What is channeling?
The definition of channeling in the Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary is, “The process that conveys thoughts or energy from a source believed to be outside the person's body or conscious mind; specifically -- one who speaks for nonphysical beings or spirits.”
In order for a person to become a channel or medium, the person must give control of their mind to a spirit being. The mind must be emptied of conscious thoughts for a spirit to talk through him. Edgar Cayce did this by putting himself into a self-induced trance when he gave his readings. Helpers would read to him the name and address of the person wanting the reading.
Often in trance mediumship, when the medium or channel empties his mind and invites a spirit entity to enter, there will be a twitching of the physical body as the spirit takes possession of it. Also there may be a definite change of voice or dialect. A male channeler may sound like a woman, or women channelers may sound like men.
Other methods of channeling use tarot cards, crystal gazing, or mantra chanting. Tarot cards are just paper and ink until the person allows a spirit to enter them to convey a message.
The same caution would apply to Eckankar and other New Age cults. Their meditations enable them to get into contact with what they call the ascended masters. There are spirits out there who are eager to communicate with people. They are looking for channels through whom they can communicate. Channeling is the act of opening oneself up to receive messages from demonic spirits.
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