Spirit Communication Is A Skill

Talking to spirits is confusing, but it’s not difficult. If you can master listening to your intuition you can learn to make sense of the voices in your head.

With all the talk of aliens, devil worship, and the end of the world, it seems the veil between us and the unknown is thinning and it might be a relevant time to upskill in matters of spirit. It’s disappointing that we’re willing to consider ideas as outlandish as communicating with visitors from distant star systems without considering how long the spiritual traditions of the world have described exactly such encounters. And those that can’t see the underlying spiritual nature of current events will be ill-prepared for the intensity of the weirdness to come.

The world’s going to be a very strange place over the next decade and, if you’re planning on thriving through this madness, you will need a strong constitution and supernaturally good fortune.

To that end, I’ve found prayer to be an essential asset in recent years. I pray daily for both the strength of character and the practical, spiritual skills to navigate the coming apocalypse. And I use that term in its original context as a period of “revelation”. The years ahead will be very revealing no matter what happens…

In our lifetimes, there has never been a better occasion to pray, to do magic, to practice divination, or make some pact with the devil of your choosing, than the present. And then the moment right after that. And after that. The world seems to become more otherworldly with every passing moment.

This should demonstrate for us the fragility of the materialist framework of mind. Our various attempts to understand the world merely describe it, they cannot limit its expression, and when the world surprises us again and again we should admit that we do not yet understand it as well as we might think.

Many of us, particularly from Western, post-religious contexts, struggle with the idea that spirits are “real”, independent, and, in some sense, tangibly distinct from just “a voice in our heads”, no matter how reality-shattering one moment of this timeline is from the last, -no matter how spiritually intense it all feels.

We’re more comfortable with words like thought forms and archetypes, instead of gods, daemons, angels, and spirits but these words attempt to rob the universe of its diverse pneuma.

And countless wizards and witches, shamans and mystics, throughout history, all share the same insight, once they begin to engage with the spirit world: 

When you call upon spirits, they answer, and when you make deals with them, they tend to keep their end of the bargain -and will hold you to yours.

If you pray, or you do magic, and it works -if you summon spirits and they answer- and yet they react in ways that are unpredictable and beyond your control (which tends to be the case) you have to consider them not only “real” but also autonomous.

In purely practical terms, this realization should lead immediately to another: if spirits are real and as powerful as they seem, we should either fear them or aspire to ally with them to become more powerful ourselves.

Just like socializing is a skill and likeability is learnable, we can learn how to become the kind of people that spirits want to talk to, who they do favors for, and offer their protection.

Spirit communication is a skill. You can learn how to do it proficiently (though never quite 100% accurately) and doing so comes with some very serious benefits.

How to get better at spirit communication

The first thing to understand is that you’re already receiving spirit communication essentially all the time, you just either ignore it (to your disadvantage) or assume that it’s “just in your head.”

Occult author, Lon Milo Duquet, has a pretty excellent quote that goes, “It’s all in your head — you just have no idea how big your head is…” and this is a useful framework to consider in preparation for the madness that comes with communicating with invisible, spiritual beings.

Where you think ideas come from is a good litmus test for your readiness for spiritual dialogue. What you think passion or desire is, would be another. 

Where the winds of greatness blow, inspiring individuals who lead exceptional lives, whose breath do you think puts these winds in someone’s sails will determine how easy spiritual engagement is to wrap your head around.

As Gordon White often asks, “What if ideas were some kind of real?” 

What if thoughts think you?

You may (rightly) be wondering what this has to do with negotiating pacts with spirits but I assure you that being able to distinguish your thoughts from “thoughts in your head,” is the quintessential skill that separates prophets from raving lunatics.

“Hearing” when spirit is communicating with you is easy, with a little practice. Harder is distinguishing real communication from your mind playing tricks on you. Once you start regarding the voices in your head as some kind of real it requires constant vigilance to prevent your deviously clever mind from deep-faking God in your subconscious.

Developing the skill of spiritual communication is, in large part, about filtering out your own whims, concerns, desires, fears, and obsessions. And there are some very useful, practical tips that I learned on my own spiritual path that seem to be relatively universal, and helpful to others, that I’ll share with you now.

The Spirits Are Always Talking To Us

Spirit is ALWAYS talking to us because spirit is everywhere in everything. Regardless of where your ship is on the water, you’re still in the ocean. If you go for a swim, you’re likely to find some fish.

It’s not a question of listening hard enough to hear the spirits, it’s just about recognizing what is and isn’t spirit communication. Sometimes spirit will literally speak to us, but it’s more often a quiet knowing or a strange, portentous moment that embodies a “message” from spirit.

All of magic lies within the subtle forces of the universe; magic is never direct or obvious. You can feel it in the air, but you can never look directly at it. It cannot be observed in action -not simply because magic is capricious (though it tends to be) but because of actual quantum mechanics: observing an occurrence collapses a wave of potential outcomes into a single absolute. Magic requires a field of possibilities to weave our spells into new realities.

It’s similar with spiritual engagement: we can’t see spirits with the naked eye, they are made apparent by the outcomes we weave with our magic, by the feeling of their presence, and the signs (omens) they leave us as clues.

Assume that anything that catches your attention has meaning and allow that meaning to present itself. If it doesn’t make the effort to make you understand, it might not be anything at all. However, when some weird thing happens and it gets stuck in your mind, there may be some underlying truth to it that bears consideration.

Pray it forward (to establish contact)

Much like parasocial relationships where people develop bizarre, one-sided expectations with people they don’t know; it is a little crazy to think that the spirit world is just hanging out waiting for you to need something. My experience is that spirits are everywhere but mostly ignoring humanity because humanity mostly ignores spirits.

To develop a relationship with any intelligent being, a little effort is required on your part first. This is true when befriending cats, dogs, and even crows; each have their own (call it) cultural idiosyncrasies which must be navigated to engage and befriend them.

Spirits are no different, but unlike dogs, in my experience, most spirits are not all that eager to engage with spiritually inexperienced human beings. Overeager spiritual practitioners often conduct themselves like Americans on vacation; obnoxious with entitlement and expectation.

The spirit world, like our visible world, is based on delicate systems of reciprocity and balance, and humanity is but a tiny aspect of the universe we exist within. To gain the favor and assistance of spirit, you have to “put yourself out there first”.

What does this look like?

For me, it took months of prayer, a few good mushroom trips with intention-setting rituals ahead of time, and a lot of doing magic without really feeling any feedback, before a dam broke loose one day and it’s been wonderfully weird ever since.

You have to ask for what you want

Spirits are primarily (though not entirely) non-local and diffuse, so they’re “everywhere” all the time, but if you wish to engage with a spirit, you have to reach out. This isn’t any more difficult than calling someone on a telephone, really, but it is a distinct action that requires intent and effort.

Even after you’ve established contact and built a relationship with a spirit through regular prayer and magic, as I have been reminded many times by my spiritual allies, you have to ask for what you want.

And that isn’t a guarantee that you will get what you want. And even if you do (especially if you do) you should know that this isn’t exactly free. The universe functions on an equilibrium maintained by the principle of reciprocity (energetic exchange), so what you get comes from somewhere and costs something.

Mostly the cost is your time and effort (your actions are the energetic exchange) but it’s worth considering what you ask for very carefully because you’re signing up for some kind of effort in return.

Spirits don’t always speak in words 

It’s not that it never happens, but in my experience, most spiritual messages do not come in the form of audible words. Mostly you will notice something that seems off, or strange, in some way; though not necessarily bad, it will just give you a peculiar vibe. Particularly when something sticks with you, an odd occurrence, a synchronicity, or a seemingly fated encounter -even more so when a theme repeats itself over time- it is important to pay very close attention to your intuition at these moments.

This feeling is the most reliable indicator that I have found that the universe has encoded a message in your experience that needs to be interpreted. I have found “gut feelings” like these to be of great importance, and strongly recommend that you always give them your full attention. 

When it occurs, just take a deep breath and open your awareness in the same way you do when you’re praying and hoping for a message in response. When an odd occurrence stops you in your tracks and you’re wondering, “is that a message?” -it probably is. 

Stop, take a breath, and notice how this has affected you. What was present in your mind just as this occurrence took place? What have you been thinking about all day?

Omens typically appear as pattern interrupts; something that stops your thought process in its tracks and resets your state of mind into something more receptive. So the best thing to do to understand it is to rewind your own state of mind and look for what you might be missing.

Now, on the other hand, there are ways to engage spirits in something which more closely resembles conversation but those are distinct magical rituals like summoning and channeling, and beyond the scope of this article. But…even in most rituals the effects are “mental”, clairaudient or clairsentient awareness, and the voice you hear the spirit “speaking” in will quite often be your own internal monologue, as if you are reading an email aloud to yourself.

Quiet the body, still the mind, pray for clear communication

Meditation is clearly one of the most useful techniques for preparing yourself for spirit communication, because it helps to empty the mind which is the canvas on which spiritual messages are conveyed.

But before meditation can effectively work, you will usually have to quiet the body before attempting to quiet the mind. Yoga, stretching, and particularly while in a meditative state, is very good for working out the distractions the body will throw at you when you’re trying to meditate.

So quiet the body and still the mind, and then make contact before waiting to receive messages. As I mentioned, you need to reach out and to do “spirit business” (magic) with the spirits you want to communicate with regularly. Building a relationship is essential and I’ve found that praying for a good connection is very helpful.

You should, of course, send your prayers and intentions to the spirit in question but if you’re working with many spirits, I highly recommend developing a daily practice with a psychopomp or messenger deity, such as Hekate or Hermes, and asking them to act as an intermediary to ensure a high fidelity connection. The key to this strategy is to have a regular practice with the psychopomp long before asking them to act as a spiritual proxy.

Is that a message from spirit or just your ego?

The most challenging aspect of spirit communication isn’t making contact or receiving messages, it’s telling apart your thoughts from legitimate messages. The easiest way to explain the dynamic is saying that your thoughts are influenced by spirits; and that’s not quite right but it’s not quite wrong either…

This raises a very important issue: Your thoughts can be “influenced” by many kinds of stimuli and it takes a fair amount of practice to learn how to reliably tell which thoughts are divinely inspired and which are simply something you saw subconsciously on television. Or worse, which thoughts are actually your own ego rearing its ugly head to stay relevant.

I would venture a somewhat educated guess that this represents the bulk of what you will find from the pop spiritualists, channelers, etc. Not that they have any intention of misleading you, but it takes a significant level of self-awareness -and some very important habits- to keep yourself from making this mistake.

These habits include using multiple forms of divination to validate your results, and multiple readings on each important question, journeying and channeling, somatic meditation (aka “listening to the body”), and other techniques.

But beyond the methods, the most important skill to learn to get good at spirit communication is discernment. It is necessary to be able to discern if you may have something to gain, or you may be avoiding something that makes you uncomfortable, or you are distracted by fears and anxieties, and favoring the thoughts which align with your personal priorities instead of the authentic message.

It’s more likely to be spirit communication if you don’t like what you’re hearing

This leads us to my best tip, and the most effective method I’ve found for discerning the authenticity of potential messages from spirit.

Thoughts you are excited to receive and make you feel good are very likely your own mind playing tricks on you, your ego blowing you up, or fears driving you to familiar comforts.

Thoughts which disturb you, trouble the spirit, and leave you with a gnawing sense of something not quite right; these are worth close scrutiny. Any clear, high fidelity message you just really don’t like hearing because the path described seems difficult and uncomfortable, this is quite likely an authentic message from spirit.

If you can remember your early teen years, growing physically can, at times, be a very uncomfortable experience. Likewise, growing spiritually is almost always unpleasant at the time. Afterwards we may recognize the benefits of our transformation but the metamorphosis itself is painful and difficult -and often not without risk.

If you’re triggered and thinking to yourself that your guides and spirits aren’t mean to you like this, then I assure you, you are just talking to yourself. Your shadow self is playing tricks on you, lulling you into complacency and this is the opposite of growth. The truth in this is self-evident because every valuable experience comes at a cost and real growth takes real effort. Real victories mean overcoming real challenges. Real success means risking real failure.

It’s supposed to be difficult. Or so they keep telling me…

Trust and verify

Not all spirits are created equal. They come in many shades (see what I did there?) and with many distinct peculiarities. Land spirits act quite differently than the spirits of the dead and popular deities and so on.

You will generally have an easier time conducting spiritual business with the kinds of spirits that don’t negatively affect your mind, body, and spirit. This is why I don’t really fuck with demons, etc. I just don’t see the necessity of it because I work with more powerful -more cosmologically fundamental- spirits that delegate to other spirits.

But in all cases, you are the soul proprietor, and you are ultimately, karmically responsible for what you do in this life. Spirits are always influencing our thoughts and actions, in the sense that (often unconsciously) we’ve made the choice to align with their frequency of energy with some action we take.

No matter what the circumstances, you have to be good with your actions, the outcomes you’re pursuing, and the nature of the spiritual relationships that you will maintain to achieve these goals.

That’s why it’s important to trust and verify. Trust that the spirits who you’ve contacted are acting forthrightly and in the ways that you intend but VERIFY that this is the case by testing them with small petitions and giving them small amounts of faith and transactional value in the form of prayers and offerings. When your petitions are addressed on the regular and the cost of the exchange is acceptable, you can scale this relationship to a new level.

From first contact to a working relationship

When people first discover magic and grapple with the idea of spirits and animism, it seems so strange and incompatible with their regular experience of reality (and it is) that the act of communicating with spirits is put on some kind of a pedestal and can feel unachievable.

I assure the opposite is the case. As Gordon White says, “Spirit communication is easy.” The challenge is differentiating the noise (random thoughts and stimuli) from the signal (messages from spirit).

Learning that skill simply requires practice and discernment. Personally, I pray for discernment almost every day. It also takes a few basic meditation and visualization skills, developing a tarot (or other divinatory) practice, as well as potentially pendulums and other methods, and, most of all, cultivating deep relationships with spirits through prayer, offerings, and working magic.

To begin, dedicate your practice to one spirit for a time, and learn everything you can about their nature through their myths and lore. Appeal to them with appropriate offerings every day. Reach out to them in prayer. Consider fasting while filling your hours with meditation and prayer. And just keep this up until stuff starts to happen; because it will.

It might not right away, in fact it probably will take months, but eventually you’ll start to experience strange sensations, sense a presence when you pray, and then, at some point, to receive omens, messages, clairsentient “knowings”, or other manifestations of authentic spirit communication.

At this point, shut up and listen. These will likely be warnings rather than opportunities. The “loudest” messages tend to be about helping you to avoid crises, particularly the kind you create yourself.

Learning to navigate these warnings is its own journey but, for a quick piece of advice, remember that omens tend to be interrupts, so ask yourself: “What did that message interrupt? What was I just doing / thinking / etc.?” Getting good at divination is also very helpful at this point.

Next, you’ll notice quieter messages appearing in your life which, if ignored, will progressively get louder and louder until you notice and take action. In my experience, the stakes also progressively rise until the quiet-to-progressively-loud messages are all you get, even in serious circumstances.

After this is where journeying and channeling became reliably useful for me, and accompanied other meaningful growth in my spiritual “career”. This is a long-term project, a long, windy road that will lead you to weird (and sometimes wonderful, and sometimes very inconvenient) places.

Humility and consistency are essential, practice makes perfect, and the journey is the destination so don’t be in too much of a hurry. Just keep putting yourself out there authentically and, just like building relationships with people, the right spirits will find you.

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