During the Samhain season much emphasis is put on spirits, ghosts and things that go bump in the night. As psychopomp is a critical role of my personal and professional shamanic path, I'm often approached by those who want me to communicate with deceased loved ones. In some cases a different scenario arises and I'm asked, "Why doesn't my deceased loved one visit me?"
My immediate response is, "How do know your loved one doesn't?" There is an assumption that because we are emotionally close to a deceased loved one that we are open to and will recognize a visit from that dear soul. It's an understandable assumption, as our culture generally sensationalizes and romanticizes interactions with the deceased. In reality, it is often because we are so emotionally involved with the deceased that we don't or can't perceive their presence. Sometimes when loved ones are still actively grieving loss, they are too distracted to observe spiritual activity. In their haze, they miss subtle messages that a trained intuitive would intercept, or they are holding out for a grand entrance when a gentle presence is right in front of them. Consequently, sometimes when the deceased sense that their loved ones are not moving on, they do not visit them on purpose. The inability of living or deceased loved ones to accept death causes all involved to stagnate. Often the dead realize that their presence may only encourage the living loved one's grief instead of soothe it.
Emotional involvement isn't the only impediment to visitation from beyond the grave. Whether due to fear of the paranormal or the exclusion of such a possibility due to religious path or life view, these can be long-held beliefs that prevent spirit interaction. Often people haven't really considered the possibility of interacting with a spirit until someone they love dies. Again, in that dynamic lies an assumption that the emotional bond will in and of itself reveal an active connection beyond the veil, and in this case trump institutionalized beliefs. I know it is entirely possible for someone who does not believe in spirits to have a spontaneous change of heart. However, in these cases there is still more than an emotional bond at work.
Our consciousness is organized into beliefs and personal truths so that we can make sense of data coming in. At any point that we choose, we can change our beliefs, thus change the organization of our consciousness. In the case of those who prior eschewed spiritual possibilities let alone contact, it's not likely that their beliefs will spontaneously reorganize to suddenly allow the perception of a visitation from a deceased loved one. If someone fears spirits or has rigid beliefs that oppose paranormal life, the likelihood of experiencing such after the death of a loved one is slim. It is possible, though not probable. Naysayers who do experience unexpected spiritual interaction have generally gone through a rampant restructuring of their beliefs.
Another reason that the dead don't visit is simply because they have no need to. They're happy. They're peaceful and they have genuinely grown beyond the concerns of the formed realm. It doesn't mean they don't love us or have abandoned us. It doesn't mean we won't never see them again. In fact, most of us repeat experiences of ourselves with the same groups of souls. It just means they've moved on to the next point of their destiny.
So what's the magickal combination? Why do some people have full-on conversations with the deceased, while others of us don't seem able to? Remember that people who work with spirits likely demonstrated some innate ability to do so early on in life and/or had a life-changing experience that opened them to their ability, and have dedicated their lives to the skills and boundaries of that work. It's not random or trivial. They devoted themselves to learning to read the signals and communication of spirits in subtle and profound ways. Moreover, they do so without an emotional charge. They are not emotionally involved with their work, and that enables them to stretch the limits of their ability. To people who interact with spirits doing so is no different than interacting with the living. Venturing into the realm of the dead is as commonplace as walking into a crowded restaurant. In short, it's not a big deal to them. They will it so, and so it is. Through that accomplishment, it's always a miracle.
The thing is, there isn't anything special about people who experience spirits and those who don't. The only difference between those who do and those who don't, is willingness and the taming of cultural domestication to see life in a fuller, less-prescribed way. For those curious about how to interact with spirits, connect with a trusted professional who can mentor the skills to do so. For those who want to interact with deceased loved ones, find someone who can do so and know that the bond across the veil is as intact as ever. Moreover, find etheric ways to deepen relationships to loved ones now, and the opening for that greater interaction will always be there.
Originally published at Intentional Insights. There you can read about Kelley's interactions with the dead, and learn more about her work as a deathwalker.