Saturday, September 17, 2011

Making no distinction between Victorian channeling writers of yore and today's certain Christian authors (Part 1)

Part 2: "Walsch, Young, and Beth Moore: ungodly channelers all (Part 2)"
Part 3: Walsch, Young, and Beth Moore: ungodly channelers all (Part 3)
Conclusion: How do Christian authors end up channeling spirits and producing books from them? Pride
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Remember when New Age channeling was the thing? In the 70s, Shirley MacLaine promoted it. But channeling is really older than that, it not so 'new'. At the turn of the last century, many British luminaries participated in the Spiritist/Spiritualist movement of which channeling was a major part. They sat around and had seances all the time. It was wildly popular but despite the many adherents and the wild popularity, Spiritism never really formed into one church or one doctrine because the movement was extremely individualistic. Each person relied on her own experiences to discern the nature of the afterlife and understanding the supernatural in general.

Sound familiar today? It is. "Christians" of today claim individualistic and personal experiences with the "Divine" and then produce works that are touted as specially insightful because of the personal revelation. Everything old is new again. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." (Eccelesiastes 1:9)

When adherents to Spiritism held seances or channeled spirits in private, oftentimes the 'spirit' delivered creative products to their brain and hand. This Spiritist activity is called "automatic writing."



In the heyday of the Victorian Spiritist movement, automatic writing was all the rage. It is "A type of divination where the pen appears to direct the writer instead of the writer directing the pen. With pen in hand, the writer sits back, attempts to clear his mind, and waits for the pen, seemingly, to take on a life of its own. ... Spiritualists believe that automatic writing is a form of spirit contact with the living; hence the name "spirit writing". (source)

Automatic writing is really channeling. It is a method of capturing concepts and thoughts from 'the other side' through our hand without conscious thought to interfere or censor the thoughts. Automatic writing in spiritism happens when spirits are claimed to take control of the hand of a person to write messages, letters, and even entire books. Automatic writing can happen in a trance or waking state" (Wiki)

Yeat's famous poem Second Coming (Slouching Toward Bethlehem) was a product of such a kind of supernatural revelatory delivery system. The poem was delivered in toto to Yeats through a spirit while Yeats was in a trance state. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame was also an adherent to spiritism (Theosophical Society member) and his works were influenced by it as were painter Gauguin's and many others.

Rudyard Kipling was an automatic writer, too. He has written of his process and product,  "My Daemon was with me in the Jungle Books, Kim, and both Puck books and good care I took to walk delicately, lest he should withdraw. I know that he did not because when those books were finished they said so themselves... When your Daemon is in charge, do not try to think consciously. Drift, wait and obey." (source)

Spiritism flourished during the Victorian era from 1840 to 1920. But Spiritism was not born in the 1840s nor did it die out in the 1920s. Its roots extend to today and backward to the 1740s and Emanuel Swedenborg. An inventor and philosopher, in 1741 at the age of fifty-three, Swedenborg entered into a spiritual phase in which he eventually began to experience dreams and visions beginning on Easter weekend April 6, 1744. This culminated in a spiritual awakening, whereupon he claimed he was appointed by the Lord to write a heavenly doctrine to reform Christianity. Swedenborg and Franz Mesmer are credited with birthing the modern Spiritist movement. (Yes, Mesmer's name is where we get the term "mesmerized", meaning when spiritual forces come grouped together and you get mesmerized.).

The mystical qualities of communing with spirits that results in written or composed works goes back even further than Swedenborg. There are myriad Catholic mystics such as Hildegarde of Bingen, who in 1141, at the age of 42, Hildegard received a vision she believed to be an instruction from God, to "write down that which you see and hear." Hildegarde wrote, "I set my hand to the writing. While I was doing it, I sensed, as I mentioned before, the deep profundity of scriptural exposition; and, raising myself from illness by the strength I received, I brought this work to a close – though just barely – in ten years. [...] And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God I heard and received them in the heavenly places." (source)

We can go back, and back, and back to the beginning but we won't go back that far, we can stay in the 20th century with the modern day Spiritualists and their seances and mediums, that gave birth to the New Agers of pharmaceutical trances and automatic writing which morphed into today's Christian mystics engaged in receiving divinely inspired writings after a lengthy bouts of contemplative prayer. It is all the same, you see. This essay and its companion piece conclusion examines these things, and asks the question:
How is receiving a poem through automatic writing after a seance through a spirit guide any different from holing up in a cabin, having a long conversation with God and writing down by invisible force the 'Christian' doctrines that are then published to today's fervent acclaim? 
There is no doubt that automatic writing is thrilling. The Irish National Library says that "automatic writing proved to be a revitalizing force for W.B. Yeats." It is hard to think up your own stuff. It is easy to let someone/something else plop it into your mind for you.

When we hear of writing that has come from an external, automatic source, such as a seance or a spirit guide, we can comfortably become suspicious because there is the glaring problem of authorship and credibility. Virginia Moore puts the problem of Yeat's visions and writings gained from automatic writing succinctly: and we can ask this question of all such writers, even (and especially) those who write that way today but claim the writing is from God--

"Invariably students of A Vision ask, Was it really spirit-controlled discourse? Or was it, on Mrs. Yeats’ part, either a garnering of her subconscious, or a telepathic reading of her husband’s mind, neither of which requires extranatural help? Or was it a fabrication on the part of Yeats and/or his wife? Or something else?"

How DOES one discern whether such writings are originating from a subsumed personal will, the subconscious, or a supernatural source either divine or demonic? With the current problem of lack of discernment in the Christian church, these good questions are asked less frequently instead of more frequently. It is easy to point to Victorian Spiritists and mediums holding seances and say that any or all creative products resulting from these sessions have a demonic, not divine, origin. However, we rarely hear of Christians questioning the origin and appropriateness of reading and absorbing as doctrine such writings from today's pseudo-Christians.

In the next part, I'll use three examples of popular Christian writers who used the exact same methods as the Victorian Spiritists to produce creative works: they went into seclusion, they contacted or were allowed to be contacted from the spirit world, they were used in autmomatic writing, and they produced a personal revelation they claim is divine in origin.

6 comments:

  1. Oh, this makes me so sad, that any professing Christians would be fooling with such dangerous things.

    My sadness isn't one of someone who has always steered clear of such things-- I speak from experience, though from before salvation. Oh, surely "daemons" communicate. All too willing to twist, deceive, distract and harm us, the human race.

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  2. Wow, you are literally blowing my mind. I haven't finished this piece yet, because I had to pause a minute to write you my thoughts so far. I just finished the whole Yeats/Kipling automatic writing part.

    I am a Lit. teacher, but I never learned about Yeats or Kipling using automatic writing in my classes, but I believe it. That is crazy how you even found the quote about his demon muse. And non-Christians probably write it off as a metaphorical muse, not a literal demonic spirit.

    Also, I used to love The Second Coming. I used to ponder it, trip out on it; I guess I knew it was attempting the prophetic.

    I just re-read it right now. MAN! It has so much more meaning. I love that you taught me this. I have always gravitated to the forms of literary criticism that analyze the works of literature in light of the history, biography, and the spiritual beliefs of the writer. I believe you can't understand the text of a poem, by just looking at the poem. How much more, when it isn't just the writer who is writing the poem!!!

    Wow.

    And another thing that trips me out is that I used to practice automatic writing when I was a teenager. I mingled in satanism before Christ. I loved the modern satanic poets and musicians, so I naturally gravitated to dark poets of the Romantic era in my British Lit. class. I remember fawning over Browning's poem "Porphyria's Lover" as well as Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan."

    Then I got into the works of William Blake (an occultist) and it went on and on. I didn't know what automatic writing was at the time, but even though I didn't set out to do it, it happened.

    I used to write a ton of poetry with words I had never heard of before. I was mingling with the occult in a terrible way. Even had an out of body type experience. One night I remember coming to some idea of what I was actually dealing with. That it was real, that it was big, and that I had no control. I was terrified when I understood that this was no childhood game. I began to see how evil and powerful it was.

    It is a wonder that the enemy is glorified, and honored by their works being published and taught to every school child instead of the Bible.

    Okay . . . now I will finish the article.

    Thanks for going here Elizabeth!

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  3. Emily, thanks for your comment. You're right, they are so dangerous! I am sad too, so sad! They do communicate with us, through all too willing partners. I noticed there are striking similarities between and among those who are used, such as Yeats, Walsch, Young, even Swedenborg, and Moore. I may do a part three exploring these similarities.

    Anonymous, you're welcome. I used to LOVE Yeats and especially The Second Coming poem. I used to dabble in automatic writing as well (before I was saved). I am so glad you came to the realization that you did!! God for you and glory to God for shining His light in your eyes. And me too, and Emily as well. He is mighty to save :)

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  4. Elizabeth:

    Please do a 3rd part regarding the similarities of these authors...it would be so helpful and wrap up nicely this teaching you are doing on the occult and false teachers. It is helpful to have someone with your background of teaching to be able to point out some things we may not see or notice from a writer's viewpoint. Thanks so much for all the work you do as unto the Lord...you are helping edify and protect His body. God bless you. Amen!

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  5. I guess I'm confused by automatic writing vs. the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

    "which morphed into today's Christian mystics engaged in receiving divinely inspired writings after a lengthy bouts of contemplative prayer."

    I must have missed something in your meaning.

    With all the Rick Warren types, Paula White, Benny Hinn, Lynn Hybels, Todd Bently etc, the list is forever, I have to carefully vet who I'm listening to. Counterfeits are on the increase and we have to be on our guard, but not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Thanks for stopping by and for the spell check ;-) I don't channel, but I do write quickly what the Holy Spirit inspires me to write.

    Dan

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    1. Dan, I guess the difference would be that one is inspired by the Spirit and the other is directed by Satan. One produces results consistent with scripture and the will of God, and the other produces results that are contrary to both. In one, it is a type of divination where the pen appears to direct the writer instead of in the other, the writer directs the pen. Channeling writers claim to have heard a "voice" and had their hand directed by a spirit.

      "The divine direction and control under which the biblical authors wrote was not a physical or psychological force, and it did not detract from but rather heightened the freedom, spontaneity, and creativeness of their writing." More here-
      http://www.theopedia.com/Inspiration_of_the_Bible

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