I love watching other mediums demonstrate.
I think we can learn a lot from observing others work, both in the sense of adapting positive traits, and shying away from the negative aspects of what we observe.
Oftentimes I find myself on online watching platform demonstrations of every level of mediumship and every level of medium, from home circle messages to packed thousand-seat theaters.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed the same person, an older lady whom I’ll call Alice, commenting on the majority of mediumship related videos. Her shtick is this – like a broken record on nearly every video, she rants about how the quality of mediumship is diminished. She accuses even the most brilliant of mediums, in my opinion, of simply being psychics and not working on the level of Spirit which to me is a pretty bold statement.
Now Alice is not the first person I’ve heard talk about the quality of mediumship today. I’ve even said it before, that American Mediumship can be lazy- and perhaps the quality of presentation has plummeted- but that being said, I have a hard time believing that there is a lack of mediums with the same level of giftedness or connection to Spirit that there was 50 years ago.
Certainly, we don’t often see the same displays of message work quality and specificity that we saw with Richard Ireland, Clifford Bias, or Gordon Higginson, to whom Alice likes to compare every working medium. We don’t even see the quality of physical mediumship as was seen in the days of Mina Crandon, The Bangs Sisters, John Slone, Leslie Flint, Eusapia Palladino, or Florence Cook.
But we must also consider that perhaps mediumship isn’t supposed to be the same. Society has changed and, perhaps, so has the level of what is needed. Over the decades our air quality has changed, our food and water have chemicals in it, we don’t sleep in natural cycles with the setting and rising of the sun, we stare at electrical devices giving off radiation…and perhaps this has affected what mediumship looks like.
Now, Spirit is not stupid, and mediumship isn’t going to be squashed by such societal and global changes, BUT Spirit may have to alter its approach in what is achievable and why it’s being achieved.
This being said isn’t an excuse for a lot of what I see today.
In our fast paced society too many people take a weekend course or workshop, learn a few tools, and then run out and hang their shingle as a medium. If there is a lack in quality or presentation of modern mediumship, it is this!
The best mediums unfold slowly, and I cannot stress the importance of a development circle under a competent medium, or in the least, a group of fledgling mediums who dedicate time each week to come together, build power, and practice their connections with Spirit as they unfold their mediumship potential.
Alice likes to proclaim that the one and only way that mediumship should work is precise mind-to-mind, auditory (clairaudient) conversations and that any other way of working is simply psychic and not mediumistic.
I see this sometimes; mediums looking down on psychics.
As Alice pipes on about Gordon Higginson as the holy grail of standards, I would like to remind us that Gordon stressed the importance of developing and working with the psychic/soul.
Not only that, determining the quality of your mediumship should not be based on how you connect with Spirit. Regardless of whether you’re seeing pictures, hearing, feeling, or knowing, (which Alice claims is not true mediumship- any level of having to interpret what is given is simply “psychic”) that is not the determining factor of genuine mediumship. The determining factor is that the personality, clear evidence, and healing is brought through from Spirit to the sitter or recipient.
One element of presentation that I myself am guilty of, is asking questions. Now, many genuine mediums ask questions and are not fishing for information, but they state what they received from Spirit after their question. If we only took the time to catch ourselves to switch this around, our mediumship would seem much more polished.
For example: “Was your mother a dog groomer?”
Good! ”Because I’m seeing dogs and brushes and felt like I was brushing a dog.”
If only we’d say,
“I’m sensing your mother worked with grooming dogs. She shows me memories of dogs and brushes and grooming – you would understand, yes?”
The second approach states what you’re getting before seeking confirmation, and it sounds more confident and polished.
I had mentioned “Alice’s” obsession with comparing all mediums to the late Gordon Higginson. Gordon Higginson was a brilliant medium, gifted in mental, trance and physical mediumship, and in no way would I discredit his talent, or devotion to Spiritualism, however even Gordon would sometimes ask questions of the recipient of the messages, not nearly as often compared to the amount of highly specific information he gave; and damn good information at that, but still, I say this to show that there is NO SUCH THING as perfection with mediumship.
Another criticism Alice makes is that a medium should know exactly whom they are going to in the audience or congregation, and if that is not the case, they are simply working on a psychic level. Mediumship has evolved, as I’ve stated. Many talented mediums today such as Tony Stockwell, Lisa Williams, John Edward and my teacher, Sharon Klingler use “Spirit Centered Mediumship” rather than going directly to a recipient. In fact, I feel that often times going directly to the person can actually lead to more of a psychic read than a genuine Spirit Connection.
As we look at some of the more well known or media based mediums like John Edward or Theresa Caputo, although they may be talented, they do not present in the style that is taught or deemed acceptable by the Spiritualist churches and organizations. I make this point to state that while Spiritualism seeks to preserve the quality and standards in mediumship, not every medium is or wants to be a Spiritualist.
At the end of the day, if you or any other medium feels the power of the Spirit, gives personality, evidence, and messages of survival, and the client or recipient is pleased and received healing comfort- that is what is important. Not a standardized list of do’s and don’ts. Not whether or not they stayed on the platform or walked into the audience. Not whether or not the medium worked by going direct or “throwing it out” in their approach. The importance is the connection, and the message. That’s where the healing is.
Could there possibly be greater healing and stronger beliefs if we as mediums accepted personal responsibility to hold ourselves to our own standards of quality as far as what feels right for us and our relationship with Spirit? Absolutely. At the end of the day, every person is different, and we are all going to connect with Spirit differently. As times change, styles of mediumship change, or come in and out of popularity. We see this now with a resurgence of physical mediumship in new energy based styles.
So don’t compare yourself to other mediums, or hold yourself to unrealistic standards. But please do strive to do better, to push yourself, to grow, to not be complacent, to connect stronger, to hone, to polish, and be willing to be flexible and learn more to be the best voice for Spirit you can be.
Mavis Patilla, a talented medium of Higginson’s tutelage, once said in a talk something along the lines of- “I never want to get to the Other Side and have someone tell me that I took their name in vain.” She explained that we will all answer for the works we did and when we encounter the souls we’ve linked to on the Other Side we should be able to have those encounters knowing that we were the most sincere and integrity based instrument we could be for them.
I wholeheartedly agree!