Do you believe in ghosts? While it’s difficult to determine a true ghost story, I believe open minds create more possibilities. Personally, my fascination with the spirit realm goes a bit deeper than hauntings and tales under a blanket fort. This is because many people have shared stories with me about experiencing someone who is no longer living, often someone they love, present themselves in some way. I don’t consider myself a medium or clairvoyant, but I am somewhat sensitive to feelings of presence and have had more than my share of otherwise unexplainable experiences. I notice that the greatest common aspect of these experiences is probably the most ironic. They bring comfort rather than fear.
Exercising Your Sixth Sense
When someone we love is deceased, part of the grieving process may involve meaning making. Being overwhelmed with feeling, emotion, and major change could likely make us more susceptible to instances that provide answers or are outside of logic. On the other hand, maybe there is something there, and why should we rob ourselves of the relief? What about the instances when we’re not looking for anything, the ones that pull us out from the ordinary? Having some kind of connective experience with a spirit is an opportunity to surpass the set limitations that we can only experience life through five physical senses. I’m about to reveal the sixth sense that doesn’t involve Bruce Willis discovering he has been among the dead all along (oops).
Real spoiler, our sixth sense is intuition! Even people who “don’t believe in that stuff” do tend to indicate a strong sense of knowing from their stories when they felt a potential connection with spirits. “Knowing” doesn’t mean you have to have answers, but a sense of clarity and certainty. This kind of knowing is pure sensation. I’d argue that you can argue just about anything except one’s subjective sensations. This is not evidence that spirits exist, but an invitation to access your sixth sense. Getting familiar with your sixth sense does not make you Haley Joel Osmont, nor a guarantee you will have extraordinary experiences. Instead, it’s a method to connect to life (maybe afterlife) more deeply.
Start By Honoring Your Innate Connections
Speaking of deeply connecting, try it with your ancestors! Ancestral connection has been embedded in cultures such as Chinese, Native American (of the US), and Mexican to name a few that come to mind. My shamanic training has emphasized the importance of the 7 generations that come before us and the 7 generations that come after us. This lineage most directly affects our lives. In “modern Western” medicine, ancestral knowledge and DNA help us to understand health risks and strengths that have been in our families for generations and may continue as our offspring have offspring. Some people like to trace their lineage to understand family stories, historical achievements, and feel a sense of connectedness to heritage.
Create an ancestor altar. This is where I feel most deeply connected to my lineage. My altar is not extravagant, but includes a few old artifacts, heirlooms, and photographs in a designated place on my bookshelf. These light my sensations of intuition and knowing like the candle I light for them. Decorate it with vibrant flowers! Some people choose to feed their ancestors to honor and share something with them. Others honor them with an element of nature. Give thanks to your ancestors by placing a stick in fire, tossing a pebble in water, blowing a dandelion in the wind or burying something symbolic and biodegradable. Ancestral work makes peace with your past, present, and future.
A word of caution, refrain from using a Ouija board to communicate with spirits. Whether you believe in it or not, they will not offer you the comfort I’m suggesting. To counter the caution, dreams are a potential portal to meet the nonliving. Maybe you’ve experienced this before, dreaming of someone who is no longer living? They may be the clearest dreams you can have.
For fun, I’ll end this week’s seance with a sensational encounter of my own. One night about 10 years ago I was doing yoga in my room. I was in the flow and took the position of “Warrior 1” when I felt the sensation of 3 fingers touch the back of my right shoulder. It was lighter than a physical hand touch, but in the moment I hadn’t expected it to be anything other than a person I hadn’t heard come in. It took my breath away, and I instinctively pivoted to face my closed door. No one was there. I don’t know who or what it was or why it happened, but it felt clear in its own unexplainable way.
Here’s a ancestral one! I think I was in 8th grade when I visited the headstone of my great-grandmother at a cemetery in Vermont. I never got to meet her, but I’ve been told I resemble her. I sat by her stone tucked near some bushes and spoke to her. When I finished, a moth so white it glowed appeared from behind the stone. I watched almost in a trance state as it directly approached me, brushed against my cheek, and carried on to disappear behind a bush. I didn’t so much as flinch until I got up to meet my family visiting another relative. For years I had been convinced it was her confirming she listened and kissing my cheek. The experience felt very surreal and deeply peaceful.
One more. Recently I spent some time in Seattle. A friend I met in my travels told me about this place he likes to go on the outskirts of the city. For a while he’d been trying to see a ghost there. About 100 years ago, a couple lived in a house on top of the high hill overlooking the city. When they died they left the land to the state of Washington, so two large trees and a bench in their honor stand where the house used to be. Now there is a Wiccan community who has a lush garden and ceremonies in the nature. We were going to meet a community member he knows so she could tell us the history of the land, but here for now is my story.
One night we hiked the incline from the gardens to the upper plateau where the house was. The air was pure and completely still. I suddenly felt overwhelmingly euphoric and peaceful–a kind of lightness or floaty I can’t accurately explain. My friend had a “ghost detector” app on his phone and was readily walking around. I was improperly dressed all day, but somehow my temperature was perfect. He sat on the picnic table and I joined him but far on the other edge. Before I sat he warned me it was wet, so I checked the surface and put a hat down to sit on.
Shortly after he got up with his flashlight to look at the plaque by the bench where the ghost had been spotted sitting before. Oddly, he pointed out earwigs on the bench and walked back over towards me to see if the table had them too. We don’t know why we cared. I happened to look to my left side next to my hand and saw something shiny. The flashlight shined over it, and it was a ring! Nothing was there before. I examined its thin cut and simple design. After prompted, I slipped it onto my ring finger and it fit perfectly! Both of us were blown away. He called his friend who was supposed to meet us there to tell us about the place. She was so excited. I thought for sure someone had accidentally left it and I missed it. Apparently the ring is the third gift this woman ghost has left for someone! She has left something she was buried with and something from her house. Now I have her ring. What an honor! I quietly thanked her, and as we left the wind blew hard. The two trees creaked like a wooden rocking chair. Most of my peers have been getting engagement rings, but somehow I got a spirit’s ring!
I’d be glad to share my Oujia and communicative dream experiences as well as more of my first-hand intuitive spirit stories with anyone who inquires with interest. You are more than welcome to share your experiences in the comments or in a message! It can be heartwarming to share the feelings and experiences of comforting presences, even when there may or may not be a logical explanation, and especially if the presence is someone you love who has passed. Death and afterlife are mysterious, yet they may inform life more than we’re willing to be open.
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