Working with deities is a major keystone in most magical systems. Either by and through the creation of pacts with various spirits or through the worship thereof, most of us wind up with spiritual relationships that shape our lives. They change the way we think about the world around us and they can be wondrous things.
These relationships can also be harmful, parasitic, and troubling. The trick is figuring out which end your relationships fall into, and then either working to grow them or cutting ties and moving on. You are who you spend time with. More after the break...
As you can see, the aforementioned types of relationship range from structured to unstructured, and really can be whatever you make of them.
Worship usually follows a passed-down set of rules that one follows. For Christians, folks often focus on the teachings in the Bible and the Ten Commandments, or choose to read the Psalms as a way of connecting and gaining specific favors. Each of the Abrahamic faiths follow a similar pattern, though Islam takes it a step further with structured prayers that are repeated throughout the day.
When you don't belong to a similarly structured faith, how you worship is between you and your spirits. You can either come up with a mutually agreeable arrangement with set rules, requirements, and boons on both sides (a pact) or it can be an informal arrangement in which you and the spirit are very close, and a tit for tat structure isn't needed. In the former, so long as you follow your side of the agreement, the spirit is expected to follow their side of the arrangement, and the same is true in reverse. Neither party does something the other party disapproves of (assuming such rules have been discussed).
Friendships can have different dynamics in accordance with the needs and wants on both sides of the divide. For me, such relationships are preferred. Its informal, can be messy, and can sometimes result in minor disputes, as there aren't any rules. They can lead to a great deal of growth for both you and the spirit, though.
The reality is that in any relationship, regardless of the specifics and boundaries, spirits tend to get protective of us. When someone mucks about and attempts to screw around, they often get involved and try to take care of the problem. With that being the case, I feel that it would be foolish to write about protection without the slightest mention of the importance of spirit relationships in all of this.
Over the next handful of posts, we'll go into each type of relationship in further detail.
Be well folks,