"Channel: A particular state of consciousness in which energy can flow from level to level. Channeling is a technique in which a person serves to bring information or influence from one dimension to another. Often called 'trance mediums' in the past. Channeling lends itself to glamour and abuse."
- Rev. Carol Parrish, in her book "Dictionary of Spiritual Thought"
Now retired, Rev. Carol Parrish was the founder and head of Sancta Sophia Seminary where I was ordained a metaphysical interfaith minister. She is part Cherokee, gifted psychically, consciously telepathic, and a channel. In one seminary class she described the "trance medium" style of channeling that often created amnesia of the session in the awareness of the channeler. Then she demonstrated her own "conscious channel" mode of working, which allows the channeler to retain memory of the session. It is this latter form that I experience with shamanic journeying.
On this website, "Spirit" is a catch-all term that includes "God" (or other name of the Creator of all creation), Spirit Helpers, Power Animals, Archangels, Angels, Ascended Masters and all other invisible beings of the Highest Light.
Channeling Via Shamanic Journey
Reading Carol's definition got me reflecting on the shamanic journey, which many of you have learned and may still be practicing. Michael Harner (founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies)
has said that the shamanic journey is the safest form of psychic development there is. Part of that is because we have a specific pattern of entry into, and exit
from, the parallel dimensions or worlds of the shaman. (Traditional channelers use the invisible realms around us, which shamans call "middle world non-ordinary reality"). The major part
of the reason for its safety, though, is that these paradise-type dimensions are where our true spirit helpers live. The moment we emerge into either of these dimensions we are embraced by the
love and acceptance of that realm. Anything our spirit helpers tell us or leads us through in healing, carries a deep sense of truth. As long as we honor them, want the truth and
follow through with their instructions to the best of our ability in our middle world lives, our lives become easier to handle. This "wanting the truth regardless of what is told to us" will help
set aside the tendency towards glamour and abuse that Carol Parrish warns against.
If we choose to not even try to follow our spirit helpers' guidance, then they will close off any desire to shamanic journey to them. That action is not punitive; in fact, it is a safe-guard against misuse of those two spiritual dimensions. Our spirit helpers will keep helping us, but in different ways. These other ways can be through intuition, synchronicity of other humans' words and actions, dreams, meditation, prayer, etc.
If we prefer to get our guidance in these other ways, that's good too! It's the intent that's important. There have been a number of my workshop participants who have chosen to go the solely-channeling route rather than doing shamanic journeying. Their spirit helpers told them to use the "middle world" form of work. Many people who regularly journey also use these other forms of inner work in tandem.
Channeling Healing and Guidance
In Carol's definition above, "Bringing influence from one dimension to another" is used in spiritual healing. Our spirit helpers are adept at channeling healing energy to us at those times when we don't feel well. They're also able to give us rejuvenating energy after a sleep-deprived night. When my Dad was alive, I'd drive the nine hours to Pennsylvania to visit him a couple times a year. Invariably I'd be so keyed up the day and evening before that I wouldn't get much sleep. I couldn't delay the journey, so I asked my power animal for energy. Within seconds, I felt like I'd had two more hours of sleep. 1.5 hours later as I drove into Virginia, fatigue would set in again. I asked my power animal for another boost of energy. Within seconds, I felt I'd had another two hours of sleep. I felt refreshed even when arriving at his home. This form of energy transmission and sending energy healing to someone who has requested it is called channeling of influence from the world (dimension) of the shaman to the middle world (dimension) of my physical body.
Our spirit teachers are also adept at giving us information for any concern we have. Often it is unexpected, and even previously unknown information. The same is true for each and every time I confer with my spirit teachers on behalf of my clients who request help with their concerns. According to Carol's definition, this is called bringing information from the upper world (one dimension) of the shaman to the middle world (dimension) where my client and I are residing.
Other Ways to Channel
Obviously, there are other ways to channel than through shamanic journeying. Michael Harner told my Basic Shamanism workshop, several hours before the completion of it, that if anyone hadn't yet succeeded in journeying to the upper and lower worlds, they should enroll in a channeling class. This type of class is what shamans call middle world, i.e., "trance mediumship." Middle world "non-ordinary reality" is where we do our thinking, praying, creativity, meditation, psychic work. No matter which world we access, what goes on in our mental awareness is always invisible to other people.
Middle World non-ordinary reality is the dimension I go into in order to work with the Archangels during Aura Cleansing. Channeling both healing energy and word-wisdom is involved there.
When we journey effectively, whether for self or for helping others, we're actually doing channeling. Our spirit helpers do not have physical bodies. They can't descend totally into the physical world. These beings of light also will not infringe on our free will. To do so would put them into the "dark beings" category, thus divorcing themselves from the Light and its Truth. That is why the beings of light have to have our permission for them to channel through us. We humans who are called to this work must willingly provide that channel.
Other Examples: Einstein was known for receiving his scientific masterpieces during naps, ergo channeling. In the music realm, at least 4 world-renowned composers come to mind: Beethoven once said, "when the muse speaks, you must listen"; he consciously channeled a muse (base word for music). J.S.Bach, before he composed a new piece, always wrote "To God Be the Glory" at the bottom of the first page of his manuscript paper; he channeled God, possibly a muse. Handel wrote "Messiah" in only 21 days; that had to be channeled, because to hand-copy that entire score with all instrumental parts intact, would take that long if not longer. Franz Schubert received his works in dreams; every morning before he got out of bed, he spent hours just writing down each of those songs or instrumental works on music staff paper.
There are many ways and talents to be of valuable help in this world, and all of them are needed. If you do not wish to be a consenting channel directly through trance channeling or shamanic journeying, your choice is honored with great respect by highest Spirit and all who serve the Light. Follow your heart. Actively engage your talents and want the truth to prevail. This is how to give Spirit permission to help you and to work through you. Doing this, you will discover your own unique form of channeling.