Instructions for Seance

Charlotte Gerber
Crystal ball used for divination.
Crystal ball used for divination.

The instructions for séances vary, depending upon which resources you are using. People from Nostradamus to Harry Houdini's wife have conducted them using methods that were the most popular during their particular time period. The following overview represents the styles of séances held several hundred years ago as well as those held today.

Why Conduct a Séance?

For people who want to contact a spirit from the other side, one of the best ways to do that is through a séance. A séance uses a group of people that concentrate on one specific goal: contacting a spirit. Séances were very popular during Victorian times, and even Houdini's widow used them as a way to communicate with her beloved Harry. Charlatans have also used séances as a way to bilk people out of money in the past, but today a session may be conducted without the employment of a professional medium.

Nostradamus' Seances

Nostradamus, whose prophecies have spanned the centuries, used to conduct séances of his own. Experts believe that he used the following procedure to call spirits during his sessions.

  1. In the center of the table, he would place a clear glass bowl filled with olive oil.
  2. He then placed a drop of blood from one of the participants in the bowl.
  3. He would place two candles on the table, one at the north side of the bowl and one at the south.
  4. He would then place a Bible on the west side of the bowl, opened to 1 Samuel, chapter 28.
  5. He held the Bible open with a single piece of quartz.
  6. On the east side of the bowl, he placed a lily flower.
  7. Finally, he would place a bell, a sharp knife and rock salt just outside of where the circle of people were sitting.

Once all of the items were in place, the group of people sat down at the table with their hands flat on it. The pinky finger of each person would touch that of the others next to them. Everyone concentrated on the bowl in the center of the table. Only the medium spoke because it was believed that spirits were easily offended, especially by levity.

Once the medium finished speaking to the spirit(s), he would then thank the spirit(s), and instruct them to leave. The medium would then extinguish the candles and close the Bible. The following day, the medium would ring the bell throughout the home; this was believed to clear all entities from the building.

Instructions for Seances Today

The instructions for séances today are slightly different than those performed one hundred, or even several hundred years ago. A crystal ball usually replaces the bowl of oil and blood, and often an empath (or primary sitter) is used instead of a medium. The following are the basic instructions for séances today:

  1. Know exactly why you are conducting the séance. The purpose may be to contact a dead friend, to request guidance or for divination of some sort.
  2. Select any number of people to attend the séance, with the exception of 5. The number 5 is not used because it is the number of points on the pentagram and the wounds of Christ.
  3. People attending the séance should be genuinely interested in contacting the dead. Skeptics and those who are fearful should not attend séances because they can negatively affect the outcome.
  4. The timing of the séance is important. Night is usually the best time, and it is even better if it is raining outside. In addition, holding a séance on the anniversary of a specific event that is important to the spirit may help.
  5. Tarot cards, pendulums and crystal balls may be used for divination. However, it is advised by many experienced mediums that Ouija boards should not be used in a séance because you never know what may come through, including demons.
  6. Once everyone understands the purpose, they may gather at the table, sit and join hands.
  7. The medium, or primary sitter, will attempt to contact the spirit world. If a negative energy comes through, the group should concentrate on a white light filling the room and protecting them. Under no circumstances should the group release their hands.
  8. The medium, or primary sitter, should ask appropriate questions of the spirits and share information that is coming through. All sitters should be encouraged to share any thoughts or images (dismissing ones that are not conducive to the séance). Most spirit contact only lasts for several minutes, although it may last as long as half an hour.
  9. Once the medium has finished, the spirits are thanked and asked to leave the premises.
  10. All of the sitters can finally release the hands of the others.

Conducting your own séance is often easier to do after you have attended a few séances held by others. This will give you an idea of what to expect, as well as how to handle the unexpected. Of primary importance is selecting the right people for the séance. The individuals should be open to the idea of contacting the spirit world, not debunking it. If your séance doesn't work the first time, keep trying. With practice, and the right people in attendance, you'll eventually make contact with the spirit world.

Instructions for Seance