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"There is a silent revolution of consciousness afoot, and more channeled information is a part of it. We are evolving quickly, and spirits are coming through to offer guidance, advice, and unconditional love from a broader perspective.”
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Articles in This Issue
Disembodied Wisdom: Exploring the Phenomenon of Channeling
Ed. Note: Jon Klimo is probably the world’s foremost scholar on the phenomenon of spirit channeling. After teaching at Rutgers University for eight years, he became a professor of psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology at the San Francisco–based campus of Argosy University. His book Channeling:Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources is considered the definitive work on the subject. He has also coauthored two books on the afterlife, which brings to mind Julie Beischel’s innovative research into mediumship (see “Talking to the Dead”). In the article below, Klimo discusses David Thomas’s new book Tuning In (Hampton Roads, 2011), and more generally the role of channeled material in a modern and skeptical world.
During the past forty years, as channeling has become more prominent in the public eye, it has also become an increasingly loaded, polarizing, and even emotional subject. Similar to other phenomena studied in parapsychology, consciousness research, and transpersonal psychology—and even the more extreme case of UFOs and extraterrestrials—channeling provides a litmus test of a person’s worldview on topics that could be categorized “anomalous” by consensus reality and the dominant scientific paradigm. Without definitive evidence irrefutably proving or disproving the reality and authenticity of channeling, “the jury stays out,” and we are left to our own devices to determine how we feel and what we think about channeling.
When a book comes out on the subject of channeling, I'm always curious to find out what the author’s relationship and orientation to the subject is. What is his or her story? Where does the author stand with regard to the phenomenon? Closed- or open-minded? Is the book’s frame of reference based on the writer’s indirect or, better yet, direct personal experience with channeling, or does the author take a more neutral, objective, and scholarly perspective? Is the writer a denier, a skeptic, a true believer? To what kind of audience does the book seem to be appealing? Is the reader part of the choir to whom the author is preaching or someone who doesn’t understand or agree with the topic or the author’s stance?
The mainstream has decreed that channeling is just another New Age fad for escapists, the gullible, and those who fail to think critically. To advocates, channeling represents a kind of emerging, revelatory breakthrough of insight and information from a larger, otherworldly reality that is much needed in our myopic and troubled times. Most people end up wrestling with what philosopher and psychologist William James called “the will to believe.” This is what happens to me whenever another book on channeling appears; I invariably confront my own doubts. That I have immersed myself in the serious study of channeling for more than forty years does not seem to change this process of self-evaluation whenever I assess new reports of channeled material. And so it was when I learned of David Thomas’s new book, Tuning In: A Journalist, 6 Trance Channelers, and Messages from the Other Side.
Saved by Spirits
Thomas jumps right in without introduction by presenting the first of six channels, Darryl Anka, along with transcribed excerpts from Bashar, the source, or entity, communicating through him. We also find out in the first six pages that Thomas is making a documentary film of these sessions. (The film, directed by the young Canadian director Matthew Klinck, was released in 2008 as Tuning In: Spirit Channelers in America; the book was published in March 2011.)
“I was a trained journalist who wore a grey cloak of skepticism” about channeling, writes Thomas, someone who “scoffed at such woo-woo nonsense.” But now, “I've come to believe that channeling—higher intelligence speaking through humans—is real and happening.” Thomas spends virtually no time providing the reader with any kind of historical, sociocultural, theoretical, or scientific context for the phenomenon of channeling, which actually makes sense given the overall style and presentation of this book. He doesn’t pretend to be any kind of expert. His greatest contribution, at both the beginning and the end of the book, may be the sharing of his own bittersweet story and how the channeling phenomenon became a part of it. He sits down with each channel and then with each channel’s source and uses his natural interviewing technique of openness and intuitive questioning to draw out their messages.
In a very real way, Thomas feels he has been “saved” by the phenomenon: “A decade ago I was in full-on Hamlet mode, soundly unhappy and neck deep in the slow crucifixion of the spirit…I was drinking way too much and enjoying way too little. I was in the process of getting a bitter divorce from life itself.” But then he came to realize that “much negativity and strife in my life has been transmuted or healed thanks to the guidance I received from channeled material” (which had taken place over a period of ten years). He shares that his own life “might be considered something of a ‘failure’ by a random observer…I couldn’t fit into the established order of things and concluded that there was something terribly wrong with me. There wasn’t. I was in the midst of a profound healing for all those years.” I can report that over the past sixty years, countless people like Thomas have been drawn to and claimed to be helped by such otherworldly messages, whether or not such otherworldliness can be proven.
While this is not a book about the nature of channeling itself, Thomas does give us glimpses of what he believes channeling to be—glimpses that I find very much in keeping with my own understanding of the phenomenon. “Basically, channeling involves a nonphysical entity ‘stepping down’ energy and a person going into a trance state and ‘stepping up’ energy, creating a melding in the middle where communication is possible.” He conjectures that “as our evolution speeds up, as we in a sense ascend, the veil between our physical existence and the spirit world thins.” Thomas attempts to situate the phenomenon of channeling within the zeitgeist of a generally skeptical culture. As an Everyman engaged in the quest for personal healing and meaning, he has a sense of what’s going on—of what may be going on—that a growing number of us seem to share.
Indeed, Thomas comes across as a kind of informal participant-observer-researcher, his antennae extended, attempting to pick up nuances of right-feeling direction. He tells us that “more and more spirit channelers are popping up all over the globe,” answering the call for help “in navigating the age we have entered, which some have termed ‘the Great Shift.’ There is a silent revolution of consciousness afoot, and more channeled information is a part of it. We are evolving quickly, and spirits are coming through to offer guidance, advice, and unconditional love from a broader perspective.” In response to critics who disparage the authenticity of channeling, the entity Kryon, communicating through well-known channel Lee Carroll, declares to Thomas that “all of your spiritual texts you hold so dear have been channeled.” And more solicitously, Kryon adds, “If you come to this [channeled] material with an open mind and an open heart, perhaps there is something to be gained from it, dear human.”
Channelers and Their Sources
As noted, the book’s first chapter focuses on Darryl Anka and Bashar. Thomas and Klinck next visit channel Wendy Kennedy, who is in contact with the self-described “Pleiadian Collective.” The next chapter takes us to the home of Geoffrey Hoppe and his channeled source, Tobias. Hoppe is followed by Shawn Randall channeling Torah, John Cali channeling Chief Joseph, and concludes with Lee Carroll and Kryon.
In Chapter 1, Darryl Anka, “a barrel-chested man with a soft voice and a smooth moon face belying his fifty years,” presents himself as someone who, since 1983, has been channeling Bashar, “an extraterrestrial being three-hundred years in the future.” Anka tells Thomas that people “do not have to believe that Bashar is really an extraterrestrial in telepathic communication with me. If they want to believe the words are coming from another part of my own consciousness, that’s fine. I have no way of proving Bashar’s existence to anyone anyway. The important thing is that the information, wherever it is coming from, has made a difference in many people’s lives, including my own.”
Regarding the content of channeling, Anka tells Thomas that Bashar “made it clear that we are responsible for our own lives, totally responsible, and that nothing is being done to us, but rather through us.” In this sense, we are each channeling what we are experiencing as real for us; we are creating our own reality moment to moment and for a lifetime. Says Bashar, “Whatever vibration you give off, whatever frequency you create or generate, determines, utterly and absolutely, whatever experience is reflected back to you from your reality.” This seems to be one of the dominant themes throughout the channeled literature. Bashar tells us that by getting in touch with our beliefs, we can potentially change, individually and together, the reality we are experiencing. In a process of gradual ascension, we are undergoing a change in our frequency, our consciousness, our potential and its actualization.
Thomas’s next stop is the Santa Monica apartment of 39-year-old Wendy Kennedy and her Pleiadian Collective, “a group of 2,500 highly evolved beings she channels from the ‘ninth dimension’ who speak as one.” Kennedy tells Thomas, “I define channeling as bringing in energy and translating it into a recognizable form…The source of the energy can be from our higher self, our guides, people we loved on earth now departed, or from other dimensions and realities. It’s really just a matter of choosing a particular frequency, like you would a radio station.” Much of what the Collective shares will sound very familiar to anyone who has spent time with channeled literature. For example, Thomas asks, “So reducing it to shorthand, once we heal ourselves, we’ll heal the planet?” Kennedy’s source replies, “Yes, that's exactly it.”
Thomas then goes to “the quiet, mountain hamlet of Coal Creek Canyon,” near Los Angeles, for an interview with 52-year-old Geoffrey Hoppe, a successful businessman whose wife Linda sat beside him during the interview to lend her energy to his. Hoppe tells Thomas, “So many folks out there are struggling with this shift, this ascension process, and often don't even know what’s going on. So the channeling really helps bring them relief and answers.” Tobias, Hoppe’s source, who has “lived on earth over one thousand lifetimes,” says, “We’re communicating that you are indeed God. Also, you’re living in a type of illusion, an illusion that presents itself like a matrix of human consciousness that each of you is trapped in.” Much channeled material contains this theme of being trapped in an illusion and of being challenged to awaken from it into a larger, fuller reality.
Still in Southern California, we find in 65-year-old Shawn Randall and her source, Torah, “a multidimensional consciousness no longer choosing to incarnate,” many of the themes heard in the other channeled messages. We then move to a visit with John Cali and his source, Chief Joseph, identified as the spirit of the former chief of the Nez Perce Indians. The secret to living “a more joyful, abundant life,” says the Chief, is “to simply remember who you are and why you are here. You are spirit; you are God. You are all God, and once you can integrate that into your being, your human mind, then you’ll find your lives become much easier.” While Chief Joseph’s focus ranged from sex to karma to the roles played by Bush and Cheney in the modern era, we hear many of the same themes repeated throughout this book, which in turn closely mirror themes running through the channeled literature of the last forty years and of the even larger body of writing associated over the millennia with metaphysical, spiritual, and perennial philosophical literature at large.
Thomas returns to Los Angeles for his final interview with Kryon, channeled by Lee Carroll, “perhaps the most renowned channel in the project.” In describing how he was drawn into channeling, Carroll tells Thomas, “I followed what can only be described as the urgings of my soul. It [channeling] was just something I knew I was supposed to be doing.” Kryon, who refers to himself (itself?) in the third person, tells Thomas, “You are a piece of the whole, which you call God. So think of me as a brother, as a sister, as an angelic presence.” Like some of the channeled entities, Kryon is capable of being more specific, at times even technical: “I am the first to give you messages regarding the magnetic grid of the planet being that which communicates in an interdimensional way with your DNA.” We hear that “this is the only planet of free choice…the only one in the universe at the moment to have pieces of God disguised as humans living upon its surface…You come in [to this lifetime] already to a difficult playing field where the energy is not commensurate with your divinity. And that, my friend, has caused the wars, the frustration, the lack of integrity, the dishonesty.” The emphasis is again on the Great Shift said to be taking place, an evolution of spirit and consciousness that these channeled messages hope to inspire people to embrace.
We Are All Gods?
We are told in the final chapter, “Go in Peace,” that it has been two years since the final interview was filmed, that “the movie didn’t garner a theatrical release, but it did end up being viewed by people in more than thirty countries via DVD sales,” and that the “reaction to the film has been overwhelmingly positive.” Thomas adds that he has since directed a sequel, Tuning In 2, with seven more channelers and new topics. “This work truly feels like a calling to me,” says Thomas. There is also a welling up in Thomas of the creative journalisticwriter—an almost poetic, inspired quality—which includes a digest of channeled literature that Thomas has absorbed over the years. Some of Thomas’s thinking and wording convey a metaphysical grandness and at times an overly cute or “guru-lite” quality, such as when he refers to “some science nerd named Einstein.”
By the end, one can’t quite tell where the channeled material ends and where the author’s own hopes and vision begin. Thomas writes: “You are God also.” “You are a creator.” “We are each a sovereign being.” ”We are rising to our greatness.” “We have to be our own heroes.” “You are going to have to face your inner darkness and heal yourself.” He does seem to aspire to realize his own higher self while identifying closely with the teachings of the channeled sources he has honored with a film and now a book.
At the conclusion of this book, one may wonder what the difference is between garden-variety creativity, intuition, and inspiration—available to any of us on a good day—and the kind of channeled material involving “higher intelligence speaking through humans, “as Thomas puts it. Ultimately this book may point to how we everyday embodied spirits may be evolving in our own way toward having the kind of voice and vision once only associated with thousand-year-old beings from other dimensions.