Simple Spirit Communication

Simple Spirit Communication

By Sterling Moon

One of the hardest aspects of “coming out of the broom closet” for me was to begin publicly acknowledging that I am a medium or seer. You never know how someone will react when you tell them you talk to dead people, not to mention nature spirits, angels, and other entities. At a certain point, it became harder to keep this aspect of my life and spirituality shoved into the background, so I decided to not only own it, but improve and refine what I can do by seeking out ongoing mentorship and learning experiences. Now it’s just a part of everyday life.

Recently, I’ve had a number of people tell me how fearful they become when they sense the presence of spirits and ask how they can become more comfortable. I believe that everyone has the ability to engage with the spirit world. When we sense something otherworldly and shut it down out of fear, we may be slamming the door on our ancestors who are trying to protect us, spirits that need help, or our guardians. Also, just because you get good at ignoring something, doesn’t mean that it ain’t there. A spirit that really wants your attention will increase their efforts to catch your eye, I promise.

So where does one start with all of this? My suggestion is to begin by building relationships with familiar spirits. The following is a practice you can use to start connecting with spirits that are close to you in some way.

Decide who you want to talk to. Trust me when I say that you can land yourself in some deep shit if you just open yourself wide up to “the spirit world.” Just like there are bad people in this world who will take advantage of your vulnerabilities, there are bad spirits that will feed on you and can truly mess up your life. Start with someone that feels safe. A relative or friend who has moved on or an ancestor that you have researched are some good starting points. Choose someone that you have a picture of and even something that they owned in life.

Set your space. Tidy up a bit and wipe down the surface you’ll be using. I know a lot of us like salt for cleansing, but it drives away spirits. Don’t use it here. Have a candle, glass of water, and a small offering of food along with the picture and/or personal items. Many spirits also like coffee and alcohol. Just a little will do. Spirits of the dead like the same things they enjoyed in life and it’s polite to offer someone a drink or snack when they come to your home, right? The water acts as both a conduit and refreshment and the candle helps light their way. Have a pad of paper and something to write with nearby and if you practice any kind of divination like tarot, cartomancy, scrying, or bone throwing, have those tools handy as well.

Notice yourself. Take a big breath and mentally scan your body from head to toe, noting how you feel. Observe the quality of air and light. Check in with your mood and thoughts. Being aware of how you are feeling and your surroundings will allow you to better discern when the spirit comes through.

Call in the spirit and pay attention. I wish I could say that I had some fancy incantation for y’all, but I don’t. I usually just focus on the picture/personal items, say the full name, and if I know it, the birthday of the spirit I wish to speak with. Ask them to come close to you and enjoy the refreshments you have offered them. You may have to ask a couple of times. Be patient and listen. Observe the subtle differences. Does the air and light in your space feel different? Does your head, mind, or body feel different? When a spirit comes through, I often get a flushed feeling in my face, my head feels swirly like I’ve had a couple of drinks, and my stomach gets that “in a moving elevator” feeling. You will notice when a spirit comes in, but it likely won’t be a Hollywood-worthy experience. You will most likely feel and see the person in your mind, not with your eyes.

The role of skepticism. There’s a weird balance here. It’s very healthy to maintain some skepticism, but it can also offend spirits greatly if they catch you thinking they might be a figment of your imagination. A skeptic will say that this could all just be your subconscious or an active imagination. This is true, but I promise that spirits will unequivocally demonstrate their presence the more your work with them and believe in them.

Test them. I always recommend that you test any spirits you come in contact with who claim to be familiar to you. The simplest way is to ask them what your name is. You’ll be surprised how that can trip a faker up. You can also ask them about memories you share or quiz them a bit on family history. You don’t need to turn this into an interrogation; you’ll know after a question or two. If you are someone who has a particularly clear mind’s eye, you can walk around the spirit to see if they are authentic or wearing the mask of the one you called in. If you get any indication that the spirit in your presence isn’t the one you invited, tell them directly that they must leave and that you claim the space as your own. Keep repeating until you feel them leave. Cleanse yourself as described below or however you see fit and try another day.

Enjoy the conversation. If the spirit in your presence is the one you called in, talk to them and take the time to listen. This isn’t fancy, but conversing with someone who doesn’t have a body does take a little practice. Take notes on what you experience. If you are struggling to get clear messages and you have divination tools handy, ask the spirit to speak to you through your cards, etc. For example, you can ask them a question and pull a card to help divine the answer. Remember that spirits don’t, or can’t, always speak with words. You may get images in your mind, smells, flashes of emotions that don’t feel like your own, etc. Go with it. If you get overwhelmed, tell the spirit to pull back a bit. I used to allow these encounters to totally flood my senses, thinking I needed to take in as much information as I possibly could. It caused me more harm than it was worth. Find the balance that works for you.

When you feel done talking or the spirit seems tired or like they are pulling pack from you, end the conversation. Thank them for their visit and tell them they can return to where they came from. Wait until you can feel that they have left, then snuff out the candle and place the offerings of food, water, and other drinks outside somewhere outside, like under a tree or bush.

You can also leave this up as an altar if that feels right. Just replenish the water and bring the food and drinks outside once they are no longer fresh. Maintaining the space will definitely help if you want to build an ongoing relationship with that particular spirit.

Cleanse yourself and your space. I am partial to cleansing visualizations. The simplest is envisioning bright light flooding through your body, washing away any spiritual gunk. I usually follow up with a few spritzes of Florida water in my space and on my person. If that isn’t enough, I’ll prepare a salt scrub and use it in the shower or take a simple cleansing bath with salt and herbs that feel appropriate. Do whatever works for you, just don’t neglect your spiritual hygiene.

Practice. Building relationships with spirits can enrich your life immensely. It takes patience, mutual respect, and willingness to keep learning. Enjoy the journey!


Connect with Sterling Moon through her website, or her Instagram @Sterlingmoontarot .

A Prayer to Santa Muerte

A Prayer to Santa Muerte

By Loretta Ledesma

The number of times I’ve written out an opening sentence for this entry, gone back and deleted it, are now more than I can count. It’s 12:19 Friday morning, during a global pandemic and Santa Muerte is perched in Her sacred space next to me. And I still can’t find the words to describe devotion. Perhaps because She is ancient and at the same time brand new. Perhaps because after 25 years I still at times have a hard time speaking Her name, choosing to say “Her” instead. Perhaps because I don’t want to betray any oaths or initiations I have taken.

The truth about this devotion is that it goes both ways. She is as devoted to us as we are to Her. The truth about Her is that we have chosen to sensationalize, colonize, demonize and gentrify Her and yet She still meets us with mercy. The literature about Her origins is hard to find and the stories are held close to the breast of the elders. After all, we have to keep something for ourselves, don’t we? But I feel the challenge from Her that She is needed now more than ever and this is why the awareness of Her is rising.

I want to start this dive by stating clearly that I do not claim to be an expert nor am I a scholar. What I do own is that I know death very well. I have looked death in the face many times. I have faced death with loved ones and I have faced my own. I have also had the great honor of having a beautiful teacher who took me under her wings and showed me a path that saved my life. She taught me how to set up a space for La Santa Muerte, to keep always above waist high so we never look down on death. She taught me how to call Her in, with rattles and marigolds, as the rattle is ancient and reminds Her of the old temples and even the dead can smell marigolds. She taught me how to feed Her tobacco, wine, blood and bone. Bone calls to bone. She taught me how to only ask for what I was willing to give up to my descendants when it was my time. The gifts, objects and protections we are granted in this life should not be so coveted that our souls become attached to this world. When it’s time to go with Her, we must leave our physical belongings with the living.

My teacher taught me how to bathe Her statues when we first brought them home. A mixture of cool water, Florida Water and tobacco cologne. Cool water to quench the thirst of the dead and moisten the throat so that She can speak to us openly and clearly. Florida Water because it contains spiritual cleansers and offerings to the ancestors. Tobacco cologne because the spirit of tobacco is so sacred, we have a hard time handling the potency of this plant so we should only consume it in ceremony.

She showed me the post colonial three robes. Red for all earthly desires and needs of the blood. White for purification, protection and ease. Black for all things that dwell in the underworld or that we truly need to remain hidden. She then taught me that the rainbow of Santisima statues were born from the sharing of information and spirituality with the African Traditional Religions. The Orisha met La Santa and the multitude of Her colors was born.

My teacher spoke to me about why Nina Blanca carries the scales for us to help insure the balance of life and death as they are one and the same. All the weight of the world in one skeletal hand. She taught me to honor the Owls and the secrets they carry with them. My teacher shared with me the ways She comes in so that I would not be afraid, Her messages are loud. She is not a deity that hides in the shadows or sends mixed messages. She screams in the wind and gathers matter in order to make Herself known.

She taught me that there is no death, not in the way we think of it in the west. She taught me the roots. She taught me that no matter what agenda any person in power tries to push, there is no such thing as a “narco saint,” only the saints of the people and unfortunately the war on drugs was a made up war for governmental profit. A war that targeted the people. She taught me that the colonizing voices have no place in calling the spirituality of the people demonic, as the devil is an ideal that belongs to them, not us. She taught me to look deep. Deep into the Mexica stories, into the caves now covered in waters, into the temples that defy all reason, into the eyes of the descendants of the keepers of the magic. It is in those places I would find Her true roots.

While it’s not my place to speak Her original name to you here, I do encourage you to seek the answers in antiquity. Recognize that those who speak catholic prayers in Her name do so in acts of resilience. Look past the church and the assumption that the veil is only thin in Autumn. Look past the mass produced calavera and the confusion between the Bony Lady and the grim reaper, and when the timing is right go to the places. See the altars in the streets. Experience the homes that have been open to the public and turned into sacred dwellings in the name of the unofficial Saint of Mexico. Come to the many shops that have areas carved out and devoted to Her. Speak your prayers and leave Her pennies, chocolate and Her favorite two dollar bills. Maybe we will cross paths in our journeys. Maybe we already have.

I will leave you with the two most important lessons I learned.

One, to work with Her is to honor Her descendants. Today this brings to mind the way some choose to ignore Her children locked in cages while asking for Her protections. Make no mistake that She chooses to usher Her people in peril before She aids us in conquests of love or finance.

Two, She will meet us all, as we all must die. The reintroduction around death and dying that we see now is of course bringing more awareness around the spirits that have always lived in these realms. Holy Death is queen in this realm and holds us all in Her powerful embrace as we face these final moments. She also is known to intervene on behalf of those who find themselves in situations before their time. In this meeting She shows us mercy and brings an easeful death* or holds death at bay to ensure the balance.

*Nod to sweet Jess for conjuring the power behind the words Easeful Death.

For D.M. La Bruja

Connect with Loretta on instagram @thedeathwitch