At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Channeling is the purported process of receiving dialogs of information through psychic, telepathic, empathic, or intuitive channels. Channeling also refers to divining information from one's higher mind.
The most well known, well documented channeler was Edgar Cayce. Cayce was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky 18 March 1877, and died 3 January 1945. During his life, Cayce made numerous predictions accompanied by long dialogs of information about future events, the directions health and science would take, and world politics. The accuracy of many of his predictions continues to defy the odds, though his methods are unexplained by science and therefore remain controversial.
Cayce, a photographer by trade with no medical background, also purportedly performed some 22,000 personal readings, aiding people around the world with healing advise for adverse physical conditions. Cayce's seemingly unlimited knowledge, when channeling, could not be explained and drew the attention of many academics, reporters and medical doctors in an attempt to expose what they expected to be clever trickery. Instead each came away believing Cayce to be legitimate, albeit without an understanding of his talents.
Cayce is referred to as a psychic because the term channeler had not yet been coined. Although Cayce could be called psychic, his talent went beyond what we normally associate with psychics. Psychics, like those who aid in modern police investigations, normally receive flashes or impressions, and disjointed snippets of information. This is far different than the type of phenomenon seen in Cayce, where a subject could be completely discussed in comprehensive detail, though it be a subject Cayce had no knowledge of when not in his self-induced sleep, or channel-state.
Cayce never claimed special powers, nor did he claim to be a prophet. His channeling, as he explained it, came from attaining a state of mind that was in touch with the "akashic records," a sort of universal database containing all knowledge. This pool of superconsciousness contained, according to Cayce, the subconscious mind of every individual who has ever lived on earth. Cayce believed this knowledge-realm was at the basis of all consciousness and available to anyone who learned how to tap it.
Cayce was a Christian who read the Bible cover-to-cover once a year for the duration of his life, and believed people should be loving towards each other and tolerant of all religions. He dedicated his life to helping others, and continued to do personal readings even when his own health was in peril from the sheer exhaustion of trying to keep up with the scores requests that arrived from all over the world.
While the world has yet to see another Edgar Cayce, there are a fascinating few who have attracted widespread attention and earned a reputation for legitimacy among those who believe. One example is Jane Roberts (1929-1984) who channeled the Seth series, probably the best known and respected channeler of recent years. The Seth series has sold millions of copies translated into a dozen languages, and has been praised by people like Deepak Chopra for its message of living life more happily through self-realization. Still in print, the Seth series continues to fascinate readers worldwide.
Today many people lay claim to channeling, while few present the kind of overwhelming legitimacy recognized by many in the works of Edgar Cayce. Until the mechanics of channeling can be scientifically proven or disproven it will likely remain a controversial subject, especially for those who require that science legitimize human experience before it can be considered valid.