Friday, September 14, 2012

On the limited interaction with the spirit world

If spirits (people) can show themselves and communicate with us briefly, why don't they do it more often? Why don't they just walk up and have a conversation? I've asked myself that question many times.... I think in many cases they probably try that and because of the limited nature of how most of us perceive reality, we can't hear/see them unless they make a special effort.

I also expect that there is likely so "rule" or "law" imposed on people who have have passed on that makes it so that they can only interact with us in a limited capacity, otherwise why would any father or mother ever separate from their children... My best guess is that since we seem to be reincarnating from life to life.... and from the research I've done I think we likely reincarnate with the same group of souls over and over that this rule or law is put in place so that we focus on living this life to learn the lessons we're supposed to learn. We can never move on if everyone we lost over our lifetimes kept hanging around. They are though, obviously, allowed to visit and occasionally help. It may also be that once they pass on they see this life for what it really is.... of no great consequence other than learning lessons and they see the wisdom in letting us keep our attention on that rather than distract us.... much like a parent might watch a child in a classroom from afar, only stepping in when truly needed.

Merddyn - And I took the one less traveled by And that has made all the difference

Ethics of Exorcism

Too often I've seen other spiritual practitioners make assumptions about what is best for others, especially spirits. If we are able to make the leap in understanding that spirits are people... or at least entities embodied with the same free will that we enjoy should we also not afford those same spirits the same understanding and rights that we insist for ourselves?

Many spiritual practitioners I know immediately seem to rush to binding a spirit or otherwise imposing their will on another spirit. I try to step back and ask myself how I would feel if I were that spirit. How would I feel if someone were pushing me around, exorcising me or coercing me? I try to put myself in their shoes and ask myself what is morally and ethically correct in these situations before counseling a client or taking action on their behalf.

Does the spirit intend harm? What is their intent? What is their motivation? Is there a real threat or is there some miss-communication happening? Is the client actually threatened or just interpreting the actions of the spirit as threatening because of a lack of understanding or clear communication?

Absolutely there are those cases where a spirit intends harm. The client has a right to peacefully enjoy their home and their life, but the spirit has a right to be peaceful as well. If, for some reason that peaceful balance cannot be achieved through counseling or understanding or because the spirits motivation is simply to do harm then perhaps it's reasonable to take action against the spirit in order to at least restore the client's peace, but this should be a last resort, not the first tool you reach for.

We typically do not cross spirits over unless they obviously seem to be lost or can't do it themselves or stuck in a less-than-desirable state. We take that stance because we do not want to interfere with free will. If a spirit wants to stay here, we feel they have a right to. We may in some circumstances suggest that they move on and help them if they are willing, but our first priority is service to the client / the living. Spirits can typically fend for themselves quite well. In extreme circumstances with an abusive spirit we will force them out or even over depending on the circumstances, but we should be careful this is the moral and ethical action to take. .

Merddyn - And I took the one less traveled by And that has made all the difference

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why do cleansing rituals work?

Man, this is really the $100,000,000 question....
My answer to that really depends greatly on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. In any case none of the answers are really 100% satisfactory to me and raise more questions than they answer, hence the rabbit hole.

There are two major schools of thought here:

1) We have been given ultimate spiritual dominion over this realm - (this "realm" meaning reality as we understand it) There are a few bible verses that I can't think of off the top of my head, but they basically state that Christ gave us dominion over the spirit in this world and while they are here interacting with us they are completely subject to our wills. If we order them out they have no choice to comply.

While I suspect there may be a large amount of truth to this, I also suspect that it is not necessarily limited to christians. There are many religions and spiritual practices around the world that involve binding, manipulating and coercing spirits by prayer or ritual means. No matter who gave us the authority or whether the authority is just some sort of natural law we don't understand yet, these spiritual practices have been using this principle for thousands of years with relatively good success. This is whole concept is the whole logic behind why the catholic exorcism ritual works.

2) It really has nothing to do with being forceful. It has more to do with being able to motivate / manipulate your own spirit (put it into motion) in order to impose your will over the spirit's and thereby push them out. The ACT of being forceful or performing some sort of ritual gives you the focus necessary and bolsters your belief to the point that you are able to push the spirit out. The ritual itself is meaningless without your focus and spirit / will behind it, but without the (or any) ritual to GIVE you focus or belief it wouldn't work.

A good illustration that backs up this theory would be that we have on occasion seen a client completely and utterly fail the process of us coaching them through a house cleansing to the point that the spirits laugh at them. The spirits are often annoyed / weakened by some of the materials we use in the rituals, but are otherwise unharmed and still present. In these cases we've found that if we question the client and do some digging into how they really feel about what's going on they often have some serious doubts about what they're doing and what's going on. Ultimately they have yet to fully buy into what's going on which has in turn caused them to fail to utilize their faith / motivate their spirit to get behind the ritual. Their words are hollow and have no real meaning.

In those same situations if myself or one of our team who is a "believer" were to resume the ritual the spirit is quickly and effectively dealt with / pushed out. However, this effect on a client's home is usually only temporary. At best it lasts only a few days and sometimes only a few hours before the spirit returns. In these cases we refer to this as the client failing to declare their authority / dominion over their space / home. There is something powerful about motivating your spirit / faith and declaring a space as "yours".

As a further complication, people have the ability to channel light / energy and project it  with the proper coaching and / or training. People who are spiritually awake / aware are especially adept at this. One of the first things we teach a new group member to do is to connect to that light, channel it through them and form it either into a protective shell OR use it as an offensive "weapon" to push a hostile spirit away. There are two keys we've found to this that are the major gauges of success. 1) the person seems to have to have faith in some kind of higher power or at least believe that there IS some sacred place for the light to be channeled from. 2) the person has to focus and clearly visualize. Visualization is especially key. The more you can focus / visualize the more effective it is. Tony is especially adept at this technique and I've met a few clients who when worked up can almost blind a medium standing in the room next to them when they channel the light. (yes.... I'm fully aware of hose hokey and full of crap this all sounds to some people, I struggle with that myself at times, but if it's stupid and it works.... it's not stupid, and trust me... it works. I've seen it work time and time again.)

Over the years it's become clear that for WHATEVER reason, spirits are subject to our wills. Some spirits are easier to deal with, others are more difficult, but I have yet to encounter one that is immune and I've run into some pretty nasty spooks over the years. Whether you believe it's because God has given us this authority / ability, because it's a natural law because this realm "belongs" to us or just because you are declaring space as yours and infusing it with your energy / will, the reason is almost irrelevant to the fact that the process works. I have spent a LOT of time myself wondering why and how the process works too.

Merddyn - And I took the one less traveled by And that has made all the difference

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Impeccable Formless Warrior

This is a concept I've long since held as truth close to my center, but I just recently found out there's a term for it. The term is a Impeccable Formless Warrior and it comes from the writings of Carlos Castaneda

Impeccable is generally defined as "Perfect, having no faults, flaws or errors; Incapable of wrongdoing or sin; immaculate." That is a lofty goal, indeed, but we are all have our flaws and faults. We can, however, strive to be better than we are. We can be more impeccable today than we were yesterday. We can turn the other cheek when we know that is the right thing to do. We can let that criticism of our fellow man fade into the static of our minds when we know it will not be well received and would be an injurious truth. 

That is the concept we should strive for. While I'm the first to say that I have not and likely will not always take the high road in all the decisions in life, I do make an effort to strive to be Impeccable. It's important to be trustworthy both to yourself, your fellow man and your higher power so that when you're called to stand tall before "The Man" you can meet him eye to eye and know that you've done your best. 

Formless, now that's an alien concept to most of us. Of course it means "without form" but in this context we're talking about the human form, not in a physical sense, but in an emotional sense. We should all strive to be detached from the drama, cares and concerns around us as much as we are able so that in moments of crisis or stress we don't get swept away in the current of the moment. We are anchored from that stress and free to take a step back in the middle of the storm and re-assess the situation. What is really happening? What are my real choices here? What would happen if I simply walked away or took no action?

So many times in life we look back in the rear view mirror and say to ourselves, "I wish I would have reacted this way or that" and had we not been caught up in the emotion of a decision we could have. Practicing a loving and compassionate sense of formlessness allows you to do that and keeps you out of those situations where you tell yourself you wish you would have had the clarity to react a certain way in a given situation. 

You have to be careful though to not confuse being detached (formless) with being disassociated. To be disassociated means there is no connection. It's imperative to see the line that connects all of us to everything. They key is in the values we place in those connections. 

For example: Lets say I have a horrible IRS Debt. I choose this because I have had one and I know first hand how stressful it can be. I can allow myself to get caught up in the drama of how I'm going to pay off the debt and what's going to happen if I don't do it or can't do it and I can put myself through the emotional wringer. Or, I can take a deep breath, step back and realize that while I do have to make a decision and ultimately will have to pay this I also recognize that on my deathbed this issue will make very little difference to me so it doesn't place very high in my value system. That allows me to allow a certain degree of emotional distance so that I can calm down and think rationally. 

James S.
- And I took the one less traveled by And that has made all the difference

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dealing with Negative Spirits

In a previous article we discussed the general nature of some specific spiritual beings, especially ghosts. Now we will further document the methods of dealing with the category of negative, malicious and harmful ghosts known as “spooks.” It is important to note that not all ghosts are harmful and not all ghosts should be dealt with in the methods and manners described below. Indeed, some ghosts can be quite helpful and often pleasant, though be it unsettling to some, and beneficial to have around. These beneficial ghosts should be treated and honored just as any other person would be honored and respected to whatever degree you deem appropriate and are comfortable with. I like to coin the situation with the phrase, “Ghosts are people too.” For the most part, they are!
Help from the Church - Spooks being an especially nasty and often malicious lot, we should be aware of ways to deal with them just as we should be aware of how it’s appropriate to deal with especially unsavory people that are still yet living. When someone living threatens you or the ones you love you may rely on the local authorities to deal with them if the situation escalates to that level. Much is the same with spooks actually. I recommend learning the basic skills and techniques we will discuss here in handling especially unpleasant ghosts so that you can handle much of the situation yourself but if the situation escalates out of control please feel free to call in the ghost “authorities”.
These ghost authorities may take on a few different roles in society; priest, a friend or family member into or experienced in the occult; or perhaps even a clergy member of a different faith than you. Don’t feel bad about consulting a different religion’s priesthood if you can’t find support in your own. You have to do what’s right for you and as long as you are doing that your higher power will understand and lets face it; if you’re reading this article because you need help the situation is probably already desperate enough that you are not in a position to turn down competent help from ANYONE.
If you are Christian and your local community does not offer any type of support then you may want to consider other denominations of Christianity that DO have an open and sincere belief and interest in spiritual beings like ghosts and demons such as Mormon, Charismatic Catholic, and Pentcostal. In my experience these segments of Christianity deal quite well with negative spiritual entities and are very serious about dealing with them firmly and swiftly. You should find ample support among these communities.
Should you not be Christian or feel comfortable exploring beyond the realm of Christiandom you may also find competent help with Native American, Wiccan, Druidic, or other pagan-based religions. Dealing with spiritual entities is a daily task to most of these faiths.
First and foremost, if you are a religious or spiritual person, you should consult your local religious leader. By no means should you feel ashamed, silly, or otherwise indisposed to voicing these concerns with your local clergy as that is honestly part of the reason they are there for you, spiritual guidance. Nobody said it was only for YOUR spiritual guidance. Most clergy, if they’re worth their salt, have honestly dealt with some form of ghost, demon or other spiritual conflict in the past. If they have not then there’s no time like the present to learn. They are there to support and serve your higher power AND you. You are, after all, part of their “flock” are you not?
Helping Yourself - I have always firmly believed in the adage, “God helps those who help themselves.” Even though you’ll be pursuing help from someone who’s supposed to know what they’re doing as we’ve discussed above in many cases it will come down to you, your faith and your resolve to deal with the situation head-on. Ultimately, in many cases, it’s your life, your house, your loved ones being affected and your place to step up to the plate and take charge of the situation.
Before you go charging head-on into an inky black shadow or a cold spot you need to educate yourself. If whatever is haunting you zaps you senseless you’re not going to be of much help to yourself or anyone around you. Do some serious research. Learn everything you can about paranormal research, ghosts & spirituality. Get some books from the library or the book store and pay special attention to titles that talk about “True haunting”. If things have gotten bad enough in your situation you are likely to see some serious parallels in the events in the story and those unfolding in your own life. I highly recommend getting a copy of the book “The Black Hope Horror” which can give you a full illustration of how things can go horribly wrong with spooks. The title is currently out of print but it’s well worth the searching to find a copy if your situation is desperate enough.
You should also take advantage of the TREMDNDOUS amount of material available online. Try searching on key phrases like, “true hauntings”, “ghost hunting” and “paranormal investigation”. Since you’re online you might consider trying to find a paranormal investigation group near you that might be of some aid. They often have ties with clergy that are experienced in dealing with situations such as what we are discussing. Almost all paranormal investigation groups that I know of have some sort of online presence and shouldn’t be difficult to track down.
The key here is to “know thine enemy”. If you know yourself you are well off but only half equipped to deal with the situation. If you know your enemy you are well off but only half equipped to deal with the situation. You have to be well acquainted with not only the ghost phenomenon and what to expect but how you truly feel about it. Ask yourself how you will react if you are confronted with the situations that are talked about in these true haunting stories. Begin to batten down the mental and spiritual hatches for the fight ahead because if you happen to have a truly nasty spook it could be a long, dangerous and nasty fight. In the end though, remember it’s your life, your house, your family and you have a right to be happy. No one, living or dead has a right to take that from you.
Getting your Heart Right - This is honestly one of the most important aspects to dealing with a spook for so many reasons. One cannot venture into a lions den and be a coward. You must find the heart and the faith to do what you must for you and your loved ones if they are being affected by this.
Lets state something for the moment. This is a key concept that we must realize. All living being feed on energy of some sort. We, as living beings consume food that has the chemical potential for energy that our bodies unlock through digestion. That is our energy source. Ghosts and other spiritual beings often have the ability to absorb energy in more direct and pure forms. Hauntings are often associated with uncharacteristic cold spots.
Some people believe that this may be the ghost feeding directly on the heat in the air and transforming it to energy to feed from. Negative spirits tend to feed on negative energy. If your house is filled with negativity you may have actually ATTRACTED the ghost to you because it may see you as an abundant food source. In some instances I firmly believe that spooks scare people simply to feed off of the emotional energy they put out when scared. It’s very common for people to talk about being frightened out of heir mind one minute during a haunting and then feeling “utterly drained” the next. Well, where did that energy go? The answer? You have just become the corner vending machine for the spook. STOP IT!
Whether the spook came to you because your house is extremely negative or your house has become extremely negative because of the influence of the spook (and both are true in some cases) you have to fix the issue. Make amends for whatever is going on. Put it aside for now if you can and pull together as a family. This is often a very desperate time for not only you but the spook. The harder you try to fight it the more desperate and scary it can become. Get counseling to help everyone in the situation. Find someone whom you can talk to and trust and really open yourself up and let everything go that you’ve probably been holding back. Keep a journal of how you feel and the events that take place (we’ll talk more about this in the documentation section below) Overall, look at your behavior and the emotional situation of everyone being affected and do WHATEVER you can to brighten the situation.
Keep in mind that while you pull together as a family (if it’s a family being haunted) the spook will most likely be fighting your efforts every step of the way. If he’s chorded into you (or linked to you psychically) then he will do whatever he can to promote disharmony and distrust. You have to realize this for what it is and do what you can to deal with it. Remember, united you stand, divided you fall.

Walk with God - You may not be an especially spiritual person at the onset of this ordeal but I can almost guarantee you will “find your faith” to some degree in the process of dealing with the situation. If you are a spiritual person then you are a step ahead of the game at this point. If you have a spook then you must deal with them on a spiritual level because they are spiritual beings. This will, no doubt, be a great time of soul-searching for you and your family. In being confronted with a ghost you will have to come to terms with the fact that we do not simply snuff out of existence when we die. Obviously there is life after death if ghosts exist. Ultimately dealing with a spook is a spiritual game of chess with a very dangerous opponent. Either you get the faith to be able to effectively move your pieces or you find yourself in spiritual checkmate.
This does not, however, mean that you necessarily have to start going to church or that you must convert to any specific religion. Finding your faith does not necessarily mean you are religious though if you have little formal spiritual education you may not be able to easily recognize the difference. In that case it would probably be best to cultivate a relationship with a church or other spiritual organization that you find yourself agreeable with. Sometimes, simply being around people with a great deal of faith (fellowship) can be a great booster to your own faith. When you see it’s ok to “believe” and that EVERYONE won’t label you a fruitcake for having a spiritual side you know then it’s often easier to really look in yourself and figure out what you’re spiritual made of. Often I’ve found that with truly negative spooks the haunting can be so frightening that the human mind is forced to develop a spiritual relationship with their higher power if they are to survive the incident with sanity in tact.

Documentation - Documenting the incidents is crucial. It can be used to help you build a case for the clergy you are trying to enlist support from. Accurate and thorough records can also help paranormal investigators and even clergy to establish patterns of behavior from the spook and can serve as proof to yourself that you’re not simply going out of your mind.
There are several simple kinds of documentation that you should immediately consider starting. The first and probably most important is a journal. Every time there is an incident as small as a feeling of being watched or objects being misplaced or appliances misbehaving it should be logged along with any emotional impressions or thoughts you had about the incident and the exact time and date. You may also want to document the relationships and interactivity of anyone involved in the situation. You may start to see a pattern of aggression or depression associated with the events of the haunting. These may also be linked to lunar or solar cycles as the earth’s energy field is drastically affected by the positioning of these bodies. If this sounds odd consider the effect the moon’s gravitational pull has on the ocean. Therefore, keeping track of any solar or lunar activity in connection with the events listed in your journal may be of benefit as well.
Potential things to list in the journal
  • Strange sounds / noises / voices / smells
  • Feeling of being watched
  • Dramatic shifts in temperature
  • Appliances or other electrical devices malfunctioning
  • Strange behavior from pets or other animals
  • Feelings of Dejavu
  • Nightmares that are out of the ordinary
  • Aggression or depression in anyone who does not normally exhibit such behavior
  • Objects being moved or disappearing unexplainably
  • Anything that appears to be out of the ordinary
The next documentation that should be implemented is photographs or video. Having hard evidence of something strange going on will not only help you bring the experts in your situation up to speed but will give you a bit of peace of mind when you have something tangible to refer to when you start doubting yourself. Do not expect to get photographs or video of full-blown apparitions. This is exceptionally rare even in the direst of circumstances. Still pictures will often produce odd round discolored orbs in the vicinity of any paranormal activity or at times odd streaks across the photo. An expert familiar with paranormal photo analysis should be able to help you determine the validity of your photos. An excellent idea might be to keep a standard 35mm camera loaded and ready to go in a central location so that it can be easily accessed if something is happening. Video of paranormal activity will often show odd patterns in shadows or very fast streaks of light passing through the room. The most ideal video cameras to use are the new Sony Nightshot cameras that have low-light and absolute dark filming capabilities. In most cases though, a standard 35mm camera will suffice.
Basics Concepts for Spiritual Cleansing - Negative ghosts thrive on negativity. Infusing an area with positive energy makes the area very hostile to the spirit. Because we are talking about spiritual energies and vibrations it’s important to remember that the exact tools and prayers you use are not nearly as important as the confidence you have in yourself and your abilities and the intent with which you perform these tasks. For instance, one of the techniques we will describe below involves burning incense and prayer candles. One might assume that if expensive or rare incense were used or more ornate and expensive candles that the exercise might be more effective. This is simply not true. Spiritual exercises have more to do with your belief and faith in what you’re doing than they do with the materials at hand. If you BELIVE that more elaborate, exotic or expensive tools and supplies will be more effective then they most likely will be, however, the same effects can be accomplished with much lower grade materials as long as the same level of belief is maintained. Belief and emotion funnels energy into the spirit. The material world is often very secondary.
Some substances, practices and tools do seem to be naturally more effective than others. For instance, sage, rose, sandalwood, frankincense and myrrh are traditionally known to be very positive and effective tools for dealing out a great deal of sacred or positive energy. This is often a cross-cultural belief as well, which in the author’s mind gives it a bit more credence than just standard rumor. That is not to say that one must purchase the most expensive qualities of these substances if you plan on choosing them. Simply having them in whatever form is convenient for you to obtain them is usually sufficient.
Generic Cleansing Techniques
Burning pleasant smelling incense with the intent that the smoke and smell from the incense will fill your entire house with positive energy or divine white light can often be highly effective against negative spirits. The burning of incense for spiritual reasons has been used since the beginning of recorded history. Thousands of years worth of spiritual leaders can’t be wrong! You might try lighting the incense while you say a little prayer to your higher power. Ask your higher power to infuse the incense with divine positive energy and push out any negative forces and exclude all those forces not working for “the light.” Again, it’s the intent that matters most. I recommend the following incense varieties:
· Sage ·Copal ·Frankinsense ·Myrrh ·Lavender ·Rose
Prayer Candles
These candles are very common among the Hispanic community and can often be found in the Hispanic section of your local grocery store for a very reasonable price. They are usually tall glass candles with prayers or positive icons listed on the outside. Choose one that fits your needs. I recommend something that invokes the Archangel Michael or similar spiritual force. As you light the candle focus on the intent in the prayer on the candle or something similar. These candles are designed to burn for extended periods of time but remember that a burning candle should never ever be left unattended, especially if your spook has a tendency to knock things about.
If you are unable to locate a prayer candle you are satisfied with you can make one of your own. Obtain an adequate candle from your local supplier, a candle with one of the incense scents listed above that is designed to burn for at least several hours would be ideal. To prepare your candle you may want to write/draw (using a marker) or carve icons or prayers sacred to your faith/religion on the outside of the candle. Do this with the mental intent that when the candle is activated (or lit) the desired effect will be produced. The energy of the burning flame will lend energy to the effect of the intent the candle has now been imbued with. A further embellishment might be to “dress” your candles or anoint them with herbs or oils that are attributed to the effect you desire. See the list of smells above for a list of appropriate herbs for this purpose. Holy water or blessed anointing oil can also be used for this purpose.
Display Positive Symbols of Your Faith
This is especially effective if you have an especially close relationship with your higher power. Notice I said “positive” symbols of your faith. I don’t necessarily consider an image of Jesus Christ being tortured on the cross to be a very positive and uplifting symbol so this might be one to be avoided but this icon may inspire drastically different feelings and emotions from you. If this is the case then feel free to use whatever works for you. Post these symbols everywhere in your hose. The idea is to make it so that the spook in your home cannot escape to any crack or crevice without being in the general proximity to these sacred symbols. Print the symbols out on avery sticky labels and put them behind picture frames, under chairs and tables, underneath rugs, in air vents, etc. Of course, post them in the usual places like above doors and in hallways and such. Give these symbols as much exposure as you can and every time you see one give it a mental energy boost by imagining divine white light emanating from it and filling the entire room.
Positive Music/Chanting
Sound is one of the purest forms of energy so creating a positive sound can be one of the most effective forms of creating a positive environment. I recommend a light pleasant gospel or music associated with your faith. If you REALLY want to get serious obtain a copy of a prayer that’s being recited and loop it to play continuously. Native American and Japanese prayers and chanting have also produced dramatic results.
Clean the Clutter
It’s hard to see things in a positive light in your home when the home is covered in filth or even if it’s just chaotic, disorganized and filled with clutter. Organize your space, put things in their proper place. If you don’t have a proper place for something then find one. Organize yourself and your space. Order begets serenity and serenity begets peace and peace begets positive energy. If you really want to get serious about this, which is highly recommended, look into the subject of Feng Shui.
Keep your Spirits Up
Sorry, I couldn’t resist the temptation for the pun here. The point is to keep a positive attitude and keep morale up. If you allow yourself or those around you to become negative then you are only hurting your situation with the negative spirit.
It’s YOUR Home
Declare dominion over your own space. Fill it with your energy, your spirit and your presence. Don’t allow the spirit to make you feel trapped in your situation or dread coming home. Remember it’s YOUR home and you have every right to be there. The negative spirit is usually the intruder in the situation. Don’t let anything scare you out of your own home, your property or your personal space.
Smudging is the practice of sweeping away negative energy using a tool or energy to focus your intent to drive out negativity in the area and replace it with positive energy. Wands of smoldering sage or sticks of incense are most commonly used for this purpose, as it’s easy to visualize the smoke cleansing the area or item being smudged. Get a good steady stream of smoke coming from the tool you’re using and blow it in the area you are sweeping clean. If you are sensitive to smoke then try a lit scented or unscented candle or even a folding fan. The point is the intent used to focus your own energy in sweeping away negativity.
Smudging the entire house should be done regularly to anchor positive energy to the area. Begin in a central location in your home or the area being smudged and gradually work your way toward the doors and windows. The importance here is to visualize a clean positive area space and energy behind where you have already smudged. Be sure to get under tables, in closets, in air vents, the attic, etc. as these are favorite hiding places when you have a spook on the run.

James S.-
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Smudging & Ritual Incense Use

Tradition behind smudging
Many ancient cultures believe in using incense in a ritualistic manner in order to spiritually cleanse a person, place or thing. The concept is simple. An incense-like substance is blessed and burned. The resulting smoke is also blessed and acts as a physical representation of divinity; driving out negativity (evil) where ever it goes. Perhaps the best-known example of this is Native American smudge sticks in which Sage, Cedar or Copal (substances sacred to these cultures) is combined or used on it’s own as incense. Taoist, Buddhist, Catholic and many other religious cultures use the same basic concept of burning incense to drive out negativity and anchor divine energy. This process is known as “smudging”.

Smudging is a simple yet very powerful spiritual practice. There is really no right or wrong way to perform a smudging ceremony (detailed later) but rather it is the INTENT of the person performing the ceremony that matters most. If the intent is pure and good and the mind is focused and clear and the ego is removed to allow for divine intervention then the elements of divinity will follow your lead and bless your intentions. Don’t pre-occupy yourself with whether you are doing something right or wrong, simply follow your instinct and exist in the moment. Smudging is really a ritualistic prayer with the smoke as a representation of divinity (God) so there’s nothing you can do that’s wrong aside from perhaps setting something on fire if you’re not careful with the incense. In fact, one doesn’t even have to use incense, a lit candle, a feather or even your hand will do just as well, though may not be as fragrant. The focus is on the intentions, not the actions.

There are basically 3 steps to a simple smudging ceremony, just as in any prayer.
Invocation – This is a grounding and connection to God or divine energy and calling forth the presence of divinity; an opening prayer.
Blessing – This is the act of blessing the object, person or area to be smudged or cleansed.
Closing – This is a closing prayer to thank divinity or God for blessing you and your subject.
We will run through a basic cleansing ceremony for a house and then give a brief description of how the same ceremony may be used for an object or a person.

The Invocation:
Take a moment to clear your mind of whatever may be running through your head. Your mind should be quiet and focusing. A common visualization to help with this is to stand up straight but relaxed, close your eyes and imagine the divine light of God emanating from within you and clearing out any negativity and spreading peace and relaxation throughout your body.
A standard invocation often used is a either the Lords Prayer or perhaps the Light Invocation by Dael Walker:
I invoke the light of God within.
I am a clear and perfect channel.
The light is my guide.
As you say your invocation prayer picture in your mind’s eye the light of God spreading from your soul (inside your body) and growing in intensity as it envelops you and your smudging tool. You may want to repeat your prayer 3 times to help build the visualization and focus your mind on the task at hand. Remember to exude peace and serenity from your being.

If you are using a standard smudge stick light the stick now and let it burn for a minute. Blow it out and as you do imagine the divine light of God flowing from your breath into the smudging instrument and thereby sanctifying it. Imagine the smoke as a physical representation of the divine light of God, cleansing everything it touches and driving out negativity. You may have to blow on the smudge stick for a few minutes to really get it smoldering. A good smudge stick is actually hard to keep going, you often have to stop and blow on it to keep smoke flowing. If it goes out just stop for a moment and re-light it.

If you are using a candle or standard incense stick, light the candle and bless it with the holy symbol of your faith or simply mentally infuse it with divine energy. A feather or your hand can simply be held in front of you or to your side as you visualize charging it with divine white light. Some people prefer to use a feather in conjunction with a smudge stick or incense wand so that you may fan the smoke and thereby direct it to the desired location and at the same time, stoke the burning embers. Essentially, it doesn’t matter what you use, it’s simply a focusing tool. You can put a colander on your head and use a kitchen spoon and it will accomplish the same thing as long as your intent is focused and you have faith and believe in what you are doing.

The Blessing:
It’s very important to remove ego from the situation as you are performing this ritual. That may seem a bit odd but the concept is for you to “get out of the way” so that the divine energy may flow through you. You are not doing the cleansing; the spiritual energy of divinity is doing the work. You are simply a channel through which it is flowing. Do not worry about if you are doing it right or wrong or how you look when you’re doing it or if it’s working. Simply allow yourself to exist in the moment, devoid of judgment and ego. If your mind and heart is open and you have invoked your opening prayer with sincerity the rest is almost automatic. You just have to continue to channel the energy of God and direct it where it is needed. Trust your intuition. If something doesn’t quite seem clean stay and work on it until it feels right.

This is the active portion of your ritual. Generally, you should always start with yourself and then move on to your target. Wave the smudge stick over your feet with the visualization and intent that the smoke is purifying you and driving out all negativity. You may even want to blow or fan the smoke a bit. This is fine but watch for flying embers. Continue up your body and focus on your visualization. If your mind begins to wander just bring it back to the task at hand as soon as you notice. (this is also the same technique for smudging another person)

Make sure all the doors and windows are open in your house so that the smoke has a way to escape eventually and you might want to cover your smoke detectors if you have them.

Start at the center of the house and work your way out. The object is to drive out the negativity and infuse the area with divine energy, not block in the bad stuff. Start in the center of a room or the central hallway and blow or fan smoke gently in the air as to fuse divine energy into the air itself and everything it touches. Don’t forget to get in closets and under cabinets as well. If you realize later that you forgot a space don’t make a big fuss about it, simply open the area to the residual smoke into the area and back it up with your visualization. You might try saying a small prayer of thanks after each room is smudged to give that room a feel of finality.

If you are using another tool that doesn’t have smoke like a feather or your hand simply wave it the direction and imagine divine light flowing through you and emanating from the tool to infuse the air and the area with God’s presence and sweeping away negativity.

You might pay special attention to smudging doorways and windows (as these are common portals for entrance and exit) and any area that doesn’t feel quite right. Simply increase the intensity of your visualization and pour in more smoke (to a reasonable degree) until you are satisfied that the area is cleansed of negativity AND that it is infused with divine energy.

Work your way toward the exits to the room like a window or an outside door as if you were sweeping or herding the negativity out. If the house is more than one story simply pick the top or bottom floor and gradually work your way through the structure so that you sweep out negativity and infuse divine energy everywhere. Remember to hit spots that people don’t go very often like attics, basements, cabinets or even air conditioning vents. A quick and efficient way to smudge the entire air conditioning system (assuming the building has central air) is to blow smoke into the air intake for the system so that it is diffused throughout the building. This can even be used to smudge the entire house from one spot if you are confident enough in your skills to do it all from one location.

As you work you may try chanting a mantra or prayer or other positive affirmation like:

We ask that all forces not working from the light (or God) be excluded from this place.
By the divine nature of God we anchor sacred light to this place and sweep away negativity.

Go with whatever feels natural. Don’t force anything and don’t let anything break your focus. If it does, simply stop and re-center and continue what you were doing. If you feel resistance in an area or feel something lash out at you simply reinforce your visualization that you are infused and emanating divine light and that shadow (negativity) cannot exist in the presence of light.

After the entire area has been smudged take moment to say a prayer of thanks to God or whatever form of divinity you recognize for empowering you to do this work. A good example of a closing prayer might be:

We thank the forces working for the light and the divine presence of God for your assistance with open hearts and sincere gratitude.

Follow Up
Don’t allow the air in the house to stay stagnant, the smoke should be allowed to leave and fresh air to enter. The smoke is NOT the divine energy it can leave. It was just your focusing tool during the cleansing, nothing more. Let fresh air blow through and sunshine in.
You may want to repeat this simple ritual on a regular basis (every week, month, six months, year, etc) in accordance with need.

James S. -
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Free Deliverance While Supplies Last

We've recently began working with a new client for our group. They're the proto-typical modern family and just generally all-around nice people. Rick is a CAD draftsman and his live-in girlfriend, Jerri, works for a bank. The couple recently bought a house together. They have no children together as of yet, but Jackie has an adorable 6 year old daughter from a previous marriage named Lisa that stays with them for two weeks at a time. While we were working with the family Lisa was staying with Rick and Jerri.

The house they recently bought was a foreclosure and was no doubt part of the cascade of foreclosures sweeping the country recently. It's 10-20 years old and only had one previous owner, another family. To our knowledge nobody had died in the house and there was no abnormal spiritual activity in the house prior to the clients moving in.

The house itself needed a lot of work and the family has been putting a lot of energy into remodeling such as pulling up carpet and putting down wooden flooring, repainting, etc. Rick was initially very uneasy about the house and confessed at one point that his instinct told him not to buy it, but it was such a good deal financially they bought it anyway. Luckily for them one of our team members, a medium who just started working with the group and a previous client, was living on the same cul-de-sac as them. Literally two houses down.

My wife and I spend a lot of time over there with Tony and his wife, Kim, both discussing and working on cases and just generally hanging out as friends in our down-time. Rick and Jackie were new to the neighborhood and decided to come over and visit as we were all hanging out in Tony's garage one evening having a few beers and socializing. During the course of conversation Kim and Tony relayed the story with their house, which I discuss in the section titled "The Soul Collector". This prompted Rick and Jackie to share some of their experiences thus far in the new house which mainly included an intense feeling of being watched and that they were not alone. At one point it bothered Rick so much so as he was working in the garage that he just left the property and came back later to finish up what he was working on.

Tony and I both confirmed that we had felt a presence in the house from the street, but that it didn't seem to be anything to be concerned about. As we continued the discussion I naturally began to tune in on the spirit in the house and began to describe them as both male with one being in his 30's or 40's and wearing a red plaid shirt or coat and old faded and worn jeans. He struck me as a bit of a no-nonsense kind of small town guy, maybe a bit gruff but generally harmless. The other spirit looked to be in his 20's. I didn't get much of a visual picture of him other than he was wearing predominantly blue, possibly blue plaid. The two spirits LOOKED as though they could have been related, but I got more of a feeling that they were friends and not related. The younger one struck me as a bit of a trouble-maker, kind of a "rebel without a clue" mentality.

I tried to focus a bit and maybe pick up a name if possible and was relaying what I was picking up to the Rick and Jackie when I felt a presence standing behind me and slightly to my right. It was the younger spirit and I got a mental image and sensation of him reaching out and slapping me in the back of the head and saying, "my name is Brian" with a tone to suggest that I should have known his name all along because "everybody knows my name." I laughed a bit to myself. I always like seeing spirits with a little personality. I relayed the name to the group and Tony spoke up saying he had picked up on a spirit named Brian nosing around too and wasn't sure who it was.

Rick and Jackie seemed like they weren't quite sure how to take all of this information. It was a lot to throw at someone all at once so we gave them the standard speech about claiming their spiritual authority in the house and while it was entirely possible to live peacefully with the spirits they should make every effort to declare the fact they they now own the house and the spirits could stay but needed to play by some ground rules if they were going to stay such as not messing with the family members when they're sleeping, etc.. We eventually worked the conversation over to the top of beer, something Tony and I can both talk about for hours since we're avid home brewers, so as not to overwhelm our new friends on the subject of the paranormal.

Over the course of the coming days and weeks both Tony and myself talked with Rick and Jerry off and on. They indicated that they were still having a sensation of being watched and that their garage door opener had been opening and closing on it's own. They also reported that other doors would open and close on their own. They even went so far as to put a jug of windshield washer fluid in front of a door to see if it would still open. They came home and the door to their garage was indeed open and the jug has been pushed out of the way. We generally re-iterated the advice about setting boundaries with the spirits and generally trying to peacefully co-exist while at the same time maintaining a firm stance that they now owned the house and they were in charge of it.

Apparently, Brian and his buddy didn't particularly care for them or what they were doing with the house. A few weeks after our initial meeting with the clients they contacted us again saying that they were having trouble sleeping in the house to the point that Jackie mentioned she was contemplating taking her pillow and blanket and sleeping in the car at one point. Rick also reported seeing what he described as a beam of light moving in his house from room to room. It stopped at his bedroom as if looking in and then went on it's way. At that point both the clients and our group decided it was probably time to look further into what was going on in their house so we decided to do a walk-through of the house and give them our feedback.

Tony, an outstanding medium and former client, and his wife Kim conducted a walk-through of the house while my wife and I interviewed Ricky and Jackie in their driveway to get the full story on what they'd been dealing with. Tony again confirmed that there were two spirits in the house as I had described and that the younger one seemed to be the troublemaker. He described their attitude and disposition as belligerent, uncooperative and down right rude. At point one of the spirits flipped him the bird and called him an asshole. When Tony asked for a name they dropped a series of random names. Tony asked for some cooperation and for the spirits to give him a sign that they were present. The spirit responded by giving Tony a nasty scratch on his foot.

At that point we firmly established that these spirits, though Tony and I both perceived them as human, were generally up to no good and needed to leave this family in peace. We began to council Rick and Jackie on how to push the spirits out and claim the house as their spiritual refuge, thereby re-asserting their authority over the property / space which would keep any unwanted "guests" at bay. Ultimately we left the decision up to the client as to whether they were going to do that and when and told them that we would be happy to coach them through the process if they decided to go that route.

Two or three days passed and we got word from the clients that they had enough of not being able to sleep and feeling uneasy in their home and they were ready to be done with this whole business. We packed up the little recording gear we use during investigations, a sage stick and headed over to coach the clients through a smudging / house blessing.

Jackie had taken her daughter out of the house for a few hours. Our group has a fairly strict policy of not confronting spirits in the presence of children when at all possible for safety reasons. Things can get violent in a hurry if the spirit becomes resistant. So, the blessing was up to Rick with Tony and myself as coach.

We had Rick read over a standard article titled Smudging and Ritual Incense Use I have all clients in this situation read over. It introduces them to the concepts of visualization during the ritual and making themselves a clear and perfect channel for God's light and the importance of visualizing the smoke as the light of God touching, blessing and sanctifying everything.

We opened up with the Prayer to St. Michael and I stepped back with Tony to read the situation as Rick proceeded throughout the house blessing and cleansing the corner of each room, one at a time. He was nervous at first but with a little coaching he found his connection to the light and you could feel the positive energy emanating from him as he went from room to room. We made sure to hit every corner of every room, including the garage and all the closets. Tony and I could feel not only the positive well of energy coming forth from Rick but we could also feel the spirits of the two ghosts moving further and further away from Rick trying to keep their distance.

As Rick finished out the first floor the spirits were above us on the 2nd floor and had a decidedly nervous energy that can only be described as rats scurrying from a sinking ship. As Rick cleansed the hallway with the smoke from the sage stick and his own prayers calling out to God to bless and protect his house and drive out the spirits Tony and I both sensed them pressing toward the back of the send floor trying to get as much space as possible between them and Rick. He finished a utility room and bedroom on the first floor and suddenly I realized I couldn't feel the spirits in the house anymore. They were gone.

We coached Rick through smudging and blessing the attic (always a key place to hit because spirits can easily lay claim to it since it gets so little traffic from residents) and remaining bedrooms and to seal the house in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and by the Blood of the Lamb.

We were done for the night. Rick had very successfully reclaimed the house, but we cautioned him that while he had pushed the spirits out for now the ordeal was likely not over and to expect to have to cleanse and bless the house a few more times before the spirits couldn't enter anymore. The first house blessing usually gives the clients a reprieve for a few days, but as soon as they let their guard down most spirits will try to push back in. We cautioned Rick and Jerry to be optimistic because they had scored major victory but the war wasn't over.

They slept well that night. The house was peaceful and quiet, but the next morning Tony's wife, Kim saw both spirits standing on Rick's front lawn looking at the house as if trying to figure out how to get back in.

The following night the noises returned and Rick reported that he had been touched that night as he was trying to sleep. In the morning we got messages from both Rick and Jerry telling us that their "guests" were back. We re-iterated the need to continue blessing the house to push them out and to claim their spiritual authority over the property, but decided it was best to wait until the following Sunday when Jerry's daughter went to stay with her dad for two weeks. That would be the perfect time to get down and dirty with the spirits just in case they decided to get violent.

The following morning the family found something very interesting. The names and phone numbers for Tony and Kim had been scribbled through in what looked like child's hand writing. The scribbling had completely covered up Tony's name and phone number, while leaving Kim's marked through and relatively visible. There was also what appeared to be some indecipherable drawing on the paper that vaguely resembled two figures fighting.

I suspected that their daughter, Lisa, had done this under the influence of the spirit, but I didn't want to alarm the family so I kept that to myself. Of their own accord Rick decided to write my name and number down on a similar sheet of paper and leave it laying around the house to see what happened.

Not 3 hours later the family was in the living room when Rick and Jerry both witnessed Lisa stand up and walk over to their kitchen counter island and reach out with a pencil and start scratching on the piece of paper. It should be noted that Lisa had payed no previous attention to the paper and in fact it was above what you would consider her normal light of sight to even see it. She had to stand on her tip-toes to scribble on it, with almost no chance of seeing exactly what she was drawing.

Rick and Jerry tried talking to her but Lisa was completely unresponsive as if she couldn't even hear them speaking to her which was abnormal behavior for Lisa. Rick finally reached out and held her hands still and prayed over her for a few minutes. When he stopped Lisa dropped the pencil and went back into the living room without missing a beat. My name and number had been scratched out just as Tony and Kim's had been. Apparently we made an impression on the spirit and they clearly didn't want our continued involvement in the case.

I was due over at the house anyway to pick Rick up and get some supplies for the next round of house blessing. They showed me both sheets of paper and said they had talked to Lisa about what happened. She remembered doing it but wasn't sure why she did it. When asked what the figures were on the bottom of the first sheet she said it was two people with electricity going between them. Unknown to her, Tony had pushed the spirits out of the house by sheer force of will on a previous visit and had pushed the same spirit out of his own house when it came to pay him a visit. This could easily be imagined as two people with electricity between them. Or, perhaps she was depicting Rick pushing the spirits out of the house with a blessing. Given the fact that she had scratched Tony's name and number out on the same sheet of paper I'm inclined to believe the figure on the left that most closely resembles a person is Tony.

We decided to set up the next blessing for the following day after Lisa was due to leave the house. We got the supplies needed, a powdered mixture of Myrrh, Frankensense and Copal since my local supply shop was out of the sage sticks I prefer and finalized plans with the family for the following evening.

That night Tony and I arrived and discussed our initial feelings about the house. We felt the presence of one of the spirits back in the house, but very very faintly as if he was trying to behave himself and knew what was about to happen. It was the spirit that identified itself to me a Brian in Tony's garage. The older spirit was gone, nowhere within my range.

We talked Rick and Jerry through the process of the blessing. Rick had already been through it once before, but Jerry hadn't. I stressed the importance of visualizing a connection to God and visualizing yourself becoming a clear and perfect channel for his light and his will. That is the key to making the ritual powerful, being able to see what's happening on a spiritual level clearly and believe in it through to your core.

Tony and I sat back and let the couple start, beginning with the prayer to St. Michael again as last time. About 10 seconds into it the hair on both mine and Tony's arms stood on end and it felt like the room filled with static electricity as a wave of bright light welled up around Rick. He had made himself a clear and perfect channel to divinity. As he continued on with clearing the first room my inner sight registered what could only be described as wave after wave of bright near blinding light wash out of him filling the room and spilling through the walls of the house. Even though it wasn't light that I was seeing with my physical eyes it was so bright I couldn't help by squint and I reflexively turned away and gave myself a moment to adjust to the new brightness level.

Tony and I looked at each other with wide eyes as if to say, "holy crap, I think he's got it!" I had seen this before, but not to this level of intensity. Even when I do the ritual myself it's not as intense as what I was seeing there. Rick began to expand on the blessings calling for the doors and windows to become sealed. As he did each door, window and wall of the room my inner sight would become blocked. I couldn't see past the blessings he was putting in place. As he finished the first room and moved on to the next I stood in it marveling at the intensity of the warding / seals he had put in place. As he continued I could literally see and feel each room close up.

At one point as Rick neared finishing the first floor he called out for God to reach out and send help, to send his army and angels. About 5-10 seconds later it felt like a great hole had ripped itself in the sky and what I can only describe as a swarm of winged beings, glowing brightly, circled far over the house. There was a multitude, beyond my ability to count. As they slowly descended into the house it seemed as if the very walls bulged with their presence. The quiet psychic background filled with a constant chorus of voices all speaking to one another. It suddenly felt like there were 300 people in the room with us all talking, but not in an unpleasant way, just letting us know they were here.

The presence of the spirit that identified itself as Brian was gone from the house. The moment the choir of voices (what I can only describe as angels) entered the house Brian was summarily and un-ceremoniously ejected from the upstairs not unlike a champaign cork shooting out of a bottle. A few minutes later we heard and felt a pounding on the wall of the house and got a distinct impression it was Brian trying to get back in but was completely and utterly unable due to the new spirits occupying the house. My mind wandered for a moment to the lyrics of Closing Time by Semisonic, "You don't have to go home but you can't stay here."

Rick and Jerry were well on their way through finishing up the blessing upstairs. Tony and I stayed downstairs since they had the situation well in hand. I called to him at one point to reach over and put his hand on a wall and channel the light through the wall and then the next and the next, pushing the light throughout the whole house so as to leave no place for an unwanted spirit to hide. As he did that and worked himself up again chanting, "holy, holy, holy, thou art holy" for a brief moment I could see the wall in front of me ripple as if coming alive with divine energy.

They finished up the blessing shortly thereafter and Tony and I sat down with them to give them our feedback. Keep in mind that they were focused on doing the ritual and weren't as sensitive to the spiritual world as a Tony and I had become so they really had no idea how effective what they were doing was. As we relayed everything we had felt and saw during their blessing Rick began to cry in thanks that his prayers had been answered.

However, Tony got a distinct message to warn them that they would likely see and experience more even more activity than they had the night before, but of a completely different nature. Tony and I went back to our homes, but I got a text message later that evening that the house was crawling with activity and Rick had even felt something brush his foot. I explained again that we were given the message that there would be a lot of activity, but that it was essentially the help he had requested. I got the distinct impression that the spirits were going about the business of repairing the house on a spiritual level and officially making it Rick and Jerry's home.

The next morning I spoke to them again and both reported sleeping peacefully, and Rick was even touched by one of the spirits in the house in what he felt seemed more like a healing "laying on of hands" and was entirely peaceful and non-threatening.

James S. -
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference