According to traditional Chinese philosophy, some illnesses or other afflictions, particularly those of a chronic nature, may be caused by unhappy Ancestral Spirits. Ancestors may be aggrieved because a grave is neglected, or perhaps illness and disaster result from a lack of sufficient sacrificial offerings to sustain beneficial energy. These ancestors aren’t necessarily malevolent; they just lack enough energy and power to keep harm from your door.
What can be done?
First of all, feed them, and feed them well. Have certain days where they are invited to dinner, set places at the table for them, and have a nice chat. Take picnic lunches to grave sites, and share food with them there on sunny afternoons.
Secondly, verify if a grave needs tending. Make improvements if you can. If this is impossible, if a grave site is situated in a location beyond your reach, in parts unknown, or does not, in fact, exist, then explain this to the Ancestors in detail, including what your plans are for compensation. Divination may be in order to receive their opinions on the matter, too.
You can also create a small shrine or ancestral altar in your home, with old pictures or memorabilia and leave small offerings of sweets etc.
And last but not least, burn paper offerings. The traditional offering is joss paper – called “spirit money” or “ghost money.” In a pinch, any paper resembling money will do.
- Goal: To use if you feel the presence of benign spirits.
- Optional extras: White candle
You can do this spell in front of your altar or walking around the house (be careful to have the candle in something that will render it safe to carry) or any place in the house where you are particularly aware of the spirit’s presence.
Familiars are particularly helpful in working with spirit entities since they often sense energies that people do not. If you find your pet consistently looking at a particular spot in the house or acting as if they see something you can’t, you may want to do this spell, just in case!
This is not a banishing spell. If you want to be rid of a spirit, this is not the spell to use. This spell is essentially a way of saying, “I know you’re here, and you are welcome to stay as long as you don’t cause any problems.
Greetings, O spirit
Whose form was once flesh
And who lingers on
For reasons I cannot know
You are welcome here
In this place that is mine
As long as your intent is benign
And your energy mellow
I will not interfere with you
If you will not interfere with me
Let us live together in peace
And may your spirit be blessed.
In this manner the letter must be written: first, the ink prepared from soot mixed with pale wine; next, the pen made, shaped from a quill never before cut; then, the paper arranged on a table between two black candles. At the top of the paper this inscription should be set:
See now, thou who are mourned, the nature of this mourning: as thou knowest even now my sorrow, so on this paper do I doubly affirm it. I write thee my heart here, for thy sight and mine only – that we may be bound by such silent words even better than when our words were spoken. Receive, then, this document as sign and token of my commitment: not to forget thee, nor to cease mourning for thee, until my own life shall be ended.
Write down then the essence of your grief, the substance of your devotion, and such aspects of memory as you would fix forever. When this has been accomplished, fold the paper thrice and seal it, along with sweet herbs, in a small box which should then be buried in the ground, or burned in a fire of fragrant wood. The letter shall thus be received.
Source; Crone’s Book of Magical Words
The Lemuria, is an ancient Roman festival in honor of the Lemures, the spirits of dead family members who wander the earth on these three spring nights (May 9, 11, and 13). This is a banishing ritual to ensure that no bad energy and no angry or hungry ghosts can hang around. A simple version can be found here: The Lemuria.
Note: While this ritual is specific to The Lemuria, I see no reason why it cannot be used anytime this type of banishing is needed.
- Colors: Black and grey
- Element: Air
- Offerings: None. This is a banishing. All carry cymbals, drums, or noisemakers.
- Daily Meal: Goat meat. Beans.
Upon cloth of black and grey set a bowl of beans, nine black candles, a brazier with incense of agrimony and rue, a bottle of good wine, a bowl of clean spring water, a knotted rope, a bowl of asafoetida, and a skull.
(First the one who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual stands forth, takes the knotted rope from the altar, and unknots it, and throws it into the brazier.)
Shades of those who have gone before us!
Ghosts and demons, inside us and outside,
We cast you out!
We drive you before us!
Begone from house and hearth,
Begone from mind and heart,
Begone from roost and stall,
Begone from field and garden,
Begone from path and road,
Begone from all places
Where you might harry us!
We scatter you before us on the wind!
We cast you out!
We drive you before us!
(The officiant makes the sign of the ficus towards the west, and all follow in turn. Then the officiant washes their hands in the clear spring water, and brings the bowl to all, who wash in turn. The water is poured out in the libation well. Then the beans are passed around, and all take a handful or a mouthful. Each spits or throws the beans in a different direction.)
Hace ego mitto,
his redime meque meosque fabis!
Manes exite paterni!
Manes exite paterni!
Manes exite paterni!
(All walk through the house and around the boundaries of the property, clashing cymbals and beating drums and making noise to drive away all evil spirits. This ritual repeats for three days, only on odd-numbered days, which are luckier than even-numbered days.)
Found in: Pagan Book of Hours
The Eurasian spirit Hecate guards the frontier between the realms of the living and the dead, negotiating the sometimes divergent needs of both parties. Although she may not banish ghosts entirely (you can ask, though!), she can enforce their good behavior. Hecate is traditionally depicted having one body but three faces, sometimes that of women but most typical that of a dog, a horse and a lion.
Each month, at the full moon:
- Bring a three-headed image of Hecate to a three-way crossroads.
- Place the image so that each face points toward a road (or as close as possible).
- Place food on the ground including fish, honey and a round cake with candles.
- Make an invocation to Hecate requesting that she make the ghosts behave.
- Leave the meal at the crossroads for whoever takes it.
Source: Coven of Hecate
Do the dead rest easy? Flowers and flowering shrubs may be planted on the grave to serve as barometers. Allegedly if the flowers thrive and bloom, there’s no need to worry about whoever’s in the grave. Of course some plants are considered better barometers than others. Marjoram is believed to provide a good guarantee – if it thrives on a grave, the person within is certain to be content.
Other grave site plantings include the following:
Plant Aloe Vera on the grave site in order to soothe the deceased, ease any sense of loneliness or abandonment, and prevent their longing for the living.
A carpet of chamomile planted over a grave encourages the dead to sleep and also eases their passage to the next realm.
Cover graves with a carpet of daisies and blue bells to bring peace to the deceased and joy to the bereaved, and to invite the presence of benevolent guardian spirits.
Plant rowan trees in the cemetery, especially overlooking graves, to watch over the spirits of the dead.
To encourage the dead to sleep peacefully and deeply, strew wild poppy seeds throughout the cemetery.
Asphodel is allegedly among the favored foods of the dead. Asphodel is sometimes planted on graves, however the legend is also taken literally. Prepare asphodel – it’s typically roasted – and leave it atop a grave to comfort and satisfy the deceased within.
Tansy is described as an herb of life everlasting. It allegedly comforts the bereaved while assuring the dead that they will not be forgotten.
On the Eve of Samhain, (the night before Halloween), get a white candle, matches and mirror for this spell. At dusk, go to a haunted area or a place you feel the spirits are especially powerful. Make contact by walking about and allowing your mind to roam. Light your white candle and stare into it saying:
Clear as midnight,
the spirits are bright.
brings you to me.
As a form takes shape,
I am not asleep.
take your shape.
Let the candle flicker. Glance into the mirror and look past your shoulder. Do you see mists or lighted balls in the reflection? This is how ghosts typically appear. Return to the area on the next three nights. Take some pictures. At home, place your mirror face down. Mirrors trap spirits. Some spirits will track you as you search for their reflections. If you want your those to leave, just say so. Follow this up by putting a broom over your transom and burning sage.
~by Susan Sheppard
This lovely little spell is great for Samhain.
It would also be appropriate if you celebrate The Day of the Dead.
It is simple but works wonders. It can also be used to protect and cast circles, for guidance, and most of all comfort. It gives me the warmth and guidance I seek WITHOUT fail!!
I call forth from space and time.
Ancestors of my blood line.
Gather around on this holy night.
Watch over me till morning light.
Blood of my blood,
I set you free,
Thanking you for coming,
Until next time,
For this spell, gather at your altar or sacred space some black cloth, a black candle, a bowl of water, a feather, a citrine, amethyst or lapis lazuli crystal, and photos and mementos from your loved ones who have passed beyond.
Place the black cloth on your altar or on the floor. Position the feather in the east, the candle in the south, the bowl of water in the west, and the crystal in the north. Arrange the photos and other objects in the middle as you chant or whisper:
“May my loved ones touch me again-in the kiss of a breeze, in the light of candle flame, in the laughter of the rain, in the ground beneath my feet. Spirits of air, fire, water, earth, bring my loved ones close again.”
You may want to hold a photo or object and take time to feel the spirit of your loved one.
Samhain (aka Halloween) is a magical time of the year. It has Celtic roots. It marks the beginning of the “dark” part of the year. It’s also the moment when the “veils” between the realms of the living and dead are “thinned” making communication easier.
You can actually invoke blessings from “hungry” ghosts who are without any family or friends, and that have long been forgotten. You’ll love the little strokes of “good luck” and other goodies you begin to receive.
Beginning 1 or 2 weeks before October 31, (Samhain/Halloween), here’s what to do:
Every night before you go to bed, place a glass of milk and a plate of barley outside your home under the stars.
This will ease lonely ghosts’ “hunger” for attention. It will prevent any mischief, and will bring blessings, luck, and fortune into your life during the next week.