Spiritualism: Where are you going?
Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker.
This page has three articles from a series I wrote about Spiritualism in the Psychic News in 1993! (13/11/93) Many mediums and spiritualists were shouting for change but has anything happened? Do you think Spiritualism is still dragging us back to the 1930’s or is there real change happening now? In this first article I argue that Spiritualism will never move forward if it’s run by committees where grey ideas and big egos hold back the movement for change.
Spiritualism can be fun too.
PLEASE ADD YOUR THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ABOUT SPIRITUALISM AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE
IS SPIRITUALISM DYING FROM DEMOCRACY?
It’s beginning to sink in. Spiritualism must change or become confined to the history books. Our churches crumble, congregations diminish, the philosophers have left and our mediums are mediocre. The Movement has stagnated while we fail both spiritually and financially.
Most Spiritualists already know this in their hearts, and some churches and individuals are making heroic efforts to bring about the rebirth of our founders’ great dream – to be the universal global religion.
Spiritualism used to be a force to be reckoned with. It was the most radical religious idea to emerge in 2,000 years, born from a society paralyzed by Victorian moral values.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle risked his literary career for the Movement. Arthur Findlay gave his money. William Crookes suffered the derision of his fellow scientists and the medium Helen Duncan was prepared to go to prison for her beliefs. Would Spiritualists today make such sacrifices?
Now we are the Victorian dinosaurs. In the 1930s we could continue to attract wayward Christians, but this market has dried up and times have changed.
Does a young person weaned on television, rock music and video quizzes want to sit in a pew, say prayers or sing hymns? No-way. And why should they? Surely Spiritualism can offer an inspiring alternative.
Even the philosophers have left, put off no doubt by the crazy utterances of poor mediums who don’t understand the basics of Spiritualist teaching.
But the seeds of change are with us. I have spoken to Spiritualists from all over Britain and most recognise the need for a new approach, intending to implement their ideas .Unfortunately, they are all frustrated in their efforts. Some have been banging their heads against a brick wall for so long that sooner or later they, too, will leave us.
There is a simple answer to why change is not forthcoming- committees. This is the cancer which is killing us. If Spiritualism is to rediscover its radical roots, then ideas must be put into action. Committees result only in a consensus of opinion and gray ideas. I call them the tea cozy brigade. They can sit for hours just to decide on a new tea cozy for the kitchen.
We could transform Spiritualism overnight. Just get rid of all the committees at every level of the Movement and give the power to individuals who have the inspiration to make radical changes.
One of my local Spiritualist churches has closed for two months due to petty internal arguments. I would suggest that an experiment be tried here to eradicate the problem forever. This should consist of a president standing for office and putting forward a policy plan for the next year. The candidate elected by church members should then have total control over changing the church as he or she sees fit.
They would have complete control over church policy and select the vice president, treasurer and mediums secretary. Anyone not up to the job could be sacked by the person in charge.And this is most important:they should only be in power for one year.
Unable to stand for two consecutive terms, the former president may be voted in again after a year of absence. Ideas can therefore be implemented with ease. Some presidents may be radical, others traditionalist but stagnation has been destroyed.
Exactly the same system could be applied to the district councils: one year’s total power for an individual. Many smug badge wearers will be reluctant to lose their positions, but if they’re worth their salt, they, too, will get a turn at the steering wheel.
The same should apply to the president of the Spiritualists’ National Union. In this case, because of the complexities of the job, they should be given three years in control and be unable to stand again for this same period after relinquishing office.
It would mean that over our next 100 years we could see 34 presidents. Thirty-four opportunities for deserving individuals to make their influence count. Also, the honor of office would be within reach of all dedicated members who work hard for the cause.
Lastly, we should try to encourage people of intellectual and practical caliber to take office. Don’t elect people just because they’re good mediums. Look for management, financial and marketing abilities.
Mediums have a great deal of important work to do already and are not necessarily spiritually advanced or intelligent people. I know. I’m a medium.
So, put forward this motion: “Committees are destroying our Movement. They should be abandoned in favour of a three tier presidency.” All those in favor….., resign.
Next article about Spiritualism:
Is it time Spiritualism cut all ties with Christianity?
Article from Psychic News17/12/93
Is there really no common ground between Christianity and Spiritualism? In this hard-hitting article by television and newspaper medium Craig Hamilton-Parker, he argues that there is simply no place in our churches for orthodox elements of any kind. Should we ignore Christmas then? Perhaps this has no place in our Movement either.
It wasn’t so long ago that Christians would burn mediums like me at the stake (possibly remembered by the burning brandy put on our Christmas pudding)
At this festive time of year when we celebrate the Virgin Birth (an old idea pinched from other religions) it’s good to remember why real Spiritualists aren’t Christians.
Read your Bible thoroughly and you will see that Spiritualism and Christianity are totally incompatible. Alternatively,to save valuable time ask a born-again Christian who will quickly point out many quotes that condemn mediumship as evil. The Bible was written by committees and altered over time to suit the current political trends. The gospels are Roman documents deliberately manipulated to suit a Roman domination of the world.
To the Emperors Justinian and Constantine they must have seemed like a gift from God. “Turn the other cheek while we occupy your country.” All they had to do was make it more Roman, add a few ideas like the death and rebirth of the sun god, call it Christ and bingo -no more rebellions.
So why are we Spiritualists including all this junk in our religion? Part of the answer is that people who have been brought up in traditional Christianity cannot separate Jesus Christ from God. There’s a great Zen Buddhist saying:”Don’t confuse the finger that points at the moon with the moon itself.”
Teachers like Jesus, Mohammad, Krishna and Sathya Sai Baba are signposts on the pathway to God. They have realized God but are not God itself. “Not me but my father” one of them said. Nobody, no matter how holy, can realize God for you. That’s a path for your feet alone. If I burn in hell because I’m not a Christian that’s fine. I’ll be in good company. I’ll look forward to meeting Gandhi, Socrates, Plato and Confucius who’ll share my plight.
Isn’t it about time that we purged our churches of Christian imagery put there by uncommitted Spiritualists who still can’t let go of their ignorance?
Get rid of the Lord’s Prayer, the crosses, and in particular that insipid picture of Jesus looking upward into a beam of light. We don’t worship the ghost of an Essene Jew. We believe in personal responsibility. Nothing should stand between us and our direct experience of God.
I asked the president of one Spiritualist church why it had a large cross on the wall behind the platform. “New visitors may have just left a Christian church” he said. “It reassures them that we believe in God.”
But are we only looking to attract former Christians and why should we cater to their misconceptions? And how would someone of a Jewish or Islamic background react to a cross, the symbol of war and persecution?
Before becoming a Spiritualist I searched many religions for a truth that would satisfy me. My leanings were towards Hinduism and Buddhism.
The cross on the wall of the first Church I visited was the main reason I nearly didn’t go back. Luckily I was saved in the nick of time by philosopher Arthur Findlay. His book The Rock of Truth put me straight and should be compulsory reading for any Spiritualist who wants to occupy a position of responsibility. Superficially, Spiritualism looks like a pale form of Christianity. If we jettisoned prayers, hymns, pews and the trappings of Christianity we would still be a religion. A real religion. A unique religion. A universal religion. One that doesn’t ask you to believe in a person or a dogma but opens a pathway to the truth so you can find out for yourself.
The living philosophy of Spiritualism is my guiding star.
Next article about Spiritualism:
Spiritualists are urged to listen to the East
an article from Psychic News 1994
Ever since the Fox sisters first experienced the rapping in their Hydesville home, Spiritualist phenomena have developed in the same spontaneous manner.
At no point did someone say; “Hey guys, let’s form a new religion.” It happened of its own accord and in many places at the same time – a cross correspondence on a gigantic scale. But this spontaneity has left us with an inconsistent legacy. There are gaps to be filled in our philosophy.
The arguments will still rage concerning reincarnation, our relationship to Christianity and the big questions of religion. Our tolerance has made us reluctant to follow a dogma. Intuition and spirit advice continue to be our guides. I approve of this attitude but feel that there is an over-looked area where we need to deliberately structure our ideas. We need an esoteric system, a yoga to help our mediums develop and flower.Here lies our weakness -bad mediumship. Yet given the appropriate systems our demonstrators can greatly improve their latent gifts.
Gordon Higginson used to say, “mediums are born not made.” He was right, but only up to a point. Yes, you need a natural gift in the first place but it is dedication, hard work and training that makes it flourish.
The techniques used in development circles are similar to the Eastern traditions of Raja and Kundalini yoga. We talk about the chakras. These are the centers of energy that run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and correspond to the major nerve centers and endocrine glands of the body.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel – a spinning vortex of auric energy. Yoga calls this energy prana which is another word for the same healing energy or life force that we use in our work.
Spiritualism owes a lot to the ancient Eastern traditions, But some of the talks I hear from the platform demonstrate a sloppy knowledge of yoga and contain many misconceptions about the chakras.
The worst inconsistency concerns the spleen center, Some leading Spiritualist teachers suggest we raise the energy from the base of the spine firstly to the solar plexus center, then to the spleen and upwards through the heart, throat, brow to the crown of the head. Wrong. The spleen center comes before the solar plexus, but many exponents are still teaching the opposite.
This is just one example. My point is that there are weaknesses and inconsistencies in our systems and the whole subject should be carefully thought out.
Stansted should then issue detailed guidelines for church circles. It is refreshing to see that Tibetan monks have recently lectured at the Arthur Findlay College in Essex. Could they not help us to perfect our techniques?
Mediumship and clairvoyance are low down on the yogi’s list of priorities. They are considered as sidhis or powers that are acquired on the pathway to enlightenment.
Spiritualists disagree (our goal may not be Nirvana) but there is still a great deal to gain by studying these ancient teachings. Some of the areas that de-serve investigation include breathing techniques to in-crease prana energy, meditation methods to promote concentration and contemplation and some of the more specialist uses for the chakras.
I have introduced the members of my own development circle to some of these techniques and I am very impressed at the speed of their progress. Eastern techniques prove to be working. I am not saying that we should all become yogis, but I do feel that Spiritualism’s philosophy has much to lean. Mediumship has not peaked.
The great mediumistic achievements of the past were just the start. Times have changed. Mental mediumship has replaced physical phenomena.
Now it is our duty as mediums to progress and perfect mental mediumship, and I say we can do this by looking East.
Next article about Spiritualism:
The Magnificent Seven
My article Psychic News 1993 – I think
Media consultant and journalist Craig Hamilton-Parker injects new life into the SNU’s Seven Principles The Spiritualist seven principles as given by trance mediumship. Discussion about whether the seven principles of Spiritualism are still relevant today.
Ask any Spiritualist to give the basic tenets of their philosophy and they will probably quote the Seven Principles:
But do they really do the job? They sound dated and to any newcomer are perplexing and impenetrable. They may be doing us more harm than good and perhaps should be abandoned altogether.
Before becoming a full time medium I used to run an advertising agency. Often our brief would be to formulate a corporate identity to promote a particular brand or business.
Part of this image building would invariably include writing a slogan. The best are always the simplest. You know them by heart: “The real thing,” “The World’s favourite Airline,” “Pure Genius.” etc.
Jesus would have made an excellent agency copywriter for an ecclesiastical account. He summarized the Jewish Ten Commandments into two: “Love your God with all your heart and all your might” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”
His words and sayings stick because they are short, punchy and to the point. Jesus expressed great truth with a profound simplicity of language.
Our Seven Principles are quite the opposite. They bumble along in Victorian language and are far from memorable.
Some church congregations repeat them as part of the service; it reminds me of my days at school when we would struggle to repeat and memorise our nine times table.
Even seasoned Spiritualists struggle to recall them instantly and fewer still really understand their meaning.
And what about their content? I believe in God but not in “the fatherhood of God”- at least not in the sense of a fatherly figure sat on a throne in the sky.
Regarding “the brotherhood of man,” isn’t there a place for women or animals in the cosmic plan? And who are the ministry of angels? People with wings? Also, many may misunderstand words like retribution” as a belief in hellfire.
Clearly, the principles don’t intend to imply the above so why not say what we really mean? Many will argue that I’m wrong because the principles were dictated by Spirit. Yes, but through the mind of a Victorian medium remember.
As we know, Spirit can communicate the essence but it’s the medium’s mind that converts the concepts into language. In this case using a Victorian vocabulary and in the style of the King James version of the Bible.
I believe that we can improve and simplify the principles by putting them into modem language without their losing any force.
Here’s an attempt at seven Spiritualist beliefs:
God. The unity of life. Communication with the afterlife. An eternal soul. Free will. Karma. Evolution of the soul.
One improvement to the Seven Principles is already under way. They’ve decided to redesign the poster that hangs in some churches – you know, the one that looks like an old slave poster (let’s hope they use a professional design team this time).
Clearly, if we are going to modernize the language of our principles, now is the best time. Every church could then have a modern, bright poster in language we can all under-stand. Newcomers may even read it.
Tracking the progress of every human soul
My article from The Psychic News 4/12/93
Why would anyone play cricket in the Spirit World?
In this thought-provoking article, journalist and medium Craig Hamilton-Parker examines whether survival after death really does mean eternal life?
WITHIN the Spiritualists’ National Union’s Seven Principles is the statement: “Eternal progress open to every human soul.” What does this mean?
Clearly, part of the answer implied is that life continues after death. But does this also mean that our soul’s life continues for all eternity?
One day the universe will come to an end. Matter created by the Big Bang will either dissipate into infinite space, becoming so fine that gravity cannot maintain galaxies, or else gravity will pull it all back together, resulting in what cosmologists call the “Big Crunch.” Whatever happens, there would be no possible environment where physical man could survive.
Without a universe to support, it could the spirit world exist for all eternity? Perhaps it might, as we have no knowledge of it’s relationship to matter.
Arthur Findlay sees the spirit realms as seven spheres encircling the earth, which gives these regions only a life span as long as our sun.
In seven billion years the sun will expand to become a red giant, engulf the earth and presumably, if Findlay is correct, the spirit world as well.
It is almost impossible to describe the spirit world in physical terms. Some, like Findlay, William Crookes and others, have made heroic efforts by relating our beliefs to quantum theory or the missing “dark matter” of cosmology.
Particle physics contains many enigmas but scientific experiments forget to take consciousness into account. A pet theory of mine is that consciousness may be a massless form of energy and can therefore travel faster than light and outside of time.
All of the above depends on our linear concept of time, that the universe has a beginning and an end. Yet time is, we are told, different in the spirit realms. Perhaps the nature of reality is different there also.
I believe we mediums only scratch the surface of the afterlife with our communications. A spirit world where beings retain identity, memories and a sense of time and place may only be the first level of a far greater reality that is not dependent on the existence of the physical universe.
Before my own mediumship had fully developed I had an extremely evidential sitting with the medium Doris Stokes. She gave convincing proof that my brother-in-law survived his death. I asked what he did with his time in the spirit world. “Oh, he’s learning to play cricket,” was Doris’ reply. At the time this seemed a preposterous and simplistic answer. It made me want to reject the sitting in it’s entirety.
I now understand that the world she described does exist in the way she said. However, I also believe that these classic descriptions of the spirit world are only communications with an intermediary level of existence.
There may be some souls that could be satisfied ~with an eternity playing cricket and living a life style similar to that on earth. But the urge will inevitably be to progress.
The first spirit planes are similar to our own because a new entrant would find it incomprehensible to be thrown into an abstract state of existence. He needs a reality framework that he can understand. Reality, on any plane of being, is only an agreement that we share between us.
All Spiritualists should think deeply about these extended planes, incomprehensible as they may seem. If guides are real, and not manifestations of a multiple personality, then it must be from these higher realms that they come.
Beings that have entered this abstract state communicate in a form that we can relate to: North American Indians, China-men, Zulus etc. In reality they are nothing of the sort. But they manifest in ways that we can comprehend and recognize. Perhaps they work through and instill consciousness into aspects of our own projected imagination.
In the higher planes the guiding principle is the power of love. Love is a surrender of the self. The higher we go the less important self and personality become.
Great souls become so infused with this principal that they shed personality altogether and merge once again with the primal source of all love: God, the highest plane of spiritual existence.
New to Spiritualism? – it’s well worth a look!
Despite my moaning above I do however urge newcomers to look into Spiritualism. We have our faults but ultimately these are overshadowed by the truth we have to offer.
You may have found this page because someone you love has died and you now hope that a Spiritualist Medium may be able to help you to overcome your grief by proving that life continues. We hope this will be the first step on a journey that will not only bring you the comfort you need but also lead you to towards a fuller understanding of the purpose of life and death.
It is best to wait for the pain of your grief to settle before you have a one to one consultation with a medium. We suggest that as a first step you seek solace at a Spiritualist Church. This will not only give you insight into how mediumship works but will also surround you with people who have trodden the same path and had personal proof that death is not the end. You will find hope, comfort and friendly non-intrusive support. You will smile again but it will take time before the healing process is completed.
Unfortunately Spiritualism has a charity shop mentality and looks like one too. It is dominated by ‘I know best’ committees and people trapped in belief systems. But it has a glorious history and a few bright stars still working in it so do not be put off by your initial visit or judge the movement by the first medium you see working.
Many people are put off because Spiritualism is a religion. Some people love religious ceremony, hymns and so on. As you will read on these pages, I dislike the religious aspect of Spiritualism. But don’t let this or my comments put you off because Spiritualism has so much more to offer. Yes, Spiritualism has prayers and hymns at their services but it is not an evangelical religion that wants to thrust its beliefs down your throat. In fact it is extremely tolerant and easy going and attracts a multi-faith congregation.
But what makes Spiritualism so very special and different to any other religion is that during the the service the medium gives a demonstration of mediumship to give proof that we survive death. This is similar to what you see when you watch people like John Edward or Jane and me working on Television. To get a feel of what a church is like you can see a example demonstration of Craig working at Billington Spiritualist Church near Darlington below. You can also find out about how to be a guest at Craig’s Spiritualist Circle here.
Demonstration at Spiritualist Church
See – Spiritualism is not that scary!
So how do you visit a Spiritualist Church?
In the UK there are Spiritualist Churches in most towns. You can read a full list at the Spiritualist’s National Union Website. A country specific search in Google will reveal other Spiritualist Churches around the world. You do not have to ‘join’ or make arraignments to attend. Just turn up on for the Sunday service that usually start at 6.30 in the UK. Sit down and enjoy the service. There is a collection- most people put about a pound in the plate. Towards the end of the service the visiting medium will give a demonstration of mediumship and, if you are lucky, you may be one of the people he or she gives a message to.
Free Online Spiritualist Demonstrations
On this website we have a 24/7 Psychic Chat room where Spiritualists, psychics, healers and New Age light workers meet to share their ideas and make friends. We also hold an online Spiritualist Service that has been approved by the the official body for Spiritualism called The Spiritualists National Union. So please do come and join us to find out more about Spiritualism and its beliefs. It is free to join the Psychic Chat Room
Craig & Jane Spiritualists
- Craig and Jane continue to demonstrate at Spiritualist Churches and will sometimes appear together for evenings of clairvoyance. We can be contacted here.
- Watch more demonstrations of mediumship with Craig and Jane
- The National Spiritualist Association of Churches defines Spiritualism as: The science, philosophy and religion of continuous life, based upon the demonstrated fact of communication, by means of mediumship, with those who live in the Spirit World.
Citations – Useful Books and Resources
- The History of Spiritualism Arthur Conan Doyle
- The Spiritualists’ Handbook: A concise and extensive guide to Spiritualism and all its practices by Rev Lyn Guest de Swarte
- The Spiritualist National Union – The Spiritualist Church in the UK
- Arthur Findlay College – teaching college for mediumship
- International Spiritualist Federation – Federation to “To reveal that Spiritual Nature of Mankind which harmonizes with Natural Law”
- National Spiritualist Association of Churches – organization of the Spiritualists of the United States
- Camp Chesterfield – Founded in 1886, it is the home of the Indiana Association of Spiritualists.
- The National Spiritual Alliance of the U.S.A. – NSA is an alliance of churches, missions, schools and ministers who promote the ‘science of Spiritualism’.