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ruiner85 asked: My bestie (thesecretlifeofpyris) recommended asking you about a reliable and safe way to contact spirit guides, I’m hoping to start out slowly & build a rapport so that I can go with my eyes open before even attempting anything astral. I’ve looked on-line and saw a lot about getting to the astral, but very little on staying safe or getting back. We’re currently researching formal rituals for contact and would appreciate any information or guidance you may be able to provide. Thanks

Hi! This is long and rambly. Hope your research is going well and sorry for the wait.

Unpopular opinion time! I don’t use spirit guides. I never have and, not to sound like an asshole, never saw the point in them. I still don’t. Logically I get it but…, eh, not really. To be honest, I don’t trust spirit guides. I don’t trust anyone who says they’ll helping someone just because they can. That sounds like a load of bullshit and I’ve NEVER met a spirit that’s acted like that. Ever. Even spirit guides get something by dealing with you, even if you don’t know what you’re giving them.

You don’t need them. Exploring the astral is like going to a large foreign city. You might speak some of the language but not all. It’s a weird culture and you don’t want to offend people so you’re super cautious because ajfdjalsj you don’t want to be an asshole but you also don’t want to be taken advantage of. Actually, I’m going to quote Doctor Who, since it’s always relevant on my witch blog:

“You can’t just read the guide book. You’ve got to throw yourself in, eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers - or is that just me? Stop asking questions. Go and do it”

- Ninth Doctor, Doctor Who, Episode 7, The Long Game.

All of that being said, the other side is a dangerous place and you have to be willing to accept that danger by going into it. Prepping yourself for it is a BRILLIANT IDEA THAT EVERYONE SHOULD TRY TO FOLLOW.

How to Stay Safe:

  • Remember that the astral/other side/spirit realms/faery land/whatever the fuck you call it IS DANGEROUS. IS NOT SAFE. IT IS DANGEROUS. I literally cannot stress this enough. It is not a playground.
  • Be flexible and adaptable. You were planning on heading towards a wheat field but ended up in a desert? Roll with it.
  • Don’t be aggressive (unless necessary). That’s pretty much asking for a brawl.
  • You have the right to defend yourself. And sometimes the best defense is offense. And running away is almost always an option, even if it isn’t the best option.
  • Remain vigilant and doubt everything. This sounds like a terrible way to live and it is. But this had saved my ass more times than I care to tell you.
  • Train yourself. Your body over there doesn’t have to be the same way here. Some people change shape depending on their mood, location, or job. I’ve met a few folks who never stop shifting, always moving. Others become their true selves. And more still just have little subtle changes in how they best reflect themselves. With this new ‘body’ you can do whatever you like. I recommend training your body to be respond yourself best. Maybe even train yourself with a weapon if you notice yourself getting into trouble.
  • Don’t get caught up on deciding what’s a spirit, fae, demon, god, etc. The lines get blurred. And really, what does it matter? They’ll either let you know or you can figure it out via context. And if you can’t, then it’s probably not important to know anyway.
  • If you’re paranoid then come up with a way to banish each and every being you meet. Seriously. If you’re that concerned about it, take the precautionary step. But if you are that concerned then you may wish to reconsider traveling to begin with. It’s not necessary. You can do witchcraft without it.
  • Don’t eat anything. This should be obvious. Sometimes you wander into faerie realms without knowing it. Accepting food offered (or eating random shit you find) is unwise and best and can get you seriously fucked up at worst.
  • Assume everyone’s out to get something. I have never met a spirit that isn’t looking for something. I know they might not say anything and maybe they’re acting really nice and generally are, but they ARE getting something. Maybe they’re studying humans. Or maybe they’re leeching energy off you or selling information about you to someone. You don’t know.
  • They are not human. Do not forget that. [UPG Alert!] I’m of the belief that many spirits don’t think the same way we do. They don’t hold things to the same level of importance, they certainly don’t seem to value the same things or have the same morals or ethics. You can’t expect them to act a certain way or do something in a particular fashion. It’s like expecting an alien from Pluto to be able to know all the intricacies and eccentricities of your culture.
  • Avoid politics. Politics is a game no matter who is playing it or what field it is on. A deadly, horrible, necessary game. Try to avoid it if possible. If you can’t (as many constant travelers cannot) at least keep your wits about you.
  • Know who’s top dog. There are a lot of spirits out there that  have territory. Some of those spirits are just holding that territory for someone bigger and badder than they are. And some of those territories have land that translates into a place on the physical realm. Yeah, you can literally walk into a spirit’s territory here by accident and have to deal with it over there.
  • You are not at home. Stop acting like it. You’re traveling. Tra-vel-ing. No one owes you a thing (unless they do) and acting like they owe you secrets and knowledge is a great way of getting no where fast and pissing everyone off. And ruining the party for everyone else.
  • You can get hurt. Spirit wounds happen. All the time. Sometimes it’s bruises, scratches, or random aches and pains that shouldn’t be there. I’ve woken up with visible six fingerprint and one thumb-sized bruises on each ankle even though I was in the house alone except for the cat and slept only three hours. I’ve noticed these tend to appear overnight and will last for much longer than normal, despite any treatment towards it (although, spells do seem to soften them). Hint: treat the wound on the spiritual realm as well as the physical.
  • Prepare yourself for the morning after. Using the assumption that you intend to travel at night, prepare your morning as you would if you expected a hangover. A hearty breakfast, lots of fluids, headache and nausea remedy. Sometime the herbals used to cross over will you give a hangover type feeling. This occurs even if the herbal is consumed via oil, ointment, or smoke. If it does occur, keep records and test it. Some people react to certain herbs that way, others discover it’s because they gave themselves too much or combined it with something.
  • Keep records. As mentioned above and previously, keeping records is highly important. I don’t even note in my records what I do (although that’s a personal preference). I just note that I crossed over at what time, what I took with the dosages (leaving a sample aside nearby my notes in case something goes wrong), and when I return what time I did that. This is also useful if you find yourself crossing over at random. Some folks get triggered by shit. It’s best to keep the records so you learn from it all. Do as you will. Most people keep everything in a journal. I keep mind in a binder and have a form I fill out each time, similar to a lab report. Ugh, paperwork but brilliant at the same time.
  • Your UPG is as valid and true as everyone else’s. UPG [unverified personal gnosis or some form thereof] means that what you’ve experienced is real to you. It’s valid and true if you say it is. No one should be able to deny your experiences (if they do then call them out although if you’re operating on historical or mythological fallacies someone will call you out on that.) That being said, your UPG does not have to match anyone else’s UPG. Sometimes they match up and that’s awesome. Others times you’re all by yourself. That’s awesome too. Just remember that just because you’ve experienced something and someone else experienced something else entirely, does not mean both of you aren’t correct. Treat other people’s UPGs as you’d like yours to be treated.
  • Spirits lie. They’re also assholes. All the time. Some they lie about who or what they are. They do it for reasons you can’t understand, for their own personal agenda, just for laughs, or to fuck with you. Gods are not exempt from this.

Getting back depends on how you got there in the first place. A lot of just ride it out till they come back. Others have a series of techniques like the ones below. It’s a good idea to keep trips short until you can find your way back without trying to (although, some people never get to that kind of familiarity with this so YMMV).

How to Get Back:

  • Return phrase. Some people have trained themselves to return to their senses when they utter a particular word or phrase. (Likewise, some people have trained themselves to cross over with a different word or phrase)
  • Alarms. If you travel while asleep or fall asleep while traveling, setting an alarm will shock you out of whatever realm you’re in, most of the time. This isn’t exactly recommended because it’s really disorienting. It’s best to use an alarm that starts softly and gains volumes as it goes. (You can usually find a digital one in a department store for around $12 USD, last I checked.) You can likewise try to use an mp3 that starts soft and gets loud to do the same thing if that works better for you.
  • Tether yourself. If you can, when you first cross over, try to extend yourself back and feel where your body is. Keep that feeling in the back of your mind and you’ll be able to find it again. You can make a “physical” reminder of this by wearing a rubber band or bracelet, ring, whatever, to remind yourself. Ensure that you appear on the other side with it.
  • If you travel with a spirit, that spirit can shove you back. (It should be noted that other spirits can do this too and will sometimes do it to be assholes). In non-allies, it’s a dominance play. Also known as a dick move.
  • Have someone sit by and wake you at a certain time. Switch out who watches who to make things even. And give that watcher something to do. It’s boring watching a sleeping or meditating person most of the time.
  • Have a start zone. Find a place where you will always first visit when you cross. If you appear anywhere else first, go directly to the start zone. This way, you will feel best connected to that spot and will feel most closely connected to reality there. Then you can jump back and forth as much as you’d like.
  • Food. This is going to sound weird. Traveling is draining to many people and I always recommend prepping a carb-filled or grounding food for yourself for after. If you eat the same thing after each trip (like ritual bread or whatever), remembering that smell, taste, texture, sight, etc can bring you back.
  • Keep records. As stated above. Not a way to get back but something to keep in mind.

I rambled a bit there and sounded a bit like a arse but I hope this helps!

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