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What is channeling?

Mediumship and the modern age

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When I listen to your channelings, I am blown away. They seem to open up my heart center. [Your channelings are] a modern version of the ancient Incan whistling vessels explored by Daniel K. Statenkov.”—James J.


"The best reading I had was yours. You have access to so much more information then regular psychics have. Just using Tarot cards seems a bit limited in comparison. I was really impressed with your power, ethics, understanding and kindness." —Genevieve


“You were dead on with what you told me.”

“Remember that reading you gave me five years ago? After that reading, two physical issues I had went away and never came back.” —C.J.


“I'm still amazed at how my body has reacted positively to that [spiritual] healing from you back in May. It was slow to show up but it seems to be a steady improvement! I'm truly impressed!”

I always feel so safe and comfortable with you.

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What is channeling?

Table of Contents


In a nutshell, for me anyway, mediumship or channeling is receiving a communication from specific spirits and either writing or speaking that communication as though the spirit itself is speaking. It is almost exactly analogous to being a translator, for basically I take the information I receive and translate it into English. This article explains this process in greater detail.

According to the statistics my ISP keeps, since 1996, when I first posted this article, this has continued to be one of the most consistently popular articles on my Web site. (There are others, tincluding Choosing a Psychic and The Usual Suspects: What Entities Can Be Channeled?, as well as Clumping Clay Kitty Litters—A Deadly Convenience?, my article on the possible dangers of clumping clay kitty litters.) So although this article is long, it apparently is considered to be well worth reading. Enjoy!

Mediums—Myth or Magic?

Associated with mediumship, or channeling as it is now more commonly called, are a number of myths and stereotypes, along with a number of outdated ideas. In this article, I present a more modern view of the process, one that I hope will dispel many of the myths and will help readers understand what channeling is—and what it isn't. Of course, in reading this article, it is important that you remember that it reflects my own perspective on the process; other people will almost certainly have a somewhat different take on the subject.

Much of what a person experiences as a channel (also called a channeler) or as someone who seeks out channelers for answers depends on who you are and what your background is; more on that later. Essentially, most people who approach a channeler for answers or who are first learning to channel hold some or all of the following beliefs:

  • Belief: The channeler is a conduit through which the information comes. As such, he or she brings nothing to the party, so to speak, but instead can be thought of as a glorified spiritual radio tuning into the information being broadcast by the entities being channeled. NOT TRUE!
  • Belief: The entities being channeled, by virtue of either being dead (deceased, departed from physical life) or by virtue of never having been in a physical body, are perfected beings who have only the highest thoughts and intentions toward we lowly and inadequate human beings. NOT TRUE!
  • Belief: The information coming through is, therefore, always 100% accurate and always comes from a high and loving source. NOT TRUE!
  • Belief: Anything that comes through a channeler, therefore, is never to be questioned, but instead should be accepted and followed verbatim. NOT TRUE!
  • Belief: Trance channels or channels who are not conscious of their channeling are more accurate than conscious channels. NOT TRUE!

Unfortunately, many people continue to hold these beliefs even after consulting a channeler, or (worse yet) even after becoming a channeler themselves. It is my belief that this is not a good thing. What often results is that the person consulting a channeler suspends all judgment and rational thought along with their disbelief, often, then, ending up with more of a mess than they had before they consulted the channeler. (This applies as well to consulting a psychic; see the related article, “Choosing a Psychic” for more on how to retain control over your own life when consulting a psychic of any stripe.)

Another unfortunate effect of believing these things is that when, inevitably, the channeled material (or the channeler, or both) turns out to not have been so perfect, the ensuing disappointment can lead to completely giving up on consulting channelers or on reading channeled material. Disgruntled, the disappointed person snorts in derision whenever anyone else mentions channelers, and swears to never again look in that corner of the universe.

The mantra for all channelers should be, “I could be wrong.” The mantra for all people who consult channelers or other psychics should be, “They could be wrong.”

Obviously, there must be some kind of middle ground between having so open a mind that all your marbles fall out and having a mind that is completely closed to the idea of channeling and to the information that can come through a good channeler.

There is, and this article attempts to address the beliefs that can cause disappointment and to introduce some new concepts and ideas with which to approach your next encounter with channelers or channeled material. Mediums, or channelers as is now generally preferred (though I dislike both terms because there are so many misunderstandings associated with each) are neither mythical nor magical (well, most of us aren't, most of the time). At least, not from our own point of view. As always, the truth lies somewhere in between.

In this article, I introduce some definitions, then I talk about what kinds of entities can be channeled. Then I talk about the different kinds of channelers there are, and end with a description of the channeling process.

In other articles, I provide a few guidelines for evaluating a channeler or psychic, and provide a discussion of how you might, if so inclined, become a channeler yourself.

Definitions and a little background information

Last century, when spiritualism took root in Western Europe and the United States, channelers were called mediums. Before that, they might have been said to “hear voices” (such as with Joan of Arc) or to be prophets, such as with Muhammad, Jesus, and many of the other well-known Middle Eastern mystics. The oracles at Delphi were almost certainly channelers, as were many others in the service of a wide variety of deities throughout time and history.

The term “channeling” today is taken to mean communicating with entities who have either inhabited a body (but now don't), or who claim to have never inhabited a body. It is also possible to channel someone who is currently inhabiting a body (and it does get done), though that isn't generally what people mean when they speak of channeling. For completeness, though, do bear in mind that the definition includes this aspect.

The communication is based in either telepathic or direct spirit-to-body contact (or both). The two things are not, as I understand it, the same thing.

  • You can think of telepathy as a more refined and subtle form of verbal communication. It is important to understand that it is two-way and that, as will all forms of communication, that which is being said is open to interpretation. More on that later.
  • Spirit-to-body contact can and often does involve some amount of “taking over” of the channeler's body. In extreme cases, this can become possession, either with conscious agreement from the channeler or not.

Personally, I prefer the telepathic approach, and that is what I use, so that is my primary focus in this article, because it is what I am most familiar with first-hand. I have known and been friends with some full-body and/or trance channelers, so much of my information about that style comes both directly from them and from my own observations, as well as my own intuition.

Why more channeling now?

Channeling is nothing new, though more people are doing it and in greater numbers than we know of in history. I believe there are a number of reasons for this.

  1. The human race as a whole is evolving toward greater capabilities and new definitions of who and what we are. Part of the nature of all of life is to grow, evolve, become more complex and ever-varied.
  2. Fundamentally, what we “own” as spirits and human beings is who we are (what we've made of ourselves, and what we are constantly making of ourselves), and the relationships we've created with other true beings.

If the second reason above is true, then it follows that one of the fundamental and absolutely vital components of any kind of relationship, whether it is based in physical reality or in spirit or both, is communication. Without communication, we can have no relationship. This communication doesn't have to be in words, of course; body language is one form of non-verbal communication. Communication can and often does involve spirit-to-spirit communication as well.

To evolve toward a greater expression of our own reality we must also evolve all aspects of ourselves. Telepathy is one of the next evolutionary steps in communication.

What is telepathy?

Telepathy is the process of communicating from mind to mind (or spirit to spirit, to be more precise) without using a physical mechanism (such as voice, telephone, email, and what not). Some might argue that there is some sort of physical mechanism in the brain that facilitates or makes possible the ability to communicate telepathically, and I suppose that is a possibility that this is so, but I don't think it matters necessarily except as a point of interest..

Even if there is a physical mechanism, it still is based in our ultimate source, which is spiritual, and I prefer to look at the source (the spirit and spiritual reasons), or the cause, than to look at the results, or the effect.

There are many forms of telepathy. Generally, as I experience it, it is not as portrayed in the fictional works, where a person can hear every single word as broadcast by another, though telepathy can and does take that form at times for me. Telepathy is also not something that you need to put a lot of effort into, where you wrinkle your forehead and strain a lot; indeed, such straining can be counterproductive.

Instead, telepathy is what happens when you relax enough to open your inner self to communications that flow both ways on a more fragile and enduring medium than the air. It also very often comes in the form of what I call a “thought ball,” where concepts and thoughts and words and emotions and sensations and images are all rolled up into a complexly interrelated whole, somewhat like a large ball of string. It is then the task of the receiver to unravel that ball into a linear communication.

Telepathy and translations

The unraveling process in telepathy is nearly identical to translating from one language into another. You are taking a communication that came in one form in one language, and you are trying to convey that communication as clearly and as unaltered in meaning as possible in another language.

You can see, then, that if the translator is to do a good job, it is of great importance that the translator has a number of characteristics, such as being intelligent, well-balanced, open-minded, highly educated, unbiased as much as is possible, well-versed in many cultures, knowledgeable about many different languages, and so on. You can also see that many people who aspire to being such translators don't meet up to these qualifications, and therefore their translations will similarly miss the mark to some degree. The analogy is exact regardless of whether you are speaking of the kind of translation work that is done at the United Nations or the kind of translation work that a channeler must do every time s/he channels.

Dimensional difficulties

The main difference between translating between two human languages and translating from spirit communications into physical reality is that the latter kind of translation work is fraught with far more difficulties.

All human languages share many common constructs and concepts (for example, mother, father, life, birth, death; but also, built into them all, are the inherent recognition of our physical reality and certain commonly shared beliefs about that reality). In the spirit world, there are what you might consider to be expanded versions of those same constructs, plus some.

Thinking of it in terms of dimensions is a very useful analogy. For example, when you have two dimensions, you have only length and width, not depth. Trying to imagine what depth would be like from the perspective of a two-dimensional world might be impossible, or, if possible, it might be possible only in a distorted way. Once you add that third dimension, it seems obvious and a matter of course to you to see what depth is. But try to explain it to your flatlander friends who are still in the second dimension....

Another analogy might be that of the senses. Imagine trying to explain taste to someone who has never had the ability to taste anything. Or smell, touch, sight, hearing, emotions—all of these would be hard to explain, describe, or discuss with someone who didn't have experience with these things.

A friend of mine who is now blind but wasn't at one time once told me of how she was in a discussion once with people who had been blind from birth. The topic was one that probably all of us have played with at some time or another: If you had to give up one sense, which would it be? In this case, the topic was modified somewhat to assume that the people had the choice of four of our five senses. My friend said that those people who had been blind from birth said they would still choose to be blind rather than, say, deaf. They couldn't imagine how sight could be useful—but take away their hearing and they would feel it! Their main argument was, how could you tell you were approaching something if you couldn't hear the various small sounds that echoed from those items or that those items made? My friend found that she could not explain how sight could perform many of the functions that hearing was performing for them, and they remained convinced that hearing was better than sight. (I'm not taking a position here; I'd have a hard time choosing too, if I had to choose, because each sense contributes something uniquely beautiful to our three-dimensional life.)

The channeler experiences a similar difficulty in trying to translate the messages being received in that s/he is still within the world of three dimensions (or the five senses, if you will, ignoring, for now, the fact that there are of course far more dimensions, including time, the fourth dimension), yet s/he is trying to communicate concepts being conveyed from a being who is inhabiting at least one dimension up (the fifth dimension or greater), or whose existence is entirely within the spirit realm (I don't claim to have much knowledge of such; the more I learn, the more questions I have and the less I think I know) and therefore not dependent on physical reality as a reference point, though that greater reality encompasses ours.

Another way to look at it is to think of each dimension as a matrix that includes any “lower” dimension within it. So, for example, the second dimension includes within it the first dimension; the third dimension includes the first and second; the fourth dimension includes the first, second, and third, and so on. If you were a person stepping from dimension to dimension, you would continue to experience each previous dimension, yet from a different perspective. In a sense, you are able to view the previous dimensions as something incorporated within your new dimension; you could almost say that you are viewing the previous dimensions from “outside” them.

So why bother channeling? What's the point?

You may be thinking,“this is all very interesting, but so what? Why bother? What's the use in channeling anyway?” Aside from the idea that much of the information coming through is pretty interesting, the tendency is to think that it is information we can live without, especially since there doesn't seem to be any way to test or confirm the information.

But what if that information is useful after all, perhaps in ways that aren't obvious?

Here's another analogy: Let's say that your bed is analogous to the first dimension, your bedroom is the second dimension, your house the third dimension, your neighborhood the fourth, and so on. When you wake in the morning, you exist in the first dimension. While you are there, you only know what is taking place in bed. (Pretending that you can't see your room—perhaps you have a canopy bed with curtains.) As soon as you draw your bed curtains aside and step out of bed into the second dimension (your bedroom), you have a wider and different perspective on your bed (the first dimension). The bed is still in your scope of experience, yet you are experiencing it from a different vantage point, and you now see the context within which it lies (the second dimension, aka your bedroom).

You can see, for example, that your bed rests upon a floor, of whose existence you previously had no clue. This raises a large number of questions in itself. What is a floor? Who built it? How is it holding your bed up? And so on. You can also see that your bed is contained within a greater reality, yet that reality has walls and a ceiling (as well as the floor). More questions result. Who made all of this? Did anyone make it? Is this all there is? Is there something greater within which this room is contained, just as my bed is contained within this room? What is a wall? What is the nature of a wall? Are there other walls? Are all walls made the same? And so on.

When you step out into the hallway and realize that your room is contained within an even greater context, you get some answers but more questions. You now see that there are different kinds of walls, for example, and floors, too, yet the ceiling seems to be the same. Is there only one kind of ceiling but many walls? If there are many walls, how many are there?

When you get outside, your reality really opens up, and again you have more answers yet many more questions. You will also have grown in ability in that you had to stretch yourself to reach into these greater realities, and you had to learn new skills in dealing with these new realities. Although many of the skills are based in what you learned within your bed, you have also learned new skills as well.

For example, while lying in your bed, you didn't need to use your legs much, and when you did, it wasn't for walking. You may even have wondered what legs were good for. As soon as you stepped outside the bed's protective coverings, you quickly found out what legs were good for, yet you had had no conception of walking before. And once you got outside and discovered, for instance, that legs are very useful for driving (though not essential), you found you were very far beyond what you had ever imagined you would be doing with your body.

Now imagine trying to talk with someone who is still sitting in their bed. How would you explain what you are experiencing to them? How do you tell them that you are walking, or what pleasure it brings to you to walk? How do you describe the world you are in to someone who has never been outside?

Generally, what you would try to do is use analogies, such as comparing the sky to the canopy over the bed, and the good green earth you are walking on to the bed's mattress. Many times, however, you would find yourself unable to completely convey the reality of what you are experiencing, though if you are good at what you do, you may be able to convey enough that the person in his or her bed is willing to at least take a peek out into their room, and so start their own journey into a greater reality.

And ask yourself this: What apparent relevance would information about what a car is, let alone how to drive it, hold for someone who is still in that bed? You may try to tell them that their legs will be used in ways they have never imagined, but the greater reality is still so far removed from the reality of existence in the bed that you find it impossible at times to convey even a taste of what the greater reality is like.

You know your friend in that bed is going to think that much, if not all, of what you are saying is irrelevant and possibly even crazy. Yet you know from your greater perspective that when they come out into the greater, more expanded reality that you exist within, this information will be useful in many ways. When in a world that has cars, you need to know how to avoid the dangers they pose as well as to take advantage of their benefits they offer. If you come forth into the world that contains cars completely naive of any information on that topic, you will be at a disadvantage. Granted, it is easier to come up to speed on cars than on, say, other things, but the analogy is a pretty good one.

The point here is that much of the information coming through in a channeling session (at least, in the kinds of channeling sessions I hold) has global significance and is preparing those who are present (or who get to read the transcripts, some of which are here on this site, or listen to the audio) for a greater reality. Not even I, the channeler, am always able to grasp the significance of what is coming through, and sometimes it seems that the information is arbitrarily simple or irrelevant. Yet many times I have later been filled with amazement at the stunningly perfect complexity and interrelatedness of something I received while channeling, where a piece falls into place and what formerly seemed chaos is now a perfect design. Other times I have had to continue to take information on faith, hoping that someday it will make sense.

Which I don't always do. I talk back to the entities I channel, I argue with them, I get stubborn and insist on getting something that is of apparent value today. I always get what I ask for, though sometimes not in the form or in the time frame I asked to receive it within.

(The communication flow is easier from the channeler to the entity being channeled, because the entity is within a matrix that encompasses the matrix within which the channeler exists. Someone who has already lived in that bed and has now moved on will understand the experiences of the person still living in the bed; the reverse is not necessarily true, unless the person living in the bed has actually returned to the bed from a greater reality and has retained that information to a greater degree than most of us have. But that is getting way beyond the scope of this essay; I'll address it another time.)

So if you believe in a greater reality or even in a reality that makes sense, has meaning, has interrelatedness; if, (as Jung and his followers are fond of saying), you believe there is no such thing as a coincidence, then channeling can hold a lot of charm and value. Myself, I have an immense amount of sheer curiosity, so even if the information isn't necessarily or obviously applicable in a practical way, I enjoy receiving it.

It also just plain feels good to channel, and seems to do no harm but instead accomplishes much good in my life and in the lives of those I channel for, all of which seem as good reasons to do it as any of the others.

So, you're saying you talk with dead guys?

Since I believe it is impossible to destroy a spirit, it is a contradiction in terms to refer to those spirits as “dead guys,” though I have been known to make such references both out of my own sense of humor and to make things easier for those around me. (Though I hasten to add that I did not come up with this term. My dear and great friend Jeff Duntemann was the first to use this term with me, and I loved the irreverence of it so much that I made it mine. Thanks, Jeff!)

However, not all the entities I channel have inhabited bodies from which they could have died out of, so the term “dead guys” is loose at best. But yes, in the loosest sense, a channeler speaks with dead guys. (Year 2002 note: I wrote this article in 1996, quite some time before the movie Sixth Sense came out, which, if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend, if only for the spectacular jobs of acting by Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, but also for the information in it.)

This isn't to say that those dead guys are any more enlightened or able to speak to the human condition than I am. If you aren't careful, the “dead guy” you are channeling could be Fred, the Garage mechanic, who just died and is having you on for a lark. Watch for those automotive analogies. :-)

To be more specific about who you can speak with if you are a channeler, I'd have to say that the field is wide open—with some caveats. From my own experiences and deductions and information from my own channeled sources (the “dead guys”), who you are has a great deal to do with who you channel.

The Boy Scout rule

As one of my main spirit liaisons once told someone, “If you want to hang about in the pool hall of the souls with the riff-raff and the hustlers, you can. But you don't have to.” Another saying he is fond of is, “Like Light attracts like Light,” which is tongue-twister way of saying that birds of a feather flock together.

This means that generally you will attract entities who are on the same wavelength as you are. If, for example, you as a human being haven't spent a lot of time on things like living ethically, with self- and other-honesty, trust, good-heartedness, and so on, or if you have a lot of judgments about yourself and the world, and a lot of restrictive beliefs about how things work, then the entities you attract won't be trustworthy or particularly forthcoming with the truth, nor will they be trustworthy in other ways, and in general, when you channel them, you will get slimed, spiritually speaking. Though you may enjoy it—life is odd that way.

Conversely, if you have been honest and true, and have held and followed higher standards of decency, honesty, justice, and, ultimately, love in a deep and universal sense, then you will attract the kind of entity who likewise holds those things to be important.

Can you be more specific? Exactly who can and who cannot be channeled, and why?

I know, I know—you'd like me to be more specific. Unfortunately, to be as specific as I'd like to be would take up the space of at least one entire book—perhaps more. But I can be a little more specific than I am being. Here's a list of the kinds of entities that can be channeled, more or less in order of spiritual awareness and development:

  • Regular human beings, including yourself.
  • Inhabitants of the elemental world.
  • Aliens.
  • Ascended and enlightened masters and angelic sorts of beings.
  • The god and goddess of this area.
  • The god/goddess who created our god and goddess.
  • The rulers of the universe.
  • Potentially more.

For a more detailed discussion of these categories, see the following related articles:

The different flavors of channelers

This leads rather neatly into the topic of what different kinds of channelers there are. Setting aside the moral levels and gradations, there are several different ways of channeling as well. Basically, channeling in any form is a kind of altered state that falls on a spectrum rather than into discrete categories, here are four of the more distinct points on that spectrum:

  • Fully conscious channel.
  • Altered-state “conscious” channel, where the feeling while channeling is that you are fully conscious, but afterward you realize that you were in a (either slightly or greatly) different focus than normal waking reality—a kind of superconscious state of awareness.
  • Light trance channel (that is, channeling while in a light trance).
  • Full trance channel.

Fully conscious

Briefly, a fully conscious channeler is in a “normal” awake and aware state, can move about, interrupt him or herself, stop, start, and so on, without a significant or noticeable interruption to the flow of the channeling. This is what I used to think I was.

Altered-state “conscious” channel

An altered-state conscious channel is a little off kilter from the normal waking focus. This is the category I now place myself in. While channeling, I am as described in the previous paragraph, and I tend to think I am fully conscious. But afterwards I realize I don't recall what I was channeling with the same clarity I do normal waking conscious experiences, and the concepts are not always as clear afterwards as when I was channeling. So I have come to call what I am in when channeling a “superconscious” state. I can't say whether this holds true for many other channelers, though I know it does hold true for some.

(Before I am accused of having a poor memory to start with, or of not being all that smart, I present my credentials: My IQ is quite high (much closer to 200 than to 100) and I used to have an almost photographic memory. Although it isn't nearly as photographic as it used to be, I have quite a remarkable memory still. In fact, I believe that these two characteristics help me to be a pretty good channeler. The wiring is there to help bring in clearer information.)

Trance channels, light to full

Trance channels are those who go into some kind of trance ranging from light to heavy in order to channel. In a trance, the channeler goes off somewhere (far or near), while the entity either telepathically communicates the message, or comes into the channeler's body (or at least takes over the operation of that body), in order to convey the message. Some channelers call this “full body” channeling. A trance channel might or might now remember the channeling at all.

The usual method versus the MarinaTM method

In all types of channeling, what I have been told by other psychics is that the usual method for channeling is for the channeler to allow the entity being channeled to come into his or her energy space and to, to a greater or lesser degree, take over the body with the permission of the channeler. One psychic I met (who became a friend) told me when she first met me that I channel differently from any other person she had seen channel; that instead of allowing a being to take me over to any degree, I carry on a telepathic conversation with the entity and then translate the information and bring it forth through me. Another psychic confirmed this, stating that the entities would be present but not in my body, and would connect with my crown chakra. Since this is my process, it is what I most know about and can talk about, and of course it seems like the most natural and obvious way to go about channeling. But then, I am self-taught and taught by the entities I channel, so I am a bit of a wild rose.

Which isn't to say that no one else does it that way. The friend I just mentioned realized that she too had often channeled in the same way while doing psychic readings for others (and she is a whiz-bang psychic; one of the two best I have ever met); she just hadn't realized it because it wasn't like how anyone else did it—until she met me.

In any of these methods, the channeler is in close and constant communication with the channelees (the Sources), getting and translating the message, with the Sources monitoring the translation and doing their best to make sure the translation stays as accurate and on track as possible.

Which way is best?

First, let me say that I do not believe there is any one “right” or best way. Having said that, I will say that the best way for me is the way I do it, just as the best way for another is the way they do it. As Virginia Satir reportedly once said, “There are 265 different ways to wash dishes, and they all get the dishes clean.”

Still, others are of differing opinions. This is a sensitive area. Some people like to claim that their way of channeling, however they channel, is the best or “purest” or least prone to mistakes and distortions, and I confess that I'm not immune to the syndrome myself.

For example, some full trance channels are fond of saying that, because they are in trance, the material they bring through is “purer” and less distorted than material brought through by “lesser” channels who are conscious or semi-conscious. Their reasoning is that supposedly they can “get out of the way” of the message better, or “let the entity through” better; that is, they allow the entity to more fully possess their bodies, and that the conscious mind, with its filters and programming and beliefs, is safely out of the way, so that the entities can therefore to speak more directly.

This ain't necessarily so.

The fact is that whether you are a fully conscious channel or a full-blown out-like-a-light trance channel, you are still translating for the entity with the same set of tools you have available in any state of consciousness, and with the same beliefs, rationalizations, filters, biases, and so on. (Which go much deeper than the conscious mind.) It is just easier, when you are in a trance, to pretend that you had nothing to do with the translation, and to therefore claim to yourself and others that the information is less fallible. Any trance channel who claims that they have nothing to do with the channeled message is denying his or her contribution to the message, and is denying any responsibility for what comes through.

This can lead to an amusing circular verification process, which goes something like this:

  1. Channel (speaking as her/himself): “My opinion is X.”
  2. Channel (in trance, speaking as entity): “Yes, X is true.”
  3. Channel (speaking as her/himself again): “Since the entity said X is true, it must be true and not just my opinion.”

I try to be on the lookout for this kind of thing in myself, and am personally relieved when the entities disagree with me. I am also always ready to admit that if they seem to be agreeing with me, it could be my own filters getting in the way of the message. This rigorous self-policing is a necessary component of any psychic practice.

The quality of the message

The quality (high or low) of a channeled message will be the same for a given channel whatever form the channeling takes. A good channel will produce good, clear messages whatever the channeling method, and a muddy channel will produce muddy messages. I have heard one of the very best trance channelers alive today channel, and he occasionally brings through some (not a lot, but some, still) fear-based and judgmental material, just as he would if fully conscious. It is, as far as I know, inescapable that the channeler imparts his or her own flavoring to the message. In a very real sense, the medium is the message.

Being a conscious channeler myself, I have a certain bias toward conscious channeling over trance channeling, though in the end I think that it is up to each of us to analyze the process and the results and decide for ourselves what we prefer.

Of course, any person claiming to be a channeler of any stripe may be a fraud, either partially or completely, consciously or unknowingly. This is why it is imperative that those who consult channelers be fully aware of how it is possible for a channeler not to get all the information (if s/he gets any information at all), so that the consulters do not give away their power and self-determination to the consultants (the channelers). If you keep in mind that the channeler is essentially someone you are consulting, then perhaps it will be easier to maintain your perspective and remember who is in charge of your life.

What I find unfortunate about those who claim that their style of channeling is inherently better and more accurate is that, as I mentioned earlier, people already tend to lend channeled material far more unthinking and unexamining credence than it warrants, and to be told by implication or omission that the material coming through a particular channel is even less open to critical examination is to encourage people to stop thinking for themselves (or continue to not think for themselves), and to not apply their discernment to whatever messages are coming through. In either case, I would recommend that you either avoid such channelers or you take a very large bag of salt with you when you either read their materials or listen to them (in person or on video or cassette tapes).

Having said this, I will proceed to describing what the channeling process is like from my perspective.

The channeling process

So this brings us to the actual process of channeling itself. Since this isn't a text on how to channel, but is instead a text on understanding what channeling is, I won't go into the step-by-step procedures (and there isn't just one set) of how to channel. Instead, I'll explain the general sequence of events, and you can explore from there or read more later when I write something on how to channel.

One of the fundamental “rules” or “laws” in any endeavor involving spirits is that there can be no overriding of another entity's free will. Period. If one entity tries to override another, severe consequences will occur.

However, it is possible for one entity to give permission to another to override their will, and to give it on the spirit level where they may not be aware of the agreement consciously. Although this sounds like overriding one's will, if the person being overridden has consented to it, it isn't really. I consider this a kind of loophole, but I'm not sure I'd change it.

This rule applies in channeling as well. An entity cannot be channeled unless the channeler agrees to bring the message through. If you are already a channeler, or are interested in becoming one, and you hadn't heard this before, take note. Every entity who is aware enough to try to bring a message through a channeler knows this rule. If you don't like what's going on—that is, if you don't like how the entity's energy feels, or if you don't like the tone of the message or if you even don't like the look of the entity's eyes, you can ask that entity to leave and s/he will have to.

I say this as an introduction to discussing the channeling process because the channeling process starts with an invitation: You, the channeler, invite the entity or entities you wish to channel. You are not coerced or forced; instead, either an entity contacts you and asks to be channeled, or you invite an entity, either specifically or generically (for instance, you might ask for Jesus to speak through you, or you might ask for the “highest beings of light possible,” meaning the highest beings you are capable of bringing through). In either case, you have full say over whether whoever shows up will be allowed to stay and speak.

Once the invitation has been made, then the process of connecting takes place. If the channeler is a trance channel, s/he goes into trance sometime around here, and the entity then takes over some control of the channeler's faculties and allows the entity to speak. If the channeler is a more conscious channel, then a more conscious arrangement is arrived at whereby the entity being channeled steps into the energy field of the channeler, but the channeler remains aware of his or her surroundings. In some cases, as I mentioned, instead of a merging in that sense, the channeler makes a telepathic connection with the spirit.

At this point a communication link of some sort has been established and the message starts coming through.

If the channeler feels either at this point or at any point during the session that something isn't right with the connection—either the entities don't “feel” right or the connection itself isn't clear—the channeler may do any of the following:

  • mentally request help in clarifying the message from his or her “known” helpful entities
  • visualize a better connection
  • ask the invading entity (if there is such) to leave.

There Can Be Only One?

The connection initially is not always smooth and deep. In fact, what I have noticed for myself is that the initial connection is almost always a bit rocky. I liken it to the confluence of two rivers: Initially, the water is turbulent and muddy (the information coming through is less clear and accurate), but after a while the waters settle into a more powerful channel and clear flow than was true for either river alone, and the information flows deeply, strongly, and clearly. (As clearly as I am capable of.)

This is a key point:

The information coming through is a collaboration between two entities. As such, it is greater than either entity alone could bring about.

With some caveats, of course. I am not claiming to be greater than Jesus, for example (who is one of the main entities I channel), or even to being anything close to him in this incarnation, yet I am able to channel him pretty clearly and to bring through from him messages that are unique because I am as much a part of the message as he is. Others can also channel Jesus, but I am the only one who can channel him the way I channel him. By definition! And Jane Roberts was the only one who could channel Seth the way she channeled him, and so on.

Which brings up a point: Some channels “bring through” information that says that they are the only ones who can channel entity So-and-So. I call this the “There can be only one” syndrome. My interpretation of this is that they are indeed the only ones who can channel entity So-and-So in the unique way that they do, but others can channel that same entity. (Though beware of imitations, eh?) In these cases, the channel is either consciously or unconsciously interpreting/translating the message from the entity that says “the connection is unique” so that it comes through as “this connection is the only possible one.”

I understand that in some cases of very public channelers who are making their living from channeling that entity (and there is nothing wrong with that—more of us should be able to!), there are concerns with having people muddy the waters by channeling the same entity in their own unique way. As I've said before, not all channels are equally clear. I have read some “Seth” channeling, for example, that is very muddy indeed and a discredit to the original material brought through by Jane Roberts.

However, I also think it is faintly ridiculous to try to claim that some non-incarnate entity who is capable of much is limited in that he or she is only capable of or interested in channeling through one being. Yes, it is possible, but imagine someone trying to claim that God, for example, is only going to speak to humanity through a single intermediary, and never directly to any one human. Except, of course, for the intermediaries.

Oh, wait. That's been done, quite successfully, by many major religions. :-) It's almost as bad as the fundamentalists who told me that Jesus is dead and therefore can't talk to anybody and that God specifically does NOT talk to psychics.

Maybe I better use another example.

Imagine this: Every one of us has our own internal ability to communicate with the unseen. This ability varies from person to person, but it is there. And every entity likewise has the ability to communicate with us. Think of it as internal telephones. We all have them, and they all work with varying degrees of clarity.

Now imagine, if you will, that some entity decides that he or she is ONLY going to call one person, and likewise that that person is only going to call that one entity. Yes, it is possible. And certainly, for many channels, focusing on one entity is their path. But for many entities, the more channels they can speak through, the more likely it is that their message is going to go out into the world. Of course, if the channel becomes very famous, then yes, the entity can choose to concentrate on that one channel, but that doesn't mean the entity is only capable of “calling” that channel exclusively. The distinction between “can't” and “won't” needs to be made here.

Remember, just because it was channeled, doesn't mean it is 100% accurate.

Back to the main flow of information.

The channeler's awareness

During the process of channeling, the channeler is either more-or-less fully aware of his or her surroundings, or is off somewhere in a virtual room where the translation is taking place. In a sense, you could think of that location as a translation booth, where the entity and the channeler are meeting to come up with the translation, and meanwhile the translation of the entity's message is being broadcast through a loudspeaker system based in that room. The trance channel may later not recall what took place in that room, while the conscious channeler usually does, and there you have what I consider one of the strengths of conscious channeling: You can later review the channeled material (assuming it was recorded), and analyze it against your own awareness of when you felt you were translating more clearly, and when you thought you had lost the fine focus and were perhaps a bit muddier. The trance channel doesn't usually have this resource available, and so has the tendency to think all the material is of equally high quality. Which it almost never is for any channeler.

If others are present, the channeling is likewise affected. According to channeled information I have received, those who are present affect the channeling and are almost as much a part of creating the message as the channeler. The idea is that even though those who are present as an apparent audience only seem to be listening, in fact they are participating in creating the message on the spirit level. Think about that next time you listen to a channeler in person and are tempted to wonder in awe how they can get that information. :-)


Thank you for bearing with me through this long article. I hope it has been of interest and value to you, if only to provide a few smiles along the way. Though of course I hope to have provided more than that. I hope it has given you some things to think about, perhaps a new awareness of or perspective on channeling and on psychics, and perhaps even on your own abilities and experiences.

When you have time, please come back to The Lighthouse Online. And be sure to read the articles that are related to this one:

And of course, take a look around at the site. Be sure to visit CatMom.com, my cat-related site, as well!

Thank you. Blessings upon you and all whom you love.


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