Hey everyone just to let you know I am not knew to magick, but I am new to working with spirits. Why would anyone want to work with spirits anyway? Do you get something special out of it? Does it always have to involve magick or perhaps divination? If not what else? What is a proper way to work with one? Does it always have to be some kind of business deal? How do you talk to them when your spirit speaking skills are not that great? What are some ways they speak to you? When trying to make contact do they come right away?
Please answer my questions I am just a little confused. FYI I am talking about animal spirits.
When referring to animal spirits, it might help you to do some reading on animal totems and symbology. Animal-speak by ted Andrews is a good starting book. It gives information from a native-american shamanistic perspective, and talks about what kinds of meanings the presence of different animals in your life can have. Plus the back of the book has a decent glossary of animals and simplified definitions of what they represent and their meanings as symbols.
As far as I am aware, Animal spirits and Animal totems are typically seen as symbolic representations or archetypes. There are a few beings that are animal-like and more potent as spiritual helpers and guides/guards, but I usually separate them from the ideas of totems.
As far as communicating with them, there are several practices. usually a simple rite geared towards calling for a message or assistance, or to meet your animal totem suffices. Then keep your awareness open for unusual appearances, or times you have direct encounters with animals in an unusual or meaningful way.
Personally i find connecting and speaking with animal or other spirit guides to be easiest through meditation. A guided visualization is a good way to start by creating a mental setting for yourself and your guide/totem, where you can ask questions, ponder ideas, and otherwise open yourself to communicating. Otherwise, usually the mere presence of the animal as a totem is enough to provide a lot of food for thought, as, like I said before, they tend to be symbols themselves. So if you are aware of a totem or if one has come into your life, learn about that animal and it's characteristics, traits, and personality. These may be a mirror for you to use to learn something about yourself.
As for ways to deal with one, No it isn't always a 'business deal'. Typically you only need to ask for help, and it will usually appear. Of course doing things to show respect and gratitude is helpful. Not as a payment, but as recognizing them for their assistance. It is a way to say 'thank you' and let them know you appreciate the help and place value on their presence. Think of it as an act of shared respect.
Usually, you have to convince a spirit to want to work with you. Many already have a vested interest in you, and are easier to reach out to, but others need a reason. Many people will devote themselves to a particular powerful spirit who will serve as their deity, and this deity will repay their devotion by answering their calls. Other spirits need offerings, or some other contract that shows that you will hold your end of the karmic deal that is implicit when you're working magic. Further, there are spirits who are more chaotic and may try to interfere with you just because they have a mischievous nature.
Animal spirits and human spirits are one in the same in this regard. Any life spirit has the power to change its surroundings, and by calling on the help of spirits, you can harness more potential energy for your project. But you have to treat them with the cordial respect you would any living being.