The process by which a medium can communicate information from nonphysical beings, such as spirits, deities, demons or aliens through entering a state of trance or some other form of altered consciousness.
Channeling has existed in all cultures throughout history. In primitive societies a designated person a priest, shaman, oracle or similar individual had the responsibility of communicating with the non-worldly beings. The priestly caste of ancient Egypt communicated with the gods through trance; the ancient Greeks revered their oracles; the prophets and saints of Judaism, Christianity and Islam received the will of God in a form of channeling.
In the 19th century, the claims of spiritualism to be able to communicate with the dead attracted a large following, and in the same period Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, cofounder of Theosophy claimed to be able to channel the wisdom of various Tibetan adepts. Interest in channeling revived in the West during the 1970s and 1980s, with the growth of the new age movement. In the last few years, tens of thousands of people have sought out channels privately or in workshop situations, while millions more have read material or have listened to or viewed tapes said to be channeled. The Seth Material, the Findhorn books, and A Course in Miracles are some of the recent major bodies of work that are either channeled or based on channeling. They have enjoyed a remarkable following among people of varied personalities, world views, and walks of life.
There have been times in history when channeling and related phenomena have been accepted, in keeping with the mainstream world view and notion of what a human being is and can be. At other times, phenomena such as channeling have been deemed unusual or paranormal and have been treated as fads or voguish which may be the case today. And at other times, such phenomena have been devalued, ignored, or considered a type of confidence game or even a punishable crime.
Channeling, like mysticism, is a phenomenon that has been part of human experience as far back as human records go. It appears to be an essential element in the origins of virtually all of the great spiritual paths. It is not just a curiosity of current interest based on a resurgence of inner voices, visions, trance seances, and automatic writing. Rather, the phenomenon is an important aspect of human consciousness, a crucial experience for human beings in all cultures and times, even though we do not yet understand its origins or mechanisms.
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