From the archives and just in time for Halloween, Samhain, Day of the Dead and All Saint’s Day! The veil between world’s is thinner this time of year and it’s perfect for trying to contact departed loved ones. Stay tuned all week!


Although I dream vividly and often, I don’t get many nighttime visitations from those who have gone before me. And I’m okay with that. However, when I’m very stressed or on the brink of a major life shift/change, I find myself reaching out to my paternal grandparents subconsciously.

It goes like this:

I find myself outside their home, a home I knew very well as a child. It’s dark and cold, as if we were on the cusp of the first snow of the season. I often feel relieved, as if a long journey has been successful and is, finally, over. There are lights on inside and a promise of many levels of warmth.

I find myself inside and see my grandparents, sitting in their reclining chairs opposite one another, just like they did in life. They turn to greet me, happy and welcoming as if I really did just complete a long journey to come home. I walk over to them, relief already softening my body, and sit down on the floor between them. And then I start talking. I start telling them about everything in my life, what’s going great, what’s bothering me, and where my aim is at the moment. They listen and smile and when I’m done they open their mouths to give me advice.

And this is where, every time, my consciousness backs away from the dream. Fade to black. I feel my awareness zoom backwards out of the room, leaving my subconscious self alone with her grandparents, their ancestral love and their wisdom.

I wake up from these dreams feeling less burdened and with a peace that reminds me everything is going to be alright. I’ve never felt the need to know or remember what advice my grandparents have given me. Instead, I know the very act of reaching out to them, and being received by them in turn, is a potent medicine in and of itself.

I’ve had this dream probably half a dozen times in my adult life. They usually come unbidden, as a natural reflex to impending change and the stress that accompanies it, but I’ve also learned how to have this dream on-demand.

Dreaming with a Departed Loved One

There are many reasons to contact a departed loved one through dreaming. You may need to offer or ask for forgiveness, tell them how much you love them, confirm that they are okay, ask their advice, tie up loose ends or even ask where the damn key to the file cabinet is. In turn, your departed loved one may have just as much reason, and urgency, to contact you.

The dreamspace is a great place to make this contact. A sort of no-man’s land, dreamspace is equally accessible by the living and the dead alike. In fact, it is probably a lot easier for your departed loved one to gather the energy to appear in your dream than it is for them to gather the energy to tip over a vase or make the radio go haywire to get your attention.

Yes, these dreams can happen spontaneously, and are a great gift when they do, but there are also things you can do to give the dreams a little more oomph and to alert your departed loved one that you’d like to make contact:

  • If you haven’t already, create a small altar or shrine for your loved one. Put their picture there along with a few of their favorite earthly possessions and/or foods. Spend a few minutes looking at the photo and remembering them, sending them your love, everyday.
  • Throughout the day, talk to you loved one in your head. The conversation can come and go– pick it up whenever you’re aware that you have a few moments to do so– like a long continuous prayer. Sending them love and thought energy serves to alert them to your desire to communicate as well as lends them a little extra energy that they can follow to you.
  • Before bed, create a small evening ritual with a bath/shower, essential oils, candlelight and soothing music. This ritual can look however you’d like it to, but try to engage all of your senses through a sense of calm. Hold your intention and desire to communicate with your loved one while you perform your ritual(s).
  • It may help immensely to write down your intent on a notepad next to your bed. The notepad will also serve to write down the dream, even in the middle of the night, when you wake up from it. “I intend to communicate with Grandma tonight to ask her about ________” Or, “Dear Grandma, I could really use your help right now and would love to meet you in the dreamspace tonight” are examples of intentions.

Repeat these steps everyday until you’ve had your dream. You may get lucky and have success on your first day. More likely, it will take you (and your loved one) several days to find each other in the dreamspace. Expect to give this exercise at least 3 days and as many as 10. If after two weeks you still have not had contact, I would consider trying a different ancestor or searching yourself to see if you have received your answer subconsciously.

What to do with Your Dream

After you’ve had your dream, give thanks to your loved one and send them love– this sort of energy nourishes spirits. Besides, you don’t know what effort or lengths they went to to show up for your dream, so if you ever hope to dream with them again, you’d better show your appreciation.

Some other things to do with the dream:

  • Write it down– whatever you can remember from it. A snatch, a book. A sentence. Write it down to honor it.
  • Act on the dream. You’ll know what to do.
  • Was there something your loved one asked you to do for them? Do it.
  • If they didn’t explicitly ask you to do something for them, is there something you can do anyway? Share the dream with someone else they love. Go for a walk through their favorite place in nature, in their honor. Clean their grave site and leave their favorite flowers.

Have you had a dream visit from a departed loved one? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

In all things, cherish the dream.