A séance, a communion of people trying to contact a deceased spirit led by a channeler called a medium, is a social activity like no other. All over the world, ghost hunters, forlorn lovers, and just-plain-curious folks have gathered with their hands joined to connect with the dead—often with memorable results. If you’re among these spirit seekers, you may have heard of professional mediums who work for hire to connect you with the spirit of your choice. But can you conduct a séance by yourself?
Things to Consider When Deciding to Hold a Séance
If you’re hoping to make contact with a deceased friend, relative, or celebrity (yes, this is a common request among mediums), you might be curious about trying it at home. In short, you probably can pull it off. But remember that you can also build a rollercoaster, put on a Shakespearean production, and paint a replica of the Mona Lisa—but not necessarily very well. If you’re smart about planning your séance, you’re unlikely to incur any wrath from the other side. Your results, though, might be much more limited than if you’d hired a practiced, well-recommended medium. Just like you might be able to get around China with your seventh-grade Mandarin, you’ll have an easier time with the services of a translator. Mediums are, in effect, translators between the spirit and earthly realms, and they can dramatically ease the process of getting in touch with a disembodied presence. That said, a home séance can be rewarding, too; there’s just less “quality control.”
How to Hold a Home Séance
If you ‘ve decided to go ahead and try to conduct a séance at home, expect some awkwardness, especially on your first try. I’ve always thought that beginner’s séances were like a scene in a movie about teenagers away at summer camp, where the girls and boys from across the lake are thrown together for a one-night dance. In a séance, of course, it’s not about overcoming the gender divide, but the gap between the living and the dead. Like hapless teens, there’s a lot of hesitancy on both sides, and communication doesn’t always come easy—especially considering the dead don’t usually have audible voices!
1. Choose good company. A séance generally requires a minimum of three people; one to be the medium, who contacts and channels the spirits, and at least two others to provide supportive energy. Make sure you choose friends who are respectful, comfortable with the supernatural, and focused—your friend who can’t stop fidgeting with his phone in a movie theater is likely to bring that same distracted mood to your séance.
2. Make a space for spirits. Although séances in film are usually held in romantic rooms with oaken round tables, you might live in a cramped apartment furnished exclusively by Ikea. That’s okay! A few modifications can make even the grungiest space more inviting to otherworldly visitors. Candles, incense, and burnt sage can all boost the psychic power of your space. Although some séance instructions ask for a round table, that’s not strictly necessary. But a tablecloth, especially one in a color that resonates with you, might help. Do make sure you’ve turned off alarm clocks, phones, and any other distracting electronics—some mediums even find that electronic devices interfere with their psychic senses.
3. Find a mode of communication. As mentioned, you shouldn’t expect spirits to speak like the living. If you’re the medium, you might hear their voice inside your head clearly, but it isn’t the same as a human voice that travels by vibrations in the air. Some mediums prefer to use a ouija board or pendulum (swinging between a circle of letters, or a paper marked with yes and no on opposing sides) to convert the energy of a spirit to words. It’s best to have a few methods available before you start, and don’t get discouraged if your first or second attempts don’t work out.
4. Don’t expect anything. Even highly experienced mediums, who use familiar spirit guides to contact new spirits, run into unexpected setbacks—the dead person they’re trying to reach isn’t answering, or they’re only interested in chatting about their favorite mug (yes, this happens) and don’t respond to the important questions about the afterlife. Sometimes, an attention-seeking spirit can even intrude (remember what I said about celebrities?) on a private conversation. If the world’s most talented mediums experience some unpredictable hijinks and complications, you’d better bet you will, too. So, as much as you can, roll with the flow of your séance, and try not to form any expectations before you start.
5. Choose a ritual that speaks to you. When it comes to actually getting down to business at your séance table, there’s no magic ritual that connects you to the spirit world like a 1950s operator. Chants largely exist to help the medium center their energy, not because the words themselves are so powerful. You might research incantations or mantras and settle on one that feels right to you, or you might write your own. Although you can go freeform, most successful séances have something of a formula: opening with a declared intention to commune with spirits, followed by an invitation or call (either to a specific spirit or a general audience), and closing with gratitude and peace to your visitors.
Although it’s strange to think of spiritual affairs as a skill, mediumship is not that much different from any other talent. Your first (or second or third) attempt might feel awkward or even disastrous as you learn how to hold a séance, but you shouldn’t give up. Many mediums claim to have felt a calling from a young age, or a natural attunement to supernatural forces, but even individuals who have not previously experienced a brush with the world beyond the grave can begin to develop their skills. Persistence, patience, and a willingness to discover whatever the spirit world has to share with you—from the serious to the kooky—are the foundations of every great medium.
Do you wish to hold a seance, either by yourself or with a professional medium? Advisors at KEEN.com can guide you in developing your skills or enlisting the services of an expert.