MEDIUMSHIP: SOMNAMBULISM AND SOMNAMBULIC MEDIUMSHIP
Somnambulism Defined | More on the Somnambulic State |
The Somnambulic Medium |
Related Topics: Ecstatic Trance and Second Sight
More on the Somnambulic State
Just as the perceptions of a spirit are heightened in this trance state, the somnambulist (a person in the somnambulic trance) may also speak of things that he or she is unaware of during the normal, waking state and that are often above his or her intellectual capacity. That is because, during this trance state, the spirit may be able to access, though not always completely, knowledge that it acquired during a past life and that remains latent during the present life, because of the physical body's imperfection and subsequent inability to remember all that the spirit knows. Once the trance is over, these recollections fade from its consciousness. ("Spirits' Book" #431)
We must be careful and understand that even though the somnambulist sees with the eyes of the soul, it may not see everything and may be mistaken at times. The superior spirits explain ("Spirits' Book" #430), telling us:
In the first place, average spirits don't see and understand everything. Remember, they still share your misconceptions and predispositions. Furthermore, as long as they remain attached to the material world, they cannot make use of all their capabilities. God has given that gift of trance to the human species for a serious and useful purpose, not to inform you about matters you are not prepared to know. This is why trance subjects are often unable to give flawless information.
In the somnambulic state, though partially liberated from the body, the spirit can command its body to perform certain actions, and "the use of the body in this manner is reminiscent of the way spirits use tables or other material objects to produce physical manifestations, or use the hand of a medium to transmit written messages." ("Spirits' Book" Q.425). Even what we sometimes refer to as "sleep-walking" falls under this category of phenomena.
In the Book "O Espiritismo Perante A Ciencia" (Spiritism and Science) by Gabriel Delanne, we find three interesting examples of such cases that were studied. The first was of a priest who arose every night, composed a sermon (in the sleep-state), and then returned to bed. He always "read" aloud each page as it was finished, even when some friends held a thick paper between his eyes and the paper, proving that he was seeing with the eyes of the spirit. The second case was of a pharmacist who, during his sleep each night, arose and went to the laboratory of his pharmacy to continue filling the prescriptions that he did not finish during the day; in this work that involved using stoves, preparing stills and vases, managing test tubes, weighing out exact measurements of the various substances and mixing them with the appropriate materials, etc., he took great care and never had an accident, an example of the confidence with which many somnambulists act. The third example demonstrates the clear rationalism with which the somnambulist thinks and acts in the state of liberation. It is of another pharmacist who arose during his sleep and prepared chemical mixtures, the formulas for which were laid out on the table. To test him, a doctor laid out an absurd prescription that would have been detrimental to any patient. The pharmacist was extremely puzzled with the formula, concluded that the doctor must have made a mistake, and did not fill the prescription, whereupon he went on to complete the rest of his work.
Note: Somnambulism can be either natural (also called spontaneous) or induced, the exception being that the latter is provoked ("The Spirits' Book" Q 426). This provocation involves a technique that began with the magnetizers of the late 18th century and has evolved into what is known today as Hypnotism.