If you are just starting out on your journey with spirit, I would caution against immediately trying to communicate with a specific spirit, especially one known to you in the physical world who has died, as this will only test your faith and likely disappoint you if not send you on an emotional roller-coaster ride. I believe it is best to start simply by opening your spiritual door and saying hello to this uncharted realm.
But are there any dangers to be wary of? I’d like to say no, that all spiritual things are merely love and light. However I think this viewpoint is a bit naïve. For instance, a trickster spirit, who fundamentally is a teaching spirit, will trip you up in ways that might be very uncomfortable. There is also cause to caution you against “unevolved spirits”. By this I refer to spirits who may once have been human and have not learned much since passing into the spirit world. They may carry bitterness, resentment, as well as being confused about the realm they now inhabit. If you are just starting out, it may be difficult to recognize an unevolved spirit, but if you are able to ask some questions and hear the responses, you may notice something that just seems off track or negative. A good question to ask would be one about the spirit world generally – what is it like? A confused or limited answer may be a clue as to who you are speaking with.
I have very rarely come into contact with unevolved spirits, and as long as you are conscious of the possibility, you need not worry. It’s about keeping your mind open and alert. You need to develop something like this world’s “street smarts”, but for the spiritual realm. Above all else, remember to treat all spirits with honour and respect. If you do encounter something that frightens you, just mentally back off and respectfully ask for only positive encounters.
You can also ask for a guide to the spirit world. This is probably the smartest move to make in any case. Your first contact with a spirit may not be your guide, but if you state your desire and intention, one will appear for you. Probably the most straightforward way to do this is through a technique called a shamanic journey. You can read more about this technique here: Shamanic Journeying: the Basics.
Whenever you have a spirit encounter or conversation, remember that spirit needs us just as we need spirit. I ask individual spirits what I can do to honour them, and offer them my blessings. In the physical world we might say “hello, how are you?” upon meeting someone; in the spiritual realm, I say “hello, bless you” instead. We may never know exactly how we are serving the spiritual realm, but be aware that we can indeed provide service to spirits. Don’t approach an individual spirit as if they exist to serve you only; and don’t approach an individual spirit as if they are all-knowing. They are individuals, after all; thus they have “faults” or areas in which they are lacking. They have needs.
The shamanic worldview posits that all things are alive and have soul — this is animism. So if you love nature, if you can see life in a stone, and if you can see that all things in existence are equally magnificent, then you will realize that to meet an advanced and wondrous-seeming spirit is not really different than truly appreciating an ant on the sidewalk. Meet spirits like they are teachers, students, elders and babies all wrapped into one, simultaneously. See that all relationships with all other souls are complicated and full of beautiful contradictions.
I do shamanic journeys and healing for others for free. If you are interested in receiving healing, find more info here: Spiritual Readings and Healing