The Spirit Circle is the assembling together of a number of persons seeking communion with the spirits who have passed from earth to the world of souls. The chief advantage of such an assembly is the mutual impartation and reception of the combined magnetisms of the assemblage, which form a force stronger than that of an isolated subject—enabling spirits to commune with greater power and developing the latent gifts of mediumship.
The first conditions to be observed relate to the persons who compose the circle. These should be, as far as possible, of opposite temperaments, as positive and negative; of more characters, pure minds, and not marked by repulsive points of either physical or mental condition. No person suffering from disease, or of debilitated physique, should be present at any circle, unless it is formed expressly for healing purposes. I would recommend the number of the circle never to be less than three, or more than twelve. The best number is eight. No person of a strong positive temperament should be present, as any such magnetic spheres emanating from the circle will overpower that of the spirits, who must always be positive to the circle in order to produce phenomena.
Never let the apartment be over-heated, the room should be well ventilated. Avoid strong light, which, by producing motion in the atmosphere, disturbs the manifestations. A subdued light is the most favourable for spiritual magnetism.
I recommend the séance to be opened either with prayer or a song sung in chorus, after which subdued, harmonising conversation is better than wearisome silence; but let the conversation be directed towards the purpose of the gathering, and never sink into discussion or rise to emphasis. Always have a pencil and paper on the table, avoid entering or quitting the room, irrelevant conversation, or disturbances within or without the circle after the séance has commenced.
Do not admit unpunctual comers, nor suffer the air of the room to be disturbed after the sitting commences. Nothing but necessity, indisposition, or impressions, should warrant the disturbance of the sitting, WHICH SHOULD NEVER exceed two hours, unless an extension of time be solicited by the Spirits.
Let the séance always extend to one hour, even if no results are obtained; it sometimes requires that time for spirits to form their battery. Let it be also remembered that circles are experimental, hence no one should be discouraged if phenomena are not produced at the first few sittings. Stay with the same circle for six sittings; if no phenomena are then produced you may be sure you are not assimilated to each other; in that case, let the members meet with other persons until you succeed.
A well-developed test medium may sit without injury for any person, but a circle sitting for mutual development should never admit persons addicted to bad habits, strongly positive or dogmatical. A candid inquiring spirit is the only proper frame of mind in which to sit for phenomena, the delicate magnetism of which is made or marred as much be mental as physical conditions.
Impressions are the voices of spirits or the monitions of spirit within us, and should always be followed out, unless suggestive of wrong in act or word. At the opening of the circle, one or more are often impressed to change seats with others. One or more are impressed to withdraw, or a feeling of repulsion makes it painful to remain. Let these impressions be faithfully regarded, and pledge each other that no offence shall be taken by following impressions.
If a strong impression to write, speak, sing, dance, or gesticulate possess any mind present, follow it out faithfully. It has a meaning if you cannot at first realize it. Never feel hurt in your own person, nor ridicule your neighbour for any failures to express or discover the meaning of the spirit impressing you.
Spirit control is often deficient, and at first imperfect. By often yielding to it, your organism becomes more flexible, and the spirit more experienced; and practice in control is necessary for spirits as well as mortals. If dark and evil disposed spirits manifest to you, never drive them away, but always strive to elevate them, and treat them as you would mortals, under similar circumstances. Do not always attribute falsehoods to “lying spirits,” or deceiving mediums. Many mistakes occur in the communion of which you cannot always be aware.
Unless charged by spirits to do otherwise do not continue to hold sitting with the same parties for more than a twelvemonth. After that time, if not before, fresh elements of magnetism are essential. Some of the original circle should withdraw, and others take their places.
Never seek the spirit circle in a trivial or deceptive spirit. Then, and then only, have you cause to fear it.
Never permit any one to sit in circles who suffers from it in health or mind. Magnetism in the case of such persons is a drug, which operates perniciously, and should be carefully avoided.
Every seventh person can be a medium of some kind, and become developed through the judicious operations of the spirit circle. When once mediums are fully developed, the circle sometimes becomes injurious to them. When they feel this to be the case, let none be offended if they withdraw, and only use their gifts in other times, and places.
All persons are subject to spirit influence and guidance, but only one in seven can so externalize this power as to become what is called a medium; and let it ever be remembered that trance speakers, no less than mediums for any other gift, can never be influenced by spirits far beyond their own normal capacity in the MATTER of the intelligence rendered, the magnetism of the spirits being but a quickening fire, which inspires the brain, and, like a hot-house process on plants, forces into prominence latent powers of the mind, but creates nothing. Even in the case of merely automatic speakers, writers, rapping, and other forms of test mediumship, the intelligence of the spirit is measurably shaped by the capacity and idiosyncrasies of the medium. All spirit power is limited in expression by the organism through which it works, and spirits may control, inspire, and influence the human mind, but do not change or re-create it.—EMMA HARDINGE BRITTEN
Transcribed from document at EHB Two Worlds November 18, 1887 Page 14 pdf.
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EHB Two Worlds 1887
EHB Two Worlds November 18, 1887 Page 14 pdf
The Emma Harding Britten Archive also led to the blog “Chasing Down Emma.” Wonderful in-depth information on Emma Hardinge Britten.