Psychic Fairs Should Not Be Held in Spiritualist Churches

5 Dec

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 heldMediums 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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