Introduction | Mental or Intellectual Influence | Moral Factor |
Spirit’s Choice | Medium’s Responsibility


Medium's Book, item 223, question 7 and answer:

"When a spirit communicates through a medium, does he transmit his thoughts directly, or does he use the incarnated spirit of the medium as his intermediary?"

"The medium's spirit acts as the interpreter of the communicating spirit, because he is linked with the body, which, in such cases, plays the part of speaker, and also because there must be a conductor between you and the discarnate spirits who communicate with you, just as, for the transmission of a telegraphic message, there must be a wire connecting the points of transmission and of reception, and at the ends of the wire, an intelligent person who transmits, and another who receives, the message conveyed by the electric fluid."

Those who are new to the observance and/or study of mediumship sometimes perceive the medium to be hardly more than mere microphone for a communicating spirit,  transmitting a message without influencing the content or style of that message in any way.   In reality, however, a medium acts more like an interpreter when exercising his role as an intermediary instrument used by the spirit.  Inevitably, then, the message that was communicated by the spirit will suffer, to some greater or lesser degree, an influence from that medium.  This is similar to the way that  a foreign language interpreter ultimately influences the translation of a message from the speaker of one language to the listener or reader of another.   The accuracy of the message always depends on the preparation, skills, and character of the messenger.

The spirits even tell Kardec that if the medium "is not properly tuned in to [the spirits], he may alter their replies and assimilate them to his own ideas and propensities", adding, however, that this medium "does not influence the spirits themselves; he is only an inexact interpreter."  They remind us that "the same thing occurs amongst [humans] when a message is conveyed through a careless, hostile, or unfaithful messenger."  Knowing that mediums vary in the nature of their faculties and can, thereby, be more or less active or passive, more or less conscious or unconscious during the moment of the communication¹,  you may wonder how this influence works in the case of the passive, unconscious medium.  Kardec asked about this² , to which the spirits explained that "In order to transmit an intelligent communication, the medium must have an intelligent intermediary, and this intermediary is furnished by the spirit of the medium....... The medium is passive when he does not mingle his own ideas with those of the communicating spirit, but he is never an absolute nullity."

Naturally, we can understand why the sprits confirm for Kardec that certain spirits have a preference for certain mediums, as they "seek for interpreters those who are in sympathy with themselves and able to transmit their thought correctly."

The influence of a medium upon the message of the communicating spirit can be of a mental, that is to say, intellectual nature and/or of a moral nature.  Here we will look at the functioning of both types.


¹ See "Speaking and Writing Mediums" on menu bar at left
² See "Mediums' Book, item 223 Question 9