A History of Spirit Keeping
This history is NOT to be confused with the history of summoning living entities, that is a completely different history, this is the history of spirit keeping.
A History of Spirit Keeping
Spirit Keeping, in the sense of how you keep spirits today, is nothing as it was even 120 years ago. Modern-Day Spirit Keeping is the by-product of the marriage between spirit conjuration and para-technology. Spirit Keeping, in its origin, is quite different. While those who were considered sages, psychics, or medicine men, would contact spirits for information, they were often sought for counsel through specific rituals performed to gain information for a specific person, or for personal awareness. Often times the person who had the ability to conjure the spirit was the only one allowed to converse with the spirit. The person coming forward to ask for guidance, or to ask for a service from the spirit, would not be allowed to speak to them.
The act of keeping spirits was shared amongst the civilized and non-civilized countries and cultures. The very core & beginning of spirit keeping was keeping one's own ancestors. The act of conjuration and binding to a vessel as a permanent channel between the Keeper and the spirit was not in practice at this time.
In ancient times well into the early 20th century, there was little time for frivolity. The main focus of any human life was survival. Spare time was something not known to many as you only had daylight hours to effectively work in, and it took hard work to keep alive, and keep your family alive. There were no grocery stores, you had to work your own land for food, hunt for your food, or be able to trade something you do of value for food. The only time you could claim as your own, typically, was at night, before sleep. Or, if your religion allotted for it, certain days of the week were yours to have as a day of rest. Suffice to say, in modern time the ability to allow one's mind to wander due to lack of immediate survival needs has created what is now, Modern-Day Spirit Keeping.
There was a clear progression as humans developed technology to help them live a better life, and live an easier life, the more time they had for hobby & self-interest the more spirituality blossomed and took on new forms. This is a light outline of the key aspects and core actions of Spirit Keeping during various ages, and how the presence of more time allotted for greater exploration of the existence of the physical and spiritual worlds in harmony.
Ancient Spirit Keeping
The act of calling, conjuring, or summoning spirits has been around as long as human have been dying. There are many ancient practices related to death, of which many include calling upon the spirit of the recently departed. By nature, when someone you love is lost, you want to keep them around you, in any form. This idea was no different in ancient times, and calling upon the spirit of the lost loved ones to have them guide you and help you from "the beyond" was part of many funeral, and post-funeral, practices.
While they did not keep their spirits bound to a vessel, people would make amulets, charms, small statues, and other physical objects that were attributed to, or were in memory of, the person lost, and used the object as a physical focus to communicate with their ancestor. The belief being, that the object itself, having been made in the honor of the lost person, would serve as a natural portal to that person. There was no conjuration involved, simply the act of summoning their presence by request.
Spirits of those passed would be called upon for guidance, to help in decision-making, to ease pain & suffering, and to help other family members they knew were dying to cross over peacefully. The spirits were not thought to live, day-to-day, with the person, but to come and go as needed and called upon.
The act of calling or summoning, verbally, was something passed, by mouth, from generation-to-generation as the vast majority of the people in the world could not read or write. Schooling for the average person, and not only for the select, chosen few, is something new to the civilized world in the last 75 years. Prior to the 20th century the ability for the majority of the world to read or write was non-existent. Therefore, written conjurations for spirits were typically religious/spiritual in nature, were kept by the leaders of their respective religions, and only used by those select few for religious purposes. The average person who called out for a spirit did so verbally or through telepathy.
As with all the subsequent ages of humanity, in ancient times many were known to call upon the spirits for guidance, wisdom, decision-making, victory, and personal gains. Even those like Cleopatra were known to call for the help of not only ancestral & Immortal guides, but other entities as well in times when important decisions, personal development, or protection were needed.
Middle Ages Keeping
The largest development became the possibility of asking the spirits to guide people in times of healing, victory in battle, and utilizing the commanding power of spirits to exact immediate & direct results to a specific situation. The world has begun to expand in ways it had not previously. Though occupation and wars existed for as long as people created small civilizations & populations, the technology of human warfare grew, and as the thirst for occupation by various governments expanded, so did the rallying cry for all possible participants to tip the scales on way or another. Seeking the counsel of dead heroes, ancestral warriors, and undead armies saw an influx amongst the already standing requests to Immortals (gods/goddesses). As did the request of spirits to provide healing powers from across the beyond, as the spreading of fatal, or disfiguring, diseases began to plague civilizations of large population where physical cleanliness and hygiene did not exist. Therefore diseases mutated into proportions never matched before. The need for spirits to come and offer healing power, or to help those dying to pass over more mercifully became increasingly apparent.
In all cases, spirits would be summoned to the aid of the person, and were given tokens or offerings in exchange for their assistance, but were not considered a day-to-day friend.
Renaissance Era Keeping
An awakening of knowing the connection between the spiritual body and the physical body came to light during this period. Those who worked with spirits of ancestors began to work with them in a way of understanding their own selves. Even though you live in your own body, most people felt (and still feel this way even today) that they do not know themselves, they do not why they are here, why they have to die, what is after death, what they can do in this life, and other life-spirit curiosities. It was an age of awakening to the possibilities that the spirits of those we ask guidance from in dire & life-impacting situations, could also provide us more insight into the world that exists beyond this one, and is there an overlap to be discovered? During this time many spirit requests became to be about the possibilities of knowing themselves. A beginning interest in the possibility of past life exploration started during this time as well, on a greater scale than it had been introduced previously, and people wanted to know what existed within themselves and beyond themselves.
Early versions of modern-day seances began to take place, and though they were crude and non-standard in action, they were the first steps to a group of curious persons desiring enlightenment to take action to learn more about what existed beyond. This was the first time you saw people summoning spirits, not for a specific purpose, other than to learn more from the spirits, and though they did not keep them, they were calling on them to learn more about what existed beyond this life, to receive general thoughts & guidance, and in some cases would try to contact the same spirit again at a later interaction for further clarification or information. Seances would not be fully developed into what you see today until the late 17th & early 18th centuries.
This era's largest development became those who would call upon the now extinct, or nearly extinct, spirits of creatures who had powers & abilities that were sought after when they were alive. Such as, calling upon the healing power of the Phoenix for those sick or dying, or the moral fortitude of a Unicorn for those who needed help with temptation, or the protection of a Gargoyle in times of dire needs. However, these summons were limited to the person's knowledge of those beings from their own culture or their own education. There was no internet, there was no widely-spread newspaper or Encyclopedia to educate the masses. The majority could not read or write, and most never strayed further than 20 miles from where they were born. Therefore, the ability to summon the aid of a spirit of an extinct or nearly extinct race of being was limited to their local knowledge. The breadth of conjurations would not be known for hundreds of years in the future.
Victorian Era Keeping
With the revival of the spiritual embodiment the Victorian Era saw a new level of divination, and spirit communication. Seances became the secret pleasure of many middle-to-high income families, and as they would host secret parties to call upon the spirits of ancestors, historical figures, celebrities of the day, and spirits they believed to be in the home. Even in a strong, religious world, during the Victorian Era, the curiosity of knowing what spirits from beyond had to say was too great a curiosity to be stifled by religious rhetoric. The vast majority of spiritual literature in the act of summoning spirits during this time were to summon humans; ancestors, and historical figures. The spiritual world had become entranced in contacting the great historic figures of their eras; Cleopatra, Caesar, Caligula, Charlemagne, da Vinci, Henry VIII, Plato, Shakespeare, Socrates, especially Napoleon and Marie Antoinette as their most recent, and very controversial lives were scandalous and exciting. The possibility of connecting to these people, and learning about them, became the new, forbidden & fun thing to do. It was the first time human preoccupation with learning about a spirit for the sake of fun & personal enjoyment really took root in the spiritual community. They were not contacting spirits for a specific task or need, but simply to find out more about them.
Towards the end of the 19th century the greatest development was the beginnings of magick & spirit conjuration taking shape. It was a small step, but it was a step that would take hold towards the mid-to-end of the 20th century for Spirit Keeping. As the magickal community merged with the spiritual community in a common goal, both sides explored the possibilities, and while some on both sides stood true to the core of their own communities and did not pursue the marriage of magick & spirits, some experimented with the possibilities of the two co-existing in a newly developed, non-religious format.
What you participate in now is something new in the last 20 years. The breadth of the race of spirits which can be called upon for day-to-day enjoyment as a companion, and friend, developed from conjurations that were used, previously, for specific needs and reasons. Those conjurations range from Ancient to Victorian eras, spanning various religions and cultural beliefs, and were re-designed to be more fitting to the needs of having a spirit that is open & willing to a lifelong friend. As well as newly developed conjurations based on the core principles of previously written conjurations, but are written with the act of Spirit Keeping as a lifestyle in mind. Whereas custom conjurations are written specifically by Magnolia & Ash, for specific entities, and for the purpose of matching a spirit to the potential Keeper based on the similarity & closeness of the spirit and Keeper's energy signatures.
From the Victorian period up until the last 20 years the conjurations developed were often for specific tasks, as well as interviews for research, and for those in the magick world, the replacement of living Familiars for spirit Familiars whou could more greatly educate them on the wisdom of the past. Those conjured as companions were not bound in the way you see today, most of them were attached, not bound, and those who were bound did not have the type of binding you see today which offers the ability of cloaking, Bridging, charging, security, etc. As stated before, not all who conjured spirits practiced magick, as many were restricted from practicing magick at all, or where restricted to practicing magick that existed within their own belief system.
The development of conjurations for different races of spirits developed in various regions, and there was not one, set council of conjurers through which conjurations could be shared, as later began to develop in the late-20th century. Most worked with a specific race of spirit, or a few races of spirits, and developed their skills with one before progressing to another. The expansion of the collective spirit conjurations, specifically for spirit companions as friends & daily living participants would not happen until the end of the 20th century when the ability to share information quickly & efficiently was introduced. Prior to the Information Age the only way to communicate was through written word, or telegraph, and the response times were months, even years, sometimes, and therefore the ability to achieve a collective repertoire was not only impossible, but daunting to even attempt.
With the introduction of the Information Age, and the ability to share information with greater success in actual receipt of the requested, or sent, items the ability to grow a personal library were the foundation of Modern-Day Keeping.
The Spirit Keeping community has also never been in the great number it is today. The numbers of those who participated in Spirit Keeping as day-to-day friends and companions in the capacity it is at this point with the wide range of races of spirits, crossing cultures and religions together, were less than 500 people worldwide 15 years ago. The community embracing a non-religious standard, open to multiple cultures and multiple religious sources, with the clear intent of keeping spirits as friends for daily life exchanged and mutual enjoyment is something unprecedented in the history of the world.
Keeping spirit of creatures
Calling upon the spirit of a powerful creature has been attributed largely in beginning the Renaissance era, though isolate cases could very well have existed prior. As in Ancient times these beings still existed, roamed the Earth, and their participation & contribution to the populace at that time were in living form. They were not called upon to act in spirit, but were sought after and called upon to impart wisdom, power, justice, etc in living form. The act of calling upon Fae, Dragons, Elves, Gargoyles, and such were largely only after mass dwindling of numbers or extinction as the stories of the contributions of these entities when alive were still being passed from generation-to-generation, and people wanted the spirits of these entities to come and help them when they were in need of something they could provide. However, they were not considered day-to-day friends, they were considered to be guides, and support, during specific times. Typically a suitable offering would be made, and then one would make the request to the spirit desired, and the interaction between person & spirit would be on a case-by-case basis. Again, as the luxury of spare time and hobby were not known to those in ancient times in the great volume it is known to all of us today.
As with most of the history of spirit summoning, the act of calling upon the spirits of these races of beings were done so by spoken, and not written, word. In large part, the act of summoning the spirits were short, small conjurations which simply requested the presence of a specific type of spirit, for a specific act. It was not to call the spirit to be a part of daily life, but to assist in a specific task related to that spirit's specific range of powers or influences in the Earthen Realm. In much of the recorded history of spirit summoning, spirit's are called for a specific purpose, with the exception largely being spiritual Guides, though some historians argue the Guides were not spirits, but actual, living entities. However, the result of using specific, recorded writings, pre-dating the Victorian era, for calling upon a Guide have produced spirits for some; which includes writings of ancient times.
Binding a spirit to a vessel
Jewelry is now a popular vessel, as the plentiful manufacturing of many little amulets, pendants, rings, charms, etc are readily available in a post-Industrial Age, modern world. However, it was not always plentiful as the ability to buy jewelry was largely a wealthy, or affluent, peron's luxury. Charms and jewelry made by an ancient world consisted of clay, wood, seeds, sturdy beans, stones, gemstones, sturdy foliage, hemp, and other natural materials that would be fashioned, and possibly dyed, by the wearer or someone they knew.
In Spirit Keeping, up until the Victorian Era, the spirit would be attached to a hand-made vessel out of clay, wood, and the aforementioned natural elements, or directly to the person themselves. During the beginning of the 20th century photography was all the rage, and for those who could afford it they would have a photograph taken of the deceased person and use the photograph as the vessel through which they would attempt to contact the spirit of the deceased.
Most people did not have a lot of money for decorative pieces like jewelry, or have a lifestyle where they could wear jewelry without possible risk of loss or damage. They would use something they already had, or was readily found in nature around them. The most common, natural vessels being wood or stone.
Para-technology & spirits, and Creepy Hollows
This is specific to Creepy Hollows participation in Modern-Day Spirit Keeping, and only speaks to the works done by Magnolia & Ash.
In the last 100 years Spirit Keeping has seen its greatest transformation. As the availability of time grew to accommodate people to develop hobbies and extracurricular activities, Spirit Keeping blossomed in many ways. It saw the marriage of magick & Spirit Keeping, which, contrary to what you might have thought, was not always hand-in-hand. Spirit Keeping is not, nor has it even been, exclusive to one religion, or to one spiritual belief, and therefore the marriage of magick & Spirit Keeping did not exist in the way it does today, by any stretch, not even in the last 50 years. Even today, there are Spirit Keepers and Spirit Conjurers who do not work with magick, they work strictly with summoning, or conjuring spirits.
In the case of Magnolia & Ash, their marriage of para-technology and Spirit Keeping became a quest of the security for both of the Keeper and spirit, the ability for greater interaction between the Keeper and spirit, and more freedom of individual Keeper's preferences and behaviors to be integrated into a spirit binding. As well as the cultivation of Custom Conjurations which CH first offered to the public online. The ability to custom conjure is the ability to allow the spirit that best suits the potential Keeper to respond to an open conjuration designed specifically for a specific race, and the spirit that best matches the energy signature of the Keeper (energy signature is a CH-coined term which means the unique, identifying energy of a specific person for the purpose of reading them for psychic, magick, or conjuration needs). As opposed to the previous practice of conjuring a spirit, binding it to a vessel, and finding their proper home. This was the case previously because conjurer's would work on their craft, bind a spirit, have a client approach them for a need, and conjurer would pair them with the spirit they had which best fit their need.
Magnolia & Ash continue to develop para-technology in the matter of Spirit Keeping which allows further freedom and security for the Keepers and spirits including their invention of methodologies like Bridging.
As well as Magnolia & Ash did not adhere to one, specific religion when they brought Spirit Keeping online, which is also something unique to pre-Modern Day Spirit Keepers. Traditionally, someone keeps spirits that adhere to their specific culture and/or religion, whereas Magnolia & Ash, not claiming one religion's superiority over another, opened the gateway to working with spirits of entities & beings from ALL sources. Therefore, the breadth of their offerings, from the start was vast amongst the world and universe. Whereas, in early Spirit Keeping one would simply keep spirits that fit to their spiritual beliefs, or religion. This is still an active practice today and some choose to keep spirits strictly recognized by their religions. Though, in breaking this barrier, you now see many conjurers and Spirit Keepers willing to cross the limited threshold and span into a multi-cultural, multi-spiritual world of Spirit Keeping, something that had never existed before.
Magnolia & Ash own a library of texts spanning over 2,000 years related to magick, spirits, and cultural & religious spiritual practices from which they have developed their own practices, and they remain proprietary to Creepy Hollows with the exception of having shared some of their developed conjurations or spells with other professional colleagues, and vice-versa. This is a standard practice for those who practice magick or spirit conjuration, as everyone develops their own way, and it is not a set standard of conjurations shared amongst practitioners.
Many have asked why there is a gaping hole for literature concerning Spirit Keeping, in the way it is practiced now, and that is because what few, early texts do exist are privately owned, but even then, they are not the totality of what you see today. They are largely targeted & focused specifically to a type of entity, such as Agerward's Book of Fae Conjuration, or Mimo's Book of Dragon Conjuration. They were all privately published, no public publishing company ever published a book for spirit conjuration for daily friends such as Dragons, Fae, Elves, Vampires, until CH published its Spirit Keeping book, and even then it is nothing compared to what will come, in future, with a complete index of spirit conjurations.