Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Global Spiritualism

 In South Africa, the native population still follow age-old spiritual traditions.  Their Shamen or Sangomas know, as humanity from the beginning has known, that life continues after the death of the physical body and that communication between those who have passed and those of us remaining on Earth is not only possible but has always happened.  They still communicate with the spirit world (their ancestors) as their forebears have done for centuries.  Some years ago, the well-known British medium, Albert Best, visiting South Africa, went to meet a Sangoma and in broad daylight, Albert’s late wife, materialised, fully formed beside him for all to see!
There is nothing new in this.  Psychic gifts have always been around.  Spiritualism is a natural progression from the work of Shamen.  It is designed for a different type of society, that’s all. Emma Hardinge-Britten, in her fascinating book “Nineteenth Century Miracles” describes the work of numerous mediums and psychics all over the world, both before and after 1848.  The inexorable growth of materialism since the Industrial Revolution led to millions of people moving from the land, where they worked closely with nature, to cities, where the natural world was almost entirely absent.  Those in the Spirit World, who care for and worry about us, knew the world needed a dramatic demonstration of the power of the Spirit in order to counteract materialism: Hence the Hydesville knockings and the birth of Spiritualism in 1848.

The early days Spiritualism produced a lot of mediums, many of whom were what we call Physical Mediums, gifts that we encounter but rarely today.  These gifts allowed the mediums to dazzle and amaze nineteenth century Americans and Europeans:  So much so that by 1863 it was possible to hold a convention of people representing several million Spiritualists world-wide.  Unfortunately, human greed allied to the cupidity of many sitters, led to widespread fraud, especially where materialisation was concerned.  As a result the numbers of avowed Spiritualists declined rapidly, a situation not helped by splits within the Spiritualist movement; splits that led to the formation of organisations such as Christian Science, Theosophy, Spiritism and Christian Spiritualism.

Religions have always split.  This is human nature I suppose; people wanting to be the big fish in the smaller pond.  We need to focus more on what unites us instead of what divides and begin working together again, exchanging ideas and discussing the way forward for us all.  Especially is there a need to discuss and implement, ways to raise the standard of mediumship and give it a more spiritual dimension.   Many demonstrations of mediumship today are little removed from fortune-telling.  The proof of life after death and the philosophy that stems from this is vital for a world struggling through the morass of materialism.  People are crying out for guidance and we owe it to them and those in the spirit world to be less self-indulgent and work harder to help them. What can we do?
In addition to a willingness to work with other groups and discus openly mutual challenges and the future, we need to examine our past.  Spiritualism as a religion, not just as a vehicle for psychic development and practice, brought a new dimension into religious thinking.  A dimension incidentally that caused much heart-searching within the Christian church at the time.  It is a dimension which all the great religions had in their infancy but lost as they were side-tracked by the lure of power and its corruptive influence.  Not long after 1848 Spiritiualism began to produce a body of philosophy, under guidance from spirit, and powerful speakers appeared.  Speakers, working in trance and through inspiration, like Emma Hardinge-Britten, Andrew Jackson-Davis, Estelle Roberts and many others were able to explain why knowledge of eternal life is so important for us all.  We need more like them today.

Early Spiritualism did not have churches and powerful trance, physical and mental mediums developed their gifts in home circles.  Indeed I know no leading medium today whose development did not involve sitting in a home circle.  Development was not all that such circles provided.  They also gave anyone prepared to sit in love and harmony with others to link with those in spirit, an almost magical sense of the true beauty and glory of life in all its forms.  Home circles are not just places to make contact with family and friends and receive proof of their continued existence.  In such circles, knowledge of the life awaiting us after passing from Earth-life is given with a gentleness and love that brings immense comfort to the sitters.  Details have been given of the boundless opportunities existing for us all once the need for food and physical shelter are removed; details of the schools and halls of learning; of visits from those bright beings who have progressed beyond anything you and I can envisage; of gatherings for special celebrations and of groups dedicated to helping those on Earth.

I know churches that see home circles as competition and therefore discourage their formation, preferring to run development circles in the church.  This is to completely misunderstand the role of home circles.  In the past the spirit world have told us that one day mediums will not be required because each individual will be his or her own medium.  Each of us will be able to contact those in spirit whenever we choose and receive guidance direct.  It is only through the intimacy and harmony of home circles that this wonderful state of affairs can be achieved.  Let us therefore switch off our televisions, put away our smart phones and at least once a week join our friends from the spirit world in joy and harmony.  The benefits would be immense.

Nowhere could the influence of the spirit world have greater benefits than upon scientific research, if only scientists asked for help and made themselves available.  However, the materialistic bias of scientific training needs to be altered before this can happen.  Some scientists are finally willing to accept that much that happens on Earth cannot be explained satisfactorily on the basis of physics and materialism alone.  Should we perhaps make greater efforts to show that Spiritualism and mediumship are not ‘weird’?  It is as natural as breathing and scientists in the spirit world can help those on Earth.  To do this we would of course require logical and convincing arguments, not airy-fairy New Age gobbledegook. 
If we succeed it would return science to the holistic position it held before materialism took hold.  Then science accepted that all physical life was energised by the power of spirit and the physical should always be examined in relation to the spiritual.  Science could benefit a great deal from such a change.  Many of the disasters brought about by introducing new drugs and medical treatments too hurriedly could have been avoided by co-operation with spirit scientists.    What an opportunity this is for Spiritualists! 
For an illustration of how Astronomers and Astro-physicists could benefit and thus widen our understanding, one need only look at “The Lowlands of Heaven”, written through automatic writing by the Rev George Vale-Owen. In it was given a description from spirit of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, things unknown at that time.  They were only discovered by scientists in the late twentieth century and even today, little is known about them and their purpose.  Spirit claimed in 1913 that these forces were used in the creation of ectoplasm and the transmission of light throughout the universe:  Fascinating claims that at least deserve to be properly investigated.

Global Spiritualism faces many challenges but incredible opportunities.  Challenges within Spiritualism itself are the easiest to overcome.  If we stopped being so defensive and introspective, put more effort into raising standards, worked in closer harmony with the spirit world, then our internal squabbles would quickly disappear.  The role of ego would be diminished and ideas for widening our spiritual impact on humanity in all fields of human endeavour (not just in religion) would begin to flow.  We should look forward with confidence, secure in the knowledge that the spirit world will help us all the way.
Lionel Owen                                                                                                             March 2017

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Spiritual Path

I was recently sent an Internet article that talked about what was referred to as The Spiritual Path *. Whilst there was some very interesting and useful information to help relationship issues and other emotional problems, the majority of the article seemed to focus on New Age philosophy which has always seemed too ‘airy-fairy’ to me, and Theosophy. It got me thinking and I should like to share with you the thoughts that came to me on reading the article. 

New Age practitioners expect one to accept spiritual messages purely on trust, without any attempt to provide meaningful proof of where such messages originated; Messages received, allegedly from other planets and solar systems for instance. Indeed I am of the opinion that so-called New Age thinking has damaged Spiritualism by encouraging people to accept ‘messages’ even when such ‘messages’ do not contain one jot of evidence to prove that the individual bringing the ‘message’ is really the person that the medium claims it to be. Conversely, the greater willingness of sitters and congregations to accept information without requiring proof, has made mediums lazy. Far too many appear in public to demonstrate mediumship before they have developed their psychic gifts to a competent level where they can fulfill the true requirements of a medium. i.e. The need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that life continues in a Spirit World after we leave this one. It is different when a medium is giving a private, one-to-one, reading. Then the need for proof, though important, is less essential, especially where the medium is using his or her gift to help the sitter with an emotional or spiritual problem. In public though, the need for proof is paramount, in order that people, other than the recipient of the message, can also be satisfied that communication between the two worlds is taking place. 

There is a need in my view, for a return to basics where the training of platform mediums is concerned. Every aspiring medium should be required to provide proof that the communicator they claim to be receiving information from, really is that person. Such proof will take many forms, such as physical description, relationship to the recipient of the message, details of any physical infirmities, personality, reason for passing to the Spirit World, even addresses, details of friends, neighbors or relatives and many others. To obtain such information the medium must not only be sensitive and alert to information being transmitted from the Spirit World to any of his or her five physical senses but also maintain two-way communication with the communicator by asking mental questions. This requires time and a level of dedication and hard work from the student that seems lacking in many today.

The other focus of the article was on Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy which as a Spiritualist I have always found far too intellectual and exclusive, the fact that Madam Blavatsky was at first a Spiritualist notwithstanding. The concentration on becoming a ‘Master’ by communing with ‘Arisen Masters’ always seemed to me to be ego driven and elitist.

I have always believed that we, as individuals, choose to come to live on Earth in order to learn spiritual lessons through our interactions with other life that shares the planet with us. We try to learn tolerance, understanding and how best to help one another. All this is helped enormously once we have convincing proof of our immortality through contact with those close to us who have passed on.

I believe we should be striving to be the best physical person we can be but also recognizing that we and all others will frequently fall far short of the ideal. We should always try to guard against becoming judgmental. At the same time we should be trying to understand the true relationship that exists between us and all other life on the planet (animal, vegetable and mineral), not focussing on trying to become some kind of esoteric "master". Whilst I think mystics have contributed a great deal to our understanding of God and our place in the scheme of things, I have never thought one should encourage people generally to lead lives insulated from the physical world to a greater or lesser degree. For instance, I have always questioned the true value of the contemplative life chosen by nuns and monks in both the Christian and Buddhist traditions. I believe nuns and monks are sincere in their convictions and many are truly ‘good’ people but have always wondered about the wisdom of cutting oneself off from normal physical life when it is the very thing we have chosen to come to Earth to experience! I know they still have their human challenges in the nunneries and monasteries but can it be the same? This is not to say that I disagree with encouraging contemplation and meditation but I believe such practices should not take over our lives. They should instead, take their place alongside the rest of what life on Earth requires of us.

In many ways the early Spiritualists, with their insistence on treating Spiritualism as a science that required proof of its claims, were in advance of many modern Spiritualists and mediums. Returning to basics in my view means reverting to their approach. After all, they were operating in societies with a far less liberal attitude towards their Spiritualism than is the case in many places today. We are much more liberated in the practice of Spiritualism than were they. It behoves us therefore to be at least as rigorous as they were in the practice of mediumship.


Friday, 25 November 2016



A mystery great of human kind,
That’s hidden from probing eyes,
That search within the brain to find,
The mind that elsewhere lies.

Though ‘prisoned in our mortal flesh,
Mind’s made of finer corn,
It came with us from heaven’s crèche,
On wings of spirit borne.

It dwells within that special place,
Where soul and body meet,
A place that shows the human race,
Has more than clay clad feet.
 It is the captain of our ship,
That sails Earth’s stormy sea,
Ensuring that this special trip
Will teach us how to be.

When we think we’re fast asleep,
Mind does not doze or roam.
It is alert, our soul to keep
Aware of heaven, its home.

Mind is our link twixt God and Man,
It knows we are divine.
Mind is aware of His great plan,
Who drew that grand design.

Mind gives the lie to those who say,
“Eternal life?  No never.”
Listen now, your fears allay,
Your soul lives on forever.
The mystery really is not mind,
But Man’s persistent error,
In thinking that at death we’ll find
Nought but fear and terror.

Your mind it is more truly you,
Than what the glass reflects.
Keep fed and prized, whate’er you do,
It’s fine in all respects.

Be still for that’s when mind excels,
And links you with that power,
That comes from where the angel dwells,
Who tends you every hour.

Some there are who cannot know,
The beauty of their mind,
There is no link within to show,
What you and I can find.

But with that link the heavens ope,
And show us life eternal.
With active mind there’s always hope,
Of knowing love supernal.

Lionel Owen                                                                                                                                   November 2016

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

"In Contemplation of Created Things..."

“In contemplation of created things...”

Today I was sitting in the beautiful Company Gardens in the centre of Cape Town, gazing in wonder at the lovely foliage, listening to the birds and watching the cute squirrels running around trying to persuade me to give them some nuts, when these wonderful words of the poet John Milton popped into my head.  He wrote them many years ago but in this age, so besotted by all that is materialistic, they are even more relevant.  In full, he wrote, “In contemplation of created things, by steps we may ascend to God.”

We seem to have become inured to the average scientist or atheist describing everything in material terms and refusing even to consider that life is more than just what registers on our five, very limited, physical senses.  We also seem to have accepted that war and conflict are inescapable factors of our lives on Earth.  Politicians seem powerless to resist the siren voices of the armaments industry, the military and the power mongers, who tell them, “Ours is the only way”.  Hatred is once again replacing tolerance and understanding.  We are so wrapped up in our day to day physical existences and in thrall to the ubiquitous and insidious news channels on TV, that even as Spiritualists we find it difficult to be still and do exactly what John Milton urges.

What would happen if we decided more often to contemplate created things?  For a start, we would find ourselves being much calmer because contemplation requires stillness on our part.  Next we would discover that in the stillness of contemplation, our auras would expand and consequently we would become more and more aware of what I like to call “the secret life of nature”.  That is the essential, spiritual side of the natural world.  As Spiritualists, we should know that everything in the physical universe is a poor duplicate of what exists in the spiritual universe.  Nothing physical exists that does not already have a spiritual counterpart. 

Why when our auras extend, do we become more aware of the spiritual side of nature?  Simply because our aura is part of our own spirit and expanding it automatically increases our awareness of hidden things.  This is why mediums need to practice extending their aura in order to link with those in the spiritual world wishing to communicate with loved ones remaining on Earth.  As our awareness grows, so we become conscious of the true beauty of the natural world.  We come to recognise the spiritual light which is an integral part of all living things, a light that only disappears at death.  This light interacts with the light of our own spirit and true spiritual love and light are exchanged between the natural object you are contemplating and you.  Thus can we be re-energised when feeling low or inspired to say and do things we previously considered were beyond us.

However, whilst such spiritual contemplation, is fine for we Spiritualists, John Milton’s words can and should be followed by the more materialistic and if they were, amazing transformations could take place.  Compare the creations of nature with those of humanity.  In nature one cannot escape the sense of wonder that, no matter what there is; beauty and order are present always.  Could the human mind, whilst in a physical body, design a leaf that is half as beautiful or as incredible as the real thing?  Not only do leaves possess beauty but they perform a vital task for the tree.  That they convert sun light to nutrients for the tree, through the action of chlorophyll borders on the magical.  Everything designed by nature, not only performs essential tasks impeccably but possesses an innate beauty.  Nowhere in nature does utility exist without beauty:  Even when leaves die and are discarded, their colours are so beautiful, they have inspired poets and lead each year to thousands of “leaf peepers” driving hundreds of miles to see the autumn colours:  If only that were so in the creations of humanity.

Scientists congratulate themselves on being able to clone sheep for instance.  They portray it as creating life in the test tube or laboratory.  Nonsense!  All they have done is to use their limited understanding of the laws of nature, designed by beings far superior to us, to create an offspring of the sheep in a different way.  The development process is no different from that which occurs in the womb.  If instead of trying to “play God”, scientists would seek to understand the spiritual basis of all life by examining the human mind more critically, their efforts would be of much greater long term benefit to us all.  They could make a start by accepting that the mind is not a physical part of the brain but is the reasoning part of our eternal, spirit selves.

Scientists are taking reluctant, but hesitant steps in the right direction at last, through the vehicle of quantum physics.  The trouble is their training precludes them from reaching the right conclusions.  I can’t help feeling, even when they establish through their quantum experiments, that several non-physical dimensions exist beyond the four physical ones we acknowledge, they will jump to the wrong conclusions.  Science has become far too specialised.  Consequently, we really do know more and more about less and less.  The secret of unravelling the spiritual nature of all life is to be found in generalism not specialism. 

Originally, science, art and religion were all part of “philosophy”, as they were in Milton’s day.  Thus a holistic approach was then the norm and although religion in particular, fell prey to the corrupting influence of power, there was a much greater acceptance then of the true fatherhood of God than there is today.  Many of us luxuriate in the physical benefits provided for us by scientific specialisation, whilst being uniquely ignorant of the presence of the power of the spirit in all things.  Nothing is more destructive.  Increasingly in our pampered luxury, so many of us unwittingly add fuel to the negative, all-consuming power of consumerism.  Consequently, generations can and are denied the opportunity to develop their spiritual natures properly whilst on Earth. Instead money and power become twin gods.

By persisting in the wrong-headed notion that life occurred by accident in the primordial mud, we blind ourselves to the facts.  Even were it true that the primordial mud gave rise to the first single celled examples of sentient life on Earth, this begs the question that inanimate life (mud for instance) is an aspect of life also.  It is similar to the arguments put forward for the “big bang” by astronomers.  They claim everything began with the big bang.  If that is the case, how come there was anything to go “bang” in the first place?  Far safer and more sensible to conclude as did that great philosopher from the spiritual world, Silver Birch, “I know of no beginnings, I know of no endings”.  As we examine the wonders of nature (or as William Cowper advised, “Go mark the matchless working of the power that shuts within the seed the future flower”) we cannot fail to be convinced of the power, majesty and ingenuity of the mind or minds that “planned this scale of beings.”  Accident indeed!  Rubbish!

Spiritualists accept the truism that nothing dies, especially human beings.  What happens on death is a change of form.  Scientists accept this in regard to matter but because to most of them, mind and spirit are figments of the imagination, they cannot and will not accept it in regard to life itself. How sad, and in relation to the growth in intolerance that seems to be an inescapable corollary of materialism, how deadly.  Give me Milton’s enlightened philosophy any day.         

© Lionel Owen 2016

Monday, 7 December 2015

Despair and Renewal

With so much violence in our world at present, it seems to me appropriate to revisit an earlier time when love and compassion also seemed in short supply

 Despair and Renewal

Wartime reflections

Nostalgia moved from nose to brain,
As wood smoke took me back again,
Back to childhood, back to war,
The taste of loneliness and more.

My mother’s arms no longer stayed
The fear of loss, nor hate allayed.
The hate for those whose bombs and guns,
Had taken my belovéd ones.
My mind recalls that fearsome night,
The noise, the crashes, screams and fright.
Then silence; eerie, dark and tearful,
I am alone and lost and fearful.

The ‘all clear’ wails its plaintive call,
The smell of death lies over all.
The home with love and joy and games
In ruins.  Cindered by the flames.

Mother, sister, with lovely eyes,
No longer heed my childish cries.
For now they sleep in peace un-broke,
Small wonder then they tears evoke

Abject fear:  Is nothing sacred?
Innocence, now bitter hatred.
Love and compassion, flickered - died,
Darkness shrouded the lamp inside.

All the dreams and hopes of childhood,
As splintered elm, spread through the wild-wood.
No more laughs or light heart teasing,
No more gifts or cuddles pleasing.

Empty heart, unseeing eyes,
All that remains as fears arise,
Fears of where and what and why,
Please dear God, may I too die?   

A change of scene: I’m off to Wales,
A small hill farm amongst the vales.
‘Auntie,’ warmly welcomes me,
Her new son – an evacuee.
The hills so green, the lambs and sheep,
The peace and stillness – I can sleep!
Here sweet nature calms my fear
And nightmares slowly disappear.

The scudding clouds move over me,
I’m making patterns, when I see
A lovely lady, all in white,
“My darling son, are you alright?”

“Mammy!” I cry, “Is it really you?”
“Did you not die?  But I saw you!”
“Hush my child, just hold my hand,
“I’ll tell you all – you’ll understand.”

“My body died that dreadful night,
But the real me goes on; alright?
None shall die, that’s God’s great plan,
 We’re his children; immortal Man.”

“All leave the earth, go by and by
To worlds unseen by mortal eye.
But love still binds us one to one,
I’ll never leave you, precious son.” 

“Come hold me close, let tears flow,
You’re not alone and this I know,
Those tears of yours will wash away,
All hate and fear.  Come, let us pray.”

“Dear father God please let your light,
On this dear child with love alight.
Guide him away from fear and strife,
Help him help others all his life.”

“It was Your will that I should leave,
Help me help him so he’ll believe
That death’s not final, life goes on,
Please grant me this for my dear son.”

“You are all wisdom light and love,
Please may Your angels from above,
Light his path; his footsteps guide,
Until he comes here by my side.”

“Dear boy I have to leave indeed,
But I’ll be back whene’er you need.
Turn your face towards God’s pure light,
And say your prayers every night.”

“This way the pain will hurt you less,
And God will bring you happiness.
Your ‘Auntie’ loves you very much,
She’ll guard you with her loving touch.”

“It’s time for smiles and games and joy,
Forget the past, my little boy.
Your gifts lie hidden; that is best,
When they appear you’ll see you’re blessed.”

“Come back to this so peaceful place,
Meet me again with God’s good grace,
You’re always in your mother’s heart,
It’s true I promise; we’ll never part.”

Renewed I was that lovely day,
Gone, hate and fear; to you I say,
From death please do not hide your eyes,
For it’s the door to paradise.

Be sad sometimes but hate and fear,
Refuse to let them hover near.
Instead with love at your command,
Help others search and understand.

©Lionel Owen 2009