Is Spirit Companionship a suitable hobby or lifestyle for those who consider themselves to be "Spoonies", or those who subscribe to the Spoon Theory? Many shops tout companions that proclaim to assist or support those with anxiety or depression, always with the legally-required caveat that spirit companions are not meant to replace a therapist or other medical professional. But when you first take a glance at Spirit Companionship, the sheer amount of stuff can be so overwhelming. After all, there's a whole lot to learn for a beginner! Like any new hobby or lifestyle, there is a decided learning curve between when you "get it" and when you, quite simply, don't. And on top of that, there's a lot to worry about in regards to finances - like adopting a pet from the shelter, you not only need to pay an adoption fee, but you also need to provide things afterward. Where do you even begin with an altar? What even is an altar?
Don't worry - we can break this down to be much less intimidating. Spirit Companionship is a hobby that can conform to your current lifestyle, and there is a lot less pressure than you'd think when it comes to providing offerings to your companions.
When I was personally first introduced to Companionship, there was a lot of hubbub revolving around the idea that you had to care for your spirit companion. Statements were thrown around like, "I want a companion, but I just don't have the time or money to provide the spirit what they need," or "That person has a lot of spirits, are they all getting the attention they need?" But the fact of the matter is, a spirit's necessities are generally something beyond the breadth of what their human companion can provide.
Unless they are baby or child spirits (a demographic I highly advise against companionship with, because they are often coerced or forced into companionship), there is nothing a spirit cannot provide for themselves. They often seek companionship because they are hoping to improve their own lives, or to improve the life of their human companion. They are generally grown adults who, if they need anything, are perfectly capable of fulfilling those needs on their own. If you are providing a spirit with their needs, or fussing over their every necessity, you should probably re-evaluate your companionship - particularly in a case where, such as with a vampire companion, you are being asked to self-harm in exchange for friendship.
Ultimately, offerings are not crucial, nor are they what makes a companionship work. Like all relationships, they take an open line of communication and honesty, shared experiences and inside jokes. They take having common goals to work towards together, and a shared sense of compatibility. All relationships take effort in one way or another, and that effort does not have to be physically devoting yourself to that person. Be careful to not blur the line between companion and caretaker, or companion and devotee.
That being said, offerings are still considered an essential element of companionship. Why? Well, if years of farming and dating games have taught me anything, it's that gifts create strong bonds. Like picking up your friend's favorite coffee from Starbucks on the way to their house, thoughtful presents are a sign that you have been thinking of your companion and want them to experience something you think they'll like. Often, this is in the form of stones and incense listed in the conjurer-provided profile, placed on a dedicated shelf.
However, offerings can be more abstract, too. Any kind of bonding activity might be considered an offering, such as taking a walk together or watching a television show. Offerings can also be sharing something with your companion you thought they'd like - such as a Pinterest board of images you think match their aesthetic, or a song that reminds you of them. Offerings do not need to cost money or take up space. And, just like with a human friend, it's not always the most expensive or exclusive gift that will make them the happiest or bring you closer together, anyway.
In my Beginner's Guide, I mention that Altars are not a necessity - and, in fact, some spirits prefer to shy away from the concept of having a portion of your home dedicated directly to them. Functional items that are used frequently are more likely to be a valuable offering to both yourself and your companion - it's something you can connect with your relationship with them, and send some loving thoughts their way when the functional item is being used.
Altars aside, it can still be difficult to feel guilty for not "doing enough" within a companionship, especially when your companionship is new or you have been suffering from mental health issues that have blocked your access to communication and free time for extended periods. Spirits tend to be patient beings - not only do they often run fully complex and involved lives of their own, but they are fully understanding that your life does not revolve around them. Additionally, mental health struggles not only make everything in your life harder, but they can directly affect your metaphysical senses. This can go both ways - spirits are capable of struggling with mental illness, too!
On your end or that of your spirit companion's, mental illness flare-ups can make it seem like certain spirits if not all of them aren't there when they are. Bouts of depression and anxiety cause a great deal of self-doubt, and in many cases can weaken or deaden your metaphysical senses. If you are feeling unwell or are in an unsafe or unstable situation and cannot feel your spirit companions, it's likely that they are quietly providing support from afar, but cannot contact you due to your blockages. Don't fret - they'll stick around! Take the time to focus on and care for yourself in the meantime.
For many of us, though, even if we cannot sense our companions, we may feel an obligation to still make offerings to them or spend time with them. These are our friends, lovers, and teachers, after all - they take up important space in our hearts, and we like to share things with them. So, in the case that you are low on spoons or strapped for cash, and you wish to bond or make offerings to your spirit companions, there are many options available to you.
About ten months ago on my Tumblr, I made a post outlining some simple or low-effort offering ideas. Below, I've included these ideas and a few new ones, with further explanations on how to make these offerings work for you, and how to "elevate" them when you have a few more mental and physical resources to work with!
Offer them a bite of your meal. Food is a wonderful and easy offering to provide your companion - humans need to eat multiple meals a day, so food is a huge part of our lives. It's a common point of discussion as to whether you should put aside food specifically for your companion, and then bury it or throw it away. For those of us who are skittish about the idea of food waste, offering food that you then eat is fully acceptable.
There are a few ways you can offer your own food to your companion, usually done by reaching out to them and informing them that you're providing an offering. The first is to offer them the essence of the food itself, so they can eat the "spiritual" portion of it, while you consume the physical nourishment. You can also set aside a small cut piece on your plate and indicate that only that portion is for them to consume and enjoy. Spirits are typically capable of taking what they need from a food offering within a few moments - you have no need to worry about letting your dinner get cold!
Additionally, consider not offering all of your meals to your companions. While it's a nice thought to consider that you are sharing everything, remember that they are not physically eating your food, often only the essence or taste of it! They are perfectly capable of feeding themselves when they deem it necessary. Therefore, consider instead offering them only food you think will be to their extreme liking, such as their favorite flavors, or something new they've mentioned wanting to try!
Make them an origami animal out of scrap paper. If your companion takes an animal form, or has a favorite animal, it's very likely that there is an origami tutorial somewhere that can teach you how to make that animal. Scrap paper is easy to come by, especially when you are still participating in school, or if you have a desk job. Instead of tossing those notes, consider making them into a little creatures that show off just how much you adore your companion.
Light a candle or stick of incense for them. The most basic of all basic offerings, it's always a good reminder to know that simply lighting whatever scented candle you have lying around, or lighting up that last stick of incense, is a great way to quietly send them some thoughts or energy. It only takes a moment to light a candle or a stick of incense, but it can provide minutes or several hours of soothing, heartwarming offerings for your companion.
You might be wondering, why candles and incense? These are traditional offerings within many religions, and their meanings have been lost over the years. Candles, within witchcraft, are excellent energy generators. Incense is known for clearing spaces. Both of them are great symbols for burning away the negative and leaving room only for the positive - something your companion can certainly use if they're having a hard day, or just need to relax! Additionally, you can use the candle or incense to meditate yourself, or alongside them, with that idea in mind.
Find a quote in a book you think they'd like, and leave it open for them. Words are powerful. Have you ever sent a family member a meme that was only words, or a quote that you read or heard somewhere, that you thought was relevant to their situation or interests? The same thing applies here. If you have an altar for your spirit companion, leaving a book open in their space with a sticky note pointed at the quote you think they would love is a perfect way to let them know you're thinking of them.
Additionally, consider starting a small journal of quotes just for your companion. It can be something as simple as the back page of a notebook you carry around, or a note on your phone. This offering is rather small, but it is still immensely thoughtful.
Pour them a shotglass of water/tea/etc. For many companions, drinks are just as viable an offering as food. Many spirits have preferences for tea or coffee flavors, and even for alcohol types and cocktails (if you're into that sort of thing)! It doesn't need to get very complicated, and often using whatever you have on hand is fine. Those of us who have just brewed a fresh pot of tea, though, might balk at the idea of pouring an entire mug of tea that will only get cold, to be poured down the drain or into a potted plant. Consider pouring your spirit companion a tiny portion - a shotglass will do fine. Remember that with offerings, it's the quality and intention, not the quantity, that counts!
Additionally, when it comes to aquatic companions, water, from tap or from the ocean, are often welcomed offerings. If you feel like water is a plain offering, feel free to infuse it with a crystal, or by letting it soak up the energies of the sun and moon. Just remember that crystal-infused water is not safe for you to drink unless the crystal was not placed directly in the water, and unless water is distilled, it can develop bacteria when stored for long periods of time! Other kinds of water you can use for offerings are sea water, river water, lake water, rain water, and snow water.
In the original list, I also mentioned that pasta water is good for offerings. Pasta water is the water leftover after you've boiled pasta within it, which is usually made funky with all kinds of starch from the pasta, as well as whatever salt or oil you put into the water. If you're making sauce from scratch, it's often a good idea to put some of the pasta water in there - but you might want to consider offering it to your companion, as well! It's rich with vitamins and minerals, which also makes it ideal for watering plants. It's a straight upgrade from plain tap water, which will provide your companion with an extra boost of energy, or at the very least, make them laugh.
Feel free to have as much fun as possible with your shotglass, as well. You can make it a bonding activity to seek out the perfect shotglass for your companion's offerings. Shotglasses are common and inexpensive, often with fun designs printed directly on the glass instead of sculpted into it, so there are a lot of potential options you can find!
Take an old crystal you already own, cleanse it in the sun, and offer it. When it comes to our capitalist society, we often caught up in the idea of giving gifts that are new. Re-gifting is taboo in our culture, and gifting something that is used is considered just plain gross and rude! But, not only do spirit companions come from an entirely different culture than ours, they interact with their offerings in a way that is not quite physical. Therefore, a cleansed crystal is the perfect gift for a spirit who you want to give a little pick-me-up.
When gifting your crystal, if you have the energy to spare, consider taking a few moments to charge it with your own energy, with preferably positive feelings, such as love or joy. This will make the crystal gift all the more special to your spirit companion. Once the crystal has run out of its charge, cleanse it again and start all over!
Put on a movie or TV show you think they’d like. In our cultural consciousness, we've been taught to believe that watching television is a "lazy" activity with little merit. However, watching movies or TV shows are just another way to absorb art - and for many people, their favorite shows are a big part of their identity. However, watching TV doesn't have to be downtime for your companionship!
I highly encourage those who are low-energy to invite their spirit companions to come along to watch a movie or TV show with them. If you can, try to use a pendulum to chat with them during the show or between episodes, to see if they're liking it, and chat about what they thought. Spirits can come from extremely diverse cultures, so their preferences and interests regarding any given piece of media may really surprise you!
If they’re sun aligned, place their vessel in the sun for a bit. If they’re moon aligned… well, you get it. One of the simplest acts you can do for your companion is help them to receive the energies they are well-aligned with, even when they are not with you or their vessel is not around you. Although placing certain stones in direct sunlight can be damaging to the specimen, it can be a great idea to still place it on a shady windowsill or countertop to ensure that your spirit gets some sunny energy throughout the day. Likewise, leave your moon-aligned spirit's vessel on a moonlit windowsill in your bedroom while you sleep.
Store your spirit's vessel with mindfulness - even if you can't charge a stone to offer to them, you can certainly put their vessel somewhere that makes sense for them! At the very least, if your spirit is sun or fire aligned, leave their in a brightly lit room on a day you don't have it with you, rather than relegating it to a dark box or poorly lit room. If you have a spirit who loves the water, leave their vessel by a fish tank or bathtub. If you have a spirit who loves greenery and plantlife, leave their vessel near a potted plant, and so on and so forth. This is a great way to let your spirit companion know that you are thinking about them and their preferences, even when you might not have the ability to dedicate entire rituals or objects to them.
Dedicate a plant to them. Every time you water the plant, it's an offering. Even if you don't have a green thumb, find a plant that requires very little attention and keep it in your home. Did you know the most common cause for death in easy-to-care-for plants, such as succulents, is overwatering? Many plants like this need to be watered once a month or less. On a day when you're feeling well, pick one plant that is fully grown that both you and your companion like.
Plants are most likely to survive if they're purchased from a local nursery, as big box retail stores tend to put them in incorrect soil and pot conditions - so if you buy it from a large retailer, you may need to also re-pot it in appropriate soil and a pot with a drainage hole. Once you have the plant set up for success, pend a little bit of time to perform research on that specimen. Most notably, check how much light it needs and how often it should be watered, then set a recurring timer on your phone calendar in order to remember exactly when to water it - don't let it be a guessing game!
Every time you water this plant, or even every time you touch or handle the plant, think of your companion's name with intention. As you interact with the plant, envision a cord of connection between yourself and your companion, empowered by the energies of the plant. This can be a long-lasting way to remember your companion, and even when life gets in the way of your bonding time, you can set aside these special moments just for them.
Craft a music playlist dedicated to them. For many people, music is an intrinsic part of our lives - we use it for our daily commute, for staying focused while working or being creative, or just to fill the silence during down time. It can often be an important part of someone's life to share their favorite tunes with a friend - so why have it be any different with a spirit companion? Think of this as crafting a mixtape for someone you like dearly.
Using the music platform of your choice, create a new playlist in your companion's name. Then, try to find songs that they like - whether this means looking at specific genres that fit their personality, lyrics that remind you of them, or moods that the two of you share. It's okay to edit this playlist over time - and when they come to visit, play it for them and let them know why each song made you think of them!
Create something for them. Using materials you have around your home, create something for your companion. Create a portrait of your companion, or draw something they like (such as, if your companion loves frogs, draw them a frog). Write them a poem or a short story, or create a little figure out of clay. Create a moodboard out of pretty images you found on Pinterest. Start a collage or junk journal, and paste little bits of paper and stationery in it, writing about why the pieces make you think of your companion. Don't worry about your skill level or accuracy when it comes to art - after all, when it comes to gifts, it's the thought that counts! Your companion will simply be honored to know you thought of them.
Go on a walk with them. If you have the time and energy to spare, simply take some time to separate yourself from the energies of your home in order to clear your head. Take a stroll around your neighborhood and invite your spirit companion to come along with you, so you two can chat or simply enjoy each others' company. Leave the phone at home. You might be surprised at how refreshing and rejuvenating this is for you, and in the meantime, you'll get to spend some dedicated quality time with your companion. Don't set any expectations for this time with them - you don't need to entertain, and they don't need to perform, either. Sometimes, the best quality time you spend together are the quiet moments.
Rearrange and clean your altar. If you already have an altar dedicated to your companion, you don't have to add anything to it in order to use it as an offering to your companion! Tidy it up - remove the items from the altar and wipe them off with a dry cloth, eradicating any dust. Clean the surface beneath or shake out the altar cloth. Place the items back in a new, fresh way. Make new patterns or arrangements with the items that were already there - or add a few from your stash! This process only needs to take a few minutes, but it's a wonderful way to show reverence and appreciation for your companion without having to look for or purchase new offerings.
In conclusion, every spirit's relationship with their companion is different. Some spirits are more demanding than others, but most simply want to spend their time with their companion. Our daily lives are just as fascinating to them as theirs are to us - so don't be afraid to invite them along on your daily life, just to show them what you are doing or spend some quiet time together!
What are some easy and simple ways you bond with your companions on days when you don't feel your best? Comment and share below!