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Recognizing Signs from Spirit

Updated: Jul 27

In 1992, I sat next to my mother’s grave, wondering how to move on without her. Suddenly, a butterfly flew toward me and landed on my leg. I stared at it, amazed what felt like an unexpected sign from my mom. I decided at that moment that my mother was going to send me butterflies to let me know when she was near.


Fast forward 20 years, and I was receiving my first mediumship reading. As I drove to my reading, I spoke out loud to my mother, telling her that I expected her to mention the butterflies in this session, so I would know she was really there. And I had the session, and it was amazing, except the medium didn’t say a word about butterflies.

On the way home, I was upset. “Mom, how could you not mention butterflies!? Are you really here? Will you please show me a butterfly?” Nothing.

I opened the door of my house and my little girl ran toward the door to hug me. She had enjoyed a carnival day at school, and she had a series of little flowers face-painted on her cheek. I said, “Honey, I love the flowers on your face!” And she said, “Mommy, those aren’t flowers! Those are butterflies!”

This story is a good reminder that the signs are all there, but often we don’t receive them. Sometimes, we insist that they come to us the way WE want to see them, and then we become frustrated if they aren’t there. Often, we think we made them up. We second-guess ourselves, saying “I’m probably just trying to make it fit, I’m trying to see something, it’s just my imagination.” Sometimes, we see the sign we want, but then demand more: “Okay, Mom, I see the butterfly, but if that was REALLY you, show me another one.”

In fact, signs come to us in many ways. They may come through a physical experience: a necklace or photo suddenly reappears, or we see feathers, butterflies, hummingbirds or dragonflies. Coins are a common spirit sign, especially pennies. I keep wondering why spirits aren’t dropping $100 bills for us instead of pennies, but maybe someday.

Signs also may come through electronics. Music comes on, lights flicker, the phone rings and no one is there, electrical toys turn on or off. How often do weird things happen with our electronics and we chalk it up to electrical glitches instead of signs?

Signs also may come through words. Someone says a phrase that your father used to say, or you meet someone with the same name as your sister, or you find yourself saying words to someone else that apply to you as well, as spirits guide you to become aware of something you need to know yourself.

Often, spirits give us signs merely by drawing our attention to something that was already there. I was driving down the street thinking of my mother, and suddenly passed “Barbara Street.” Now, that street was there and is still there; my mom didn’t magically put up a new street sign. But she did turn my attention to it to see her name. I looked at the street sign at just the right time. Similar signs may come from billboards, store names or license plates.

When we know we want to receive more signs, what can we do? Here's the key: we don’t need spirit to do anything at all. It's entirely up to us.

Spirit sends us signs ALL THE TIME. The question, then, is not “how can I get more signs?” Instead, it's “how can I become more aware of them?” There are a few steps you can take to make this happen:

  • ASK. It really is that simple! Instead of just wishing for signs, ask to receive them. Make sure you are truly asking your loved ones in spirit for signs, rather than just announcing it to the air. We often think to ourselves, “I wish I would see signs” but we don’t remember to ask our loved ones directly: “Mom, please show me a sign that you are here with me!”

  • WATCH and LISTEN. Look around and pay attention. My young daughter constantly finds pennies and claims them as signs from her grandparents, because she’s always watching the world around her. She’s not thinking of her to-do list, or worrying about what time it is...she’s just observing. The more you observe the world around you, the more signs you will see. Look up from your phone and watch the world around you. Remember that signs may come immediately after you've asked for them, or they may show up later that day or during the next week.

  • TALK TO THEM. Don’t talk about your loved ones in spirit -- talk to them. In your mind, do you say “I wish my dad was here?” Or do you say “Dad, are you here?” When you talk to them, you do receive a response. You say, “Dad, are you here?” And you hear “yes” or “of course” in your mind, and you immediately assume that your own brain must have answered you. Next time, when you hear “yes” in your mind, answer back, say “good, I love having you here.” Keep that conversation going, and talk to them.

  • THANK THEM. Thank your loved ones for every possible sign, no matter how small and even if you aren't sure it was them in the first place. We often feel kind of silly acknowledging a sign, and we question whether it was really them. We say, “it’s kind of weird to thank them for something they may not have sent at all.” But it doesn't really matter if it was them. Thank them anyway.

Here's why: The more you thank them, the more they realize exactly how they can catch your attention. If you see a lavender flower and you think of your grandmother, say “Grandma, thank you for showing me the lavender flower.” Did Grandma send it? We don’t know, but now Grandma knows that it works as a sign for you. Now she can show you a lavender flower, let you smell the scent of lavender, or show you a photo of a lavender farm on the internet, and she knows that you will think of her, because you’ve shown her that you will recognize lavender as a sign from her. Thank your spirits for everything you see. It’s okay if you thank them for something they didn’t actually send, because everything you notice and attribute to them is still something they can use in the future, to say hello and let you know they are here.

The last thing that will allow you to feel their presence is the easiest thing you can do, and the hardest thing to do...and that is simply to BELIEVE. Your loved ones in spirit are with you right now. Believe it. Mediums will tell you that the spirit world is “just a thought away.” Every time you think of your loved one, that thought goes out to the spirit world and reconnects you with your loved ones. They are here whether you feel them or not, but imagine the joy when they realize that you acknowledge them.

Today, take a moment to think of your loved ones. Thank them for being with you, ask them to show themselves to you in some way today, tell them you love them, and let them answer you. Accept every sign that comes your way, believe that it came from them, and thank them for sending it.


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