Communicating with Spirits (Baby Witch Bootcamp Ch. 18)

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On this blog, we’ve talked about why witches might want to work with spirits, types of spirits they might work with, and the proper etiquette for establishing a relationship with a spirit. What we haven’t yet talked about is one of the most important, but sometimes most frustrating, elements of spirit work: communication.

There are several methods you can use to communicate with spirits, depending on your skills, preferences, and comfort level.

Signs and Synchronicity

The most organic way to receive messages from spirits is to wait for physical signs in your environment.

The concept of synchronicity was first introduced by Carl Jung. A synchronicity is a “meaningful coincidence” — a seemingly random event that feels meaningful to the individual. For example: crows have a lot of spiritual significance to me, and whenever I see or hear one it has a very specific meaning for me.

Another way a spirit might send you a sign is by surrounding you with physical reminders of them. I’ve most often experienced this with deities. If a new deity is reaching out to me, I’ll see images of them in places I wouldn’t expect to and may hear their name mentioned over and over again around me.

In her book The Angel Code, Chantel Lysette encourages readers to ask for physical signs when they connect with spirits, as a way to confirm that this is a genuine spiritual experience. This is something that has really stuck with me, and has become common practice in my spirit work. It can be very powerful to see signs in your mundane life that validate your spiritual experiences.


One easy way to communicate with spirits is to use your favorite divination method. (I’ve already done a whole post on divination, so I’m not going to spend much time on it here.) When using divination to communicate with a spirit, address your questions to them by name. From there, proceed as you normally would.

One thing to keep in mind when using divination to communicate with spirits is that the communication will be limited by the divination method you use. If you’re using a pendulum, you can only ask yes or no questions. If you’re using a tarot or oracle deck, the spirit will be limited to the cards in that deck when they’re trying to answer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind.

Automatic Writing or Channeled Writing

This is a little bit different than other divination methods, because in this case you’re actually connecting directly with the spirit in order to write down messages from them. Automatic writing is the act of allowing your hand to write out a message without focusing on the words — the idea is that your hand will be guided by the spirits in order to write down their message for you. Some people believe that you should use your non-dominant hand for automatic writing, as this is your “receptive” hand. Channeled writing is the act of receiving a message through your psychic senses, which you then write down. Automatic writing is a type of channeling, but not all channeling is automatic writing.

I personally prefer channeled writing, simply because I find it more comfortable. Some witches prefer automatic writing because it bypasses your conscious mind, thus making it less likely that you’ll unknowingly “edit” the message. However, automatic writing can be a little bit harder to learn, so I’m going to focus on channeling here.

To channel a message from a spirit, you will need something to write with — a notebook and pen/pencil works, but so does a laptop with a word processor or even the notebook app on a smart phone. You will also need to enter a light trance state (this is the same state of consciousness experienced in meditation), so you might choose to use trance triggers like incense, shamanic drumming, or binaural beats. Begin by creating a protective space around yourself. (This is just to make sure only one spirit comes through at a time.) Invite the spirit you want to receive a message from into your space. Enter a trance and open yourself up to whatever it is they have to say. Don’t think about the words that come to you — simply write them down. You can analyze the message later, after your trance has ended.


If you have a specific question you need an answer to, you can receive an answer to that question in a meditation. Likewise, if you want to connect with a certain spirit, you can do so through meditation.

This is fairly straightforward. Prepare for meditation in the way you normally do — light incense or candles and play music if you’d like, and make sure you have a comfortable place to sit or lay down. Before you begin to meditate, speak your intention out loud. This could be as simple as saying, “My intention for this meditation is to connect with [insert spirit’s name],” or “My intention for this meditation is to receive an answer from [insert spirit’s name] about [insert topic here],” or it could be an elaborate prayer.

From there, meditate as you normally would. Focus on the spirit you’re trying to connect with or, if you have a specific question, focus on that question. Whenever I do this, I often receive an answer in a sudden information download — suddenly the answer to my question is clear and obvious.


A pathworking is a specific type of meditation where you go on a psychic journey, usually with a specific goal in mind. I like to think of pathworking as the halfway point between meditation and astral travel. With pathworking, you are still anchored to your physical body, but your consciousness is able to make a journey into the astral world.

There are two important elements to a pathworking: a clear entrance/exit point and a way to retrace your steps. Pathworking journeys are typically cyclical — there is both a journey out and a return where you go back the way you came. This makes it easier to fully return your consciousness to your body, and failing to do so can cause you to feel disoriented upon the return.

A very common entrance/exit point is a door or gate which you use to enter and exit the astral realm. Sometimes it’s more of a home base — for example, my entry point is a rocky beach. I’ve also heard of people using a tree, or even The World Tree, as their entry point. Whatever imagery you choose, make sure you’re able to find your way back to it. If you’re worried about getting lost, author Thea Sabin recommends using “the Theseus trick.” Like in the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, you can tie a golden thread or rope to your entry point and the other end to your astral body. If you get lost, you can follow the thread back.

If you want to try pathworking, make a rough “road map” of your journey beforehand. This doesn’t have to be super specific, but it should contain the following: a goal for the pathworking (such as to connect with a certain spirit), an entry/exit point, and a general idea for the route you’re going to take.

Astral Travel/Spirit Flight

Perhaps the most direct route, astral travel (also called “spirit flight,” “soul flight,” or “hedge riding”) involves sending your spirit or consciousness into the astral realm/spirit world. Astral travel is not a beginner technique. This method should only be used by witches who have experience with meditation, pathworking, and other altered states of consciousness. The major advantage of astral travel is that you’re visiting the spirits on their own turf, which means you can communicate with them much more clearly and directly.

I’ll talk about both pathworking and astral travel at length in my next post. In the meantime, know that it is an option but that I only recommend it for intermediate to experienced witches, and even then only after some serious research into how to do it safely.

Some Basic Precautions

No matter which method you use, here are some basic rules to keep you safe and comfortable during your communication.

  • Cleanse before you begin. The best way to make sure you’re talking to the spirit you want is to clear out any other nasties before you begin. There are lots of ways to cleanse your space, from incense to sound baths to sweeping with a ritual broom. Use your favorite method to energetically tidy up before you try to contact anybody.
  • Use protection. A few safety precautions never hurt anyone, and they’re a good idea if you’re going to attempt one of the more involved methods of communication, like channeled writing or astral travel. The salt circle is an oldie but a goodie — once you’ve set it up, only spirits you invite can enter the circle. (But please don’t sprinkle salt on the ground outdoors — this hurts plant life! Use another protective substance, like rosemary, to form the circle instead.)
  • Know who you’re talking to. It may not be in your best interest to chat it up with whoever presents themselves. Not every spirit has good intentions. I speak from experience when I say that opening the lines of communication to whoever is around is not the best idea. Be clear and specific with which spirits you invite into your space, and don’t open the door to spirits who make you uncomfortable. This is part of the reason that having an established relationship with spirits that you know and trust is important.
  • Don’t take things at face value. Something that doesn’t get brought up enough in the New Age community is the fact that spirits can and do lie. They can also be wrong, and may give you false information in good faith. Just because a spirit tells you something doesn’t make it true. Always do your own fact-checking outside of spirit work.
  • Don’t be the idiot in a horror movie. Use common sense when working with spirits. Use safety precautions (see previous notes about cleansing and protection). Don’t intentionally contact negative entities — don’t be that guy who buys a Ouija board so he can talk to Jack the Ripper’s ghost. If a spirit gives you bad vibes, tell them politely but firmly to leave. When in doubt ask yourself, “Would a character in a horror movie do this?” If the answer is yes, don’t do it. You’re smarter than that.


  • The Angel Code by Chantel Lysette
  • Wicca for Beginners by Thea Sabin
  • Southern Cunning: Folkloric Witchcraft in the American South by Aaron Oberon
  • New World Witchery podcast (several episodes, including “Episode 164 — Irish Folklore and Magic,” “Episode 161 — Practicing Safe Hex,” and “Episode 152 — Honoring Ancestors”)
  • “My Goddesses: How and Why I Work with Mary and Hel” by Kelly-Ann Maddox

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