Periodically this forum gets a post that runs something along the lines of "...has anybody ever worked with so-and-so?" that will be posted as a way to do some research about a spirit one is curious about. Or maybe they heard a reference to a name on some blog or book and are hopeful to work with that spirit or angel to get first hand experience or, if for nothing else, to satisfy their curiosity.
In an effort to reduce the amount of posts than can be perceived as "spell begging" let us now give some pointers and advice on how to start from scratch to work with a specific spirit.
Before going into practical steps I think it will probably be important to remind the class that much of what will be discussed here will, by definition, be unverified personal gnosis. But far from being a pejorative, these moments of UPG are the building blocks of further practice. The only way spirit work breaks away from UPG is through long term consistent work by multiple people. This will be personal work and one should not be discouraged by those who try to be strict or dogmatic and say that your insights are wrong. And, on a related point, let's not forget the parable of the blind men and the elephant, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant. If you see fluffy bunnies where others see bloody dragons, it doesn't necessarily mean you are wrong, but simply that you had a different experience. It all counts and it all has value.
Starting from scratch.
In my experience starting from scratch takes two parallel paths, theoretical and practical. In the theoretical path one does research based on the information one has available. The purpose is to give the spirit a context and a mythology. This, in many ways gives the spirit life and depth. Some questions to ask:
What culture gave rise to this spirit?
What does the name mean in context?
What other, more familiar figures from mythology does this figure resemble?
What is the temperament or personality of this spirit?
Could the name be a misspelling of a more familiar name?
How does this spirit fit into one's personal mythology?
Who is in this spirit's family; parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, children? Who are the allies and enemies?
What archetype does the spirit seem to fit into, the Warrior, the Teacher, the Magician, something else?
This step will take time and, more often than not, there will be little information (if any) available to fill in these gaps. It is also probable that your understanding will take time and little bits will be revealed as you go along. In an ideal world this step is never really done as you learn more and more about a particular spirit or class of spirits.
Another method of doing research is to ask the spirit directly. This is the practical path and, in my opinion, should be done while doing back research. Speaking personally this method draws heavily from a solipsistic point of view in which things that are happening around one is spirit communication of some kind. The main skill to use in this phase of research is listening. By this I don't just mean listening with the ears but listening will all 10 senses of the body. Be fully receptive and aware of changes in temperature, air pressure, emotional sensations, thoughts that come up, memories, sights, smells, tastes, sounds, things that happen, random things other people say or do, and so on. Write it all down and you will soon be able to discern what is important and what is not so important. Divination can be a very helpful tool as well. Not only can you ask about the spirit in question but you can also communicate directly with the spirit.
One of the first things to determine is what is the spirit's disposition toward you. Are they willing to work with you? Don't be discouraged if the answer is no. Using divination try to see what the advantages and disadvantages of working with this spirit will be.
After this, if your skills are sufficient, try formal evocations and scrying sessions. I would suggest building a relationship based on give and take. They give a little, you give a little. But that is just my sensibility.
These will naturally lead to more in-depth work and you will no longer be working "from scratch".