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So you want to hold a séance on All Hallows’ Eve when the veil of the spirit world is at its thinnest and listen to the whispers of ghosts? Well, you’ve likely wondered at least once what the dead have to tell us, or what wisdom our loved ones carry from beyond the other side. You might be forgiven for approaching the idea of summoning spirits cautiously, as many books, films and television series have not been kind when depicting the classic séance experience. But what if you knew a way to easily reach out to the other side, one that meant you didn’t have to rely on a troublesome Ouija board and unknowingly conjure a force beyond your control? What if it wasn’t like that at all?

You can conduct a séance on your own or with a trusted group of friends or family members. It’s important to understand that the kind of experience you desire from a séance depends greatly on the intent you hold during the space. If you make sure your heart is communicating respect, love and healing your séance will be a deeply moving and profound experience for everyone involved.

A quick search online will reveal a large number of photographs taken during the Victorian era of past séances – usually led by a spiritual medium – with people holding hands around a levitating table and ectoplasm and ghostly faces mysteriously appearing beside their loved one. It’s also interesting to note that many 90s films featuring people conducting séances depicted spirits appearing within mirrors, bathrooms and places near water (cast your mind to Candyman, What Lies Beneath or The Others). These photographs and films hold vital and significant clues from folklore on ways to connect to the spirit realm.

Let’s break down some of the significant tools you’ll need.

Using either the living room coffee table or a safe windowsill free of curtains, create a séance altar by placing your items with careful intent. There’s no right or wrong time to begin your séance; just choose a time that feels right in the moment and be sure you’re in an environment that allows for quiet and uninterrupted stillness. The following parts come down to patience and intent.

Light a stick of palo santo to bless the room and start with an opening prayer of protection and guidance to your spirit guide, guardian angel or a specific deity that serves as a gate-opener or psychopomp to the underworld. You can invoke the aid of a deity you are familiar and comfortable with, such as the angel Azrael (Jewish), Papa Legba and Baron Samedi (Vodou), Anubis (Egyptian), Morrigan (Celtic), Hel (Norse-Germanic), Hecate or Persephone (Hellenic).

After invoking protection and guidance, you can play instrumental or meditative music softly in the background or continue in silence. Sit comfortably and have everyone involved focus on your loved one, remembering them in memories while holding the intent to invite them in just as you would if you were calling them via the phone. By remembering conversations, jokes, their voice and their favourite scent as best as you can you are actively building positive energy for their arrival and creating a space with welcoming light.

When you all feel you have reached a good height of energy, let go of the visualisations and allow your thoughts to wander. Be present and pay attention to any feelings, sensations or messages that begin to stir. Sit with the energies for as long as you desire, and when you begin to close down the ritual snuff out the candle and leave the altar until the following day or whenever you are drawn back to it. Discuss with everyone and write down in a journal what you felt, saw or heard and compare the experiences.

You can choose to conduct the séance before beginning a meal or party as an invitation to your loved one to join you in celebrating the magickal evening, or do so at the end of the night before you retire to bed and allow them to meet you in your dreams.

Every experience is unique, and holding these kinds of rituals in daily little ways will open your intuitive senses to the realm beyond and allow you to consider that your dead do not leave you. They still support and guide you from their ends, sending signals, signs and messages in love for as long as you invite them close into your heart.

You need not fully believe in the spirits, for they believe in you.

Words by Andrés Engracia
October 2020

Andrés is a psychic medium, occultist, mystic mage and author of metaphysical titles whose own spiritual practices are deeply rooted in druidic and shamanic traditions. Raised along Australia’s east coast, he currently resides in the United Kingdom.