Building spirit houses and shrines for your household spirits
I believe one of the best way to begin cultivating a relationship with any spirit is to build them a small house or shrine.
Creating a physical space for them in our world begets them allowing us into their spiritual reality.
It's reciprocity: I will make space for you, and I hope you make space for me.
You don't need to be able to see or hear spirits, or engage in two-way communication, in order to begin building a relationship with those spirits.
You also do not need to have clearly identified the spirit.
A shrine to a household spirit is very simple. All you need to do is devote a physical space - like a shelf, a box, or even an actual dollhouse - to that spirit.
It is ideal to build the shrine in a place where the spirit seems to spend the most time. If you don't know where a household spirit likes to spend its time, it is worthwhile to attempt to find out.
Some spirits may like the peace and calm of a cozy little shelf in the pantry. Other spirits may want to be right near the front door or the busiest rooms.
Before you begin building the shrine, inform the spirit of your intent. This does not need to be ceremonial and you do not need to be able to receive messages back from them. Make some general occult fussings - light a candle or incense, ring a bell, rap on walls with your knuckles - you know, stuff that gets their attention.
If you are building a shrine for all spirits in your home, just tell them that. "Everyone, I want us to be friends, so I'm going to make a space for you to rest and enjoy yourselves."
Perhaps this is for only one spirit. You don't need to have them fully identified. Try something like this: "I've noticed a shy spirit that seems to hide in the bathrooms. I want to make a shrine just for you."
Trust that you have been heard. In this day and age, oft-neglected spirits are usually delighted that someone is paying attention to them.
Once you've told the spirits of your intent, you may begin receiving intuitions. Perhaps you thought one shelf would be best for the shrine, but you keep feeling a nagging sense to build it somewhere else. You may feel feelings of curiosity or excitement that don't quite seem to be your own.
Use of a pendulum may be of assistance if you'd like to make communication ongoing, but it never does to let divination subsume action.
An appropriate surface, box, or container does not need to be large. Don't put yourself out by over-spending space. The materials also do not need to be expensive or grandiose. A cardboard shoebox will do. A large quart jar makes a fine spirit shrine. Even an origami box!
What you should try to do is find something with enough space to leave small, delightful objects and gifts. It is a good idea to include a space to leave temporary offerings, even things like glasses of water. For example, you could use an old pickle jar as the primary spirit house, and simply have a dish next to it where you burn incense.
Spirits also sometimes like dark and quiet places. If you are using an open shelf or a clear jar, consider including something with opaque walls, or a divider.
Spirits can move through even the tiniest cracks. A spirit can enter and exit a cardboard box at will, even if the lid is on. Be mindful of sealing jars with airtight lids.
Whatever surface or container you use, ensure it is very clean. I do not mean spiritually cleansed. A pickle jar is fine and well, unless it still smells like pickles. Please remember that many strong scents can be offensive to the spirits.
Also remember that Wortcunning teaches us plants may have specific effects on spirits - your essential oils may just smell nice to you and an infographic may list them as "cleansing", but their inherent spiritual essences may actually make your spirit home suitable for the wrong kind of spirit, increase manifestations beyond a level you're comfortable with, or otherwise make the spirit home uncomfortable for the spirit you want to invite there.
Here, less is more - wash, clean, and dust items as you normally would.
The concept with spirit shrines and houses is that the spirits can make actual use of the objects you put there.
Ideally, the spirit home should have comfortable things so the spirits can be cozy and rest.
Gather and place very comfortable, cozy objects on the shrine or in the container. This might be a bit of flannel or a knitted/crocheted swatch for a blanket, a small sewn and stuffed pillow, or even miniature furniture like a dollhouse chair.
These things do not have to be arranged as if they are a diorama bedroom. You can just layer soft fabrics into a box or surface.
Once you have a clean space set aside with a few comfortable objects, and something like an offering dish, the spirit house may be complete.
Make more occult fussings to get the spirit's attention (although you may sense that the spirit is hovering over your shoulder, so to speak). Tell the spirit that its space is ready. Tell the spirit that it should make use of the space as it pleases. At this time, consider giving a small offering to celebrate the occasion.
However, many other things can be added to the spirit shrine. Be careful when giving non-disposable gifts. Your spirit may very much enjoy its collection of coins and cigarettes, and be upset with you if you need to clear them away because too much space is taken up.
If a spirit is being troublesome around the home, building them a little home may be helpful right away. You can also put things there that they will enjoy playing with. Strings of shiny beads and crystals, windchime charms, colorful tangles of threads, kaleidoscopes (come back and turn them from time to time!), and other colorful, interesting trinkets are often much-beloved by bored household spirits.
You do not need to constantly clean the spirit's space. Consider that the space is like the spirit's bedroom - they do not necessarily want you invading their space in order to clean it. A quarterly cleaning (perhaps on each solstice and equinox) will suffice. The spirit home should not collect "negative" energies.
You also do not need a regular offering schedule. An offering even once a month will suffice.
Pay attention to any nagging little thoughts that the spirit house ought to change or be moved. Use a pendulum to help confirm these notions.
I love “true paranormal” podcasts and there’s a few things that often come up in paranormal stories that books and movies should use more.
Spirits need darkness to materialise. If they are exposed to light they will crumble and cave in on themselves. This doesn’t mean they disappear though. They are still around but it will be much harder for them to touch or move material objects.
Materialised spirits have the consistency of soft, wet clay. They tend to look like real, solid people but if a person try to punch them, for just a split second they’ll feel soft, wet resistance before the spirit vanishes.
Spirits often reside in the dark parts of a house during the day. That’s why they’re often encountered in attics and basements and why they’re often seen coming out of closets or from under beds when it gets dark outside. Putting lights in those areas often works.
They are aware of our presence but can’t always see us from the other side. Again, darkness seems to help.
The reason why they tend to show up during thunder storms is because electricity and running water makes them stronger. This suggests the best way to contact spirits is in a darkened kitchen or bathroom with the water tap running and a radio playing nearby. TVs and computers on standby are often blamed for very active ghosts.
Spirits can travel via phone. If you take a call from a person in a haunted house you risk inviting the spirits into your home though it’s rare for them to stay long. Often they’ll leave as soon as the call is ended.
Spirits use mirrors a lot. Two or more mirrors reflecting each other create a portal no matter how far they are from each other. If you can see a mirror in another mirror one of them should be moved or covered up. If you hang a mirror on an outer wall it will create an opening for spirits to get into the house.
There’s a type of ink-black creatures with elongated bodies that feed on the sorrow of people who have lost loved ones. They are most often reported by people working in hospitals who see them crawl on the walls and ceiling, but also by people who think their home is haunted by their recently dead loved ones. They’ll smell their perfume, the radio will play their favourite song, they’ll hear their footsteps, find loving messages, but if they try to move on the creature will act out and try to make the person feel guilty by smashing wedding photos or the like. This can cause families to fight because some believe the creature to be their loved one while others might have caught a glimpse of it crawling around and know it’s something else.
If a house is haunted by more than one spirit they often have domains. If there’s an evil spirit in one room the other sprits tend to be stuck in the surrounding rooms because they’re too scared to walk past the evil spirit. Guarding spirits tend to stay in hallways and stairs so they can keep an eye on who’s moving around in the house.
For some reason a friendly young boy spirit and a mean old man spirit is a very common combination. The boy will express fear of the man and warn the children of the house.
Attention give spirits power. If ignored or if people stop being scared of them because they get used to the haunting they will eventually disappear or go dormant.
I’ll probably add more later but these are some trends I’ve noticed that I think should be considered when writing spooky fiction. 👻