Many books and articles tend to put an emphasis on how working with the spirits or in a shamanic context can be a powerful tool for developing internal awareness and the advancement of consciousness. While this is a worthy and needed goal, I think it is easy to overlook some of the tasks of the shaman of old. The shaman was the bridge between the spirits and the material world, and was called upon to influence the spirits to gain things like a bountiful harvest and successful hunting. The village could live or die by the skills and strengths of the allies the shaman had.
I would hope that in our modern lives our situation is not so dire, but the truth is, when it comes to matters like employment, health, income and the safety and security of the home, our shamanic skills can be as important as ever. It is important to identify spirits that are available and can help in the areas where needed. The process of developing spiritual allies can be long but it doesn’t necessarily need to be complex. Like developing a friendship, your spiritual allies want a relationship with you that is enjoyable and beneficial to you and to them. They want to get to know you and they want you to understand them, their needs and their goals.
When my wife and I decided to open our store, I turned to local spirits to help us find an ideal location. I knew the part of town I wanted to be in, what our budget required, and the feel we wanted, but there was nothing available at the time. Running through our city is one of the longer rivers in Michigan, and our home was near the headwaters, so this was an obvious choice – – the other may be a bit more surprising!
The Michigan Theatre is the oldest theater in our city, a very gothic and ornamental structure downtown. Just because something is man-made doesn’t mean it cannot develop a large amount of power and become a spiritual ally. In the case of the theater, over the years it has come to be called, ‘The Gal on Mechanic,’ which is symbolic not only of the fondness the people have, but that as time passed the theatre became an authentic and powerful spirit.
To develop this relationship one needs to simply sit quietly in a meditative state, and use the sense that comes most naturally, be it intuition, hearing or vision to form connections to that spirit. The river had swirls and patterns in the movement of the water which I could quickly use as a sigil to connect to the river. I could use the noise of the moving water to hear sounds which I could translate into words. The theater had a nickname, combined with knowledge of the time-frame it was built; it quickly formed in my mind’s eye the image of a woman from that time. Using these visualizations I was able to express my needs, and hear and understand what these spirits would like in reciprocity for my request. Like all friends, you can only ask so many times before they come to resent. Make sure that when you ask, you offer in turn, and make it a habit of offering gifts even when you do not have anything to ask for.
I should also note that I never rely on these communications alone when I am communicating with a spirit ally. I always make sure to ask another intuitive person, or use a divination tool like a pendulum or tarot cards to confirm that I have correctly understood their answers and the things I should offer as gifts or reciprocity. The things asked for, as they often are, were simple and easy to acquire: candles, tobacco, candy, brandy, and other small items. I, as a rule, never offer blood or items from my body even if they are asked for, as that would give the spirit a measure of control over me. After sitting and communicating with these spirits and using divination, I was sure I had understood the exchange correctly and I was ready to move forward.
The results in our case were amazing, the kind of results you cannot say were just chance. A space became available that was the perfect size, a great price, and more amazingly, one block from the river and on the same block as the theater! Spirits surround us all the time.
Find and recognize the spirits in the rivers, trees, hills, buildings, statues and monuments, that are willing to work with you, and gain a powerful ally for your life’s needs – – just like the shaman since the dawn of time.
James “TwoSnakes” Stovall is a student of several traditions, an initiate of Peruvian shamanism, and a teacher of his own Hoodoo traditions. His wife Angela is the owner of The Wandering Owl, a spiritual and metaphysical store in Jackson Michigan.