Ouija: The Spirits and the Positive Side of the Talking Board
By Stephen Wagner, About.com
Author Karen A. Dahlman explains the many positive benefits of using the Ouija to contact “spirit friends”
FOR MANY YEARS now, the Ouija board and similar other forms of divination or alleged spirit communication have been branded with negativity. They are portals, some warn, through which dark entities can emerge. They are dangerous tools to be feared and avoided. Are they really? Or can they also bring positive experiences?
Karen A. Dahlman explains in her book The Spirits of Ouija: Four Decades of Communication that the board can help the user develop empowerment and spiritual growth through contact with spirits from the “great beyond.”
In this interview, Karen reveals how to properly use the Ouija for positive results, the mistakes to avoid, and her own remarkable experiences.
Q: You have a very positive attitude toward the Ouija board, which is very different from the prevailing view that it is a dangerous tool. Why do you think the Ouija has such a negative reputation with many people?
Karen: Unfortunately, its reputation has been built upon many years of misunderstandings and fears of the unknown. When society’s two main prevailing schools of thought, one being science and the other being religion, explain to the populace that the Ouija board is either quackery or demonic, people follow and regurgitate these views. They often just espouse these views without ever being open to the possibility that some other influence – an influence unseen, unmeasured, and possibly benevolent – could be making contact through this device.
Look, both views want to systematically control their domain. For the most part, science controls its domain through rationale and linear thinking. When some event falls outside of science’s ability to measure and fit it into a neat package, its occurrence is attributed to quackery or a simplistic process, such as ideomotor movements. On the other hand, religious groups often control their realm by means of their doctrine, telling their members that the only way to salvation is through their dictated process. Anything outside of this must be attributed to false prophets, negative influences, and the devil.
People want to fit in and they fear going against the grain. So, they hold tight to their supplied beliefs. People want structure, order, and control. They fear the unknown. Often they attack many rogues in an accusingly angry and mockingly manner because deep down they are scared about the thought of leaving the sanctity of their box of beliefs and how that open thought just might shake up their worlds. And Hollywood wisely capitalized upon this!
Q: Have you ever had a negative experience with the Ouija?
Karen: I have had a few experiences with Ouija that could be constituted as “negative,” and that term I would use loosely. The experiences were negative in that the communication turned into communication by cussing or into manifestations of touching my physical body. This happened two times during my history of using the board.
I have found that when earthbound spirits come through, they are still attached to their personalities and will behave like their past life personality. I have also learned that I do not have to engage with such negative, cursing, or abusive contacts. Just put the board away. I no longer have such experiences because I have established a portal of positive and benevolent communication after much time spent within this realm. It’s true, practice makes perfect and, in this case, positive.
Another way I work with this type of negativity is based on my training/work as a psychotherapist. The “bad” behavior is a way to be tough and protect the personality from more pain. So, when I feel that the spirit or ghost is reaching out in pain through their negative demeanor and words, I will work with the spirit to hear their pain. This work definitely requires training in order to not get caught up or stuck in their negative behavior and communication, yet know how to deflect, yet hear and work with these stuck emotions of the personality.
I do not recommend others to do this type of work without preparation in how to work with transference and displacement with the personality of a spirit. (This work is even harder to do on the unseen than it is on the physical people within our realm!) When approaching a negative energy, many people get stuck and wrapped up in the negative behavior exhibited: words, poltergeist activities, including manifestations and apparitions. The unprepared paranormal hunter or unwarranted contactee results are too often deemed as being “evil” since the releasement work is not understood.
I must mention that I spent a decade working with dissociative identity disorders as a trained, licensed psychotherapist. I worked with the various personalities within a living person in much the same manner I continue to work with the personalities of the spirits and earthbound ghosts.
Q: What is the worst mistake a Ouija user can make?
Karen: There are warnings to adhere when using the board and working with this type of communication. This tool, this device, truly works, and contact with varying consciousnesses can be reached. The concern and warnings I have for others is the ease at which we are able to make contact that I have seen others become obsessed with it. I am discussing obsession to the point of relying on the communication from the board to dictate their next decision or choice within their life. This is a huge mistake to make. This is not the way to use this tool.
Only use this tool for self-growth where the spirits ask you questions to help you probe deeper into your life where you make the decisions and not where you engage with earthbound spirits that attempt to control or play around with your quandaries.
Q: Who or what are you contacting through the Ouija? Ghosts? Angels? Other-dimensional beings?
Karen: I am contacting and communicating with all that you mentioned and beyond. The level of consciousness that we are able to contact via this tool is unfathomable. Not only do I speak with deceased loved ones, but also continually speak with stuck spirits (ghosts), angels, higher selves, inter-dimensional beings (ethereal beings who have never been incarnated in physical form) and animals. I speak with animals that are both dead and alive.
Q: Some researchers suspect that the Ouija merely taps the subconscious. What convinces you that you are contacting genuine entities rather than your own subconscious?
Karen: There is no way I can ever prove this one way or the other! I will say this, though, that I believe that my energy on a subatomic and quantum level is not separated from the energy with which I am in communication. This means that my so-called “subconscious mind” and the energy of it are vibrating at a frequency that is able to match the frequency of the entities in which I am communicating. Truly, we are not separate energies in the frequency of our vibration. We humans in the corporeal form only envision it this way.
We have been taught that we are separate from each other. I have learned from using this tool, the Ouija Board, that we are not separate from the energies and, for that matter, from each other. We are all connected at the universal source that I like to call “the matrix of all.” So, given this understanding, I am contacting myself and the energies of the spirits through a “blending” of our energies that is fully connected and not separate at this level of communication.
I feel that ultimately I am not disconnected at an energetic level from anything. Yet, to adhere to the popular belief that humans are separate individuals, I will answer this question under this domineering belief. What I have learned from the entities, spirits, guides, angels, etc. with whom I am communicating, provides specifics that my rational and separate mind would not know or to that which I have been privy. I receive specifics via the board’s communication that I could not have known as well as having ever heard, picked up or learned from another by typical means of communication.
Q: Despite your positive view toward the Ouija, you still emphasize that it is not a toy. Is there a proper and improper way to use the Ouija? What is your method?
Karen: Yes, there is a “proper” way to work with the board or any tool that brings you in contact with the unseen forces. When traversing other dimensions, it’s important to respect the environment in which you are entering and from which you are receiving messages. I fully cover this in my book, The Spirits of Ouija, within chapter four. It’s so important that the space in which the session will occur is prepared physically.
It is also just as important that the board operators are prepared physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. This means that we must be of sound mind and body. We must be emotionally and physically available and open, and not feeling tired or worn out from the day’s events. We must set up a specific space in which we can have an uninterrupted and private time to work the board. It’s always recommended to open this space with the burning of a candle or incense, and when we are complete with the session to also blow out the candle and incense as a reminder that we are leaving this space. So, you enter this space and exit this space with reverence and in ritual.
Once you have set the space, it’s important to enter into this work from a relaxed space. I recommend a breathing exercise and prayer that can assist with this, as shared within my book. The entire idea is to set the stage for respectful communication from and for both parties. This is no different that you would do for a friend. Respect breeds and garners respect. Treat this communication as you would as you are getting to know a new friend because, in fact, that is what you are doing.
Q: Can one person use the Ouija by her- or himself, or does it always have to be two people?
Karen: I only recommend that two people do the board together. Technically, it works best with two people. Coherent and intelligent messages come through more freely and easily when the planchette’s subtle movements are allowed and more readily trusted when two operate the board. I feel that the two operators’ energies come together, creating a circuit-like dynamic (portal), which the spirits utilize in order to communicate.
Spiritually, I feel that an overzealous person, one who is prone to becoming obsessed with this type of communication and who is not use to doing this type of work, could find himself traversing within negative and possibly scary earth-bound spirit communication. Having another person there doing the work together helps maintain a force of checks and balances. This means that the two can be more objective about the messages coming through and can stay grounded together as they explore the meaning of the messages from both of their viewpoints.
A single person can learn to use this tool alone, not unlike automatic writing with a pen or the automatic writer, which looks like a planchette with a writing utensil attached to it. However, unless someone has been working with this tool in a dyad manner (with two people) over many, many years and has a solid spiritual practice in place that teaches this person to be grounded, centered and trusting of their own inner truths, then maybe he can learn to use this tool by himself. Still, I don’t recommend it for any beginner nor for many advance users of the board!
Q: One of the tests that skeptics have proposed for the legitimacy of the Ouija is to use it blindfolded. You have done this with success, haven’t you?
Karen: Yes, I have entertained the infamous blindfolded experiment. When we did this experiment, I thought we were just going to show my naysayer college friends how this tool could work. Little did I know that the message would be as profound and as succinct as it became when we donned the blindfolds. It has etched itself into my memory from those many, many years ago. We did it to prove to the nonbelievers that our communication with the spirit realm was real and worked.
The message that came through while we could not see what the planchette was spelling was one of a heartfelt message. This message changed my view and work with this tool forever. It was so profound, not only to the recipient, as her recently passed sister came through and offered words of comfort and solace, but to the rest of the participants in the room. We were forever changed as an untimely death was offered closure and reassurance of love from beyond.
Q: What are the best conditions for using the Ouija?
Karen: The best conditions in which to use the Ouija board or any other talking board is when, number one, your countenance is in a great space and you welcome the messages. Then we need to be aware of what is going on atmospherically and planetarily when we engage within a session. We can only set a space of receptivity and positivity, but we can’t control the atmospheric or planetary effects.
Q: What has been the overall effect of using the Ouija board on your life?
Karen: Extremely positive! Working with this tool in the manner in which I use it that is shared within my latest book, The Spirits of Ouija, I am able to affect great change for the better within myself and within the participants. All of the following have been developed and grown through this work: intuition, clarity on life’s issues, making profound changes, unleashing creativity, writing books, finding closure on deaths and endings, increasing awareness of other consciousness, developing patience and persistence, understanding that we are never alone and, most important, knowing my center and how to align within my inner truths.
The board work has augmented my own spiritual practices and endeavors. I believe that the board doesn’t do this to me or others; instead, it’s the work we are willing to do on ourselves while using the board that allows us to skyrocket ahead with the internal growth and experiences I have mentioned above.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to experiment with the Ouija?
Karen: I only suggest that someone works with the board if this person takes this tool seriously, meaning that they come to the board with a sense of reverence and respect to the energies with whom they will ultimately come into contact. Although this energy, these spirits, are unseen, they still exist and require a stable frequency on our side in which to help them make contact and communicate back to us.
I recommend that the person is not imbibing on mind-altering substances before or during the session. I suggest the person approach the communication with respect by requesting the interaction, being courteous, treating the energy as one would want to be treated, and then thanking the energy for attempting the communication.
Most important, the communication requires much patience, practice, and perseverance in order to open the channels of communication, gain the trust, and receive the messages. The best way to allow this communication is to have your own internal spiritual practice where the individual is learning to hear and trust their own inner wisdom and messages.
Having a practice of staying centered during this spirit communication promotes great depth to the communication and allows the board operators to filter through the information and discern what is “truth” for them. Just because the messages come from an unseen source does not mean it’s always accurate. This is no different than receiving a Tarot, psychic, or intuitive reading. You must filter through the information, be open to the messages, yet know your own internal path so you only rely on your internal voice and wisdom.
Karen A. Dahlman is the author of The Spirits of Ouija: Four Decades of Communication and The Spirit of Creativity: Embodying Your Soul’s Passion, available at her website: Creative Visions Publications.