In the work of the Nine Moons the student is taught how to invoke and meet the Familiar, an ally from among the Nature Spirits, as well as an Ancestral Teacher, and the Gods of the Grove. They have also begun a formal search to meet and know the Da Fein, not just as a general power but as a personal and specific spiritual guide.
These four spiritual contacts comprise a sort of personal pantheon of the Druidic magician. They stand as personal portals or heralds, strengthening the ability to contact and work with the Kindreds. Of course we make our common ‘religious’ offerings throughout our Druidic path. We give to the Kindreds and receive their Blessings in turn. While this serves well for the common good we seek from a public sacrifice, a working Druid can gain much from a more personal relationship with the spirits.
This system uses formal ritual to open the relationship with the Allies, but the development of that relationship requires time and attention. Modern mortal life does not readily lend itself to the mental states that allow spirit contact. The rites, meditations and trances in this program intend to prepare the mind for that contact.
Seeing the Spirits
The spirits display themselves in many ways, each according to the spirit and nature of the human who calls to them. It may be that within their realms and among themselves the spirits have no shape like a material form at all. For the Druid this means that seeing the spirits is more likely to be a gradual process of discernment than a sudden revelation.
The first efforts at meeting an ally should be approached without expectations. Those who hope for a flash of light and a voice of thunder are likely to be disappointed. An approach based on patience and humility is likely to produce results. The experience of a spirit is likely to be different for every individual. The thing to keep in mind is that the spirits have no fixed form, and that your perceptions of them happen in the Threshold, where imagination meets the Otherworld.
Throughout the work, you have been learning to enter visionary trance, entering the vision-environment we refer to as the Threshold. It is in the Threshold state, or environment, that you will first come to speak with and see the forms of the spirits. The techniques of standing out of the body, of Opening the Inner Eyes while standing in the material body, and of Passing the Mist should be practiced until they are easily accomplished. The Dual Sight – the combined vision of the Inner Grove and the material ritual space – is a primary skill of this method.
In early callings do not assume that failing to perceive the spirit means that it has not come. It is not unusual for a spirit to approach the Druid’s Threshold space, but not to appear visibly in any detail at first. Of course it may be equally likely that the Druid’s Inner Eye is simply not yet sharp enough to behold the spirit, even if it has come to the call. The first impressions may only be of personality or vague presence. Even if this is faint the Druid must begin by simply assuming that the spirit is present.
When you sense a clue to the presence of the spirit it is time to apply your imagination, gently composing a form by will or according to tradition. You may find yourself surprised by details, or specifics may escape you still. The process of moving from shadowy general shape to a more detailed and specific form simply takes as long as it takes.
Working with the Familiar offers what may be an easier approach to discerning a spirit form. By asking our ally to appear in animal form we provide a vocabulary of forms well-known to us. It is, perhaps, a simpler matter to envision the detail of a spirit eagle or fox than to perceive all the detail of human form and garb.
Speaking With the Spirits
The approach to hearing the voices of the spirits is similar to that used for seeing their forms. Our minds are often full of a multitude of voices. It is the task of the Druid to learn to hear the correct voices. Of course some students will be more inclined to receive answers as visions, others as voices, but even for the visual person there is something powerful about the way spirit voices resound in the mind.
For many people spirit voices are identified precisely by the sense of resounding presence they often carry. Some say that spirit voices seem to come from above and just behind the head. In many cases a spirit may speak in what seems to be your own mental voice, or that of some living person. The voices of the spirits are no more fixed than their forms. In some cases there may be no impression of a voice at all, but simply an awareness of the content of the message.
Doing the Work
Of course the two primary environments in which you will begin the work of speaking with the Allies are your personal ritual space, Nemeton or Shrine, and your Inner Grove. In both these settings you will become used to entering the Threshold, and there you can most easily commune with the allies, allowing their vision and voice to become clear to you. It is also important to learn to communicate with the Allies at will in non-ritual settings.
In time you will become used to receiving communications from your allies. Gaining this communion is a core part of the process of lifting the Druid’s mind out and away from the common trance of daily life. By gaining reliable knowledge of and conversation with the Allies, the gates can be opened to a variety of other spirit communication.