Séances are back in fashion or maybe they have never been out. Social media now makes it so easy to connect with people and communities with similar interests. Whether you are part of an online community or an offline one in the field of paranormal or spiritualism, you may have noticed that séances are starting to come out of the shadows of Penny Dreadful and are being enjoyed once again more widely. This once favourite Victorian past-time activity is enjoying a revival.
If you're not particularly keen on joining a paid event with bunch of people you have never met before but rather take part in a séance with your friends on a Saturday night, here are some guidelines that will assist you in making the night enjoyable.
Who should I invite?
In my experience the ideal number of people to get around a table for a séance is between four and seven. There really isn't a rule as to minimum or maximum numbers. If you have any friends who have some psychic development under their belt then ask them to come along. It's a great opportunity for them to practice their new skills. If not, then there are plenty of mediums around who will come to your house for a reasonable fee to conduct a séance. Google is your friend in this case but do make sure that you pick someone reputable and experienced in leading séances.
What sort of setting will I need for a séance?
What sort of setting will I need for a séance?
Séances are best conducted in comfortable spaces where all participants can sit around a table (our circle has a round table) and move around as needed. A space that is well ventilated that can be made dark and away from noise is ideal. Pick a time when there will be no other disturbances in the house and there is nowhere to rush off to afterwards. If you're doing this séance in your home, the best time is when all people present in the house during a séance actually participate in it. If that's not possible, ask them to keep noise and movement to a minimum. Otherwise you and your séance buddies might mistaken their pottering about the house for genuine spirit phenomena.
What other things do I need?
There is no special equipment needed for séances unless you want to get into physical mediumship. If you're just starting out, it's unlikely that you will encounter phenomena that will need special equipment. It's good to have some paper and writing instruments on the table during the séance. We have found in our circle that often information will come through the medium that is worth writing down. The spirit coming through the medium on occasion requested pen and paper to write something down or even draw. Some candles will set the mood with incense though they are not necessary. A low light desk lamp is sufficient. If you're going for candles, use the ones in jars as the chance of spilling is the lowest. If you're using a lamp, try a red bulb, it is easier on the eyes when the room is dark. Some would recommend to put a bowl of water in the middle as a focal point, though I believe that is more tradition than actual necessity. Things like creaky chairs and tables should be avoided for obvious reasons and it's good practice to check for droughts beforehand. When your candle flame moves or you feel a cold breeze across your face, you want to make sure that you are able to discount all natural and obvious explanations.
What if something scary happens?
For séances, the atmosphere builds up over time through repeated sessions in the same place and , ideally, with the same people. It's unlikely that the energies will be very strong if you're only just starting out. If you're more comfortable with someone more seasoned leading the séance then engage a medium.They should have ample experience in dealing with the unexpected. However in the absence of such person, it's good practice to have a plan for any untoward events. Those plans may include things like providing grounding for anyone in need, have access to water to offer to anyone affected, assertively ending the session or saying a prayer if that is deemed to be required. There is one thing you shouldn't do however and that is to upset and disrupt the circle and abruptly leave the room in panic. If you think that you or any of the proposed participants may behave that way, it's best not to attend such an event.
The purpose of the event is to encounter spirit phenomena and that may come in many forms, such as sensation of being touched, voice heard, movements experienced or even channelling. So, don't run away when things start happening. The phenomena are unpredictable and you never know when you shall encounter them and in what power. You also have to be prepared for not experiencing anything at all.
It's also good practice to document séances either by someone who can act as a scribe, or recording them on voice recorders or even a video camera if that's possible. This is good for several reasons. You may catch a possible EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) on your audio track or if you opted for video, you might record something unusual on the footage that correlates with the audio track or someone's experience during the session. Notes are handy when you have a spirit return to the circle to communicate as you will find that doing repeated and regular session, you will have your regulars and familiars making appearances from The Other Side.
The process of a séance session is a topic for another article as there are many schools of thought and different traditions dictate different rituals.