As a boy growing up in Devon in the early 1970’s I never realised how lucky I was coming from a Spiritualist back ground, my Grandfather Arthur Roberts who was the most gentle and thoughtful person that I have ever been lucky enough to know was a Trance Healer and at a very young age of maybe 4 or 5 I can remember him going into trance and giving my grandmother healing, his Indian guide Whitefeather would come through and talk of love and healing. My Grandparents would sit in circle with my God parents every other Thursday alternating between their houses in Teignmouth and Dawlish Warren, I never knew at the time but my God Father Ken Day was a Trance Medium, thirty odd years later Ken was to appear to me as a transfigured face and gave me undeniable proof of his survival but that’s another story! When I was staying at my Grandparents house I would often see my Grandfather sat in the kitchen listening to classical music and reading the bible and other such books. I once asked him what he was doing and he simply replied ‘feeding the soul’ Of course I had no idea what he was talking about!
Sadly my Grandfather took his own life in 1987 but the mantle was then passed on to my mother Judy Greenwood. Mum was already a Spiritualist and had great knowledge but it was different to my Grandfathers, I remember her mentioning Doris Stokes many times. My Parents then took over the running of Newton Abbot Spiritualist Church where my Step Father Bob became an SNU trained Healer and my mother would work the platform. Mum’s passion was philosophy, she believed that the church was open to help those that needed and that the mediums of tomorrow should learn about the Philosophy. My Step Father at the time read all of the Silver Birch books. By this time I was a rebellious young man and wanted nothing to do with my weird families beliefs! My mother though at the time ran a Philosophy circle and it always seemed to be full. My parents gave up the running of the church in 1996 after my sister passed to spirit but their belief in the philosophy of Spiritualism is as strong today as it was then. I also find it truely amazing that three generations of Spiritualist can almost have different beliefs all united by knowing that life is eternal.
I came back into the movement in 2004 when at the age of 36 life had taken a turn for the worst and I needed answers, by this time the church was being run by Phil & Shelia Scott who had a passion for sitting in the power, philosophy and physical mediumship. On my journey to the platform for both clairvoyance and trance I was lucky enough to sit with many of the world’s top physical mediums and was taught about the spirit world, the energy, why are we here? What is the point of living and more importantly what is the point of dyeing? Phil & Shelia themselves are wonderful physical mediums and over the years we have sat on many occasions and again I have been lucky enough to see many wonderful things and heard the philosophy of those in Spirit on many occasions.
This leads me to 2018 and what I see as a change in mediumship and style, there is no doubt that social media and other such vehicles have brought our movement into the main stream, it is now more exceptable where as even 20 years ago it was still frown upon. Every man and their dogs are now ‘mediums’ and in my opinion the standard of mediumship has dropped, the churches are no longer the only place to see a medium as you can go to a centre, a pub or a community centre. Everyone is now teaching mediumship and the worrying thing is that people who are not mediums and have no knowledge of where our great movement comes from are teaching mediumship, I know of someone teaching Trance workshops that have never sat in trance! I was recently in a Spiritualist Church taking a Sunday service and my reading came from the Maurice Barbanell book ‘This is Spiritualism’ afterwards I was asked by a young medium who was Maurice Barbanell and why should he read Silverbirch! My reply was would you ever take your car to someone who wasn’t a mechanic? Of course not he replied, so my next question was why should someone come to you if you know nothing about Spiritualism?
It is my firm belief that sitting in the power and learning not only about the philosophy of spiritualism but also the philosophy of life from as many different races, religions and points of view as possible will deepened our own mediumship and therefore improve the experience for the person receiving the message. Whether we like it or not mediumship is all about the sitter, the person receiving the message as without them there would be no need for a medium or a spirit connection and therefore it is our responsibility to continue our own learning and development to enable us to help where we are needed. Mediumship is about bringing comfort to the sitter to bring hope that their loved one are still alive and that they will see them again and to help them on their pathway to healing, we should never forget that. Our seven principles brought through the trance mediumship of Emma Hardinge Britten teaches us about personal responsibility, so wherever or whoever has started to teach us it our responsibility to learn about the mechanics of mediumship to be able to help those that need it.
Last year I was lucky enough to sit at a lunch table with Gordon Smith and Billy Cook, it was clear how much they knew about Spiritualism as they discussed in depth about Helen Duncan and The Fox Sisters and how they still sit in the power every day where possible, of course three different people coming from three very different back grounds with have different views on the same subject but that is what makes our movement fantastic as every conversation leads to an opportunity to grow and learn to deepen our own mediumship and to increase our own philosophy to be able to pass it on to the next generation of mediums. I have been lucky enough to see Gordon and Billy work on several occasions and have been even luckier to share the platform with Billy. Their mediumship is constantly excellent and as mediums we must aspire to be the best we can, not the best medium but the best medium that we can be. Theses two pioneers of modern day mediumship are clearly still learning, growing and improving.
The past is gone, we cannot change it, Emanuel Swedenborg, Lesley Flint, Gordon Higginson even Colin Fry & Glynn Edwards have had their time and of course have sadly passed but it is my opinion that we need to be learning from these greats, listening to their wisdom and philosophy not so that we can live in the past but so that we can as a movement move forward, learn our own philosophy, continue to build the foundation of our own mediumship to give the best evidence and message that we possibly can and then pass on that wonderful knowledge and truth to tomorrows mediums.
Born in 1967 I come from a heredity line of mediums going back three generations, I have been lucky enough to see visitors from the spirit realms since the age of 3.