I firmly believe that cultivating a healthy, harmonious, flourishing spirit "ecosystem" is more or less the same as cultivating a biological one. It requires certain things in order to thrive. Energy and "elements", predators, prey, and decomposers are all important parts of the whole system. In a small, semi-closed, newish ecosystem (like an apartment), the magician has to supply most of those things, at least in the beginning.
In a biological ecosystem, energy enters primarily in the form of sunlight, and that's one way it enters a spiritual ecosystem too. However, most of the "spiritual" energy in an apartment is generated by the people (biologically). Music/sound is another GREAT way to add energy, as are fire, light and etc. While I don't really understand the exact way it works, there's clearly some relationship between the "energy" that spirits need and actual "physics class" energy. Anyone who's noticed how fast batteries drain or tea goes cold in the presence of active evocation knows that.
The "materia" that a spiritual ecosystem needs are by far the most confusing for me. I don't really understand why spirits want physical food, but it's clear they do. In my experience, it's the "caloric" aspect of food offerings spirits really crave. Fat, sugar, alcohol...maybe spirits are just really into the citric acid cycle? (It's been a LONG time since biochem, so sorry if that wasn't right) In my experience, while different spirits have their favorites, you can't really go wrong with an offering of grain covered in oil and honey. No wonder IHOPs are always haunted! ;)
There are lots of kinds of spirits, and I think a "good" spirit ecology has all of them:
- "Shining Ones", radiating energy in from the cosmos. I think other people would mostly call these Big-G Gods, angels, saints, and celestials.
- "Wandering Ones", who circulate the energy, stirring it, creating currents and eddies, "cross pollinating" things. These are the (non-solar, non-saturnine) planetary spirits, egregores, little-g gods, fairies, elementals, djinn that kind of stuff.
- "Rooted Spirits" like ancestors and land spirits help to hold everything together the way the ground-cover plants prevent erosion. People (both human and other personality/ego-having spirits) are a kind of rooted spirit, and we play an important role, tending, creating, curating and moving things around.
- "Hungry Spirits", like ghosts and shadows and demons. These guys have a bad rep, but they keep things circulating, and keep egregoric spirits (including people!) from getting too "puffed up". Like anything else, it's not ok to let them get out of balance.
- Death Spirits, cool and cold and clear and sharp, cut strings. I mostly work with Ereshkigal, who tells me that, before she was the Queen of the Dead, she was Flint, the first knife.
- Finally, the Cthonic spirits, who make their home within the earth, in the moist dark places, are the decomposers. Baphomet is GREAT for this. I get the feeling that's really his whole schtick; he completes the cycle of life. I also work with a giant black crocodile named Marathustra. PM me, and I'll tell you a bunch of stuff about him that I don't want to share with strangers. These recycle all the "goo" and spiritual waste. I'm not sure what other people call it. Mushroom spirits are also good at this.
Now, there are also specific roles you need in an artificial spirit ecosystem (artificial systems can eventually "naturalize", but it takes a years and years. Possibly generations.) The most important ones I can think of right now are:
- The Producer. This is probably you. Because artificial spirt ecologies are VERY spirit dense compared to "normal" places, the system isn't anywhere near being energy self-sufficient. Someone/something has to consistently add energy. The easiest way to do that is with regular offerings of light, sound, food, and attention.
- The Distributor. You probably aren't going to make offerings to each spirit by name. If you can do that, there aren't enough spirits! :) (Disclaimer: Many people, including most of my teachers, strongly disagree with this sentence. Lots of people like their home to be clean and zen-like in its spiritual simplicity. YMMV) You need to charge a spirit to take your offerings and distribute them to each individual spirit, giving to each what it needs/wants/likes. I use "The Wet Egg" for this. Other great choices are any god whose mythology includes the phrase "knows the name of every god" like Hermes, Isis, or Old One-Eye (whose name I will not speak. He knows what he did.)
- "The Doorman". This is a spirit to keep regulate who comes in and out. Not a "Guardian", but just a spirit who knows who is coming and who is going. Threshold gods. Master Doorkeep.
- "The Bouncer". Someone who can run off anyone who needs to get gone. Dragons and warriors.