Somnambulism Defined | More on the Somnambulic State  | 
The Somnambulic Medium  | 
Related Topics: Ecstatic Trance and Second Sight

Somnambulism Defined 

You may sometimes hear reference made to the "somnambulic medium".  It is important to understand that one can be somnambulic without being a medium, and one can exercise a mediumistic faculty without being in the somnambulic state.  In the somnambulic medium, there are actually two types of phenomena taking place; here we will point out the distinction between the two. We first describe the state of somnambulism in order to then make the distinction from the somnambulic medium.

Somnambulism is a trance state in which the spirit of a person experiences a partial liberation or independence from the material body, one that is more complete than that which we all experience during the dream state, and in which its faculties are more developed; Its perceptions are greater.  While the material body remains in a state resembling catalepsy, no longer receptive to external impressions, the liberated spirit has complete self-control and is freed from the corporeal influence. This phenomenon occurs most often during sleep when the spirit is able to leave the body, while the latter remains at rest. ("Spirits' Book" Q#425).   

Kardec writes ("Medium's Book" #172)

"The somnambulist acts under the influence of his own spirit; it is his own soul which, in its moments of emancipation, sees, hears, and perceives, beyond the limits of the senses; what he expresses he draws from himself.  His ideas are generally more morally sound than in his normal state, and his spiritually accumulated  knowledge is more accessible to him, because his soul is free; in a word, the somnambulic state is a sort of foretaste of the spirit-life.

Many somnambulists see discarnate spirits and describe them with as much precision as do seeing mediums; they can converse with them as well.   

Regarding the Limits of our Perceptions in Dream State:
 Though the dream state involves a partial liberation of the soul during sleep, it is less developed than in this kind of trance state. In this case, "the body operates at a minimum level.  Its ability to send information to, and receive impressions from, the spirit is greatly reduced. Further complicating the situation, dreams are also affected by the spontaneous emergence of random images from the unconscious. It is easy to understand, therefore, why a spirit would have no recollection at all in the case of trance and why a large number of dreams seem incoherent."  "However some of the apparent incoherence may be explained by an incomplete recollection of resolutions made by the spirit [or intuition of the future] or of events that have taken place in a remote past [i.e., former existence]."  ("Spirits' Book" #425)