Leland relays Italian fortune teller, Madellena’s version in the Gospel of Aradia (1899). Starhawk passes onto us Victor Anderson’s version in Spiral Dance (1979). Daniel Shulke reveals yet another recension in Lux Haeresis. While Anderson’s and Madellena’s stories are very feminine and goddess focused, Schulke’s (2011) version has more of a masculine and gnostic flair.
These legends as creation myths seem to go back no further than the 19th century with Leland’s Gospel of Aradia. However, as myths of an spiritual understanding of self go back further. For example we have in Genesis (10th-6th Century BC older?) that the original man and woman is made in God’s image. In Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) we have Eve learning about love and about her self hood through her reflection in the water. In La Sorciere by Michelet (1862) the Sorceress creates out of her deep desires a reflection of her soul. From Jung we have the Animus/Anima and the Shadow Selves which are others of the unconcious that one can encounter (1920s various books).
A number of traditions tackle this spirit other reflection of the self in a variety of approaches: Advancing the Witches’ Craft by Marcus Griffin (focuses on the shadow self), The Faerie Way by Hugh Mynne (a very love and light approach to the fairy lover), Lux Haeresis by Daniel Schulke (Intense multi-faceted approach), Azoetia by Andrew Chumbley (hard-core ritual), and Authentic Witchcraft by Grayson Magnus (probably the most lucid and straightforward approach).
Although the understanding of where the spirit familiar comes from is most clearly identified in La Sorciere, many fairy tales, witch trials and classic myths tell stories that fit the role or relationship. From folk songs we have Tam-Lin, Thomas the Rhymer, King Henry, and Crazy Man Michael. In witch trials we have so many (a post for another time), but Isobel Gowdie is an excellent example. Both Emma Wilby and Owen Davies have written excellent academic texts on these. Among Classic myths we have the romances of Cupid and Psyche and Pygmalion. The fairy tales are many, we have selkies and fisherman, we have mermaids and sailors, we have fairy wives and fairy lovers, demon lovers, succubi and succubus. The magical interactions of spirit beings and humans in spiritual marriage are many and varied.
Among the many traditions I have summarized, there are a variety of ways to attract your spirit familiar. From my own experience having known mine since a young age, I have reviewed the many rituals and systems and compared them to my own organic process. The approaches break down into three types all of which begin with the realization that there is such an other: type 1: going to a liminal place, in the legends this will happen at a crossroads, underworld/graveyard, hunting grounds,fairy lake/fairy hill/mound/tree and/or the place between sleep and wakefulness and calling forth or awaiting your meeting. type 2: self adoration: this will happen at a mirror or other reflection or even in your minds eye, but you develop yourself and thereby attract your opposite. type 3: shock and trauma, something violent happens to tear apart your ego entirely, it could be childhood abuse, rape, fairy kidnapping, shaman sickness, or a terrible vision of being torn down to sinew and bone and reborn, but some temporary destruction of ego summons up your familiar (this one can bypass the necessity of beginning with the realization there is such an other.
My own process included starting first with the realization of the other exisiting at all when I was a young teen followed very quickly by shock and trauma bringing me right to terms with the other and myself as other. Having gone both through that which occured naturally from my own experience, and experimenting with methods in a number of books starting with the poetical from literature and then into the intentional in witchcraft books, I have a good grasp to evaluate.
Type 1 and 3 are pretty obvious and do not much require further explanation. However Type 2 has its own internal logic that is a bit more difficult. So lets focus on it.
Self adoration begins with seeing yourself as other. You get outside yourself a bit and realize what makes you attractive and what could make you even better. You aren’t just looking at your body, but your soul too. Your spirit self/ideal self may look a lot like you, but it also could be different. Your spirit may have wings, or horns, or hooves. You need to really like this spirit self, realize how good it is. Its you and its pliable, so you can shape it. This is especially important if you don’t have good self-esteem. This is a chance to improve yourself and your view of yourself. Don’t mistake it though, its not for escapism. Its for self love, because your spirit familiar is your reflection, it’s want to come to you has to come from you realizing you are worth it. Taylor Ellwood instructed me in a workshop on an excellent way to shape and work with your magical self. First you are meditating, you are paying attention to your breath in the usual way for meditation. Then you sense your subtle body, your aura, spiritual self breathing with you. Then as you are breathing you breath out your spiritual self in front of you. Not far, just right in front of you. Then you breath it back in. After breathing it in and out a few times, you begin shaping it as you breath it out. Do you want it to be stronger? have more curves? wings? etc. After you are satisfied with what you have done for that meditation, breath it back in fully to your body and merge the subtle body fully into yourself. This is the you that exists spiritually. This is the you that will interact with your spirit familiar in the otherwordly places. You can pair these exercises with some really good self care. Exercise, take a scented bath, put on a luxurios lotion, doll yourself up with good hair style. Have fun with it, like you are getting ready to see your crush. This kind of perparation for a date is from Grayson Magnus’s Authentic Witchcraft book.
The above is just one of many methods of self adoration. In Schulke’s Lux Haersis it involves a lot more specific activities, working with your spectral hand, memory of the flesh, and a ritual involving a cauldron, thick incense and the void self. Marcus Griffin (fka Lord Foxglove) in Advancing the Witches’ Craft sets up a temple of the body to meet up with the shadow self which you are ready for after a series of major self improvement projects he leads you through. In the Faerie Way by Mynne, the ideal self is the Co-Walker as interpreted from Rev. Kirk’s Secret Commonwealth of Elves. This is your primal faery self and it is your double. In the Faerie way you breath in the energy of your cowalker from the faery realms a shining body of light.
The best of these books for both lucidity and price are:
Authentic Witchcraft by Grayson Magnus
Advancing the Witches’ Craft by Lord Foxglove aka Marcus Griffin (try and get the version with the CD).
Also wonderful, but expensive and difficult to track down with more difficult occult language
Lux Haeresis by Daniel Schulke