Glendower: "I can call spirits from the vasty deep."
Hotspur: "Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?"
- Henry IV, Part I
Like that character from Moliere who was delighted to learn that he’d been speaking prose all along and never knew it, each and every one of us is channeling all the time; and the only difference between ”professional” psychics and mediums and the rest of us is that the psychics are aware of what they’re doing – they make a special point of (call special attention to) a completely natural process that everybody already knows how to do. Everyone has spirit guides who talk to them constantly; however, most people don’t listen to these messages, any more than they listen to what other people, such as their parents, spouse, or children, are trying to tell them. When a thought or feeling prompted by a spirit guide pops up in their consciousness, they just pass over it or reject it. In this essay we will discuss thought forms, spirit guides, and other beings which can be channeled, together with a simple technique for consciously channeling them.
In order to get an idea of what spirits are, it is first necessary to get a handle on what we are. Contrary to popular opinion, we are not solid, abiding objects that have individual self-existence. Although it certainly appears that the world is “real” and consists of solid, discrete objects, in fact our world is more like a movie screen, hooked up to other people’s movie screens, on which we’re all projecting what we’re feeling inside outwards as symbols – solid objects in a physical world.
To ask Heidegger’s question, “Why are there things rather than nothing?” is like asking, “Why can’t soccer players use their hands? Why did God so construct the universe that soccer players can’t use their hands?” In the same way, our perception of the universe as a world of solid, discrete objects is a wholly man-made restriction on our senses. Plants and animals don’t perceive the world in this fashion, and neither, for that matter, do infants and lunatics. They still use their “hands” (their feelings rather than their minds) to play the game of perception. As a result, they don’t “play soccer” very well, but they still have the free use of their hands –their intuition – which most people have learned to repress. The belief that we are discrete entities in a world of solid objects is just that – a belief – that makes the world of concepts, of thinking, possible.
Admittedly, the belief that we are discrete, abiding entities in a world of solid objects certainly seems to be true most of the time we are awake – it’s a pretty convincing belief. But that’s only because we have the door tightly shut on any evidence that contradicts this belief. That door is called “fear of going crazy or of being thought crazy.” Keeping our sanity is equivalent to screening out lots of information about ourselves and the world around us which would be available if we could just loosen up a bit and drop the pretense that we exist as solid objects.
In fact, our existence is multidimensional. We not only exist in an infinite number of past and future lives, but we are also infinitely ramified in all the probable realities which branch off from this present lifetime. Every time we make a decision – big or little – we create a probable reality in which that decision was made, and another or other probable realities in which that decision wasn’t made. For example, that person whom you wistfully smiled at from afar once but never spoke to nor saw again, is your spouse in another probable reality in which you did go over and strike up a conversation.
Thus, not only does the totality of who “we” are encompass infinite lifetimes in other worlds and realities, it also encompasses infinite probable realities within this present lifetime as well as all those others. Not only that, but within the confines of a single probable reality of a single lifetime, which is all we normally pay attention to or consider to be “ourselves”, we are still multiple personalities. That is to say, we are not the same person from moment to moment, but in fact shift from one to another subpersonalities or thought forms in response to this or that changing stimulus. The only difference between an Eve, Sybil, or Truddi and the rest of us is that their slips are showing: they’re acting out the multiple personality role openly, whereas the rest of us are marching around with our dress uniforms – our fear of going crazy – buttoned down tight.
Most of what we consider to be “ourselves” – that is, the thoughts, feelings and perceptions which occupy our conscious minds most of the time we are awake; our sense that there is a continuing “us” there – is just a collection of habits and predilections learned from our parents and society. Each of our habitual thoughts, moods, beliefs, etc. is a thought form – a learned behavior which is a being in its own right.* Most of what we think we think, believe, or perceive is actually just what our parents and society think, believe, or perceive; and these thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions have an awareness, a sense of selfhood, and a will to live all their own. We create them with our decisions and we breathe the breath of life into them with our attention.
Basically, every time we think a thought we are channeling a thought form. However, this is an unskillful way of channeling because it’s mindless. Thought forms grab our attention and say, “Think this! Think that! Think the other! In response to this, do that! Remember this! Desire that! Blah blah blah!” all day long every day. Thought forms are our automatic pilot – although we ourselves create them, we are subject to their control thereafter. We go along and just think whatever our thought forms want us to think. It rarely occurs to us to stop and ask, “Why? Why am I thinking this thought? Is entertaining this thought going to benefit me? From whence does this thought arise? At what point in my life did I first begin entertaining this thought? When did I make it a part of my inventory of habitual thoughts? Etc.”
To ask these sorts of questions (and pay attention to the answers) is called Active Imagination, and it is a more functional form of channeling thought forms than is normal thinking. In Active Imagination we interact with our thought forms, whereas in normal thinking we just snap to and salute whenever a thought form barks a command at us. Active Imagination is facilitated by automatic writing (which we shall learn how to do presently); i.e. automatic writing is a refinement of the technique of Active Imagination, but it’s by no means the only way to do it. Thoughtful, introspective people are doing Active Imagination all the time without calling it that or giving any special attention to it; but, in fact, Active Imagination is a wholly different form of channeling thought forms than is normal thinking.
So thought forms – habitual patterns of thought picked up from our parents and society – account for most of what we consider “our” thoughts and feelings; and spirits – both good and evil – account for most of what’s left. The chief difference between thought forms and spirits is that thought forms are within us, created by us, a part of us; whereas spirits are outside of us. When we channel (e.g. by automatic writing) we run across a whole menagerie of entities – both thought forms and different kinds of spirits – so it’s helpful to know the differences between these various kinds of beings.
There are lots of different kinds of spirits in the world. We are spirits, for that matter. Some spirits are entirely useless to humans – we cannot even communicate with such entities. Others are nasty little things which are best avoided altogether. And still others can be quite helpful to humans, for a multitude of purposes.
There are spirits which oversee particular human activities such as agriculture, art, construction, cooking, healing, mathematics, mining, etc. etc. Every human endeavor has a cadre of spirits proper to it, which guides individual practitioners and also helps humanity as a whole expand its knowledge of the various arts, crafts, and sciences. A competent, inspired professional in any field is constantly receiving inspiration and new ideas from the spirits who oversee his or her field. However, as is the case also with thought forms, most people believe that any inspiration they receive in this fashion is “their” idea, when in fact it’s being passed to them by spirits. To be a competent professional in any field is to be a clear channel for the spirits who oversee that field.
Finally, we come to personal spirit guides – what some people call angels. These are spirits who are assigned to individual human beings, who tend them as wards. Everybody has at least one personal spirit guide at any one time, but most people have several or lots of them, which may come and go in the course of a lifetime.
Although both thought forms and spirit guides can be channeled in the same ways (as can other spirits: Jesus and Mary, Krishna, nature spirits, demons, recently deceased people, etc.), thought forms and spirit guides are completely different kinds of entities. Thought forms are created by us: they stand in the same relation to us that we stand to God. Guides, on the other hand, are a bit above us in the sense of being wiser, possessing broader viewpoints and more loving hearts, but they aren’t that far above us.
Many spirit guides have had human incarnations. Sometimes deceased friends, relatives, ancestors, or even aborted fetuses become one’s spirit guides; and one of my own guides has told me that there are lives / realities in which I am her spirit guide. I presume that similar relationships between people and their guides obtain for everyone.
Up until recently in human history (last few thousand years) magical knowledge – the practical application of intuition – was handed down from generation to generation, as agricultural or mathematical knowledge is. However, because of the nature of the times, most of that knowledge was lost as skilled practitioners died off without leaving heirs. In the interim, the White Brotherhood, the “guild” of spirit guides, came in to fill the gap – to steer humanity in more or less the right direction during its sleep-walking (rationalist-materialist) phase.
There’s a great network spread out across the world now, a linking up of groups of spirits and human channels, sending out filaments of light around the earth to love it and heal it. To learn to consciously channel your spirit guides is to join this fraternity of light. As long as there is light, no evil can overcome the earth.
Now we will describe how to channel spirit guides by automatic writing. But it must be pointed out that automatic writing is just a way of making channeling deliberate or special, of endowing it with an aura of mystery. By distinguishing the process of channeling in this way it is easier to understand and learn – to learn in the sense of separating it out of normal thinking and feeling, and to understand when “our” thoughts and feelings indeed arise within ourselves, and when they are being passed to us by a spirit. Channeling can be done via normal thinking and feeling; in trance; in dreams; and by automatic writing. Automatic writing, albeit not as clear as trance channeling (more admixture of the person channeling in the final product), has the advantage of providing a written record of a spirit’s messages – something which is often useful for future reference. A lot of things spirits say to us make more sense in retrospect.
I’ve personally taught some hundred people to channel their spirit guides, and of that number only half a dozen or so have blocked so badly that they couldn’t do it. But nobody needs a teacher to learn something as easy and basic as channeling. The only function my presence as a teacher serves is to prop up my students’ faith, to put their noses down to it: I have a rather overbearing personality that expects and assumes that people will channel successfully – which doesn’t offer my students much margin for doubt or failure. But this is just a didactic device – I’m convinced that anyone who wants to channel can channel, with no need for a teacher.
It’s best to tackle automatic writing when you have some pressing personal question to ask, or when you are moved by a burning curiosity to communicate with your spirit guides. Idle curiosity may not have enough oomph behind it to forge a clear communications link. The reason some people block conscious channeling (or reject the idea altogether) is that they don’t want to face up to the fact that they are not solid, continuing, individual beings, but rather are a flux of thought forms (images, opinions, beliefs, and expectations learned from parents and society) being urged this way and that by spirit forces.
In other words, to open to channel means to lay aside a lot of common assumptions about the nature of personal existence; and some people find this frightening. If you find yourself blocking, just set the project aside until you have a dire need to question your guides – that need will be sufficient motivation to break the block. Like everything else in life, channeling comes more easily to some people than to others; but anyone can do it if they just keep plugging away at it.
Choose a time when you are relaxed, alert, calm, and will not be interrupted. If you are into astrology, you can use a lunar planetary hour; however this is merely a help, not a necessity. Lie down or sit, as you prefer, with a pen and notebook in hand (although channeling can also be done on a typewriter or word processor). Writing down both your questions and the replies as they come in the form of a dialogue, ask your guides to please talk to you. For example, you might start this way:
Me: “My spirit guides, could you please come and talk to me? I am really trying to be open right now, and I want to hear what you have to say to me. I have this problem that I need an answer to; won’t you please come and talk to me about it. Etc. etc.”
This is just an example – you should ask your guides to talk to you using your own words and sentiments. Keep writing, keep on coaxing them, until you begin to feel an answer forming in your mind, and then write it down. The trick to making this work is to not stop writing. That’s the purpose of the writing – to focus your attention on the act of writing, like when you’re taking notes in a classroom, so that there’s less room for doubt, hesitation, fear, etc. Keep on writing, even if you’re just writing the same plea over and over again. Do make it heartfelt – not just done mechanically – and eventually you’ll start getting an answer. It really is so simple and straightforward you won’t believe it – “Look, ma, I’m channeling!”
Note that when a person channels for the first time, the answers tend to come out sort of inchoate and constipated. Don’t worry – just push it right on out and don’t worry about whether it makes sense or not. Usually in automatic writing a few words or phrases spring into your mind at a time, a little faster than you can write them down, though sometimes you might get whole blocks or paragraphs at once. You might also see memory pictures pop up before your mind’s eye, or get flashes of dream-like scenes as you write. Record all of this because it’s all relevant. Something might not make sense at the moment, but it will eventually if you keep a written record of it.
If nothing comes to mind in response to your entreaties; or if all that comes to mind is gibberish; then you are blocking. Your conscious mind might say, “This isn’t working. I’m not doing it right.” or “There must be some trick to this!” in its effort to subvert the process. Don’t fall for that ploy! Keep trying, keep on writing, even if all you get is gibberish. Only trust can open you enough to write automatically; otherwise you tangle yourself with doubt. Doubt is the enemy of all magic, and it can completely tear down automatic writing at the outset. Faith is the key to success here, as elsewhere, and a strong curiosity is a valuable asset as well. Bear in mind that your spirit guides will be thrilled to open this channel of communication with you, and they will do everything they can, from their side, to assist you. If you find yourself blocking, try switching to your non-dominant hand. Keep on writing, and at some moment your conscious mind will relax its grip and you’ll start writing automatically. Then, simply write down what your spirit guides tell you, asking any questions you like along the way.
Ask your guides what their names are, and if they have specific messages for you. Some people “see” their spirit guides in their mind’s eye; though I’ve never seen my guides in this manner, I have met them in dreams. In automatic writing (as opposed to trance channeling) there is a lot of medium thrown in with the message. One of my spirit guides is also channeled by several other people, and while you can tell that it’s the same entity coming through, she sounds different through each of us. For one thing, she speaks in English to those whose native language is English, and in Spanish to those of Spanish tongue. Beyond that, her diction, outlook, interests, etc. mirror those of the person channeling her. What is invariant from channel to channel is her feeling – the sense of her presence – and the tenor and direction of her thinking. But her relationships with her various channels are as diverse as the channels are.
It’s difficult to generalize about spirit guides – each is different, as people are different. They will speak to us in a manner we are capable of understanding: they address us according to where we are coming from, in terms we are capable of receiving. If there’s something we just don’t want to hear, it’s easy enough to block it, just as we tend to block out what we don’t want to hear from other people. Sometimes my own guides have had to wait until I was in a particularly relaxed or unguarded frame of mind to sock something to me that I didn’t want to hear. And at times I’ve remonstrated, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”; to which their usual rejoinder is, “We were telling you all along, but you refused to listen!”
Once you’ve got the technique of automatic writing down pat, you can use it to channel any spirits, not just your personal guides. This means nature spirits, recently deceased people, even Jesus, Mary, Krishna, Buddha, saints, etc. God can’t be channeled this way, however, because God doesn’t “talk”. If you get a message purporting to come from God, it’s some wise-guy spirit putting you on. Automatic writing can also be used as part of Active Imagination (a technique devised by Carl Jung for conversing with your own thought forms – see my book Thought Forms for details).
You may wonder how you can tell if you’re channeling evil spirits. All I can say is that all of the evil spirits which I’ve run across in my channeling made no bones about who they were or what they were up to. Evil spirits seek willing accomplices – they need a decision on your part to commit evil, they can’t trick you against your will. However, they can come up with some pretty tempting offers sometimes. I would say, though, that if the messages you are channeling are full of fulsome praise at how marvelous you are, and pity at how misunderstood you are, and how much you have to suffer, then probably you’re channeling demons. Real spirit guides will buck you up when you are feeling low; but they’ll also kick you in the butt if you indulge in self-pity. Their actual goal is to get you to a place where you have your own true feelings working, so that you don’t need them anymore.
Okay, now you’re a professional, dyed-in-the-wool spirit channel, ready to hang out your shingle and charge for readings. Now what?
Generally speaking, spirit guides are useless for calling horse races, lottery numbers, or even for predicting the outcome of specific events. If prediction is what you want, it’s better to use horary astrology, tarot, etc. than to ask of your guides. My experience is that spirit guides can predict the outcome of certain events when they volunteer the information; but they can’t or won’t predict outcomes merely at our behest. This is because spirit guides look at things very differently from us; they’re on another wavelength, and the things which are of crucial importance to us are not of consequence to them. Spirits don’t give a hang about what we call the “future”, and they regard our obsession with it as an odd peculiarity of our species, scarcely worthy of serious notice. On the other hand, things that spirits believe should be simple for us (such as dropping lifelong habits, addictions, fears, etc. as a simple act of will) in fact present insuperable difficulties which spirits can’t really appreciate. Even spirits who have had human incarnations tend to forget what it’s like down here. Things just aren’t as simple as they try to make them seem, because they don’t have to deal with doubt, fear, inertia, temptation, taxes, etc.
Nor are spirit guides capable of pulling our chestnuts out of the fire for us, saving our skins, or changing the outward circumstances of our lives. There are spirits which can assist us with the concrete problems of our lives to some extent, but spirit guides are basically advisers, not employees.
Spirit guides can’t live our lives for us; they can’t feel our feelings for us, can’t absorb or deflect our pain for us, can’t resolve our problems for us, and can’t find our happiness for us. All they can do is show us how to take responsibility for doing these things ourselves.
* * * * *
excerpted from Magical Almanac ezine, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MagicalAlmanac