Spirit Work Stories

Sometimes I’ll come across a book or TV show that strongly reminds me of certain aspects of spirit work. There are actually quite a few stories out there that people have found relatable to this particular path; some of them you may have heard of or ready yourself. These are some of mine. I’m always discovering new stories that really make me take notice. I sometimes even find moral lessons and teaching moments imparted in these stories; after all, the Work reveals itself.dokebi bride 1

Dokebi Bride: This manwa series (Korean comics) follows Sunbi, a young woman born into a shamanic family. Raised away from the people who could teach her how to manage her gifts, she struggles to make sense of the spirit world on her own. Quite by accident she finds herself engaged to a dokebi, a mischievous goblin-like spirit who helps her in her work – in his own way, of course. Sadly, the English translation of the series halted several years ago. I don’t know if we’ll ever get the end of the story or even if it was ever finished up in Korean.

xxxHolic: This is also a comic series that was originally published in Japanese. Though the manga has some great spirit work elements to it, it’s really the anime that made me pay attention. Watanuki is a young man with the ability to see spirits and energy. He’s quite alone in this and struggles to live normally. He takes up an apprenticeship with Yuuko, a witch with power over time and space. Yuuko teaches Watanuki how his powers work and what they mean for the way his life operates. This title isn’t seriously heavy on the spirit work theme and adult viewers might find a show designed for teens a little dull or obnoxious but there are some exceptional moments that really get to the heart of this life. Watanuki helping a tree spirit, meeting the kitsune, and getting instructed to take fairy tales seriously are some of the moments that really stand out in my mind.

The Sybil: This book by Pär Lagerkvist fell into my hands very much by accident. My Lord tugged me over to a shelf of used books for sale at the public library serving the rural community I grew up in and told me to buy it. I might have gone an entirely lifetime never discovering this book but it was exactly what I needed at the time. Lagerkvist is a remarkable writer, even in translation, and the narrative really hit me. The story is about a young woman selected to serve Apollo at Delphi. As she is instructed in service, she falls in love with a young man. Their growing love threatens her sacred role and eventually leads to tragedy. It’s a strange, not altogether uplifting story for the pagan soul but it highlights the conflicted and ambiguous emotional relationship that we share with the Powers we serve and love.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Yeah, this is on the list. This is probably the spirit work story I’ve spent the most time with (possibly because it’s the longest of any I’ve listed here). I find I like stories about people trying very hard to cope with the demands of an otherworldly life and the complexities of a highly mundane one; I also like stories about people’s in/ability to manage a sudden intrusion of the Other into the familiar. Buffy is a superhero but one that has to cope with high school (and later college), employment (and lack thereof), family, friends, a never-really-happy love life, and oh yeah, coming back from the dead. I’d also add Angel to this list but mostly because the human characters are decidedly in the minority, which is a circumstance I’m rather familiar with.

Anyway, there are a handful of other spirit work stories that I keep coming back to. When I remember them I’ll do another entry on this topic.

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13 thoughts on “Spirit Work Stories

  1. solarbaby34 says:

    These are all great. I actually am only mainly familiar with Buffy but I’m on a decent basis with xxxHolic because I’m a CLAMP fan.
    Something newer, Gugure! Kokkuri-san! actually may hit the spiritwork a bit. Not so much consort but the main character is a littler girl (who is great but kind of scary) and she somehow attracts Kokkuri-san (minor deity in this story but mainly a spirit called on as something similar to the Ouija board only only directed at Kokkuri-san and mainly played by school children of varying ages in Japan), an Inugami (ghost dog usually usually having been killed to curse someone but ends up eating it’s owner and is really a lolicon in this story), a Tanuki spirit (no…just no. You can google them! *scarred for life face everytime someone mentions them*) a cat-kami (obsessed with dolls in this story and I know the least about), and apparently some others. A tengu also is in the story. I have more but I gotta go so!
    PS Looking forward to seeing you at MGW!

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      • solarbaby34 says:

        I actually also just finished rereading Yuu Yuu Hakusho yesterday. It’s got a surprising amount of spiritwork stuff in it, even though it’s not obvious. I mean, he starts off dead, goes through a couple rebirths, has a spirit animal type thing (look up Puh/Pooh/Poh aka the blue bird thing maybe that Yuusuke gets near the end of the dark tournament), faces a lot of stuff concerning the nature of evil, and some other stuff. It’s really centered on the martial arts parts but it’s mainly focused on the energy work related and the building of it. It’s pretty interesting looking at it from a spiritwork point of view. Some of the more blatant mythology based ones are actually not as good idea, unless it’s based in Shinto or Buddhism.

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      • Silence says:

        I watched some of the anime and liked it for a while; I got bored once it devolved into long drawn out fight scenes and a serious of shonen power-ups. 😛

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  2. Bridget Rose says:

    The story “The Girl who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor is my go-to spirittwork/god-consort story. Fiction has been a huge comfort to me over the past two years as my life has gotten more god-influenced.

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    • Silence says:

      Yes, yes. I’ve come across all kinds of stories over the years but I’m actually having a hard time remembering more than a handful. This is definitely one of them.

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  3. Beth says:

    Reblogged this on Wytch of the North and commented:
    I love this post! I think that too often fiction is discounted as a source of inspiration and comfort on this path, but as a writer myself, I find that stories are where I often turn for insights into the Work, inspiration, and even comfort.

    Buffy is on my list, too; it’s definitely relatable, for me. I love the way she has to keep on living a normal life, with normal mundane concerns, despite the extraordinary things going on in her world. Another one I really love is Supernatural, which resonates strongly with my Work with the Wild Hunt. A more recent discovery is Grimm, which is a bit lighter in mood than Supernatural but still touches on some of the spirit work issues we all face: isolation, misunderstanding, and the need to keep all of our mundane ducks in a row while coping with an otherworldly life, as well as the very real danger of mortal relationships falling apart under the stress of spirit work responsibilities. Grimm is very much in the Buffy vein, except that the main character is male, and a cop instead of a high school student.

    I may do a follow-up post on a few of the fiction books/series that have resonated with me in a spirit work/godspouse context.

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    • Silence says:

      I’d love to see your list! I know there are several titles I’ve forgotten. These are just a few that came to mind when I decided to write this post.

      I haven’t really gotten into Supernatural though I’ve tried. So many people I know like it that I might have to give it another try…

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