Channeling vs. Mediumship

A couple of months ago, a colleague asked me how I describe my work, and whether I was a “channel”.  I said, no, I do medium work.  In my mind, a channel is someone who sets their whole consciousness aside and allows another spirit entity into their body, so this spirit may use the body’s vocal chords to communicate directly, without a medium as translator.

I’ve seen a few blogs pop up with people identifying themselves as psychic channels, and it seems to me they’re doing the same work that I do when I ask John or anyone else a question and the answer comes falling out of my mouth.  When I’m in “medium mode” I find it difficult to maintain a separation in my mind to drive the conversation or think of follow-up questions on the fly.  It’s become quite different from animal communication; when I speak to animals, I always maintain my own working thought stream.  When I’m talking to people on the other side, my own thoughts seem to stop.

In a way, I can see how I could consider this sort of medium work to be channeling.  Often after readings, I will experience complete memory loss of the whole session, although I’m aware of myself and my body during the session.  I’ve just accepted it as a side-effect of mediumship, and I tell clients about this little quirk in case they want to remind me of the session later.  In this way, I can also assure my clients confidentiality, since the memories of the session often leave with the client.

A friend recently asked Sweetie if she was a “portal”.  What’s a portal? we asked.  I’d only heard or used the term “portal” to describe a literal energy door between dimensions.  I’d never heard of an individual person calling themselves a portal.

He explained, My friend, this girl, she calls herself a portal because she provides an anchor between this dimension and the other side.  She can help people to come through.

Ah ha.  This makes sense.  I’d never heard of this before, but it does seem that Sweetie has a unique and remarkable talent to “call in” just about anyone from Heaven, simply by forming the thoughts in her mind.  Sometimes she’ll do it accidentally, and we’ll have a surprise visit from someone like Ghandi but no prepared questions for him.  Often this happens when we’re both pretty tired and spacey (ungrounded) anyway, which makes it tougher to think on the fly.  It seems like a waste, but sometimes we have to say, “Uh, sorry.  I don’t have any questions right now.”  Fortunately, we don’t seem to offend anyone by accidentally calling them in for no good reason.

We asked John about this phenomenon and he explained it by telling Sweetie, “It’s because you’re famous in Heaven.  Everyone knows who you are, and so they hear you when you call.  It’s your association with the Goddess,” and then he showed her connections to her first series of incarnations on earth.  Sweetie truly has divine ties, which is an evolving story for another entry.

So I guess I really don’t know exactly what I’m driving at with this entry.  It feels like there’s a lot of new terminology circulating in the New Age community, and labels aren’t for everyone.  It reminds me of the queer community – people inventing self-describing labels all the time: queer, inter-sexed (not the same as androgynous), transgendered (not the same as transsexual and certainly not the same as transvestite), poly-sexual (not to be confused with polyamorous!)  I even saw this debate about pet psychics vs. animal communicators – one woman declared that “pet psychics” got information about pets through guides, whereas an animal communicator spoke directly to the animal.  This was upsetting to pet psychics who DO talk directly to the animal, and so emotions inflated.

I guess at the heart of such labels is a potential judgment about which is better?  Pet psychic or animal communicator?  Medium or Channel? 

Anyone out there have any thoughts on this topic?

6 thoughts on “Channeling vs. Mediumship

  1. I can see where we can get caught up on what we are rather than what we have to offer, no matter how it comes through love is love. If your intentions are there to help someone heal or grow or to simply support than that is all that matters. For me personally I needed to find my identifier in order to understand myself and to maybe find someone who receives information in the way that I do. All intuitives are not alike much like all people are not alike but they will have some things in common and from that comes support. You need support and someone you can trust in order to live a life as a psychic/medium/channeler whatever your identifier may be. In the end however you choose to see yourself is your truth in finding who you really are. It’s up to you on how you handle it. Love Always…Tamara


  2. Funny, I’ve been wondering when channeling and mediumship became mixed up myself. Ramtha and Seth are the kind of thing that comes to my mind (and not in a good way) when I think of “channeling” so it throws me off when I see someone using that term to describe what I would call mediumship.

    I suppose it’s a lesson to not get hung up on labels, though that’s hard to do when you’re trying to discuss a concept with someone else who attaches different meanings to the labels than you do. (The concepts of “vegan” and “vegetarian” come to mind as another example where people attach different meanings to the terms.) Most concepts are too complex to be covered by a simple label. (I liken it to your explanation the other day about how hard it was sometimes to translate the brain dumps you receive into words — imagine trying to label them with only one or two words and expecting people to get the full breadth and depth of meaning from them that you get. It makes me think a little bit about dream interpretation and how personal and individual the meaning of, say, a goat might be in one person’s dream versus another person’s dream.)

    In some respects it’s a way to pigeon-hole people, to put them into tidy, clearly-marked groups so that you know who is like you and who isn’t. It isn’t necessarily judgmental in a right/wrong sense, but it does seem to serve to underscore separateness versus connection, black-and-white thinking over shades of grey.

    (Ha, ever since your recent post about being judgmental, the words “Judgy McJudgersons” keep going through my head whenever I feel myself starting to become judgmental… It’s been a long day. LOL)


    • Yeah, it’s always the same with labels – useful tools, but careful not to get too wrapped up in defining yourself with words. I mean, we can’t even define our own consciousness in a single incarnation!

      I’m seeing this sort of thing with other new-age types using authour’s names as verbs (meaningless to those who haven’t heard of Jung for example) or recycling obscure terms from spiritual texts that don’t have meaning for the average spiritual seeker. As though, through exclusivity, and speaking with near-inaccessible language, a person can push their spiritual development above others’.

      There’s my judgy mcjudgerson arising! It just irritates me when people intentionally use exclusive vernaculars. Or maybe it’s not intentional, just habit. It seems the folks with this tendancy seem to have masters’ degrees if not phDs. Funny how spiritual exploration can transform into an academic competition if you’re not careful.


      • Have you ever read Jeff Brown’s “Soulshaping” book? If you haven’t, don’t because it’s just going to make you stabby. I haven’t yet been able to get more than half way through it (or anything he writes) because he’s insisted on creating his own lexicon to describe his spiritual exploration. Having to continually flip to the glossary at the back of the book to remind myself what this term or that term meant was just a pain in the butt.

        And the book just isn’t worth that ride. It may be unintentional with some people; with him, it was deliberate, and that makes it even more pretentious-sounding and annoying. (Well, he *was* a lawyer… ;-))


      • “make you stabby” HA!

        Yeah, I get put off when people try so hard to prove they’re spiritual, or *more* spiritual than whoever else, and it seems like they just sail over the whole point. It’s like, “Uh guys, humility plays a role here you know.” I get put off because I can’t relate to them, or I feel like I can’t learn from them.

        A close friend of mine has been doing that for the past year – I love her, but I had to stop reading her blog because it just made me judgmental of her and her journey. And she’s my friend, so I don’t want to do that.

        You don’t have to be intellectual to be spiritual – you don’t even have to be educated!

        I haven’t read that book, but I’ll be sure to pick it up, flip through it, scoff and think of you if I do come across it 😉 Ha!

        It seems like anyone who was a medical doctor, a traditional psychiatrist or a lawyer can write a book about spirituality and get all kinds of accolades for saying the same things that psychics, naturopathic and energy healers have been saying for decades or centuries. It’s that “culture of experts” at work in our society, their word has more clout than anyone else, even our own intuition.


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