Friday, October 31, 2008

Two Short Ghosts Stories and a Lengthy Recipe

I have had so many embarrassing encounters with ghosts. I remember a Halloween when I stood with the other members of my Very High Profile Coven in front of 1,500 people in the midst of our largest community ritual. My Very High Profile Coven was supposed to channel the wisdom of the Dead. There was a microphone set up in the middle of our circle of six, so that every single person in the room could hear us. We held hands, closed our eyes ... and then ... we channeled the stupid dead, or the stoner dead. I don't know who we were channeling but nothing we said made any sense at all. It was SO embarrassing.

Or the time we went to Gettysburg, five of us Powerful Wiccan Practitioners, just to map the energy, or so we said. One thing we agreed to, on the way to the battlefield, was that the five of us would stick together. But the moment the car was parked, we all jumped out and headed in opposite directions. Not only were we unable to map the energy of that haunted place, but on the ride home we couldn't agree on anything. We didn't shout at each other, but we were definitely quarrelsome. Oops. One-upped by the dead again!

Sometime I'll write about Gettysburg as the icon of divided America, not today though because I promised Willow I would publish a "recipe" for helping ghosts gently cross over to a place of healing and renewal.

Clearly I am no genius when it comes to dealing with the dead, but the following ritual IS genius. It comes from Pomegranate Doyle who was one of my Reclaiming wiccan colleagues.


What you'll need:
Someone to work with (you need two people for this ritual)
Black or white candle
Two face-sized hand mirrors. They do not have to be fancy - drugstore mirrors work just fine.
A black cloth big enough to wrap around the mirrors
Smudge stick or a dried sprig of rosemary, or bells, singing bowls, or salt water (to cleanse the space afterwards)
A sense of humor
The ability to behave as if you know what you're doing

Choose a place in the house where you feel comfortable. You could go to the most haunted space, but if it creeps you out to work there, the ritual won't work as well. Let your intuition guide you.

Light the candle. If you feel the presence of the ghosts, proceed with the order of the ritual. If you don't feel them you might have to "wake them up." That involves going to the haunted spaces and clapping your hands, snapping your fingers, knocking on the walls, saying things like "Hey! WAKE UP!" Again, let your intuition guide you.

Order of ritual:
Place the hand mirrors back to back so that the mirror surfaces are facing outwards. Hold the mirrors tightly together between the two of you, at the level of your faces.

One of you will be working with the ghost(s) themselves, the other person will be calling in loving ancestors of the ghosts who will guide the lost spirits to wherever it is they go after death.

The person who works with the ancestors simply needs to be sincere in calling them to come to "the gate" (the mirrors form a portal through which the dead can pass on). Appeal to them in terms of how they once loved the ghosts, let them know how stuck the ghosts are and how much they need the help of loving ancestors. Be firm, yet respectful. The ancestors will come, I promise.

The person who works with the ghosts needs to be more "in your face." What I do is look into the mirror and speak plainly and loudly. The point is to make the ghosts understand they are DEAD and it's time to move on. Ghosts are no smarter than you or me, and they're just as deluded. I loved the movie The Sixth Sense because Bruce Willis is so perfect as a ghost that is clueless about what happened to him.

I hold the newspaper up to the mirror and point out the date. I always say, "Look at how I'm dressed!" The last time I did this I held my ipod up to the mirror and said, "Do you know what this is? OF COURSE NOT, because it's 2008!!" When I feel that the ghost finally understands he/she IS dead, then I tell them that their ancestors are present and ready to guide them to a place of healing and renewal. I tell them it's time to go as if there is no other choice. The more conviction you can muster, the better.

When you feel the presence of the ancestors (feels very calm, wise and angelic) and when the ghosts seem to be aware of what's happening, then both of the living people begin to blow into the mirrors, each from his/her respective side of the gate. Often one person will feel warm while the other feels cold, though that doesn't always happen. You don't have to blow as hard as you can, but consistently. It might take two minutes or it might take ten minutes. You don't have to blow for an hour though - ten minutes is the absolute maximum amount of time I've ever had to blow, and that was for a LOT of ghosts.

At some point it will feel like Something Has Happened. Both people doing the ritual will know when the ghosts have crossed. Something in the room changes. Check in with each other.

Trust your intuition!

After Something Has Happened, immediately turn the mirrors to face each other and hold them together tightly. Blow out the candle. Both of the living say out loud "THE GATE IS CLOSED." Mean it when you say it. Wrap the mirrors in the black cloth and tie them securely together with string.

Some people bury the mirrors or throw them in the river. I like to get them outside of the house but I'll admit I've never buried them. After awhile the energy fades and they're just mirrors again. At that point I use them to apply mascara or whatever.

After the gate is closed and secured, cleanse the house by lighting a smudge stick and waving it around the whole house, or ringing bells or sprinkling salt water in the corners. Imagine that all the energy that doesn't belong in the house has dispersed.

Then imagine a secure boundary about the outside of the house. Sometimes it "looks" like a soap bubble, nice and shiny, that encircles the space. Turn on all the lights in the house, play music or sing, laugh, dance around like an idiot. When the house feels full of living energy, you can turn off all the electronics.

Eat something and have something non-alcoholic to drink.

That's it ... good luck!



Steve said...

I would love to have heard you all channeling the ghosts. I guess you can't really help what comes up in an exercise like that, right? So why be embarrassed? :)

The ritual is interesting. It looks like Jake is watching for ghosts, too.

Happy Halloween, Reya!

ArtSparker said...

"Like a tarp thrown all over this"
- Tom Waits

(Not sure why, just an association)

Merle Sneed said...

I've never met a ghost.

lettuce said...

"the ability to behave as if you know what you're doing" - there are so many situations in life where that is useful!

reya i'd be interested to know how you'd define "ghost" and differentiate it from other spirit presences.

a couple of times recently i've had an overwhelming and very clear sense of my mother's presence - just out of the blue. Quite different from how I'd think of ghosts - and certainly not something i'd want to exorcise!

(quick pop to the door there for trick or treaters)

equinocturnal-samhain greetings to you

Janelle said...

whoooooooooo. love your moving pics! xx janelle

tut-tut said...

I can now tell when the phone rings at certain points that it is D, and no one else. The ring is somehow different.

No ghosts here tonight, although . . .

Lettuce: wait until you sense/smell your mother's fragrance.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ghosts are dead people who are stuck, can't move on to the place of renewal and healing, but they're dead so they can't continue living their lives either.

Often they are people who had unfinished business in their lives, or who had trouble letting go when their time came. Or, in the case of dead soldiers, their deaths were so premature, and so traumatic, they kind of went into shock.

The beloved dead, who I refer to as ancestors, are much different. Somehow they are able to check in with us when we need them most, yet they aren't stuck in that delusional way that ghosts are.

Then there are spirit guides and other kinds of spirits, too ...

Lettuce your mother is checking in to make sure you're OK. She is NOT a ghost in my lexicon.

Lynne said...

I've never met a ghost either although I think I'd like to. We are brought up to think of ghosts as being big, bad scary things but I don't think they are. I have felt "things" I can't describe while in or at certain really old places while living in Europe. They made me uncomfortable.

And, at a house my parents built in Gunnison, CO. There was something there. One night my Dad went into a kind of trance and it all came out. A family moving west that was starving and their baby girl died and then they themselves died on the piece of land that now this house was situated on. That house really had a strange vibe. And, nothing really ever went right for them while they lived there (less than one year). I think they could have used your recipe.

Reya Mellicker said...

I have felt "things" I can't describe while in or at certain really old places while living in Europe. They made me uncomfortable.

So see? You have met ghosts, Lynne. Your parents definitely lived in a haunted house. Hope for the sake of the living and the dead that the poor family whose daughter died have found their way to move onwards & upwards.

lettuce said...

i thought you might say something like that reya, yes, that makes sense.

These have been the first times i've known she was with me like that. i hope there will be a lot more of them.

Tut-tut, i have some of her perfume that dad gave me when he cleared out some of her things. I can't bring myself to smell of use it though...