What is possible after death? Will you be able to talk to your loved ones after you die? Will you be able to help your loved ones?
Many of us have experienced heartwarming and uplifting spirit communication with ancestors, friends, or family members who have gone before. Many more believe that it's possible. But what is the use of believing in spirit communication if nobody wants to talk to you after you've crossed the veil into the great beyond? Just like plans for organ donation and your estate, you have to tell your closest loved ones openly what you want, and you must leave written plans for people to follow when they feel emotionally adrift after your death. This is why spirit communication should be a topic of Pagan activism: It's not too scary. It's not too dangerous. It should be an openly talked-about part of our shared culture. Here's how you can come out of the haunted broom closet and join the public conversation.
First, get started thinking about how you want to leave a legacy of spirit communication after your death. Talk aloud to your friends, family, and even over social media with the hash tag #talktomeafter. Who would you want to guide through life? To whom would you want to offer supernatural help when enemies or emotions are getting him or her down? Who would you want to laugh together with again every Halloween night? I'm sure I'm not alone in joking with my best friends that whomever dies first will haunt the other! If you were going to be the official ghost of knitting/writing/protection/music/et cetera, which would you be? How would you want to be summoned and addressed? Here are some ideas to get you thinking.
Twitter allows you to make your message short and sweet, but can carry it far and wide. Use it to ask questions, start #talktomeafter conversations or even to get a little silly. Think of this as a way to break the ice. Don't forget to "Favorite" your serious posts and any relevant posts from your loved ones, so that they can be easily found later on. Examples follow below.
On Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Ello and more…
Your short message can be supplemented with imagery. Symbolism is as important a part of spreading ideas as it is for rituals. After Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau died in 1981, people continued to communicate with her and to ask for her help beyond the grave. They did this by drawing an "X" on her tomb and making a wish by speaking aloud to her. After the wish was granted, the person would return to her grave to circle the "X." This story is why the "X" with a circle around it is an important symbol of the spirit communication movement. The "X" represents confirmation and protection. The circle represents eternity. Consider wearing this mark proudly written in marker on your hand in a photo for social media with the #talktomeafter hash tag or to your next Pagan Pride Day event to bring up the topic in conversation.
Creating a video diary or vlog is one way that you can talk through your beliefs and experiences, and add a face to those ideas in our community. I've provided my own simple YouTube video example in the resources list at the end of this article. Various opportunities to talk about spirit communication topics have proliferated. IfIDie.net has even promised to release videos on Facebook after the death of the user has been confirmed. Their new contest "If I Die First" promises to widely promote the video made by the person who ends up dying first! Clearly, death is no longer the taboo topic it once was. Hopefully the art of spirit communication will follow suit.
On your blog, or any Pagan workshop you want to teach…
Once you've started thinking through your ideas about spirit communication after death with people close to you, it's time to start seriously thinking of writing these thoughts down in a coherent format. You'll need to stash these plans somewhere where people can find them after you're gone. Whether you go public with them on your blog or place them with your legal will and other documents, here's a way that you can get prepared. You can find a copy of this worksheet at http://earthshod.com/worksheet and you have author permission if you'd like to share this worksheet while teaching an educational workshop on the importance of this topic. Here's a quick guide on how to fill it out.
How to Talk to Me After I'm Gone Worksheet
Information about me: Start by giving out your name and any next of kin, in case somebody should stumble across this form after your death.
My statement of faith: You don't have to have a specific label for your path, but it helps to write out what you believe. This will help anyone who is trying to communicate with your spirit from accidentally doing something that might be offensive to you.
Designated medium for séances after death: If you have a specific best buddy that you want to be the one to talk with your spirit and pass along your messages from beyond, write his or her name here. If you're cool with anyone contacting you, say so.
How will you know it is me if I contact you after I'm gone? Some people like to present a password or a riddle to prove the right spirit is talking. This isn't necessary, but you can provide one if you choose.
The intensity and type of interaction I offer after I'm gone: Do you wish to only be summoned respectfully in a properly prepared ritual, or do you believe people could chat casually with your spirit while washing dishes and doing laundry? This cultural norm can vary greatly, so write down your preferences so that people know your expectations.
Why my spirit will not be used negatively after death: Tell people why they shouldn't try any funny business like bossing your spirit around. You can explain that it simply won't work on your personality type, or you can provide other reasons if you believe in (for example, karma or the three-fold law.
My preferred method to talk after I'm gone: Do you have a favorite method of spirit communication, like tarot cards or an Ouija Board? Or would you prefer people just talk aloud to you without any tools? Say so here.
My hopes for frequency of interaction after death: Do you want people summoning your spirit every day just to chat with you? Or would you prefer to be disturbed only on special occasions for very important purposes? Say a little about that here.
My preferred waiting period for contact after death: Do you want your friends and family to take some time for themselves to mourn without contacting you? Are there important duties you'd like to be taken care of first before they consult with you? Or do you encourage them to reach out to your spirit with no delay?
In life, I was a passionate expert about the following topics, and I invite you to ask me about them: Now is the fun part. What sort of help will you want to provide for the living? What are your passions now that you hope will leave a legacy in spirit?
The following offerings will please my spirit: Do you have a favorite incense, flower, food, or drink you'd like offered to your spirit? This can be a very fulfilling practice for friends and family after death, so think of something that is easy to procure but special.
The following places are sacred to me, and will aid you if you contact me in such spaces: Do you have a special tree in the yard, travel destination, or room of a house that is significant to you? Write that down here.
Invocation Chant: Time to get creative. This is especially important if you have more experience with chanting and ritual than your loved ones. However, for new learners, this can be a valuable tool for enhancing your own spirit communication skills. Write a simple chant that can be spoken aloud to call up your spirit. This can be a work of poetry, or simply a couple sentences that are meaningful to you.
My advance directive, will, and other important documents about my wishes are located here: This is the most important part of the document. There are many mundane preparations you need to make before your grand exit. Make sure you've covered all your bases, and talk to a lawyer if necessary.
Have fun with this spooky topic, and don't be afraid to laugh and chat about it out loud. But always remember that this is a very sacred and important topic to many. You can provide a legacy of spirit communication that can last an eternity.