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On The Spirit World

By Alex Stark. Copyright and all rights reserved.

During the course of my consultations I have run into cases of “spirits”, “ghosts”, or “presences” inhabiting a residence or building. These cases have been of great interest to me for they seem to confirm the ancient idea that all things are connected and that there are more dimensions to our existence than we can comprehend. They fascinate me with their mystery and have been great sources of learning for me as well.

It is apparent that all forms are energy and that all energies can have some form of manifestation on the narrow universe of forms. In terms of feng shui and geomancy it is important for the practitioner to survey all forms of energy as they exist in a given space, in order to determine the causes and outcomes of any given arrangement of energies. All energies interact and affect each other, and we, as energy forms, are subject to these influences as well. These influences may be purely psychological, but as is more often the case, can also have physical consequences as well.

Spirit beings are entities which have never had a manifestation on the plane of matter. Many spiritual phenomena can be found in this category, and it is to this category that most of the spiritual beings recognized by the world religions belong. Gods, angels, devas, and daemons are among the many spirit forms recognized by all peoples of the planet. These can be described more generally as intelligences or consciousnesses, since they neither have nor have had physical existence. Nevertheless, they are capable of communication with us and in certain instances may even adopt physical form. These cases, however, seem to be rare and may be tied more to the ability of the psychic or medium to “see” them than to their innate ability to appear as form. In some cultures these beings can be associated with other physical formations such as mountains or springs, but this association seems to be of a much later date.

In general it can be said that spirit beings become known to the living only when there is cause for such an event. It may be the need of a person to resolve a life issue and a spirit appears as a helper or guide. The opposite, however, can also be true, as has happened to me when a spirit being quite suddenly interrupted my life in order to seek for itself a specific form of healing that I had been previously prepared to provide. Naturally I had never anticipated that I would be providing this service to a Spirit, since all of my training up to that point had been directed towards the living. And yet this became a fundamental experience in my life as a spiritual practitioner and this spirit has accompanied me and aided my work ever since. As you can imagine, it can be quite handy when dealing with spiritual matters to have a colleague on the other side!

In the case of Gods, their status can become highly exalted, and in some cultures all spiritual practices are dedicated to one or two of these spirits only (i.e. the Judeo-Christian tradition). More commonly, however, peoples will have a pantheon of such gods that will allow them to negotiate the many diverse aspects of human life, each god corresponding to a sector of human activity. Hence the presence of gods of agriculture, husbandry, midwifery, smithing, etc.

There are many varieties of spiritual entities, ghosts being only one of them. In general a ghost is the sprit or soul of a person who has been unable to successfully make the journey across the portals of death into the beyond. Often these entities are also called “lost souls” because at the moment of death the spirit has been unable or unwilling to let go of its material connections. In some cases this is the result of a life-long struggle with despair or hopelessness. The soul may become unaware of its death or may have developed a morbid attachment to its earthly connections.

Traumatic death, as in an accident or in wars, can also incur in this state of dissociation, in which the soul is “lost to its true state”. This is similar to soul-loss in the living human being (for more information of this form of disassociation please refer to the page on Rituals). Oftentimes the soul is unaware of its own death and it attempts to communicate with the living. This can result in a number of phenomena: true apparitions, in which the ghost can be “seen” as a form with shape and color; electrical or mechanical abnormalities, as in lights that flicker, toys that self-wind, objects that fall or move inexplicably; phantoms or shadows which startle us but cannot truly be seen; and presences, which are strong feelings of having a being with you in the room or space.

In my experience the mode of communication between “us” and “them” often is dependent on our innate abilities (visual, kinesthetic, etc.) as well as the potential manner in which the situation can be resolved. For example, in one case a woman dressed in white holding a slipper provided the clue to resolve the mystery of her apparition. In another, lights that blew up or turned themselves on became the manner of announcement when the ghost wanted to communicate to the client. As always, the initial symptomatic event contained the potential for its own future resolution and for the subsequent growth that was experienced not only by the client but also by the consulting practitioner.

Elementals are thought formations that have been created by living beings. In certain cases, obsessions, phobias, or neuroses can assume such great strength that they become condensed into discreet energy forms that assume a life independent of any other attachments. These can clearly be dangerous, since they are the product of human minds, and can contain great potential for hate, rage, morbidity, and self-loathing, to mention a few. I remember one case in which an apparently healthy woman moved into a home where a severely morbid woman had lived. Within months my client developed cancer and had to undergo surgery for the removal of a lung.

This started her on a long search for the causes of her ailment. She was tenacious, however and was able to launch herself into the search with great vitality and intelligence. It was my fortune to meet her and work on the morbid feeling her house was transferring to her as part of her strategy for healing. When the morbid feelings lifted, she coincidentally began to recover. Often I encounter the opposite as well, in homes where the stability and joy of a previous family of residents has transferred to the new residents as well. For this reason it is important to be aware of the life history of spaces. Elementals have much to tell us in this regard.

Nature Spirits are spirit beings directly associated with nature, either in their capacity as overlords of certain species or geographical areas, or as the animating energies of specific nature forms. Every form, animate or inanimate, has an associated energy being which endows it with vitality and which also grants it its particular physical attributes. The spirit of a tree is very different from that of a rock or an animal, and yet these are all discreet energy forms that can potentially be accessed. Because we too are spiritual beings, there is every opportunity for us to communicate with these beings, and we do so unawares when we tend a garden or go for a walk in the park.

Nature Spirits, when awakened, can be extremely chatty and mischievous, which is why they have been personified in myth as fairies, gnomes, etc. Above all these specific forms, however, are overlords, responsible for the organization and health of complete species or aggregations of species. Every garden, for example, has an overlord which rules over the many species or varieties that live in it. Similarly, there are overlords for valleys, mountains, rivers, caves, etc.

Above these regional overlords are even larger entities, responsible for the well-being of larger and larger areas. Because these are energy forms with vast powers (imagine the energy of the Mississippi!) it is essential for humans, as well as all other life forms, to act in harmony with them. For the practitioner it is therefore important to be conversant with these nature spirits for we, as nature forms, also fall under the authority of these overlords. Once this essential connection is recognized it is possible to learn the language of these beings in order to enroll their help. Their aid can be invaluable when dealing with practical problems such as flooding in basements, pest infestations in crops or plants, as well as health issues in animals or humans.

In one case, for example, I was able to radically reduce the level of flooding in a house basement, improve the levels of natural lighting throughout the house, greatly reduce the consumption of energy for heating, and also improve the health and vitality of house and garden plants. This was all achieved through association and partnership with the Nature Spirits present in the home and its surrounding environment.

The forces of nature also have spiritual energies associated with them, although due to their increasing generality and denseness these can be harder for the beginner to communicate with. Yet very successful work can be done by invoking the spirits of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, for example. These energies are ubiquitous and cannot exist one without the other. As the fundamental energetic and spiritual building blocks of the universe they are essential to life, and all life in all its manifestations can be reduced to them.

For the spiritual practitioner it is essential, firstly, to act in harmony with their laws and then to apply them and use them to bring harmony, balance, health, and prosperity into the homes of our clients. We can do this by invoking these powers through rituals. Rituals have been performed in this manner since the earliest times. These practices were intended mainly to recognize the power of these energies in our lives and to maintain the connection necessary with them in order to sustain a healthy life.

For the practitioner it is also possible, furthermore, to access these energies directly in order to achieve particular goals. In the example mentioned above, I was able to reduce flooding in the basement by invoking the power of Water and marshalling its positive influence on behalf of the client. To do this it is often necessary to understand the history which has led to the imbalance between the elemental force and its human users. The construction of this particular basement, as it turned out, had interfered with the normal flow of underground water in the area of this home, and it was necessary to enroll the support of the Water itself in order to avert the flooding. This was done in such a way that the basement in question did not flood even when other basements in the immediate area continued to do so.

In addition to Earth, Water, Fire, and Air, all natural phenomena have related spiritual forces. Hence it is possible to work with Thunder, Rain, Hail, Frost, Fog, etc. The many stories of rainmakers and thunder medicine people in the Native American tradition are cases in point. Often, a spiritual practice will be invoked by one of these powers directly. In the Andes, for example it is fairly common for curanderos (healers) to be hit by lightning. This event, although traumatic, marks this person’s initiation into their sacred practice. This is precisely the manner in which I was initiated, as I was hit from behind by ball lightning during a vision quest many years ago.

Other spiritual forms include the souls of enlightened human beings that have been elevated to the rank of spirit beings by virtue of their compassion and dedication to service. All cultures have such categories, in which these exalted human beings are, after their death, invoked as teachers, guides, and aids in the learning, healing, and curative processes. In many societies this status is seen as the most exalted goal of human life, and elaborate training processes have been created to help mortals attain such state. In rare cases, living human beings have been known to reach this state before their deaths.

These highly special beings therefore exhibit traits that are simultaneously mortal and spiritual. St. Martin de Porres and Sai Baba, among others, are know, for example, to have been at two or more locations simultaneously. Apprentices of the spiritual arts are often encouraged to establish relationships with these beings in order to be able to invoke them on behalf of clients or community. In many traditions, specific saints become the patrons of particular purposes such as healing, marriage, learning, divination, etc.

Among certain peoples, the cult of the ancestors has been developed to a high degree. Among the Australian aborigines, for example, it is said that an elder can recite from memory the names of thousands of his group’s ancestors, and they are invoked as helpers and protectors in times of need. In many cultures they are also seen as partners in ordinary affairs, and nothing is undertaken without their approval, or at least without consulting with them for advice and counsel. Among the Chinese they are associated with the energy of Thunder, the “Arousing”, and are therefore seen as the patrons of all new things, of conception, creativity, etc. As the spirits of the departed relatives they are a powerful force in many African tribes, and their cult is by far the most powerful form of religion among many of these peoples.

Whereas a spirit or ghost may go unperceived by one person, say an unbelieving adult, it may well be perfectly self evident to a child, who has not yet gone through the acculturation that teaches us that ghosts and spirits are unreal. I often find that in family homes the youngest child provides the first clue as to the existence of spirits. Often a traumatic event in the life of a resident may resonate with that of a spirit or ghost and it is at this point that the connection is made and the person becomes aware of the spirit.

I have often seen people buy homes in part because their bodies have perceived the energies present in a certain residence even though their conscious mind may have been totally unaware of such presences. The individuals have been attracted for various reasons to the opportunities this new experience has seemed to offer them, perhaps to resolve unfinished business similar to that of the spirit or ghost, or as a reaction of compassion or even partnership with the spiritual entities. In all cases, however, the situation, initially deemed unacceptable for the humans involved, has always evolved into a relationship of respect and often mutual support between the persons and the spirits or ghosts. In none of the cases I have encountered has there ever been any manifestation of ill will or malice on the part of the spirits involved, although I have heard of such encounters from others.

How does the practitioner come into contact with these forces? How is it possible for the gross matter of our bodies to communicate with subtle realms? The key lies in the intention and trust of the practitioner, as well as on technique. The point to remember, though, is that these realms are accessible to all of us, for we too exist in these realms. Our energies expand in an ever-widening array of wavelengths into infinity. Within this holographic universe we are all interconnected by our energies, which blend and unite to create a single, wondrous, mysterious realm.

The training of the spiritual practitioner therefore needs to take into account the modes of communication necessary to access these spiritual forces. Establishing relationships with them, and cultivating oneself in order to deserve their boons and collaboration is fundamental to a successful practice. For more information on these practices please consult the Rituals page.