Last week, a client ask me what I thought about talking boards. My answer to her surprised her. She expected me to say something like “never use them, they only attract dark energy.” or something similar.
There are common misconceptions about talking boards, more commonly known as Ouija boards. Many believe that no good can come of them. Some think that they open a portal and invite in evil. Others think that they attract lower level entities only. My opinions and experiences differ greatly.
We need to first be clear about what a Ouija board is. In it’s most common modern incarnation, it is cardboard and ink with a glossy finish, accompanied by a plastic or wooden planchette. The brand name of Ouija board is currently held by Hasbro Co, maker of many popular games and toys. There is nothing inherently special, magic, spiritual or evil about it. How it is used determines its intention.
Seances with talking boards were a common parlor game in the Victorian Era, especially among the upper class. At that point they were made of wood, and sometimes used a shot glass or pendulum instead of a planchette. But the techniques of trying to contact the dead are much older than that, and can be traced back to ancient China.
Today, Hollywood has made countless horror movies about these boards, increasing their popularity as a spooky, or evil object. It is no wonder then that many people today report frightening and negative experiences. Almost everyone you ask will either have a personal negative experience with them, or know someone who has. These types of stories are often shared late at night, perhaps around a campfire.
Why then, do I have a different belief? My very first experiences with talking board were horrific. I was in my early 20s, had recently left a Christian cult, and was desperate to contact my deceased brother. Though I did reach him, something else came through, threatening to murder me because I looked like the wife he had murdered. I ended the session and never wanted to touch one again. At that point, I had not yet started started delving into magick and spirituality.
I spent the next 15 years studying and practising magick. I learned about proper cleansing and banishing techniques. I learned how to place wards and protection. Most importantly, I learned the cardinal rule of magick- Don’t summon what you can’t banish. I learned that use of a talking board is far from a 101 activity. This is for advanced practitioners. Talking boards are a tool, like any other. Yes, they can be risky to the newbie. But, now that I know what I’m doing, I have had beautiful experiences with talking boards, that have lead to my own personal healing and growth. Think about it like a car. You wouldn’t let a 14 year old go on a joyride when they’ve never been behind the wheel before. Talking boards, though do not require a license, do require training, skill, discipline and practice.
If you watch any ghost hunting show, you will see a variety of other toold used to communicate with the dead. There are EVP (Electro Voice Phenomenon) recorders, Spirit boxes that flip through radio bands to pick up words, any other new technologies. Heck, I have an EVP app on my phone which I’ve had neat results with. The talking board is nothing more than a low tech version of these newer communication devices. The same precautions should be used with an EVP recorder as with a talking board. If you think that one is safer than the other, you’ve been watching too many Hollywood movies.
Here is a list of ways to use a talking board safely. As I stated earlier, this is not a 101 activity. I can’t necessarily teach you these skills in a blog entry if you haven’t learned them already. If you are interested in using a talking board, I would suggest studying and acquiring these skills before using one.
1.) Have good banishing chops. Like I said earlier, the cardinal rule is “Don’t summon what you can’t banish”. You should have a regular (like daily, or twice daily) personal banishing and cleansing practice. You should know how to get rid of an unwanted entity, or cleanse a space of negative energy.
2.) Know how to control the energy of a room.
3.) Be able to control your mood. Ideally, you want to go into a session with a neutral and calm mood, or perhaps a pleasant mood. If you have uncontrolled anxiety or depression, have had a rotten day and can’t get it together, or are actively grieving, this is not a good time to use the board.
4.) Know your protectors and be able to call on them.
5.) Be able too set up wards and protections.
6.) Know the “tell” when a spirit is lying. This will be different for everyone.
7.) Be able to close a portal.
Those basic skills should be the bare minimum to get started. Here is the process for using a talking board that I would employ.
1.) Have a purpose for using the board. If you are using it just to get scared, because you’re bored, or for fun, you will probably not have a good time. You should have a reason for going into the session, and perhaps a list of questions ahead of time. I once had a woman who was adopted ask me to help her get information about her biological family.
2.) Absolutely no alcohol or substance use before or during the session.
3.) This is best done as a three person activity, minimum, with all participants having the bare minimum skills. Two people move the planchette, and one person records with a notepad. The person with the strongest energy will act as the conduit. They need to be able to see the board and be touching the planchette. No one else should be asking questions except the two people touching the planchette.
4.) Ensure that any animals or children are secured and will not disrupt the session. All cell phones should be off. Not vibrate. Not silent. Off.
5.) Spend at least an hour preparing. You will probably want to divide that equally between preparing yourself and preparing your space. Set up wards and protections, call on your guardians, fully banish yourself and the space.
6.) Leave an outsider offering. Stout beer works. Place this outside of your work area, outdoors is best. Let otherfolk, mischievous or malignant entities know that they can have the offering if they leave you alone.
7.) Commence your session. Do not start with “Is there anyone here?” State your purpose for your session, and call on those you wanted to speak to. If there is no one in particular, you can ask for those who are have your highest and best interests in mind. You can take turns if the note taker wants to touch the planchette as well. This should be decided ahead of time. Commentary about the session should be saved for after.
8.) Close your session. Yes, saying goodbye is important, but more than that, make sure that the portal is closed. This is one of those more advanced techniques that you should know how to do before you start.
9.) Thoroughly banish both yourself and your space.
10.) Properly dispose of your offering.
11.) Eat something. This is a good time to discuss your findings with your group.
Following these directions should ensure that you have a positive experience. If something does go wrong, banish quickly and don’t play around. Remain in control and set the standard of conduct expected of the spirits participating.