This question is another that I see often in shamanism forums.
Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place. ~Rumi
So often we talk about totems, helping spirits, deities, Guides–which are all well and good. There are other influential souls with whom we can enter into deep relationship, and they’re right under our noses, every day. I call them our Home spirits, though I suspect they can be identified many ways.
These are the Nature spirits, land elders, and the consciousness of your actual home–the dwelling in which you live–who are guardians with whom you are in relationship all the time. They may be your favorite hellebores in the side garden, the cactus in a planter by the front door, the lawn, itself. They may be souls of indigenous land keepers, elementals that have never been in form, the spiritual manifestation of your town or bioregion. The soul of your home, each room, every beam, can engage you.
Being aware of spaces and how we use them, move through them, contribute to them, are affected by them, affect them–all of these are important. Despite that we use them for spiritual practice, most of us don’t bring them into our personal spiritual practice. We’re more conscientious of the rituals we do in spaces, the fetishes bring into them, the altars we build in them, yet how often do we actually engage the spirits of our home space? How often do we inquire about the needs of the land’s elders? How do they embrace (or not) other cultural flavors/allies of our spiritual path?
Acknowledge them, first of all. Create an opening to interact with them. Get a feel for what beings are ever-present in your home space. Invite them into your etheric space and communicate with them. Are they ones you already engage with, or are they new? How are they connected to the land, the home? How do they want to connect with you? Ask what they need from you. State what you need from them.
This ongoing dialogue is key to being fully present in an animistic life, certainly in fulfilling the role of shaman. Historically, shamans served the tribe, a particular territory. Their relationship with the Nature spirits of that terrain enabled their success at caring for their tribe, at growing into their skills, and in working with other shamans, other terrains.
We don’t all have the same access to nature. Some live in city flats, others on farms, carefully manicured suburbia–none of which really matters when we consider the uniqueness of the relationships we form with and around our personal space. For that matter, some of us aren’t that enthused about direct interface with Nature. Sit with that contradiction, truly. Honestly open up to what your role in working with local spirits is, and what they need from you. You don’t have to suddenly become a gardener, wilderness enthusiast, or master of sacred space. But you do have to become the master of your sacred space, or at least its willing host to be part of its mastery of being, of relating. These spirits are the eyes and ears of the places in your life that you can’t attend. They are the true guardians of your home, your personal domain. You are the manifestation of theirs.
When I first started working with the Home spirits of our current residence, I was greeted by many. They told me that in order for the balance between the physical and spiritual world to sustain and evolve, every place must have a human conduit. There must be a sentient bridge through which an exchange of life force happens, a consolidated awareness is forged, and all involved benefit.
We can’t deeply root into our own gifts and fulfill our needs until we connect with the spirits most immediately around us. They’re viable. They are important to our personal path, and our relationship with them is vital to the collective path of the planet. They are the roots we so often try to find in ourselves, forgetting they were already there.
Working with Home spirits isn’t just about where you are. It’s about where you’re going, where they have been, and where the planet needs to be.