I am often asked how one can communicate with spirits without using the Ouija Board. As stated in my last blog post, I am really against the use of spirit boards to contact spirits.
So, what are safe ways to not only respect the dead, but also to communicate? First, let me state that spirits should NEVER be contacted for FUN. Its disrespectful and ultimately, it can come and bite you on the ass if you don't watch out. I never take my work with the dead slightly.
1. Ancestor Altars: These can be placed in a special area of your home. It can be filled with photos of loved ones who have crossed. You can add their favorite things to the altar: drinks, cigarettes, flowers or even a favorite perfume. This is a place where you come to ask for guidance and advice from those who have crossed to the other side. It should be warm and welcoming and make you feel comfortable.
2. Automatic Writing: This is something that takes skill, but you can learn over time. I started doing automatic writing at a young age, mostly because I was experiencing spirit contact and didn't know any other way to communicate. Often when I do this type of work, my left arm will get very heavy and numb, and that is when I know that a spirit was nearby who needed to get me a message. Automatic writing is easy. Just relax in a comfortable chair and have a notebook and pen handy. When you get a "feeling" that someone is trying to reach you, pick up the pen, close your eyes and let your hand do all the writing. Your mind should be empty so as not to influence what comes onto the paper. After you are done, you can thank the spirit* and see what message was written. If names and dates were left, its always good to go investigate. If the message makes no sense, just hang on to it. It may later!
*If at any time you feel the spirit is being malicious or just "won't let go" - remember YOU ARE IN CHARGE. Tell the spirit you are done and to leave.
3. Pendulum: Again an easy way to communicate and one that I use a lot. Holding a pendulum spin it in a circle and say "YES" out loud. The spin in forward and back and say "NO" out loud. This helps the spirits know which direction to turn the pendulum when you are seeking guidance. Ask you question and see how the pendulum moves!
Remember, never just ask "is someone there"-- if someone is "there" and they want to communicate, they will let you know. You never want to invite in unwelcome guests!
Also, as someone who has worked with the dead for a very long time, I must remind you that you do not interrupt the dead just when you NEED something. Its like having a friend who only wants to hang out with you when they need money. It works for the same in spirit. Do not go to your ancestor altar only in times of need. Do not start using your pendulum when you only need advice relating to a certain problem. Working with the dead is the same as working with the living. There is a set line of rules and respect that must be passed along both ways. If you visit a cemetery, always remember to bring an offering- flowers and water are great. If you know the deceased, leave a bottle of their favorite rum next to their stone.
These are just some of the ways you can work with spirit. Of course, nothing beats a good old meditation where thoughts and messages can come through. The same goes with dream work! Spirits often visit us in our dreams because they can tap into the subconscious.
If you want to learn more ways of communicating with and honoring the dead, I highly recommend "The Witches Book of the Dead" by Christian Day. He does a great job of offering different ideas and ways that you can safely communicate and commemorate those who have passed over!