I is for Inviting the Dead
When some people hear the word “dead” it makes them uneasy, nervous and maybe even a bit frightened. Our society sees death in a way that incites feelings of fear for most and others to envision their idea of the afterlife. While we are fully aware of the inevitability of death, we don’t like to think about, much less discuss what death means to us as individuals. Many cultures honor those who have gone before them, believe in showing respect to their ancestors, have altars for them & even pray to them. Very few actually call upon them and invoke them though. That is where the spiritual communities between Pagans and others diverge because many Pagans call directly upon specific ancestors for help, counsel and comfort without fear, apprehension or nervousness.
So, what does it mean to invite the dead? Inviting the dead is just that… an invitation to join us. Some choose to do this spoken aloud as an invocation. I do speak it aloud, but I don’t invoke my ancestors, I simply ask them to come be with me & invite them. With an invocation, I feel like it is more specific and almost demanding… I believe with my Gods & Goddesses that they don’t mind to be invoked. In fact, I believe they look forward to the times I call upon them specifically for their aid & counsel. With my ancestors though, I feel like they would not like so much to be invoked, so instead I call upon them and ask/invite them to join me.
How would someone go about inviting the dead? This is something that is most often associated with Samhain rites, but many Pagans choose to call upon or honor ancestors at other times. During Samhain, when the veil is thinnest, it’s common for Pagans to use divination tools such as scrying mirrors or crystal balls to gaze through the veil in order to receive messages from their ancestors. In order to create a tangible connection, many Pagans create an altar for their ancestors that consists of photos, small personal items & letters to the deceased to reach out to them. If you celebrate Sabbats with a coven or circle of Pagans, reaching through the veil and connecting with your ancestors becomes a relatively easy task if the energy of the group is raised together from my experience. It’s a really awesome experience to see, hear or feel the presence of someone you love and miss… and even more amazing when you are able to connect with a relative or ancestor you may have never met in life, but share a spiritual connection with in death.
Why would someone want to invite the dead? The same reasons we’d seek them in life… we appreciate their perspective, we trust their judgement, we feel close to them in a way we may not to someone on this side of the veil. The reasons someone would choose to invite the dead are as varied as the practitioners of the craft are. There are some questions you may feel only a mother can answer, but what do you do if your mother has crossed the veil? For those of us who practice magick, we would contact her and invite her to a rite. To have the feeling that despite the physical absence of a loved one you can still communicate with them is a comfort.
Is there a right way to go about inviting the dead? Absolutely. My first recommendation is to bring items of a personal nature to the person/people you intend to try and reach: clothing, photos, trinkets, a letter, etc. Next, create a cleansed & consecrated circle that is protected. Inviting the dead can arouse the interest of other spiritual entities. Then call on them specifically and invite them to join you. Tell them that you have questions, concerns or need their assistance. Lastly, choose your method in which to contact them and communicate.
- Crystal Gazing
- Dumb Supper
- Ouija Boards (I do not recommend this method, as it can result in unwanted spirits to be contacted. Although I did try this when I was younger with success.)
- Psychic medium (If you know and trust someone who has this ability personally, go for it, otherwise, I advise against paying for the services of a psychic medium who you cannot ensure is reputable.)
Whichever method you choose, it is wise to do some research on the method, understand the way to do it, use your own divination tools and ask the advice of experienced practitioners. Like any skill, contacting your ancestors is something you will have to work at. It may take you several tries without any results, but if you are persistent and pursue your efforts with an open mind and heart, chances are that you will eventually make contact. It may not be a lot of pomp & circumstance at all though. It may just be a whisper or the feeling of a cool touch on your hand or maybe it’ll be even less physical and just a sense that you are not alone. It may take you years before you ever actually see anything in the physical realm that we live in, but don’t get discouraged, your loved ones & ancestors may be a little shy to make contact in that way. I have been trying to contact someone for several years now, without success of ever seeing him, but I often feel his presence… and that has been enough for me.
The point in inviting the dead is to reaffirm our feelings of interconectedness, honor our loved ones and our ancestors who have gone before us and to call upon their wisdom and knowledge. In doing so, they can witness our journey as we walk a path that they would be proud of. If you have not tapped into this spiritual resource, I encourage you to do so. The rewards you will reap will surprise you.
This entry was posted on June 15, 2012 by Bridey. It was filed under Pagan Blog Project 2012, Sabbats, Spirit Realm and was tagged with afterlife, ancestors, contacting the dead, crossing the veil, crystal balls, crystal gazing, divination, dumb supper, honoring the dead, inviting the dead, Samhain, scrying, spirit realm.