What Is Mediumship?
Mediumship can be defined as follows: The process whereby a human instrument, known as a MEDIUM or CHANNEL, is used by one or more discarnate, spirit personalities for the purpose of:
Presenting information, verifiable or otherwise.
Causing so-called paranormal activities to occur.
Channeling forth certain types of energies.
Manifesting themselves for objective examination and/or identification.
From this definition, we see the following: Mediumship involves a cooperating effort between a person on the Earth plane (the medium or channel) and a person in Spirit (the communicator).
There are several objectives behind the manifestation of mediumship.
In addition to this, we see that mediumship is used by those in Spirit for the following purposes:
To present information, which may or may not be verifiable.
To cause certain types of paranormal activities to occur.
To channel forth certain types of energies.
To manifest themselves materially.
Therefore, mediumship involves the cooperation between at least two individuals:
An Earth-plane channel or medium
A spirit communicator or operator
You will note that we distinguish between a spirit communicator and a spirit operator.
If you look at what has been said, thus far, concerning mediumship, you will see that two distinct types of phenomena can occur through mediums:
Manipulation of energies and energy systems.
A spirit who uses a medium for the purpose of communication, either verbally or visually, is known as a spirit communicator. A spirit who uses a medium for the intent of working with and/or manipulating energies or energy systems is called a spirit operator. This distinction is very general, and it should be noted that a spirit operator can, and often does, communicate.
Thus, mediumship can be distinguished as two basic types:
- Mental Mediumship
- Physical Mediumship.
Mental mediumship involves the relating of information, through communication, via the varied aspects of thought transference, or mental telepathy. Mental telepathy is the relaying of information via thought, without using any of the five physical senses. Mental mediumship takes place within the consciousness of the medium. The results are expressed verbally and must pass through the medium’s mouth. Because of its telepathic nature, mental mediumship is sometimes referred to as telepathic mediumship.
In a demonstration of mental mediumship, it is the medium who hears, sees, and feels what the spirit communicators are relating. Furthermore, it is the medium’s function to relate the information, with minimum personal influence and prejudice, to the recipient of the message, also known as the sitter. The medium receives this information under various states of control.
Physical mediumship involves the manipulation and transformation of physical systems and energies. The spirit operators, in this case, are causing something to happen upon the Earth plane. What it is that actually happens varies with the style of mediumship involved, but the results can be seen and heard by others.
What is Trance Communication?
Trance mediumship or channeling, like so many other forms of spirit communication, is very much misunderstood. In recent years, a number of mediums have called themselves “trance” channels, when, in fact, they were not working in a genuine trance condition. This has been a source of great confusion for many people.
When spirit links with a medium, the spirit communicator exerts various degrees of control, or overshadows the consciousness of the medium to a greater or lesser degree. This varies, depending upon the intent and conditions of communication, as well as the ability of the medium to lend himself or herself to be overshadowed or controlled.
Trance is considered the strongest degree of control. Yet, even here, there are various degrees of trance control: from light trance to very deep trance. Deep trance is used primarily in physical mediumship.
There are many factors which indicate genuine trance control, and parapsychologists have used various tests to determine whether, in fact, a medium is under trance control; and, if so, to what degree.
Genuine trance is a strong sharing of mental and physical energies and consciousness between the medium and the spirit communicator. There is generally — although not always — manifested, within the medium, the following:
- A slowing of the heart rate.
- A slow, deep, and steady breathing pattern.
- No rapid eye movement, or REM.
- A lowering of body temperature.
- A greatly reduced reaction to touch and pain.
- Various degrees of unconsciousness.
Furthermore, because in the trance condition the spirit communicator is speaking directly through the consciousness of the medium — rather than the medium relating what is being mentally given to him or her — the voice pattern, inflection, and general manner of speech differ from that normally exhibited by the medium.
Finally, much research has been conducted around the language patterns of dialogue exhibited during trance communication. There is very often a broken speech pattern, a reversal of sentence structure, and an overall change in grammar usage. This is very evident in the Cayce readings, the Seth material, in Eileen Garrett’s trance communications, and in our own Rev. Stephen Fulton’s trance communications.
One final point needs to be mentioned: that of control. What does it mean to be controlled by spirit? First of all, it does NOT mean that the medium is, in any way, possessed by a spirit personality. Possession — or attachment (apparently a new and, in my opinion, disturbing buzz word) — is extremely rare. Nor does it mean that the medium leaves his or her body and the spirit enters therein.
Mediumistic control means a sharing of mental and physical energies between the medium and spirit communicator or operator. Control signifies a telepathic rapport between the two. How strongly en rapport they are determines the degree of control. Control can range from inspired thought, to conscious control, to light trance, to deep trance, to very deep trance. It all depends upon the work at hand and the mental and physical energies available to the spirit communicator or operator.
Why Spirit Communication?
Why would someone wish to communicate with their spirit loved ones? What does this accomplish, for them as well as for the loved ones in Spirit? Why would spirit wish to “come back” and communicate to their earthly loved ones? What type of information does spirit seek to impart to those of us on the Earth plane?
These are just a few of the questions which people ask when they consider mediumship and spirit communication. It all boils down to one basic question: Why? Why should spirit in the body seek to establish communication with spirit out of the body, and vice versa?
Let’s examine some of these questions.
First: why seek spirit communication, through a medium? Spirit communication helps bring together that which seems to have become separated and lost, through death: love and interaction with our loved ones. We seek spirit communication because we want to know: do our loved ones survive death; if so, where are they, and are they the same people that we knew and loved while together on earth?
Mediumship answers both of these concerns with a resounding YES. YES, our loved ones survive death. They go to a place not separated by distance, but by dimension. And YES, they survive, as we knew them on earth. The only thing they leave behind, through death, is the physical body and earthly treasures; everything else goes with them.
This, alone, gives tremendous comfort to the grieving. And as wonderful as this revelation is, there is one even more wonderful: we, too, shall survive this elusive experience which we call death.
Our work with mediumship has shown us, clearly, that communicating with spirit loved ones can be a tremendous source of resolve, closure, and, especially, healing. How often have we seen loved ones, reaching across the doorway of life, in order to express how sorry they are for the errors of the past. This applies not only to those in the body, but in Spirit as well. The opportunity to say “I’m sorry” can bring with it an amazing healing for all concerned. Although death does not suddenly give us insight into all of life’s wonders and mysteries, it does change things. Spirit perceives things from a different perspective. The very fact that an individual awakens in Spirit, alive and well, can be a most amazing revelation in itself. Thus, spirit is anxious to relate to their earthly loved ones what they have come to see and how they have changed since their passing.
In many ways, death can be likened to a journey. If you take a trip to a foreign land, or move away from those whom you love, what would be your first order of business, when arriving at your destination? Most of us would want to call home and let our loved ones know that we arrived safely. Thus it is with death. Spirit wishes to convey to us that they have made the journey and are OK. Mediumship can be the telephone line through which this communication takes place.
Finally, what would spirit wish to communicate to us? Obviously, no one can make categorical statements, here, but just think about it for a while. Some mediums pride themselves at being able to give names, addresses, telephone numbers, license plate numbers, and other such trivial information. As interesting as all this may be to the observer, what does it actually prove or demonstrate? Certainly, it is impressive. Certainly, it proves that some type of psychic link has been established between the medium and the sitter. But, does it really prove survival? Does it really prove that the medium is in contact with your spirit loved one? Not necessarily.
In order to explain our reasons here, let me ask you a question. If you were to die and were suddenly given an opportunity — perhaps the only one — to communicate to your earthly loved ones, what do you think you would want to say to them? Would you really want to given them your old address or telephone number? Would you really want to talk about money and romance? Would you not rather wish to convey who you REALLY are: the nature of your personality; your likes and dislikes; what motivated you in life; memories of things you did with your loved ones while on earth? In other words, would you not prefer to convey: “It’s really me; I am here with you; I am OK”?
This is precisely the difference between a medium and a psychic. A psychic can give names and addresses. But, only a medium — one who has touched and linked with the spirit of your loved one — can convey the true essence, love, and spirit of that person. And that bears with it the greatest of evidence and comfort to one who is grieving.
Thus, we have one of the most profound reasons why people seek genuine spirit communication. We also have one of the greatest sources of disappointment for people who visit mediums.
It’s the difference between looking at a picture of your loved one and actually having your loved one there, sharing the experience of that picture with you. Mediums must come to understand this. They must nurture sensitivity: not only to the vibrations of those in Spirit, but to the reasons why spirit seeks to communicate with spirit. Thus it is with evidential mediumship.
For thousands of years, Spirit has come forward, through a variety of channels, and communicated to us regarding the wonders and mysteries of life, death, birth, and creation. They have, also, come forward and warned us to be weary of the times and to change our ways. Psychic researchers have alluded to such communications, especially those having passed through the mouths of mediums during the last 150 or so years, as platitudinous, trite, and of relatively little value.
Let us look at what one of this century’s foremost researchers, Harry Price, had to say about mental inspirational mediumship:
“Mental mediums, often women, appear to have no qualities, intellectual or physiological, which distinguish them from their fellow. On the contrary, they often emerge from the semi-educated class of society. Their utterances are often puerile, platitudinous, or nonsensical. The trance addresses one hears at the typical spiritualist service have been called “a farrago of stale platitudes and twaddling ethico-religious uplift,’ with little spirituality in them. And after nearly a hundred years of intensive experimentation, we have learnt absolutely nothing from the spirits. And the many recorded conversations with the dead, such as can be found in “Raymond”, are often so mundane that they are usually received with scepticism, if not ridicule. Some of these messages may be true. But if true, why so silly? Are our dead relatives and friends incapable of giving us information that so vitally concerns us, and of which we are so badly in need? Are they incapable of giving us one new fact concerning this world — to say nothing of the next — not already known to us? Or one proof — absolute and scientific — that our souls ‘survive’ if our bodies do not? It rather looks like it.”
What a sad commentary from a researcher who spent a good portion of his life investigating mediumship and channeling!
So, we ask: why seek inspirational mediumship; of what value is it to us to have Spirit come and share with us through inspirational mediumship?
First and foremost, like evidential communication, inspirational mediumship seeks to bring together two seemingly separate worlds into one universal kingdom of Spirit; God’s Spirit, as manifested through us, the spirits — that’s you; that’s me; that’s our loved ones who have passed through the portals of death.
Through the wonder of inspirational mediumship, amazing works of literature, stunning portrayals in art, awe-inspiring sermons and lectures, even more awe-inspiring holy books and Scriptures, incredible advances in science and technology, and an amazing catechism of life, death, and creation have all been given to us.
Many would disagree, here, suggesting that all these wonders originate from nothing further than our own intellect and creativity. But, the truth speaks for itself: Spirit out of body continuously seeks to inspire Spirit within the body, and we are all the beneficiaries of this inspiration, regardless of what our personal views may be concerning mediumship and channeling.
However, the question which plagues so many people — especially researchers such as Harry Price — is legitimate: if all this wonder and mystery is, in fact, often Spirit-inspired, why is there, also, so much trite communication; furthermore, why is there disagreement, amongst those in Spirit, concerning such profound issues as reincarnation?
First of all, it is important to keep in mind: all communication from Spirit must pass through the consciousness of the channel; therefore, it will be influenced, to one degree or another, by the medium’s mind and personal prejudices. Secondly, and probably more challenging to the student, is this simple truth: not every spirit sees life through the same set of “eyes”. There is disagreement on some very important issues amongst those of us on the Earth plane; likewise, there is disagreement on some very important issues amongst those of us not on the Earth plane.
To some, this may seem disturbing, for they would like to believe that somewhere in creation there is ultimate and universal truth. Indeed there is! But, that ultimate and universal truth concerns matters of the Spirit, not of the earth. Ultimate truth resides within the Spirit, and it often gets distorted when it filters down to the level of earthly matters and conditions. That of the earth comes and goes, with the winds of time, but the truth of the Spirit remains constant, steadfast, and eternal.
Therefore, all inspirational communication which has come to us, over the centuries, from the deeper level of the Spirit has lead humanity to one basic set of truths. The images and symbols of those truths differ, from age to age and from culture to culture, but the basic message of Spirit has, indeed, been steadfast and consistent. This should give us hope and promise that God’s Truth does, in fact, reside within the Spirit.
There is but one Kingdom and one Life, and we are all part of that Kingdom, even though some of us happen to be in different sectors within that Kingdom at different points in time. This is what Christ meant when he referred to God’s Kingdom as a mansion with many rooms.
Inspirational mediumship seeks to convey this universal truth to all spirit. And, yes, while there may be much twaddle and trite communication coming through some ill-informed channels, for the most part, some mighty amazing revelation has come forward through this gift of the Spirit, known as inspirational mediumship. That is why Scripture tells us, time and time again, that, when it comes to matters of the Spirit, we must be discerning in all ways!
Physical mediumship is, perhaps, the most amazing demonstration of what spirit out of the body can do through a medium. Yet, it is the most mistrusted and least understood form of spirit communication and interaction.
Basically, physical mediumship is the process whereby someone, in Spirit, usually known as a spirit operator (as compared to a spirit communicator), works or operates through the mental AND physical energies of the medium and causes something physically to happen on the Earth plane. Physical mediumship is objective in nature; that is, when the phenomena occur, everyone is able to see and/or hear them.
In this article, I am not going to discuss the mechanics of physical mediumship, other than to say that a physical medium is a person who has an abundance of vital, magnetic, etheric energy. While in a state of deep trance (although trance is not an absolute necessity here), the spirit operators are able to exude this etheric energy and substance from the medium’s body (generally through some orifice), condense it, manipulate it, and direct it, through the power of their mind and intelligence, for a variety of purposes.
It should be noted that, although the medium is the primary source of the vital energy needed for the production of the phenomena, energy from the sitters is also used during a demonstration of physical mediumship. The more harmonious are the overall conditions in the seance room, the stronger will be the energy available to the operators and the more remarkable will be the phenomena.
Once the spirit operator is given control of the medium — through the process of trance — the phenomena can begin. The mind of the operator is, now, in control of the energies of the medium, and, through the directed use of thought, he or she is able to work with and manipulate these energies on the Earth plane. This is done via a most astonishing substance known as ectoplasm. Through the use of ectoplasm, an almost limitless array of phenomena can occur.
Ectoplasm is a material which comes from the body of the physical medium. It originates from the material of the medium’s own etheric vehicle. Etheric matter is quasi-physical in that it has physical characteristics, yet is invisible and more easily subject to mental influences. What makes a person able to become a physical medium is an abundance of this etheric substance within his or her etheric vehicle, along with the fact that it tends to be more loosely attached or bound to the physical body than in most people.
Nandor Fodor, in his Encyclopedia of Psychic Science, describes ectoplasm as follows:
“A mysterious protoplasmic substance streaming out of the body of the medium by the manipulation of which, either by the subconscious self or by discarnate intelligences, phenomena of a super-physical order, including partial and complete materialization, are produced. The word was originated by Professor Richet . . . The first thing that has been definitely established is that ectoplasm is matter, invisible and intangible in its primary state but assuming vaporous, liquid or solid condition in various stages of condensation. It emits a smell which reminds one of ozone.” There seems to be no limit to what spirit can do through physical mediumship, provided proper conditions prevail within the seance room. The phenomena range from raps and taps, to full levitation of objects and people, to the production of lights, to genuine automatic writing and painting, to direct voice, to partial and full materialization of the spirit people. All in all, it really is quite amazing what can happen when proper conditions prevail.
But, why should spirit out of body wish to produce all this phenomena? What does it demonstrate? What are the implications behind physical mediumship?
Well, it really is quite simple, and the implications of physical mediumship are even more profound than the phenomena themselves; actually, this is true of all forms of mediumship.
Physical mediumship demonstrates, clearly, the power of the human mind and the ability of thought to make an impact on physical matter; in other words, physical mediumship sheds great light upon the mystery of “Mind Over Matter”.
Physical mediumship shows us that, with directed thought, the human mind is capable of doing some amazing things; things which transcend the realm of psychology and fall clearly within the domain of physics.
If spirit can move a table, then are mountains far behind? If spirit can manipulate matter and mold it, why cannot that same intelligence manipulate matter within a body and shrink a tumor, mend a fractured bone, or heal a diseased body?
Mind over matter: that’s what physical mediumship is really all about. And the healing implications behind this are staggering.
We plan to follow up on this article with a more lengthy feature article on the various ways in which spirit uses physical mediumship. In this, we shall discuss a very important question:
If spirit out of body can produce these phenomena, can spirit in the body do likewise? From there, we will look at: why physical mediumship has been subject to so much fraud and deception; why physical mediumship is so rare today; and a few examples of physical phenomena in the Bible.
Finally, we will look at some of the phenomena which have taken place within our Church, from the early days of the 1880’s, up to more recent times, specifically in our classes and presentations on physical mediumship and through Rev. Fulton’s mediumship.
Having said this, we would like to close this article by sharing a most amazing demonstration of physical mediumship; Spirit’s Dedication of our original House of Worship, in Boston. The event took place on September 26, 1885, before a large group of guests, specifically invited by Spirit and our founder, for this one aspect of the three-day Temple Dedication. This comes directly from our Church Records:
“On Saturday evening, September 26th, a large company of people, specially invited by the spirits interested in the structure, assembled in the large sanctuary of the Temple. These persons had been selected on account of their known familiarity with and belief in the power of spirits to render themselves visible, under appropriate conditions, and hence their freedom from either excessive curiosity or incredulity on the subject, which might interfere with the object of the occasion; also, because their unconscious emanations or atmospheres were such as it was believed would aid in the purpose had in view.
“When all were in readiness, it was announced by Mrs. Dyar, under control of the spirit known as Dr. Edgarton, that an Astral Spirit, known as Star, had expressed the desire and intention, on this occasion, of reassuming a visible form for the purpose of making a special or spirit-consecration of this Temple, prior to the public dedication which was to take place on the morrow. To afford this exalted spiritual being an opportunity to accomplish this design, was the object of the present gathering.
“A small curtained apartment or “cabinet” had been provided upon the platform, with temporary steps leading from the platform to the floor of the auditorium. When these had been placed in position, Dr. D. E. Caswell, a well known medium for materialization, took a seat within the curtained enclosure, and the gas lights were extinguished, leaving the room in total darkness, except for the dim rays of the rising moon which entered the windows.
“After a brief interval occupied by music from the organ and singing by the assembly, an appearance like a column of phosphorescent light was seen standing by the altar. This for a time appeared to alternately expand and diminish, gradually advancing towards the steps, till at length the outlines of a human form, arrayed in a peculiar luminous robe, with a tall head-dress or mitre, also luminous, were dimly visible. The form repeatedly advanced, and then retreated toward the cabinet as if to gain increased strength, till at length it reached the steps, and slowly descended to the floor of the auditorium.
“As he came near the audience his extended robe was seen to be composed of the finest lace, possessing a singular luminosity, while an undergarment resembling velvet of a rich royal purple color, on which were figures of apparently symbolic character, was observable. After reaching the floor the spirit, silently waving his hands and arms over the assembly, as if dispensing beneficent influence, passed up the nearer isle to the rear of the room, then crossed to the other aisle and through it returned to the front, and partly re-ascended the steps, having passed in all a distance of over two hundred feet.
“It was observed as the spirit left the platform, that his arms appeared of the ordinary size of human arms, but on his return they looked no larger than the bones of a skeleton, while the whole figure seemed considerably diminished in size. (It was subsequently explained, that this shrinkage resulted from the partial dissipation of the material gathered chiefly from the medium’s body to constitute the visible form.) Having regained and partly ascended the steps, the spirit paused, and in low whispers, inaudible except to those nearest at hand, requested successively several person from the assembly to come forward, when each was in turn addressed in a few appropriate words unheard by others. Among those present was Mrs. Fales, a medium often used to interpret symbolic and occult writings: she was called upon by the “strange visitor” to note and explain the symbols inscribed on his garments.
“She briefly stated her impressions, but said they were not sufficiently clear, and that the interpretation would be fully given at another time.
“The visitor now requested in whisper a gentleman present (Dr. Lang) to come forward and “lend to him the power of voice,” and to strongly exercise his will in so doing. The gentleman designated took a position near the spirit, and soon the latter began to speak in audible tones, at first low and with apparent difficulty, but afterward sufficiently loud to be distinctly heard throughout the auditorium. He first expressed great gratification that he had at length been able, for the first time since he had thrown off the garb of mortality in the long ago, to assume a visible and independent form, and to speak with an independent voice to the people of earth. Though as yet he could do this but imperfectly, in the near future he would be able to speak more freely and with greater power.
“He proceeded to say, in substance, that he esteemed it a great privilege to be permitted to be visibly present, and take a prominent part in the dedication of this Temple, a structure in which he and his spirit associates had taken the deepest interest from its first projection, and which had been planned and erected under their prompting and guidance. It was to be the starting-point and centre of a work of vast importance to the human race on earth. After speaking in this strain for some moments, he advanced to the altar, and with great earnestness and solemnity gave utterance substantially as follows:
” ‘I consecrate this Temple to holy living, — to universal brotherhood, — to the cultivation of that spirit which the Divine Master brought with him, in his life and teachings when on earth, — to unity of the spiritual life with that of earth, that there may be but one life, one brotherhood, one God and Father of us all; that from this place may be taught that wisdom which shall recognize more than teachings from the intellect, even the development and wisdom of the heart-life; that here the hearts of people may be awakened to do, as well as their heads to think, for only through the wisdom that comes from both heart and head can God be brought near to help us in all our endeavors. And may all who come to listen have receptive hearts to be taught how to live the divine life. Amen.’
“The radiant spirit then retired toward the cabinet and disappeared, and the assembly soon after dispersed, to ponder the significance of what had been seen and heard on this extraordinary occasion.”
Helpful Hints on Consulting a Medium or Psychic:
Some Practical Do’s and Don’ts and
What to Look Out For and How Not to Get Cheated.
Contrary to popular belief, mediums and psychics are not machines which can be randomly turned on and off. Many subtle factors are involved in the channeling of information. Sometimes, everything falls very nicely into place and a strong communicative link is established. At other times, this may not be the case. The failure to establish or maintain a strong link with Spirit may have nothing to do with either the medium or the sitter; so, we must never judge any sensitive’s work based upon one sitting.
The question is: how can you determine whether you should visit a particular medium or psychic. Here are some helpful hints:
First and foremost: know whether you wish to sit with a medium or a psychic. Each works on a different level and offers a different type of information. A medium offers communication from Spirit; a psychic attunes to and interprets the energies from the sitter.
If a sensitive promises you the world, be careful.
If a sensitive charges an unreasonably high fee, then you can be pretty well assured that his or her primary motive for doing the work is financial. Of course, the service offered by a good medium or psychic is invaluable, and you should expect to pay a reasonable rate for his or her time; but, outlandish fees should be avoided. Use good judgment here.
Be careful when a medium says that he or she will promise communication from particular spirit loved ones. No one can make that guarantee. If conditions are right, and if that particular medium is suitable for your loved-ones to link with, then, very likely, you will get what you hope to receive. This is determined at the time of the sitting, not prior. So, be cautious of guarantees made in this work.
Be cautious of sensitives who charge per question or per communicator. In our opinion, this is too much like grocery shopping and not the way in which sittings should be conducted.
During a sitting, be discerning when it comes to predictions. It is true that what we shall do tomorrow is being planned, spiritually, today, and the energy of those plans are within the aura; but, nothing of the future is etched in stone. Always use your good judgment concerning the future.
Understand why it is that the Spirit loved-ones wish to communicate through a medium. Is it to tell us about career, romance, and finances? No. That is not their job. Spirit comes, first, to let us know that they are OK and that there is life after death; then, to guide and inspire us. Spirit does not come to live our lives or to make decisions which we should be making. The same applies to psychics. Do not turn over the responsibility of your life into the hands of another.
Be very careful of sensitives who ask personal questions, either before or during your sitting. Very often, they fish for information and return that information, either as a message from Spirit or as part of the psychic reading. No medium or sensitive needs to know anything about you, except your name (even this is not really required). If he or she asks for additional information, do not offer it. You do not have to provide your date of birth or anything of that nature beforehand. The only question which a sensitive should ask, during a sitting, is whether or not you understand or can accept a piece of information given to you; then, answer only YES or NO; do not give any additional information.
The time you spend with a psychic or medium is YOUR time. If ever you are told that you cannot tape record a sitting or reading, stay clear!
Finally, please avoid those dreadful psychic hot lines, which, thankfully, in the United States, are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Trust us on this one: for $240 an hour, you are NOT making any kind of a friend. This may all seem like a lot of warnings. But, today, we are inundated with countless mediums and psychics who make outlandish claims, charge even more outlandish fees for their services, and promise people the world.
There are many very good, ethical, fair, and honest mediums and psychics, and the service which they can render to the seeking soul is, truly, priceless; but you have to know what to look out for. Use this information as a guideline in your quest and you will find what you need.
Best of luck in your quest for truth!
Phenomenal Mediumship: A Look at Physical Manifestations
“Physical mediumship is the process whereby someone, in Spirit, usually known as a spirit operator (as compared to a spirit communicator), works or operates through the mental AND physical energies of the medium and causes something physical to happen on the Earth plane. Physical mediumship is objective in nature; that is, when the phenomena occur, everyone is able to see and/or hear them.”
The implications, here, are really quite staggering: Mind is capable of affecting matter. Perhaps this is the most pertinent implication lying at the foundation of physical mediumship.
So, let us look at some of the elements of physical mediumship. We shall do this, in part, through a question-and-answer format.
What makes a physical medium?
Mediumship is an inherent element of the Spirit. Therefore, to some degree, everyone can develop the ability to link with Spirit and, thus, be receptive to the influences coming from those in Spirit. But, not everyone can become a physical medium. Unlike evidential mediumship, which can, to some degree, be developed within most people, physical mediumship requires certain elements to be present within the physical organism of the medium. Either you have those elements or you do not.
First, there must be an abundance of what is known as etheric matter within the etheric vehicle. The etheric vehicle is a subtle counterpart of the physical body which performs two basic functions:
One: It acts as a battery, or storehouse, for certain types of vital energies which come from the sun (prana) and from the earth (kundalini). This energy vitalizes the dense physical body, in a way which compliments the energy which we receive from the various foods we eat.
Two: It acts as a bridge of consciousness between the spirit and the body. Specifically, it acts as a bridge of energy and consciousness between the astral body and the physical body. We will not discuss the astral body in this article.
The etheric vehicle is comprised of matter which is far more refined and subtle than the rarest of physical matter (hydrogen). To the clairvoyant, the etheric vehicle appears as a thin, luminous band of light and energy surrounding the physical body by approximately one inch. It tends to have a silvery-blue-grey color and varies in intensity and brilliance, depending upon the general health and energy disposition of the individual.
Illness and physical exhaustion tend to weaken the etheric vehicle, as do long periods of cloudy weather. On the other hand, good health and vigor cause the etheric vehicle to appear more brilliant and energized.
Anton Mesmer, the father of modern-day hypnosis, conducted a great deal of research on etheric energy-matter. He called it “animal magnetism.” In his researches, he ascertained that certain people had an abundance of this vital energy-matter. Furthermore, this energy could be transferred from those who had an abundance of it to those who seemed lacking in it. They could do this through mentally directing this energy as they moved their hands over the individual’s aura. He called this type of activity “magnetic passes.” It forms the basis for the laying-on-of-hands.
Finally, he discovered that certain people could be put into a state of sleep, or trance, through these magnetic passes; and, in that condition, they exhibited paranormal abilities, such as clairvoyance, etc. This was called Mesmerism and, later, became the foundation for modern-day hypnosis.
A person who has an abundance of this vital energy-matter has the potential of becoming a physical medium.
How does Spirit work with a physical medium?
In physical mediumship, the Spirit operators use this abundance of etheric energy and matter in order to produce the various manifestations. They do this exactly as Anton Mesmer discovered: through the directed use of mind, they release this energy-matter from the physical medium’s body and use it.
Most often, although not always, the medium must be in a state of rather deep trance. This helps place the medium’s mind on the sideline, so to speak, thus allowing the intelligence of the spirit operator to work with and manipulate the etheric energy-matter. Spirit tells us that they assist the medium in attaining this trance state through a process not unlike that of Mesmer’s magnetic passes.
During the manifestations, the physical medium usually sits within an enclosed area, called a cabinet. This helps focus the energies and creates a type of battery from which the phenomena can be built and energized. There is usually a curtain in front of the cabinet which can be spread apart in order for people to see what is going on within the cabinet.
Another condition which seems to prevail in physical mediumship is that of darkness. Most physical phenomena take place in darkened quarters, with a dim red light providing the only light source. Spirit tells us that white light tends to inhibit the phenomena, while dim red light energizes it. Unfortunately, this condition has, over the years, tended to foster an amazing barrage of cheating and fraud within the realm of physical mediumship. These conditions do not allow people to see very well and can create a psychological effect which fosters the seeds for figment of imagination.
Having said this, I should add that darkness is not a requisite for good phenomena to occur. Our founder, Marcellus Ayer, insisted that all demonstrations of physical mediumship, taking place within our Church, be performed in fully lit quarters. And some amazing phenomena occurred in his day.
What is ectoplasm?
When the spirit operators withdraw the etheric energy-matter from the medium’s body, it is known as ectoplasm. It is through the use and manipulation of ectoplasm that the physical phenomena occur. Ectoplasm can be created in many different forms — both visible and invisible; white and colored — all depending upon what the Spirit people wish to do with this amazing substance.
Once created, the ectoplasm generally emerges from the medium through some bodily orifice (nose or mouth) or through a psychic center, located near the navel, known as the solar plexus.
The Phenomena of Physical Mediumship
Spirit works with physical mediumship in a number of ways. Apparently, there is no limit to what Spirit can do, provided the proper conditions prevail. Here are some of the phenomena witnessed in physical circles:
Manipulation of Ectoplasm:
This is the most fundamental use of ectoplasm. The ectoplasm is released from the medium’s body, and the operator demonstrates how it can be fashioned and directed. This becomes a demonstration of Spirit’s ability to influence matter via the directed use of mind.
Movement of Objects:
Ectoplasm can be used to move objects. During a demonstration such as this, the spirit operator might mold the ectoplasm into hardened rods and direct these rods to the underside of an object and cause the object to be lifted. This is known as levitation and usually — although not always — involves the production of an invisible form of ectoplasm. Objects known to be levitated have ranged in weight from a few ounces to hundreds of pounds.
Whenever we conduct a program on physical mediumship at the Church, we conclude by sitting in circle around a table. In this, we have never failed to produce remarkable movements, which have ranged from tables swaying back and forth and in circular motion, to tables levitating off the floor
Here, the Spirit operators create an ectoplasmic voice box, through which they can speak physically and audibly to all present. This is often done using a small conical device, known as a trumpet. The trumpet acts very much like the cabinet, in that the energies are focussed inside the trumpet. The trumpet is often levitated around the room, with the Spirit people speaking through it.
A very interesting phenomenon witnessed during direct voice is the shifting in the strength of the voice, as the energy level and harmony change. When the voice first begins, it is often very garbled and difficult to distinguish. As the energy is built up, the voice becomes more powerful and more easily understood. Toward the end of the session, when the energies begin to diminish, so, too, do the quality and clarity of the voice. In fact, this gradual peaking and diminishing of phenomena is quite common in all forms of physical manifestations.
Here, Spirit causes something to materialize in the sitting room, apparently from nowhere. The apported object sometimes does and sometimes does not remain. Often, the materialized object is dematerialized back to where it came from. Stones, gems, animals, ancient relics, and even people have been known to be apported into seance rooms.
Raps and Taps:
This is a common form of activity observed in circles for physical mediumship. The Spirit people cause sharp raps to be heard, often from within the table they are sitting around. A code can be established through the raps, thus creating a means of conveying specific messages to the sitters.
This is another common occurrence in physical circles. Flashes or balls of light appear, often on or near the vicinity of the medium himself or herself.
Materialization: The Creme de la Creme of Physical Mediumship
In materialization, the Spirit people use ectoplasm to create an image or molding of themselves. The degree and strength of the materialized form varies quite a bit. A full-form, head-to-toe materialization of a spirit is, perhaps, the most amazing phenomenon witnessed in mediumship.
There are countless recorded cases where spirits have materialized fully, with full dress and facial features. Some have been as clear and solid as an earthly body. Spirit has even been known to go to the extent of creating fingerprints on their materialized hands. Materialized spirits have been known to walk among the sitters; talk to the sitters via direct voice; touch, hug, and kiss the sitters; allow the sitters to touch them; materialize in front of the sitters; pass through walls; and dematerialize before the sitters.
A most interesting phenomenon seen during materialization is the physical link between the materialized form and the medium. After a spirit materializes and walks away from the medium, there can be seen a cord of ectoplasm linking the spirit form with the medium. This ectoplasmic cord can be likened to the umbilical cord of a fetus. Through it, the spirit operator receives a supply of etheric energy-matter from the medium. The spirit may dematerialize by withdrawing the ectoplasm back into the medium’s body via this cord.
A specific form of materialization, whereby the spirit operator uses the ectoplasm to mold his or her face over the face of the medium, is known as transfiguration.
These are a few of the more common means by which Spirit uses the energies of the physical medium for the production of phenomena. Again, there seems to be no limit to what Spirit can do through physical mediumship, provided the proper conditions prevail.
Why Physical Mediumship Is So Rare
During the last century, up until around the 1930’s, physical mediumship was very common, and the strength and range of phenomena were amazing. Today, it is quite rare. There are two basic reasons for this:
- One: Earlier on, when modern Spirit phenomena was relatively new, people needed to see. They needed objective evidence of Spirit’s presence; thus, the preponderance of physical manifestations. As people began accepting the reality of mediumship and, then, yearning more for teaching and philosophy, the occurrence of physical mediumship began to lessen, while mental mediumship began to predominate. In other words, the needs of Humanity dictated how Spirit would respond to those needs — always the case with Spirit.
- Two: The development of physical mediumship can be a lengthy process; sometimes tedious, with nothing happening in the circle for months or even years; requires great commitment on everyone’s part; and generally revolves around the development of one, maybe two, people in the circle, with the other people sitting to help them in their development. /ul> Today, people are just not geared to putting this amount of time and effort — sometimes totally selflessly — into the development of any form of mediumship. In earlier years, sitting in circle was, often, what people did to socialize. Most of the great pioneer mediums began by sitting in a home circle. Today, this is simply not the case.
Thus, today, the occurrence, as well as the nature, of physical mediumship is nothing like it was a century ago. However, we have noticed during the last decade that there seems to be a resurgence of interest in physical mediumship and, consequently, a resurgence in the development of physical mediums. Where this will lead, only time will tell.
Spirit is Spirit is Spirit
As we stated: Mind over matter; that is what physical mediumship is all about. If this is so, and if we are all Spirit, can those of us in the body create such manifestations?
Traditionalists in Spiritualism will answer with an empahtic and resounding, “NO. Only Spirit out of body can create such manifestations.” My question is: why should that be the case? Spirit is Spirit is Spirit.
In the 1970’s, this very question was put to the test by the Toronto Society for Psychical Research, in conjunction with the New Horizons Research Foundation. Their findings were published, in 1976, in the book “Conjuring Up Philip: An Adventure in Psychokineses.”
Very briefly, the story goes like this: a group of people decided to meet regularly, just as they would if sitting for mediumistic development, with one major difference: they decided to create a fictitious character, whom they later called “Philip.” Little by little, as the meetings continued, the character of Philip was being created by everyone present. More and more details were being woven into the life story of Philip. Finally, the group decided to put their experiment to the test. They wanted to see if phenomena — attributed to “Philip” as the operator — would occur. They got more than they bargained for.
Remember, they were sitting to experiment with psychokinesis, not mediumship. Psychokinesis, or PK, is the movement of objects via the directed use of INCARNATE mind. The most noted subject of research in PK is Uri Geller.
Not only did the Philip group get PK phenomena, they got levitation and direct communication, through raps, from Philip. But, they did NOT achieve any actual manifestation of Philip. The picture to the right is a drawing of Philip, as created by the group.
The debate is this: Were the phenomena a result of mass hallucination? Was this a genuine demonstration of the group’s energy, collectively known as Philip, manifesting itself as Philip? Or was Philip actually a person, in Spirit, who decided to work with this group and telepathically fed the group information about himself and his earthly life and, then, through the power of physical mediumship — with the group (or, perhaps, one person) acting as the medium — physically materialized himself.
The conclusion of the Philip group, itself, was that it was strictly PK at work here. In other words, the combined mental energies of the group, focussed through the “person” of Philip, was the source of the manifestations.
What do you think? We would love to hear your comments on this.
Regardless of what actually happened with the Philip group, the results were amazing.
A full recording of the Philip group can be found in: “Conjuring Up Philip” by Iris M. Owen, with Margaret Sparrow. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, Ontario, Canada. 1976. ISBN 0-88902-003-5.
Thus it is with physical mediumship. Some mighty amazing phenomena have occurred through this vehicle of Spirit interaction and communication. As phenomenal as it all is, the implications behind physical mediumship are even more phenomenal. If spirit intelligence can do all this, what else can it do? If this is what the directed use of mind can produce, what other uses can there be for this tool of the Spirit, known as the mind? If we are Spirit in body — and we ARE — what are we capable of accomplishing, once we unlock the hidden mysteries of the mind? And, when we do unlock those mysteries, shall we have attained the maturity to use this knowledge wisely?
These questions go right to the very roots of mediumship in general, not just physical mediumship. This is why mediumship is so important for us all, today. This is why Spirit comes to us in the first place. Throughout human history, Spirit has come to reveal to us all one basic truth:
God is Spirit; We are Spirit; That is how we are all One
Put away the psychic hot lines; put away the crystal balls; put away the tarot cards. What Spirit wishes us to know and appreciate is very simple and very basic. Furthermore, it should be enough to unify us all, as brothers and sisters of the Spirit; all members of one family, with one God as our Parent.
Many thanks to Ms. Rosemarie Pilkington for correcting me on the fact that the Philip group did NOT achieve any physical manifestation of Philip.
The Ethics of Mediumship
“I am often asked what is the state of mind in which one is most able to function as a sensitive. I believe that the beginnings of this state lie in the development of an inner calm which is free from distraction or desire. The slightest effort to consciously produce evidence will inhibit this condition . . . In mediumship the goal is not only to be at one with oneself, but with all else in the universe.”
When Prof. C. G. Jung lectured before the Society for Psychical Research in London on July 4, 1919, he chose as his subject “The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits.” During the more than four decades that have passed, Jung whom Aldous Huxley has called the “Sage of Zurich” has given much additional thought to the psychodynamics of spiritualism and mediumship. It was also the subject of a discussion that I was privileged to have with Prof. Jung at Ascona, a few years ago; it gave him the opportunity to check his impressions and ideas with someone whose lifework has centered around mediumship — and it gave me a chance to put many, many questions to Jung, most of which proved as puzzling to him as they were to me.
Whereas most men seem to become more set in their ways, and more conservative in their views as the years go by, Jung has happily remained ever-searching, ever-questioning. Thus, while he told his London audience in 1919 that he considered psychic phenomena purely as “exteriorized effects of unconscious complexes,” he is much less dogmatic today. In that early address to the S.P.R. Jung said that he saw “no proof whatever of the existence of real spirits, and until such proof is forthcoming I must regard this whole territory as an appendix to psychology.” Today, however, as his London lecture is republished in The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche (New York: Pantheon Books. 1960) Jung adds the following comments:
“After collecting psychological experiences from many people and many countries for fifty years, I no longer feel as certain as I did in 1919, when I wrote this sentence. To put it bluntly, I doubt whether an exclusively psychological approach can do justice to the phenomena in question. Not only the findings of parapsychology, but my own theoretical reflections, outlined in “On the Nature of the Psyche,” have led me to certain postulates which touch on the realm of nuclear physics and the conception of the space-time continuum. This opens up the whole question of the transpsychic reality immediately underlying the psyche.” Jung boldly states the dilemma of modern science as it confronts apparent evidence of paranormal happenings. In all the intervening years, the possibility of man’s survival of bodily death has failed to arouse widespread scientific curiosity. A set of dogmatic materialistically oriented explanations of the human condition remains the bible of physical and psychological sciences. Whatever research takes place — and the Parapsychology Foundation, Inc., of which I am the President, seeks to throw some light in this direction — is of necessity on a scale that is exceedingly small, compared with the magnitude of studies devoted to missiles, and the machines of war and destruction.
Prof. Jung’s intellectual evolution, from youthful skepticism to serene uncertainty, sets a worthwhile example for all of us. Glancing over my own earlier writings, I note that in the conclusion of “Adventures in the Supernormal,” originally published about a quarter of a century ago, I wrote as follows: “If I say that I know that the dead survive, that communication with those who have gone beyond is possible and does occur, and that the human consciousness is capable of perception in other levels of experience, I know these things out of my own knowledge and experience.” Would I state this concept in the same manner today? Well, not exactly. I have seen and heard a good deal since I first put these words on paper. I would now be inclined to say that I have “been in receipt of communications that would suggest human survival and mediumistic contact between the living and the dead.”
My increased caution in speaking of life after death is directly linked with a heightened appreciation of the responsibility which a sensitive, like myself, has to all those who ponder the great question of survival. This responsibility is two-fold: it concerns those who are bereaved, and who seek refuge or sustenance in communication with those who have died; and those who are sincerely concerned with the significance of mediumistic phenomena as a key to a fuller understanding of man’s mind and world, his philosophy, religion and science.
I am not one who assumes that the gift of mediumship necessarily brings with it greater insight into the phenomena of that mediumship. For some ten years, in the 1920’s, I underwent rigorous training as a sensitive, under the guidance of Hewat McKenzie, who maintained the British College of Psychic Science. He was a strict disciplinarian and discouraged excessive curiosity on the part of mediums. McKenzie did not discourage social contact between mediums and sitters; he tried to screen out all information that might, through the medium’s conscious or unconscious knowledge, seep into trance communications. I remember how McKenzie, as well as Sir Oliver Lodge, the Nobel Prize winning physicist and pioneer psychic researcher, cautioned me against devoting myself to any study of their writings. Although they were firmly convinced of the reality of the phenomena, as scientists they instinctively understood the danger to the medium whose “homework” might include the study of spiritualist concepts. Such a medium might well give back to the inquirer his own beliefs in an unconscious effort to be obliging. This is what psychologists now call “doctrinal compliance,” when they refer to a patient’s efforts to please the therapist by a too willing acceptance of specific psychological dogma. While I used to rebel on occasion, against McKenzie’s restrictive regimen, I nevertheless recognized, even then, that mediumship requires special attitudes and codes of behavior.
Thus, when I speak of the ethics of mediumship, I do so with a high regard for the principles that McKenzie and other researchers expressed and translated into action. There is no question, and I feel sure that advanced psychologists will bear me out, that the death of a friend or a close relative leaves a person particularly wide open to a variety of impressions and reactions. For weeks and months, this great personal loss throws its shadow over the individual’s existence: he may teeter between psychological withdrawal and escape; he may suffer spiritual damage or achieve a higher level of understanding of the relationship between life and death.
He may then seek the comfort and encouragement he used to get from this person’s presence and advice. But such seance room encounters are charged with psychological elements that are simply not present in everyday meetings. For a living person to speak to the departed is, no matter what, quite different from a ordinary conversation. We know that even things said over the telephone, and even more so in letters, may carry weight that they would not have in a face-to-face conversation.
Therefore, everything that the medium apparently communicates from a discarnate entity is given pseudo-omnipotent qualities by the person who receives it. Add to this the fact that the sitter has most likely suffered a loss which has created a great emotional void, a fierce hunger for reassurance, and you have a constellation that calls for extreme responsibility. Of this, the medium must be conscious. Yet, she must remain detached, she must resist being caught up in a whirlpool of sentiment, she must not let herself be pressured into “producing” phenomena, if only “for the good” of the bereaved person. That way lies disaster.
Too many inquirers are unable to control their desire to impose their will upon the medium, and it is here that the medium must also know strength. Surely, the role which spiritualism willingly assigns to the medium, as the “high priestess” of a body of truth, has sorely tempted many sensitives who have become tired of the open hostility of the scientific world. The need for approval is common to all mankind, whether sensitive or not. To insist that the medium exhibit a strength of character which the non-sensitive is not required to demonstrate, might seem too strict an injunction. Yet, this must be the case, if the medium wishes to develop his or her abilities to the fullest.
Much of the fraudulent production of phenomena is due to the excessive demands of inquirers and to the essential passivity of mediums. While we know very little about the psychodynamics of mediumship, we do know that the trance state, especially, is a passive one; the medium in trance is subject to influences akin to those of a person in an hypnotic state. It is therefore easy to understand that a person or group of persons almost ruthlessly eager for “something,” for a “good piece of evidence,” or simply for just another chat with “Mother,” will create pressures that a medium may well be unable to resist — and thus, consciously or unconsciously creates phenomena, custom-made, as it were.
This situation is disastrous for everyone concerned. Particularly where money changes hands, where a medium may be financially dependent upon the “success,” so called, of her sittings, upon the satisfaction of the “customers,” greed and fear are likely to take over. At the British College of Psychic Science, there was no financial contact between mediums and sitters; there was no need for a medium to “sing for her supper.” Today, much of the flummery that goes on inside seance rooms is due to the fact that money changes hands, whether it be called a fee or a “love offering.”
There is no question whatever that gifted mediums are capable of setting up psychological defenses that will prevent them from providing “evidence: where none exists. But it is necessary, I think, to point out without equivocation that public pressure for “results” is probably the singly most destructive factor in mediumistic phenomena. We hear, over and over again, of seances that are clearly rigged, that smack of cheap stage magic, collusion, and fakery. But who ever stops to think just where the guilt lies? I feel that the public must finally bear the greater part of this burden.
We have, in recent years, experienced an avalanche of books that cater to selfishness in religious observances. Books with such titles as “Pray Your Way to Success”, are indications of a spiritual illness from which this era suffers. When a man or woman comes to a medium, wishing to speak to an entity, only too often there are questions that refer to the purchase or sale of property, to inheritances and other material matters. Thus the greed which the sitter brings with him to the sitting may in turn infect the medium, creating an atmosphere which results in false phenomena.
But as long as the public does not change its attitude, it is up to the mediums themselves to adhere to an ethical code, such as Hewat McKenzie preached and practiced.
The medium will do well to withdraw herself from the ideas thrown out by the inquirer; she must regard herself as a mechanism, clear and simple, through which ideas flow. This will happen only when she takes little notice of the inquirer, but puts herself into a receptive mood. This is a mood that does not seek to prove things but accepts the flow of events and ideas to be perceived and known.
If the medium allows herself to be thus used, things will happen of themselves — a technique old as wisdom itself, modern as Zen. One allows the feminine or perceptive principle of the unconscious to emerge and thus one is not swamped by the demanding consciousness of the self or the inquirer. This instructive feminine element is, according to Jung, the common property of all mankind. It cannot be coerced, it must be respected and nurtured.
Thus, if the medium respects herself, she does not hurry this process, the unconscious will of itself converges to produce an insight valuable in all shades of one’s own life experience, and of a necessity it provides the mirror in which the spiritual sustenance reveals itself to bring release from self-consciousness, to strengthen the inner will of the being, and to finally aid others to sustain themselves.
I believe that mediumship need not be a breaking-down of the personality, but a state of wholeness. Thus does the secret of the integrated personality become at once an alertness that permits the self to be in step with the world of events. But it must also be passive enough to allow things to happen from within and at the same time to be capable of feeling, thought and action. One must learn to achieve passivity and calm. One represses nothing but permits the self to reveal itself in wholeness. One accepts the positive and negative sides of one’s own nature to distinguish them and so set free within the self the permanent essence of personality.
I am often asked what is the state of mind in which one is most able to function as a sensitive. I believe that the beginnings of this state lie in the development of an inner calm which is free from distraction or desire. The slightest effort to consciously produce evidence will inhibit this condition. What is needed is a unique contemplation, one in which a perfect union of the senses occurs, creating an inner freedom in which the mind is alive to its inner promptings as well as the outer scene which confronts it. It is quite the opposite of the Eastern view of contemplation which demands the withdrawal and isolation of the mind from all objects and persons. In mediumship the goal is not only to be at one with oneself, but with all else in the universe.
It may seem paradoxical that on one hand we call for a development of passivity in the sensitive, and on the other, we ask for the exercising of all her willpower and drive. But the passivity we speak of is the product of this drive; an experience and alertness which can only result from an effort of will. A medium without this strength endangers all that is precious in her sensitivity. In mediumship, metaphysics and ethics must work in total harmony. A medium who is no longer the custodian of her gift may soon find herself both the exploiter and the exploited. To experience the mediumistic state, feeling being fused into a means whereby veridical messages are relayed, is no simple matter. The medium has been rightly called an “instrument” through which communication flows. Like any other rare instrument, from the opera singer’s voice to the athlete’s body, it must be kept in excellent repair, guarded vigilantly against those uses and abuses which might impair its true performance.
In conclusion, I would like to stress the one ethical problem of interpersonal relations which I regard as the major danger area in mediumistic activities. That is the tendency of enthusiastic sitters to regard the medium as “priest” or “priestess.” This of course has happened in primitive societies throughout history, but our highly complicated modern world and the nature of contemporary mediumship, which is not incorporated into our major religious beliefs, forbids such an attitude towards mediumship. The tendency to do so remains, however, based on the feeling that the medium has somehow absorbed, and represents, the wisdom — whether real or imagined — of the “other world.” But, quite often, in daily life, the medium is a quite ordinary person — sometimes bewildered and overwhelmed by the enthusiasms of the would-be followers.
Some mediums are personally attractive men or women, and these human qualities help to compound the confusion. A bereaved widower, who believes that his deceased and beloved wife speaks through a female medium, may find himself in a tragic dilemma, unable to separate the personalities that he appears to confront. Mediums who combine pseudo-religious pomp and circumstance with their messages are, in fact, encouraging a cult of personal followers.
Such a relationship can do damage in both directions: toward the self evaluation of the medium, and with regard to the attitude of the inquirers or followers. In any event, extremes of attachment are likely to result. Above all, the over dependence of sitters on mediums and communicators which often occurs, must be avoided at all costs. Communication with the “other world” may well become a substitute for living in this world. Understanding that this world, in which we live, has priority in this existence, is at the core of mediumistic ethics.
Helpful Hints on Developing Mediumship and Channeling
The development of mediumship requires, time, rather hard work, study, and, above all, patience. Despite what so many weekend intensives may promise, there is nothing “instant” about mediumship.
If you are interested in developing mediumship and channeling, here are a few suggestions which will help you get started:
ONE: Always work with a group of people who share your interests. Mediumship is developed in what is known as a “development” or “spirit” circle. The development circle should, if at all possible, be under the guidance and direction either of a qualified medium or someone who has studied mediumship and knows the “ins and outs” of mediumistic unfoldment and development. It is called a “circle” because people sit in a circle. How many people is a matter of choice or circumstance. We feel that sitting with fewer than four simply does not offer adequate energy and opportunity to work with Spirit. Seven or eight is ideal. Of course, where two gather in the name of God, Spirit will join in. There is really no hard and fast rule concerning numbers.
TWO: Decide what type of mediumship your circle will work with. It is not advisable for any person to sit in more than one circle or to have your circle working with more than one form of mediumship. The circle should sit either for the development of mental mediumship or physical mediumship. Each requires a specific general format and a very specific type of energy to be present.
THREE: Once the group has been established and you have determined which type of mediumship you will be working with, decide upon the day and time you will be sitting. This is very important: meet at the same day and time every week. Ideally, circles should meet once a week. People should arrive at the meeting a bit early and be prepared to sit at the appointed time of your meeting. You are making an appointment with Spirit. They will be there; you should be on time.
The seating arrangement should be determined at the first meeting. Each person has an assigned seat, which should not change unless the circle teacher feel that a shift in energy is necessary. In time, others may be invited to join the circle, and a change in seating might be necessary then.
FOUR: Every circle leader has his or her preferred circle format. Regardless of what that format may be, the circle meeting should consist of the following segments:
Call to God and Spirit.
An exercise or guided meditation which will help stimulate sensitivity.
A period of message work, where the students work with Spirit and Spirit messages.
Some teachers prefer to place the period of message work before the meditation and sensitivity exercise. We have worked with both formats, with equal success.
Keep the exercises varied and challenging. Remember, the purpose of the circle is to stimulate development and challenge the sitters to step beyond their current limitations.
FIVE: Circle meetings should run at least one hour, but no longer than 75 minutes. When the circle is closed, all people should stand up and depart from the designated circle area. This helps dissipate the energies formed during the circle meeting.
SIX: Patience is so important. Mediumship is a most beautiful pearl of the Spirit. But, like any pearl of great price, its growth and maturity require time, patience, hard work, and discipline. Work hard, study hard, be patient, and you should see results.
And remember you are working with Spirit. Mediumship is a cooperative effort. God is the ultimate Guide, and you and your Spirit guide work together in this great adventure. Never forget this all-important fact.
Finally, here are some other important pints to consider.
People should plan to arrive around 10-15 minutes before the circle meeting begins. This will allow them to unwind a bit and relax. Conversation should revolve around mediumship, not the cares and/or worries of the day.
Do not have refreshments available before the circle meeting, as it tends to encourage chitchat; furthermore, the caffeine can act as a stimulant which may interfere with the evening’s work. Refreshments can be served following the circle.
Following the circle, discussion should be on mediumship and what people learned while in circle. DO NOT DISCUSS THE SPIRIT MESSAGES which were received during the circle meeting. This tends to foster dialogue and give information which may end up as a message the next time you meet. One rule we adhere to with the greatest of stringency is: once the circle is closed, NO MORE MESSAGES.
Accompany your circle work with study; not just in mediumship, but in other related areas of thought. Our study guide on mediumship and channeling is an excellent source for study and offers some very good suggestions on how to work within the circle.