I was in the middle of a phone conversation with spiritual medium Erika Gabriel, talking about how to communicate with spirits, when she suddenly told me she was getting a message from my grandmother (who had passed away a couple of years ago). “Your grandmother wants to say something to you,” she says, as I’m taken off guard. “She’s telling me to ask you why you aren’t married yet—she really wants to see you married and settled down with a family.”
Let me tell you—I was shook. I’m not alone. As we lose loved ones, some of us are interested in communicating with others in the spirit world, and Gabriel’s job is to act as a guide. She’s well-versed in communicating with those who have moved on, which is what I came to her for. To begin with, though, it’s important to fully know what spirits are in the first place—and what they are not. Now, it’s important to note that not everyone believes this world exists, but for those who do, there are certainly things to get straight. Here are the most important details to note, according to Gabriel.
First things first: What are spirits?
“There are such things as ghosts,” says Gabriel. “I’m going to start there. Ghosts or those types of spirits are usually the first things that people bump into because they’re stuck here on the Earth plane.” She explains that the “bumping into” feeling is essentially that energy you feel when you visit a historic place, or when you’re in a place with strange vibes.
Hear her out on this, though: She says you should never, ever be afraid of ghosts (AKA spirits). That reputation that’s constantly being reinforced in scary movies is, according to Gabriel, a super rare occurrence. “Spirits cannot hurt you or harm you—they can make you feel weird, but that’s it. You can get weird vibes and weird feelings from them, but they’re harmless,” she says. So that’s good.
The thing with spirits is that they don’t “cross to the other side” after they die, so they’re operating in the Earth element, which is why you can communicate with them. “Our spirit lives on when we die, but we do see instances where people have something that’s really tethering them down to the Earth and so they get stuck here and can’t move on,” says Gabriel.
Why would you want to communicate with spirits?
As for why you’d even want to learn how to communicate with spirits though, the medium explains that it’s because the spirit world is filled with guides that can actually help you if you hear their messages.”There’s so much more to spirit than just ghosts, and if you move through that fear, the spirit world is very beautiful,” says Gabriel. “If you can elevate and really quiet the mind, you start to connect with the higher vibration spirit world—you can focus on that vibration and connect with loved ones. And that is where you get this amazing connection and beautiful energy that can assist you in your life and help you in healing.”
So yeah, when you hear energy healers and other such wellness pros mention spirit guides, this is what they’re talking about. “You can communicate with loved ones with specific messages, for instance,” says Gabriel. “And there’s not just one way to connect with spirits. Everyone I’ve ever read for is already connected to the spirit world without me. So I always tell people your loved ones are with you, not me.”
How to actually communicate with spirits
First of all, you are capable of communicating with spirits, according to Gabriel. “I love to stress that everyone can connect with spirits on their own—I’m not the gatekeeper,” she says. “I think of it like an old radio you’re turning on and tuning into. It’s about raising your vibration up as the spirits slow theirs down, and we all meet in the middle so you can hear them.”
Avoid using tools: “Don’t use tools like an Ouija board or a pendulum,” warns Gabriel. “If you’re not trained in how to connect, you’re making a big mistake using those on your own—what it’s like is basically opening up a channel to spirits so that any spirit can come wandering through. The problem is that you’ll pick up a lot of ghosts and stuck energy.”
Stay focused: Gabriel says the secret is in being specific. “It’s a very focused, specific station when you want to reach for someone,” she explains. “Opening up to the whole spirit world is too much. Working with energy is about focusing on your intention and who you want to connect with.”
Listen to your gut: Gabriel says the best trick is to actually listen to your intuition. “Basically, if your spirit guides are trying to get you to hear something, they are meeting you in your gut,” she says. “It’s like when you meet someone and think they’re not good for you, or that you feel you should take a chance on a job. Your spirit guide is prompting you, so it’s all about quieting your mind so that you can hear what’s going on in your intuition, or your gut.”
Quiet your mind: Of course, the ways of doing this can be different for everyone. “One way to quiet your mind is by walking in nature, putting your phone away, breathing,” says Gabriel. “Quieting your mind is putting money in the bank in this sacred space you’re building for yourself. And that’s where your spirit guides can meet you and help you.”
Listen to your dreams: You can also receive some communication from your spirits via your dreams. “People who have crossed over come through in dream states, especially in the beginning of their passing,” says Gabriel. “They’re usually just trying to show the person that they’re okay.” Case in point: My dreams about my grandmother.
Try a writing practice: Then there are writing meditations, which Gabriel dubs “automatic writing.” “Light a white candle, sit down, close your eyes, and take a deep breath,” she instructs. “Say that you’d like to work with the highest vibrational guides available to you. Basically you then ask them a question, take a deep breath, and relax your hand—let it be loose, and then write up what they’re saying. They’ll start talking really fast.”
If you’re having trouble connecting despite your best intentions, Gabriel says not to stress—it’s a process. “Working with spirits is not fast—it’s a practice,” she says. “It can be very frustrating because you want to connect with them immediately, but it doesn’t work like that. I’m still learning and practicing myself after reading for 11 years.”
Also in the energy realm: Here’s how to get rid of negative energy that’s attached to you. And this is how to make a chakra bracelet to help you connect to even more energy that’s out there.
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