The internal and the external have a very real effect on each other, so our practices include positive actions that improve both our internal and external worlds. Daily examples include charity, encouragement, and using our internal dialog as a tool for reshaping how we live. The rite described here brings our general practice to a more structured and focused form. It calls upon Jungian principles to turn our enemies -who live inside us- into our allies.
We have borrowed this rite from the book “Feeding Your Demons” by Tsultrim Allione. It has roots in Tibetan Buddhism, but it applies very well to our purpose. The author uses the word “demons” with the commonly-understood meaning of something negative that plagues us; we prefer to think of Demonkind in more positive terms, so we made some modifications. The rite takes about 30 minutes to an hour. It does not require any props, just a quiet place where you can close your eyes, sit or relax comfortably, and focus without distractions. Non-visual people can adapt the terms of the method to whatever sensory descriptions work best for them.
To Begin the Rite
Start by thinking about the things that have harmed you or held you back in life. This could include sexual abuse, prejudice, toxic environments, parents who did not know how to help you, self-sabotage, or anything else that feels like it has a nagging, dragging, weighing, or wounding effect on you today. Select just one of these concerns, whichever one stands out to you as the most troubling right now. Focus on that one problem, then slowly visualize it as a person-like spirit creature with a face, a body, a mind, and its own intentions. Study this creature for a while — what does it look like, smell like, or feel like? Get into the details, the texture of its skin, its gender, the shape of its mouth. Allow it to speak — how does its voice sound?
Ask the creature what it wants. It must want something, or it would not hang around and harass you so much. Now ask what it needs. It does not necessarily need the same thing it wants. Then ask the most important question: how would the creature feel if it actually got what it needs? Do not wait for it to answer. Instead trade places with that spirit, take on its body and its voice, become the creature. Speak, answer the questions. As the embodiment of whatever hurts the worst, what do you want? What do you need? What feelings would come over you if you got what you needed?
A spirit of self-hatred might want a glass of alcohol, or a pint of ice cream, or a fight with your partner. It might actually need loving acceptance and letting go of old traumas. Again though the most important answer we must express, as the spirit that haunts you, is how it would feel to get what it needs. Getting a release from old hurts, and a boost of compassionate acceptance, might feel like relief, or peace, or tears of joy.
Come back into your self, trading places and facing the creature opposite you again. Allow yourself to turn into an embodiment of those feelings of relief or joy, and as you transform and distill into those feelings, turn them into a pure food the creature can eat. Visualize the food substance, concentrate on the feelings it represents, and give this food freely to the spirit. You have an endless supply, so let it eat its fill, let it consume all the positive feelings you have become until it has completely satisfied its hunger. Observe. The spirit may not rage so fiercely now that it has eaten those good feelings. It may seem more docile or harmless. It may even fade away.
On your first time through the rite, you might have to stop here, and tell the spirit you will visit it again later. Close the rite by sitting for a good while, just experiencing the feeling of having given all of yourself freely to the thing that most bothered you, and the contentment that both of you feel. Open your eyes. It can take multiple attempts at performing the rite to move on to the next step, so have patience.
Transformation in the Rite
Over time through this process, when the creature has eaten all of the feelings for what it needs, eventually it will transform into a new sort of spirit: an ally for you. Its appearance will change dramatically, and its presence will not feel alarming or uncomfortable anymore. Take the time once again to fully visualize all the details of this new ally spirit.
Ask your ally the following questions: How will you help or protect me? What promise do you make to me? How can I summon you? As before, do not wait for an answer, but instead switch places and become this new spirit. Now speak the answers, knowing that as this spirit you owe your life to the summoner. Once you, as the ally creature, have answered all three questions, switch back into yourself again with the ally facing you. You now have the power to call for its help whenever you need, and know exactly what it has promised, and how it can protect you.
As you face the ally, invite it to move closer and sit next to you. It may even merge entirely into you. Either way, the ally has joined you and it will stay to help you and honor its promise. Again, always close the rite by sitting with the ally for a time and experiencing its companionship and your own contentment.
Speaking in the voice of the ally, you have already told yourself how to reach out and contact that spirit. You may find that it helps to keep a token nearby, such as a drawing of the ally creature, a talisman, or other object to help you remember that the ally will respond and join you the moment you call upon it.
The Spirits and their Powers
These helpful and harmful spirits are primarily personifications of aspects of our own inner selves: patterns and beliefs and potentials. We experience lasting harm, from past traumas and bad interactions, mainly through the way we hold onto and relive them internally. When you persistently scratch at a superficial wound it will get much worse, and will eventually become a scar, which both itches and reminds you of the wound.
By the same token, nobody and nothing outside yourself can stop those harmful patterns. You alone have the power to heal yourself; this visualization rite helps free up those powers, which may seem inaccessible or impossible otherwise. This ritual of course cannot repair bodily injuries or eliminate physical pain; but it absolutely can address the painful emotions we feel about those wounds, which can otherwise really hurt us worse, for a much longer time, than the original injury.
By creating a vivid experience of facing our worst fears, and nourishing them rather than fighting them, we win them over to our side. This works in real interpersonal relationships too: if you approach a conflict by offering the other person the sort of acceptance and understanding that they need, at a much deeper level than they may even know, the conflict itself will often dissipate. These battles, both internal and external, only harden and become seemingly permanent or insurmountable when we treat them that way, because you cannot fight yourself and win. Instead, victory comes from creating allies and working together.