Mediumship has been divided into many classes to which names have been given, and these classifications are often so minute as to be confusing.
Manifestations fall naturally into two classes, the physical and the psychic. To the physical belong Rapping’s, Movement of physical objects, Etherealization (the so-called materializations).
To the psychic belong all the phenomena pertaining to disembodied spirit, as writing, speaking, painting, and healing and to these the psychic manifestations dependent on the recipient’s own spiritual identity, clairvoyance, psychometry, trance, telepathy or mind-reading, all of which blend with spirit influence and may partake more or less thereof.
It is this intricate union of the manifestation of the sensitive’s own spirit, with that of independent spirits, that confuses the understanding and has been a stumbling block in the path of many an honest seeker after truth.
We must not for a moment forget, when searching for the truth in this domain, that man is a spirit, differing only from the spirit after the death of the body, by the necessities and limitations of its physical connection.
As such, it is capable within such limitations of manifesting the phenomena of spirit. When its spiritual senses are freed from the physical, it sees and hears and feels through the spiritual senses; is clairvoyant, clairaudient, and feeling is transformed into sensitiveness to spiritual vibrations. A higher state is the perfect freedom given by death. All these manifestations are spiritual but they are not all to be referred to departed spiritual beings. We must carefully distinguish between the two classes of manifestations; those arising from man’s own spirit, and those from a superior source. The phases of mediumship, founded as they are on one great principle, so intricately blend that it is a waste of time to enter into a discussion of more than the most marked. It is the plan of this work to show what mediumship is, and so plainly that all may understand; to present its various phases, and how it may be cultivated and how the sensitive may become so spiritualized as to receive impressions of thoughts and ideas by spiritual methods.
A sensitive, ignorant of the laws of control, an instrument in the hands of an irresponsible power, is most pitiable. The sensitive instructed in psychic science, may reach upward and become so responsive to the thought atmosphere of the universe as to catch thought waves from remote shores.
How may this sensitive condition be attained? No one ever made a greater mistake than by flattering himself that he can by “sitting” without any effort of his own, become a power in the hands of the spirits. A great many desire to become mediums, not for the intrinsic value it may be to them in the perfection of their lives, but as a means of livelihood and notoriety. There must be far more than the desire to bring inspiration or any phase of valuable control. The sensitive should be like in thought, desire and culture, to those who inspire him.
To become a worthy exponent of the spiritual philosophy, it must be understood, and this can only be accomplished by its careful study, and of related branches of knowledge. This direction of thought is itself productive of that concentration essential to success.
When Alexander Aksa of, the renowned Russian statesman, and cousin of the Czar, became interested in Spiritualism, be became conscious that its foundation was the physical sciences, and completed his course at the University. Then he read every important work on Spiritualism. After this severe introductory work, he began a prolonged investigation and became inspired, with the most superior order of intelligences. His course is recommended to all who desire to cultivate mediumship at its best.
It may be said, that if the spirits use the medium as an instrument, the more incapable and ignorant he is, the more conclusive the test, and it ought to riot to have any influence on the result. This objection shows a misunderstanding of the laws of control. Paganini might play a tune on a cornstalk fiddle, but if we would play his best, he would require a perfect instrument.
An orator might speak a few sentences correctly through an ignorant boor, but to give a fair presentation of his thoughts he would have to intensify his influence over his subject to obsession, and even then, would not be able to escape the inertia of an uncultured organization.
True, there are rarest exceptions of persons born with intensely sensitive organizations who respond to the necessity of the time, and are instruments in the hands of higher intelligences, as instanced by Joan of Arc, and a few others.
Most pitiable are those who hopelessly aspire to mediumship without the will to strive for its attainment.
They sit like clay to be moulded by the spirits, instead of doing all they can first to mould themselves into forms that will be attractive to higher beings, and to which the latter may give the final gloss and direction.
All are sensitive to impressions, but some are far more delicately attuned than others. As an instrument, they vibrate to waves of thought.
The number who have this faculty in a marked degree has rapidly increased during the past fifty years. History shows that there have been barren centuries during which there was not one, and man remained stationary in dense ignorance.
The highest form of mediumship is dependent on morality, intelligence and spiritual purity, but the physical manifestations depend more closely on organization, which may accompany mental inferiority and immoral life. This distinction is not given its full force by either those who accept or reject Spiritualism. The persistent belief in the superiority and infallibility of celestial beings throws a halo over all manifestations purporting to come from them, ministering to credulity on the one hand, and affording opportunity for reproach on the other.
The character of the communications depends on the purity and morality of the medium, but the state of mediumship being of organization, does not.
Some persons are mediumistic, and assist at a seance, because they strengthen the vital force that is demanded. On the other hand, there are those who with best intentions, but without the organic peculiarity, act as absorbents, and take up or neutralize the vital force. Just what this organic peculiarity may be is difficult to ascertain, and yet its presence is one of the most marked features of most seances.
The medium feels the presence of such a person in a moment, and at once is aware that no manifestations need be expected.
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