Dec 042013
 

me in Finland August 2013

Good afternoon, as a medium, please inform us whether it is true that there is a buried treasure guarded by unkind spirits in the farmland of my niece, located at Barangay?

Can you please talk with my mom in the spirit world and ask her for 6 numbers between one and 55?

I want to know when my husband is going to die?

When will the man at the office, I am having an affair with, leave his wife for me, I know I’m his soul mate?

What color sweater should I wear today?

As a professional medium, I encounter all sorts of people, many of whom are completely ignorant of what mediumship is or the mechanics of how it works. Although mediumship is not fortune telling or about predicting the future, the majority of people unfortunately associate spirit communication with Tarot card readers, palmists and related psychic practitioners.
Spiritualism differs from other religions in that cultivating the gifts of the spirit is emphasized. In the early years of the Spiritualist movement it was necessarily for the spirit world to utilize physical manifestations to convince the skeptical of the reality of life after death and higher spiritual truth. Of course, the drawback to physical phenomena is that the sensationalistic nature of such manifestations generally attracts a high percentage of people interested in entertainment and little else.

Although the movement of Spiritualism originated in upstate New York, it spread worldwide and its expression differs depending upon the location. In the early days in order to attract the masses much of the emphasis was placed on proving the continuity of life through mediumistic communications. In the USA, UK and many other regions, phenomena and evidential communications are emphasized. It has been my experience working in many countries worldwide as a medium that this focus generally results in an imbalance that encourages the involvement of people mainly interested in experiencing phenomena and receiving communications with little interest in self improvement and spiritual growth. Obviously, people have to start somewhere and such curiousity may eventually lead to further exploration, but sadly the majority of Spiritualist groups offer little more for the sincere seeker. As a result people searching for greater spiritual realization will either look elsewhere or, after receiving convincing communications through mediumship within Spiritualism, will leave Spiritualism to pursue other metaphysical paths that provide more comprehensive spiritual teachings. Is it not surprising that the dwindling numbers attending Spiritualist churches in the USA and UK are composed primarily of the middle aged and elderly? It is apparent that the lack of emphasis on higher philosophy cheapens the movement by attracting people interested mainly in an inexpensive retirement hobby. I remember serving one church affiliated with the Spiritualist National Union in the UK; the chairperson requested me to limit the length of my inspirational address for the Sunday worship service to 10 minutes or less and then expected me to deliver spirit communications for 45 minutes for the 80 people present. At another independent Spiritualist center in the USA, the president altered the order of the Sunday worship service so that the closing prayer would be given before the spirit messages. The reason for this change was so that people could comfortably leave after they had received a message and go downstairs for refreshments or outside for a cigarette.

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This is not to diminish the importance of evidential communications and spiritual manifestations as they are the foundation of Spiritualism and reinforce the greater truths espoused by the higher teachers in the spirit world. But once people cultivate total conviction in the reality of life after death, they need more than merely evidence of survival, they need practical spiritual guidance and wisdom to help them grow while physically incarnate. It is not that Spiritualism does not have a deeper philosophy to offer the world. The profound discourses of spirit teachers such as Silver Birch and White Eagle and the writings of Andrew Jackson Davis, William Stanton Moses, Allan Kardec, Samuel Dexter, William Stead and Arthur Findlay and many others attest to this.

The branch of Spiritualism known as Spiritism, based on the writings of Allan Kardec, while recognizing the importance of phenomena, places more emphasis on self improvement and spiritual growth. Is any wonder that in Brazil and other regions of the world that the Spiritist approach is thriving with millions of participants?

We can observe the natural law of cause and effect in action. An emphasis on phenomena does not attract nor retain people interested in serious spiritual unfoldment. Spiritual growth is not about the cultivation of clairvoyance or being able to levitate a table, it is about developing a deeper understanding of self and God. Our moral charcter and how we treat others is far more important than opening our third eye or channeling ascended masters. Once seekers of truth have been convinced that life survives the destruction of the physical body, they search for teachings that will help them improve their character and develop a greater awareness of God. A Spiritualist is one who believes, as the basis of his or her religion, in the communication between this and the Spirit World by means of mediumship and who endeavors to mould his or her character and conduct in accordance with the highest teachings derived from such communication.

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It is amazing how many Spiritualist churches, including many affiliated with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, hold Psychic Fairs with people providing psychic readings utilizing cards and other approaches to divination such as numerology and astrology. I want to make it clear that I have absolutely no problem with any of these intuitive arts as the spirit world will certainly work through anyone sincerely trying to help others regardless of the method or technique. I also as a teacher of mediumship often suggest to students that they utilize Tarot cards as a means to overcome analytical blocks within their minds.

In order to function Spiritualist organizations are forced to rely on donations and others means of raising funds. Many NSAC churches in the past held Mediums Days or Spiritual Festivals in which money could be raised by offering inexpensive mediumship sessions to the general public. Using the excuse that the average person has no idea of what a Mediums Day entails, many of these same churches presently call such events Psychic Fairs and in some cases include alongside their mediums an assortment of other intuitive practitioners. The emphasis on phenomena and inexpensive readings as a means of raising money within the Spiritualist movement has resulted in the movement being practically dead. Pardon the pun. People might attend to get a message a few times, but most do not continue as not much else is offered.

In Auckland, New Zealand where I reside, I occasionally participate in weekly meetings held by a local Spiritist group composed mainly of expatriate Brazilians. The meetings focus is primarily on higher Spiritualist philosophy as presented by the 19th century pioneer Allan Kardec. The only mediumship included in each meeting is hands on spiritual healing. The majority of the people attending the meeting are educated, professionals under the age of 40. Their primarily motivation for attending the meetings is self improvement and greater awareness of higher spiritual philosophy. Each June the group holds a traditional Brazilian festival at a rented hall in Auckland featuring live music, food, and many activities for children of all ages. About 400 people from all walks of life attend this popular event each year. For the past five years I have taken my four, young children, who love getting their faces painted and fishing for prizes. The money raised during this afternoon event is used for the general expenses of the group as well as paying for international teaching mediums to visit New Zealand, and far exceeds the funds that would be typically generated at a Mediums Day or Psychic Fair. I mention this example because I think that there are far better ways for Spiritualist churches to raise funds than holding Psychic Fairs. Psychic Fairs may be fun but such events only reinforce negative stereotypes of Spiritualism and detract from the true purpose of mediumship.

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An emphasis on frivolous phenomena cheapens what Spiritualism is about. Why is it that the age of 55 is young in many Spiritualist churches? How many Spiritualist churches offer monthly psychic fairs but fail to offer weekly programs for children and young adults? Spiritualism is a family religion and as such every Spiritualist church should offer programs for children. If there are not regular programs for children then something is seriously wrong with how things are being done. At the many Spiritist centers in the Philippines that I regularly serve, a large number of the participants as well as mediums are under the age of 25. While multiple trance addresses given by mediums are featured at every meeting, the motivation of those in attendance is not about being entertained or thrilled by receiving a message, but on developing spirituality and moral character. Because of this entire families typically attend and participate in the activities of the many Spiritist centers found throughout the Philippines.

The higher personalities in the spirit world are interested in making people in the physical world aware of their eternal nature as souls. In this regard the development and practice of evidential mediumship in all its wonderful phases is essential. But beyond this the spirit teachers want to bring greater understanding of the laws of God. Message circles, open seances and public demonstrations of mediumship and even mediums days should be regularly held at Spiritualist centers, but unless such functions are presented in a dignified manner along with other programs that offer the higher philosophy they are extremely limited in value.

I remember years ago serving a Spiritualist church where the pastor had made himself a Bishop. Evidential spirit communications were not delivered at this church and higher philosophy presented was nonexistent. This church was referred to by many mediums as a message mill due to the emphasis on inexpensive psychic readings and the prevalence of unreliable, poorly trained psychics. Instead of lowering the standards by holding psychic fairs, Spiritualist churches should focus on presenting demonstrations of quality, evidential mediumship along with programs aimed at the development of personal character based on Spiritualist principles. To do otherwise is a grave disservice to the spirit world.

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May 152013
 

The weekend of April 19-21, 2013 was a special one for the 11 lucky individuals who enthusiastically participated in the Mediumship Mastery Training Program held at the Sirius Conference Center in beautiful Shutesbury, Massachusetts. Participants attended the program from a number of States as well as abroad and the energy present during the intensive workshops was extremely powerful. A sister community to the Findhorn Community in Scotland, Sirius is an incredible location to hold mediumship training due to the beautiful, natural surroundings and the serene, healing vibration that pervades the atmosphere.

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What are the motivations that lead an individual to actively take part in the formal study of spirit communication? And for someone wanting to explore psychic and mediumship development, what is the best avenue to pursue? Generally people get into mediumistic unfoldment after experiencing personal contact with the spirit world. Occasionally such communications are conveyed through another medium, but most often the initial connections made involve direct exchanges with spirit personalities in either the dream state or a conscious intuitive level.

 

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I always emphasize in my presentations that mediumship is completely natural and like an artistic or musical skill may be cultivated with proper mentoring in a structured educational environment. While it is true that not everyone is born with artist genius of a Renaissance Master, with the right training and perseverance even someone who can barely draw a stick figure can acquire the hand and eye coordination and improve their artistic technical ability. When studying mediumship it is alright to make mistakes and goof up. This is an ordinary part of the learning process. Remember mastery of any discipline requires considerable effort and perseverance, and does not happen instantly or overnight. The greatest of artists spent years of rigorous apprenticeship fine tuning their skills with more experienced artists. The same is true with the technical abilities necessary for reliable mediumship. While the love, healing and higher wisdom conveyed through the practice of mediumship is a beautiful gift, the process is a skill that must be cultivated. As with any skill, if we want quality, sufficient time must be spent learning the process and fine tuning the connections with the spirit world. As such mediums should never be put on a pedestal as mediumship is not an extraordinary skill but an ability that everyone possesses in varying degrees.

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The road to mediumship unfoldment is generally carefully orchestrated by the higher guides, who directly produce phenomena and awaken the intuitive faculties of the individual for the purpose of getting them to develop their mediumship. Mediumship unfoldment cannot be rushed or made to happen but once an individual begins to open up their natural abilities it is difficult to give up. The initial motivation of many people who want to develop mediumship is the desire to better understand their own psychic experiences. Others are motivated by a strong desire to serve and help those in need through imparting evidential spirit messages and guidance. The participants at the Mediumship Mastery Training Program were motivated by both these factors. Many of those attending had been practicing energy or spiritual healing for years and wanted to deepen their attunement with their team of spirit doctors. Others wanted to more efficiently bring through detailed and accurate evidential spirit messages from recognizable loved ones and others in the spirit world. The entire weekend program offered participants the opportunity to accelerate their healing and channeling abilities in a nurturing and loving educational atmosphere. Through lectures and discussion, powerful guided meditations, and practical experimental exercises, participants harmoniously worked together to bring all this about and more.

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The best way to develop mediumship is within the confines of a structured group that is facilitated by an experienced, competent instructor. While daily meditation and prayer combined with intellectual learning about the science and mechanics of the process are essential, nothing beats the progress that can be made in a well run, group situation. In the early years of the Spiritualist movement there were no teaching mediums as circles or mediumistic groups were held relying on the instructions of spirit mentors, who provided suggestions for achieving the best possible results.
Many of the early Spiritualists held home circles composed of family and friends, who met regularly for the purpose of communing with the angel world and developing spiritual gifts. Home circles are great, far more effective for mediumship unfoldment than the typical development group run within a Spiritualist church or center. With mediumship development, it is important that the energetic conditions created are able to be built upon consistently week after week by the spirit operators. This is why a closed group is always superior to an open circle in which the participants vary each session. With a closed group there is a harmony and psychic atmosphere present that is difficult to create in other situations.

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If you want to develop mediumship look for a local Spiritualist or Spiritist church or center, but be warned many of the people teaching in such places lack competence in terms of how to properly facilitate such a group. In addition, many of the participants in some places may be unable to distinguish their own imaginations from genuine psychic impressions and as such would not be the best people to develop with. Mediumship is not an inexpensive retirement hobby nor is it a meant as a form of entertainment.  Far too many circles I have visited over the years have been poorly run and lacked focus or proper discipline. One of my students once attended an open mediumship development circle held at a nearby Spiritualist camp, where the president of the organization got up during the middle of the meditation period in order to go outside to smoke a cigarette. Another prominent medium in Canada would hold circles during which he would be entranced by his Native American guide, who would direct the all female members of the group to touch the phallus of the medium.  From what I understand this questionable request from the guide was complied with.  Mastery of mediumship is not just about developing a strong connection with the spirit world and being able to accurate convey communications, it is also about cultivating ethics and personal character too. In order for the highest levels of mediumship to be attained, the student of mediumship must strive for perfection and take care of themselves physically, emotionally, mentally and most importantly spiritually.

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Recently I chatted on Facebook with a British medium, who related to me that she does not need to read books as her higher guides teach her everything. Another self-taught medium bragged to me online about her lack of formal training. Years ago, a Canadian medium at the Lily Dale Assembly in New York remarked to me how she did not need to sit in circle or meditate as her guides were working with her all the time in other ways. I am always saddened when I encounter this type of attitude. As with any skill the more training that we receive with our mediumship and the more we work on ourselves, the better instruments we will be for the higher spirit personalities to work through. In the decades that I have been involved studying, teaching and professionally practicing mediumship, I have met thousands of mediums from many countries around the world. The mediums with formal training always possessed a far greater discipline with their mediumship than the unschooled, and as a result had achieved a considerably much higher skill level in terms of accuracy and reliability. Television shows like the popular Long Island Medium trivialize spirit communication and give the public the wrong impression. I always tell my students to watch that program as it is an extremely good example of the results of insufficient formal training and what not to do as a medium. Can you imagine going up to total stranger in a Wal-Mart and giving them a spirit message?

The Mediumship Mastery Training Program provides a structured educational environment for participants to develop quality mediumship. Many people want to develop mediumship, but they are unwilling to put in the time and effort to achieve a higher standard. The spirit world needs mediums to bring greater spiritual awareness and healing to this material world. While  the practice of mediumship may demonstrate the reality of eternal life to those lacking faith, the purpose of mediumship is not merely to provide evidence of life after death. Ultimately mediumship helps us to get in touch with ourselves on  a soul level and with God.

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I have dedicated my life to serve God through the practice of the spiritual gifts and I know that the participants in my Mediumship Mastery Training Program will also sincerely strive to use the skills they have acquired to help those in need. The great saintly personality Mother Teresa of Calcutta emphasized the importance of service and allowing ourselves to be vehicles for God to work through.  Mother Teresa rightly stated: It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.

In order to truly master mediumship we must master over ourselves first and overcome any personal defects that prevent us from being instruments of love. Mediumship development is not instant like a microwavable dinner.

Mastery of mediumship is a lifelong  journey toward God through the utilization of the spiritual gifts for the healing and enlightenment of those in pain and darkness.

The Mediumship Mastery Training Program is held in a number of locations around the world. Upcoming 2015  USA dates are April 24-26, August 21-23, and October 9-12. October 9-11 is the 12th annual Psychic Mediumship Retreat. Participants come from many regions of the USA as well as the world.  Australian 2015 program will be held February 28-March1  in Brisbane.  2015 dates in Norway, Sweden and the Philippines to be confirmed. Contact Steve directly at steveradhe@gmail.com for registration and details.

May 022013
 

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Over twenty years ago at Temple Heights Spiritualist Camp in Northport, Maine, I had a lady from Manhattan come to me for a private session.  I did not know at the time that she desperately wanted to make contact with her deceased mother. The session was quite emotionally stirring and tearful to say the least as her mother was able to communicate through me.  The daughter gratefully expressed how meaningful and healing the session had been for her.
Mediumship is not an exact science and it very much dependent upon the psychic atmosphere and conditions present which allow communications to take place. Since we are dealing with telepathic, mind to mind communication between personalities in the spirit world and the medium.  The medium must be properly attuned and receptive to the mental impressions conveyed by the spirit communicators. Mediumistic communication is a delicate procedure requiring energetic harmony between all parties involved in the process. If there is enthusiasm and positive energy the conditions will be favorable.  Any type of antagonism or negativity results in less than satisfactory conditions that affect the results.
Over the years thousands of spirit personalities have communicated through me.  As a medium I am an imperfect instrument and I am always striving to improve my abilities and strengthen my connections with the spirit world.  Many people, like the lady described above, come to a medium such as myself seeking direct contact with specific loved ones and others in the spirit world.  Such individuals may be emotionally distraught and genuinely seek closure and healing over the deep pain they are experiencing. Unfortunately, many mistakenly believe that a medium can call up any particular person in the spirit world, and are greatly disappointed when the one or two special loved ones do not come through during the session. This is understandable since the average person knows little about the mechanics of the process and what actually has to take place in the spirit world to make it happen.
The fact that someone is physically deceased does not instantly enable that individual to communicate through a medium.  Nor does it mean that they would even want to come through depending upon the circumstances.  What many do not realize is that anyone from the spirit world coming through a trained medium is being permitted to communicate by the higher spirit teachers and guardians, who orchestrate the session, and determine, who will come through and what information will be conveyed.
Popular television programs that feature mediumship in a sensationalistic manner, while amusing to watch, are entertainment first, and rarely educational regarding the mechanics of the process.   It is also important to remember that such shows are highly edited, resulting in a gross misconception of how mediumship works.  When people see a television medium such as John Edward bring through a recognizable spirit loved one, they automatically conclude that every session with a medium will result in the loved one they want to hear from coming through. They do not realize that every mediumship session is highly experimental, and if the conditions are not right, then the results will be affected.  They do not know that the loved one that they want to hear from may not be available or may be unable to communicate during that particular session.  No medium, no matter how much money they are paid for a session,  can guarantee contact with a specific spirit.  One can always ask, but the results are never guaranteed. The spirit world sets the agenda and determines the content of the session. The medium is only the instrument through which the information is conveyed.

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What are some of the main reasons that someone may not come through? A person newly arrived in the spirit world may need to work on themselves emotionally or spend a period adjusting to their new environment, or for personal reasons they may simply not desire to come through. There are so many factors involved and each case is a unique situation.  Since mediumship is a carefully planned process, orchestrated by the higher personalities in the spirit world, some spirit personalities, for various reasons, may not be permitted to come through, and for those allowed to communicate the process must be studied and rehearsed.
Often during a mediumship session, I have been aware of spirit personalities, not connected in any way with the recipient,  observing the proceedings for the purpose of learning about the mechanics of mediumistic communication. Undoubtedly the loved ones of such spirits would be consulting a medium at a future date and such study would help familiarize the spirit with the nature of the process.  I have, also, been informed by some, very talkative spirit personalities during sessions that they spent extra time rehearsing the process and practicing.  I have experienced that such communicators are generally able to convey information mentally much stronger and clearer than the communicator who has not made the effort to study and practice the process.  Of course, the best communicators in terms of easily coming through tend to be the personalities who were the most outgoing and good as communicators while living physically.

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It has been my experience that the more frequently a spirit personality comes through a medium, the easier it is for them to communicate in successive sessions.  Since mediumship is telepathic communication, dependent upon harmonious mental conditions, it is helpful if the spirit personality is on the same mental wave length as the medium.  If the spirit personality does not relate to the medium, or does not connect well with them on a personal level, the results may not be as dramatic or evidential as in the case of working through a medium possessing a similar mindset or compatibility. Once a medium is found who is able to effectively channel a particular loved one, then this medium should continue to be used as the results will be most favorable.
All spirit personalities that come through a trained medium are not only permitted to come through the medium, they also come through the spirit team, who function as intermediaries for the medium. A medium may  describe a grandmother in the spirit world and convey verbatim, the exact words and details she wants to get across to her loved ones in the physical world, but what most people do not realize is that the information given by the grandmother is being transmitted with the assistance of the mediums spirit team.  The spirit team is a group of highly developed specialists, who have trained and worked with their medium for a considerable period of time.  Their energetic and mental attunement with the medium is especially powerful and as a result they are able to assist the medium in the channeling process.

Running from one medium to another in hopes of contacting a deceased loved one is a waste of time and generally results in failure and disappointment. Frequently, people coming for a session are surprised when the communicating spirit is not the person they had hoped for, but a loved one they did not know well, or even an individual they did not like very much.  Remember the spirit world sets the agenda of the session and determines who will come through.  Sometimes the session is more for the person in the spirit world than the person recipient of the communication.
Can they communicate immediately or soon after physical passing? This question is frequently asked by many people investigating the possibility of working with a medium and, in my experience, it really depends upon the situation.  Generally, it is common for a recently passed individual to attempt to make contact with their loved ones in the physical world.  I have had people, who have passed over, come through a few hours after their physical death. Other individuals I know in the spirit world have never come through, and I am around mediumship all the time.  Usually, if the need is there for one or both parties, then attempts at communication will be made. I know for myself, with loved ones and others coming through, that generally those closest to me communicate through mediums, when I least expect it and am not even thinking about them.  They will communicate to me through a medium on the other side of the country, or through one of my students during an experimental class room exercise.  I personally do not seek contact with specific individuals in the spirit world, but when they do come through it is welcomed and appreciated.
For those desperately wanting to make contact with a loved one who has passed going to a medium is certainly a means of providing proof of life after death.  Learn about the mechanics of the process first. Know that if there is a genuine need the spirit world will try to provide.  Going to a medium expecting or demanding certain results is counter productive, as it inflicts damage upon the delicate psychic atmosphere necessary to achieve satisfactory results.  Most people do not realize that the attitudes and energy they bring to the session greatly affect what takes place. So often, when the recipient does not receive what they want out of the session, the medium is blamed.
The spirit world is all around us and communication with those who have passed over is possible with the right conditions.  If a particular spirit loved ones does not come through right away, there are likely good reasons for it.  Experiment with the spirit world on a regular basis. Besides consulting with mediums, learn how to be receptive to their love and influence.  The more we open up to the spirit world the easier it will be for them to communicate with us directly as well as through mediums. The easiest people for me to work with are other mediums. The reason for this is because mediums possess the right energy and attitudes that create the best possible conditions for telepathic communication between the two worlds.

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Feb 102013
 

joe merrill medium

The following article is an interview that I conducted with the Reverend Joseph Merrill in October 1989 at the 97th annual convention of the National Spiritualist Association and was originally published in the British Spiritualist weekly Psychic News in February, 1990.  Joseph Merrill performed the ceremony for me when I was ordained as a minister with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches at the Mediums League building at the Lily Dale Assembly in Lily Dale, New York, USA in August 1992.  I was serving that week at Lily Dale as a guest speaker and medium and I am blessed that Joe was able to do the ceremony for me.  I used to give out copies of this article to participants in my mediumship development classes years ago.  I think that the information is pretty good and I hope that readers of this blog enjoy it.  Let me know what you think.

It is always interesting to read the views of other Spiritualists, all the more as when they live some thousand miles away in America. 

When medium Stephen Hermann attended the Ninety-Seventh annual convention of the National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) in Washington, DC, he took the opportunity to interview the Rev. Joseph Merrill.

Mr. Merrill has been active within Spiritualism for over seven decades.  Since 1973 he has served as NSAC president.  This is the oldest and largest Spiritualist organization in North America.

Previously, Mr. Merrill served various administrative positions with state Spiritualist associations, as well as secretary and vice-president of the NSAC.  From 1975 to 1981 he was vice-president of the International Spiritualist Federation.

Stephen, of Alexandria, Virginia, put various points to Mr. Merrill.  His questions appear in italics.

How did you become interested in the teachings of Spiritualism?

There came a time when I was bothered by what I was repeating at the Congregational Church, of which I was a member.

I had an appointment where I talked with the minister.  I told him that every Sunday when I went to my parents I repeated the Apostles Creed.  In that Apostles Creed we said we believed in life everlasting. I asked the minister what he could give me to cling to as I was growing up and wondering about this life everlasting. But the only thing I got was that it was a blind belief you must have; there was nothing concrete that he could give me. Within the Apostles Creed is a line in which the congregation say they believe in the Communion of Saints.

My question was this: who are the saints we are in communion with? They were a group of people who lived at one time on Earth; they did some miraculous good, died and went to heaven. The saints, said the minister, are nearer to God than we are so we can pray to them and they will intercede for us. I said that if that small group of people can be prayed to and intercede, where are the billions of people that are not of that particular faith? Why can’t we pray to them? Where are they? Where is heaven?

I couldn’t get any satisfactory answers, but found them in the religion of Spiritualism.

Did you find through Spiritualism that your perspective of God changed from the view you held as a Congregationalist?

I learned in Spiritualism that my concept of the deity changed.  I could not accept the fact that God was a personal deity. I questioned my inspirers and sent out a thought to them to give me an explanation of what our Infinite Intelligence was.  The answer came to me, and has satisfied me down throughout the years. It was that Infinite Intelligence is something that is back of, part of, and cause of the universe.

To me Spiritualism is a religion of evolution. If there was a creator, then there must have been a creator to create the creator and so that wouldn’t satisfy me. So I have lived with-and have been satisfied with-the fact that we have a much broader concept of the deity.

When did you become interested in Spiritualism? What was your background?

I became interested in Spiritualism in 1918, and joined a church in 1926.  My background could best be summed up saying that “Spiritualism was my vocation, while photography was my profession.”

In what direction do  you see Spiritualism currently moving?

It is moving in the direction that was predicted by one of the pioneers of Spiritualism, Emma Hardinge Britten, who foretold that there would be three 50-year cycles in Spiritualism.

The first would be centered around physical phenomena that would give to the world proof.  In the next 50 years Spiritualism would not be accepted and mediums were arrested.  They were scoffed at during this period. Finally there is the third 50-year cycle which we are currently in. This Cycle would move from the physical into the mental phenomena, “the age of the mind.”

It is popular today for many to speak of the New Age. What are your feelings about the New Age?

We are in the New Age, but there’s nothing new about it since every age is a new age. For instance, when man stepped on another planet and telephoned a communication from the moon to the White House, that was a new age.

There’s nothing new as far as New Age metaphysical thinking is concerned.

How about trance channeling? It seems that many people are interested in this phase of mediumship.

Currently we are in a period in which channeling is becoming very, very prominent and everybody wants to become a channeler  A channeler is very psychic. The world is getting full of psychics, but psychics are not mediums.

So there is a difference between a psychic and a medium. Could you elaborate on this further?

A psychic is one who is sensitive to the atmospheric conditions and can tune in on things pertaining to the material world. That is why we have a bad image in Spiritualism of telling fortunes.

As I always say, if you went to a medium to have your fortune told, they’d tell you their own before they’d  tell you yours. Channeling and psychism are not mediumship because mediumship is actual proof that life continues.

There’s no such thing as an extinction of life. Life knows no extinction. Life does not know extinction, only transformation: it transforms into a different form of energy. No one can tell you what “mind” is. Within every single one of us the mind is the dominant factor. We are the infinite respondent to this factor.

The deity within ourselves is what we in Spiritualism try to bring our people to understand. It is they themselves who are responsible for everything they do; they can make or break their own lives.

What do you see as the future of the Spiritualist movement?

Spiritualism as an organization will lessen because all organized religions do so over time.

Spiritualism as an organization may lessen, but the knowledge and understanding of Spiritualism will reach the heart and mind of every living individual that wants to listen.

It is popular for many New Agers to make use of crystals. What are your feelings concerning this sort of device?

Everything is a New Age, like crystals and tarot cards, and so fourth.  They’re being used as crutches.  We in Spiritualism teach you to rely on   your own faculties, then you do not need crutches if you can think.

Over time we learn how to understand and what to expect from our spirit teachers. They are there to guide us and to keep us in our material conditions; they are not there to live our lives for us because live our lives ourselves.  We are responsible. Man is responsible for himself.

Would you say there is a difference in the quality of mediumship today as compared to your early involvement?

Yes, definitely. In the early days mediums delivered messages from the platform and so fourth. It was far more evidential than it is today. Mediumship is moving into the psychic realm without the in-depth working of proof of spirit.

I have seen mental mediums who would give fourth full names-first, middle and last names.

Have you ever seen any examples of physical phenomena that you can describe to readers?

I sat in a darkened room with soft lights on. Present were 32 people with chairs against the wall on three sides.

The mother of a friend of mine had passed away about a year before this happened.

The chairs we sat on were the wooden folding type that had a crossbar underneath. We were up against the wall. If a medium wanted to fake this operation we would have seen so. He would have to go behind the chairs and into the wall.  Neither could they crawl under the chairs.

I felt a nudge at the foot of the chair so looked. Right at the floor by the foot of the chair was a white substance the size of a golf ball.  I said to my friend; “Oh, something wants to manifest. Let’s try to give it room.”

We tried to move the chairs, but couldn’t. By then the golf ball was seen by everybody in the room. Soon the golf ball started to expand. It grew to the size of an orange.  It continued to grow in size; and wax; it took form and had arms and limbs which moved.

It was a woman. She moved in circles around my friend’s back so that the spiritual form was in the wall. It was his mother, who was recognizable to all present. I could not say “That was fake.”

What are the differences between Christianity and Spiritualism?

We say we are not Christians in the sense of the orthodox theological definition of Christianity.

We believe there was a great spiritual teacher that came to the world whom we know as Jesus.

We believe he was a great teacher and healer. We differ with the Christians in believing that “what he did, we too can do.”

 What are some of the rewards Spiritualism has given you over the years?

I’m 86 years old-and people think that at 86 you’re on your way out. I was asked by friends a year ago what was my secret for longevity.

I thought for a moment and said, “Well, I don’t know.” Really, I don’t know. I don’t eat right, I don’t live right, but I think right. Thought and mind are tow of the most powerful things we have. We don’t understand the possibilities of the mind, and the mental powers we have.

Feb 102013
 

Microwavable Mediumship and Leaky Faucets, Who Don’t Know When to Close Down

Psychic Medium Steve HermannRecently I had the pleasure of visiting a friend and colleague of mine, a Certified Medium at Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Florida, USA, where I teach mediumship and healing programs for a few weeks every March.  When I arrived at his residence he had just sat down in front of his massive television to watch several episodes of Long Island Medium that aired back to back during the time that I spent conversing with him.  Even when I wasn’t watching the visuals, my friend had the volume up so loud that I could not miss the dialogue. I had first heard of the cable television show last year in Long Island at a Spiritualist church that I regularly serve when I am in the USA.  The student mediums at the church blasted what they considered to be an irreverent and misleading representation of mediumship as portrayed by the star of the show.   I rarely, if ever, watch television and have no interest in wasting my time that way and, although sympathetic with their evaluation, I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about in regards to the content of the program.  After seeing parts of the program I understood completely why they had been so disturbed.

 

I can’t control it.They won’t leave me alone whines the Long Island based medium, whose every detail of daily life is featured as part of the reality based hit cable series.   While it might be entertaining on television for a medium to casually approach strangers in public places such as Wal-Mart or McDonalds and invade people’s privacy and personal boundaries by bringing through deceased loved ones for them, such a practice indicates poor training and a lack of discipline in regards to mediumship.  I mean this all in a nice way as the medium featured on the television program seems like a nice lady and that she sincerely wants to help the people she is working with.

Over the past three decades that I have been involved with the Spiritualist movement as a student and practicing medium, I have heard some pretty ridiculous statements made by so called mediums.

I am a natural medium. I don’t need training.  My high guides teach me everything I need to know.   My mediumship is turned on 24/7. 

Of course, mediumistic ability is natural, have you ever heard of an unnatural medium?  Everyone has psychic ability and through proper training with the right teachers, whatever natural talent present in the individual may be enhanced and improved upon.

Mediumship is similar to artistic or musical talent.  We all possess varying degrees of ability and even such exceptional geniuses such as Michelangelo apprenticed with masters, who mentored them and helped them perfect their skills. Mediums who claim that they do not need training or that their higher guides or ascended masters teach them everything are seriously deluded and ignorant of the mechanics of the process.

Years ago I was contacted by a young man, who had advertised himself online as a psychic medium and wanted to do a public mediumship demonstration with me.  He was charging $400 an hour at the time.  According to what he told me, as well as the bio on his web site, he had received his training directly from ascended masters and had his mediumship turned on all the time.  His web site stated how he would receive spirit messages for people while eating in McDonalds.  He was proud about both these points.  I tried to explain the importance of controlling one’s mediumship, but I don’t think that he understood what I was trying to explain or he just didn’t want to listen to me.

One of the first skills novice mediums learn is how to properly attune   with the spirit world and close themselves down outside of the classroom or circle situation.  It is important to learn how to control mediumship ability as there is a time and place for working with the spirit world that should be strictly adhered to.  A medium should not be a like a leaky faucet and allow anyone to come through at anytime.  They call this Kitchen Sink mediumship at a Spiritualist church in Orlando, Florida that I have served over the years.

I know that as a medium I want quality in the work that I do.  Although mediumship may be imperfect as a process, mediums need to be selective with when and where they work.  Reliable mediumship is important and opening up at a cocktail party to entertain intoxicated guests at 2 AM is not the right time and place or for the right reasons.

I have a friend, one of the sweetest, most generous people I know, who opened up his mediumship a few years ago.  A skeptical instructor of engineering at a technical college, his born again Christian wife registered him to attend a mediumship demo at a college, where I taught parapsychology courses for many years.  Although he initially wanted to leave once he discovered what his wife had signed him up for, I convinced him to stay and proceeded to bring through his deceased father, whom he instantly recognized.  My friend’s life was changed forever with the realization that the personality continues after the physical body ceases to function.  He attended my popular annual mediumship retreat as well as development classes at a local Spiritualist church.  Within a year he was doing delivering spirit messages from the platform and holding open meetings every week in his own home.

My friend has good training, but for a long time he had a habit of approaching people in public and like the Long Island Medium bringing through spirit messages to them.  So far he hasn’t gotten maced, but I think that he is slowly learning, what every senior medium has told him, that he needs to discipline his mediumship and not go around giving spirit messages to total strangers.  My friend claimed that he didn’t push his messages on people, but would ask for permission first.  I suspected that he was saying this to me to get me off his back.  I was right.  When a non Spiritualist friend phoned for me at his house where I was staying, he uninvitingly started giving the caller a mediumship reading.  None of the information given was understood and the friend who called, although impartial to the practice of mediumship, felt as though the reading was pushed on him.

It is good to be enthusiastic about mediumship, but unless students learn the proper mechanics of communication and how to control the process, they will develop bad habits that will be difficult to change later on.

When we set a time aside to connect with the spirit world we are making an appointment. The spirit helpers, who specialize in communication, are with us and have made the right arrangements to assist those needing to communicate to come through.   When a deceased loved one or other comes through for a recipient they have rehearsed the process and in many cases have even observed spirit people communicating through other mediums.  The spirit helpers act as intermediaries for such communicators and assist in utilizing the psychic energies present for producing the best possible results for all concerned, both in the physical world as well as in spirit.  Many people don’t realize that what often passes off as spontaneous mediumship has generally been carefully planned and orchestrated by the spirit helpers.

Being a leaky faucet and opening up with the wrong conditions was referred to as promiscuous mediumship in the 19th century, as such an approach leads  potentially to connecting with frivolous and unreliable communicators.

Psychic Medium Steve HermannMediumship development generally does not happen overnight.  The spirit world cannot give us what we have not earned or are ready for.  I noticed about ten years ago that there seemed to be so many new mediums popping out of everywhere and setting up shop.  The success of John Edward’s mediumship programs on mainstream television contributed largely to this.  Around this time I was holding several development classes a week in Massachusetts with new people attending whenever I would start a new series.  Two young ladies showed up at an open group that I was conducting.  Neither had attended a development circle before and both expressed how interested they were in continuing to participate in my training programs.  I cannot say that either of them was any more talented than the average novice entering a development circle for the first time.  A week later, one of the sisters phoned me to ask about attending the class again as she had such a wonderful experience. Unfortunately she never showed up and none of my calls to her were returned.  About a month later I discovered an advertisement in the back of a regional new age publication.  Communicate with your deceased loved ones the copy read with the name, contact details along with an attractive photo of the sister, who had phoned me, prominently displayed.

A few months later I headlined a program in Manhattan that featured a panel of psychics and mediums from the surrounding area of New York and New Jersey.  One of the local mediums introduced herself to me and mentioned that she had studied with a friend of mine, a well known British medium.  Later I read a flier advertising her services that mentioned as part of her bio how as part of her training she has attended an 8 hour John Edward seminar and had read people for five hours while waiting in line.

If I were to read a manual on dentistry would you want me operating your teeth?  I am sure that with some pliers or other tools I could extract teeth but would I be qualified to extract teeth?  The fact that someone is open to the spirit world does not mean that they are ready or qualified to function as a medium.  Even with someone who is naturally open to the spirit world, proper education and training are important.  A medium must not only achieve a high standard in their ability to bring through accurate information, but they must also be trained in the ethics of working with others within the context of mediumship.  This does not happen overnight.

Although people want mediumship instantly, they will achieve very little if they have not spiritually and emotionally worked on themselves.  Quality mediumship cannot be purchased for any price, but must be earned through dedication and devotion to serving God and helping those in need.  Mediumship is extremely beneficial.  While sincerity is important, quality is what is most important.  Programs like Long Island Medium are good in that they introduce the reality of spirit communication to a mainstream audience.  They are bad in that they portray mediumship in a sensationalistic and distorted manner.  I generally try to avoid microwaveable meals as the heating process destroys the life energy within the food.  Although an instant medium may at times deliver accurate information, I would personally prefer to consult a medium possessing a high standard of training in the process as well as ethics.  As a medium I want to expand and improve as an instrument for the spirit world.  I hope that people reading this blog will also strive to improve their connection with the spirit world and not allow themselves to become stagnant with their development.

Feb 102013
 

Rev. Steve Hermann MediumAs I write this I am in the Philippines teaching mediumship and healing.  Spiritism is massive in the Philippines with about 2000 Spiritist centers around the country, at least half of them affiliated with the Unión Espiritista Cristiana de Filipinas.  Established in 1905 the founders of the Union were greatly influenced by the writings of the French Spiritualist Allan Kardec.   Presently there is much debate in the Union over the correct approach to mediumship development between the many members heavily influenced by mainstream Christian doctrine and orthodox ritual and the more scientifically oriented, adherents of Kardec’s writings.  The Spiritists within the Union who are largely Christian oriented believe that mediumship is a gift of the Holy Spirit and as a result mediumistic development does not require education or training.  The Mediums Book and other works by Kardec played an important role in the approach of the founders of the organization.  Kardec was an intellectual and an educator who like other of the pioneers of the Spiritualist movement emphasized learning and scientific inquiry in regards to the practice and study of psychic phenomena and mediumship. A problem that arises within the Union concerning the practice of mediumship is that mediums tend to be placed on a pedestal by many Spiritists, who do not question their ability as mediums or the communications purported to originate from higher spirit teachers using the vocal chords of an entranced medium to speak.  This is largely due to an overall lack of formal training in the mechanics of mediumship along with the common belief that the individuals chosen by the Holy Spirit to function as mediums are infallible.  Many of the Union mediums claim to receive messages from spirit teachers who are Biblical personalities, Christian Saints and Archangels.  Instead of questioning the identities and the messages being delivered many within the Union blindly accept what is given as being authentic without testing the medium and the message and validating the information that has been presented. At one of the centers located in a remote providence in the northern region, there is one official medium who regularly delivers messages at the meetings held several times a week.  A friend of mine who is a member at this center mentioned to me the great inconsistency in the messages given by this medium.  In one message the communicating spirit will repeat several times that they are the Lord coming through and need to be listened to and followed.  Then in the next sentence the same personality will say that they have been sent by God.   My friend is not sure what to say as there is no time allocated within the period of the trance address to ask questions of the communicator.  Are you God or are you are messenger of God? Or better yet:  Please give me some evidence of  your identity?  If the phone rang and a female voice on the other end claimed to be Barrack Obama calling, I would most likely doubt that the President of the United States of America was calling me.  But like Kardec and other early pioneers within the Spiritualist movement, I would want verification of the identity of the alleged spirit communicator even if the voice of the caller sounded like Obama.  What is sad in the situation commonly found with the Filipino mediums is that they can claim to channel any personality they chose and say practically anything without being challenged.   Unlike the National Spiritualist Association of Churches in the USA, the Spiritualist National Union in the United Kingdom and other groups that have formal educational standards and examinations for mediumship, there is no standardized training offered or required for the Filipino mediums to operate.  Although fraud and delusion have always been a problem when it comes to psychic phenomena regardless of the geographical location,  the lack of higher educational standards within the Filipino Spiritist movement creates an environment where mediums can get away with claiming practically anything without being held accountable.   P. T. Barnum was correct when he stated that a sucker was born every minute.  Gullibility and a lack of rational thinking have always rightfully been condemned by genuine spirit teaching communicating through mediums.  At practically every trance session that I have attended, or conducted as a medium, the spirit communicators have encouraged those listening to participate by asking intelligent questions about their identity as well as philosophical.  Authentic spirit communicators from a higher level do not beat around the bush or give unreliable messages nor do they attempt to impress their audience with important sounding names.  This is a basic concept generally emphasized in any development circle for beginners.   As far as I am concerned mediumship is a science and should be approached as such.  Is mediumship a gift?  Yes it is, the same way that artistic or musical talent is a gift that may be greatly enhanced through practice and education.  The idea that mediumship does not require education and that mediums only need to rely on the direct influence of spirit teachers is not unique to the Spiritists in the Philippines.  This misconception has been around since the beginning of the Spiritualist movement and continues largely due to the laziness of the part of mediums who want to do the work without improving their abilities as mediums.  An educated mind is ideal for the spirit teachers to work with.  Ignorant mediums with a weak connection greatly restrict what the spirit personalities may express through them.  Mediums must do their part and meet the spirit world at least half way.  Physical, emotional and mental health are essential for mediumship development.   It is not enough to reach a certain level as a medium and then slack off and stop training. Regardless of how long someone has been involved in practicing mediumship there is always room for improvement.   Sitting in circle for development, daily personal prayer and meditation along with continuing education are mandatory for the serious student of mediumship.   A well known British medium I know is friends with several popular Television mediums.  He told me that one of the famous TV mediums suggested to him that he should never been seen by anyone attending other mediums workshops as it would give the impression that he was not the best and needed to learn from others.  While this may be true I think that the more training and ideas that one gets in regards to mediumship, the better. Sadly my friend listened to him and as a result never does any continuing education or training with other mediums. I love teaching in the Philippines as there are so many people sincerely interested in developing their mediumship.  While I cannot change the mentality of those who deliberately avoid continuing education, I will continue to encourage those at my programs to constantly strive for higher levels of perfection with their mediumship.  Kardec’s approach to investigating the practice of spirit communication was in accordance with the scientific laws that govern the mechanics of mediumship.  The founders of the Filipino Spiritist movement were highly educated and well cultured as individuals and would not appreciate the lack of education currently found within the organization.  Unfortunately if they were physically present, their ideas would likely be disregarded by many of those currently involved in the movement.   The philosophy of Spiritualism/Spiritism teaches progression in all areas of life.  Greater education expands the mind and improves the intellect.  A mind with substance within it is a better mind for the spirit teachers to influence and work through.  A medium with training, discipline, and understanding of the process will also always be a more effective instrument. 

Feb 102013
 

ChannelingThe first time I toured New Zealand back in 1999 I conducted an “Advanced” mediumship workshop in Wellington, which quite a few of the local mediums and more experienced students attended along with several non Spiritualist women involved in the new age movement.   During the workshop I did a short guided meditation to build the energy up and help participants to connect with their doorkeeper.  At the conclusion of the meditation I had participants share their experiences with the group.  As we went around, the students related connecting with the spirit personalities involved in assisting them with their mediumship.   When it came to her turn, one of the non Spiritualists present happily related how excited she was that during her meditation she had been able to connect with her main guide, who was a green lizard from another planet.   It was amusing looking at the facial expressions of many of the older Spiritualists and mediums in attendance.

The exact same type of situation took place two years later when I returned to New Zealand to again teach an “Advanced” mediumship workshop in Wellington.  This time I had a young lady, non Spiritualist, come up in front of the group, sit cross legged in a chair, close her eyes and proceed to channel.  ”That was a dolphin consciousness.,” She explained once she opened her eyes. I am not sure if she noticed the look of all the elderly Spiritualists and mediums.  While I have no problem bringing through non human forms of life as part of my mediumship, I did not discern any dolphin working through her.  She was, however, slightly inspired by her guides, who influenced her with some of the ideas that she verbally expressed.

While Spiritualism is based on science, it always amazes me how deluded people can be when it comes to developing and practicing mediumship.  Since working with psychic abilities involves using the mind of the medium, it is pretty easy, when inexperienced or not of sound mind, to confuse one’s own imagination from genuine psychic impressions.  Not that this is necessarily bad as in the initial stages of developing mental mediumship, the more that student mediums are encouraged to share and express what they are experiencing the better.  Even if most or all of what they experience is a product of their own imagination or originating from their unconscious mind expressing such information is essential for the development of mental mediumship.  Not sharing such internal experiences, whether genuine psychic impressions or self-generated thoughts, result in blocking the spirit personalities involved in developing the medium from conveying mental impressions.  I always tell my students when sharing to not worry if something they are experiencing is from the spirit world or not.  Give it out as you get it.

As a student medium in the course of their development receives feedback and experiences genuine communications from the spirit world, they naturally will learn to differentiate between what is a product of their mind and what is coming through from their team of spirit helpers.  Since mental mediumship involves using the information contained in the mind of the medium, this often is challenge for students involved in development.

Unfortunately many experienced mediums, although sincere,  are completely deluded and after many years involvement working with the spirit world still cannot tell, what is them, and what is from spirit.   This happens all the time with trance speaking, especially if the degree of influence of the controlling spirit personality is weak.  The trance personality expressed through the medium is a composite personality of the medium and the communicating spirit personality.  Of course, what generally ends up happening is that the medium will embellish or add to the communication by overly dramatic mannerisms, phony accents and childish behavior.

How many of you reading this blog have witnessed a medium crawling across the floor because they believed their control didn’t have legs?  Or start baby talking in a squeaky voice when their child joy guide comes through?  There was a time in Spiritualism when many mediums channeled such child guides, often members of minority groups, who spoke in broken English perpetuating the worse racist stereotypes.  I am not sure if this is worse than the medium in California whose higher guides contorted her physical body like a pretzel when she channeled, wrapping her legs in back of her head.  I could go on with many of such examples, but I think that I have made my point.

Such ignorant displays purporting to be authentic mediumship only mislead those who don’t know  and turn off those with sufficient intelligence and discernment to know better.  It is also interesting how many people involved in Spiritualism recognize such exhibitions of delusion, yet out of not wishing to offend do absolutely nothing to prevent it and allow it to go on in public settings such as Spiritualist church platforms.

Mediumship functions according to scientific principles, and although mental mediumship is a subjective intuitive experience, students involved in development need to know the mechanics of how it works.  In addition, students of mediumship must learn to question the spirit world and not just blindly accept things as being a certain way.

When receiving communications mentally from the personalities in the spirit world, there is a feeling or energy that comes with such messages that distinguishes it from that originating within the mind of the medium.  The biggest block to telepathically receiving communications is the analytical mind of the medium.  Future blog entries will examine how to effectively prevent such interference from the logical mind and how to achieve proper attunement with the spirit personalities.

Feb 102013
 

Rv. Stephen Hermann Medium

Many people fail to realize when coming to a psychic medium for a session that they have much to do with creating the conditions necessary for obtaining the best possible results. The following are some pointers for making your session with a medium a rewarding experience.
  • Love and enthusiasm create a psychic atmosphere conducive to obtaining good results.
  • Be open to what comes through. The fact that a person has passed over does not necessarily mean that they are ready or able on their own to come through. People who expect or demand that things be done a certain way may actually ruin the atmosphere and make the process much more difficult.
  • It is important to be on time when consulting a medium. Rushing to the session or arriving late with a tense or harried state of mind will do little to assist the delicate process.
  • Preparation through prayer and meditation prior to the session is essential for the best results. Invite your spirit loved ones and guardians to be with you during the session.
  • Never “feed” the medium or provide information about yourself or people you want to contact in the spirit world. The best mediums never ask the people they are working with to questions such as “Is your mother in spirit?” or “Does anyone on this side of the room know someone who passed with the initial J?” The bottom line when going to a medium is tell them absolutely nothing. Let them tell you.
  • As you are part of the session your participation is essential. If you are unsure of what the medium is talking about, ask for further clarification without revealing information about yourself. A simple “yes” or “no” is sufficient. Don’t just sit there being confused.
  • When consulting a medium it is wise to tape record the session or at least take good notes for future reference. Often we may not recognize the people coming through, as they may not be the people we might expect to come through or, in many cases, even physically have known or been close to. This is especially true if we do not know our family tree well. Information not understood at the time of the session ought to be able to be validated.
  • Always approach spirit communication with an open, yet questioning mind. Never let yourself be gullible and believe everything purported to be channeled from the spirit world. People claim to channel ascended masters, space aliens, and even penguins. Besides the massive amount of fraudulence found within the field, there is a fine line between genuine mediumistic communication and the delusion of sincere people who cannot distinguish their own imagination from true psychic impressions. If it sounds like science fiction it probably is.

Highly acclaimed for his detailed and accurate mediumship, the Reverend Stephen Hermann is a world famous medium with extraordinary talent.  Based in Auckland, New Zealand,  Stephen travels extensively teaching and demonstrating spirit communication and spiritual healing. Contact him directly for in person or phone mediumship sessions at steveradhe@gmail.com