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Talking to the Dead - An Excerpt From "The Last Frontier"

Preparing for Intentional Communication

by Julia Assante

Finally we’ve come to what to do when you decide it’s time for a reunion. You can choose from a variety of techniques, depending on what best suits your inclinations and comfort needs. You can work with a friend or alone, use photographs and other objects to establish a link, or set up a dream encounter. And you can use a combination of techniques or discover new ones. Before you launch into contact, some thoughtful preparation, all explained below, will boost your effectiveness. A crucial part of that preparation is setting your intentions, so that what happens during your session works for the good of everyone involved.

Making Lists

Knowing what you want out of contact can help you get it. The more precise you are about what you need to say and to hear, the more aware you will become of your real feelings. Write two lists one or two days before you make your first attempt.

In the first list set down all the things you most want to say to the departed, no matter how momentous and no matter how trivial. You can make the list in letter form. If the letter seems to ramble or go in circles, organize the contents so that what you want to say becomes sharp and clear. If you had the chance to say only one thing, what would it be?

In the second list put down all the questions you have for the departed. Later on, we’ll explore how to work with questions and answers during contact so that you know when a question has really been answered. Since working on these lists stimulates your connection to the departed, don’t be surprised if you’re already feeling someone around. Take your time thinking about what questions to ask. At this point, insights and answers are likely to start popping up in the back of your mind.

While you are in the list-making process, try to keep the outside world at bay. Take a walk on your own. Contemplate. You will probably find that you are already talking to the dead, at least in your mind. If you are, take note of what you are mentally saying and feeling. During this preparatory period, which need not last more than an hour, you might want to go through some of the deceased’s belongings if they’re available. Just by holding them, you will pick up your loved one’s “scent” or vibration. If you have photos, pull them out and go through them thoughtfully. Indulge yourself in a few memories, happy times, sad times, poignant times, and times of maximum intimacy. Out of the photos and belongings, select one or two that speak to you most and put them aside. You may want to use them later.

In your mind or out loud, tell the departed that you are preparing yourself for contact in the next day or two. Meanwhile, stay on the alert for anything out of the ordinary that might indicate your loved one is able to hear you and act on your request.

Picking the Right Time for Contact

Although no one can do much about atmospheric conditions that help or hinder communication, working in harmony with your own personal circadian rhythms will help. Once you are familiar with them, you’ll have some idea when you are likely to be the most receptive during the course of any twenty-four-hour period. I have three times: midmorning, after I’ve been through my most concentrated busy work; late afternoon, when my biological clock is slowing down; and especially late at night, when the world is quieted and I can best hear my inner self.

So take a moment to review the past twenty-four hours. Pull back and watch yourself in your mind’s eye as though you were looking at a video of your entire day. Watch what you did, what you were thinking, and when you felt the most energetic or fell into reverie. Also take note of emotional highs and lows, especially grief waves. As you look back, was there a time when you sensed that communication might have been possible? And if so, why? Was it because of your state of mind? The time of day? Atmospheric conditions? Or was it triggered by outside circumstances, such as finding your loved one’s old shoes under the bed? If you can’t find anything in the past twenty-four hours, scroll back in time until you do find that bump in everyday reality. That’s your contact window.

Creating Sacred Space

Whether you are planning to work alone or with a friend, prepare a space in your home where you can shut out the rest of the world. Mentally roam around your house for the best possible room or corner. Arrange the privacy you need for whatever comes up.

Small, closed-off areas are more favorable to deep concentration than large, open spaces. Some amount of darkness also helps you focus better on your inner senses. Darkness also begs to be filled up, with thoughts, inner pictures, and presences. If you are uncomfortable without some light, keep a small lamp on or light a candle.

Before you begin, you might light a few candles or play music in the room to clear it of any residual thought forms. Bring in some belongings or a picture of the individual you are planning to reach for that person to home in on. Have your lists on hand and keep pen and paper nearby for writing notes after the session is over. Make the room ready with ritual deliberateness.

In the place where I do inner work, I have a special chair. This is my chair, carrying no one’s imprints but my own. If you don’t have a personal chair, pick one that will be comfortable for about an hour, and if you are working with a partner, pick two. The chair or chairs should not remind you too strongly of someone other than the departed. Using the favorite chair of the departed will often enhance contact as long as your feelings and memories associated with it do not interfere with your ability to concentrate. If there are two of you, set the chairs so they are directly facing each other. When you are ready, make sure other members of your household know to leave you undisturbed, no interruptions, no phone calls, until you tell them otherwise.

Burial Sites

Some people feel that where the departed’s remains are buried or housed is the most appropriate place for communication. If you are one of them, your space is already ritually prepared. The cemetery is a natural location for after-death communication. With just a few minor adjustments, the procedures set out below for encounters at home will serve you at a burial site equally well. If the urn containing ashes is not in a cemetery but at home, bring it into the space you have prepared.

Setting Intentions

At the beginning of every session, whether you are working alone or with a friend, or before going to sleep for a dream encounter, you must set your intentions. Setting your intentions is much the same as saying an opening prayer. Verbalizing intentions impresses the ethers more forcefully than silently reciting intentions. Setting them establishes your overall goal for the coming session. That goal is always and above all an overarching good. Not just for you or your session partner. Not just for the departed. But for all things that exist in the universe. In order to reach this goal, you must enlist divine help. With as much heartfelt conviction as you can muster, ask a divine power to ensure that whatever transpires will be for the best and fullest good for everyone and everything involved.

Begin at the top. I invoke All That Is. Others may use different names for the Supreme Being: God, Lord, Divine Light, the Holy Spirit, the Creator, Our Father in Heaven, Mother-Father God. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of a godhood, consider the more abstract Universe or the Presence. Whichever name draws you closest to your own greater being is the name you want. You may then call on intermediary figures to assist you: personal guides, angels, saints, dead relatives, and, certainly if you are Christian, Jesus or Mary.

Although the words should be your own, your intention may sound something like this: “I ask All That Is that whatever transpires be for the best and fullest good for me, for the departed, and for all things in the universe.”

At this point, anticipate that help is at hand. Then, speaking to those you have invoked, state your more specific purpose: that you are here at this moment to make contact with a certain person, giving that person’s name. Again, request aid from the spirit world, those guides and deceased relatives who are so happy to assist. Here’s an example of what you might say: “I am here at this moment to make contact with _____. I ask all my guides and helpers to come to my assistance now.” Pause for a moment and check for any indications of accelerated energy, such as heightened concentration on your part.

Setting intentions is no little thing. If you have made a committed prayer for good, you have built a beneficial frame around the coming events. Then whatever comes is easier to accept, because you know it’s for the best. It also calls in help and protects you, the departed, and the session itself from taking an unproductive turn. It helps alleviate fear and encourage faith in the process. Last and most important, it aligns you with the beneficence that underlies all creation, seen and unseen.

Excerpted from the book The Last Frontier ©2012 by Julia Assante. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

Julia Assante is the author of The Last Frontier: Exploring the Afterlife and Transforming Our Fear of Death. She is an established social historian of the ancient Near East (PhD Columbia University and has been an active professional intuitive and medium for over three decades. Visit her online at http://www.juliaassante.com.

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