Dancing with the Dead
by Sylvana SilverWitch
I am dreaming, I am in a dark room, I am afraid – but I move through the doorway anyway. Suddenly I am on a freeway, on the center-line, cars speeding past me on both sides. The wind rushes in my ears, whipping my hair around; I feel dizzy, as if I’m going to fall into the path of the traffic.
I see my lover walking down the middle of the other side of the freeway, his long dark curls flying in the wind. He looks far away, but he’s not really. I scream at him, trying to be heard over the sound of the traffic. I scream and scream for him, but he is careening, on first one foot and then the other, dancing in front of the cars.
He looks so pale and beautiful in the moonlight. Some of the cars pass through him, as if he’s not real. I find I am screaming, “But you are real! I love you! Please come to me! Get out of the traffic! Please!” I hear the screech of tires on pavement, as a car swerves to miss him, and it sounds like a phone is ringing somewhere, far away. Oh shit!
Oh, no, it’s my phone. I strive to wake up, reaching for the telephone. It is one of my friends -why is she calling at this hour? “Honey? Are you awake?” She is quiet, not at all her usual self. I instantly sense that something is wrong.
“What’s wrong?” I ask – I am suddenly fully awake. “What’s wrong!” I have a sinking feeling in my chest; I know that something is terribly wrong, and I start to cry as she says, “I guess you haven’t heard….”
“Heard what!?” I am screaming at her while she is speaking ever so slowly and quietly.
“Heard about Bobby…. He was killed last night.”
The room disappears from around me, everything goes black and I fall away from the reality I have been in. I feel as if I am falling forever, down, down, down. Down into an abyss of pain. I come to some semblance of awareness a moment or two later. The only reason I know it is only a few minutes is because she is still on the phone repeating, “Are you there? Are you there? Are you all right? Hello? Hello!”
I reply, “Yes. I have to go now; I’ll talk to you later.” She argues, “Are you sure?” But I hang up. My dream flashes in my mind; I suddenly realize what it was about, and I apprehend that I am sobbing. I take a Valium and go back to bed and close my eyes, hoping to shut out the reality and the pain.
I dream again, except this time I am with him, I am sitting in my living room talking to Bobby, and he is telling me that he is not really dead. I am so relieved! I hug him and feel him solid and large in my arms. I know he is really alive; it must have been a bad dream.
He says that he is sorry that we won’t be together anymore, but it is and will be okay, and not to cry any more. I am upset, and he comforts me. I ask him how I will know that this is not just a dream, and he says he can tell me what happened and why. He tells me details about his accident, which was a freak one. I know that he is telling me the truth, and I tell him how much I love him and will miss him. He smiles and says he knows, him too. And he fades away. I call out to him to ask him to stay, but I hear him saying he’s got to go and he will talk with me again. Later….
Most of us have had people go from our lives, but the most cruel loss is the death of a family member, friend, lover or even a beloved pet.
When this happens, it can be extremely difficult to let go of the intensity of emotion that we have around it; it “haunts” us, and we are sad and depressed – sometimes for months or years.
It is important, in my opinion, to allow the normal changes to happen in life with as little energy “getting stuck” as is humanly possible, because keeping the energy flowing causes the least pain. If you do your best to first feel and then let go the emotions around the demise of someone close, it helps your healing process and theirs too. You must let them go and let go of any extra energy you may have connecting you to them; by energy, I mean sadness, anger, hurt, resentment, longing. All of these are strong emotions and are “energy” that can keep us connected to the dead. If you attempt to grasp or hold tight to them, it just damages you in the long run. It can be especially tough when you haven’t gotten along with the person for a long time, or when there are big unresolved issues between you.
One way to deal with your emotions when attempting to let go of a loved one, is to do a ceremony to say goodbye. It can be helpful in this process, to contact the dead to communicate whatever you need to express to them and they to you. You can voice whatever and say your last good-byes, while at the same time acknowledging that they are still alive, energetically. Especially if they appear very clearly to you, this has made me feel much better about the passing of my loved ones. Performing the ritual aids in the grieving and healing process, if in no other way than achieving closure.
Connecting with the dead always seems scary at first, but it doesn’t have to be, when you are in the right frame of mind.
Why would you want the spirits of those who have passed on to appear to you? You might have incomplete business with them, for example if a parent dies prior to you working your childhood stuff out with him or her. Maybe you have a question that can’t be answered by any living person, or maybe you wish to honor the dead, as at Samhain. These are all valid reasons. Just for the fun of it is not a good reason!
You might want to be cautious and have respect for the departed, as they do have some power over the earthly beings that have put energy into them. If nothing else, they can communicate with you on the astral plane and make your sleep difficult. If you were to screw around with them or convene the wrong ones, there’s no knowing what might happen. There are all kinds of dead, just as there all kinds of living people – some good, some not so good. Use discretion when doing these workings.
I have chiefly communicated with the departed because someone else requested it of me, but at times they have turned up and talked to me on their own, just because they can I guess. When I work for someone else summoning dead kin, it’s always interesting. I usually try to get the departed to tell me something really obscure about the person doing the seeking, so that they will know it’s “for real.” It is something that a lot of people get spooked about.
I have, in years past, done psychic work with law enforcement agencies to help locate missing people. Usually they had several of us psychics working on the same job, they wanted to check out our information for accuracy, I guess.
I went and sat down at the table in the office I was told I would work in. I felt a feeling of dread, like I didn’t want to be there, or like something bad was about to happen. A detective came in and informed me they would be taping the session; I agreed that it was a good idea. He set up the recording equipment and brought out a manila envelope. He said, “This is a missing person; we’d like to have an idea where to look for her, and any other important facts you can tell us.”
With that, he showed me a picture of a young dark-haired girl, maybe 11 or 12. I immediately got what I call a “charge” from the picture, and I told him I’d do my best.
He sat across the table and passed me the remainder of the contents of the envelope. There were various personal effects in it, including a report card, a drawing, a bracelet, a hair brush with hair and a number of pictures.
I immediately knew that the girl was dead, even though the policeman didn’t say so. I also knew that she had been abducted by a stranger, not a person known to her. I knew this because of the terror that I felt from her energy. I closed my eyes and I saw trees all around me, big tall trees. I was very cold, and wet, and alone. I was scared, but happy to make contact finally. (In this process, I often feel as if I am the person I am connecting with.)
I opened my eyes and told the policeman, “She’s dead.”
He jumped. “Are you sure? That was kinda quick, wasn’t it?”
I replied, “No. When I make a good connection, it often happens like this. But it is really strong right now, and I want to get details, so I will talk with my eyes closed and tell you what I see, okay?”
“Uh, okay.” He was unsure about me but didn’t know what to do except agree.
I went on, telling him about the trees and the ravine, and the water and the car. Then as I was describing the scene of the abduction and the man who was the perpetrator, the girl’s energy just started weirding out, and she started calling for her mother.
I realized she didn’t know she was dead. Oh no, this is not good, I thought. She thinks she’s still alive, and I’m helping to rescue her. I tried telepathically to explain to her what had happened, but apparently she had no context for death where she herself was the subject. Plus she was dazed and confused, not thinking straight. I knew I’d have to do some work on releasing her if I were to continue, but then I would be risking the connection.
I had to do something, so I opened my eyes. The cop jumped visibly this time when I opened my eyes and said, “I have to stop; she doesn’t know she’s dead.”
“What do you means she doesn’t know she’s dead?” He was almost yelling at me, and I had to bite my tongue.
How can you solicit and communicate with your dead? A ritual follows, especially for the summoning, communication and making amends with and letting go of dead loved ones.
First, choose a night that the moon is dark, preferably around Samhain or Imbolc, when the veils between the worlds are the thinnest. Find a place where you can be alone, where you won’t be disturbed. Assemble all of your tools and talismans; a list of things you might need follows this article.
Cast your circle, drawing the circle in the air and visualizing it to be a sphere, taking you outside of the mundane reality of the time and space that we all normally inhabit. Next, conjure the elementals, and-or the directions, whichever you prefer, asking for their aid and protection, and light the candles. Next, invoke the God and Goddess into the circle, lighting their respective candles. You might ask a particular god or goddess who is associated with the dead, like Rhiannon, to attend your circle. You might also like to invoke the aide of the fey, who are the traditional go-betweens connecting the realms of the living and the dead.
Light some incense that is associated with either the dead in general or the person you wish to speak with. For example, if it’s your grandmother who always wore lavender perfume, burn lavender. Put a picture of the person, if you have one, on the altar, or any of her or his possessions or clothing.
State your intention for all to hear and take notice. This is important. Then invoke the person you wish to communicate with. Saying something like: “I invoke you ; please draw near and converse with me; please attend and illuminate this space with your presence. Kindly appear and assist me in my time of need. Please come; please come!
Speak their name aloud several times, then sit down, close your eyes and wait. This is a very interesting part of the rite, because you must listen quietly. Spirits don’t always appear á là Hollywood, in a superficial display of smoke and lightening. It is sometimes more like someone speaking softly to you inside your head, or a feeling of someone being with you. Listen and be open to them appearing to you. Hear what they say; don’t dismiss it as imagination. You can ask them for a sign if you are really skeptical. Say what you will to them, and know that they have heard you.
When you are finished or when they are done talking to you, thank them, tell them how much you love and appreciate them and then…say goodbye and let them go! Know that if you ever really want or need to talk to them, you can and they will hear you.
Lastly, ground your energy through the earth, making sure there is no residual energy from any other beings left in you. Then pull some energy up from the earth, let it bathe your heart in cleansing, healing energy. Dismiss your gods and the elementals and close the circle.
Afterward, take a cleansing bath or eat a small meal in honor of your rite. This is a good time to clean out the departed persons room, give their belongings to a deserving charity, or put their pictures or effects away. Keep some special mementos, but use the energy to really let go of them, you will find it makes you feel much better.
Some people like to use a Ouija board to talk to discarnate beings, I don’t like the Ouija board – I believe anything can come through it, not just the spirit you are specifically invoking. So use it at your discretion. You could also try a seance, in which you gather a number of people around a table and invoke the dead to communicate through one of you. This works best if one person is the designated medium and has experience “channeling” the dead.
However, being a medium for the dead can be quite traumatic, and I don’t recommend doing it unless you have some training. I used to do this with some regularity, and even though I am trained in the psychic arts, it was very hard on me to maintain my own energy throughout.
It is a still and quiet night. The room is dark and hazy-looking to you, even though there is no mist. Everyone is seated around a large, old, round oak table. There are candles flickering in the mist. Everything begins to fade away from sight, everything except the table directly in front of you, a narrow tunnel of reality.
Then you get a chill down your spine. The hair on the back of your necks prickles with electricity. “The spirits have arrived,” says the high priestess. About that time you feel something brush up to you, into you, and then you are above your body and to the side, looking at yourself smiling at everyone.
The high priestess turns to you and addresses you as if she doesn’t know you, “Who comes there?” she asks. “Who is it who joins our circle of love and light?” You see your mouth move and hear words falling from it, but they are not your words. You recognize the energy a moment later as a departed friend of one of your circle-mates. You sigh and relax, and decide to travel around while you are out of your body. Hmmmm – where to go?
I am fully aware that in writing this I might be summoning up the people who have been long gone from my life, and I accept that possibility.
Items for a ritual for the dead
Anything that reminds you of the person
Black altar cloth
Paper and pen