What Are Spirits Anyway?

Jason Miller, sorcerer, author, occult teacher recently posted to his StrategicSorcery.net blog addressing the topic – What Are Spirits? Here it is:

There have been a whole bunch of conversations online over the last month or so that seek to define what a spirit is. My book on spirits doesn’t come out until May, so maybe I am jumping the gun here, but I will still take a crack at it.Before i do, let me say that I consider the question of “what spirits are” in a factual or cosmological sense to be one of those things I don’t really like to spend too much time on. I tend to avoid questions of the head (what is it?), and focus on the heart (what does it mean?) and hand (how is it useful?) in my teachings. I tend to think magic and religion suck at head questions, but is more than capable at heart and head questions.
That said here is my definition of spirit: Spirits are Organized Consciousness.
What gets tricky is how spirits are organized and how they are oriented.

I go deep into this in my book, but for now lets just say that Gods and big important spirits tend to be consciousness organized around large cosmic or natural features. What we know of gods also runs through a lens of human understanding, which in turn effects the organization of the God or spirit in question. That doesn’t mean they don’t have life or existence without human input, it just means that what we know of them is clearly patterned by human language and culture and history. Our understanding in turn effects the being in question at a fundamental level. This is true of people too, and if spirits and gods are more subtle than we are, we should assume its equally true of them as well, if not moreso.

Other spirits might be consciousness organized around a stream or a cave, a particular culture, or, in our case, a body. These spirits are somewhat less subtle and more focused. They might be less impacted by culture and history, but more restricted in other ways.

I can’t get deep into orientation without boring you all with etheric/astral/symbol-space/mental/causal layers of reality, but suffice to say that when you call upon the Archangel Michael he responds no matter where you are on the globe. The spirit in the creek that runs through my back yard, not so much. This speaks to an orientation that is causal/noetic/higher astral vs physical/etheric/lower astral.

Add to this ways that gods and spirits and humans can deliberately change their orientation for short periods of timeand you start to see how invocation, evocation, mystical visions, and such work. Over time a spirit might change its natural orientation, especially after older organizing factors expire, be it a body or a broadly practiced religion.

This gets complicated by the fact that a spirit might be oriented in a way that makes them available anywhere, yet still somewhat MORE available in certain key places. Think about Fatima, the Asura cave, or carefully maintained shrines.

Complicating it even further is the possibility of what I call “Mall Santa’s”. These are spirits that are oriented locally and closer to physical, but who fill in for larger vast Spirits and Gods on occasion. Are they separate beings? Are they deceivers? Are they legions or spirits in the retinue? My answer: depends on the case.

Now add a lack of temporality to the mix. Astaroth the demon is not the same as Astarte, yet clearly Astaroth developed from Astarte and they are not really separate either. You can perhaps contact either, and indeed the mode of contact effects our experience heavily, which is why I am an advocate for being competant in multiple methods and approaches to conjuration.

All of this leads to a definition that is not at all neat and tidy. This is as it should be. Beyond any of what I have said, there are things we don’t know, and beyond that things we can’t know. At least not yet. Sadly there are not enough people who are willing to entertain complexity or the idea that they don’t know something.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk on Spirits. If you are more confused after reading this than you were when I started, then I did my job.
Check into his blog regularly!


Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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