I promised this next "oddities" entry would be about the various creatures of the astral plane, and in a way it still is, but I'm still working on that one as I experiment with a new method of projection that has remedied its potential dearth of content.

This article is about something I've only (relatively) recently begun experimentation with: spirits. Not all spirits, however, as that's an incredibly vast category and probably best suited to the previously mentioned article in progress. My research, and the oddity I'm pondering today, is regarding specifically one's "local spirits," for lack of a better term, and how they relate to/interact with external spirits and other extradimensional beings. What does "local spirit" mean, exactly? Well, it doesn't mean the hot local spirits in your area, despite what those alluring ads on WizNet promise you. I heard another magician use this term before and it stuck with me; "local" spirits are the spirits of your own creation that are borne of your own energy and consciousness. If you buy a haunted toy with a poltergeist inside, that is not a local spirit. If you, however, create a spirit with the appearance of a haunted toy, that is now a local spirit. Make sense?

I won't go into the details of local spirit creation... everyone will tell you their own method, though it generally involves highly developed aura, visualization, chaos magick, and acting skills. To me, the most important things are the voice, the personality, and the visuals, preferably something incredibly simple for mindspace visualization purposes. It's a lot of work, and I still have a long way to go with it to be truly proficient, but it is indeed a rewarding feeling to reach the point where you can passively third-eye scan and visually see a spirit of your own creation doing its thing.

This particular story starts on a relatively typical artifact (see the "artifacts/charging" feature) hunt. I sent out a local spirit of mine (we'll call it "A") to seek out "the most powerful artifact" in the cluster of secondhand shops and antique malls I found myself near at the time. I followed its energy from store to store remotely, unsurprised to find it primarily encountering artifacts and haunted objects I'd already encountered and scanned before. I was wandering around a new flea market when A reached a certain upscale antique store, one I rarely visit due to relatively high prices and static selection. I suddenly felt an energy "ping" pinpointing its location and signaling a hit. My excitement turned to panic when, as an extension of my own consciousness, I felt A's panic upon being confronted and consumed by an enemy so capable it had completely destroyed A before I could even get a read on its energy signature. This was a first for me--a spirit of my own getting destroyed by another external spiritual force.

The most shocking part was that my theory about damage transfer proved accurate. since A was formed of my own aura energy and tethered to my physical body in the same was as my primary etheric double, its destruction meant the sudden absence of a small chunk of my etheric body. This energy amounted to apparently a fingertip's worth of etheric energy, as I was struck with a throbbing, stabbing pain in my left index finger, as if I'd been physically stabbed with a needle, and then felt the energy from that whole section of my aura fade away. I tried resummoning A, but it was hopeless--I could attempt to create similar local spirits on the fly, but none of them had been properly created, strengthened, or trained like A had been.

With enough time and recharging, the damaged section of my etheric double reformed, and A was able to be regenerated--its "existence" is seemingly tied to this section of my etheric double, and so is regenerated along with it (this, while initially surprising, made sense--there must be some aspect of "memory" or nothing etheric could ever regenerate accurately. A destroyed astral toe would not grow back as a tentacle). I thought at first that A must have been simply trapped at the location and not actually destroyed, since I was under the impression a local spirit is destroyed forever--thankfully that was proven to not be the case. While the experience was wholly unpleasant, it may have been for the best, as it led to a first-hand crash-course in the mechanics of this particular type of spirit work.

Well, as soon as I was positive that A was truly back, I made the trek to that store for myself and explored its every turn with basic energy scanning and other techniques that wouldn't put any part of my etheric body out there separately to be attacked again. It wasn't hard to find the culprit--in a dimly lit room full of priceless vintage art from China sat an incredibly old, dark wood carving of a bald monk meditating. The eyes didn't fit the rest of the sculpture at all, instead looking somewhat akin to those of a poorly taxidermized animal. A serene smile was permanently etched into its face. The statue was unsettling enough, but its energy was the most bizarre. Outside of the room, it was indetectable--but as soon as I stepped through the open doorway to the proper section, it washed over me like the pressure of being dragged suddenly underwater. It wasn't the energy signature of a spirit, or of a homunculus... it was a distinctly "human" energy signature, or, I should say, it had the aura of a living, sentient magician. It was not being remotely controlled, though--whatever it is or isn't was entirely anchored within the statue.

I reached towards it cautiously, easing my hand into the range of its immediate aura, reaching mere inches away from its physical form when when--STAB!

I suppressed the yelp, as there were several elderly shoppers of a non-magickal variety somewhere in the adjacent aisles and I didn't want to try to explain to the after-church crowd that I was squealing because I'd been invisibly stabbed by a sentient being trapped inside a creepy old statue, but it hurt like a motherfucker. It was definitely the same type of energy-stabbing attack A had been destroyed by, but the pain was greater being attacked in the etheric finger directly (it was also my right index finger this time, because variety is the spice of life). This entity was highly active, highly capable, and highly hostile to having its energy read.

I retreated this time to reference my notes again and plan a course of action. I came to the conclusion that with its level of power and the sheer range of its energy, the entity could have easily attacked me anywhere in the room if it had wanted to... but it hadn't. It only attacked when I was technically the one invading its territory and perhaps seeming to threaten it. I had, after all, sent a very tangible local spirit remotely that homed in on it, approached it, and then relayed its position back to me. This was all under innocuous pretexts--I just like encountering/collecting cool artifacts/haunted shit--but if I'd suddenly seen a high-level magician's spirit floating up to me and reporting my direct location, I would flip my shit too. Then I'd gone up to it and gotten close enough to attempt to exorcize it with aura attacks if I'd wanted to! No wonder it had tried to defend itself. And, as impressive as being able to tangibly stab something else's energy with one's own aura is, this entity could DEFINITELY have done a LOT more damage to me if it had wanted to.

I can't say for sure who would have won in an all-out battle, because I had/have no intention of harming it, but it could have definitely at least fucked me up pretty bad if it had so desired, even from across the room. And yet... it had not. I came to fear the entity less, instead respecting it and wanting to at least make some sort of amends with it. I've never quite encountered an artifact-bound entity with a totally independent, sentient energy before, let alone anything with this level of sheer power (aside from some very very evil artifacts I've encountered before but will never, ever let myself encounter again). I'd told my apprentice about it and they were also fascinated, so I decided I'd go back and pay it a visit and try to get a photograph.

This time, the entire store was deserted aside from the old man manning the registers at the very front. It was a dreary drizzly Winter day, giving the area an even more surreal and enchanted feel. My heart was pounding out of my chest as I approached the open doorway: not with fear but with excitement. I stepped through the makeshift portal and was immediately swimming in overwhelming coalescing waves of ancient energy. The very air felt heavy and thick to move through, the metaphysical equivalent of a humid July day along the Carolina coastline. I should have been trepidatious stepping into the lair of such an immensely powerful being, but I've always had more of a lust for adventure than a healthy fear of danger (and not just in this life).

"Greetings," I thought, taking care to broadcast the words loudly. I assumed it could pick up on anything within the intense pressure of its range, but etiquette is etiquette. I reached the center of the room and bowed respectfully, keeping my distance as a sign of good will. I let down my aura defenses and "opened all channels" for communication.

The response was not in words; I was being spoken to through pure intention. I was acknowledged. The entity showed a hint of both pleasure at being acknowledged as a magick equal and relief that I was not in fact seeking to harm, exorcise, or challenge it.

I asked it through thought projection if I could take a photo of it to show my apprentice and possibly other magicians I had told the story to already. It didn't seem to understand. I pulled out my phone and opened up the camera, my heart stopping as I realized just how deep I was wading in. The coalescing and convulsing pockets of energy were visible in-app! Shadowy orb-like clouds of dark energy danced across the screen obscuring things beyond recognition and preventing the camera from focusing, and I wasn't even aiming it in the direction of the statue. I asked again, this time switching to intention projection like it had used to speak to me. I'm very rusty in this method of communication, but must have managed it because as soon as I repeated my request in this manner, the darting orbs vanished from the screen and I received a very clear and peaceful "Yes, please do" response. The entity's energy suddenly felt much less arcane and foreboding, seemingly pleased to have been noticed by a magician, acknowledged, treated with respect, and now getting a photo shoot to spread the word. I took the photo, bowed respectfully, and thanked it profusely via intention. It replied jovially, seemingly pleased with the amusement of these interactions (unsurprising considering it sits 24 hours a day normally not even being acknowledged as alive or active by the majority of the non-spiritual clientele).

For the entity's safety, and since I never asked it if I could publicly display it, I will not be uploading the photo here. I don't want anyone with ill intentions to track it down and harm it, annoy it, or attempt to harness it for unsavory means. However, I still occasionally visit it and enjoy checking in with it from time to time. I do not intend to purchase it, though. Such energy would honestly be overwhelming to coexist with.

As an addendum, this whole ordeal did teach me how to use A as a passive danger sense. It has come in handy already, although that's a story for another time (and article).