Thursday 17 March 2022

The channeling phenomenon of the twentieth century

Throughout the twentieth century orientated towards the millennium, and spilling over somewhat up until the 2012 'delayed millennium', there was a significant sub-culture of 'channeling' among spiritual-but-not-religious people - those who from the 1980s were gathered under the New Age label. 

The phenomenon was essentially a development of the spiritualist mediums from the 19th century; but instead of focusing on contact with the deceased on behalf of their surviving spouses and relative, the mediums of channeling purported to be contacting what might be termed 'spiritual teachers'. 

These channeled-teachers were of a wide range; from God and Jesus Christ, through angels, down to 'ascended Masters', prophets, and famous people of the past - or sometimes named, but imperfectly identified, spiritual authorities. Others were quoting from spiritually perceived sources (e.g. "The Akashic Records").   

I would regard Madame Blavatsky (Theosophy - late 19th century) then Rudolf Steiner (from about 1900 - Theosophy, then Anthroposophy) as probably the major precursors and originators of New Age style channelers. Steiner, in particular, exemplifies both the possibilities and pitfalls of the business. 

I have been investigating the literature on channeling for about 8 years - since I became engaged with the work of William Arkle and the circles he moved in. In his later years, Arkle took a serious interest in several of the channeled books which came out from the early twentieth century, and which were especially abundant in the 1980s and 1990s (Arkle died in 2000). 

Since I respect Arkle, and have learned so much from him, I thought this phenomenon was worth a look; even though Arkle's best work (in my opinion) comes from the period before his late-life engagement with the New Age and channeling.  

I got-hold-of - or took a serious look-at - all the books Arkle mentioned; including his particular favourite from 1931, an anonymous production called The Book of El Daoud, the Father-King, Which is the Gospel of Simplicity given unto his own

Others books included a series from 'Lord Mikaal' (i.e. St Michael) including Winds of Truth (from 1950s onward); The Only Planet of Choice from Phyllis V Schlemmer; MAPP to Aquarius by Nada Yolanda; Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh - still ongoing. 

I also listened-to/ watched some famous channelers in audio or video.    

To keep matters brief; I was overall very much un-interested and un-impressed by the authority and accuracy of channeling; as a way of gathering objective spiritual information for the benefit of Mankind.

There were - of course - some bits and pieces of what seemed like valid and helpful perspectives, usually of a very general (indeed obvious) nature. And there was also some indication that the process may have been somewhat helpful to some of the people involved - at first. 

But overall, teaching-channeling seemed like a net-harmful activity - especially over the longer term, and the prophecies - especially relating to the millennium - were wrong both in general and in detail. 

In particular; in the 1980s-90s; it apparently became normal in New Age circles to expect a millennial raising of human consciousness - often described as a raising of vibrations or frequency - which would raise-up the entirely of mankind; or at least those would would accept it. 

The process was primarily something done-to (rather than done-by) humans - it involved varying degrees of eagerness or acquiescence - but was envisaged as an external intervention (sometimes from extra-terrestrials, who - in this kind of scheme - took on many of the traditional qualities of angels). 

Included was a general idea of the expectation increased 'spiritual help' such as paranormal activity (or awareness of paranormal events) such as UFOs, Crop Circles, channeling itself, synchronicities etc. 

And also an increased presence-of (and contact-with) helpful spiritual beings of various kinds including ETs, angels, Masters; and the birth of a new generation of especially spiritual children (sometimes called 'indigo' children - or some other colours). At its most mainstream - in 2008; plenty of people believed that Barack Obama was an elevated spiritual guide called a Light Worker - who would lead the world into the New Age. 

In the event; none of this stuff happened but the opposite. Especially after the deferred millennium of 2012 (supposedly the end of the Mayan calendar and a new astrological cycle.  

The New Age dwindled, and Men got much less spiritual and more materialistic, this-worldly and nihilistic. 

And (especially since social media) the masses have handed-over their minds to the Global Establishment, rather than to spiritual authorities. 

So - is channeling completely bogus? No - because I know of at least one valid example; which is William Wildblood's experiences, described especially in his book Meeting the Masters

A comparison with the mainstream New channeling shows why. Wildblood's experiences were personal and private, and not revealed until log afterwards. The teachings were personally directed - tailored to the young Wildblood's needs and development. The teachings were also relatively low volume, and simple.   

This contrasts with the (more or less) famous channelers - who address 'the world', make everything public ASAP; and generate a large amount of highly detailed 'information' on... every subject under the sun! There is also a strong flavour of pandering to the audience about these messages - they say what will play well with the kind of soft-leftists who make-up nearly all of the New Agers. 

Furthermore, the New Age channelers/ mediums (or their sponsors) adopt a 'careerist' moeny/ status. publicity-seeking stance - and some of them also espouse and practice sexual 'liberation'/ promiscuity/ revolution.  

In conclusion; I regard channeling as probably a real thing, a kind of spiritual experience, that happened to some people in the 20th/ early 21st century; and was probably related to that particular phase in the development of human consciousness. 

But it was meant to be a personal and private type of communication and intended to be understood in a Christian context. 

Channeling was Not a kind of objective information, nor a quasi-scientific form of 'knowledge'; understandable, learnable and applicable for adoption by 'the world'. 

To return to Steiner; in his early years, and intermittently thereafter; Steiner made major contributions to understanding our situation in the world. 

But in becoming a professional, addressing 'the world', building a movement, and channeling a vast body of quasi-objective Spiritual Science (which has since been learned and - mostly - applied like cook-book recipes by his followers); Steiner became mostly (but never wholly) a producer of pseudo-knowledge - as did the later channelers. 

(Indeed; a great deal of Steiner's purported Anthroposophical cosmology, history and prophecy comes from Blavatsky's Theosophy, or is modified ad re-shaped from her - naturally, as Steiner was an official Theosophical leader for many years.) 

William Arkle - on the other hand - never seemed to go all this way. 

He was apparently misled, by the consensus of channelers, into a false spiritual optimism - and his hard prediction of a massive enhancement of human spiritual consciousness around the millennium did not happen. 

But his reading and understanding of channeled sources was so selective and idiosyncratic, that mostly it functioned as a confirmation of ideas he had already arrived-at himself - from personal and private intuition/ direct-knowing. He kept his 'teaching' simple, stuck closely to what he had tested and affirmed; and therefore it was largely valid.  

In a nutshell; I think the main value of the channeling phenomenon - as evidence by William Wildblood, was insofar as it was a direct and experiential confirmation of the reality of the spiritual

By experiencing genuine channeling either at first or secondhand; some people were lastingly convinced that there was more to the world than the material.  

Thus, true-channeling is probably more a matter of form than content; therefore it is best regarded as properly a transitional spiritual phase, or step towards Romantic Christianity


William Wildblood said...

Speaking as someone who has been involved in channelling as mentioned in the post, I think this an excellent analysis of the phenomenon. When genuine (and often, of course, it is not), it demonstrates that there are many levels to the non-material world and many of the beings to be found therein who fall short of the actual heavenly worlds might consider themselves wiser and more spiritually developed than they actually are. Then, of course, there are demons who deliberately lead astray. But the elaborate esoteric intellectualised metaphysics that sometimes come out of this contradict the fundamental spiritual fact that truth is of the heart, and true spiritual teachers aim to awaken that rather than convey information, occult or otherwise. The Biblical injunction to test the spirits to see whether they are of God remains the best advice.

Oppressed Paranormal said...

Good overview.

Most of the New Agers had no kids so the biological basis for higher consciousness has declined.

Channeled entities had a strong rejection of any traditional morality from God. God was self-created, you create your own reality, was the common belief.

But if God is actually real with dispositions in accord with the Bible then New Age channeling is simply wrong.

Bruce Charlton said...

@OP - I agree that "New Age" channeling is wrong - but not channeling as such. It is, after all, when in a Christian context, likely to be what some/many real prophets have experienced.

In terms of Romantic Christianity, then New Age channeling is trying to be romantic but not Christian - but traditional-orthodox Christianity tries to be Christian but not romantic. And both New Age and trad-orthodox Christianity have been massively weakened and shrunk by the events of this millennium.

You are a new commenter here, and may not be aware of many posts over the past two years pointing out that 2020 was the worst year for Christian churches since they began - worst in terms of closure and cessation of activities and loss of members; but even worse because the churches agreed with and supported this destruction.

So, by my understanding, it is legitimate - and sometimes necessary - for Christians to explore and experience direct ways of making contact with the divine and spiritual.

It is risky, but then (as we have seen since 2020) so is being a strict orthodox Christian - here-and-now there is no 'safe' path to salvation.