, there are those that even seem to thrive on it. If you come across one of these, unless you know what you are doing….. leave it the hell alone and get away from it.
Merry Samhain and Happy Halloween!