At one point or another most people that get a reading with a Spiritist and for that matter with a Santero, Palero, Mambo, Houngan, or any other African Traditional Religion practitioner, will be told that there is a spirit that walks with them, or that protects them, or that is creating trouble for them. Why? Face it, we are material beings driven by spirit. We are Spirits in a Material World, yes Sting is right and he can put the right tune to it.
In any case, testing the validity of spirits is a complex process that cannot be achieved overnight. There are a series of qualifying elements that are necessary to be proven in order to categorize the spirit. You want to work with a spirit that is beneficial and advanced enough in its evolution as to provide good advice and be a good partner. Here is the list of elements to be considered:
2. Origin and history
4. Nexus to the person
5. Evolutionary needs
6. Preferred means of communications
7. Validity and quality of information presented
Now, how to we go about applying this list? Research is the key element. You will need to have not one but several experienced spiritists to assist you as the spirit must be tested in various ways. Usually spirits manifest first on séances, readings and sometimes for gifted people, they simply show up or allow themselves to be heard or felt.
Take note of manifestations in whichever way they come to you. Keeping a journal is crucial as it is easy to get trapped in the excitement of discovery and to lose perspective on the process itself. Also good record keeping will help you to confront spirits that by nature are deceitful. Just like a human would, spirits can and will lie for their own selfish reasons and if you keep notes, you can always sort out facts. If you trust your memory, you are setting yourself to be tricked.
Identity. The first step is to identify the spirit. This in itself can be filled with obstacles. To know the name of a spirit is to have a direct link with this entity and it also implies to be able to call on it at will. Therefore, they are sort of skittish about providing such information right away. A spirit may provide you with a name in public and later on, reveal a private name.
Origin and history. I have worked with many spirits that have allowed me to get a glimpse of their prior lives. One of those spirits was exact enough to provide birth date and location of death making it easy enough for me to research its origin. However, those are rare. If you have one, take copious notes and pay close attention as you may have found a diamond in the rough.
Intent: This requires an advanced level of spiritist work as you already need to have sorted out a reliable divination system which may or not be linked to a particular tested spirit guide. To determine the intent of the spirit you also need to use your senses and intuition as well as observe the impact this spirit has when it is manifesting around you or those near you. How is your energy level after a manifestation of the spirit in question? How does the place where the spirit manifests feels before, during and after the manifestation? These are but a few questions you can ask to be able to draw some fundamental conclusions as to the intent of the spirit. A malignant spirit can mask its energy for a while, but eventually a pattern will emerge and you will be able to notice it, if you have kept a journal.
Nexus to the person: A spirit can belong to your bloodline, it can be part of your spiritual framework or it can simply be attracted to you and decide to tag along. In any case, depending on the strength of the spirit and the psychic ability of an individual this nexus can be stronger or weaker. In the case of teenagers, certain spirits can manifest in poltergeist phenomena because teens are filled with raw energy and it can be easily tapped by the spirit. Later in life a spirit can over impose personality traits on people who have strong physical medium skills. This can be dangerous because not all spirits have the best of intentions and like to live vicariously through strong mediums.
Evolutionary needs: Spirits need to evolve, just as much as we in the material world do. You can assist your spirit guide to evolve by providing prayers and illumination ceremonies. Other than that, avoid feeding the spirit with blood, foods, bodily fluids or anything else that is not a simple glass of water and a candle. Providing physical links/energy to a spirit is but a recipe for disaster, particularly if you are dealing with a spirit that has the skills to masks its intentions from you and other mediums. Your role as a spiritist is to provide light an elevation by means of prayer, not to provide a smorgasbord off energy to help a spirit acquire strength in the material realm. Spirits are not here for your entertainment manifesting in the material world, as cool as it sounds to be a physical medium and to be able to brag to friends that you can be a physical medium, never deviate from the concept of humility and charity.
Preferred means of communication: Just like people, some spirits are communicative and some are not. There is a variety of ways to communicate with a spirit. Please put away the Ouija board! Some of the best spirits can communicate by means of readings (pendulum, cards, coins, etc.), clairaudience, clairvoyance, touch tell readings, and sometimes by touch. In any case, when you sort out what way of communication best suits a particular spirit, it is good to set aside that channel for that spirit in particular. In my case, I have been working with the same spirit for 25 years by means of a pendulum which belongs only to her. Through the years she has never provided me with bad information and I consider her more than a guide, a part of my family because she has earned my trust through constant positive actions in my life.
Validity and quality of information. A good spirit guide will normally provide you with matter of fact and direct information to a query during a reading. I make it a point not to pester my spirits with questions I can answer by myself. In the process of testing a new spirit, pose the question in very simple fashion and use a basic divination method that you understand well. Keep track of answers and do not rush to take actions based on the responses. Remember that you are developing a relationship, and relationships need to be tested through action and evidence. In my opinion the best way to test a spirit is to quiz it about its origins and history and to ask for elements that are verifiable. If you can prove the information presented as part of their background you are off to a good start with this spirit.
I am well aware that this article will not answer some of your questions, and that in fact, will lead you to formulate even more questions, and that is fine. Post them below and I will try to provide as much guidance as I can from my limited perspective and experience.
Oní Yemayá Achagbá