Recently, one of my readers asked if I had heard of Tracy Twyman or the book she has been touting on podcasts, Clock Shavings. Honestly, I had not and I replied thusly but agreed to investigate a little. What I found, in the course of looking at Ms. Twyman’s blog and listening to one of her interviews, left me quite unsettled.
Listening to this interview, I heard the following declarations regarding her repeated communication with entities via the ouija board:
“I was way more impressed that it was just working . . .”
Ms. Twyman referred, on a couple of occasions to “dealing with evil . . .”
She stated at one point that she was “so busy talking to demons” that she did not have time for contact with other entities (even though she claims to have talked to Jesus once).
When discussing the suicide of her spouse (or ex-spouse, not certain from the context), Ms. Twyman was asked if she felt that her communications via the ouija board had anything to do with this man’s death. Her reply: “(it) went through my mind at the time . . .”
In addition, Ms. Twyman stated that she sometimes got contradictory information from the spirits that she communicated with. In addition to all this, my general impression of the entities that she was communicating with is that they presented themselves as sort of super-villains intent on toying with mankind.
Now, I have never used a ouija board and have no intention of ever doing so but I do know a thing or two about spirit communication, having some mediumistic tendencies, and evocation and this interview was, in my mind, a primer on how not to communicate with spirits.
One of my main concerns with the ouija board is not that people are talking to spirits. If you want to see if you can raise your dead grandfather or talk to a faery being that is your business. My concern is all those people out there who basically get onto the board, put out a call to anything in the vicinity and then wonder why they get chilling messages or even spirit interference in their lives. It is the equivalent of setting off up a beacon in the Otherworld and talking to whoever happens by. As I have noted repeatedly in this blog, most of the residents beyond the veil could care less about humans but those who are attracted to our energy can be quite beneficial, neutral, mischievous or downright malevolent.
If we look at this from the point of view of a medium, someone who is alleged to have concourse with spirits on a regular basis, basic training for this talent involves a stepped series of meditations that seek to introduce the medium to what some might call their gatekeeper. The gatekeeper is a spirit who, after long acquaintance and repeated testing, is entrusted with vetting the contacts that come to the medium and/or providing the medium with information about approaching spirits and warding off those that are not helpful.
In Harner style neo-shamanic training, one does not approach or deal with other spirits until one has developed a relationship with a power animal (Lower World) and a guiding being (Upper World) and one never travels shamanically without the accompaniment of an ally. The purpose, again, is to provide the shamanic practitioner with a vetting system for spirits and to get the practitioner to the spirits that he or she is seeking or may need for assistance.
Finally, a magician who is seeking to evoke a spirit works hard to make certain they get exactly the spirit that they are evoking. He or she will study the known characteristics of the spirit, try to find a sigil or other symbol that calls forth the presence of that spirit, make note of the sort of offering the spirit might accept and so forth. Once all the research is done, the magical worker puts together a ritual that puts out a call for that spirit, and that spirit alone unless he or she is seeking to summon forth more than one being – a tricksy proposition at most times.
The point of this rambling? In none of these traditions of spirit communication is it acceptable to simply throw the doors open and admit whoever or whatever shows up. Even in the possessory religions, since as Vodoun, where the spirits actually ‘ride’ their followers, there is a progressive induction of trance that is set in a strong cultural base that summons those spirits (the lwa) and those spirits alone and there are set methods for bringing the person out of trance if needed. The point is that the spirits do not control a spirit communication; the medium, shaman, magician etc is expected to know what they are about, to test any spirits they encounter and to be able to banish anything that does not belong. That seems a far cry from picking up the planchette and going to town, does it not?
Why is this important? Because, my good readers, like people, spirits lie. While there are many beneficial and powerful beings in the Otherworld, who are quite interested in assisting and informing humans, there are also any number of beings that hold humans in disdain or worse. Not all of these beings will resort to outright attack. Many of them will preen in the glow of the attention they are getting and will tell the person communicating with them anything to keep that person coming back. Spirits have access to knowledge that we do not and they can be quite good at pulling things out of a person’s consciousness stream, adding some information or pseudo-information and giving the person exactly what they want to hear in words that sound oh so reasonable and make the human feel just a little bit superior.
I am sure Ms. Twyman would disagree with me, vociferously, and that is her right. I am sure that she has had communications but I reserve the right to question the true nature of the spirits with which she has had concourse.