Modus Operandi: Graveyard Workings

This morning, I put the final touches to a working involving the offerings to the Gods of the Arte and Mighty Dead in relation to Samhain. In addition, I can also say with some degree of confidence that the spirit box is completed, and will now hopefully serve its purpose as a housing for them in the future, even outside of the dark seasons of the year.

I intend to write as fully as I can on that process, sharing what I am able, including many pictures from the work itself. However, since I am back at work tomorrow after Samhain break, I unfortunately won’t be able to post that installment until this coming weekend at the earliest.

However, whilst within the graveyard this morning giving the final offerings to the dead and sealing the work, I realised it might be good to share how I operate within the graveyards. What follows is based on my own methods combined with methods I have adopted/learnt from outside sources. Hopefully this will illustrate the importance of having some rules when interacting with the dead. As such, this can be considered a small ‘primer’ for the ritual outlined that will follow in another post,

Background

My attraction to graveyards as places stems from further back than any obvious spiritual connections I can think of, and definitely before I became in any way involved in Paganism or Witchcraft.  It was when I was around 17 when they became attractive places to me, and I often enjoyed visiting them.  I found them hauntingly beautiful, and it was probably these feelings in my period of maximum morbidity that would later nudge me in the direction of spirit work after I had experienced my healing dream. Many of these visits were with a friend of mine, someone I valued higher than any other person at the time, including members of my own family. These activities seemed mostly harmless, and for the most part they were.

However I would later have an horrendous experience visiting a graveyard with said friend. When analysed retrospectively I realise I had made a massive mistake. Without going into all the long and lengthy details, suffice to say that the dead in graveyards, the dark dead, do not enjoy their environment being played in and messed with. On said occasion, after interfering with a particular gravestone, and eating lunch above said grave, there was a very dark change that came over me and my companion. We argued over seemingly small inconsequential things, odd being people that never argued with each other at all.

After the visit, I felt increasingly hopeless, without reason considering the worst had been put behind me at this time, and i was in a more secure position only recently having had my healing dream. The other person reported feeling the same, unnaturally depressed, energyless, and drained after the visit. Although these effects seemingly wore off, the relationship worsened quickly, and soon disintegrated. Other negative things happened, with me seemingly having constant bad luck. It was only several months later after working with Lucifer on that years Halloween that this trend finally seemed to be broken, and my mood and luck finally changed for the better.

Durham_Graveyard__Broken_by_Loupine

Picture from a Graveyard in Durham, United Kingdom. Credit goes to the artist linked

The reason I am relating this? These kind of effects are typical of interference by the Dark Dead, a name referring to the earth bound spirits that have overall negative qualities, and can cause adverse affects on the living. These types of spirits congregate around areas where death is common, graveyards being one of them.
Whilst it would be too much risk of confirmation bias to confirm that indeed this was the case several years after my experience subsided, it has taught me to be much more cautious, respectful, and take seriously places where any kind of spirit dwells, never mind those that can have such negative effects.

Modus Operandi

As such, as soon as I began to work in the graveyard doing necromantic work, I made sure to begin employing several techniques to minimise the risk to myself whilst carrying out said work. I relate these below, with a quick explanation as to why I personally carry them out, I recommend that these are employed whenever working in graveyards, and that the more contact with the Dark Dead specifically sort, additional steps are added to ensure that they are not brought back from where they should remain. These are to be read with the knowledge this is my personal method of working – it likely needed to be adapted depending on how you interact with these spirits or do workings in general.

Ask for permission to enter

Before entering the graveyard, I always either ask for permission to enter from one of the guardians (usually Hecates aspects relating to the dead, or Señor de la Muerte) . This is usually done before leaving the house, and can be performed in many ways. It can be intuitive, with the question simply being asked and internal thoughts scrutinised for any sign, be in a vision or feeling.

In addition or instead of this,  a more concrete method can be employed such as asking a candle,and requesting it to be extinguished before it burns down completely if the working is to be prevented from going ahead. If once asked, indications are that it can go ahead, protection and empowerment is asked for and the working goes ahead.

The alternative is to ask the question before the entrance gate to the cemetery, which although offering usually more clear indication and better results, also is more visible and only suitable when privacy is easily obtainable, such as when the location is seldom visited.

If once asked, indications are that it can go ahead, protection and empowerment is asked for and the working goes ahead. If indications are bad, the working does NOT go ahead, regardless of anything else, and alternative methods and or locations are sought.. The important part is the question is asked in a way that you personally can relate to the power in question, and can get a reliable answer.

 

Enter on the left foot

When crossing the cemetery threshold, doing so on the left foot, whilst proclaiming thanks for permission to work within the graveyard, is an affirmation of your intent showing you accept the opportunity offered to you. The left side of the body in general is often seen as otherwordly and magickal in the occult, and the left side and path is closely connected to some of the Death Gods and spirits in my work. It is therefore much more than a symbolic act, but a reinforcement between my own actions and their higher, commanding natures, allowing me to be empowered through sympathetic action, which is important in magick.

StEbbasGraveyard

St Ebba Graveyard, Ebchester, County Durham. Credit goes to the photographer linked

Don’t steal from the spirits

Do not take anything from the graveyard that could potentially belong to the spirits. To do so would give them a physical link between yourself and them, especially if it is taken back to ones home. The Dark Dead are jealous and possessive, and will take offence to this, and is something I have personally experienced that as related, potentially caused me considerable grief. Even spirits not related to the Dark Dead can require payment, and can themselves become angered in a similar manner. Anything that has been left overnight in such a place becomes ‘claimed’ by them, or otherwise linked to their energies, and cannot be retrieved without being paid for. This includes any personal items you may have forgotten, or otherwise lost accidentally in such a place and have returned to retrieve the next day.

Retrieving items / materials from the Graveyard

Any item that is to be retrieved from a Graveyard must be bought and paid for, and only retrieved as a matter of necessity. The method of buying such items from Graveyards varies significantly depending on what it is you are buying. There are numerous methods of buying graveyard dirt and other items from the graveyard, depending on the spirit being interacted with. Often these revolve around a specific grave, and making a petition to the spirit to give up X item in exchange for gifts, typically coins (See below), distilled beverages, red wines, coffee and tobacco. Burning incense or leaving an equivalent gift is also sometimes practiced. Since graveyard dirt and other items can indeed be needed for certain operations, there will be times when working necromancy items are needed to be acquired from a graveyard in this fashion. Whats important is mostly that some sort of agreement is made with the spirits to retrieve said ingredients, and that they arn’t simply ‘lifted’ and pilfered. I will hopefully be able to post my own variant of this up in the future when it becomes necessary and I have the time.

StOswaldsGraveyard1

St Oswalds Graveyard, Durham. Credit goes to the photographer linked

Leave Three Coins for the Dead

On leaving the graveyard it is customary for me to through threes coins of the same value, usually ‘copper’ rather than ‘silver’ coins, over my left shoulder upon exiting. This is a step learnt from working with the necrosophic currents related to Qayin, and has folk connections that have been researched. The reasons for this seem to differ on who you ask, but I personally believe it is to pay the guardian spirit for its protection and as an offering on leaving for its work and to ensure it restricts any of the Dark Dead from following once you have left the cemetery. As such, I see it as a vital step and always prepare the payment before entering, so  I will not be stuck upon leaving.

Do Not Look Back

This particular rule comes from greek belief, where it is believed that to see spirits following behind a person was to indicate that they too would soon join the ranks of the dead. As such, when a ritual is completed, and exit is become from the cemetary, I never look back, the work having been completed. Once done, it is important that one makes a concentrated attempt to return to the land of the living, and not be distracted or otherwise caught by the influence of the Dark Dead whilst attempting to leave.

Parting Observations

It is always good to remember the practical limitations when working in and around cemeteries. Most people won’t take kindly to you working in them, so it pays to find a location where such encounters can be minimised.  In more built up and populous areas, choosing larger, more spacious cemeteries often helps as I have found that the larger the cemetery, the less likely people are to wonder in / through or otherwise go there especially at night. Whether this a purely psychological thing, or also down to the work of the spirits, I’ll leave up to the reader to decide.  Otherwise finding an out of the way, country location is most likely the most ideal solution, if not always the most realistic.

DSC_0239[1]

Personal picture of my new working graveyard. Densely packed, abandoned  crumbling church, with very few visitors

As usual, hope you have enjoyed this smaller entry. Hopefully it will prove useful, especially when seen in the light of the Samhain spirit box ritual write up to come. In additional, unrelated news,  I will soon be setting up an email address for the blog, in case anyone has any questions they wish to ask they are not comfortable with using the commenting system for. Thanks for reading as always, and I hope everyone enjoyed Samhain as much as I did!

-S-

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