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Questions Answered Extempore by Miss Emma Hardinge 1866


Question 6


WILL you indicate the nature of the dangers, if any, attending the cultivation of mediumship, and how any such may be guarded against?




EVERY human organism possesses the force which constitutes mediumship. I have said that every human being is a medium, and it belongs to the present question to represent in what sense. There is an inevitable and direct relation between the highest and the lowest of all forms and all beings in creation, and this direct relationship produces a mode of mutual influence and spiritual impression between all creatures, which is inspiration. It is the chain of thought which permeates all spheres and worlds, and wherever receptive beings are found, inspiration connects them - the lowest with the highest. Each creature receives its appropriate share of inspiration, and it is such as his organism and process of development enables him to receive. Thus each living being is in this sense a medium for an influence from some other being; whether this can manifest itself in external phenomena or not, is not now the question. Whether it can be cultivated is the point to which we would call your attention, and to this we reply. Yes. As all inspiration is regulated and meted out to every creature by the measure of their receptivity, so whatsoever improves the intellect refines the understanding, or helps to aid the aspiration of the spirit to higher and grander spheres than those of earth; all these constitute the direct and progressive stages of receptivity by which our inspiration may be cultivated. I separate this kind of mediumship from the question of mere external phenomena. This is produced wholly through the physical organism and the amount of magnetism and electricity given off by the system. Electricity is the finer and more sublimated pole of the magnetic battery within us; magnetism is the coarser and grosser: and though it is one and the same substance, yet, as exhibiting polarity, we may separate them and call them electricity and magnetism. Those persons who possess either of these forces in excess (both being one force but exhibiting themselves in a dual mode) and give it off in such abundance as to enable spirits to form a battery with them, are called spirit-mediums. Ether of these exhibitions may be cultivated by placing yourselves in magnetic relations with each other, as in spirit-circles; or by determining the nervous forces in the direction of thought of certain organs of the brain, by aspiration, prayer, and contemplation of spiritual subjects. Thus, when you sit in circles, or alone, waiting for the manifestation of the spirit, all your nervous force is determined in the direction of the peculiar thought which is fastened upon the spirit-world, and therefore in the circle, or in the attitude of waiting for the spirit, you may be sure you are in rapport with the spirit-world, even if your organism fails to furnish the requisite force of magnetism to produce the evidence of its presence by phenomena. The dangers that grow out of these exercises are the possibilities of parting with too much magnetism, or of sending forth too great a charge of electricity in the determination of the nervous force, and the loss that is sustained is calculated sometimes to derange either the organs of the brain or of the physical system, and hence deterioration of health or of



the equilibrium which we call sanity may possibly ensure. But remember that if these dangers exist in the attempt to cultivate the relationship between the spiritual and natural world, God never leaves himself without a witness of warning and instruction, alike in your senses, hearts, consciences and understandings. The voice of conscience dictates to you right and wrong; the emotions of your heart regulate your affections; and the word is equally potent that comes to your understanding. If your or the equilibrium of your mind suffer, be sure that kind Nature is herself lessoning you to desist from your exertions. If those nameless antipathies and repulsions that sometimes prevail at the spirit-circle are disregarded, how shall the spirit speak to the outward ear if the interior is blunt and deaf? The external senses speak through the understanding, the spirit through feeling and emotion. These are the warnings whose failures and observances are to teach you to wend your way through the new and seemingly mysterious science of Spiritualism. There is no royal road to learning, or to the language of the heart and conscience in morals and affections, and why should there be in this new mental science, which you are called upon to spell out for yourselves through mental monitions. Be sure that the warnings of the spirit which have been referred to, are discoverable in feeling, nervous sensibility, or the various phases of spiritual perception that arise at the spirit-circle. Our spirits are wiser than we deem, and their impressions are the voice of the spirit speaking to the natural man with a wisdom beyond the natural only.


The “dangers of the spirit-circle” arise only when they manifest themselves as danger or direct evils. Heed the voices of warning of which I have spoken; be your own sentinels at the spirit circle; let your conscience be present and warn you back from one single attempt of spirit, embodied or disembodied to trench upon the law of right. The voice of conscience is as potent at the spirit circle if you will heed it as in the city streets, or in the midst of embodied souls. Let your hearts plead with you in the name of affection, in the name of those holy ties of kindred which God himself has knit around your hearts, to communicate with the precious “dead” when they come to you at the spirit circle, as readily as you would do if father, mother, brother, sister, or friend stood before you in the embodied form of mortality. Let none step between you and the teachings of your heart. Wheresoever father, mother, or friend are, and still living, your heart has the right to go out and search for them. It has the right to penetrate into all mysteries of space which can bring you a response from those whom God has taught you to love, and let the voice of your understanding be the third monitor to warn you of the dangers of the spirit circle where they exist. Be sure that wheresoever health, or equilibrium of mind is injured, your understanding clearly points the way of retreat. Use your judgment at the spirit circle, rend the veil of mystery in which you envelope the subject and treat it as it deserves, as a revelation to humanity which does not need any other supernatural revelation to explain it, than the understanding which God Himself has given you. Deal with the dangers of modern Spiritualism after this fashion and you will find that instead of the phantom you fear, you are grasping the substance of life in attempting to explore the science of Spiritualism. There are no real dangers in the spirit circle but such as grow out of the very same excesses which in morals we call sin, in science ignorance, and in spirit communion too much fanaticism, or scepticism, or an attempt to transmute the simply natural into the abnormal supernatural.


Question 7  January 22nd, 1866