The thing with being neutral in Aetolia is that you can claim to be neutral all you want. Your character can consider itself neutral and have friends both in Spirit and Shadow. Here's the thing though.. Spireans might not care that you are friends with Lighters, but I can assure you that most Enorianites will not approve that you befriend Spireans or Lochians, and same probably goes for Duiranites. They will dub you Darkie, because you befriend the Undead and their allies. So, even if YOU consider yourself neutral, many in the game will not, resulting in you not really being neutral. If you refuse to pick a side, the game will pick one for you and it will most likely be Shadow.
I have bad experiences with cross-tether rp. When Sessi was a novice, she managed to get a whole lot of information about stuff like the Abyss and the Shadowbound from Moiran, but was later kicked out of the Ascendrils, because the leadership didn't like that she talked to darkies. Sessi was doing everything an Ascendril was supposed to do, gather information, learn, expand on our enlightenment, and also did it to help Enorian at large, and she was kicked from the guild for it. Yes, I am still bitter about that.
As for how things are now, I really can't say. I've been so bored with the game since before the whole Bloom-deal, I have barely logged in. I find that, on all of my chars, things are at a standstill. I can't even find enough energy to make an alt. I look at the list of guilds in the game and I can't find a single one that seems exciting. Spinesreach can be fun at times, but there's still a problem with cliques everywhere. It's difficult getting into the already set groups of rp and if you manage to get into group A, you are basically stuck there and can't rp with people in group B.
Perhaps this is just me having this problem, perhaps noone else sees it... I am still hoping to find the joy of the game again, cause I love Aetolia and I at least love some of the people in this game.