The Calling of the Forest Spirits

This ritual is meant to exemplarily show how methods of western ritual magic can be put to use in a runemagical or a freestyle shamanist context. The purpose of the ritual is to give back to a place some of it's original, magical nature by summoning spirits to it. It is not intended to be as much of a strict set of rules as it may be an example for this kind of rite. The ritual as described here has been performed successfully. Since, however, the wishes and liking of the individual forces involved are, true to shamanic paradigm, given much consideration in it, it is rather likely each performance of it will vary a little in one aspect or another. Most forest spirits, most notably the fairy folk, are somewhat at odds with man-made regulations anyway, so it would be pointless to expect them to behave in any particular way just because some arbitrary ritual instruction would like them to. :-)





A clearingBefore everything else, it's all about finding a place. But this term may be inaccurate: ultimately, a place is meant to be helped by means of the ritual, so it may well be you are, in which way ever, told the rite would be appropriate in some place or the other. In any case, the approval of the spirit of the place is an absolutely necessary prerequisite.


In the following ritual, a condition that in principle is a stable one - the relatively low population of nature spirits in a given area - is to be transformed into a new, also stable one. The spirits called are meant to stay here. If the change is to be permanent, it has to be ensured the new condition will not be disturbed. In a shamanic view of the world, no other force (i.e. no other spirit) must disturb it. If an intervention of another spirit being seems likely, it is your responsibility whether to convince the being of approval, to force it to it or to refrain from the ritual.


Apart from this approval, you don't need much: a sacrifice (such as a bottle of alcohol), at least fifteen incense sticks of a fitting scent (such as Patchouli), a drum or other instument if you wish to use one (see below) as well as any magical weapons like the staff, hammer or dagger you might wish to include. The alfR binding runeFinally, a sigil for the species of spirits that is to be summoned has to be prepared. The example in the picture is a binding rune created out of the runes Ansus, Lagus, Fehu and Algis - alfR is Elves in the ancient nordic language.



Normally, it is recommendable the ritual is done by night. Although the appropriate time depends on who you want to summon - in the case of elves, who fancy any kind of transition, dawn or twilight could be it - spirits of the woods are typically nocturnal ones.


You might also consider the psychological component of being in the forest at night and the much less significant danger of being troubled by walkers.


After arrival on the place in question, meditations and centerings are performed as may be individually necessary and all tools are situated in the center of the location. Followers of a natural religion might find it appropriate to create a small altar for the local spirits in the middle of the place. A natural gateA spot on the edge of the site, preferrably a dark one, is chosen. Openings on the ground, in rootstocks or in the underwoods, are especially favorable. The sacrifice is made to the spirit of the place and the spirit world in general, possibly accompanied by shamanic trance, prayer or speaking to the spirits. Now, a banishment is performed. The hammer rite as introduced by Edred Thorsson is especially fitting in matters of style, but any method that works somewhat smoothly and easily will do as well.

After that, or (in case the rite is done by a group and not everyone is busy banishing) at the same time, the incense sticks are put into the ground in a large spiral array and are lit. Two of the sticks are positioned to the left and right, respectively, of the spot that is going to become the gate.


The spiral form is, one the one hand, to express affiliation to the natural, earthbound current of magic and, on the other, as a symbol of birth and life emphasizes the positive character of the whole rite.


The gateUsing one of the magical weapons or the pointing finger, the outlines of the gate are drawn into the air and visualized. It can be helpful to draw the lines several times over. When the gate is there, the prepared sigil is drawn upon it in the same manner. While doing this, the name of the spirit people is vibrated or sung. In the case of the already mentioned binding rune this would obviously be "alfR".


By means of the sigil, the gate gets an "other side". It now leads to a well defined place, which is the one where the named beings live.

When these preparations have been made satisfactorily, the gate is opened using a single word: "Mellon!"


Anyone who doesn't recognize this word should go and read the "Lord of the Rings" urgently. :-) It means "friend" and is used in said book for opening the gate to the old dwarven realm of Moria.


The opening of the gate and the region on it's other side wil be visible with about the same intensity as the gate has been visualized before. Now, the last phase of the rite can begin; in it, the spirits on the other side of the gate are made aware of the place they are meant to come to, and called to it. The most obvious method for this is probably shamanic drumming in deep trance. However, trance dancing, speaking to the powers in chaos language (speaking in tongues, glossolalia), fervent prayer to the responsible deity or another material sacrifice could be applied.


By these means, the spirits are fed and attracted to the place the ritual is performed at. To observe and visualize the beings that come out of the gate is interesting, but not necessary.


Whenever it appears to be enough, the calling is ended. All tools are collected back together and the place is left quickly. Final giving of thanks, earthing and centering should be performed when the place is out of sight, at the earliest.


If the weather is very moist, the incense sticks can be left burning.



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