MB asks: “Is there any danger in automatic writing? Some kids I know like to fool around with it and say they get messages ‘from beyond.’ Is that possible.”
For those who are not familiar with automatic writing, this practice is similar to the Ouija board only instead of spelling out answers to questions with a planchette, a person “receives” these answers on paper. They hold a pen which is said to move independently across the page and write out messages, usually from deceased persons or from unknown discarnate entities.
Automatic writing is also known as trance writing because the person goes into a kind of trance and writes whatever comes to mind very quickly and without forethought. New Agers believe this allows a person to tap into the subconscious mind where the “true self” exists and where deep and mystical thoughts can be accessed. Others use automatic writing to access outside “intelligences” and spiritual entities for advice and guidance. Some psychotherapists also employ the practice as a way to release repressed memories although there is no scientific evidence proving that trance writing has any therapeutic value.
There are many famous automatic writers, such as a Swiss spirit medium named Helene Smith (nee Catherine-Elise Muller) a French psychic who invented an entire written language with which she claimed to be communicating with Martians. (Believe it or not, the book she wrote about her martian friends was a best seller in her day!) She also claimed to be a reincarnation of a Hindu princess and Marie Antoinette. In the end, however, her martian language was found to be suspiciously similar to the French language, which was, by the way, her native tongue.
Another famous automatic writer was Jane Roberts, a psychic and spirit medium who claimed to be channeling a spirit named Seth who imparted all the wisdom of the universe to her which she shared with the rest of the world in a series of best-selling books. Roberts and her husband met Seth while playing with a Ouija board and eventually abandoned the board and took up pen and paper to continue their dialogue. Roberts’ husband even painted a picture of Seth, which the entity claimed was a very good rendition of himself. During these sessions with Seth, the entity would take control of Jane and she would speak aloud while her husband wrote down everything she said.
Helen Schucman, the author of A Course in Miracles, is another famous automatic writer who claimed to have been channeling Jesus Christ when she wrote her now famous course in brainwashing which is designed to totally dismantle a person’s Judeo-Christian worldview. Schucman insisted that Jesus dictated the book to her over the course of seven years, describing His voice as being “strictly mental . . . otherwise I would consider it hallucinatory activity.”
The dangers of experimenting in these practices are more than I can recount in a single blog.
Spiritually, one is putting their soul at risk by opening themselves to the influence of occult forces. Practices such as automatic writing, which is considered to be a form of divination, are categorically condemned by the Church because they “all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect and loving fear that we owe to God alone.” (Catechism No. 2116)
This is in addition to the other dangers that accompany this practice. For instance, Anita Muhl, M.D., an authority on automatic writing, says this practice can cause a tendency to schizophrenic reactions. “The subject begins to lose interest in everyday contacts and responsibilities and often becomes delusional and hallucinated. I have seen many a fine business and professional man lose his grip through too intense interest in automatic writing.” The person becomes “less and less able to face reality” and these automatisms “frequently precipitate a psychosis.”
I would like to give a word of advice to those friends of yours who think automatic writing is a game – get prepared to lose because this a game you just can’t win.
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