In part one of this two part posting I used a fairly accurate scenario as an example of a typical night of ‘entertainment’ going on anywhere around this country any night of the week. Someone claiming to be a medium and ‘giving off’ poor messages to their paying audience members. No substance, no evidence, no clue what they’re doing.
Ever since the early days of the modern movement of Spiritualism, there have been mediums the world over, filling churches, halls, community centres and even theatres. At one time, so many people wanted to see a big-named medium at work, venues such as ‘The Royal Albert Hall’ were used. Packed without even standing room and full of people hoping, some desperately, to get a message from the great medium in front of them. The late Doris Stokes, travelled as far as Australia and filled theatres wherever she went.
Modern times have seen a new uprising of mediums, thanks to the media we all have access to. The late Colin Fry had his own TV show called ‘The 6th Sense’ whereby he demonstrated to a live studio audience passing outstanding messages with evidence of the continuation of life after death. John Edward, from the USA, had several TV shows. One of which was called ‘Crossing Over’. Many viewers thought that these shows must be edited heavily because of the accuracy of the messages. I have seen both of these mediums work live, and they are truly amazing.
James Van Praagh, Tony Stockwell, Paul Jacobs, Eileen Davies, TJ Higgs, Gordon Smith and Derek Acorah come into our living rooms and theatres exposing us to their worlds through television and social media outlets. All of these mediums I’ve mentioned and many more are good at what they do. Why? Because they’ve had training, development and unfoldment. They’ve sat for years in circles and worked with spirit. They’ve developed bonds. They’ve understood fully their connections. Gordon Smith sat in a circle for five years before the leader allowed him to even speak. They’ve done the groundwork. They’ve failed and learnt from it. They’ve all been dedicated to their mediumship which has resulted in high standards.
They’ve also inspired others, such as me, to look into the subject. To explore, to study and to understand more of what it is they are actually doing. They’ve inspired me to work to the highest standards and never accept less. But we live in a world where everyone seeks fame. Nowadays, our televisions are full of talent shows where delusional hopefuls perform, often poorly, in the hope of becoming famous. Not all, but more than we actually see, have a reality check when they get rejected and are told they have no such talent, or at least not enough to justify their presence in front of the world stage.
That same social thinking has crept into the world of mediumship. Everyone now knows a so-called medium (or often misnamed a psychic). The problem is that many of these mediums haven’t had much proper development. They’ve not sat in development circles for years with others exploring their full potential, or if they have any even. Instead, they’ve seen the potential to get a name for themselves and earn some money in the process and gone out into the public arena with their own ‘brand’. They seek a reputation without doing the groundwork first. Without study, without knowledge, without training, without stagecraft, without professionalism, they disappointingly advertise themselves as better than they are. Their focus is on their name rather than the task of blending and communicating with spirit.
Meanwhile, many of the spiritualist churches have decided that their congregation doesn’t need worship, or religion. The committees choose to drop elements of the service in favour of things they think their audience wants. They do this for fear of having empty churches, when the truth is, their dilution of the Spiritualist movement is the very reason their churches are empty. They’ve tried to predict what their public wants at the cost of what is right for the Spiritualist movement.
Take philosophy as an example. I’m fortunate enough to have been a regular attendee of Christchurch Spiritual Church (centre as it has chose to rename itself to nowadays). I also used to attend Bournemouth Spiritualist Church. Both churches encouraged philosophy. Both churches encouraged prayer, healing, hymns and words around the seven principles of Spiritualism. I know for a fact there are other churches doing just that. They’re run by committees who haven’t strayed away from their roots. The core ingredient of The Seven Principles remain part of their premise. Rather than moan that these principles are outdated, they adapt them to the society of today with positivism and pride.
Sadly, however, many other churches have lost their direction. Some discourage philosophy and claim their audience only wants messages. Not true. Recently in the UK there was a royal wedding. During the service, a Bishop, unknown to the majority of the public, was invited to speak. He gave a 13 minute rousing philosophical address. He had a script, but hardly used it – the script was only 6 minutes long. Yet he had a captive and excited audience wanting more. Since then he has appeared on countless TV shows talking about that speech. His name is Bishop Michael Curry. Everyone has heard of him now. Why? Because of his philosophy. So please don’t try to tell me there is no room for philosophy in the modern spiritualist church, because if you believe that, you are wrong.
Raffle tickets, teas and coffees, fund raising events all seem to take more priority than the very cause they should be promoting. Their desire to have different mediums every service means that there is a big demand for them. Often the churches are desperate to get a medium and will pretty much take anyone claiming to be a medium to hold their service. But has the medium been trained? Has the medium a good knowledge of the Spiritualist movement? Has the medium earned their stripes through years of devotion to the spirit world? Sadly, more often than it should be, the answer is no.
Facebook is littered with posters advertising mediumship events. ‘Come and enjoy an exciting evening of mediumship with the internationally renowned medium, Joe Average.
There are two groups of people at fault and the answers to this issue of raising the standards lies with them both. One, the paying audience. Stop seeing this as some form of social entertainment. Hey – we’re talking about a miraculous possibility of communicating with someone in the spirit world. Not, how many of us can drink a few bottles of wine down the pub while some average medium churns out rubbish that offers no evidence whatsoever. Public – you’re at fault for encouraging it.
The second people at fault are the mediums in question themselves. Mediumship is a wonderful gift. It’s a truly life changing experience. The ability to connect with the spirit world is something that takes a lifetime to understand. Mediumship is not another form of entertainment, even if some strange laws might want to claim it is. Mediumship is not about fame, fortune or popularity.
Being a medium is a responsibility, one that should not be taken lightly. It involves understanding all the aspects of the spirit world. Being a better medium actually means moving more of yourself out of the mix. A medium is supposed to be a pure vessel to relay the messages from those devoted to helping us the other side. To become a purer vessel means to remove much of ourselves. There is no room for ego, or power. There comes responsibility with the role. To represent the spirit world as good and as clear as possible.
As a medium, take responsibility for the words you speak. Two ears, one mouth. Listen more than you talk. What exactly are the spirit world saying? Why? What is their message. Surely it’s more than just February and April. Why those months? If you’ve no reason, then why say them? Don’t settle for poor communications. Expect more from the spirit world. But first – work on yourself. Work on how you live your life. How much time you sit in silence. How much history you know about their world. How much you understand the process. How much you work on becoming better when there’s no paying audience around. Yes, everyone can become a medium. With devotion, with time, with commitment, with the right reasons. But stop thinking you need to make that great big leap from learning to performing in public overnight.
The only way that the Spiritualist movement is going to get better is when those working in it and around it realise that each and every one of them has a responsibility to serve it correctly. With pride, with honour, with humbleness, with direction and with only one thing in mind. That the role of being an ambassador between the two worlds is one that cannot and most certainly should not be taken lightly.
Churches? Have you lost your direction? Go back to basics. The seven principles in the framed picture on the church wall is where to begin. Mediums? Why are you doing it? Is it for personal gain? Is it for entertainment? Or is it to serve the great divine without reward or recognition? When all of those things in this paragraph, and throughout this post are addressed, we will become a better organisation. We will become true spiritualists again. We will fill our churches and we will work on improving the quality of our mediums. We will become something to be proud of rather than the laughing stock news in many newspapers, the butt end of someone else’s jokes.
Personally, I don’t care if I never stand on another stage or platform for the rest of my life. I do care about my mediumship though. I do care about my relationship and bonding with the spirit world. I do care about how I can become better. I do care about helping others with the knowledge I have learnt. In fact, I care so passionately, these last 1575 words are filled with emotions. I just wish I could see this sort of passion in my fellow mediums. ♥