Today’s has been an interesting day. After the rough start yesterday, the ideas continues to solidify. Part of helping that along was several hours of research which lead to stumbling into the middle of a debate on Spirit Binding. It is a hot topic in occult circles.
Spirit Binding is the act of binding a spirit or entity (some of these beings are purportedly alive in other realms, be it the astral or spiritual plane) to an object. Common objects for binding include jewellery and gemstones. A potential Spirit Keeper (those who collect and use the bound entity) may do the binding themselves or have (usually for pay) a dedicated practitioner (usually refereed to as Conjurers) preform the binding for them. Several types of entity can be bound, apparently, including Angels, Gargoyles, Dragons, Prehistoric Spirits, Djinn and even Incubi and Succubi. Once bound these spirits can be used by a Spirit Keeper to preform favours or tasks on behalf of the Spirit Keeper. Djinn for example tend to grant wishes, while Incubi can be used for spells involving sensual energy or even to engage in acts of pleasure (use your imagination) with the Spirit Keeper.
Spirit Keepers (the ones whom I encountered) will tell you they only bind spirits who are willing and they treat their bound spirits as dear friends and even family. Theses Spirit Keepers acknowledge that there are some out there who would bind an entity against its will and will use the spirits energies for nefarious purposes.
On the other side are those who believe all forms of Spirit Binding are wrong and especially those who charge money for a questionable product (they feel these products may or may not contain something, but it is rarely, if ever, the entity described) is always reprehensible bordering on predatory behaviour.
As an outside observer who is not even sure Spirit Binding is a thing (in the sense that the spirit of a creature from another realm is housed inside a crystal) it is a fascinating debate. Of course calling it a debate is also an understatement. There is a significant amount of vitriol tossed around from both sides. Spirit Keepers claim they are doing no harm as the whole process is consensual. The opponents of Spirit Keeping claim they are unknowingly (in most cases and excepting the vendors who are selling pretty rocks to easily duped patrons) causing serious harm to the spirits in question with what is essentially astral slavery. They believe this will lead to angry spirits taking vengeance in the worst possible ways.
For me there is the larger question of human nature and the power of suggestion. Leaving aside the slaves vs friends debate — I do not feel I am in any position to make a judgment based mostly on a complete lack of experience with the issue — I am not even sure I believe Spirits are a thing that can be bound. I would like to believe this is possible because seriously, a dragon! What self respecting fantasy author wouldn’t want a dragon friend, however intangible? At the same time, I have some serious doubts and the general sense that the hundreds of people I encountered today who engage in Spirit Keeping are part of some mass delusion. I am not judging. If they feel it helps them to think they have the presence of an angel in their life, so be it. If they are all collectively partaking in vivid, yet pretend, sex with a slew of imaginary friends that is their choice to do so.
As I said, an interesting day. Now I am off to carry on writing my novel with a whole new prospective on the plight of my main characters.