What is Spirit Work in Witchcraft?

What is Spirit Work in Witchcraft TarotPugs

For hundreds of years, if not thousands, witches have been believed to communicate and work with spirits just like many other spiritual practitioners (including shamans) as they walk between the worlds.

For some practitioners (such as Wiccans) creating a magic circle is a way to step in between these worlds and work with spirits, while some witches don’t cast magic circles.

Some witches and magickal practitioners work with spirits everyday apart from magick and spells.

Mediums are more commonly known in the mainstream to communicate with spirits and the deceased which for those who aren’t interested in witchcraft or the occult may find that psychic mediums are more “mainstream” as a “safer alternative” than witches who work with spirits.

Working with spirits was popularized by the movement of Spiritualism that developed in the 1840s to 1920s which later the National Association of Spiritualist Churches was founded in September 1893.

While there’s more to the Spiritualist Church than mediumship, communicating with spirits and psychic development have made this movement well-known.

Here we’ll look at:

  • What spirit work is
  • Spirit work in witchcraft
  • Protection and spirit work
  • Offerings in spirit work
  • Spirit work and boundaries
  • Book recommendations for spirit work

So what is exactly is Spirit Work?

Spirit work in a simpler sense has also been known as “necromancy.”

The term necromancy as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is:

1: conjuration (see CONJURE sense 2a) of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events


Some may define that any working, communication or magic involving the dead (and therefore spirits) is a form of necromancy.

However, the term necromancy seems to evoke the imagery of dark cloaked figures chanting and using symbols to raise the dead.

This may be seen in the story of the famous Rauðskinna (“red skin”) book of black (malefic) magic and the story of High Bishop Gottskalk in Iceland.

Spirit work involves working with spirits that assist the witch in magickal workings and their every day life.

Some may hold the belief that traditionally magickal practitioners command and order spirits to do work on behalf of the practitioner as is written in ancient texts.

However, a modern approach to spirit work is to form a relationship with the spirit(s) as a partnership to ask for their assistance in exchange for offerings or work to be done on behalf of the spirit(s).

Later in here, we’ll discuss about offerings to spirits in exchange for their assistance or work.

Spirit Work in Witchcraft

Spirit work is something that isn’t taken lightly and require reverence, to be humble, caution and utmost respect when working with any spirits or entities – this includes working with ancestors.

Working with spirits can be for a variety of magick such as (but not limited to):



Opening roads





Spirit work may also include contacting spirits for divination such as tarot readings or automatic writing.

To find out more about working with spirits in divination, check out:

How to Communicate with Spirits using Tarot

How to do Automatic Writing

Connecting with certain spirits for information, guidance or insight may assist you to see into the future or gain clarity into a situation or problem.

Keeping in mind: not all psychics are mediums, but all mediums are psychic.

Some psychics will receive their information intuitively such as from “Source” or the Akashic Records, while some psychic mediums will make a direct connection to someone who has crossed over to the other side.

Protection & Spirit Work

While spirits may offer protection to the magickal practitioner or witch, it’s always recommended to maintain a cleansed working space/home when working with spirits.

This can be done through smoke cleansing, protection methods such as Four Thieves Vinegar, using salt, protection oil or incense, sound cleansing or visualization.

If working with spirits often and the witch doesn’t maintain a cleansed home, this may cause problems in the home with too much energy or “chaotic” energy.

This may manifest as irritability, mood swings, general ill health, problems that arise at home or work, etc., as the energy may “cling” to the home or witch.

If you feel uneasy, heavy, irritable and can’t find a reasonable explanation for it (e.g. everything in your life is going OK and there’s nothing out of the ordinary to cause these problems – this includes ruling out mental health issues), then a general spiritual cleansing of the home or workspace may help to clear the air and energy.

When working with spirits, it’s recommended to ensure that you’re emotionally stable and grounded.

This includes being confident in your abilities and certain about who you are (but not in an egotistical or arrogant sense of the word), but rather that you’re able to set boundaries with spirits confidently.

Spirit Work & Boundaries

Working with spirits requires setting boundaries often – especially if you’re a medium, magickal practitioner or witch.

Some spirits may try to test boundaries or show up at unexpected and/or inconvenient times.

This is when it’s important to determine if you have the time to stop what you’re doing and answer the spirit or if it’s not the right time and to be assertive to tell them to come back later.

When working with spirits in witchcraft such as magick, spells or rituals, this is when you set a specific time of day or night to call upon the spirit(s) and work with them while you’re uninterrupted.

If you’re working with spirits in a ritual or spell, it’s important not to be interrupted or bothered by anyone else as this would be considered rude to the spirit and will likely affect the concentration of the working.

Spirit Work & Offerings

To work with spirits in magick or witchcraft (of any kind), offerings are often provided in exchange for asking the spirits to assist the witch or practitioner.

The kinds of offerings that are provided may differ from culture to culture and the types of spirits that you’re working with.

For example, Orishas and Loa require specific types of offerings depending on which of them are called upon.

If working with spirits from a specific region, there may be food or drink local to that region such as calling upon spirits of Eastern Europe may desire vodka; or Icelandic spirits may desire brennivín.

While alcohol is a common offering considering that the name of hard liquors is “spirits” (which comes from the alchemical terminology), other offerings such may include:

  • Fresh water
  • Food
  • Gifts (e.g. jewellery, amulets)
  • Crystals

In some traditions or customs, other offerings may include:

  • Tobacco
  • Cigars
  • Cigarettes
  • Herbs

Tobacco, cigars and herbs can be burned on the altar or placed unburned on the altar.

Offerings are ideally left on the altar or sacred space for 1 to 2 days, then are discarded.

If you have pets that can reach the altar, it’s safer to keep the offering in a sealed container to prevent them from stealing or consuming the offering (which may not be safe for the pet.)

Spirit Work & Book Recommendations

If you’re interested in taking your work with spirits to another level, here are a few book recommendations to get you started:

Magickal Mediumship: Partnering with the Ancestors for Healing and Spiritual Development by Danielle Dionna (forward by Christopher Penczak)

Spirit Conjuring for Witches: Magical Evocation Simplified by Frater Barrabbas

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses by Judika Illes

The Witch’s Book of Spirits by Devin Hunter

Get the Underworld Journeys in Witchcraft E-book

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