“From Where to Eternity…?”

Yesterday, I posted about how I’d been invited to attend a seance in the evening, and so I felt it might be kind of cliffhanger-y and unfair to not give some accounting here today as to how it went, and what transpired…

First of all, I should say that I was not at all involved in the planning of the event.  Someone close to me had been invited by a friend, and it was this friend who had set things up.  As it turned out, the crowd of attendees was not — as I’d been assuming for reasons unknown even to myself — comprised of a bunch of experienced Occultists attempting to summon spirits for the umpteenth time in their lush careers.  Rather, it was more like a small group of open-minded but totally-unversed-in-mediumship people hiring a local channeler to orchestrate things, and aside from this channeler herself, it was pretty much everybody’s first time experiencing something like this.  So right off the bat: assumptions dashed!

Second…it was a very casual affair.  There were no Goth trappings whatsoever: no skulls, no chanting, no dark soundtrack playing, no black curtains or crepe, no elaborate costumes, no sacrifices of any manner of living being…there weren’t even any candles or incense.  Jeans and sneakers made up the bulk of the attire, and aside from a small round table and a glass bowl that the medium brought with her, there were no props anywhere to be found.

The medium at last night's event was nothing like this at all...
The medium at last night’s event was nothing like this at all…
...and the affair itself was about the exact opposite of this.
…and the affair itself was about the exact opposite of this.

So anyway, once I’d realigned my expectations in accord with the way things were proceeding, all was fine with me: I don’t need the exotic accoutrements in order to get on board with Occult ventures, and I even agree that they can sometimes be used as a smokescreen or a crutch to cover somebody’s lack of facility with the discipline in question.  If this was to be a more informal kind of happening, I was more than cool with that.

And then the seance itself…  As someone who offers services that fall under the heading of “Metaphysical” — Tarot readings, Rune readings, Reiki — I totally get that clients may hope for, or even expect, truly noteworthy and extraordinary results when they sit on the receiving end of such services.  As a provider, I even feel an undeniable hope myself that I might be able to furnish them with that kind of rapturous experience every time out of the gate.  Such expectations, however, are probably not all that realistic.  Hoping for mind-blowing acuity or exotic occurrences from a reader or channeler might actually be somewhat akin to demanding that a doctor heal you of some advanced malady in the short time that it takes for the stethoscope to warm up or for the thermometer to dope out where your body temperature currently stands.  Still, we’re people, and we have our hopes and dreams…and ideally, I would have liked to witness something unexplainable by logic at my first real seance…

Here’s an example of what I would have enjoyed…  Did you ever watch The Sopranos…?  As you may know, this was an American television series that ran on the pay cable network HBO from 1999 to 2007.  It was very popular…

"The Sopranos" -- for a modern-day mobster saga, they actually got convincingly into the supernatural on more than one occasion...
“The Sopranos” — for a modern-day mobster saga, they actually got convincingly into the supernatural on more than one occasion…

Anyway, in a fairly early episode of the show entitled “From Where to Eternity,” Soprano Family hoodlum Paulie Gaultieri attends a session run by a local medium, and the medium ends up claiming to be in communication with the spirits of men that Paulie has killed in his career.  One of these spirits tells the medium to ask Paulie “if the poison ivy still itches.”  This question actually makes a great deal of sense if one knows that Paulie had killed the man to whom this spirit supposedly belonged (one Mikey Palmice), by first chasing him through some woods before gunning him down, and that during this chase, Paulie had inadvertently stormed through a patch of poison ivy, getting it all over his face — a confluence of facts that very, very few people could possibly have known.  Paulie reacts to the startling accuracy and specificity of the medium’s words with anger, violence, and profanity, as Paulie is generally inclined to do when things don’t go his way, and he blusters on out, badly spooked by the entire scene…

So, while I didn’t exactly hope to see anyone’s dark skeletons get yanked out of their closets last night and out into the light in front of the watching group, I can admit to having harbored some hope that the medium might have produced that kind of very detailed and individualized data, if on a somewhat smaller and less dramatic scale — the kinds of things that only the spirits presumably being contacted could  have known.  And nothing of that stripe really went down…

Then again, that doesn’t necessarily prove that nothing went down at all, either!

Maybe I should explain how the enterprise was conducted…  The procedure was actually very reminiscent of what people do with a Ouija Board…

A classic Ouija Board: a device used for communicating with The Beyond...
A classic Ouija Board: a device used for communicating with The Beyond…

That is, three people at a time would sit with the medium at her little round table; she’d place the glass bowl, inverted, onto the table; each person would rest two fingers on the bowl; and then it would start into motion…  Generally, it would settle on one person, kind of “nudging” them a few times in a row, surging in their direction, and that person was to then ask strictly yes/no questions of whatever presence had appeared to address them.  After each question, the bowl would respond in some manner, either leaping into renewed motion (usually signifying a positive, “yes” answer), or at times, grinding to a total halt ( = “no”).  The medium would periodically elaborate on the simple yes/no response with additional psychic impressions (“I’m getting a big smile” or “She’s talking about ‘cotton candy’ for some reason, does that mean anything to you…?” — these kinds of things).  After someone had had a turn asking their questions, that person would then vacate their seat, and someone else would take their place at the table, and so on, until everyone had gotten at least one turn communicating with some entity or other.

Now, as I said, nothing obviously extraordinary happened: no secret matters were brought up that only the dead could have known, there was no poltergeist activity such as windows opening and closing by themselves and doors banging shut with teeth-rattling crashes, and the lone dog in the room remained supremely tranquil throughout…but again, that doesn’t mean that nothing happened.  I believe it’s important to note that in transactions such as this, one needs to look of course at the interval itself during which the metaphysical work is taking place — in this case, the seance — to see if anything clearly transpires, but that it’s equally important to then keep watch on the next few days or even weeks that ensue, and to track any possibly related developments there, as well.  I have a friend who works as a Reiki Master, and she related this great story about receiving a total skeptic into her studio for a session: the skeptic was sullen and cynical the entire time, and left in a huff at the end when no undeniable miracles had taken place…but she then got back in touch with my friend about three weeks later to schedule more Reiki, grudgingly admitting that after the initial session, she’d suddenly returned to working out at the gym with unflagging vigor, something she’d been trying very unsuccessfully to achieve on her own for months.  Sure, you could argue that the timing was pure coincidence, but we humans currently lack the means to conclusively prove or disprove such conclusions, and so until that changes, I, personally, tally that one in the “Win” column for my Reiki Master friend, and for Reiki itself.  And similarly, any of us who attended last night’s session may come to witness some manner of equivalent change in our own lives that could be attributed to whatever took place at the seance.

I, for one, kind of hope so!  And meanwhile, with respect to mediumship and channeling and seances, I remain one of the faithful, even if I still don’t have anything concrete upon which to stake my belief…

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