Eenie-weenie, Chili-beanie, the Spirits are about to speak!
But are they friendly spirits?
I’m no clairvoyant or mystic, but I’ve been on the spiritual path for decades. What my experience has taught me, in the Mystery School of Hard Knocks, is Caveat Emptor.
That’s because the spiritual world, like our world of the everyday, is laced with shady characters. And I’m not just talking about quack spiritualists and money-grubbing gurus. No, I mean many of the spirits themselves.
So many Seekers imagine that anything Out There with powers beyond their own must be Advanced and Benevolent. But my own experience as well as knowledge gained by study would suggest that the unguarded swimmer into unknown seas is as likely to stumble on a shark as a dolphin. There’s cuddly E.T. and then there’s the all-consuming Alien that possesses Ian Holm. There’s Gandalf and then there’s Sauron. Obi Wan and the Emperor. And everything in between.
Hic sunt dracones.
That’s why questers whose motive is to acquire gain or special gifts are especially vulnerable navigating these dangerous waters. The “spirits” they seek out (and who sometimes actually show up) may have some paranormal technologies at their disposal that we mortals do not have, and want. But possessing these technologies are no more indicators of a creature’s wisdom or benevolence than are our human technologies. Most of us have encountered gifted people who are also mad, bad, and dangerous to know.
Spirits can be liars, thieves, con men, just like mortal men. A few are outright serial killers, terrorists, and mass murderers. Moreover, the sharks are usually cunning enough to camouflage themselves as dolphins. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is said that a third of the angels “fell,” and that proportion is not inconsistent in other cosmologies.
You shall know them by their fruits. If we attempt to work magic or gain secret knowledge through spirits, and they give it to us without moving us to become more loving, forgiving, and stable human beings, open to the needs of others and the infinite love of the Other, then we should turn tail and run fast, run far.
This is reason number one for why we shouldn’t trust every “mystery school” that set up shop last Tuesday in Mt. Shasta or Taos or Bevery Hills. That way lies danger, perhaps madness.
We need reliable guides through the perilous regions where dragons abide.