This is a guide with 11 ways to troubleshoot spirit communication. A few people lately have asked me how they can develop their senses so that they can have more effect spirit communication.
The truth is that the answer to this question really depends on your goals, who you are, and what way you’re approaching magick… However, there are quite a few things you can use to troubleshoot your spirit communication no matter who you are and what tradition you practice. So, if you’ve been having trouble communicating with spirits, this guide should help you out.
In short, the real key to spirit communication is a combination of factors: being able to enter the right mental states, receptivity, having developed the sensory awareness of spirits, and knowing your own skill set and level of adepthood.
So something I’d point out first is that spirit communication is actually a rather complex spiritual process. It does take some effort and work. It’s really not the best process for beginners because it anticipates that you already know how to enter altered states and can utilize them. Beginners could of course practice these methods, but they’re going to have more difficulty.
So, if you’re having issues communicating with spirits your skill level may be part of the issue. I find that a lot of beginners want to do this, then get upset after a few failures that either they suck or magick isn’t real, but the real issue is just that it’s very difficult for most people. Some people can learn to communicate with spirits very easily, but for most it’s kind of difficult to learn… [It took me quite a long to do be able to do it in a way I was happy with.]
But without further ado, let’s get to it!
12 Ways To Troubleshoot Spirit Communication
The following are in no particular order, but all are important.
1) Are you adept at going into deep trance/altered states?
If not, practice meditation or self-hypnosis before working more on spirit communication. Liber Null has some great exercises for starting this process, but you might get just as far by practicing meditation. This can be a pain, but it’s necessary to really get any results with magick.
You really need to be able to get into and retain a deep altered state in order to perform spirit communication effectively. After awhile, it may get easier to do with less depth; however, at first, it’ll likely be a pretty deep state.
To practice, I’d recommend that you find a meditation or self-hypnosis teacher. This can be as simple as picking up Liber Null and using the exercises; getting a simple book on meditation or self-hypnosis (you can often find these easily at the library, book sales, or cheap used book stores); finding a hypnotist or meditation teacher on YouTube (there are hundreds of hypnosis videos on YouTube that could get your started); going to a local Buddhist temple or a local class (check out occult or new age shops in your area); or picking up a digital course on self-hypnosis or meditation.
2) Can you get into the Theta-Gamma Sync?
This is EA Koetting‘s term. He says that to evoke, we must get into a deep mental state, but be capable of mental activity as if we are in Theta and Gamma brainwaves simultaneously. I think he’s right about that. So, if you’re having trouble with spirit communication, the theta-gamma sync may be the missing piece.
In order to get into this state, we must first master meditation or self-hypnosis and be able to get into the deep states. From there, we need to work on getting more and more able to function in that state. Not an endorsement for drugs, but people who’ve been regular drug users may find this easier than others as it’s a state that’s pretty common to them and adept magickians, but few others. So, those with that in their past may find this state easy to get into after learning to meditate. Good news: you don’t need to have been have been a user to figure this out.
Once you can get into the state, it’s just a matter of practice. So, as soon as you can get into deep states, just start working on evocation. If you succeed great. If not, you can practice meditation while listening to binaural or isochronic tones. These can help you to direct your brainwaves a bit, but may involve you making your own. I made an isochronic tone specifically for this purpose: Mind State Training For The Occult. It’s only five minutes long, however. So, it’s focused on just helping to train your mind to go into these states. [But if enough people are interested, I may make a longer version.]
3) Have you mastered automatic writing?
If not, this is a pretty decent way to communicate with entities and involves far less work and mental gymnastics than a visual evocation. If I were to teach a total beginner to do evocation or spirit communication, I would help them get into the right states and then teach them pathworking (next item) or automatic writing depending on their skill set.
I used automatic writing for a long time as my only method of spiritual communication. I’ve since developed my skills quite a bit; however, I still use it on occasion. If you’ve like to learn more about automatic writing for demonic summoning, then checkout my post and video on the topic: Automatic Writing For Demonic Summoning.
4) Have you done pathworking?
If not, this is a great way to do rituals involving spirit communication. You basically just do a guided meditation on the topic(s) at hand and the spirit(s) communicate with you within the vision. Sometimes, it’s just symbolic and flashing images, other times, the entities will tell you things in the vision. For more information, I’ve written an article about how to use pathworking: Easiest Way To Summon A Demon — Pathworking.
Asenath Mason has some great books on this topic, but she also has some free pathworkings spelled out on her site for The Temple of Ascending Flame. I do a lot of Draconian style magick at this point and pathworking really works well for me. I wish I’d found pathworking much earlier in my studies to be honest.
5) Have you worked on the ability to visualize in your mind?
If not, this is probably a hindrance to your ability to communicate with spirits. As much as it sucks to work on because it can be very tedious, visualization is a skill worth developing. You can start by just working on imaging a ball in your mind. Once you can do that, change its color.
Don’t get hung up on not being able to do it, just allow yourself to do it. Imagine, don’t “visualize”. Sometimes, it will just vaguely feel like a thing. Go with it and keep working… It took me a really long time to be able to do this (years). So, be patient with yourself as this is either a skill you’ve developed or need to develop.
6) Have you worked on the ability to visualize things in front of you?
If not, this will likely hinder you from “seeing” the entities. At least at first, you need to sort of force the “materialization” of entities to have them “appear” before you. The camp that thinks magick is all in your head (one of the four interpretations of magick/”the psychological model”) may have a point here because magick relies heavily on your imagination. Making peace with this and that I might be deluding myself really helped me to push through.
Once you can visualize in your mind, you can practice visualizing things in front of you. For instance, in EA Koetting’s Mastering Evocation course, he teaches you to imagine a coffee cup in the corner of a room in order to train your mind to be able to see spirits. This is a training wheels of sorts for seeing and communicating with spirits.
7) Do you practice magick regularly?
This is a major hang up for many magickians that struggle with spirit communication. As I’ve said over and over in this post, magick at this level is a skill and takes practice.
So, if you don’t practice magick at least three times a week, practice more. Evoke often. [One of the things Crowley said that I take very seriously.]
Practice will make you far better at this stuff. It’s kind of like riding a bicycle, you can be taught how to ride a bike, but you can’t really be taught how to balance on a bike. People can give you pointers, but there’s a certain point where you have to kind of figure it out. I think courses like EA’s can make this process far easier to learn, but you really need to work the skills to get anything out of them.
8) Do a pact working.
Something many people overlook when developing the ability to communicate with spirits is pact working. You can get a lot by working a pact with entities.
I don’t think you can trade your soul or anything like that, but a pact works more like a dedication that you’re going to do the work. I did a successful pact with the angel Raziel to deepen my magickal abilities (not realizing how silly that sounded until he was confused). Pacts will help you to a) do magick daily and b) to develop certain skills. I highly recommend a pact working to learn deeper skills if you’re seriously practicing magick.
9) What material substrates are you using for the spirit to appear in?
To get a visual evocation for spirit communication, generally, you need some kind of substrate for them to appear through. Like a thing for them to grasp onto in this world.
The most popular substrates are blood, fire, moving water, and incense smoke. Each works a little differently, but for the most part, you’re going to scry the spirit in the substrate (though, blood is a little more complicated/has more uses: see my post on blood magick for the left hand path magickian).
10) Can you scry?
If not, scrying might be a missing link for you with spirit communication. To see entities in smoke, fire, etc., is almost (maybe often) to scry them. A weird thing happens if you stare unblinkingly at something for awhile…
To experiment with this, take a large mirror and point it at a 45 degree angle, then stare into it. After 5-10 minutes, your vision will usually shift so that the world appears at an angle. If you look around the room, it will be tilted because your mind uses visual stimulus as part of the way that it balances you and “sees” reality around you. For instance, there have been some studies that show that acrophobia (fear of heights) is correlated with a misapprehension of your visual senses. The jury is still out on what causes that misapprehension, but what we see/experience is interrelated with many facets of ours lives and feelings.
But to bring this back to the topic at hand, when you use this mental mechanism for scrying, your eyes will kind of glitch after awhile (this is a natural reaction, FYI. It happens because your eyes need a certain amount of movement to really see…). At that point, you’ll often see the world start to “shake” or pop in and out of existence/flash, etc.
Luckily, you can scry on many surfaces. If you have an iMac, you can scry on the blacked out screen itself (usually a good idea to turn it off). You can also use a black mirror, a regular mirror, a bowl of water, fire, an egg yolk, tea leaves… pretty much anything that reflects or you can stare at is good. This can take a lot of practice, however. So, I recommend starting with something reflective. [It’s easier at least for me.]
Some people say that you want the mirror to reflect the empty ceiling, which I think is good advice; however, I find that when you’re getting started with this, it’s easiest to look into your face and watch as it begins to distort. It seems to distort into whatever you’re expecting to see. I was expecting to see demons. So, that’s what I ended up seeing: my face warping into a demon.
I’ll eventually write a longer post on scrying, but the basic process is simple: just look at the object you’re scrying into with soft focus (don’t stare at a certain part, look at all of it by focusing a little in front of it).
11) Spirit communication in dreams
Dreams are another way you can communicate with spirits. This method is a lot more complicated than the others, but I include it for completeness. I still have difficulty with this method unless I do a ritual before sleeping with the specific intent of having dream communication. Some people, however, are naturally adept at this or can lucid dream. In which case, definitely use it!
For the rest of us, what you need to do is do a ritual or a scrying session where you make a connection with a spirit. Do this pretty much right before bed. Ask for them to guide you or teach you in your dreams. Then, as you are falling asleep, imagine their sigil, remember the work you did with them earlier, and ask that they join you in your dreams. It’s really that simple; however, to do that takes a fair bit of skill. Though, it’s worth exploring as you may not know how good you are at it until you try it.
12) Are you allowing the experience to happen or are you thinking too much? Talking to yourself in your head?
Magick requires you to be totally present in the moment. If you’re second guessing yourself or talking to yourself in your head, you will likely have issues. Also, you’re not really in the right mental state. Go back and work on meditation or self-hypnosis until you’re able to silence your mental chatter. Who knows? Maybe the spirits are already communicating with you in ritual, but you cannot hear them over your internal dialogue…
Hope this list has been helpful!
Lately, many people have been asking me about getting started in the occult or how to fix problems they have. In my opinion, mind state is usually the problem. So, I’d start with the troubleshooting above focused on mind state. Once you can achieve the states, then move on to different methods for things like evocation.
Keep in mind that having a “materialization” of the spirit is a rather difficult activity, at least at first. Pathworking and automatic writing are much easier to learn–and they work just as well, if not better than a full materialization. Remember that most ancient magickians just felt the spirits and had mental communication with them. Materialization is a relatively new concept and technique. So, there’s no shame in using automatic writing or pathworking. I used automatic writing for years (and still sometimes do!) and I use pathworking more often than any other form of magick even though I can get materializations at this point in my magickal practice.