Is there a 101 book that doesn't tell you about the importance of having a clean space in which to work? That astral nasties live in dust and will hamper your doings? No kidding. Astral nasties is kind of an adorable term, and it's fine for the little lurking things that are gone with some well-intentioned vacuuming or dusting. It doesn't begin to do justice to the things that can get territorial and entrenched.
Confession: there's a box of books that never got fully unpacked from our old apartment. It has sat next to the bookcase in the bedroom for seven months (when did that happen?) serving as a place for dirty clothes to get tossed and ignored between laundry marathons. I know. My mother would be so disappointed in me. Anyway, I start cleaning that area up - vacuuming, sorting stuff into piles, deciding to move the bookcase somewhere else in the house. Lo and behold, there's this spirit lurking there all of a sudden, just watching. I can see him out of the corner of my eye, in the way you do. He says he's nobody and that he's just watching, since I was home alone with the dogs for a couple of days. He didn't feel quite right, but he didn't feel squicky wrong either....until the next night, when I had spent the day laundering those piles of things, putting them away or into donation bags, and he starts lunging at me in nightmare flashes, all teeth and fury and claws.
That guy was an asshole - and persistent, too. All the battle I had to do in the last apartment was good preparation. I don't know how people deal with these things if they're not ok with nature (and the supernatural) being red in tooth and claw. I've never understood people who cling so hard to the gentle and good that they almost don't acknowledge the existence of the other side of it, let alone treat it as necessary balance. They're probably the same ones who think they should get a CHL but refuse to believe that you don't draw that weapon unless you're ready to use it with lethal force. Dealing with spirits isn't that different. You talk to spirits, see what they want or need, see if they have something to tell you, see if you can diffuse a nasty situation, but if they attack, you don't hesitate to do what you need to do to defend yourself.
I wondered how he had gotten in, where I had gone wrong, what I had left undone. And then I realized that we must have brought him with us. Our last apartment was awful. Awful like a polished turd you can live in. Beautiful grounds, right on the edge of what turned out to be a really dangerous neighborhood and a complex with crooked management and dangerous people. The energy was horrible to the point where sensitive friends told me they couldn't come over and visit because it was too hard to be in there. It took an incredible amount of work to make it so that I wasn't having multiple anxiety attacks every week. The kind of magical cleansing people do annually, or maybe even outsource to a professional? It happened once a week or more. And in the new house, life and work and an engagement took over, and I never got where I felt I'd truly organized the house enough to do the great big magical house thing. I did it in bits and pieces, but I never blew it out of the water like a ferocious ninja because the new house felt SO much better, it didn't seem like a pressing need. Had I done what I should have done, I don't think I'd have been hosting a squatter from the last place.
Stupid mistake. Good motivation for getting things thoroughly cleansed and rethinking and reassessing the kind of protections that need to be in place for where we live and where we are in our lives right now. The city was very different from the country. The land here is more curious and alive but less active in intervening than I'm used to. It's peaceful, slow, and appreciates being appreciated. The drought was really hard on it, and no more farming means nobody came out to till and irrigate and reseed it. Makes sense for pasture land that's only been more than a pasture for a very few years. The last of the freezing weather should be over soon, and I'll tend it again as best I can and hope that it rewards me.