Different spirits possess different motivations and reasons:

  • Love: they are your ancestors, personal guardians, or spiritual patrons.
  • Some are just beings of incredible loving generosity and mercy.
  • Others, while not so consistently altruistic, have generous moods. Ask at the right moment, or in the right way and be rewarded.
  • They have a loyalty of some sort, including ethnic, spiritual, or professional patronage.
  • Some spirits respond well to bribery.
  • Others help because they like you, identify with you, or seek an ongoing relationship with you.

Any one or combination of the above reasons may be true, but in addition, many spirits who help humans do so because it is their job. Providing assistance is their special function, their sacred charge, their reason for being. In many cases, they live to serve and are eager to help. Some have made a sacred vow of assistance and so they must help, providing, of course, that you ask and they are aware of the need.

We may never know how many unrequested miracles occur on a daily basis. How many disasters have been secretly averted via spiritual intervention? Some guardian spirits operate undercover, but most desire credit and rewards for their good deeds; they want to be sure you know who saved the day.

The most powerful spirits can do anything. There is no wish that Isis cannot fulfill. However, most spirits are specialists. Should you seriously need legal advice, you wouldn’t just ask anyone: you’d look for a lawyer. If your sink backs up, you need a plumber. If your teeth hurt, you wouldn’t call that plumber; you’d look for a dentist, preferably one you like and find sympathetic. After all, they will be putting their fingers in your mouth. Requesting assistance from spirits is similar. Associate with spirits you like and find sympathetic: They will be inserting their presence in your life.

So, for example, if your child needs spiritual protection, you might invoke Anubis, Bes, or Kwan Yin. If the love of your life wants to take you on a cruise and you wish to go but are secretly afraid of the sea, spirits who can guarantee safe passage include Poseidon, Agwe, Yemaya, Ma Au, various mermaids, and the Stella Maris.

Another theory explains why some spirits may offer or withhold help. According to a Jewish legend, two worlds existed before our own. The one just previous to ours was populated by a race of beings who eventually came into bitter conflict with the Creator, who scrapped that world and created a new one with humans instead.

Some of the earlier beings were destroyed, but others survived and still linger or lurk in the shadows. Depending on who’s telling the story, those primordial survivors may be called spirits or demons. Some are helpful; others perceive people as usurpers and are resentful; still others are ambivalent. Some blame us; others worry that we’ll meed the same fate and seek to protect and assist us. These survivors, the Old Ones, may perceive themselves as our elder siblings, disenfranchised step-siblings, or unfairly evicted prior tenants, thus explaining the complex blend of protectiveness, hostility, love, jealousy, and craving for gifts characterizing the attitudes of some spirits towards people.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Spirits

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