Spirit work is something that I naturally fell into when a good friend was in need of it. I hadn't done much of any spirit work before that time, but I knew when I needed to apply it. I cared a great deal about the friendship that we were developing, and anyone that knows me is aware of how much I try to help people. I talked with her at length for months about the feelings that she was experiencing, mostly because I could feel them a bit with my still-developing empathy. There were a host of things that were plaguing her thought processes, and by working her through those and supporting her spiritually as well, she was able to work through and get past a lot of roadblocks that were in the way between her and her happiness.
Before and during this time, however, there was a spark of romantic interest. It was there before I started any spiritual work or healing, and it was still there during this time when I was helping her with her difficulties. In some ways I felt grief in keeping these feelings away from her while this was going on, since I had a plaguing thought that here she was, telling me some very deep secrets. At some point, I did bite the bullet (after discussing the issue with Hrafn) and told her about these feelings - which she also had for me.
At this crossroads, it did not feel right to be both her spirit worker and a lover - there was too much of a possibility of trust violation and abuse, so her and I discussed at length about which way we should have the relationship go. I could either be her spirit worker or her lover, but I could not be both roles ethically. We decided fairly quickly that we'd rather explore the romantic relationship instead of the spirit worker relationship, and haven't looked back since - we both discovered that we could help out each other more and derive more happiness from a romantic relationship instead of a spirit worker relationship.
She still knows that I'm a spirit worker (with all of its crazy ups and downs, especially with empathy), and if I ever give her advice along these lines, that she should get a second opinion or be wary that my own experience might color the advice. This could be anywhere from serious spiritual concerns to small things, like a reading.
On a whim, I did a tarot card reading for her - this was while we were romantically involved. The reading went particularly well until she asked for more specifics about how to solve a problem. I drew three extra cards, and the first one was a Page - of which suit I don't remember. My intuition said that the card represented an actual person that needed to help her, but the description could have matched either myself or someone else in her life. I felt I had to make a judgment call, since my intuition couldn't tell me whom to pick, so I erred on the side of caution and picked the other person - I didn't want to insinuate myself into her reading.
It wasn't until later that I told her the intuition problems I was having, and told her what the card means and the two possible candidates that it could have stood for. She was concerned that I didn't want to insinuate myself so much into the reading and picked the other person - she clarified that both myself and the other person would fill that role just nicely, and that I didn't need to pick either them or myself. It was then that I realized that my intuition was *trying* to tell me that both are needed, not one or the other. Our romantic involvement colored my interpretation, whereas if I was reading this as a spirit worker, I would have picked up on the intention.
We haven't done readings since that time, and we discussed that if we felt a need to do another reading, I would try and be as general as I could in my interpretations. It's small examples like this that allow me to realize that I can't be both a spirit worker and a lover at the same time. A reading is small compared to other spirit work that can be done, such as soul retrieval. I let loved ones know that I can't do spirit work directly for them, since it can cause more problems than it can solve.
When my mom informed me that she was getting a divorce, the next words were what triggered something inside me: "I feel like I have no more love left to give to them." This is a big sign of soul loss, but I knew right away that I was unqualified to help in the retrieval - even if I did soul retrievals for other people in the past, I could not ethically help her retrieve her soul. I even had reservations about allowing another loved one to help her so directly, letting her know of the implications of allowing a dual relationship to occur. I let her know that I'll support her however I can as a daughter, and I'll pray to Arawn and ask my totem to help in any soul retrieval efforts, but I could not do any spirit work directly.
Sometimes, I wish I could be both a spirit worker and a lover/daughter/etc at the same time. It's hard to stand back and know that even though you do have the skills to help someone out with their spiritual problems, you need to stay your hand and let other powers do its work. If you're put into the position of having to choose which way to go, think about the following.
- One relationship might be more beneficial than another. Loving relationships provide physical, mental, emotional and social support. Spiritual support is not everything. If a loving relationship will help out and give more than a spiritual relationship, go that path. The same holds true the other way.
- There are other kinds of spiritual help besides direct, which is what spirit work usually entails. Just because you can't do something directly does not mean you can't ask for indirect help. Praying to the gods, asking totems for help, and other related requests still work. You might not be able to help directly, but your gods and your totem might be able to. :)
- As a spirit worker, you have a vast network of other spirit workers that might be able to assist. You can always use them as references if you think one of them can genuinely help your loved one in their time of crisis.
When (wolvie) started this article, I asked about the topic out of interest and curiousity, not because I wanted to censor (her). The choice of lover over spiritual worker helped with my sexual identification. Regardless of the decision of lover vs. spirit worker, she helped me work out my current relationship to a workable outcome, i.e. I had no idea how my current relationship was going to feel when I expressed some things about myself that I needed to share. I don't know what the spirit worker perspective is since I'm not one, I'm just telling my side of the decision.