Interview with Mama Maga: Karma2Dharma Astrology

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I’ve been watching Maga’s astrology videos on Youtube for months now. What I like most about her presentation is the focus on spiritual growth and evolution. As my birthday approached, I decided to take the plunge and have her do my natal chart. I’ve been playing around with my chart for a few years so some of what Maga outlined was very familiar, but what was really helpful was that she looked at it from a perspective of soul mission and growth. Turns out, that’s the thing I most needed to hear as we head into 2016. I immediately reached out to Maga to see if she’d be interested in appearing on the blog. She’s here today to share her knowledge and perspective on astrology and healing. Before I launch into some questions I want to share a little about Maga’s background.

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Maga is a professional healer, intuitive, astrologer, and artist. She holds a bachelor of science degree from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, is a Usui Reiki master, a licensed massage therapist, and is a certified Kundalini yoga instructor. She has been teaching since the late 1990s after going through her own transformative spiritual experience.

Welcome, Maga!

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Mama Maga has answered the interview questions in the following audio file. Please click to listen to this fascinating interview.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rd4jeu5357dpvva/Ellis%20Interview%20w%20Maga%21.mp3?dl=0

1. What was your life like prior to 1995 when you experienced what you call “the Plutonian Passage”?

2. Was it then that you were called into the world in a new way or were you always interested in the spiritual side of life and healing?

3. As I’ve started learning some of the basics of astrology, I’m struck by how large and technical the art and science is. Can you share how you first became interested in astrology and how you proceeded to acquire your understanding?

4. When I was listening to your natal reading of my chart, I wondered how having some of these things pointed out early in my life might have made a difference. How can astrology be a practical tool in people’s lives? For a beginner, how should someone get started?

5. How can astrology be used for those with a spiritual inclination? How can it aid to our evolution and growth?

6. I’ve been watching “The Daily News” on your YouTube channel and I know you’re offering a special program starting in mid-January. Please describe what the 5 Month Membership is and who you think would most benefit from it?

7. As we look at 2016, what astrological aspect(s) should we most be aware of?

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Thank you, Maga, for spending some time with us. Maga offers a wide range of astrology and healing services (at affordable rates, I might add). Please check out her YouTube channel and websites for more information.

Maga’s Links:  

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/fireofpurity/about

Astrology Website: http://www.karma2dharmaastrology.com/

Healing Website: http://magaliarts.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellingHealing

Google: https://plus.google.com/+MagaliArts/posts

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THE POWER OF PREMONITIONS by Larry Dossey, MD

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Larry Dossey has written a fascinating book about premonitions, those events that forewarn of a possible future. Dossey blurs the line a bit by including intuition as well. Many people have these experiences and most of us are uncertain as to what to do about them. The book is full of examples including those of SIDS parents who often know something is not right, the high vacancy rates on the doomed planes of 9/11, and the use of psychics to predict the stock market (yes, it can be done- to a point). Arguments are presented that these abilities are natural and part of evolutionary survival. Some may be more prone to them and some may handle them better than others. So who is more likely to glimpse a possible future? Can premonitions be cultivated?

Artwork by Genia1016

Artwork by Genia1016

 

Dossey outlines some factors that may give some an edge to receiving premonitions or intuitions. Although more research is needed to establish the relevance of each of these, it is easy to see why they correlate. Here is the list, although other things could be added (for example- does the culture of the individual support premonitions, psi).

  1. Absorption- the ability to lose oneself in an activity, to be comfortable with imagination & fantasy
  1. Belief in the transcendent- not limited to the here & now
  1. Acknowledgement of intuition- open to the idea of spontaneous, innate knowing
  1. Comfortable with disorder- the ability to go with the flow and let go of control
  1. Seeking meaning- looking for underlying symbols and patterns
  1. Worldview- the world is a benevolent place
  1. Cultivation of a discipline which supports being present- these include meditation, prayer, being in silence, being in nature, etc.

Dossey believes premonitions can be cultivated, but also acknowledges that there are people who probably would not be stable enough to handle them. There’s a brief section and caution given about seeking psychiatric care. For someone who is having issues dealing with these types of experiences, it would probably be better to seek out a Jungian practitioner since their worldview is more open in regards to psi.

 

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Another question running through the book involves when we should pay attention to our dreams and intuitions. The nature of these phenomena is that of being incomplete- often lacking the details of who, what, when, and where. Dreams especially, use a symbolic language that is often difficult to decipher. So what to do? Some common sense guidelines may help here. The experiences to really pay attention to are those that have a noetic quality- a sense of knowing. Without understanding how, you simply know. Anytime a dream is especially vivid or downright extraordinary, take note. Pay attention when the dream or intuition is accompanied by physical symptoms. One story related in the book, concerns an OB/GYN who can feel in his body when a patient is in trouble, and by honoring this, he often is headed to the hospital before he gets the call. Watch for those instances when the experience is intrusive and insistent. Pay attention when death or illness is indicated even when specific details are lacking. Over time, people can develop a sense of what’s important. The Rhine Institute conducted a study of 433 premonition cases where a person attempted to intervene to prevent an incident. Intervention was about twice as successful as not, indicating the future may not be written in stone. Premonitions don’t reveal fate, but rather a possible future.

Artwork by Genia1016

Artwork by Genia1016

 

Here are a few teasers from the book:

The Arlington Institute (TAI) works with precognizant dreamers formerly with government intelligence services to prevent disaster.

The FBI won’t release travel records for plane occupancy on 9/11. Was plane travel down just on the crashed aircraft or across the board?

There is a positive correlation between creativity/artistic ability and psi ability.

High performing CEOs score high on random number generator tests indicating they’re highly intuitive (although they don’t see themselves as such).

In 2007, Harteis & Gruber found intuitive predictions of stock market development were better than rationally justified ones.

In 1982, psychic Beverly Jaegers outperformed 17 of 18 stockbrokers (but not all psychics are that good- don’t ask a psychic for a lottery number, they usually can’t do numbers).

The stock market as a collective, “punished” the company responsible for the Challenger disaster before any investigations were done.

Dean Radin’s presentiment research at IONS showed people react to images before a computer picks them.

Rupert Sheldrake has collected many stories of animals refusing to go with their owners to areas where accidents later occur.

After an accident, Harriet Tubman had dreams and visions. This ability allowed her to guide slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Remote viewers see emotional images more frequently and that may give us a clue as to why premonitions usually indicate nasty events.

For centuries (and even today), fisherman in Iceland use dreams to locate a catch.

Join me next time when I sit down for a conversation with astrologer Mama Maga of Karma2Dharma Astrology.

 

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CONTEST: WIN A FREE BOOK

CONTEST TIME. Be sure to comment at ELLIS NELSON BOOKS (and not here).

ELLIS NELSON BOOKS

It’s contest time! Leave a comment below and be entered to win a copy of the electronic version of Elephants Never Forgotten. Contest closes at noon (EST) on Wednesday (Jan.13th). Two books will be awarded by a random drawing on Thursday, January 14th. As a theme, tell me something about elephants. I’ll start us off with how the idea for the book came into being.

Here’s the synopsis:

A hundred years in the future, twelve-year-old Nigella receives a shipment from her deceased grandfather. Her inheritance is a herd of micro-elephants. While a lot of her friends have micro-pets, Nigella is at a loss on how to care for them. Why are her micro-pets so different from everyone else’s? What was her grandfather up to? With the help of her best friend, Kepler, the girls set off on an adventure to discover the truth.

What readers are saying:

“Ellis Nelson’s…

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What 2015 Brought

As 2015 draws to a close, I suspect most of us get reflective. What happened that surprised us, delighted us, disappointed us? Like most years, 2015 was a mixed batch of experiences. We decide which tag to give each one. I have a container filled with little slips of paper that mark what I label good experiences and soon it will be time to review those in the spirit of gratitude. Always there is the tug of those events that never materialized. But linear time demands we move on, but not before a shout out to some of the new friends I welcomed in 2015. Here are five people  who have enriched my life and moved us closer to a paradigm shift.

E. Magnani - Fuoco - 2011

Fuoco (Fire)

Enrico Magnani: Visionary Artist

Enrico’s paintings have been widely exhibited throughout Europe and in two locations in the US. Currently, he is working on a project called “Cosmic Hug.” Begun in 2013 in Prague, the effort will link art and individuals in a global project demonstrating the interconnectedness of all beings while benefiting the needy.

http://ellisnelson.com/2015/02/03/the-mystic-as-artist/

 

For more on Enrico Magnani, please visit these sites:

http://www.enricomagnani-art.com/

https://enricomagnaniart.wordpress.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eFPKHrivbQ

 

Rea Nolan Martin: Visionary Writer

Rea is the award-winning author of three novels, THE SUBLIME TRANSFORMATION OF VERA WRIGHT (2009), MYSTIC TEA (2014), and THE ANESTHESIA GAME (9/2015). MYSTIC TEA is the recipient of the 2014 IPPY gold medallion and US BEST BOOK award for Visionary Fiction; the 2014 PINNACLE gold medallion in the category of Literary Fiction; and a finalist in the International Book Awards.

http://ellisnelson.com/2015/07/23/the-sublime-transformation-of-vera-wright-by-rea-nolan-martin/

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For more on Rea’s work, visit her website or blog.

http://www.reanolanmartin.com/blog/

http://www.reanolanmartin.com/books/

 

  Dana Taylor: Author and Healer

Dana writes books with a mystical touch. Her non-fiction book, Ever-Flowing Streams, chronicles her spiritual journey into alternative healing. She is also a Reiki Master who gives healing treatments.

http://ellisnelson.com/2015/05/28/interview-with-dana-taylor-author-healer/

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For more on Dana and her books visit her blog.

Website: Supernal Living

Facebook: Dana Taylor

Supernal Living with Dana Taylor

Twitter: @supernaldana

 

Theresa Crater: Visionary Writer

Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her paranormal mysteries. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. Her other novels are Under the Stone Paw and Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.

http://ellisnelson.com/2015/11/19/the-star-family-by-theresa-crater/

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Visit her at http://theresacrater.wordpress.com

Twitter:  @theresacrater

Facebook:  Author page   https://www.facebook.com/tlcwrites

 

Kim Harding: Artist, Writer, and Teacher

Kim is a professor at Colorado Mountain College.  She holds a PhD in physiology and biophysics and a master’s degree in transformative visual art. Her interests include women’s issues, art, and female embodiment.

http://ellisnelson.com/2015/05/07/heart-centered-creation/

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For more information on Kim and her work, please visit her at the following sites:

http://soulhealingart.com

https://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com/

 

What a year and what a talented bunch! See you all in 2016. There are surprises ahead.

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PROOF OF HEAVEN by Eben Alexander

 Proof of Heaven

I haven’t read a near death book in a while and when Eben Alexander’s book came out in 2012 and he was making the talk show circuit, I decided to give it a pass. Having read and heard many NDEs over the years, I knew all about the white lights, tunnels, and ability to see your body from above. Long ago I gave up the idea that the brain is the chemical factory of our consciousness and adopted the more cutting edge perspective that our bodies act more like a radio receiving signals. But recently, Proof of Heaven was mentioned in something else I was researching and decided to have a peek at why Alexander’s book had become so popular.

I’m glad I did. Eben Alexander III, MD got sick at home and ended up in the hospital in a coma. From the perspective of a hard- core materialist neurosurgeon, he describes what happened to him when the parts of his brain that would have been required for him to have these experiences was not functioning. The book is written like a thriller cutting back and forth from the medical mystery which had disabled him to the otherworldly journey he undertook. I’d bet he had a great editor too. Honestly, I enjoyed the way this book was written more than what his story adds to the evidence of life after death. Does his book prove life after death? Probably not, but I didn’t need it to.

A reader alerted me to this Esquire article that sheds a different light on the book:

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/interviews/a23248/the-prophet/

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Some Holiday Sleuthing!

MURDER UNDER THE TREE by Susan Bernhardt

 Susan B.

The Synopsis:

While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts. When the official coroner’s report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate.

Kay uncovers sinister plots of fraud, revenge, and corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur. Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims. Kay’s first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. Tis the season to be sleuthing!

My Take:

This is a fun read for this time of year. Three best friends endeavor to help each other during the excitement of the holidays. Kay brings the brains and the logical thinking, not to mention experience in solving murders. Deirdre is the New Age mystic (and my favorite character, of course) busy setting up her own business and Elizabeth; well you’ll just have to meet Elizabeth. The three often meet at a local pastry shop and the desserts they order will have you drooling. Twists and turns mount, secrets are exposed. Can you guess who the killer is? I couldn’t. Don’t miss it!

Today’s Sale: Only $3.95!

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/now-available-in-ebook/murder-under-the-tree-detail

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12 Days of Christmas Sale!

Get Elephants Never Forgotten for the discount price of only $1.99.

Here’s the synopsis:

A hundred years in the future, twelve-year-old Nigella receives a shipment from her deceased grandfather. Her inheritance is a herd of micro-elephants. While a lot of her friends have micro-pets, Nigella is at a loss on how to care for them. Why are her micro-pets so different from everyone else’s? What was her grandfather up to? With the help of her best friend, Kepler, the girls set off on an adventure to discover the truth.

What readers are saying:

“Ellis Nelson’s superb writing made this book a joy to read. I felt like I was right there experiencing the journey, the concerns, the total adventure. Lessons about friendship and family, ecology abound.”

“The leading characters are smart and resourceful girls. They set off for adventure and help make the world a better place. An intriguing, positive read for tweens.”

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/component/content/article/3-about/about-us/509-december-7-specials

 

 

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THE STAR FAMILY by Theresa Crater

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 An Interview with Theresa Crater

Theresa and I are both members of the Visionary Fiction Alliance and that’s where I became aware of her work. A short blurb introducing her novel, called The Star Family, convinced me I had to read her book. Who could resist this?

A secret spiritual group. A recurring dream. A 400-year-old ritual that must be completed before it is too late. Jane Frey inherits a Gothic mansion filled with unexpected treasures. A prophecy claims it hides an important artifact – the key to an energy grid laid down by the Founding Fathers themselves. Whoever controls this grid controls the very centers of world power. Except Jane has no idea what they’re looking for.

I couldn’t resist. Immediately, I was drawn into the mystery. Jane Frey was raised in the Moravian tradition, one of the oldest Protestant denominations dating back to the 15th Century. But she knows precious little about their history or esoteric beliefs. I welcomed the opportunity to learn about this group right along with Jane. We also encountered Masons, sacred geometry, Tantric sex, and an exploration of Prague (medieval headquarters to all things alchemical). Yum! Theresa’s novel is original and fast moving. Join me as I delight in talking with her about her novel.

Welcome Theresa! Thanks for spending some time today talking about your book.

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Can you talk a little about what inspired you to write this book? I know you have Moravian roots.

I was at the International New Age Trade Show with my partner Stephen Mehler, who was going to be videoed about his new book, and I saw a book called William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision. I love Blake and who wouldn’t pick up a title like that? On the first page it said that Blake’s mother had been a Moravian. On top of that, it said that she was a member during the 1740s when the group was teaching metaphysics and sacred sexuality. They were connected to the Rosicrucians. The Templars had a metal forge in the very alleyway they were located in. All my metaphysical sensor alarms went off. I was stunned. I was raised Moravian and had never heard of such a thing. I could just imagine my grandfather’s reaction! Why was I never told about all this? I had to research it further.

In what ways are you like your main character, Jane Frey? How are you different?

 Jane and I were both raised Moravians in Winston-Salem, NC. I used my family tree to fill out names in the book, plus famous Moravians. She’s named after my grandmother and great grandmother. We both studied music, but ended up doing different things. We were both somewhat disillusioned older women. (I was warned not to have an older protagonist, but women in their 50s and 60s buy tons of books. We deserve a face in a book.) Jane and I both have a spiritual bent.

But Jane is good at math and went into finance. I became a meditation teacher, then ran out of money and got an advanced degree in literature. I now teach English at the college level and meditation occasionally. Jane fell in love with her high school sweetheart, a romance cliché I indulged in for the novel. She also moved back home. I still live in Colorado.

There are elements of the story that involve the idea of fate. How do you view fate operating (or not operating) in our lives?

I believe we come into each life with a purpose. We’re here to learn something, do something, and most importantly, embody full consciousness—as much as we can. The universe is alive and interacts with us constantly to give us feedback and help us stay on course. That is fate, messages sent to us from Universal Mind through the world around us and inside us, too—that small, quiet voice of our intuition. But if we get off course or don’t accomplish our mission, the universe doesn’t hold it against us. God, if you will, doesn’t judge. God is besotted with us and all of creation. Since we are not really separated from Universal Mind, there is really no problem. That’s hard to remember when we experience the difficulties of this world, but this is a spiritual training ground, like the Temperance card in Tarot.

John Hus

John Hus

I found the Moravian belief system fascinating. Could you briefly outline how their ideas differed from other Protestant groups?

 The Moravians were the first Protestant group, one hundred years before Luther. We came from John Hus (1369-1415), a Catholic priest who criticized the corruption in the church of his day. He was against selling indulgences, denying the laity the ability to drink from the chalice during communion, among other things. He preached in Czech, not Latin, in Prague. After his martyrdom, a movement continued his teachings and that grew into the Moravian Church.

Comenius was a bishop of the church, and he went to college with Johann Valentin Andreae, who wrote the Rosicrucian manifestos of 1616. You can see I used Andreae’s name in the book. My master mystic is Valentin. So the Moravian Church was deeply connected to that metaphysical revival. This group tried to get the Holy Roman Emperor out of Prague and replace him with a Rosicrucian leader. This was the Frederick V from what is now Germany who married the King of England’s daughter, Elizabeth. They were going to found an ideal society, but he is called the Winter King because the Thirty Years War began immediately and he was overthrown.

Comenius also advocated for universal education—boys and girls. He didn’t think memorization was a good way to learn and thought play was important. No harsh punishments of children.

These days, Moravians are ordinary Protestants for the most part. In the 1740s, Count Zinzendorf’s teachings had a much more metaphysical bent. What I found most fascinating was his teaching that the body has been redeemed, that there is no sexual shame, and that sex was not only for procreation, but could be used as a meditation almost. These sound so ordinary today, but I think we still suffer from body shame. Zinzendorf was a visionary. I realized that I could have had a thorough metaphysical education without leaving home if the church hadn’t repressed these teachings.

One thing that I really love is our motto: “In essentials unity. In nonessentials liberty. In all things love.” We don’t believe in forcing our beliefs on people, but in dialogue. That’s why the Moravians were the most successful missionaries, not that I really approve of missionaries. We were also pacifists up until the twentieth century.

All the history in The Star Family is based on fact. I have speculated, but from solid information. All of what happens in this novel is within the realm of possibilities. Except perhaps the ending, but even that—who can say?

Herrnhut

Herrnhut

What was the most fascinating part of the research you must have undertaken to produce the book? Did you travel to any of the locales Jane visits in the book?

The whole thing captured my heart and mind. I discovered that a Moravian minister had written his dissertation about this time period and Zinzendorf’s teachings. He has inspired others to research it and write about it. I was so nervous writing to a minister of our church. My memories of it were the 1950s when things were quite straight-laced. Earlier, my grandfather would pinch my father if he moved around too much in church. To discover we were so cool and ahead of our times really flipped my switch, so to speak.

Then Stephen and I traveled to Prague to view the Moravian roots, and then on to Herrnhut, Germany, where the church was reestablishing on Count Zinzendorf’s estate after the Thirty Years War scattered everyone to the four winds. To go to a place I’d heard about all my life, to walk through their God’s Acre, which is the graveyard, and see names I recognized from my family tree, was marvelous.

The idea of vibration, especially in the form of music, plays a crucial role in Jane’s story. To write those scenes, I imagined you had to have some musical training and a love for music. Is that the case?

The Moravians are quite musical, so I grew up with brass bands and the choir, plus lots of singing in church. Our hymns are unusual with lots of harmonies that I think create a vibratory field that creates peace and raises consciousness. The first time I transcended was listening to Bach. I sang in the children’s and adult choir. Every Easter Sunday, the brass band played at the street corner to wake up the Moravians to come to the Easter Sunrise Service. Brass bands play at many occasions. I was a music major for one semester, but theory was my downfall, so I switched majors. But I did go to college with a person who became a prominent sound healer.

Everything is vibration. Correct and purify the vibratory frequency, and you have harmony and healing. Sound is a good way to meditation. In my meditation training, the mantra was a sound, not a word with meaning. We followed the sound until it disappeared into the Transcendent.

As a writer of visionary fiction, what do you hope readers gain through your work?

 A deeper understanding of spirituality and spiritual teachings. I hope that they see their own experience reflected on the page and they’ll go, “Yes, I know that. I’ve felt that. So it’s real.”

Moravian stars

Moravian stars

What’s you next project?

I’m working on two books right now. One continues the Power Places series and returns to Egypt. I based it on an event that happened a couple of years ago. Some people were digging for artifacts under their house that borders the Giza Plateau and their house collapsed on them. My main character is called to investigate, and of course gets into all kinds of trouble. The first book in the series was also set in Egypt—Under the Stone Paw. Anne Le Clair inherits a crystal that turns out to be one of six keys to the Hall of Records. In the second book, the same aunt has left her a house in Glastonbury that backs up to the Tor—a doorway to faeryland no less. This book is also set in Atlantis—the two story lines intertwine.

I’m also finishing a book I started long ago. This one is women’s fiction exploring three characters who face the challenges of being female and mixed-race in the South from the 1890s to the 1970s. The daughter gets exorcised because she can see spirits.

Thanks for asking me to join you. It’s been a pleasure.

Visit her at http://theresacrater.wordpress.com

Twitter:  @theresacrater

Facebook:  Author page   https://www.facebook.com/tlcwrites

Good Reads:  http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2709251-theresa-crater

Linked In:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=36835613&trk=hb_tab_pro_top

 

 

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THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT

Sir Robert Ottley, Royalist

Sir Robert Ottley, Royalist

 Continuing with JH Brennan’s, Whisperings: The Secret History of the Spirit World, I wanted to mention the research conducted by Dr. A.R. G. Owen a few years after Bacheldor’s work. A Canadian research group led by Owen wondered if they could create a ghost.

Working a lot like fictional writers, the group created “Philip” and gave him a whole history. Philip had been a Cavalier officer during the English Civil War and had resided at Diddington Hall (a real place). The story of his life was a fabrication and went like this. Although Philip was married, he had an affair with a gypsy girl which had enraged his wife. The wife managed to have the girl denounced as a witch and burned. So distraught was Philip that he threw himself off the battlements of the hall committing suicide. Poor Philip!

Diddington Hall. Photo: John Evans

Diddington Hall. Photo: John Evans

The group held séances for a year trying to contact the Cavalier with no luck. I think it’s pretty amazing they’d keep at it that long with no result. One of the group eventually read Bacheldor’s work and wondered if a lighthearted atmosphere might make a difference. Giving it the old college try, they sang and told jokes, and oddly enough, after a few more séances, things started to happen. They heard their first rap and the table slid across the floor. Success at last! Encouraged, someone asked if Philip was doing it and was answered back with a loud rap. Having contacted the entity, the group used the one knock for yes and two for no method, to go on to communicate with Philip. Phillip affirmed the basic facts of his fictional life story and went on to reveal additional details the group had not created. The séances also produced various physical phenomena. The most spectacular was recorded for a television program. A table climbed a set of steps joining the panelists being interviewed.

Battle of Marston Moor, 1644

Battle of Marston Moor, 1644

I’ll leave you to ponder the significance of the Philip research. As a fiction author, I’m already concocting plots about how the other side conspires to have a good laugh at Owen and the other sitters.

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Time to Get Your Halloween On

whisperers

JH Brennan’s, Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World explores the powerful undercurrents flowing just beneath the surface of the history we’re taught in school. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, spirits, or faeries, is immaterial (pun intended). The fact that various phenomena have been occurring throughout pre-history right up until today is undeniable. Brennan doesn’t set out to prove the existence of ghosts as disembodied, earth-bound entities but rather he examines the effect they may have played on history.

It’s a fascinating book with lots of little surprises. I read the last two sections first and went back to the older histories later. While I love a good ghost story (and Brennan does share two personal experiences), it was some of the research into the phenomena that caught my attention.

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There have been many theories put forth to explain all manner of ghostly happenings, but none seem to fully explain everything. Indeed, although we tend to lump everything under the vast heading of the paranormal (or PSI), different phenomena may be different things entirely.

Brennan cites two studies which are fascinating. I’m going to outline the first one here and then take on the second in a follow-on piece.

In 1966, Kenneth Batcheldor (a UK psychologist) published findings in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research concerning the levitation of tables. Recall from the Victorian era, the spiritualism craze which involved spirit contact and various physical manifestations including rappings, materializations, levitation, etc.

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In 1964, Batcheldor conducted a series of 200 séances with a small group of sitters. In 120 of the sessions, no phenomena were observed but in 80 of them (40%), physical phenomena was seen. While table movement early in the trials could possibly be dismissed by involuntary muscle movement, by the 11th session, Batcheldor watched as a table rose and floated in the air. At this point he couldn’t rule out fraudulent means so he worked with an engineer to tighten his experimental controls. Once the controls were in place, the phenomena stopped- but over time, the phenomena returned. This was a pattern Batcheldor saw over and over again. Introduced slowly, the sitters appeared to acclimate to the controls and the happenings would start anew. Astonishingly enough, Batcheldor observed not only table movement and levitation, but a whole range of spirit phenomena reported by Victorian spiritualists and witnesses. Amongst the phenomena observed were rapping sounds, breezes, lights, the feeling of being touched, movement of objects including the pulling back of chairs, apports, and holding the table to the floor so it couldn’t be lifted.

levitation

The experiments seem to indicate people have the ability, through unconscious means, to produce a variety of physical phenomena. While it doesn’t definitively rule out spirit action, it does point toward interesting avenues for further research. Batcheldor theorized that early movement of the table due to muscle contractions conditioned sitters to expect phenomena and opened them up to actually producing it. This is something later PSI researchers discovered when examining other kinds of phenomena in a lab setting. Belief makes a difference, and in Batcheldor’s case, seeing the phenomena may have led to its manifestation. So here we learn nothing really about spirits, but it does indicate how little we (or science) know about the mind.

The book on Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Whisperers-Secret-History-Spirit-World-ebook/dp/B00EOARZGY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395336244&sr=1-1&keywords=whisperers+the+secret+history+of+the+spirit+world

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