Communicating with Spirit: the Basics


Wouldn’t it be easy if spirit communicated in Morse code, knocking on your door? In reality, we have to employ much more patience and faith as we forge relationships with spirit. I like to say that if the answers were easy, we would not feel our questions were really satisfied. After all, if talking to spirit was as easy as calling up a neighbor, what would be so special about spirit?

Spirit is defined as non-physical, so it makes sense that spirit will want to communicate through non-physical means. Presumably, when an individual spirit speaks to other spirits, this would be done through spiritual means. Yet, spiritual means of communication need not be as esoteric as one might think. Thought, for instance, strikes me as being wonderfully non-physical. Although neuroscientists have an idea of how thoughts can be created by a chain reaction of physical activities in the brain and body, it can be asserted that thoughts are something of a mystery. How is the memory of sound, such as a song, encoded into neurons so it can be heard almost as if it is playing on the radio? Imagine music in your mind and consider this. You can imagine the song nearly any way you wish, so it doesn’t rely on memory alone. You can also imagine physical sensations that, if you concentrate hard enough, feel real. I believe that the physical model of the brain is not, alone, sufficient for explaining the stunning vividness of our thoughts and dreams (or even our experience of reality itself).

In this way I believe that thoughts and dreams have a uniquely non-physical element. I believe that thoughts need not be housed in the brain but can exist as spirits do, freed from space-time constraints. Perhaps in dreams we travel to alternate universes. Perhaps by our imagination we create our world.

If thoughts are spiritual things, existing with at least one foot in the spiritual realm, then they become a well-suited vehicle for spirit communication. People are often encouraged to pay attention to their dreams, and this is excellent advice, but it is equally important to pay attention to your thoughts, as spirit may be speaking to you through them.

How can we recognize spirit’s communication through our thoughts? The first step is to listen to your thoughts mindfully. Relax and don’t try to think consciously – let your mind flow freely. I find that when I’m trying to sleep or nap I get the best results, however I don’t always remember everything when I wake up! What you want to listen for is a thought that does not seem self-invented, one that didn’t come from the logical progression of your own thought processes. Put emphasis on listening rather than merely thinking. A spirit communication will seem more like a voice you hear rather than a thought you think. It may not sound as clear or loud as a voice outside your mind, but it will have a foreign quality and you may not feel you understand the message.

If you are more of a visual person, you can try similar techniques with seeing thoughts rather than hearing them. I myself am not a very visual person, so when I see anything I’m surprised and consider it a message from spirit. That said, I like to think that the best scrying mirror lies behind closed eyes. For me, staring into the blackness when I close my eyes brings very effective results. It might be the case that it is easier to know a message is from spirit if the mode of communication is not your forte, such as if you see a vision when you are not a visual person, or if you think of a phrase when you are not a very verbal person. With this in mind, I would encourage you to try both visual and verbal methods. As you close your eyes, you may find it easier if you simply relax, like slipping into a dream. I find it easier to stare intently into the blackness, because if I don’t, I will likely ignore any visual information altogether! To get the process started, you might try pressing gently on your closed eyes, as this will trigger a light-show behind your eyelids. You may see geometric images or sparks like fireworks that transform into meaningful messages. Just be careful not to press too hard or cause yourself pain, of course! Again, a spirit-sent image will have a sense of spontaneity and otherness about it; the visuals you see will not follow logically from your own thoughts, and ought to feel original, not self-invented.

However, our thoughts are not the only mode of communication with spirit, so it is important to know how to recognize other kinds of messages. Synchronicities and strange events in the physical world may be spirit-sent as well. The extent to which spirit can interact with the physical world is unknown and thus greatly disputed. I believe that the physical and spiritual realms intermingle such that a cause in the spiritual world may have an effect in the physical world, or vice versa, so I have no issue imagining that when a wild animal crosses my path, spirit might be trying to get my attention.

What clues can we utilize to be more aware of spirit sending us messages in the physical world? When something remarkable happens, like a rare sighting of an owl, it isn’t hard to notice. Likewise, when you notice a pattern, such as the appearance of a great blue heron that always seems to herald blessings on a journey, you can feel assured that spirit is shining down on you. Other times it is not so easy. Did you really lose your keys, for instance, or did a playful imp spirit hide them?

One thing that may help you right off the bat is to ask spirit for confirmation. Remembering that this is a relationship, you have every right to ask. Keep in mind, however, that asking for confirmation after confirmation, especially in the form of a physical event (like asking, make the lights flicker if this is spirit) is not going to get you any further towards certainty or reassurance. You can try to obtain a vision or hear spirit in your mind to make sure you’re on the right track, but there comes a point where you have to know in your gut that spirit is at work.

As you practice working with spirit, you will naturally grow in faith and confidence as spirit’s messages come true or are otherwise revealed in your life. If you’re getting good results, you really need to trust spirit just as you would trust a friend who has never betrayed you. Naturally spirit may work in mysterious ways, and patience is required as spirit’s timeframe is not necessarily synched with our human sense of time.

As you grow closer in your relationship with an individual spirit, you may develop a familiarity such that you can recognize the spirit’s work even if you don’t quite know how you do it. This is a huge advantage and a reason why you’ll want to spend time with spirit in many different ways, so you can recognize spirit however and whenever a message comes.

My partner Willow refers to her own spirit communications as “the chicken.” It’s a joke, but half-serious too, as her messages come as a crazy, chaotic and seemingly illogical notions like a chicken running and clucking in her mind. Willow definitely has her own way of doing things, but it’s undeniable that she recognizes “the chicken” every time spirit sends her a message.

This takes us to the next step of communicating with spirit: interpreting the message.

First, I would encourage you embrace the possibility that the message you receive is a literal one. All too often I shy away from literal interpretations in favour of more general ones, only to find later that they were true and accurate just as spirit presented them. Sometimes a sentence that is meaningless or even silly to you turns out to mean a great deal for someone else, so I would also encourage you to feel for the “flavor” of the message – was it about you? Or were you thinking about someone else when spirit presented you with the message?

Another caution would be to avoid strict uses of concordances. I do find them handy when I want to know about a particular animal that appears in a vision or a dream, but ultimately I think one should look within and gradually develop one’s own concordances. You can start by thinking about your first impressions about any object, animal, or symbol that appears in a message. What do you think about when you see it? What does it mean in your own life? Do you get a positive sense from it, or a negative one?

It is certainly possible that different individual spirits may use symbols to convey the same messages that concordances reveal. However, it is equally possible that each individual spirit may have its own sense of symbolic meaning. If you see a rabbit, for instance, it may mean something very different when the message is coming from a spirit wolf than if it is coming from a spirit angel. This reminds us that communicating with spirit requires a solid relationship with spirit. We ought to know who we are communicating with!

A relationship with spirit need not be a formal thing, although every human being (and likely every spirit) will have different ways of expressing and maintaining a relationship. But since communicating with spirit is not as simple as picking up the telephone, we need to be mindful that we aren’t always trying to have fervent dialogue with spirit or always trying to obtain a meaningful message. Having a true relationship means being able to simply spend time with spirit, honouring and communing with spirit. Luckily, this can be done in almost infinite ways.

I have come across (and devised myself) a few ways of communing with spirit that have become favourites for me. One method is to simply breathe with spirit. As you inhale, say to yourself, Spirit, I am blessed. As you exhale, say to yourself, Spirit, I bless you. This is something that can be done virtually anywhere and can be extremely intimate, especially if you feel the air moving in and out of you and imagine the whole universe expanding and contracting ever so slightly as you exhale and inhale. You can start your morning with this moment of blessing, or fall asleep this way, or utilize this method throughout the day to reconnect with spirit. It can also be as simple as just saying thank you and bless you.

Rituals and sacred work can provide a powerful way of maintaining your relationship with spirit. Lighting candles, burning incense or herbs, keeping an altar, placing out flowers, wearing symbolic jewelry or other accessories, prayer, songs, offerings, and even just awareness of spirit’s presence can all become mini-rituals that, when preformed with some frequency, will strengthen your bond with spirit. The possibilities are endless. I encourage you to do whatever fits into your life, and also whatever you feel best honours the spirit or spirits you are communicating with. If an act feels sacred to you, then by all means, employ it. At the very least, it will help you get into the right mind-frame.

I do shamanic journeys and healing for others for free. If you are interested in receiving healing, find more info here: Spiritual Readings and Healing


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