Posts Tagged ‘spirit work’

In my post yesterday, I opened a can of worms in proclaiming that working with recent ancestors has been more meaningful to me than distant, ancient ancestors. I had more to say, but the post was already too long. So consider this post an addendum to yesterday’s.

Basically, I wanted to add some words of advice/caution in regard to this work. Note that I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I’ve found these helpful.

Get your shit together

No, that’s not a very polite statement, but it’s true. Don’t try to approach any serious ancestor work (or working with any spirit, for that matter) when you are an unfocused, emotional mess. Try meditation and some basic shadow work before trying to contact someone from beyond for insight. And know how to spiritually protect yourself. There are plenty of methods and sources for this information, so there’s no excuse for not going into this prepared.

Be logical

I know – this is just no fun. But the great thing about working with ancestors from the past 100 years or so is that there is a good chance you know something about them. Whether from family stories or old newspaper articles, it’s likely that you can get some sense of their character. (Barring some pretty heavy-duty psychic ability, can you say that about an ancient ancestor?) Even the lack of family stories about someone can speak volumes.

A picture of my grandmother on my altar to the beloved dead.

A picture of my grandmother on my altar to the beloved dead.

Why is this important? Because you don’t want to work with just any ol’ ancestor. Logic dictates that people you wouldn’t associate with in life may not be good associates in the afterlife. Yes, some things may change for a spirit after crossing the veil, but it’s not a given. Avoiding those who were abusive in their lifetime is probably a good idea.

But be sure not to confuse abusive people with flawed people. Yesterday, I mentioned working with my grandmother. She was a flawed person. She did things that hurt others. However, she didn’t intentionally hurt people and much of the problem stemmed from the fact that she was easily manipulated. I strongly suspect the reason her spirit connects with mine is because she’s realized the damage she caused and wants to correct at least some of it. And she knows I’m open to her messages. On the other hand, my late father and his mother were intentionally hateful and mentally and verbally abusive. I wouldn’t work with them even if they begged.

Don’t ask for miracles

Try not to confuse working with the ancestors with petitioning a deity or saint for help. There are many advantages to working with your ancestors: they can give insight to family wounds, provide wisdom and guidance for your life, see a situation you are in from a more informed perspective, and more. But you shouldn’t expect them to cure a horrible disease or change someone else’s mind. Instead, they could help you accept the inevitable with grace and to learn to deal with things outside of your control.

And please, don’t waste their time with things that are normal setbacks or things within your control. Asking them to cure your cold when you don’t even wash your hands in public restrooms or to make someone you’ve dated for two weeks fall in love with you is wasting precious contact with these amazing guides. And it’s just bad manners.


There’s probably a lot more that could be said about working with the ancestors and the beloved dead, but there are entire books dedicated to that (such as Christian Day’s The Witches Book of the Dead and Christopher Penczak’s The Mighty Dead). I just felt compelled to put out a few basics before moving on to other subjects.

Bright blessings!



© 2013 PJ Graham

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