The spirit world lingers at the fringes of the everyday world. But, for some, the presence of spirit can be more deeply felt. When the Wheel of the Year turns from Mabon toward the sacred days of Samhain and the air gets colder, the veil in between this world and the otherworld becomes thinner yet.
While the season of autumn is a beautiful time to connect with those who have passed on, there are many ways to connect with the space of spirit during the course of the year.
These recommendations can be used as a starting point in deepening your connectedness to the web of all things. While there are many ways to practice Witchcraft, make sure you’re connecting with what resonates with you and what is safe and respectful of the vast myriad of other Witches practicing and your lineage, education, and ancestry.
In beginning spirit work, one of the most supportive ways to connect beyond the veil and with the Otherworld is to listen. Finding a quiet spot in a garden, in a cemetery, in a library, or in a home (any space that carries history and meaning to you) become grounded and state your intention.
Let any spirits nearby know that you’re listening and that you’re there to be respectful of their wishes and their intentions. Much like in human relationships, listening can be a beautiful way to craft a foundation of trust and makes space for deepening your practice as you go.
Channeled Writing, also known as Automatic Writing, is a way to potentially communicate with ancestors and those who have passed on. Become grounded in your space and take out your writing utensil and a piece of paper. Set a timer and continuously write (without judgment or needing to make direct sense of your writing as it happens), use an anchor phrase (a phrase to return to again and again as needed) such as, “I am listening…” “Spirits, are you there…” or “I am here, listening…” to announce your intentions and create a container for your work.
After the timer goes off, see what has come through. Take note of shifts in handwriting or tone.
Building an altar and leaving offerings can be a magickal way to pay tribute to those who have come before you. Altars can be a focal point of a ritual. To build an altar, find a flat space in your home such as a table, a windowsill, or a mantle. Clean the space, perhaps burning some herbs to cleanse it.
Set your intention for the altar. Then, as you build the altar itself, incorporate photos of ancestors, ancestral land, icons or statues to honor different ancestral practices, elemental representations or symbols, and candles.
After the altar is blessed, activate the altar by lighting a candle and speaking your intention over the space, dedicating the altar. Leave offerings such as incense, herbs, or food to the spirits that you’re connecting with through this ritual space. After activating the altar, tend to the altar for a committed amount of time before dismantling it, and offering the remains to a moving body of water or to bury in the earth safely.
Working with a divination tool such as a pendulum, tarot cards, a spirit board, or oracle cards can be a way to connect to those beyond the veil. These tools can give spirit symbols, words, language, or imagery to help communicate with you. Use your divination tools as usual, however, state your intention beforehand to connect with spirit, and allow spirit to speak through the cards in tandem with your guides, benevolent ancestors, and ascended masters for your highest good and the highest good of the collective.
Working with Plants
The roots of plants find nutrients and sustain plant life from the underworld itself. Plants are magickal messengers who know how to listen and listen wisely.
Connecting with spirit can be as simple as taking a walk through the woods or sitting with a specific plant. The plants are our earth ancestors and carry wisdom and message for us. Additionally, burning a plant in ritual can be a beautiful way to set a ritual intention, to cleanse and clear, or induce visioning. Some magical herbs to work with are Artemisia (Mugwort), Calendula, Cedar, or Juniper.
Beyond these five possibilities for working with spirit, a healthy relationship with death and the beyond is an important foundation for these practices. As you begin connecting with the spirit world, simultaneously connect with the beautiful and poignant fact that life on this planet, as you know it is temporary, and that anything as universal as death is divine.
Honoring your Ancestors
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