Let the spirits do the work

I sometimes get asked by curious people - how, exactly, I 'work' magic (as apposed to what methods/systems I employ).

In other words they want to know which inner methods I like to use. Do I visualise the outcome? Do I move 'energy' into the spell-work etc.

The truth is most of my work is done before I ever sew a bag or light a figural candle. I certainly don't visualise things or move energy or use any of those kinds of tricks anymore. I just put the working together using the right materials and techniques (candles, tying, cutting, nailing or whatever), whilst respectfully calling down my muertos - and they do all the work. I'm more like a 'magical event co-ordinator', you could say.

I certainly don't internally 'effort' with it at all because it doesn't make much of difference anymore. I just set up a material basis for a magical working, the so-called 'spell', and they take care of the rest. 

My real job is to take care of them.

I feed them. I give them masses. I follow their instructions by creating dolls, pots and other vehicles that express their presence in my life. I activate them and materialise them in this world with dedicated, attentive and consistent service and in return they help me with my spiritual work. They do all the heavy lifting in that department, honestly.

This was the very first thing I noticed when I watched good espiritistas and other spiritual workers whom I admire, working: there was a matter-of-fact effortlessness about the process. The work was put together in a straightforward and often shockingly simple way and stuff was expected to happen. And did!

There was no big drama. A true elegance and economy of effort was plainly evident in the way they did things. And confidence. The relaxed confidence that comes from knowing that the spirits will take care of things because the spirits have been correctly cared for.


  1. Makes a whole lot of sense to me. As I caretake and offer at the various shrines to my spirits I am always thrilled by their sense of knowing/dwelling presence and that feel of communion between me and the spirits. There is a lot of power there, but it's the effortless kind that isn't forced. There is also a big difference in my day to day when I've taken the time and performed the labors - things come together naturally and beautifully. Making that connection into the actual workings though eluded me. Thanks for the bit of common sense. Also, thanks for this blog, I always manage to learn something really useful!

  2. It sounds like your are doing a great job Valeyard. Thanks for reading, and commenting! Your feedback is always appreciated.

  3. I recently posted about this on my own blog in relation to my feelings about the physicality of the Catholic Church and how it influenced my decision to study hoodoo. I am happy to see that you are confirming my instincts about it.

  4. It sounds interesting Mister Li, i would love to read it - please post the link if you feel like sharing.

  5. I don't have to be asked twice!


    I'm still a real newbie, and some of my posts make me cringe now, but sometimes I write something I don't mind sharing.

  6. Good post Balthazar, and indeed in the mode of working that you describe your job is to care for the spirits, which in exchange will get them to care for you.

    I would offer the following commentary that you may or may not agree with:

    1. The tying, cutting, lighting, placing, etc that you do in support of the specific work you are setting your muertes to is not fundamentally different than work done on other planes to support the work of spirits. You are just doing it on the physical level. In many asian cultures, there would be energetic and visualized components that are similar to this work. It is still the spirits that you call that are doing the work (if you are in fact calling spirits), but done at a different level.

    2. If someone that was skilled at watching the subtle body at work was to watch you tying, nailing, cutting, and placing components, they would in fact see your channels and winds acting in certain ways. You are not necessarily consciously moving prana, but that doesnt mean it is not part of what is occurring. Different traditions focus in on what is happening at different levels.

    3. What about the element of concentration and emotional direction? There is no instruction for feeling anger during certain rites or love at others? This is very straightforwardly moving energy and intent.

  7. Hey Jason!

    You make good points. It's interesting to compare how different models of the spiritual world would describe these kinds of magical effects. In general, I am talking from a very subjective place as to how I experience it, but then also, as you know I subscribe to the african influenced view which is deeply spirit-centric.

    I would agree that there are things happening in what you might call the subtle body. For me that visceral quality feels something akin to the early phase of possession, in terms of the physical sensations. What espiritistas here tend to refer to as "passing the muerto". The difference with that is I am not consciously manipulating it with my mind, as such. The spirits are doing it - if you know what I mean.

    With regards to emotional direction in a working; I do believe that is an important component that can play a role in these contexts - such as with song and prayer during a working. Yet, to may way of thinking these are really ways of activating the spirits (or the Holy Spirit, as it were), rather than power sources in and of themselves.

    The main point I like to think about, is that I don't need to consider myself as having some sort of special power or any need to 'do' something mystical. I just need to align things in a certain way and the spirits do it.

  8. Interesting post, thanks.

    Makes me think of the D.H. Lawrence poem, "Song of a Man Who Has Come Through."

    Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!
    A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time.
    If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me!
    If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a winged gift!
    If only, most lovely of all, I yield myself and am borrowed
    By the fine, fine wind that takes its course through the chaos of the world
    Like a fine, an exquisite chisel, a wedge-blade inserted;
    If only I am keen and hard like the sheer tip of a wedge
    Driven by invisible blows,
    The rock will split, we shall come at the wonder, we shall find the Hesperides.

    Oh, for the wonder that bubbles into my soul,
    I would be a good fountain, a good well-head,
    Would blur no whisper, spoil no expression.

    What is the knocking?
    What is the knocking at the door in the night?
    It is somebody wants to do us harm.
    No, no, it is the three strange angels.
    Admit them, admit them

  9. Dear William, thank you for sharing this. Absolutely beautiful!!

  10. This is very helpful, thank you. I work as an Event Coordinator, and your analogy gives me a real confidence in getting started!