There has been the whole argument between the spirits and magic being wholly internal or wholly external. I'm going to jump into the topic to just to get things out from my own personally experiences with spirits in particular. I will link here Aleq Grai's rant that got everything started because it's really good as applied to the whole magic side of the argument. http://aleqgrai.livejournal.com/48271.html
Now my soon to be Sensei, Jason Miller goes more into the spirit's and magic angle and put out there in a really sensible way, so here's a link to that entry. http://www.inominandum.com/blog/?p=708
I'll let those articles lay the groundwork and try not to belabor points I think were covered far better than I can at this point. What I got out of it is this:
1. Magic is internal AND external - there is little good in looking at it, and limiting it to any one perspective. Everything, as in the material exists in multiple spectrums and layers, and you really got to look at the whole thing and how it integrates with it's smaller unseen parts.
2. Spirits, especially the Chthonic spirits are yes external entities that exist in and of themselves a unique and independent being. BUT and this get's into what Chthonic spirits are, they have a strong sympathetic connection with the internal processes and ancestral roots of the human being.
I'll grab The Comte De Gabalis for it's excellent discourse on the natural elemental spirits to provide some insight into their natures and ours. This isn't to say all Chthonic spirits are elementals because I would definitely disagree, but this takes us in the right direction. No the connection in principle lies within the Chthonic spirit's deep and intimate connection with the Earth as a whole (or in part). See this excellent wiki article which covers this from the ancient greek standpoint all the way to the psychological and anthropological implications within ourselves http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chthonic.
We are of Earth and are tied to it at the base of ourselves, and these spirits are also intrinsically tied as well. This sympathy that develops from this connection can make these spirits very easy to work with as long as one knows one's self. A strong gnosis of self is essential when working with these spirits, because it's easy to get swept up in their vast emotions. Yes, emotions. Ever our stumbling block. Yes, these spirits feel, and with an ocean of experiences that will drown you should you let it. Anyways, with your personal gnosis in place as far as your able to 'know thyself' - admittedly a continuous exploration and process - the chthonic spirits absolutely should be worked with (caution and moderation), and that sypathetic connection can lead you into a deeper gnosis of ones' self and of the universe outside ones' own internal universe. Actually I really think this is vital to grow as a spiritual being a very valid path of enlightenment. Looking at it from a Diabolic standpoint (more on that as I'm able to develop my thoughts on this coherently and plainly) those darker impulses are gateways to a universe of light. They are the motive power that propels us onwards and upwards. It's a beautiful thing.
As can be told from many of my previous blog entries I work a great deal with my patroness, Lilith. It's quite the love-affair, a regular whirlwind tour with her, but it's good - soul satisfyingly good. And it's even in the simple things. Performing the labors for her altar, there is a drawing together that happens at a deep and almost primitive level. As I proceed, I feel that attraction intensify, until it blooms into a very real experience of her presence, both internally and externally manifest. It's definitely one of those wow moments, and it stays with me all throughout my day. That feeling of her closeness with me. Intuition, precognition, muse, gnosis - Lilith's presence brings or empowers all these things, and with other eyes you see the complex dance of the universe unfold. It's very hard to be upset or pissed off for long about the bad things that can and do happen through the course of a day when you're seeing the connections with how it's just benefited you either immediately or down the ways a little. The benefits are of course multi-spectrum. It may suck bad from a materialistic stand-point, but wow did you really learn something invaluable. It's like that. Then add to this the insights and viewpoints and actions on my behalf from other chthonic spirits I work with, and it just blows me away. You take care of them, and they take care of you. The whole thing is beautiful. These are the kinds of benefits working with Chthonic spirits can bring to you. I can't recommend it enough when you're ready to take the plunge. Granted, I'm not really going into specifics here, that's not really the purpose of this blog post. Rather I wanted to try to convey that inner and outer play that happens when you are working with Chthonic spirits. That view from that inner world into the outer that occurs, I think I've covered quite well. I did however get a little distracted from the interactions on an external level, so let me try and relate that as best I can.
Okay, so you've done your labors, you've cleaned the shrines, you've given new offerings, you've meditated before the shrine. It's all wonderful and all those delightful internal things I talked about are happening inside and maybe it's all you can do not to start singing. That's a great thing, but it doesn't stop there. The external presence of the spirit is there to be seen and felt at the shrine, it is fully empowered and ready and willing to move around the mechanics of the universe and bring real-time reality hacking, yours for the taking. So do it. You give your intentions, you work with whatever materia of the spell you had in mind - then you let the spirit do it's thing. Then you go out and do, experience and be, and somewhere in the course of your actions you are going to see things just start to happen. It might even appear spontaneous, and completely outside of your mundane actions. But then take a step back, look at it with spirit assisted eyes and POW! - you see how that working you did back in your ritual space, MOVED THINGS, and how your daily actions moved things and how those two suddenly hooked up and made magic happen. Damn it's awesome. You're like a sports team, you and your spirits, and it's that team work that really makes the magic happen. So build up your franchise, recruit those star athletes - and go for the win!