Crossing the Great Divide: Spirit Communication and Healing through Spiritualism

Crossing the Great Divide: Spirit Communication and Healing through Spiritualism

by Carole Lynne, CM, LM

Is it possible to communicate with those who have passed over? Is spiritual healing a reality? Is there a place called heaven and a place called hell? These and other questions are on the minds of many people these days. This is partly due to the movie “The Sixth Sense,” which is about spirit communication. The interest is also being stimulated by such television shows with James von Prague, Sylvia Browne and John Edwards during which they have brought messages from those who have passed into the world of spirit to their loved ones sitting in the television audience. Additionally, in chat rooms such as the one hosted by international medium Robert Brown on the Internet, people share their own experiences of having seen visions of relatives who have passed. As communication technology makes the world smaller every day, people are becoming more open to sharing their stories of spirit.

Many people do not realize that there is a religion called Spiritualism whose main goals are to prove that we do survive the change called death, and to awaken one’s inner spiritual resources. Spiritualists believe that life is continuous and that when one releases the physical body at the time death, the spirit maintains its consciousness. A well-trained medium is able to prove the existence of the spirit through evidential communication with those who have made their transition into eternal life. During the Spiritualist church service, the medium makes contact and brings those in the congregation messages of love, well being and insight.

While there are other locations where people can receive messages from spirit, such as independent mediums, metaphysical bookstores and new age centers, the Spiritualist church experience is more expanded. A service also includes a talk on Spiritualist philosophy and spiritual living, music and the opportunity to benefit from receiving the energy of healing by the laying-on of hands through the intervention of the God Power.

During the healing portion of the service, Spiritualists who are trained for healing stand behind the chairs reserved for healing and members of the congregation are invited to sit in these chairs. The healers place their hands on the shoulders, heads and upper backs of those who have come forward. The healers then act as channels for the healing energy of the Infinite Spirit to flow through their hands. It is important to understand that the Spiritualist healing team does not heal. They are acting as channels for the God Source.

Later in the service there is a half hour demonstration of spirit communication. The medium invited to serve explains to the congregation that s/he is going to link in with those in the spirit world acting as a channel to bring forth messages. As the medium receives messages from the spirit, s/he describes what is being received. When a person in the congregation recognizes the description of the person in spirit, it is a very heart-warming moment. How wonderful it is to experience that the spirit is alive and well! It is also life changing to realize that we actually survive death. For many people this realization removes their fear of dying, and they come to see death as a natural transition to the eternal life.

Most churches offer what is called a “mediums” or a “spiritual” day where more in-depth private readings by qualified mediums are available. On a one-to-one basis, a medium is able to give more personal evidence than the weekly church service allows. A nominal donation is requested for readings and these monies are used to support the church. It is important to note that most people who work in the Spiritualist community are volunteering their services or receiving very little remuneration.

A Vibrant Local Community

Modern Spiritualism is a relatively new religion, with its beginnings on March 31, 1848. There are hundreds of Spiritualist churches through the United States, many of them within an hour of Boston. While modern Spiritualism was founded in the United States, there are churches in many countries of the world. People from all faiths are very welcome at Spiritualist services.

The Greater Boston Church of Spiritualism was founded in 1986 by Reverend Doctor Erle Myers.  The church started with a dedicated group of charter members. Finding a location for a Spiritualist church was not easy in 1986. Reverend Myers reminisces about how Nancy Garber, now a well known Boston medium, at that time drove an unreliable vehicle, always accompanied by many prayers for the car’s well-being! They spent hours driving around looking for a location. Many churches of other denominations had space to rent until they heard the word “Spiritualism.” Suddenly there were no vacancies. At that time many people did not know about the religion of Spiritualism and renting space was not easy. Nancy and Erle were delighted to find a home for the church at the Masonic Center in Watertown where the church has resided for nearly fifteen years bringing hope, peace, and understanding to thousands of people. Pastor Erle and his wife Ida are always available for consultation on matters of the spirit. They spend many hours talking with those seeking an understanding of spirit communication.

Spiritualist principles state that each one of us has our own personal responsibility in life. Reverend Myers says, “We believe that what others call ‘heaven and hell’ are states of consciousness, not locations. Good and evil are equated as positive and negative states of consciousness. If we have a positive state of consciousness in this life, we will enter the next life with the same. If we have a negative consciousness in this life, we will enter the next life with the same. In believing that evil is human made, we realize that souls entering the spirit world who have lived negative lives must overcome their negativity before they can experience the peace and beauty of the spirit environment.” Myers points out that one of the principles of the Spiritualist religion states, “The doorway to reformation is never closed to any human soul here or hereafter.”

While having deep respect for other religious beliefs, Reverend Myers wishes to help those who are open to Spiritualist philosophy to overcome their fear of a supposed angry God who can send people to “hell.” Spiritualists believe that the spiritual consciousness we evolve while living on Earth will be the consciousness with which we enter the world of the spirit. Myers states, “When we have made our transition to the world of spirit, each one of us will continue to learn and grow spiritually. There will be teachers and helpers there to work with us in our spiritual evolvement. We must progress to the world of spirit as part of our own natural evolvement, never taking this transition into our own hands.” Reverend Myers reminds us that eternity is a very long time.

The Plymouth Spiritualist Church was founded by the Reverend Irene Harding and makes its home at 131 Standish Avenue. Co-Pastors Reverend Irene and Charles Harding give a warm welcome to all whom enter the church. Back in 1974, Reverend Irene proved the reality of the saying “thoughts are things.” She put her thoughts into action when she rented a church, with an option to buy, from the Portuguese Methodists. Her dream of a healing sanctuary came true in June of 1975 when the membership was able to purchase the building. It has been said that the Plymouth Spiritualist Church was born in Reverend Irene’s thoughts.

The Hardings are dedicated to the advancement of the religion of Spiritualism, and it is important to them that people understand Spiritualism’s history and philosophy. In their lectures they will often speak of the forerunners and pioneers of Spiritualism. Besides being busy with their own church, the Hardings devote a great deal of their time to the American Federation of Spiritualist Churches. Reverend Charles is president and Reverend Irene is Vice President of the AFSC, of which both the Plymouth Spiritualist Church and the Greater Boston Church of Spiritualism are members, as well as other churches outside of Massachusetts. The Plymouth Church is also a member of the Plymouth Area Interfaith Clergy Association.

The Hardings are well known for their contributions to the education of those who wish to study the religion of Spiritualism. Reverend Irene says, “Spiritualism is a bonafide religion just as other religions are. It is a religion that is both ancient and modern. From the very beginnings of known time, it has run like a golden strand through all spiritual pathways. Then, through the efforts of the pioneers in the mid 1800’s, Spiritualism was officially organized and registered as a religion.” Reverend Irene expresses her strong faith in the principles of Spiritualism by saying, “Our evolutionary process is not just a phase of our physical world, but continues on into the realm of spirit. When we pass into the spirit realm, we do not lose our identity. We continue on with all of our spiritual attributes that are innately within the soul.”

The First Spiritualist Church of Quincy, at 40 West Street, was founded in 1893. In those days, the group called themselves The Ladies Aid Society to avoid prejudice from the community. In the 1970’s, the group became known as the First Spiritualist Church of Quincy. Reverend Rita Berkowitz is the pastor.

Reverend Berkowitz emphatically states that “Healing is what Spiritualism is all about.” She says, “Even the messages that we give are healing. A lot of people will come to a Spiritualist church for the first time to try to get a message. They want a message from a loved one. I have seen their lives change totally when they have received communication from the spirit side of life. Once that happens, they know that their loved one is fine and their lives change forever. A healing has taken place.” She continues, “They are excited and they tell me, ‘You know what? My loved one is fine. They are talking to me, they are sharing memories with me, they are sharing things they have seen me do.'”

Reverend Berkowitz feels that the most profound healing that people receive in Spiritualism is the acceptance of death and the loss of the fear that is often associated with the ending of our physical lives. When one has received communication from a loved one in spirit during a demonstration of mediumship, one’s outlook on life and death changes. Reverend Berkowitz relates that many Spiritualists say, “I am not afraid to die. When my time comes it is a glorious thing.”

Reverend Berkowitz’s belief in healing comes from her battle with cancer. She tells about the time she was depleted from chemotherapy treatments. “I was absolutely exhausted to the point where I could not drive or even stand up very long. I sat in a healing chair. After the healing was over, I felt good enough to drive and to work for a full day. After the surgical removal of the tumor, the healing helped me regain my strength much faster than the doctors expected. That let me know that healing works so I don’t even have a question about it.” Reverend Berkowitz goes on to say, “But it works for the highest and best of the healee. It is not always an “all better situation.” Sometimes it is for the highest good to help somebody pass.”

Reverend Berkowitz tells a story about the power of healing. “I had a situation years ago. A young man who was a good friend of mine was in the hospital. They called me and put the phone next to his ear so that I could say goodbye to him. And two days later, I got a phone call saying, “Hey girlfriend, I’m fine. The doctors can’t figure it out.” And people all over the country were sitting in healing for him. The young man spent the last year of his life talking about spiritual healing to AIDS patients and teaching them meditation. And when he did go through his transition, he just closed his eyes and went. He did not have suffering. That, to me, is also a healing. So, there are so many ways that healing can take place. It is a magnificent thing.” Berkowitz says that what happened to her in the healing circle is what people years ago might have called a miraculous healing. In the philosophy of Spiritualism, healing is in fact considered a natural occurrence.

Expanding the Circle

Sometimes, older traditional religions do not have an easy time relating to Spiritualism. Many people, when thinking about spirits, still carry images of scary Halloween ghosts and the supernatural. Spiritualist demonstrations of spirit communication have absolutely nothing to do with such images. In fact, the religion of Spiritualism is dignified and the communication with those from the spirit side of life is sacred.

It is difficult for some Spiritualists to understand why there is not more understanding of Spiritualism when many of the world’s religions do accept the concept of afterlife. In the books of many religions will be found references to communications with those in the afterlife, with angels, the saints and with God. It is often religious leaders who feel that those in the hierarchy of the religion are able to communicate with spirit. Perhaps this is one of the difficulties which arises in the acceptance of Spiritualism. In the philosophy of Spiritualism, it is believed that the ability to communicate with those in spirit is a natural one. While not everyone is a medium, there are those in the process of spiritual unfoldment who discover that they have mediumistic ability.

In Spiritualist philosophy and mediumship classes, students explore their abilities. As they unfold, they may find that they have an interest in spiritual healing, speaking about Spiritualist philosophy, or the development of mediumship. Spiritual unfoldment is a process whereby students can expand their abilities and become aware of their deep spiritual callings. There is no requirement to take courses and there are many people who just wish to attend church regularly and learn to live by the principles of Spiritualism. Spiritualist teachings emphasize the concept of God, the Infinite Spirit and Creator of all that exists.

Many Spiritualists are interested in the teachings of the world’s great religions. Spiritualism certainly does not have and has never had a monopoly on communication with those in the world of spirit. Humankind has always communicated with spirit and always will. The Spiritualist church service provides a dignified and reverent place for such communication.

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Carole Lynne is an ordained minister, a certified medium and a commissioned healer with the American Federation of Spiritualist Churches. She is an award holder with the Spiritualist National Union of Great Britain. Carole Lynne is a medium, public speaker and founder of the spiritual practice of singing called “Singing for the Soul®”

Ask your local bookstore for Carole Lynne’s books:  “How To Get A Good Reading From a Psychic Medium” published by Weiser Books and “Heart and Sound” published by Red Wheel/Weiser.

Carole Lynne can be contacted at:
617 964-0058
CaroleLynne777@aol.com     www.carolelynne.com 

Church Contacts

If you are interested in attending a Spiritualist church, the pastors will be happy to receive calls from you regarding services.

Greater Boston Church of Spiritualism Reverend Doctor Erle Myers: 617-923-4334
The Plymouth Spiritualist Church
Reverend Irene Harding and Reverend Charles Harding: 508-888-6049
The First Spiritualist Church of Quincy Reverend Rita Berkowitz: 781-659-6531
Swampscott Church of Spiritualism Reverend Leo E. Rogers Jr., Pastor, and Reverend Mary M. Fitzpatrick, Associate Pastor: 781-595-6972
The First Spiritualist Church of Brockton Pastoral Committee: 401-245-8307
The Church of Spiritual Life Reverend Ken Wingood: 978-454-4163
The First Spiritualist Church of Salem Reverend Muriel Karolides, President, Bradley Gosselin: 978-774-1571
The Onset Spiritualist Church Reverend Kathleen Hoffman at 508-759-2532

This article was originally published in Spirit of Change Magazine—not to be confused with OfSpirit.com Holistic “Internet” Magazine & Resource. We thank Spirit of Change,New England’s Premiere Holistic “Print” magazine, for allowing us to give new life to this article and share it with OfSpirit.com visitors for education, entertainment and empowerment.
Click here for more information on Spirit of Change.

Good Grief: Seeing Grief As A Sacred Space part 2

Good Grief: Seeing Grief As A Sacred Space, part 2

by Laura Scott, Author, Psychic, Spiritual Teacher and Channel for Healing

In one of my last articles I wrote on the subject of grief and loss. I was preparing myself, as if one ever could, for the loss of my beloved friend. Miraculously, unbelievably, joyously, I was blessed that he stayed on the earth plane enjoying life through summer and fall. He left his frail body very recently and made his transition home to The Other Side. It was a very beautiful and moving journey, including his transition day when time seemed frozen still. I was so very blessed to be right by his side for it. I am still in the process of grieving and acknowledging all the wondrous gifts of shared moments and lessons that his life brought me. Although a part of me would like to curl up and take many weeks and months to heal and be still – life just isn’t prepared to let me do that.

So, I am doing my best at gently folding my grieving into the batter of daily life, and easing myself back into what is undeniably a full time. I’m not alone in having to do this. Grieving parents face it, so do widows, widowers, adult children and many more. It has me thinking quite a lot about how our society has a very skewed perception on grief and healing. Companies offer policies proclaiming, one, two, and three day leaves for family deaths and funerals. Few offer decent time or compensation for grieving. I began to wonder what the hurry is? Perhaps somewhere along the way, someone got scared that if we let people actually take as long as they need to take to go through a life change, a loss, or grieving, that they might wind up never coming back to their ‘old’ way of being. So rather than embrace that change as something positive, policies were designed to contain or deny grief’s very existence.

What those policies fail to comprehend is that despite our best efforts at ‘normalcy’ and routines, the truth is that once we have lost someone we’ve loved, we are never the same. A bit of our innocence is lost, and the tapestry of ‘us’ is permanently altered whether we like it or not. Some of us will fold our grieving in, buck up, and move forward, quickly gathering up speed again. If we could press a fast forward button, we’d hasten through the uncomfortable parts completely. Those that do not or cannot choose the hastening model are sometimes viewed as ‘a wreck’, ‘a mess’ or worse. So for all our evolution, we are not exactly swimming in a plethora of choices when it comes to grief. And the process of grief can be extremely challenging, whether we ourselves are suffering, or we are standing by feeling helpless, watching those we love suffer.

Other cultures, species, and indigenous peoples embrace grief differently. Many consider grief a sacred phase of healing. Buddhists teach this as part of their lessons in impermanence. African cultures have grief and death rituals that can take weeks and months. Even wild elephants take time to stop and grieve when they come upon the bones of a long since deceased loved one in the wild. They stand around for hours, days, even weeks with visible tears falling from their eyes, as their trunks deeply breath in the smell of their dearly departed. And who amongst us hasn’t buried our faces in the clothing object of our beloved departed, hoping against all hope to smell their familiar ‘smell’ just one more time?

For all of our Western advances, grief is something a lot of folks don’t feel they have a handle on. Nor do they want to. After the services have been paid for and the out of town company has gone home we careen about our lives, rushing back to this and that – meeting obligations, and packing some of that understanding and compassion away until next time. We may even be frightened or frustrated by the grieving amongst us, as it brings up a level of discomfort we’d just as soon not slow down and face. It’s like we are superstitious in thinking it’s contagious: “hey, don’t ‘go there’ or you, too, may get some of what they’ve ‘got’.”

It’s time to encourage a new perspective–one that embraces grief with understanding and compassion. Let’s start by re-framing the concept of grief into something bigger and more important. Let’s embrace the concept of seeing grief as a sacred space… because out of it something really powerful and good does eventually come. Maybe in doing this we won’t continue missing where all the sacred synthesis happens. Grief is a journey. A very private and personal journey that takes as long as it takes. No two grief experiences are exactly the same. That’s because sacred synthesis is a God-made phenomenon, not a man made one. It won’t ‘just happen’ during that 2-3 day leave your company provides. It will in all likelihood take a whole lot longer. Synthesis means allowing ourselves (or our grieving loved ones) to go through the stages of grief, the self-realizations, the reordering of our lives, the remeasuring of time (before X. was here, after X. was gone) and learning to understand the ’empty spaces between the spaces’ that you somehow never noticed before.

Sacred space is a time when our guides, God, deceased loved ones, and angels draw in even closer and do their best to comfort and console us. For some, it can be a precious opportunity to grow spiritually, and to strengthen their bond with The Source, God. It takes time for the natural stages of earthly grief, be it the emotional toll, the physical loss, or just waiting for Life, in It’s Infinite Wisdom, to reorganize the vibrational shift so that the loss of a loved one is not so acutely sharp. It takes time to adjust to the communication shift, and for the physical loss to heal. Yet ironically, as an’ advanced’ Western society, time is something we seem to have very little of. Patience is not something that is understood or embraced. We hurry about our days, beeping our horns, impatiently waiting our turn on hold, and wishing the microwave didn’t take so darn long… but if we can’t even sit through a commercial, how will we ever tolerate ‘sitting’ through grief? The simple answer remains: compassion.

Scientists have been studying grief and have recently reached two distinct conclusions: First, that the emotional effects of grief cause actual physical pain in the body that can be both measured and seen; Second, that the loss of anyone we’ve loved is equally significant, whether it had two legs or four – the effects of grief are exactly the same. This is something new to our ‘civilized’ society, and it means expanding our already inadequate grief model. It means, you guessed it, more compassion.

My own best advice for dealing with a sacred time of grief is this: Focus on staying present, and relishing this sacred space for what it is. Get outside each day and breath in the fresh air. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Spend a few moments watching the clouds or the stars. Don’t rush the people you love who are grieving through their sacred process. Respect it. Have compassion for it. Try to understand it. Don’t quantify it (remember the scientist’s conclusions), encourage those in grief not to censor themselves. Just be. The sky won’t fall open and swallow you up. Offer to listen. Cry with them if you like. Don’t take offense at their process. Just because there appear to be some ‘good’ days, doesn’t mean there won’t be any more challenging moments or rough days. Grief is a lot like the stock market, it is not a linear thing. It’s a lot more like the graphs of the stock market (yikes), spiking up and down with every breeze. Those who are able to be present, be it physically, emotionally, spiritually, or psychically–despite their fears- do bring comfort. They do help to expand our inadequate grief model. And they become part of the sacred journey of healing and help God to spread grace around all of our hearts.

__________________

Laura Scott is an internationally renown psychic, author, spiritual teacher and channel for healing who specializes in the work of the soul. She is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Divining the Future, and creator of the Ancient Stardust Directional Cardsand the Ancient Stardust Progress Journal. Her private phone readings, workshops, lectures, and retreats all receive wonderful reviews.

Laura is featured on www. BestPsychicMediums.com , and a regular contributor to OfSpirit.com. Her on-line column, Ask Laura, offers spiritual advice to millions around the world. She leads her Life Changing Retreats and Wild Dolphin Energy Adventures in the fabulous Bahamas a few times each year. Her trips are designed to provide guests with the opportunity to rest their souls and recharge their spirits, and to stir the ancient stardust that we all have within.

For information about her private phone readings, upcoming retreats and more, phone her office (toll free) 1-866-897-1504, or visit her award winning websitewww.ancientstardust.com.

Seeing Grief As A Sacred Space part 1

Seeing Grief As A Sacred Space part 1

by Laura Scott, Psychic, Spiritual Teacher and Channel for Healing

One of my beloved friends is getting ready to leave his body, and transition to The Other Side. It is a sacred time that permeates the rest of ‘daily life ‘, and creates a natural space for reflection and sharing. You see, folks often forget that no psychic or medium is exempt from the challenges of living life. We don’t get a ‘pass’ card when it comes to dealing with the tough stuff.  Just like your car mechanic can still have car trouble, your plumber can have bad pipes in their  house, or for that matter, your Doctor—who is neither exempt, nor excused, from any of life’s illnesses or dis-eases.   Like all of you, that means when someone I love prepares to leave the earth plane, I grieve.

Knowing that life exists after death and being able to communicate with those on The Other Side is a wonderful gift!  But in no way does it exempt me from dealing with the natural stages of earthly grief, be it the emotional toll, the physical loss, or just coping with the understanding that it takes time for Life, in It’s Infinite Wisdom, to reorganize the vibrational shift so that the loss of a loved one is not so acutely sharp. It takes time to adjust to the communication shift, and for the physical  loss to heal.  And even for the ‘enlightened,’ there are ‘growing pains.’

I have found in times like these, where I am fortunate enough to see this as the sacred time it is, that rituals can play a big factor in coping with the upcoming changes life has in store. I clear my schedule of unnecessary stuff. It’s amazing what’s non-essential when you are down to slivers of time with someone you love. I take extra care of myself by staying hydrated, eating healthy, and getting lots of extra rest whenever possible. I make an added effort to be kind, gentle and understanding with myself. I allow extra time for meditation and prayer, so that Grace can come in when I am not looking. I do these things because they are an important part of the process of how I cope and heal in sacred times. So that when I look at my friend, dreaming often of The Other Side, I don’t twist and cajole Life into granting them a physical extension that would only serve me.

Even with the gift of insight, I can’t know the precise number of seconds, minutes or hours my friend and I have left together. And, in truth, I wouldn’t want to. I liken this time to being an experienced cook:  I know by the smells in the air, and by looking through the window on the oven door when something appears to be almost done. None of us really controls how fast the yeast rises, or the bread browns. We anticipate, and make ready the kitchen by locating potholders and putting out the cooling rack; tidying up the dishes. Sometimes, things are just done early, and other times, we patiently, knowingly, gratefully, adjust the timer for an additional 15 minutes.

With the extra time, I am planning a celebration ceremony for my friend’s transition. So that we can affirm what a great life he had, and honor our understanding that he has gone on to a wonderful, exquisite place. We will meet again. He is just taking an earlier train, to a place we are all going, that’s all. And when my time comes, he will be standing at the platform to welcome me there.

So that’s my best advice for dealing with a time like this: Focus on staying present, and relishing this sacred space for what it is. Don’t waste the sunny days complaining about the rainy ones. Ultimately, we will all make the same transition. And we will appreciate those around us in that sacred time who are calm, gentle, and understanding of the process of it all. Those who are able to be present, be it physically, emotionally, spiritually, or psychically—despite their fears—can bring comfort. They help to make the natural bodily transition a time of peace and grace.

__________________

Laura Scott is an internationally renown psychic, author, spiritual teacher and channel for healing who specializes in the work of the soul. She is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Divining the Future, and creator of the Ancient Stardust Directional Cardsand the Ancient Stardust Progress Journal. Her private phone readings, workshops, lectures, and retreats all receive wonderful reviews.

Laura is featured on www. BestPsychicMediums.com , and a regular contributor to OfSpirit.com. Her on-line column, Ask Laura, offers spiritual advice to millions around the world. She leads her Life Changing Retreats and Wild Dolphin Energy Adventures in the fabulous Bahamas a few times each year. Her trips are designed to provide guests with the opportunity to rest their souls and recharge their spirits, and to stir the ancient stardust that we all have within.

For information about her private phone readings, upcoming retreats and more, phone her office (toll free) 1-866-897-1504, or visit her award winning websitewww.ancientstardust.com.