(In case you're wondering, I'm going through the blog and publishing/deleting old draft posts that are hanging around. Most suck and get deleted, but some have a bit of value, like this one. I wrote a lot in the time I wasn't publishing, I just kind of got distracted a lot.)
In The Genie Syndrome, St. B. talks about how people can slip into the mindset that their spirits are wish-granting machines, and put them into a role of a co-worker who just provides a service or good in exchange for payment, like it's just their job or something.
That idea really makes me wonder, what kind of spirits are these people conjuring? Demons, Angels, even the Dead have a presence, a palpable sphere of influence that comes into the room, or triangle, or crystal, or whatever you're conjuring them into, and it's right there with you, like a being in the room.
Not physically, mind you, but spiritually, it's there. You can't help but know that you're in the room with a living being. You see things, smell things, feel the temperature change in the room. The air gets thicker, or thinner.
And if you've got a long-term relationship with a spirit through an icon or spirit pot, or they've got a place of honor on your altar for Christ's sake, the thing that physically represents your spiritual life, you're going to have a deep relationship with that being that reminds you of its presence at the strangest times. Even astrological talismans of the Fixed Stars have a personality that makes itself known.
When you conjure spirits, you enter into a relationship with them, a relationship that goes very deep. It changes you at a fundamental level by working with them. It creates a bond, and an affinity between you and the things that are in affinity with the spirit. It's true of spirits with necromantic affinities the same way it is with spirits with Solar, Martial, or Elemental affinities. Repeated conjurations and interactions strengthens the bond with the spirit, and you commune with it in subtle ways all the time.
But you get to know the spirit too, and it's a lot like a friendship. Chances are good that you know something personal about all your co-workers that you spend time with on a project. You can't help but get to know one another over time, even if your purpose for working together is strictly business.
Even with Bune, the spirit I probably did the most practical magic with over the last few years, I never got to a point in our relationship where I could take him for granted. For every time I'd light a few candles and tell him what I wanted this time, there were many conversations, dreams and ... not really training, but in a way, training that went on in between. And when he manifested the practical requests, he made sure I knew it was him. He's got a flourish about him that is recognizable.
Is it different with other kinds of spirits than the ones I've worked with? It must be, if people can get into the Genie Syndrome. I just don't think any of the spirits I've worked with would have put up with me thinking they were a simple sigil-contacted dispenser of desires. There are introductions that were made, explanations and planning that went on, negotiations and love songs...
Oh wait, that's Paul Simon.
But still, I wonder. If I found I'd fallen into this Genie Syndrome, I'd take a step back and ask if I were really dealing with the spirits, or if I'd just been mumbling to myself.