Mediums and Mediumship; A Primer
It’s not only about ‘seeing dead people’
Mediumship is defined as a practice of communicating with spirits and brining messages of the dead to living human beings. The medium is the individual that brings in messages of spirit. Another word for a medium is ‘spirit medium’. Generally, mediumship is to prove existence beyond death, hear messages from loved ones, or receive a healing. Arguably all readings are a form of healing. There are many types of mediumship that included spirit channeling, séance tables, trance, and using the Ouija board.
The word medium brings to mind many thoughts and ideas. Although Mediums have existed throughout history and across many cultural and spiritual traditions, many modern-day images can be traced back to the early days of Spiritualism, a religion based on the belief in the spirits of the dead who want to communicate with the living. This communication is conducted through mediumship. The ‘afterlife’ is a world where spirits continue to evolve. There are photographs of séances, Ouija boards, ghostly apparitions, and people speaking in voices that date back to the mid-1800s and had a prominent place from the 1840s to 1920s.
Mediumship is generally related to linking with spirit and relaying messages, whereas a psychic conducts readings that are often related to love, money, career, health, life path, A Psychic Medium is a blend of both aspects where there is a combination of psychic reading and hearing messages from spirit. People seek out information regarding their family the passing of loved ones, situations pertaining to daily life, or their spiritual development. Mediumship may also be used to heal in what is called Trance Mediumship Healing.
A quality reader feels into the energy of the readee, rather than asking questions first, and what their spirit has come for so that you may speak to their questions but also their highest purpose and next steps. It is not always possible to dial up exact connections with loved ones, sometimes what comes through is not what we think will come through.
Some of the most common topics that people seek out mediums for are evidential, or proof of life beyond death, and messages from spirit. Generally speaking, readings that involve decision-making, particular life questions, or questions surrounding spiritual and psychic development are conducted by a psychic medium or psychic.
Medium is a word that is thrown around to describe intuitions and stream of consciousness, which is not entirely accurate. The overuse of the word medium, as in ‘psychic medium’ or ‘clairvoyant medium’, refers to one who may channel messages from beings, or the deceased but is more likely to use a combination of psychic abilities to get information. Adding to the confusion is an endless stream of YouTube and online spirituals claiming to channel messages using cards and crystals, with little to no background, is more likely related to an expression of a stream of consciousness, word association, or a general intuitive reading than mediumship.
Today, the word medium is very much alive in popular culture and entertainment. Many mediums on TV have added to the hype. The public perception of mediumship is that it is a way to connect with those that have passed over. However, there are many forms of mediumship that are practiced, including using this ability to conduct healing.
Mediumship has gained notoriety to the point that it has been formally studied and several peer-reviewed scholarly research papers are published on the topic. The results, although largely anecdotal and qualitative, proves that the notion of mediumship is being recognized by society as a whole.
History of Mediumship
There is evidence of mediumship called by a host of names predating the 19th century. The modern-day views of mediums and mediumship are greatly influenced by the Spiritualism of the 19th Century. Spiritualism was a church founded in the mid-1800s among predominantly English speaking middle and upper-class individuals. Many of the most notable mediums were women, who were also active with issues such as the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage. The movement fell in popularity after several cases where some mediums were exposed as frauds, and the credibility of spiritualism suffered as a result.
Some of the well-known early mediums included The Fox sisters, who were able to read information through knocking sounds. The Bang Sisters produced paintings that would appear fully painted in the séance room. Gordon Higginson was one of the most notable mediums of the last century and a speaker and teacher. Higginson used mental mediumship, trance, physical mediumship, and healing. Other notable early mediums were Estelle Roberts (1889 – 1970 ), Helen Hughes (1893 – 1967), Maurice Barbanelle (1902 – 1981), and Harry Edwards (1893 -1976). One significant trait that these mediums of the past showed was that their work was a calling, and devoted themselves to a life of service in offering their gifts when and where needed.
Types of Mediumship
Mediumship is more than listening for voices from beyond and delivering messages of dead relatives to families and friends. There are several variations of mediumship.
Spirit Guides – Are guides that help the medium find and locate the spirits that want to come through.
Spirit Operator – A spirit that works with psychic energy and energetic systems of the medium
Mental Mediumship – conducted through the perception of the psychic. They will hear spirit through their mind and communicate it. The medium uses their perceptive skills. In other words, when the messages and information are filtered through the mind of the medium when they are in an altered state of consciousness. The medium is in a heightened state of perception and uses the ‘clairs’ to access the information (clairvoyance, clairaudience, claircognizance, etc.,)
Trance Mediumship – The medium leaves their body and spirit guides are in control of the medium and give information. The medium’s mind is less their own and is controlled by the spirit. Some things that may present with mental mediumship are ‘overshadowing’ where the presence of spirit is felt around the medium, that takes over gestures, mannerisms, and looks of another. It is an unconscious act that can validate the relative’s feelings and provide closure. Other occurrences during a session are energy healing, automatic writing (to a point), inspiration, changing the tone or quality of voice, and spirit writing.
Physical Mediumship – Is when the reading takes on a physical form. For example, some mediums have the ability to create something called ectoplasm, a form of materialization. It must be in a darkened room. Voice modulation, Levitation, percussion, ‘apports’ materializing /’asports’ dematerializing, psychic art, slate-writing, spirit lights, table tilting, superimposing faces, or transfiguration are examples of what may appear during a session.
Direct Voice – The belief that spirits speak independently of the medium and that they are simply facilitating the communication. Trumpets are used for the voices to be heard and amplify the signal. Direct Voice Mediums are sometimes called ‘Trumpet Mediums’
Channeling – When the medium goes into a trance and ‘leaves their body’ allowing the spirit to enter and use them as a vehicle of communication. Some mediums go into a different state, while others may channel with eyes open and even walk around.
Best Practices in Mediumship
There are best practices in mediumship as with any other type of work. Some traits that are favorable and indicative of someone who is authentic and well-intentioned are;
- The idea of personal sacrifice to serve others. When someone gives their abilities over to a life of service and is willing to give something up to do the work, such as lifestyle or time
- Readers are willing to give lives in service to humanity through their connection to the spirit world. This does not mean to the point of no compensation for the energy exchange, but rather that someone’s focus is not only for personal gain
- A sense of humility in their work. Where readings are not conducted as performance or for solely personal gain, prestige, or power.
- Love and compassion- the individual gives off an aura of love and compassion for each readee.
- Respect is present
- Having confidence and certainty in what they do
- The ability to Stand in their Power
- The ability to speak from validation and to the readee’s next steps or highest good
- The importance of evidence and proof is also helpful with reading spirits that have passed on. The term Demonstration of Mediumship was historically linked to the activities of Spiritualist Church
Questionable Practices in Mediumship
Some questionable practices to consider are;
- They are not speaking from certainty or communicating with confidence
- Constantly leading with questions
- Not speaking from validation
- If they are pushing for constant appointments, taking money constantly, focused on compensation and getting you ‘hooked’ into constant readings with no time to consolidate information
- Preying on the grief of those who have experienced a loss.
- Saying someone’s love one is lost in ‘no man’s’ land
- Saying that a loved one is trapped, they are lost and your grief is keeping them there.
- Fear-mongering- telling a readee they have an entity and they need to see an exorcist. Or that they have some curse or hex and need a spell to remove it
- Guarantee meeting spirits or summoning a certain person, or type of spirit
- Reading in groups- Hot reading taking information ahead of time from information that has been given, and reading from this or cold reading techniques- fishing for a match using certain criteria like common names and ailments.
Mediums in Popular Culture
Gordon Higginson – ( 1918- 1993) British Medium who was the president of the Spiritualists National Union and Principal of the Arthur Findlay College from 1979 – 1993. He was known for his ability to produce ectoplasm and transfiguration, also called face transposition. He was accused of hot reading and fraud but remained a prominent figure in Medium and Spiritualist circles in the UK.
Leslie Flint – (1911 – 1994) Was considered as one of the last psychics to use direct voice mediumship. He was known as for his direct and independent voice, including the build-up of a voice box of ectoplasm being build up in his voice. Also, where a trumpet of ectoplasm builds up and moves around the room. He is considered by spiritualists as one of the most significant psychics of the 20th century. Although he was accused of hot reading and fraud at times.
John Edwards – American Psychic Medium who speaks with spirit and is featured in television, radio, and other media. He is also a bestselling author.
James Van Praagh- American Clairvoyant and medium who channels spirit. He is a producer, writer New York Times Bestselling Author of Talking to Heaven.
Tyler Henry (Koelewyn) – American Clairvoyant Medium. The 24-year-old is featured on a popular TV reality series Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry where he channels spirit for celebrities.
Theresa Caputo – American Medium. Although a controversial figure for her tactics and possibly employing hot and cold reading techniques, she is a long time medium with a TV show Long Island Medium featured on the TLC network. She is infamous for her ‘surprise’ readings in public where she channels spirit.
A Psychic Perspective
People seek readings from psychics, mediums, and psychic mediums for many reasons. Often people do not seek out readings unless they have a specific reason in mind.
- You may want to seek out a psychic if you want a reading based on situations such as love, relationships, health, money, career, dreams, or spiritual and psychic development.
- You may want to seek out a medium if a loved one has passed on as a form of validation that they are ok, processing the loss, and finding closure.
- You may want to seek out a psychic medium if you want to hear both messages from spirit as well as a psychic reading.
- You may want to receive a trance medium healing, which is a form of energetic healing that approaches from a different angle than angel healings.
So how do you know if it is real or valid? Ultimately anything can have a message if you assign meaning to it and following your own intuition and inner knowing will help guide you in the right direction and decipher what is authentic and true.
For those that want to study mediumship, an individual can have natural abilities but not necessarily know what to do with it. It is also possible to be able to practice mediumship without the tools and knowledge on how to manage the energy. A 3-6 week course, weekend workshop, or a few downloaded modules may offer the information but without any guidance or opportunity to practice in a safe environment, you may not get the support and guidance to move develop safely and effectively.
True mediumship is a long and involved process that takes many years. For example, the Arthur Findlay College, located in England and dubbed “Hogwarts for Adults” has an 8-year program to train to be a medium. The Psychic School also offers a 5-year graduational program in Trance Mediumship through Intuitive Visions.
Gordon Higginson, a respected medium, spoke extensively on the need to train the senses first, get the psychic abilities under control, and good development of ‘clairs’ before venturing into mediumship. He noted that unchecked and unsupervised mediumship might leave the individual susceptible to energies they cannot manage or clear, as well as a flare-up of any tendencies such as certain psychological states, addictions, and other concerns that were preexistent in the individual.
Mediumship, in its truest form, requires skill, focus and attention that come from years of training. Being prepared to manage and handle the energies as well as feeling a ‘calling’ or pull to the work are considerations for embarking on this study. It is important to seek quality training in a reputable mediumship program, as well as consider if you are in the right frame of mind to be capable of handling and managing the energies that may show up in the work. If you are a graduate of a clairvoyant program and in a Teacher’s Program and are looking to explore the next step with Trance Mediumship, there are courses available.
You can explore healing in our Trance Medium Healing Clinics at The Psychic School. Sign up here. If you want to explore meditation and psychic development, sign up for our Clairvoyant Meditation Free Open House to learn about course offerings. Book a student or professional psychic reading through The Psychic School