History, Seance and Spiritualism: Learning From The Past

HistoryI’ve taken the chance in my quiet time today to continue reading ‘The Darkened Room’ by Alex Owen. It’s a book full of the history about seances, spiritualism and the role of women mediums. For me it’s also tapping into the development of mediumship as I know it today.

I like to research and look back at the history of things that interest me. It’s like following a thread back into the past. And it gives me an understanding of why things are the way they are right now. What conditions caused spirit contact to be interpreted the way it was. Those foundations have built in to what I do currently. Influences I might not necessarily agree with shape how I work. Or how Spiritualism has been explained to me. I can choose, if I understand the background and context, to move forward in a different way. Even free myself from the limitations those influences might impose. Researching the history also gives me access to alternative views too.

That is very important. I have to remind myself to read wider than the most popular books. My experiences may have a different meaning when considered from an alternative historical perspective. After all, the winning side gets to write the story. And I’m fascinated that the history of Spiritualism really should be her-story instead. Most of the well respected mediums were women. Especially in the first forty or fifty years of the development of Spirit communication. Although I also know that much of the written history, with a few exceptions, has been collated by men. That in itself interests me. It seems the activity in the seance rooms was presented publicly by the men present. Yet the communication was most often by women.

I enjoy looking back into the history of Spiritualism. It’s something I will keep on doing because it helps me to make choices about the way I work. And how I present my work to the public. In the end I hope more and more people access the background to mediumship. It can save them a lot of time in trying to understand why, what, where and how it all works.

Day 780 of my blogging challenge

Spiritualism: Still Alive and Kicking?

Spiritualism. Is it still alive in a modern world? It’s been a pleasure to visit Free Spirit Centre in Blackpool this evening. I was there to do the demonstration of mediumship.

In other words to pass on messages from Spirit people. The ability to communicate with Spirit people and give those messages is at the heart of Spiritualism. When I first started to question the idea that non-physical beings might be connecting with us I did a lot of reading about the history of what is now called Spiritualism. I wanted to understand how this idea had emerged and even why if I could. This was some time before I started to have contact with Spirit people myself. It seemed to be a natural phenomena that got entangled with religious views. Talking to Spirits became Spiritualism and, very confusingly, Theosophy too.

It seemed that the discovery of a way to communicate polarised the religious views of most people of the time. Both Western and Eastern traditions became wrapped around the idea of talking to people who were dead but Spirits in another world. It’s as if there needed to be a concept of God so that what was happening could be understood. Yet that idea of God and Spirits doesn’t have to go hand in hand. I believe that what we are using is a natural ability that puts us in touch with other Energy Beings of all sorts. That’s why I prefer to think of Spirit communication as part of our spirituality.

So where does this leave Spiritualism? One end of the spectrum of views about Spirit contact? Or part of a much expanded spiritual movement?

In all of my visits to churches, centres, groups and events the Spirit people have come to talk to me. No matter what religious views the people hosting my demonstration held. It seems that Spiritualism has no requirement to be a religion. In fact I would argue that modern Spiritualism is a spirituality instead. A concept or model that holds communication with Spirits at the heart of what it is. A set of values encouraged by Spirit communicators. Where we all find our own inner route to an understanding of a Divine, a Source, an integral connection between all of us. Or whatever else you want to call it.

Whilst it can be entertaining, after a fashion, Spiritualism isn’t purely for laughs or making money. I believe it’s about sharing a great secret. The realisation that there is something after death. A new life. With new choices and experiences. An existence where being of service has more value than anything material. When we get to that secret, hidden in plain sight, I feel we are being asked to consider the ways in which we live here on Earth. And being prompted to try to do better. Not from any religious point of view. That is because Gods etc command or demand it. But purely because it is a step into understanding how to serve each other.

The big step is to take religion out of the communication with Spirits. Spiritualism as a path of Spirituality.

But with the clear understanding that there is room for all kinds of religious belief within this new form of Spiritualism. That the movement we call Spiritualism is one of greater self-awareness. Achieved through communication with those who step forward from the Spirit World. With the commitment to live a spiritual life. Because I can’t see how I can square talking about spirituality without doing the actions that support what I say. That’s why I have always gone where I have been invited. Spirit communication is not something that I practice only with a narrow focus. Or to boost my ego. Nor for monetary gain.

I would argue that Spiritualism is alive and kicking. The contact from the Spirit World is growing. More and more people are making use of their intuitive abilities. Finding and using the inner guidance they are receiving. Our task is to shift the understanding of Spiritualism out of the Victorian era into a modern interpretation. I know this won’t sit well with some. But until we offer an up to date, straightforward view of what we practice this spiritual path remains hidden to most people. And that’s the real shame. Spiritualism has changed my life. For the better. I would like it to be the change in other people’s lives as well.

The Spirit World is giving a shout out to all churches, centres, groups and circles to check what they are doing. Are you putting your money where your mouth is? Or has ego, profit and exclusivness driven out the voice of Spirit? It’s time to define Spiritualism for the next next one hundred and fifty years.

Day 588 of my blogging challenge 

Keeping an Open Mind

imageIt’s been a busy day! I ran a Trance Mediumship workshop at the Centre then rushed across to Leeds to do a church service. Both of these are part of my life because I was prepared to keep my mind open.

Although I came into Spiritualism sceptical about being able to actually communicate with the Afterlife I had spent a lot of my life exploring spirituality. Some of the things I learned, like how to meditate, hypnosis and shamanistic practises, made me think about altered states of conciousness in the mind. I wanted to understand what happened in the space between being wide awake and fast asleep. As well as reading about altered states I was also prepared to experience some of them.

Getting first hand experience was a great benefit. First it kept me open to looking for information. Then it provided me with a lot of things to think about. Finally, by experiencing hypnogogic states for myself I learned a lot about how to, why, when and where. I’m sure I have my Guides to thank for a very through training course in Trance even if I didn’t know I was in training.

So when I decided it was time to open up my psychic senses and find out about mediumship I headed off to a Spiritualist church keen to find out more. Not necessarily about trance states or transfiguration. I wanted to understand if Spirits were ‘real’ and how mediums contacted them.

As I found out more about how mediumship works I realised that it also involved a shift in brain wave patterns. That shift is what produces altered states. There is a point when the concious mind is occupied with something. The unconscious mind gets to push intuitive information into the concious mind. At least enough information for a message to emerge from the medium. Keeping my mind open was a way to allow the intuitive stuff to surface so I could recognise it and speak it out.

What I also noticed was that the more open I was to practicing my mediumship the stronger the connections became. It became easier to slip into a different brainwave pattern and achieve a deeper blend of energy. Then I noticed that I was open to connections with lots of Energy Beings. Spiritualism is mainly about contacting loved ones who are in the Afterlife. Yet I was also being contacted by other Beings who had a conciousness but not a physical body. Fortunately some of my earlier experiences were a great help in accepting the communications.

It was at this point that my Trance mediumship also departed from the expected Spiritualist route. As I worked to develop deeper altered states I found that the other Energy Beings were also willing to come forward and show themselves.

Over time I collected enough reports from observers to confirm that Angels, Elementals, Aliens and others also overshadowed me. They had become visible to others. I was open to this contact. I wanted repeatable evidence obtained by observations made by lots of different people. I work in half or full light for this reason. It’s important to me to move away from the traditions of the past so that we are open to new ways of finding evidence. I’m passionate about evidence. I feel it’s long past time when the connections with Energy Beings can move into mainstream science.

I have no doubt that some people will approach the idea that Energy Beings are around us with a closed mind. If they do they are unlikely to experience any. I know I was questioning but open to finding out. Having experienced these beings for myself I am still open minded. I am still questioning. I want to learn more. I’d like to understand why they have to work with us this way. Though I’m sure the answer would be something connected with closed minds. So next time you wonder about Spirits and Energy Beings have an open mind. Let yourself experience the information they want to share. Then decide for yourself if the are really there.

Day 244 of my blogging challenge. 

Things that go bump!

imageHave you heard noises in the night? A bump or bang that doesn’t belong? Footsteps when there’s no one there? Many people report unexplained noises at night when their home is quiet. A lot of people say these noises are being made by ghosts. Some people get quite frightened by these random noises and worry that they are being haunted. I’ve been called out to a lot of locations to investigate for people who have been told all sorts of scare stories about bad energies, nasty Spirits or evil spells. So how do you work out which bump or bang is a Spirit and which is the plumbing playing up?

The emergence of the TV coverage of the Paranormal Investigator (or team) has been a key part in raising awareness that homes & businesses can have unusual activity taking place that may be connected to non-physical beings. It’s not that this activity is something new on the Spirit scene (investigations of bumps & bangs are at the heart of the beginnings of Spiritualism in 1848) but acknowledging that the noises may be a form of Spirit communication interests people. Sometimes in a positive way but often this kind of contact is portrayed as spooky, scary and dangerous. So before deciding that there is anything to worry about its always best to approach things that go bump in the night from a practical point of view.

When I visit anywhere to see what is happening it’s obvious that talking to the people who occupy the place will help to rule out anyone playing jokes, noise transfer from other properties and the natural noises of a home or premises. The natural noises can include things like the radiators cooling down, wooden floors expanding or contracting due to changes in temperature, loose or rattling fixtures and fittings. Sometimes people have become used to some noises but react to others. Again, talking to all of the occupants can give a better picture of what each person hears & therefore focuses on. I also like to check how psychically open each occupant is. Sometimes one person or more will hear the noise but others don’t. This can be because the person(s) hearing the noise are receiving info on a clairaudient channel – they have clear hearing for psychic noise. As with all psychic senses the ‘hearing’ can seem as if it’s outside of the person (objective) or as if it’s inside their head (subjective). I may need to give info about how clairaudience works and ask the person to monitor the noises they hear for a few days.

If everyone is hearing the noises I next have a look around the property, especially at any place where the noise is reported to be coming from. And I want to be clear what is being heard – footsteps, music, banging as if with something on the floor, rattling of a door handle or as if there is a muffled conversation going on in another room. In the area where the noise appears to be located I will ‘read’ the aura energy to see if there are traces of Spirit energy. I will also ask my Guides to link me in with any Spirit people in the property so I can ask them for more info. Or, if I feel it might be a loved one trying to make contact, I ask to be connected to anyone who wishes me to pass on a message from the Spirit World.

What I often find is that a loved one has been trying to get a message through and will happily tell me what it is. Once I have passed it on they will withdraw and the noises usually stop. Sometimes I find that the Spirit I am talking to is paying a visit to their old home. If we loved somewhere when we were alive why wouldn’t we want to pop back now and again for a memory lane visit? They usually haven’t realised that the current occupants can sense or hear them and are rather embarrassed to have created a fuss.  Occasionally there is an aura recording of events that took place in the property – like a CD – that keeps getting switched on by one of the occupants. This isn’t a Spirit causing the noises at all. Triggering an aura recording usually happens when someone is very psychically open (something I will already have checked on) and I can help by giving them the info about how to shut their psychic senses down. Very rarely there is an energy portal – a way into and out of the Spirit World – that acts a bit like a train station. The boundary between our world and theirs is thin in the portal area so Spirits pop in and out when visiting us. They also don’t know they can be heard so I will sort out a ‘Quiet Please’ sign for the portal or close it if absolutely necessary. Finally, even more rarely, I will make contact with a grounded Spirit who hasn’t yet crossed over to the Spirit World. If they need my help I will make sure they can cross over.

So when things go bump in the night it’s not ghosts out to haunt you – it’s a real phenomenon arising out of one of several reasons. There is no reason to be afraid. Taking the right action can return your home or premises to a peaceful, quiet place. And you may decide that you like having the Spirit people around enough to learn how to chat with them too.

Day 98 of my blogging challenge.

Tuning In Helps

chartres Today at the Centre the discussion has ranged from the difference between trance and channeling, trying out a stuck situation from the viewpoint of all the people involved in it and how soon do we become accustomed to the loss of a loved one. It certainly was an interesting variety of conversations. Even more so as all of these themes wove themselves together in to guidance, not only for me, but for every participant.

Some of the hardest things to pin down in the spiritual or paranormal world are definitions of what is actually taking place when I communicate with Energy Beings in different ways. What is ‘mental’ mediumship, or channeling or trance? Speak to a number of my fellow colleagues and you are likely to find slight, or even major, differences in what they would say was the dividing line between one type of mediumship against another. The lack of clearly understood descriptions of what takes place can also lead to misconceptions about the information the medium is receiving. I prefer to explain all mediumship as being conducted in an altered state of consciousness. In effect, the medium shifts her brainwaves to a different pattern making it possible to tune into her psychic, intuitive senses. We receive intuitive info all the time – it’s noticing it that is important.

Once we do pay attention to our intuition it is possible to notice the feelings and thoughts that don’t seem to belong to us. With practice we can identify the intelligence (or not in some cases) behind those feelings & thoughts. We can start to conduct a conversation. What is interesting is how ready we are to take what is communicated to us as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Perhaps we are too much in awe of the Energy Beings who have no physical body so cannot be present in that way in our lives? Sometimes we accept too much, place too much reliance on what the communicator says. It’s too easy to tell ourselves that if this being is able to communicate without a physical body then they must be more advanced than us. Especially if what they say seems to fit with what we want to hear.

This is why I practice evidence-based mediumship. That means that I am happy to communicate with any presence, even Zog from Zargon, and listen to what they say to me. However, Zog and any other being will have to give me evidence of their presence, confirmation of their words and have a very, very good reason why they have decided to contact me before I will pass on anything publicly about what they say. That process of validation may take years. I don’t mind. Funnily enough neither do they. When I ask for more I get more. Any Energy Being who wants to give us messages is also prepared to wait until we are ready both to receive and to pass on the messages. I feel it’s the way all mediumship should be approached if we are to help people in a systematic way.

Helping people is the whole point of why I’m a medium so the second conversation came about through the work I do to guide people through circles and spirals. I have always found working through a maze or labyrinth a really positive way to bring hidden info about myself to the surface. I offer a group for people so that they can use a circular or spiral labyrinth once a week to generate inspirations for their personal growth. The one I used today was an exercise in putting a stuck situation under the microscope by allowing yourself to become, for a short time, one of the other people in the situation with you. In the way it is conducted there is also space for Guides to provide light-bulb moments too. I encourage people to pay attention to inner promptings as they work through the situation from differing viewpoints. Of course, some of what surfaces will be our own inner guidance. But not all. Often there is something that really does enlighten the situation but is completely at odds with what the person would have been able to suggest might be a course of action. Tuning in with my own intuition and Guides I can facilitate the group in a more complete way too.

Tuning in for guidance was also at the heart of the third conversation. It is a long journey through grief when we loose someone we love especially if they have died. There are so many emotions, so much to understand and a hollow place in our heart that will never be filled. As a medium I can offer evidence that life continues after physical death. I can also offer messages from those in the Spirit World. Or it may be that I am in the right place at the right time to be able to say words that will acknowledge, validate or encourage someone in their grieving process. Having lost both parents I also understand how grief can bring a sense of guilt. Which person am I grieving for more? Has the passing of time blurred the edges of grief in  one passing whilst the other is still too raw? Is it ok to stay stuck in my grief when others have apparently moved on? I have the blessing of knowing from the Spirits themselves what happens in the afterlife. I can contact my loved ones at any time which is much the same as when they were here. If I can share this knowledge with others & teach them to pay attention to their intuitive senses then they too will find a way out of the stuckness of grief.

I realised as I moved from conversation to conversation that I was re-affirming my passion for mediumship. My passion for excellent mediumship! And my desire to share that passion with people who want to unlock their own stuck mediumship. So much healing can flow if only we are brave enough to let it. Is it time for you to tune in to what has always been a part of you? Listen to what your intuition has to tell you and let your Guides help you get moving!

My psychic life: Day 7

51M4XBK2Z5L._SX290_BO1,204,203,200_It’s funny what influences shape our lives. Although I was a sceptic about psychic ability & Energy Beings I’ve always been open-minded about what happens when we die. I’ve also been willing to step out of the heaven vs hell model, especially since the idea of a vengeful God doesn’t sit well with me. If we make mistakes or get it wrong surely the idea of eternal punishment is only going to make us think ‘so what … I’m headed to hell anyway. I might as well do what I want.’ And how does redemption work? Can we really write off all of our errors with prayer and then go off & do it all again? Now this isn’t a religious post – quite the opposite – but I want to share with you the questions I was asking through most of my teenage years.

At the same time I discovered science fiction. Whole worlds & events that were based on possible futures that we might be headed into. Let me clarify that science fantasy was a slow burner with me. I was interested in the future of mankind on this planet back then. Science fantasy only came along in my mid-thirtys when I wondered how it would be to have never lived a human life; about the time I gave up thinking that people could collaborate peacefully across the whole globe. So back to the hopes & fears for humankind that entertained my youth, lol. Alongside the love of science fiction I was busy growing a love of the science of the mind: telepathy, psychokinesis, abnormal psychology to name but a few strands of interest. Science fiction fascinated me as it seemed to divide into just 2 options: we kill ourselves with our technology; or, we use technology to save ourselves. It was at this time that I first read Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.

A great writer, Heinlein took the idea of how we might look from the outside & wove it into a compelling tale. His main character, Valentine Michael Smith, is raised on Mars by Martians after the ship carrying him & his parents is lost on Mars with all the crew. He is rescued from Mars at the age of 25 & brought back to Earth. I felt I could identify in many ways with the ideas in the book & read it quite a few times over the passing years. In 1992 I bought an updated version, published after Robert Heinlein’s death, which contained the full version of the story that in 1961 was considered really too far out. It became one of my favourite reads. And still is. I’m reading it again at the moment & still finding something new & fresh to think about. I’m also amazed by Heinlein’s vision of the future – the themes he draws out are still relevant even after 50 years. Here I need to add that I probably have all of his books on my bookshelf so perhaps I might be called a fan or at least possibly a bit biased.

So how does this link in with mediumship? This book really opened my mind. I didn’t understand or agree with all of it when I first read it. It has taken me many years & some maturity to understand & agree with some of the ideas in the book. Making me think every time I read it (as well as it being a really good story) has kept me open-minded. The courage to question the ‘natural’ order of things, the social conditioning & the implied expectations that govern my life stem from the influence of this book. I’ve always been curious but this book gave me permission to turn my world view inside out. If I hadn’t done that I’m not sure I would ever have accepted that I was psychic, let alone that I could communicate with energy beings.

One final observation. It’s interesting that science fiction, as a written form that we know today, only emerged fully formed in the 19th century (some suggest that Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is the first recognisable story in that a man of science plays God & creates a monster). By the middle of that century more & more work was emerging with futuristic themes. Of course, any good Spiritualist knows that the movement grew out of the rapings & tappings identified in 1948 by the Fox sisters in their home in Hydesville, New York. Perhaps the side effect of the Industrial Revolution, the rise of the machine, created such social upheaval that the time and mindset was right both for science fiction & for people to look to those in the afterlife for explanation too.

Now I’ve come full circle. I know there is an afterlife – I interact with it every day. I also know that within us we have the capacity for great good. Our struggle is to rise above the tendency for destruction, to step outside the social conditioning and to achieve the peace, love & harmony that we talk so much about. Step out of the world for a while & look with a stranger’s eyes. Do you like what you see?

My psychic life: Day 4

IMG_0536Today’s task has been to stay focused on the readings & healing I have lined up & not drift away into a trance. That’s because tonight I’m hosting an evening seance where I will be the Trance & Physical medium bringing in the Spirit people for others to see with their own eyes. A very different part of my work – but one that fascinates me.

Let me explain a little about Trance (also called transfiguration) & how I work in it. A trance is an altered state of consciousness – like meditation or hypnotherapy – in which the blend of me with Spirit can allow the Energy Being to affect my physical features, use my hands or voice and more clearly bring a representation of that being into our 3D world. A trance medium aims to alter their brainwave frequency from an awake, alert pattern to a much lower frequency (but not so low as to be asleep). Our own Spirit spark (what animates out clay overcoat) can then move to one side somewhat to make room in the aura & physical body for another Energy Being. At that point the new energy being can influence the physicality of the medium & be more present in the room.

There is a long history in Spiritualism of trance mediumship. This type of blending has been a useful way for Spirit to provide extra evidence that they can interact with our dimension & make direct changes. Trance mediumship has been investigated in many different ways – although the world of science remains unconvinced – and you will find many reports & pictures of seances from reliable sources if you want to look into this phenomenon more closely. Of course there has also been a lot of misinformation & misunderstanding about this type of work. It gets even more confusing if you then consider physical mediumship. A medium in a deep trance can often be used by the Energy Beings to produce not just facial or physical changes. Working together the blending of the medium & Energy Beings can also produce physical phenomena e.g. lights, cold & heat shifts, moving objects, noises like raps & bangs, voices in the air & through a trumpet.

There are traditions in this type of work about the ways in which mediums should work. However, many of today’s trance mediums are finding that the blending can be done in different conditions – so we are experimenting all the time. I don’t work in total darkness or with red light. I’m not disturbed by noise. I can work with ectoplasm as well as with energy to produce phenomena. My people seem to enjoy being photographed by digital cameras & phones – sometimes I feel they like showing off, lol. Occasionally they will let people video the seances. And they also love electrical equipment. I now have a light box and emf-type meter built by another experienced seance sitter so that the Energy Beings can show themselves.

Soon I will go & have a shower, a little rest & then get into my black clothes (black is a good background to pick up orbs). I have been meat free for 2 weeks so that there is no undigested food in my stomach; I’ve been drinking lots of water & avoiding coffee & alcohol; all of these help raise my vibration & ensure that the trance work can be carried out in the best possible conditions. The room has been set up with a circle of 15 chairs. There is music on hand to help raise the vibrations. And there is my trumpet alongside the musical instruments that might be used by the Energy Beings to make noise.

I love this part – the anticipation! Will the energy of the sitters blend well? Will the energy build up & be strong enough? What will people experience? Who will step forward & blend with me? Will all the equipment work? I never know what is going to happen. And I miss most of it anyway as I’m the one in trance – quite a challenge for me as I’m curious about everything. I’m looking forward to hearing what people feel & think about the seance. How it might have been improved. What to try next time. So much research to carry on doing!