There are essentially five known ways to relate to a spirit. The first rule is that no matter what, in any dealing between entity and entity, the relationship must be made clear for there to be useful communication. It doesn’t matter as much what the relationship is, so long as it is clear. The five ways are:
- Binding by Gift.
- Binding by Love.
- Binding by Trade.
- Binding by Spirit.
- Binding by Weapon.
Since the last one is, in my way of thinking, least desirable, we’ll start there: Binding by weapon is only used when a spirit or entity comes to you with something nasty planned, and only if there is no other way. It is kind of like putting the genie in the bottle (the old Arabian Nights Genies were very tricky, and would just as soon devour someone who lets them free as grant them wishes…): first, you must have superior force, and superior will. And Plenty of Reasons…
Binding by Spirit is much more preferable: This is the link you have with your spirit animals: A link from like to like, regardless of form. It usually happens to you, rather than you causing it to happen.
Binding by Trade is offering something in return for what you wish to receive. It is necessary to find some entity willing to trade. After a while, you can get into a routine, whereupon in becomes Binding By Gift.
Binding by Gift is when the shaman leaves a gift or gives a gift, in expectation of needing a favor later. This can be considered the case when a spirit comes to you for help, but this is generally classified as Trade. This is a much more comfortable relationship than Trade, as Trade is generally a one-or-two-time thing, while Gift is something much more meaningful and long-lasting.
Binding by Love is actually entering into a friendship (or deeper) with a spirit. Many shamans agree that the relationship they have with their Spirit Helpers/Guides is a love or lover relationship. Some explain that they are soul-mated to their guides.