This is part of our Distance Learning Project (DLP) specially written for us by Violet Kipling with Craig Hamilton-Parker.
In previous sections, there have been many references made to the development circle. In this section details of how to organize and run a circle is given, together with the personnel required.
If at all possible, the development of mediumship, should take place in a Home Circle. There are many organizations that offer places in circles to would-be mediums but far too often the sitters change too many times for the circle to be totally effective.
If it is decided to organize a Home Circle it is wise to ensure that the most favorable conditions are secured in order for the spirit guides to develop any mediumistic potential within the group of sitters.
Online Circle with Craig Hamilton-Parker
When people used to sit in circles in the late 1800s it was usual to sit to develop the mediumship of one particular individual; there were, of course, exceptions to this rule. The need for mediums today means that many would-be mediums form a circle in the hope that it will be possible for all to develop. During this section, it is assumed that the circle is to be for a novice medium who is organizing his/her own circle or having someone organize it on his/her behalf.
A circle is an appointment with spirit and it should be kept as regular as possible, ie same day and time on a weekly basis. Circles can, of course, be run fortnightly or even monthly. Irrespective of what is decided upon it is only courtesy to the spirit people that the circle sitters keep their appointment regularly and on time.
The first priority is the Leader. This person is vital to the smooth running of the circle. The Leader should be knowledgeable of spirit and spirit contact; should also have experience in helping novice mediums develop and be conversant with the various circle phenomena that can take place within the group.
The Leader is in absolute charge of the circle and does not have to be a medium.
The spirit guides will work with the Leader, often through other mediumistic people within the circle. The Leader will carefully observe the novice medium and make all decisions with regard to the circle, ie seating arrangements, use of psychic aids, etc.
While the Leader will take directions from spirit s/he will not always do as s/he is told. If the requests are simple to carry out and sensible then they will be acted upon. If not, they must be rejected.
The services of an experienced medium should be obtained if at all possible. The Medium will link into the spirit guides and obtain instructions for the circle and for the novice. The energies of an established medium can also help induce the mediumistic ability of the novice. It is not wise for a medium to act as a Circle Leader. The medium’s increased sensitivity can lead to temperament and mood swings.
Unfortunately, Circle Recorders are not used extensively within Home Circles as they should be. In the early Home Circles, the Recorder sat outside the circle and made notes of everything that happened within the circle. Today, everyone wishes to sit in the circle.
It is possible for someone in the circle to take responsibility for making notes after the circle is finished. It would be far more satisfactory, however, if a recording is used. Before this can be done, however, permission must be sought from the circle guides.
A novice should be someone who has evident psychic energy and who is sincere in his/her desire to develop mediumship within the Home Circle.
The novice should be aware, or be made aware, that mediumship is a sacred office and not to be undertaken lightly. The Circle Leader should take the opportunity to discuss with the novice his or her motives for wishing to sit and establish the sincerity and dedication of the novice.
The people who are to sit and provide energy for the spirit operators to use in the development of the novice must be selected with great care.
Sitters do not have to have any great psychic or mediumistic ability but they do need to have the desire to help the novice. If sitters are in the process of developing their own mediumship, they must put that on hold while sitting for the novice.
It is not acceptable for any sitter, irrespective of their experience, to try and take over the control of the circle. Such a person should desist from taking a place in the circle if s/he is not prepared to allow the Circle Leader to be responsible for, and directing, the circle.
Four sitters would mean a circle of seven, without a recorder, which is a good number to start with. It is possible, of course, for 3 people to form a circle but there will obviously be more energy available for spirit to use if a greater number sits. More than seven may cause disharmony within the group as the weeks ensue. A group of seven sincere people, dedicated and devoted to the world of spirit who are in harmony with each other, is ideal. The Leader will decide where each person sits when the circle is formed.
This should be one that is not used too often; a separate Lounge, a study, or even a bedroom can be turned into a room suitable for holding circles. It is not wise to use a room wherein quarrels have taken place as unwanted vibrations are left on the atmosphere of the room.
Curtains, carpets, and soft furnishings can absorb the energy of the sitters and it cannot, therefore, be directed to the novice. It is usual, therefore, to keep the circle room as simply furnished as possible with the number of required chairs, a small table on which to place a recorder or a vase of flowers. A chair and table will also be required if someone has agreed to be the official Circle Recorder.
It is important that the temperature of the room is not extreme. The temperature should be comfortable enough to sit, without coats, without the sitters being aware that they are too hot or too cold. There should be a good supply of fresh air in the room and light and sound should always be kept to a minimum.
To help to ensure that the conditions within the circle are the best possible, the Leader will sometimes place flowers within the room; play music or light candles before the members of the circle arrive. Water should be made available for those who require it.
It is important that everyone sitting in the circle makes preparation in readiness for it. They should ensure that they do not get involved in petty squabbles during the day and try to find some time to meditate upon the work of the circle. It is important that only a light meal is eaten about an hour before the circle; a heavy meal can cause tummy rumbles or even induce sleep. A sitter who is feeling ill should refrain from sitting that particular week.
It is important that the circle starts on time so sitters should arrive in good time to take off outer clothing and be comfortable for the start.
The Conduct of the Circle
When the sitters are assembled, the Leader usually arranges for someone to open the proceedings with a prayer. This may then be followed by harmonious music or the Leader or Medium will do a visualization exercise in an effort to ensure that the energies of the sitters are blending. This is usually followed by a period of silence in which all the sitters blend with each other and lift their thoughts to a spiritual level.
To cut out the distractions of the room and sitters, the novice should use this quiet time to withdraw within him/herself and allow him/herself to be influenced by those higher minds of spirit who work within the circle.
Within the circle, the Leader may decide that carrying out awareness exercises will help increase the novice’s sensitivity. (Awareness exercises are listed in Section 1). As the weeks proceed and the novice begins to recognize when s/he is attuned to the spiritual vibrations the Leader will encourage the novice to ‘give off’ ie say what is being received.
When sitting the novice may notice changes in the atmosphere – chilliness or heat. At other times there will be what can only be described as a spider web placed across the face. This is only psychic energy but can feel a little strange. The novice may reach a stage of development wherein s/he loses all consciousness of the body and this should be welcomed. This is just one of the things that may develop within the circle; the ability to be still both within the mind and body.
When asked, the novice should advise the medium and leader what is happening to him or her but for the majority of the circle time, both the leader and the medium will be observing the novice and noticing the changes which are taking place and will guide the novice accordingly.
When the novice is able to link to spirit, either clairvoyantly, clairaudiently, or using clairsentience, s/he must then be encouraged to obtain survival evidence from the communicating spirit. Evidence can comprise, name, age, sex, relationship, description, characteristics, nature of passing, shared memories, etc. If a novice works hard at this in the circle it will become an automatic thought process.
It is also at this stage that the novice should be asked to do private sittings for the circle sitters and/or people not known to the novice. This is one of the best ways of training for a novice. As long as those receiving sittings are aware that the medium is a novice and are suitably sympathetic, the novice will get the all-important practice which helps mediumship unfold.
As the novice progresses it may become apparent, or indicated by spirit, that talent of the novice can be utilized by spirits such as drawing or writing. This too can be practiced within the security of the circle. It may also be discovered that the novice has the potential to be a healer and should be directed to sit in a Healing Circle for the development of the same as well as the Home Circle.
If it appears the novice is developing trance then it is important that all the circle energy is concentrated upon him or her in order that it can be utilized by the circle guides. Concentration means looking at the person to be concentrated upon and directing loving energies thereto. It does not mean closing eyes and trying to picture the novice and send energy. It is far too easy to start receiving clairvoyance if this is done. Concentration is not easy; eyes get very tired and can play tricks but the sitters will be able to see any changes in the novice if their eyes are open.
If trance develops the novice will be controlled, to a greater or lesser degree, by his or her guides who will be able to use the novice to speak to the circle. Again, directions may be given in this fashion but discretion should always be used.
A novice must be strong-willed in order to shake off any negative influences that may be brought into the circle. With development, the novice will recognize the ‘niceness’ or otherwise of those who approach and can exert his/her mind to rejecting anything or anyone with which s/he is uncomfortable.
Increased Sensitivity Problems
The novice should also be aware that increased sensitivity exacts a high price, as does mediumship. The novice may become moody and swing to the heights and then to the depths. S/he may become suspicious and, when touching negative energy, feel that everyone is against him or her. An awareness of these changes and a degree of control will ensure that the novice is able to deal with them. The novice will learn discipline and control within the circle as well as linking with spirit. These are the main thrusts of circle work.
It is not wise to be impatient for development to take place. Mediums develop at different rates; everybody is different and even after the novice becomes a fully-fledged medium, sitting for the spirit should continue.
Closing the Circle
The circle must be closed properly. The novice and medium must close off their awareness by whatever method they prefer. The circle is then usually closed with a prayer.
After the Circle
After the circle is over a discussion can take place regarding everyone’s feelings and experiences within the circle. It is wasting too much valuable time if this is done within the circle; if it is relevant ‘say it’. If it does not keep it until after the circle.
Circle members usually have a hot drink after circle or some form of light refreshments. This restores energy and vitality. If the circle has been recorded then this can, of course, be listened to.
Give and you will receive. A well-known phrase but a truism if ever there was one. When a circle is formed and people are prepared to devote time to the development of mediumship and give their energy to such, it must be returned a thousand-fold. The joy of sitting in a circle is something that cannot be verbalized adequately; it must be experienced.
COPYRIGHT This article is part of our Distance Learning Project DLP – a course specially written for us by the Spiritualist Violet Kipling with Craig Hamilton-Parker