Monthly Columns

Spiritual First Aid

Moving Spirits On

Welcome to the first installment of Spiritual First Aid! I intend to use this column for two complementary goals: one is what to do with a metaphysical crisis or having a magickal emergency, and the other is using magick to handle the difficulties of life.

Some topics I will cover will be things such as dealing with unwanted spirits, banishing harmful forces, advanced protection magick, using magick when in an emotional crisis, dealing with possession, energetic parasites, dealing with psychic vampires (unethical ones not asking for permission), how to handle intense energies in and out of ritual, and even rebuilding your life after a major life crisis- just to give you some examples and give you previews of things to come. I will give anecdotes from my own experience or that of working with people I have helped along the way (changing names or using composite examples to preserve anonymity of course).

This column’s subject is about moving spirits on, but first I want to give a little introduction…

To give you some more information on myself, I have been a magickal practitioner for almost 30 years. My first magickal teacher was a retired mechanic with gold teeth named “Goldfinger,” who taught me hoodoo out of what was once the oldest spiritual good and candle shop in Chicago (Lama Temple- now closed, but there is a punk song about it– yes, life is weird). I have been a devoted polytheist, Freemason, a Golden Dawn Initiate, a Chaos Magician, a professional tarot reader (retired), a community leader, public speaker, teacher, writer, healer, exorcist, and much more. I know a bit, but I am still a seeker with so much to learn and far more growth to do. As much as I am well read in the occult, I probably have learned the most from experimenting a lot and making a ton of mistakes trying to understand magick and achieve the best results possible. I try to help others and work for the highest good, the betterment of humankind, and the spread of knowledge and wisdom- but I guarantee I have made any mistake you can think of (maybe twice) in that pursuit. I hope you enjoy this and future columns. If you have any questions, I will always do my best to respond in a timely manner, and you can reach me via social media or my website.

Enough about me, let’s get down to business!

Since Samhain is nearing, and the veil being thin (and I swear like how Chistmas stuff comes out in stores earlier, the veil is thinning a little earlier every year) you might get a bit of an increase in spiritual activity. Everyone has psychic and magickal gifts, and I firmly believe given guidance, practice, and training- everyone can do magick. I think the only difference is that just as some people are better at music or baking, everyone has different talents and inclinations. For those that are already familiar with working with spirits, the thinning veil will offer an opportunity to go deeper. For those that do not have as much experience, it can be a great time to work on things like spirit communication and connecting with the ancestors for the first time. In any case, spiritual movement and presence can increase dramatically.

There are many types of spirits obviously, and for the sake of focus, I want to focus on the spirits of the departed, that seem to be stuck and especially those that can do anything from just being an annoyance to actually causing emotional or even physical distress. I did not originally think spirits could cause harm. When I was kid, I have been to places that were haunted and when I was a teenager I would explore cemeteries (I was oh so goth back then, but who am I kidding I still am at heart- I love cemeteries, spooky stuff, and write dramatic poetry). The worst that happened to me at first was the normal stuff you hear about: feeling the hairs on the back of your neck, feeling cold, and the odd sensation that you are not alone. Honestly after watching too many R rated horror movies growing up, this stuff didn’t bother me. But I found out that things are a little more complicated.

I need to make a little detour and talk magickal theory to go deeper. I hate being told what to do without knowing why I am doing it, and I have found in teaching magickal techniques, it helps to know the “why” as much as the “how”. One rule of magick I have found to be true is that the more you try to experience and open yourself up to, the more vulnerable you become, and this is why it is important to learn basic protection magick and energetic boundaries. For me, the heart of magick is manipulating the subtle currents of energy- chi, prana, psychic energy, or whatever you want to call it- and to do that you have to be open to feeling the energy as much as possible. Another rule of magick that is also relevant to the subject at hand is that the more you are able to feel, the more ability you have to change it. These two “rules” work hand in hand in a feedback cycle. You experience something spiritual, you become more open, you can change or shape, then you can experience more. This is one of the ways you can be a better practitioner, just by doing magick.The above magickal theory applies top straight up magickal work (meditation, spellcraft, etc), but also with interacting with spirits. This offers a clear explanation of why hauntings always seem to ramp up. The people living in a haunted dwelling get caught up in this magickal feedback loop all the time, and even trained practitioners can fall into this easy cycle.

Going back to spirits, we can talk about many theories about what they actually are and what dangers can happen. Whether you believe spirits are energetic echoes of the past, or those that are “stuck” in the earthly plane after their passing- we are still talking about beings made basically of spiritual energy. Us living folk get most of our available energy from breathing, water, food, sex and many other of the various processes that are part of being alive. This physical energy is both converted to and is a carrier of the magickal/psychic/astral energy that resides within us. Spirits cannot generate energy in the same way, but they have their own intrinsic self-preservation instinct to survive in their own fashion and they need to get that energy from somewhere to keep going. Usually that energy comes from living beings. Energy follows attention (another handy rule of energy work and magick) and when we give something attention we give it our energy. When we pay attention to a spirit we feed it. Sometimes it is taken passively, and that is why we may feel a cold chill when there is a spirit around us- it is taking some of our energy just as heat will be lost to cold via the laws of thermodynamics. Where this can get us really messed up is with the energy-body connection.

In traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, the connection between our physical connection and our subtle energy is well documented, studied, and utilized to cure people. Our subtle energy and our physical forms are linked. In fact one can argue that the maintenance of our psychic/magickal/subtle energy keeps our lives maintained. Usually spirits that cause problems have had some trauma associated with their lives or death. For various reasons, and there are possibly many, the spirit or spiritual energy of the departed cannot move on and as a by-product of maintaining their existence cause potential physical symptoms. This does not mean that the emotional and mental symptoms are anything sleight. One of the ways some spirits get energy is to cause fear that they can easily feed on. The sense of unease, stress, and anxiety of being in a harmful haunting environment are nothing to joke about and seeing how spirits get “stronger’ by virtue of getting more of our energy and the magickal feedback loop I outlined above- there is a real and potent danger of a spirit having the potential to affect not only our emotional health, but our physical condition to the point of grave harm.

So now to the heart the matter. We know what we are dealing with, why it is hurtful, and how things have progressed to the level that you realize that the spirit needs to be taken care of. You can try sage, palo santo, banishing through ritual, using sound (bells are especially potent), or even calling upon gods, angels, or ancestors. These methods can be effective, and if they work, please try them. When those don’t work (and sometimes they are just band-aids, the method I employ the most is “banishing through portal”. It is direct and to the point and goes beyond a standard banishing. Basically, I open up a portal to the spiritual realms and depending on the situation escort the spirit through the portal or have the portal suck them to the other side. Usually it works best knowing where the portal is going, but that is not entirely necessary. What matters most is intent.

Below are instructions to banish by way of utilizing portals. I would say this requires intermediate magickal experience. One should be already well versed in how to move energy into basic two dimensional shapes (like drawing an energetic circle or sigils in the air), grounding, and either visualization or feeling energy.

Banishing By Portal

1.Ground and meditate on your connection to the center of the Earth. This should be done by seeing and feeling with all of your being.

2. Make a firm intention of where you want the portal to go. This could be to the afterlife, the Summerland, the Underworld, or any place you feel is appropriate. If you are not sure, ask any higher power (higher self, the Goddess, the gods, ancestors, etc) to guide where the portal is opening to. You should also have a firm idea of how the portal will work. Will it suck the subject in like a vacuum? Will it be a more passive gateway?

3.Create the portal. This can be done with one hand, drawing a circular portal in the air. Alternatively, you can visualize the portal. This can be drawn to one side of a room, or between you and the target. The portal can be of any distance from you, off to the side, or above or below the target. If you are making the portal between you and the target, visualize and/or feel the opening away from you and towards the target.

4. Activate the portal with a word or gesture of your choosing. This can be as simple as saying “open” or snapping your fingers. I often will form or visualize a keyhole and I will open the portal with a physical key (like a skeleton key) or one made of energy.

5. Use the portal. How you use the portal depends on the subject and your intention. I have gently asked spirits to go through a portal and I have even held their hands while I said soothing words to help them through. For more stubborn or harmful spirits, I will create a portal with a vacuum and send as much energy and intention into the rushing whorl of the portal to make it strong enough to banish the spirit to where it needs to go. If you are having problems with this, visualize and feel the energy of the portal moving clockwise. Make the portal spin as much as possible. If needed, use the act of breathing in to remind you what energy being drawn to you feels like, and use that to program the active sucking of the portal- breathing in, imagine the portal sucking; breathing out, imagine the portal getting stronger.

6. See and feel your target going into the portal. This is where it gets a little tricky. If a spirit is more benign, you may not have much to do other than ask it to pass through. On the other hand, if you are dealing with something stronger or even malevolent, you will have to exercise some force. Remember that you are more powerful by virtue of being alive and having the energy of your body, the Universe, Nature, the air around you, and a multitude of energetic sources to give you what you need. It is important to not try to connect to the spirit energetically. You should observe and sense it energetically, but do not create an energetic cord. If you are working with something that might actively fight, by all means bring help. In this case, one person can sense the spirit and another can focus on the portal. If you can, I would even recommend a third person (or people) to be behind the spirit to energetically push it towards the portal. Always check for energetic cords to the entity before and after- you do not want the spirit to have that bond for several reasons.

7. Close and deconstruct the portal. Once the spirit has moved on, close the portal in a similar way to how you activated and opened it. After the portal is closed, uncast it and deal with the energy. You may want to store the energy in a crystal or an athame, or you might just want to ground it out. I will say storing the energy for later use can be useful since you have an energetic “base” upon which to make future portals.

8. Aftercare. At this point, you can thank any spiritual help you called upon and if you created a formal ritual space- close the circle and bring the space back to a neutral energy through banishment or purification. Take time to take care of yourself, and anyone helping you. Check for energetic cords or even any energetic damage that might have occurred. Take care of your physical body and replenish your body. Remember to hydrate!

Some points of caution should be handled with portals. The portal is shaped by your intent, so always focus your attention on the intent as much as possible. It is more likely for your portal to not work than for your portal to go out of control, like something from a fantasy novel or movie. Please use your judgment when using a portal, and do not use them on people. The only time I would use them with a person is to banish a spirit within a person by using the portal to energetically suck the spirit out, and I would have the portal above them and use energy to help assist the spirit into the portal. I will talk more about that sort of instance in a future installment on de-possession.

Be safe. If you need to banish with a portal, take all the necessary precautions of cleansing the space before and after, shielding, calling on any spiritual help, and grounding when needed. While the theories are relatively simple, the challenge is in the details and unfortunately every rule does have its exception.

That is it for this column. Until next time, may the gods and ancestors guide and shine upon you. Blessings.


About the Author:

Mark NeCamp, Jr. is a healer, author, poet, teacher, spiritual alchemist, and modern day student and practitioner of the Art. He teaches classes using magick as a tool for personal growth. He is passionate for how we each can, through the alchemical process, turn our spiritual lead into gold as individuals and as a global community. He has led many community groups in the Midwest; and taught at events such as Pagan Unity Festival, ConVocation, Starwood, Paganicon and many others. He is the author of the upcoming work Energy Magick, by Moon Books Publishing, and is available for pre-order through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He can be contacted through his website