So I’ve talked about what local spirits are, and why to work with them, now it’s time to talk about how to work with them. Like the last post this one isn’t as Buddhist focused, stuff will be drawn from a variety of places. Also even though I made the case about how the classes explained in the first post aren’t shidak or sadak, the techniques in this post can be used to work with most of these groups too.
First and foremost in how to work with a shidak I would recommend offerings. This is a very Buddhist approach, but it’s a good way to start for a few reasons. If the shidak hasn’t been engaged, or engaged in a long time it’s a simple peaceful way to get the ball rolling, you’re not asking for anything, you’re not doing anything, you’re just giving them something to show you acknowledge them though. Also as hinted at last post not all shidak are very active. Do you work in an office surrounded by people actually stupider than you? By the end of the day you might feel a bit dumb from engaging them at their level. Likewise if there isn’t someone spiritually engaging a shidak, or hasn’t been for a while, they can be inactive, almost like they’re asleep or just half paying attention. Offerings help build the connection with them, but also start giving them a source of outside energy to help begin waking them up.
While the shidak exists everywhere in the area, you shouldn’t just leave the offerings wherever, you should find or make a special place to them. Is there an area that feels different, or looks different? A tree that is older or oddly shaped? A place where flowers grow randomly? If so start with that place. Shidak tend to anchor themselves in a few places, and those areas have a greater connection, usually they look or feel different. (If the shidak has been inactive, you might not be able to sense that spot, and that’s fine, pick a place to work with, and as the shidak becomes more active you can find a better spot to work with.)
If you’re dealing with the shidak your house is on you have a few more options. (This specifically applies to people living in a place that they have control over their property, so not so much people in apartments, though you can tweak it.) If so it is great to make a Wildspace for the shidak, this is an area of your property that you don’t touch. You don’t mow the lawn there, you don’t trim the branches or bushes there, you don’t do anything but let it be. While there are ways to work with the shidak, it’s nice for them to have a spot that is untouched as much as possible. For me the far south corner of my backyard is such an area, and even though it’s only a few square feet you can feel a difference by it. This becomes a great place to leave offerings and work with the shidak. If you live in an apartment you can make a potted Wildspace, taking soil and grass/plants from the area, and then planting them in a pot. I wouldn’t say it’s as effective, but it could still give them an easier purchase on that area.
In terms of offerings I’m often boggled by what some people suggest. I’ve seen so many people say things like “I just pick some flowers, and give them to the local spirit.” What? Remember the shidak pervades the place and all the living creatures in it, including the plants. What you’re saying is “Here, I know you spent time and energy growing and expressing yourself through these plants, let me rip them up and give them to you.” It’s almost like giving a person an offering of their own toenail clippings.
Another offering I don’t get is using local honey. I ranted about it on twitter, and Catherine Mason took my phrase and made me an awesome image.
Again, the bees and the plants are part of the shidak, you’re just returning its own creation to itself. (Also, I still laugh at that image, even though it’s been like two weeks)
What should you offer then? Non-local foods, water, tea, incense. If you’re offering food pick something that won’t be dangerous to animals if and when they eat it, and they will, but don’t worry, they’re part of the shidak, so when they eat the offerings it is still supporting the shidak. So no chocolate muffins, but give bread or cake, that’s fine. Water and tea are great and common offerings. Incense works well.
Some people say you shouldn’t leave anything not biodegradable or that the spirit “can’t use.” I’m torn on this, because some people leave polished stones and what not as offerings, and people complain the shidak can’t use those…as if the offerings of food, gems, and incense to statues are actually being “used” by them in a conventional sense. While I haven’t felt a need to leave a precious stone as an offering for a shidak, I don’t see anything wrong with it.
So how do you make the offering? Just take whatever you have to the Wildspace or the place you identified previously. If weather and environment permit actually sit down with the offering so you’re touching the ground more fully. Place your palm on the ground and reach out and down a bit, introduce yourself, even if you’re worked with the shidak you’re just letting them know who you are and that you’re present. Like when you walk into a family member’s house you still yell who it is, or to the person so they know you’re there. Call to them, either out loud or through the connection of the ground, I usually tap the ground lightly as if to more localize their awareness. Then lay out the offerings, place the food, pour the water, light the incense, whatever. Just talk to them, it doesn’t have to be flowery or formal. “Hi, I’ve brought you some water and incense. Take from it what you will.” My offerings are usually double-sided, so pour your energy into the offerings as you give them.
After giving the offering take a moment to sit silently, let your mind drift and relax, and see if the shidak has any response. In my experience most shidak communicate through mindtouches rather than words. So sensory input, real or imagined, images and urges. For instance a shidak in a more forested area might communicate through your pareidolia using shadows cast by leaves, or the sound of the rustling. I’ve had shidak communicate yes and no answers through scents before. I’ve also had a shidak lead me on a high speed run to find a stang within its forest. I asked for it, explained it, and had this sudden impulse to run a certain direction, I had no idea where I was going, but had these quick urges of which way to turn, and then finally to stop and look under a log, and sure enough found exactly what I wanted. There was not a mental-verbal formation of communication, just the urge of movement and direction. Some shidak can communicate more linguistically, and while I’m not totally sure I suspect that is a function of their interaction and activity, so something they can develop into over years of work.
If you’ve not worked with the shidak before, I’d leave it at that. Don’t ask anything, don’t push, just give them an offering and thanks, and let them be. Do this once a week for a few weeks, and if they don’t go out of their way to engage you, then try gently communicating more directly. Once you get to know them you can start asking them if you need something, or even let them know who you are and what you’re doing, which is especially import if you’re doing magick in their space.
Lastly one of the best things to offer a shidak is taking care of its space. If it’s a public space, pick up litter, if it is your property check your plants, are the bushes in good health, can you do anything? The first shidak that ever made contact with me did so after I took it upon myself to start cleaning up its space. It’s a popular hideout for high school students, so sadly they often leave a mess, and after a few weeks of cleaning it once a week the mindtouches began.
Next post I’ll talk a bit more about sensing shidak and their structures.