The process of talking to a spirit often feels strange and surreal, and other times uplifting and enlightening.
Methods of Talking to a Spirit
There are many beliefs, both religious and paranormal, that consist of talking to a spirit. The ancient Native American Shaman believed that vision quests were a form of communicating with ancient spirits of ancestors. Other beliefs involving communication with spirits include the Wiccan faith, ancient eastern religions and even certain aspects of mainstream Christianity.
Native American Shaman
Native American cultures believe that the human soul is an integral part of the life force that connects everything. For example, it is said in Sioux mythology that every living thing has a spirit, including humans, animals, trees and plants, and even the rivers and mountains. This unified "life spirit" consisting of many spirits is a common belief system among all Native American societies. Since everything is interconnected, the heart of Native American beliefs is in attaining a balance and alignment with the spirit world in order to maintain physical health of the person and the community. In order to keep this balance, the Shaman communicates with spirit guides and seeks out the various spirits throughout nature for assistance.
Native American cultures have countless methods to communicate with this spiritual realm including ceremonial drumming, dancing, chanting and induced visions/meditations. Even seemingly mundane activities like weddings, hunting, fishing and navigating the land have many aspects of spiritual communication within Native American culture.
Psychics, Clairvoyants and Mediums
Within what is known as the "New Age" movement, there are mediums who consider natural intuition a form of "sensing" or "feeling" spirit forces. The belief is that everyone possesses psychic powers, but that those abilities are more developed in some people than others. Another term for this ability is "sixth sense", an ability to perceive spiritual vibrations with a sense other than the five typical human senses.Mediums practice a variety of methods to communicate with spirits including:
- Channeling: Spirits communicate through the voice of the medium
- Materialization: Transparent or "astral" spiritual forms that appear
- Clairaudience: Inaudible messages a medium can "hear" from a spirit
- Independent slate writing: Messages of departed spirits appear on a slate
- Automatic writing: Medium writes messages directed by a spirit force
- Healing: Considered a forum of mediumship that draws upon spirit forces
- Spirit Photography: Mediums that only use photographs to capture manifestations
- Physical Manifestations: Rapping, levitation, movement of objects and other physical effects believed to be caused by spiritual entities
The central focus of Eastern religions is living in harmony and peace with the surrounding world and people. The surrounding forces that either assist or hinder in this harmony are considered a form of spirits. The Tao (or Dao) is a force that allows things to happen naturally, and is the central force humans seek to align themselves with. All "evils" and problems within life are believed to come from a distortion of this alignment between the human self and the cosmic Tao.
Much like in Native American beliefs, the Tao is a unifying life force that connects all living things.
Confuscianism is one form of Eastern religion in which believers make offerings to the spirit plaque set up for the spirit of a relative who passed away. Each morning, and during festivities, believers hold conversations with these spirits and even make offerings of food and drink. Buddhism holds the same set of beliefs regarding the spirit plaque and communicating with the spirits of ancestors.
Daoism evolved into several categories. The major one is that deities were actually human beings who purified themselves through a variety of practices such as yoga, diet, self-discipline and other methods. These humans eventually reached a state of nirvana and became immortal.
Mainstream Christianity also has many aspects that involve talking to a spirit. Some Christian faithful believe in a Holy Spirit that coexists as one unifying force along with God and Jesus. The Catholic faith calls these three together the "Holy Trinity", and each serve as channel of communication with the "creator", or God. The Catholic form of Christianity also incorporates prayers to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as well as all of the ordained saints of the Catholic Church in what are termed "intercessory prayers". These are prayers, much like the Native American or Eastern ancestral communications, asking for assistance to become more in "harmony" with the unified force called God. Some Catholics align certain "types" of prayers to particular saints.
Overall, Christianity has a long-standing belief that communication with a "Holy Spirit" represents a sort of channeling of that force into the body. Christianity has long held that the Bible itself is a collection of writings inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Always Communicate With Care
Regardless of ones belief system, talking to a spirit is very often a central part of those beliefs. Another component of almost every belief system is an understanding that negative forces exist that can influence those communications and sometimes cause emotional and psychological harm. Eastern religions call good and bad the ying and yang, and believe the two need to remain in balance. Mediums and Wiccan practitioners often use talismans or symbols such as the "pentagram" to protect themselves from evil spirits. Native American folklore is filled with examples of evil spirits manifesting in physical form, such as the legend of the skinwalker. And of course, Christianity holds a strong belief that a spirit of evil was cast down to earth by God, and remains throughout our reality as a form of trouble and evil within society.
Each religious system came to the understanding of these forces through, in most cases, centuries of human experience. This is why it's important to use discernment when talking to any spirit to determine whether the being is helpful or looking to do harm.