Soon it will be time for my annual Witches & Magick series, which will begin on Mabon. The Veil between the worlds is thinning, as it does every year. So if you're thinking of working with the dead, the time is approaching.
I don't work with the dead very often. I am most concerned with mundane matters such as money, luck, health, and people behaving themselves. Still, the dead can be useful.
What I like to do is channel the dead. I generally petition a particular deceased person for information. I rarely ask for details to difficult questions. Working with the dead takes practice. There is no need to frustrate yourself. I'm talking about if you're an artist and you channel Monet to improve your painting. Not asking great-grandfather where he left his stock certificates.
There are many ways to channel. This is how I do it. My method is fairly simple. That doesn't mean it isn't effective. But again, I've had some practice.
To begin, know who to contact. And then research so that you will find the correct focus objects. If I wanted to channel my grandfather I'd need coffee and Camel cigarettes because that is what he liked. For channeling a famous person you could try burning a candle that was their favorite color. If you know their occupation try using tools for their job. A personal item is best, but a photograph will work. If nothing else, write their name on a piece of paper.
It is very important to cast a circle around your working area. I say that only the spirit I wish to contact may enter and communicate with me. Many things linger at the gates of the Otherworld. Not all are nice. Some won't do you harm but it is unnerving to have a presence lurking about. Define boundaries. Do not be careless.
Sit quietly in the circle with the focus objects. The most important thing about the objects is that when you see them you think of the person you are trying to channel.
I should mention that this method also works on the living. You can do this to cause someone to think of you, to remember you, or to have feelings for you. Bear in mind that it is a form of manipulation. There may be confusing or erratic behavior while the person tries to sort out what they are suddenly feeling. They may refuse to associate with you. Of course, the dead can refuse too.
Be sure to have pen and paper handy. I like to imagine the person sitting by me as if we are having a conversation. I will talk about why I am contacting them, then explain my problem. I write down whatever comes to mind. If I'm not getting anything I pretend that I have assigned them my project and I try to figure out what they would do. If I still get nothing I assume they aren't willing to help. In that case, I will ask a different person later. If I get negative thoughts I immediately cleanse and banish because something ugly has crossed over.
I write until I can't think of anything else. If you channel the same spirit regularly you may find ideas come faster in each session.
I make sure to thank the dead and I firmly bid them to return to rest BEFORE I open my circle. And then I smudge the area. It is polite to leave an offering. The focus object works well as does the person's favorite food. Leave the offering in a between place such as a crossroads, at a gate, or in the cemetery.