I would have been about fourteen the first time it happened – an experience not of my seeking where a troubled spirit decided she needed to speak through me. My mother gave me a pen and some blank paper and suggested automatic writing as a way of dealing with it. I had a crazy weekend, as Hariet (one r) vented her pain, and then she went away, leaving me feeling rather odd and washed out.
I didn’t actively seek anything like that kind of experience for a long time. There were other incidents when, under stress, things that were not me would slip in – benevolent presences, thankfully.
Then in a planned ritual some years ago, my working group – most of them less experienced than I, sought to channel something through me. I don’t remember much of it. Apparently the first thing I said was ‘I come from between fire and ice’ so perhaps it was a Jotun. It was big, heavy, slow, and it took me days to get over it. A strange experience for me.
It’ something I appear to be quite good at. I’ve not explored it much because I need a working partner where there’s enough trust, mutual understanding and shared inclination to make it really work. But I have channelled on a few occasions… opened myself to deities, male and female, to a fox spirit, land spirits. It works best when there is genuine need.
It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing experience. Channelling is about relationship and communication, opening up to specific energies. I don’t recommend playing at it, or opening and seeing what you get. I suppose it’s a bit like sex – works better where there is trust and familiarity. It is a soul-naked kind of intimacy, and to be taken by force, without your consent is not unlike rape. Have someone to watch your back, who is strong enough to call you home no matter what happens. Go a little way at first, explore, reach out, don’t give entirely of yourself unless the trust is there, and the confidence. It is not a game to play or a thing to do lightly. If it happens to you, that’s one thing, and it becomes necessary to deal with it. Seeking it for the buzz of encountering something occult is dangerous, and the odds of getting a friendly encounter are slim. Be sure of your motives, and do not force yourself upon the world of spirit, not unless you want it to treat you in kind.