The Otherworld is a place of Spirit. In many traditions, it is seen as a realm inhabited by not only our Dead but by the Fae Beings (fairies, trolls, elves and the like). It is an ethereal place where the body is not as important, a place where the eternal soul is paramount. In the Otherworld form is mutable, beings residing there are not stuck to one shape, one form, one incarnation of self. It is a place of creation, where communication comes not only in the form of words but through imagery, sound, feeling, and knowing.
I have traveled to the Otherworld many times, starting as a child when I would visit Spirits on the other side of the mirror; although to be quite honest, that was more of a video conference of sorts. At this time, I also visited the world of Spirit in my dreams, particularly those that were Lucid (Lucid Dreaming-to be conscious/awake inside your dream). Over the years I have visited this realm over and over again, in my dreams, while journeying (active spiritual dreaming) & by slipping through the veil with my physical body.
My experience of entering the Otherworld became of great importance when I was 30, and had a hugely significant spiritual opening; which I refer to as the November Incident. Those of you who have read my book JUMP GIRL, the initiation & art of a spirit speaker, can refer to the 2 chapters dedicated (and titled) to this experience for more details. During the November Incident, my spirit guide Adam taught me rules of engagement while in the Otherworld. We spent many hours playing games in my mind in which we would transform from one image of self to another. In many ways, this was familiar to a video game or a Bugs Bunny cartoon, for we would often trap on another and then figure out how to escape. He would turn into smoke and I would suck him up with a straw, only for him to turn into ants tickling my esophagus until I coughed him up and out. I would become a lioness only to have him form a cage around me, to which I would become a crow and fly free of the cage. We spent many hours this way, developing my ability to change form at will while in the world of Spirit.
Grammy Brown & my Dad ‘Richard’, two of my Beloved Dead.
The Veil thinning between the worlds does not just mean that Spirit is more likely to show up in our world, but it also means that those of us brave enough (or chosen) to venture may find ourselves in the Otherworld. This is not a place one travels with their body, it is a journey we take with our spirit. One that requires safeguarding, trust, and the ability to experience with an open mind. We must put aside the idea that the only reality is the solid state of matter in which we live and the belief that what happens in our ‘mind’ has no effect on our physical reality.
Preparing for a Halloween (Samhain/Alfablot) visitation to the Spirit World-
For those of you who have never journeyed before I will give a brief logistical overview to make your voyage safer and more comfortable.
First, we must remember that we are in control of our body. In short when it comes to this world, and our incarnation here in the physical, having a body means you have more power. It means that the body you inhabit was assigned to you, this ownership means that Spirits can not inhabit your body unless you have asked them to, or allowed them in through the fearful belief that you are powerless. One of the most important lessons I learned during the November Incident was that Spirits were no more important than the living. Just because someone has died it does not make them more powerful. Fear is what makes us powerless when we give over to fear we make ourselves vulnerable. This is why I recommend only working with/seeking out your Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones and ancestors) when you are beginning your work with Spirit. For all beginners, and as a safe practice that before doing any Spirit work we call in a friend or family member in Spirit, who we trust, asking them to be our doorman/guardian on the other side. This is a simple practice that not only helps us to feel stronger, but also offers us the benefit of having someone familiar with the Otherworld looking out for us. Whenever I do Spirit work, whether it be personal or for clients I always start with inviting my doorman/spirit guide Adam to join me.
Before beginning your journey, check and make sure your altar is to your liking, light a candle, and incense, and take a few moments creating sacred space. The easiest way to do this is to imagine there is a dot of white light in the center of your chest, as you breathe that light spreads our around you until it fully encompasses the room you are in. At this time, you may call in whatever guardian spirits and/or deities your work with.
*Circular breathing- with your spine straight, eyes closed, breathe deeply in through and out through your nose. On the inhale count the length of your breath, as you slowly inhale. Now exhale through your nose for the same count. Do this for 5 full breaths.
*Relaxing your body-As you continue to breathe deeply; trying to keep to a rhythmic pace of equal time inhaling as exhaling. Now bring your attention to your toes, and allow your consciousness to pull energy from your feet/the earth slowly up over the back of your body, all the way to the top of your crown, and then back down over the front of your body until it touches your toes/ground again, repeat this for 5 full cycles.
*At this point you should be deeply relaxed, and ready to begin your journey (this is the part you may want to record yourself reading)…
As your breathing becomes deeper and deeper, you find yourself standing at the edge of a forest. As you look around your perception awaken, allowing you to observe your surrounding with whatever senses are strongest for you. You continue your deep breathing, and remind yourself that every person experiences the world of Spirit differently, there is no right way or wrong way, only your way. The woods around you is vibrant and teeming with life, pay close attention to what you perceive, taking in all the details you can.
Before you lies a path, leading deeper into the lush woodland. There is a mist laying heavy along the forest floor, adding a feeling of mystery, and there seems to be a warm glow coming from a sun you cannot see. Again your awareness is pulled to the details along the path, as you wind your way deeper and deeper into the green. Pay close attention to any creature/animal/being that presents themselves to you. Staying in the role of observer, remembering that now is not the time for analyzing what you see, it is a time to be present & aware.
As you make your way along the path, you see the remains of an ancient building ahead of you. It is in ruins, the remains of what was, a place of betwixt and between, where memory lies heavy. Allow yourself the time to take in the details of the remains that are before you. As you walk around the site, you notice the mist has become thicker, making it hard to see the ground on which your feet trod. As you make your way around the ruins, you notice a stairway leading into the ground. There is a deep feeling of magic around the stairwell, a feeling of mystery and something that feels like the tickling of a memory. This is a place you have been before, although you may not remember when or how. There is a feeling of dreaming about you.
You step onto the top stair and remember to invite your spirit guide/doorman to join you. You feel a familiar presence stand beside you, you may observe them in whatever manner comes to you, trusting your senses, and being careful not to make expectations. You begin to descend the stairwell, as you place your foot on the step below, make note of what you see, what does the stair look like? what is it made of? what are you wearing upon your feet? You descend the steps, counting as you go…9….8…..7…..6…..5….4….3….2….1…
At the bottom of the stairs you find a door, again it is familiar to you. Make note of whatever details you can. You open the door and before you is a room, with 2 chairs and a fireplace. You take a deep breath in and out before entering the room, allowing yourself to feel calm and present. In one of the chairs, someone is waiting for you. You step into the room and make your way to the empty chair, making note of the details of the room as you cross it. As you sit down in your chair you see/sense/know who it is sitting in the chair next to you. They are one of your Beloved Dead, a loved one in Spirit come to visit with you on this All Hallows Eve.
Allow yourself to sit for a moment acclimating to your surroundings, permitting yourself to observe and emotionally connect with the Spirit that has come to visit. In this time, in this space, you are completely protected. Take a few breaths here, as you do not want to rush. When you feel acclimated to the presence of your loved one, ask them if they have any messages for you. Take a few moments here, breathing deeply, and receiving whatever communication they wish to share, remembering that some Spirits communicate in words, some in images, some in a deep sense of knowing. Whatever way your message comes through be thankful.
You now may share your own feelings/messages with your Beloved Dead, you may also at this time offer up to them the treats (food, drink, smoke) you placed on your altar, knowing that what you offer here in the Otherworld is also being offered on your altar in the world of the living.
As your time in the Otherworld comes to an end, your Beloved Dead presents you with an offering, a gift that they believe will help you on your spiritual path. Make note of what they present to you, for it is an item you should seek out in the waking world. As you accept your gift, give thanks. You are beginning a relationship in spirit that will be a profound asset to your waking life. The item they present you with will be a key to connecting with them in the future.
It is now time to return, you say your goodbyes and turn for the door. As you walk across the room, once more take note of any details you perceive. Upon opening the door you see/sense the familiar stairwell in front of you. You take a deep breath in & out and begin your ascent to the surface. 1…2…3….4….5…6…7…8…9…
You are again standing in the misty ruins deep in the forest, the path leading home stretched out in front of you. At this time, thank your guardian/doorman for accompanying you on your journey. As you leave the ruins the mist begins to dissipate until the trail you are following comes to an end in the room, you inhabit in the waking world. You see the altar you have set up for your ancestors and the familiar body that you call self, sitting and waiting for you. You slip into your body and begin to become aware of the Waking World.
Begin by wiggling your fingers and toes, then move onto a soft slapping of your arms in legs, connecting fully with your physical body. At this point say out loud, my work is complete, I am fully back in my physical form. Do this for a couple of minutes, then pick up a journal and write down whatever you experienced. Knowing that we all experience the Otherwold differently. To complete your work (after journalling), pick up your candle, and walk counter-clockwise around your room, thanking all the spirits that came this night, those seen and unseen, reminding them that now is the time in which they must leave your space and return to their own.
So mote it be!
I hope you enjoyed the read and the journey. The Otherworld is as real as ours, only different. Visits from our Beloved Dead come in all shapes and forms, what we receive in a journey is ours, and may very well be like no others. Some people are naturally proficient in journeying, while others struggle at first. If you are a person who struggled, you may repeat this exercise daily for 3 days after Halloween. Making a note each time in the journal of your progression. We are all spiritual beings, and this is not foreign to us, only forgotten. Our Ancestors have used the art of journeying to communicate with their Beloved Dead for time untold. I wish you a magical Halloween (Samhain/Alfablot), may your Spirits bless you with a visit.