This web page provides an outline of the Spirit Message ritual to benefit of those people interested in participating. I have set up the basic parameters of the ritual based on my intuition, experience and what I think will be comfortable for you. We will send a message to a loved one who has passed and you will receive unique artifacts of the ritual: a one-of-a-kind photograph of you with the letter super-imposed on your face and a candle that was burning throughout the ritual. Having these objects will allow you to start a personal tradition of remembrance tailored to your beliefs and unique relationship you have with the person to whom you wish to communicate.
Here is the sequence of events:
1. Creating your letter. I will ask a you to spend time in the days before the appointment thinking about what you want to communicate and then writing a one page message to bring with you. Some people choose to format it like a letter with a greeting and salutation, some choose to write it without those formalities. Please allow enough time for this part as it can prove difficult to figure out exactly what you want to say. I suggest writing it, then going back to it in a day or so to fine tune it. Don't worry if it's messy or printed out from a computer as you will be re-wirting it when we do the ritual. The time you spend thinking about and writing your message is the first very important step to the ritual.
2. Addressing your person. To help set the mood for your person there will be a way to play music, so please bring a device we can connect to speakers or there is a computer that can access the internet where you could sign into a music account. Once music is set, I'll give you a candle that you will light. As you light the candle you will call to your person either by thinking of them or saying their name either aloud or to yourself. You could simply say their name or make a formal statement such as: 'Hello (their name) we are going to send you a message and hope that you will receive it.' It's up to you, there is no right or wrong way.
3. Writing the letter on black paper. With the company of the lighted candle I'll have you write your message on a large piece of black paper with a white charcoal pencil.
4. Reading. Now we will move over to where the camera and lights are set up. I'll position you in front of the camera and hang the letter so you can read it. We will also bring the lighted candle with us. Now you will read the letter aloud.
5. Photography. As soon as you finish the reading I will take a photo of you, it will be very close up, only your face, so it doesn't matter what style of clothes you are wearing and how your hair looks. I'm going to use photographic material from the late 1800's, a tintype variant called 'dry plate.' I have coated thin pieces of black metal with photographic emulsion by hand a few days earlier and that's what I'll be using as film in the camera. Ladies please don't wear red lipstick as your lips will render as black on the tintype photo. After I photography your face, you can can step away and relax for a few minutes while I take a photo of the letter you wrote. I'll be using the same tintype for both photos so it will be a double exposed photo of your face with the letter.
6. Develop the photo. We will go in a darkroom where I'll have set up little trays of chemicals (or we may use a table top tent that you put your hands into), I'll take the photo plate out of the film holder and hand it to you and coach you in developing the photo plate. It's very easy and fun. There will be a red light on so you will be able to see what your are doing. Over a three minute period you will see the image appear on the plate, it will be a blend of your face and the letter. We can now turn on the white lights and look at your photo, then have it rinse in clean water while we move on to the next step.
7. Changing the letter's physical form. It's now time to transform the physical form of the letter and send it to the world of energy. We will go outside with the letter, the lighted candle and a metal ash can. You will light the letter on fire with the candle, place it in the metal can and we'll watch the flames, then the embers as the letter turns to ash. I'll take the ash can back inside and leave you alone with the candle. After you have thought again about your message and your person, when you are ready, blow out the candle and join me inside. The ritual with me is now complete.
8. Conclusion and documentation. I will take a high resolution digital photograph of the tintype photo for my records. It will take me a few minutes to reposition the lights and do this so you can relax. Then, I'll dry the plate with a little heater and on the back I'll write the date, your name and the message recipient and sign it.
Below are examples of the photos that have been made recently,. Notice how the writing comes out backwards, just a strange way the camera works. For more photo examples please click here for the section titled 'Spirit messages' on the main page of the website.