Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why do Spirits Communicate Symbolically?

Last week, I blogged about what it is like to communicate with spirits. That post was based on some conversations that took place on an internet discussion forum. At about the same time on the forum there was a thread from someone who wanted to know why spirits communicated symbolically rather than with words. This is how I replied ...

Many mediums can receive communications from spirits best if the spirits show them a picture, so most spirits will try to communicate with a picture. However spirits don't communicate with pictures of words very often. It does happen sometimes but very rarely.

Part of the difficulty is that letters are very familiar and there are a finite number of them. It seems to be true for all types of psychic perception that the more open ended the possibilities for perception the less interference there will be from the mind of the psychic. (Charles Tart discusses this in his book Learning ESP) For example, remote viewing is easier than guessing zener cards because in remote viewing the possibilities are unlimited but zener cards are limited to 5 possibilities.

If you take cards from a deck of playing cards and try guess which are red and which are black without looking at them, you already know what the two possibilities are. The mind tends to be very active and hard to control. If I say don't think about a pink elephant, most people will think about a pink elephant. If you are trying to guess cards you will likely be thinking about different cards. These thoughts are likely to drown out your psychic perceptions. Your thinking about the next card might drown out any faint psychic perception you might have of it. You also know the color of the next card might be the same as the color of the previous card so you may confuse your thoughts and memories of the previous card with your psychic perception of the next card.

However, if a spirit is communicating with images of real world objects, a medium will have no idea what is coming next, he will have nothing to base a guess upon, and he is less likely to think about what might come next, and therefore is less likely to confuse his own thinking with a psychic perception. He would also not expect the next image to be related to the previous image so it would be unlikely that he would confuse his memory and thoughts about the previous image with his psychic perception of the next image.

An image usually comprises an entire concept. But if you were seeing images of words it could require several words to communicate a concept. Your thoughts, assumptions, memories, associations, and inferences that arise from the meaning of previous words and clauses could influence your expectations about what the next word would be and you could confuse that expectation with your psychic perception of the next word. If the spirits tried to communicate by showing pictures of letters, the medium would likely be thinking about and visualizing words and letters, trying to guess the next letter based on the letters of the word already shown or the next word based on the words of the sentence already shown. It would be harder for the spirit's communication to be perceived over the noise.

When spirits communicate with pictures, the picture can very often be interpreted literally. When I would communicate with a spirit, I would usually see them as they looked in life. They would show me pictures of things they did, what their house looked like, where they worked etc. These types of images helped the sitter to identify the spirit.

However, spirits will use symbols when the thing they want to communicate cannot be represented with a literal picture.
Some things can't be described with a simple picture but can sometimes be communicated with symbols. Names are one example of this. One time I was getting a reading and the medium brought through my uncle. He showed the medium a picture of a snowy field which I recognized as the name of the town he lived in: White Planes. (This is why it is important for a medium to report exactly what they perceive and not try to interpret it. Usually the sitter will know what is being communicated symbolically and how to interpret it. If the medium saw the snow and said something like "snow was meaningful in the spirit's life" it would not have made any sense to me. I have had many readings by inexperienced mediums who provided a lot of evidential material but wove it into a story of their own creation that had nothing to do with reality.)

There are also many occasions when a spirit will communicate something without using a picture. Once when I was giving a reading, a spirit named Rose identified herself to me by making me smell roses. Another time I was giving a reading and the spirit identified his cause of death by inducing me to place my hand under my neck and close my hand. This helped the sitter to recognize the spirit as a cousin who died by hanging himself since the gesture I made was like I was grasping a rope around my neck.

Some spirits do communicate with letters but it requires a special development process that few mediums go through.

It involves a ouija board which I don't recommend anyone use. The ouija board is a form of physical mediumship and if you open yourself to the influence of spirits there is a possibility that "undeveloped" spirits can influence you. In general, like attracts like, if you are using the ouija board as a joke for vulgar entertainment you are likely to attract vulgar spirits that might like to play jokes and tricks on you.

If your intentions are of a high spiritual nature you will likely attract highly developed spirits. However with physical mediumship there is no real guarantee that the good spirits can keep the bad spirits away. There are many cases in the history of physical mediumship where the good spirits were not able to prevent such interference. It often takes a team of spirits to work with a physical medium, some of whom act as spiritual bouncers to keep away the etheric riff-raff. There must be a strong karmic purpose for your mediumship in order to justify an entire team of spirits working with you.

(In mental mediumship, you are in direct mental contact with the spirit and it is easier to recognize the personality traits of the spirit - with physical mediumship they just control your body so it is much easier for them to fool you.)

There are cases where very proficient mediums got started with a ouija board, but there is some risk to it. After using the ouija board for a time the medium may begin to know in advance what the next letter is going to be and she can just say or write it rather than use the ouija board. Later she may begin to know what the next word is going to be and she can stop spelling out the words. Eventually she may develop into a full trance medium.

There are a couple of free ebooks about excellent mediums who got started with the ouija board:

The Betty Book and Our Unseen Guest. Both are available at: Unfortunately, this site seems to go down frequently. If the site is not up and you want to download the books you might try to use a search engine to see if they are available elsewhere on the internet.

The Betty Book:

"As with numerous others, our interest in the ouija board began quite casually. On the date I have mentioned, some friends called on us bringing one of these with them. They had bought it as a toy, to try Out,without belief that anything in particular would happen to it.


But once, in the middle of our laughter and buffooning, the glass moved with a sharp quick decision as though impatient, in striking contrast to its customary fumbling.

"Why do you ask foolish questions?" it spelled.

Those sitting at the board denied having anything to do with this: it was too apropos! Nevertheless we suspected them, and they suspected each other.


Next our attention was caught by the repeated spelling out of the name Betty. Now there was present a young woman nicknamed Betty. She was standing in front of the fireplace after a very brief trial at the board-and a somewhat scornful trial at that. We insisted that she was being paged and that she must try again. She was reluctant, thinking this merely an attempt of those sitting to lure her back into the game, but finally yielded and took her place.

Immediately her fingers touched the glass it began to move in circles. Around and around it went, faster and faster until she and her partner could hardly keep their fingers on it. So comically like a dog frisking in delight was it that we all burst into laughter.

"It's glad to get Betty," said we."

Our Unseen Guest

OUR first experience with psychic phenomena occurred on the evening of December 7, 1916---by way of a ouija board. Neither Joan nor I had ever seen a ouija board before. The "toy" came into our hands quite by accident. We were taking our dinners at a private boardinghouse some blocks from the apartment building in which we lived. On the evening in question a sudden storm blew off the lake, while we were at table, and after the meal Joan and I wandered into a deserted sitting room to wait until the wind and sleet abated. There one of the resident guests had left the ouija, a remnant doubtless of some Halloween party.

"How does the thing work?" Joan asked.

I read the directions; we rested the board, whereon the alphabet was printed in two semicircles upon our knees, and put the tips of our fingers on the flatiron like pointer.

"Now," said I, "this tripod affair is supposed to move from letter to letter, spelling out a message."

Thus we sat for a period---ten minutes, perhaps. We joked, I remember, of the good fortunes ouija would tell us. But no message came. Then, just as we were about to give up, the tripod began to move.

"Quality of consciousness," it spelled. A pause---then, once more, "Quality of consciousness."

"Darby!" Joan took her fingers from the pointer. "You can't fool me like that. You did it! 'Quality of consciousness'---that doesn't mean anything, anyway."

I looked into Joan's eyes. Was it she who had moved the tripod, or did she honestly accuse me?

"Not guilty!" I pleaded. For a moment we faced each other in silence. Then said Joan, gravely, "Let's try it again." So we tried it again.

On the instant the tripod gathered strength. Over the alphabet it moved, slowly, yet with machinelike precision, pausing on this letter and that. Here are the words it spelled: "For you two I have a message, a revelation....

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