A Do It Yourself Guide to Communicating With the DEAD
By Lori Lothian
In the recent movie, What Dreams May Come, Robin Williams plays a man who dies and attempts to communicate with his wife in a dramatic scene of automatic writing that understandably pushes an already frazzled widow over the edge. And in the classic film Ghost, Whoopie Goldberg plays a medium for whom spirits must line up in the afterlife in order to hop in her body and get their message across.
Entertaining as they are, these Hollywood versions of spirit communication perpetuate the myths that talking to the dead is a specialist's job and that when the dead do manage to get a word in edgewise it is through such theatrics as possessing a person's vocal chords or pen-holding hand.
Direct Dialing the Dead
In reality, talking to the dead is more like placing a long distance phone call to a third world country--the connection can be tenuous and static-filled, but in the end it is as simple as dialing. On the other hand, going to a medium to talk to dear departed grandma is like placing an operator-assisted call--you only need to resort to that more expensive option after your own attempts have failed. Unfortunately, however, people often seek the assistance of a professional psychic connection before they have even begun to make their own.
Step One: Dialing Up
The first directive to successful spirit communication may seem the most obvious: You have to want to make contact. Fear, guilt, shame and anger can all get in the way of communing with a loved one who has made the transition from the physical world. Emotions that run deep often act as a self-erected unconscious barrier to not only dealing with grief, but also to making an afterlife connection. When an aging parent dies, for instance, it often becomes apparent which sibling has the most unprocessed "stuff" about that parent. Other siblings will often report dream visitations while the sibling in angst reports nightmares instead. On the flip side, sometimes the lack of contact may also be the spirit itself making a decision that for the bereaved's best healing, contact may need to wait until a later date.
Step Two: Putting the Receiver to Your Ear
The next to thing to remember about spirit-communication is that if you are not listening, you won't hear. Those in spirit make every effort to get our attention in ways that are gentle and non-threatening, so much so that these subtle messages are often missed. Cues can include a ringing in the ears, a fleeting image of movement in our peripheral vision and of course, dream appearances and waking signs.
When my deceased grandmother is around me I often know this by the synchronicities she provides. The symbol of the star is significant between us, based on an Avon ring I gave her as a child called A Star Is Born. Whenever she is hovering, I receive an unmistakable confluence of star imagery. I recall one week where a friend sent me a silk scarf with stars all over it, another mailed me an envelope of foil confetti stars and I saw stars in places as diverse as TV, billboards and personalized license plates. That week was an important time for me as I was videotaping a segment for a TV show and was a basket case of nerves. The reassurance from my grandmother was just what I needed to go ahead with calm confidence.
On another occasion, I was in the midst of making an important decision when she came through with a thumbs-up vote by synchronicity: three times in only two days I found myself driving behind a bumper sticker that read Grace Happens! My grandmother's name, of course, was Grace.
Every once in a while spirit will make a grand entrance when perhaps we have been slow to pay attention. One story that comes to mind is that of a friend whose recently deceased father made his presence known in an unusual way. When Audrey's father died, she took home his video camera and left it on a shelf in her living room. One night as she and her family sat watching TV, the camera suddenly began to whir and hum: her father's camera had turned on by itself. Although Audrey wondered whether her father was responsible, she became convinced later that same night when two smoke detectors in the home began beeping the warning beep associated with a low battery. When she opened up the detectors, however, she realized there were no batteries at all inside. Audrey took this as a friendly safety message from her father who routinely used to remind the family to keep smoke detectors in working order.
Step Three: Talking Back
Communication is always a two-way street and it's no different when chatting with the dead. We can ask for guidance from the departed by simply thinking it or writing down our questions in a journal. Answers come through signs, synchronicities and sometimes dream conversations.
When my father died I was not present for his death and longed to know that his sudden stroke had not been a terrifying event for him. I also questioned why he chose that particular time to die. The answer came within weeks of his death, in a dream visitation. In the dream my father allowed me to time travel to the scene of his collapse, where I was able to comfort him as he transitioned. In the same dream, I asked him why he chose to die. He said: Because I was tired of worrying. This immediately made sense to me because my father's worsening Alzheimers had made simple tasks such as paying bills and taking medicines impossible for him. Feeling out of control about finances and his health no doubt worried him greatly and departing his deteriorating mind would have likely been a relief.
Operator Assistance: Using a Medium
If after trying to make the connection yourself you choose to seek the services of a medium or psychic, be discerning. You will want to find someone who has a word-of-mouth clientele and remember that the medium need not be famous to be good. Many clairvoyants or psychics will include spirit communication in a session without ever referring to their service as mediumship, so don't become fixated on the séance and medium schtick. Just ask while making your appointment whether the reader is able to work with spirit communication should it arise.
When you call for an appointment, also be sure to relate nothing significant about yourself or the departed you may wish to contact. During the reading make an effort to keep facial expressions to a minimum. Don't answer questions unless the medium has first volunteered information. Be demanding: require that the communication contain material that leaves no room for doubt. Hearing the name or nickname of the departed or being offered a symbol or memory that only you two share are good barometers of authenticity
For example, when my grandmother came to me through a clairvoyant a few years ago, the first symbol she presented was that of a ring. This was my definitive clue--when my grandmother died my mother found the ring I had given her as a child tucked away in a drawer, still in the original box. This ring was returned to me and is today the only possession of my grandmother's that I own. I keep it in a safe it means that much to me.
When I was doing a reading for a client recently, a woman in spirit appeared holding a basket in her hands. I relayed that the deceased woman was about the same age as the client and that she was distinguished by her creativity while alive. The message from the spirit was that the client needed to return to some sort of creativity in her life. The client then related to me that this must be her departed sister-in-law with whom she had run a gift-basket business in addition to her regular job. After her sister-in-law's death, she had not resumed the business, nor any other creative business outlet. The symbol of the basket was instrumental for the client in identifying the spirit and in trusting that the communication was authentic.
And finally, don't expect that just because you show up for the party, the spirit of the deceased will attend too. A medium or psychic cannot extend an invitation or force someone to appear. Rather the medium is simply a host waiting for the guests to arrive.
In the end, the best communication is contact that convinces you without a doubt of the departed person's presence and that provides healing or closure in some way. This may mean seeing a professional only because you may fear your desire to communicate is so great that your own signs and experiences are your imagination only. But whether you find yourself at a psychic's door or talking to a loved one in your sleep, the experience of communicating with the dead is profoundly life-changing as for once we remember the truth that we do not die, we simply move on.