As many individuals there are who have "the sight" and totally own it, there are just as many who are completely bewildered by it and have no idea what to do when spirits come to them.
One client messaged me wondering what to do about a black elf who had come into her room and sat at the foot of the bed while she was asleep. When she woke up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water and saw it there, she was absolutely horrified, started swatting at it with her blankets and ran and turned on the light. Of course her visitor quickly disappeared and she couldn't get back to sleep. After a little more investigation, she informed me that many visitations such as this had occurred throughout her life. She asked if I thought she was crazy and she herself even wondered if she might be going crazy.
So let's start by calming yourself. And, ironically enough, that's going to be the most important thing you can do. And I'll spend the rest of this post explaining why.
Wherever you fit along the spectrum between being overjoyed about your gift or feeling overwhelmed by it (or even hating it) there are some guidelines every person possessing "the sight" can follow to make their experience with spiritual beings far more pleasant if not wonderfully enlightening and beneficial.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?
First of all, you're not crazy. In the case of the above-mentioned client, her family had, throughout her life, burned through MOUNTAINS of sage, and she was continuing to burn it on a daily basis to keep the spirits away. In her family, the gift of sight, had been, unfortunately, what they called "The Family Curse." So she had been taught to view these visitations as spiritual attacks. And she learned the only thing for it was to keep sage burning so the spirits couldn't come in. Carrying around "a curse" as the family had for so long, of course there came along with it a social stigma of "being crazy." What she needed was a serious re-frame.
The reason burning sage "didn't work" is that burning sage is to clear spaces of malevolent spirits. The sage had been doing its job all along; what it didn't prevent was generally good spirits (or even spirits who were simply in need) from coming in. Because her family had the gift of sight but had misinterpreted it as a curse, she wasn't in any way prepared to treat her visitors as anything but invaders. The spirits had been attracted to her and her family because the family could actually see them. It filled these spirits (who generally had unresolved issues in the physical world) with hope that someone might be able to help them resolve their issues and send them on their way. But instead these beings were met with fear and contempt.
When I told this to my client, she wept at the thought of having spent her life shooing away people who were simply coming to her for help.
If this has been the case with you, FORGIVE YOURSELF. And breathe in the fresh air of seeing your gift in a whole new light.
SPIRITS ARE PEOPLE TOO
Probably the most important thing you can do when a spirit visits you (for starters) is to remain calm. Not every spirit minds scaring people. Some might even think it funny. But it's good to begin with the assumption that the spirit visiting you is just a person who is coming with either a message or a request, especially if you have done what you can to keep malevolent spirits away (such as by burning sage, having a house blessing, maintaining a spiritually healthy lifestyle, and/or performing other rituals that keep malevolent spirits away).
Contrary to popular belief, neither the shape nor the color of your messenger is any indicator at all of your visitor's intent. This is especially important to remember if your visitor is a shadow with an unfamiliar or even shifting shape. Shadows that shift in shape (in particular) have a reputation (TOTALLY from Hollywood) for being malevolent, and it couldn't be further from the truth.
So start by thinking how you yourself would want to be treated.
THEY'RE NOT SNEAKING UP ON YOU
It's important to remember that most people don't see spirits. And because they don't see spirits, most spirits are accustomed to being in the presence of solid people and getting completely ignored. Often when they are drawn to you, they don't even know for sure if you can see them. So approaching you is the only way they can possibly tell. Most spirits don't have a sense of time, so often they don't even know it's the middle of the night. They can't generally call or text first. Most of the time they can't knock, and many of them can't even make audible sounds. They're not even expecting to be seen. They don't often even know how to make first contact.
So if spirits come to you often, use everyday stressful situations to practice calming yourself so that you will have learned how to do it in advance. (Here is a link to our Calming Oil should you have any trouble with practicing calmness.) Having good solid breathing techniques at your disposal is incredibly useful. You don't want people freaking out at you. So learn how not to freak out when a spirit comes to you.
KNOW YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU WANT
You might think that since you possess the sight that it's your responsibility to take care of every spirit that comes to you or to help solve their problem. This couldn't be further from the truth. It may indeed be your "calling" to help spirits. But there are a few things you need to ask yourself:
1) What kind of relationship do I wish to have with ANY people who come to me for help or advice?
Remember again that these are people. If solid people were coming to you for help and advice all the time, it would be your job first to define what kind of help you are willing and able to offer them. Are you a therapist? Then you might offer therapy. If someone gives you a message to deliver to someone else, you might deliver a message. It's important to remember that you can only do what you can do! So know your limitations! Having the gift of sight doesn't necessarily mean you have a ton of skills when dealing with spirits!
If you want to be able to help spirits in spiritual ways, of course you can always get additional spiritual training for that. But it may be that all you can do is be a listening ear; just the same as you might be for any friend. Remember that you don't have to know everything. Know your limits, know what kind of relationships you're willing to cultivate with spirits, and if it's nothing more than just showing them that you can see them and acknowledge them, then so be it. You don't have to know everything. This goes for both solid and less-than-solid people.
2) Is this beyond my pay grade?
If a spirit is requesting something of you that is beyond your ability, it is a good idea to know someone who has more experience with spirits and helping them. Once you know a few solid people who specialize in different ways of helping spirits, you can direct them to those more or differently qualified people.
SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES
Once you have decided to be available for spirits who may need you, it is very important to set specific times to be of help. Spirits are often in a timeless space and don't differentiate between day and night. Waking up to someone sitting at the foot of your bed, whoever it may be, could be very alarming to you, even when it's one of your own kids. So if you do set yourself up to receive spirits, set specific times and make those times known. The most important person to know them is YOURSELF.
One of my friends who has chosen to be available to spirits has typed out her rules on a regular word processor. This gave her the opportunity to make sure she was being absolutely clear both to herself and to the spirits who will visit about her personal boundaries. Then she prints them up so she can see them. Then she reads this paper aloud and "projects" the words onto another piece of paper that spirits can read after she hangs it on the front of her door. To solid people looking at the paper, it looks blank. But because she spoke the words onto it and intended for the spirits to see it, the message can be communicated to those spirits in a way they can understand it.
Again, be very clear about the kind of help you can offer and the hours you are available to help. Create a "spiritual clock" that only spirits can see or you can make a sign on your front door that says, "Open for Spirits Now." Then make sure you stick to the time and don't go over. It is very unwise, of course, to have any hobby cross the boundary into your family or work time or to invade your life in any way that isn't healthy for you and your family.
HOW TO GREET A SPIRIT
You can speak to a spirit in your mind or, of course, you can use your regular speech. The important thing is to be calm and open and make sure a relationship of mutual respect is maintained. If the spirit isn't abiding by your rules for interacting with you, make those rules known. And if the spirit will not abide by those rules, dismiss them.
I recommended to my client who was visited by the black elf that she very casually and calmly say aloud something like, “Dark Shadow. Thanks for your visit. What brings you?”
You’ll likely not hear words from the being. Feelings and ideas are probably what you’ll get. If the being tries anything funny like scaring you, say, “I need you to be real with me here. What’s your message. I’ll be respectful to you if you be respectful to me.” Maintain that kind of tone throughout.
REMEMBER YOU ARE IN THE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS POSITION
If it ever turns out your find yourself in the presence of a spirit who is not respecting your personal rules of engagement, remember that you have the upper hand. Here in this physical dimension, it is ALWAYS more advantageous to have a physical body than to be without one. When it comes to our own personal boundaries, disembodied persons can be bound by our words. It's not that we can control them, but we can indeed dictate the terms for their engagement with us, and they cannot behave in our personal space against our stated wishes.
If you find yourself in a dialogue with a spirit who isn't respecting your rules for engagement, you can say, "I have told you my rules for engagement and you are not abiding by them. I dismiss you." And that spirit is BOUND to leave.
There are a few cases where dismissing a spirit like this will not work, such as times where you have extended unholy invitations or have engaged in dark magick with ill intent. In this case, you will need to perform some kind of repentance ritual and you may also need to have an exorcism performed.
A NOTE ABOUT HAUNTING
There is one other case where you may not be able to dismiss a spirit and it is when the spirit lives where you live. Namely that he is a resident of the house that you moved into and it was already his/her abode. This will require special negotiations with that spirit and probably the help of a spiritual mediator. If you are emotionally involved and upset in a situation like this, you can only make things more difficult for yourself by freaking out or getting angry. So chill out and get qualified spiritual help.
IF THE SPIRIT HAS A PERSONAL MESSAGE FOR YOU
Occasionally you'll find a spirit has come specifically to convey a message to you about something in your life. If this is the case, it is a good idea to remember to take whatever the spirit says with a grain of salt. Remember; the spirit is a person, and not infallible. If the spirit tells you something true that you don’t like hearing, just be honest with yourself and consider it. Once the spirit has conveyed his/her message, say, “Thank You for that perspective. I’m going to think about that.” Receive that information from him/her and then think about it. You’ll know if the being is telling you the truth if his/her words are the kind of advice that lead you toward truly improving yourself. And of course, NEVER take advice or follow the instructions of a spirit who encourages you to act wrongfully or unwisely in any way. YOU are in charge of YOU.
Remember in all this the most important thing is to know what you want in your relationships with people, both solid and less-than-solid. Your time is valuable. Your gift does not make you a slave. Define your terms and stick to them, and you will begin to feel that your gift is, indeed, a gift; and not least of all a gift to yourself.