September 7, 2013
The sunflower has been the emblem of Spiritualism since 1892. The Association of Spiritualists in Lily Dale, New York adopted the sunflower as its seal, as shown in its constitution and bylaws, adopted in early 1893.
The height of the sunflower protects plants and flowers nearby and protects them from the harsh weather. Spiritualism can be expressed similarly. It protects people from the superstition that prohibits spiritual growth, and provides them with a solid foundation on which to build a firm understanding of why they are here, what they must do, and where they are going.
The sunflower also has medicinal value and contains nearly a complete balance of all natural vitamins and minerals. The seeds and oil are beneficial to the birds and to mankind. Spiritualism stresses the value of spiritual and physical healing. Therefore, the motto of Spiritualism is:
As the sunflower turns its face to the light of the sun,
So Spiritualism turns the face of humanity to the light of Truth
The sunflower is a perfect symbol for spiritualism because the blossom is always seeking out the light. Symbolically, this is spiritually akin to the heart/soul of humankind always seeking and attaining unity with the light of faith and keeping a connection with the Source of one’s own understanding.
The sunflower is also likened to the life that surrounds a person. The figures that surround a sunflower coincide with what surrounds a person. Sunflowers have seven branches that stand for the seven days in a week and twelve leaves for the twelve months in a year. Each of the branches also usually gives life to three sunflowers, which are believed to stand for the Holy Trinity. And each of the sunflowers has 52 yellow petals, which stands for the 52 weeks in a year. And at the center of each flower, there are 365 seeds, just as there are 365 days in a year. The sunflower’s very nature also reflects something that Spiritualist believers suggest we do, which is to turn to the light.
The sunflower can grow in almost any type of soil. Rocks, clay and loam will not stop the seed from sprouting, providing it has light and water. So too with Spiritualism. Spiritualism is not status-driven and requires no special talent, secret ritual or lengthy preparation to participate
by founder Rev. Richard Lanigan
One month before I opened Saint Brigid’s Spiritual Centre, I still had no name for it. I had looked up all the Celtic names I could find and none seemed to fit. Over the next two weeks as I sat in a mediumship development circle, my grandmother on my father’s side (who I always known as Nana Lanigan) came to me twice. She just smiled at me and I got the feeling that she knew something that I didn’t. Following my Nana Lanigan’s visits, I developed a huge urge to know her name. I could not remember it until I went to a young woman’s home to do some work for her. She gave me such a warm welcome when she answered her door to me and said, “Hi you must be Richard, my name is Brigid.” Immediately I remembered that Brigid was also my grandmothers name.
When I arrived home later that day, my friend Ellie called me and asked if I had decided on a name yet as it was getting ever closer to opening day. I told her that I had not and she responded by asking me if I had thought of using Saint Brigid of Ireland for the name …
I asked Ellie (who is from Montreal) how she knew about Saint Brigid and she told me that through her spiritual learning she had studied Religions and knew about her. When I related my recent experiences about my grandmother and her name, Ellie’s response was, “That is too cool Richard, and as we know, there is no such thing as coincidence …” She then went on to point out that I was being given the name from Spirit. I agreed and that is why we are called Saint Brigid’s Spiritual Centre.
August 7, 2014
The truth is out there...
Mediumship is all about providing evidence of life after death, that our loved ones carry on after they have left the physical world. Sitting with a medium can be a wonderful experience when we receive validations of our loved ones coming through such as their name, significant dates, a description of what they looked like, their relationship to us and a meaningful message but science also has a few other interesting methods of gathering proof that you may have come across already through popular TV shows like Paranormal State and Britain’s Most Haunted.
Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) are recordings of voice or voice-like sounds that are not audible to the human ear. The frequencies of these sounds are reportedly well below the range of sounds that can be perceived by the human ear. Typically, but not always, they are short having a length of only one word or a short phrase. Common sources of EVP include static, stray radio transmissions and background noise.
I experienced EVP about a year ago when I visited a local medium for a reading. I decided to record the session with a digital recorder that I bought for the occasion. The medium herself did not record readings for her clients but was not opposed to the session being recorded.
Throughout the reading she gave clear and accurate information. She then began talking about a close friend of mine in Scotland and confirmed that she was not married which was true. That in itself wasn’t such a big deal, however, it wasn’t until much later that evening when I listened to the recording with my husband that the hair on the back of neck (and everywhere else for that matter) stood on end!! There, on the recording was a voice I did not recognize, a gruff but crystal clear older man with a Scottish accent also confirming the fact that my friend was not married – he said simply “that’s right!” There was no-one in the room during my session apart from myself and the medium and I was not aware of any noises other than our conversation at the time.
A famous case in 1959, was where Swedish painter and film producer, Friedrich Jürgenson, was recording bird songs. Upon playing the tape later, he heard what he interpreted to be his dead father’s voice and then the spirit of his deceased wife calling his name. He went on to make several more recordings, including one that he said contained a message from his late mother.
There are a number of simple scientific explanations that can account for why some listeners to the static on audio devices may believe they hear voices, including radio interference and the tendency of the human brain to recognize (or try to make sense of) patterns in random stimuli and of course there is always the chance that some recordings may be hoaxes created by frauds or pranksters. But what if our loved ones really are talking to us ..?
The concept of EVP has had quite an impact on popular culture. It is popular as an entertaining pursuit, as in ghost hunting, and as a means of dealing with grief. It has influenced literature, radio and films such as Sixth Sense, White Noise, The Changeling and TV shows such as Ghost Whisperer, The Omega Factor, A Haunting, Ghost Hunters, Paranormal Files, Supernatural and Derren Brown Investigates to name but a few.
Investigation of EVP is the subject of hundreds of regional and national groups and Internet message boards. There’s been a boom in ghost hunting ever since the Internet took off. Investigators, equipped with electronic gear—such as EMF meters, video cameras, and audio recorders—scour reportedly haunted venues hoping to capture visual and audio evidence of ghosts. Many use portable recording devices in an attempt to evidence EVP.
Orbs are another relatively modern phenomenon – those odd ‘balls’ that appear from time to time in our snapshots. Orbs are believed (by many) to be the human soul or life force of those that once inhabited the physical plane here on earth. No doubt you have many photos with an orb or two in them. Skeptics speculate that they are dust particles illuminated by a camera’s flash, but what of the orbs captured outside in the daylight such as the photos above?
It is a well known fact that our spirit friends and family enjoy hanging out at our get togethers and parties – wherever people are having fun and are full of energy – so it’s no surprise that often party photos are covered in orbs a bit like spotty wallpaper! Our spirit folk love to be around children too and are drawn to their fun and radiant energy. And think about it, manifesting as a small ball of light is bound to take a lot less energy than manifesting as a fully formed figure … and is a lot less likely to frighten the life out of you!!
April 1, 2014
Isn’t it remarkable how just about everything in life boils down to communication, or lack thereof? Well, it appears that things don’t change too much when we cross over either.
At the end of a recent evening of spirit, we opened the floor to questions and answers from the audience. A woman put up her hand and asked a really good question: “How come communication with spirits is so difficult or unclear? You would think that if they wanted to communicate with us then the information would come through clearly?“
You would think, right? Although mediumship is a science concerned with evidencing the existence of life after death … it’s not an exact science unfortunately. And communication does vary widely.
I’ve thought about the woman’s question a lot since that night and here’s my take on what I think is going on …
Some spirits, as with people in the physical world, are simply not the best communicators and so don’t say very much. If they didn’t say much in life, why should we expect them to change drastically when they cross over? Coupled with that, they have to work with the tools they have in their figurative toolbox ie the medium in front of you.
If the medium is not very experienced then communication can be difficult, it takes a long time to build up a ‘vocabulary’ where a spirit can show the medium something, for them to understand it and pass it on correctly. And therein lies the problem. If a medium tries to over interpret what they are receiving, there’s a danger that the message is ‘lost in translation’ and goes off in a totally different direction, ending up making little or no sense to the receiver. It’s like learning a completely different language, and one that is not necessarily all about ‘words’. Its complex.
Most mediums are trained to ‘give what they get’ and not to analyse on behalf of the recipient or pad out the message with other vague ‘fillers’. When this happens, it can make a meaningful message sound well, meaningless and unrecognisable. It’s frustrating. Even if the message is really short and direct, it is best left unfiltered by the medium. At the end of the day, the message is for the recipient and it’s up to them to interpret the meaning not the medium.
The other problem of course is language, spiritual language that is or perhaps I should say method of delivery. If spirits communicate in a certain way and mediums communicate in another it can be tricky. I’m talking about how mediums receive their information and by that I mean the ‘Clairs’ which we covered in the first edition of our newsletter.
For our newer readers, here’s a quick recap: Clairvoyance is where the medium sees things (eg the spirit form itself, images, faces, photos, objects, symbolic references, written words etc). Clairaudience is where the medium receives information through hearing (normally a spoken voice or songs). Clairsentience is where the medium receives information through feelings or sensations (eg emotions, pain in certain parts of the body, symptoms etc which help you to identify the spirit). If your spirit prefers to send messages visually and he is working with a clairsentient medium then … “Houston we have a problem!!“
I suppose, in this techno filled world, we could say it’s a bit like sending a text message with a photo attachment or music file to a blind person who reads Braille with their fingers!!
Most mediums use a mix of the Clairs but tend to be dominant in one. If they are predominantly clairsentient with a bit of vision, then the spirit can shout as loud as they like but only part of the message might make it through. With so much going on all at once, you can understand how difficult interpreting spirit communication might be!
People often come to platform events, or in deed readings expecting to hear from a particular loved one and are often quite surprised and reluctant to hear from someone else instead. Mediums do not summon the dead, they merely communicate spirit’s messages when they are ready to communicate. We have to accept that sometimes there is no message to pass along and the one person we long to hear from at that moment may not be available or ready to communicate with us at that time. We have to be patient and open minded about who and what comes through.
As mediums we are trained to seek a range of evidence about the spirit we are communicating with. These are known as validations. We try to get as much as possible including names, descriptions, significant dates, specific events going on right now in the recipients’ lives, manner of death, essence of personality, you name it, anything and everything we can to help you identify the person coming through.
Sometimes this catches you by surprise and you may not immediately recognize the person coming forward. Just relax, allow the information to come through for you. What the spirit describes as significant to them may not be immediately significant to you at the time but it might come back to you later. We call this psychic amnesia and it happens all the time!
Some people forget their own name when they are put on the spot never mind the name of their relative or friend who has passed!
But one thing that I do personally find especially frustrating is where a medium is describing someone they are getting and they give about ten pieces of validation – everything is spot on (or pretty much) and then one thing is slightly off. So, let’s be clear, nine things are correct, one is ambiguous and the recipient decides that it’s all a load of rubbish!!
Now I don’t know about you but if I was hoping to hear from a ‘Josie’ and the medium called her ‘Jessie’ … and everything else was pretty darned close, then that would be good enough for me!!
While we do welcome healthy skeptics, to be deliberately negative or obstructive spoils the night for everyone else and, of course, makes the skeptic look pretty dumb too. It’s not up to the medium to convert the recipient, it is merely their job to pass the message along. What the recipient wants to do with it after that is entirely up to them.
It should also be said that not everyone needs a long winded message from a loved one to know that they came through. For some people, all they need to hear is one word, one specific word that proves to them that their loved one was there. This one word can be completely meaningless or cryptic or even downright weird to the medium but it means the world to the person receiving the message. This happened to me recently when I asked for an example from spirit what a one word message might be, instantly I received the word “Rose”. I got no further information with the word, and had no idea whether it was a name or a flower but gave it anyway.
As it turned out, another lady at the end of that same evening came to me and asked why I had chosen the word “Rose” and so I explained again, telling her I’d asked spirit for an example. Rose was her mother’s name and she had come along hoping to hear something from her mom. As soon as she heard her mom’s name, that was ‘the one word’ she needed. She knew her mother had come through for a visit. It’s great when that happens and who knows, maybe next time she’ll stay a while and speak up!
– Val, Edmonton
October 14, 2014
by Rev. Richard Lanigan
The idea of assisted suicide or the act of ending one’s own life by their own hand is totally wrong. The reason for this is that mankind has never been able, and will never be able to create life out of nothing. Man and woman can procreate on a physical level but life is given to the physical entity by a far superior power than mankind. This powerful force is known to us as God, Spirit, the Infinite Intelligence, The Universal Source or Creator. Therefore we do not have the right to destroy this Life Force which is our Spirit, the real you.
If Man could create life out of nothing then maybe, and I strongly stress maybe, he would have the right to take it away. As a species we have evolved greatly and we live in a world of great abundance and because of the wonderful advancement of modern Technology our lives and the world we live in has become very convenient, but have we come to a stage where it is more convenient to end someone’s life than for the caregiver to continue to do the hard work of looking after the sick and the elderly with compassion and love.
If so, then we would be setting a very dangerous precedent by creating a loophole for people to commit legal homicide. No Doubt there would be a portion of society that would take advantage of such a loophole to end someone’s life for mere convenience sake. If we condone such an act of assisted suicide then I believe as a society we will be taking a huge step back in our evolution both spiritually and physically. This certainly is not progress.
We have the evidence of the magnificent power of our Creator all around us if we would only take the time to observe and examine it. By this, I mean for everyone to ask the questions, such as, where did it all come from and how did it all come to be. Take nature for instance. Our world is filled with an abundance of animals, birds, trees, flowers and our oceans are brimming with a magnificent array of different and stunning life forms. Where did this all come from, who created it. Take a flower or a tree for example. Mankind has never and will never be able to make a tree or a flower.
The intricate design of a tree and the magnificent patterns, beautiful and exotic colours and fragrances of a flower are awesome and a beauty to behold. The greatest architects and engineers of our world are incapable of building or making a tree or a flower that is totally natural. This is impossible for them. We can plant the seeds of these beautiful pieces of nature and with care, sunshine and rain they will grow and blossom but they were created and given life Eons ago by that same universal power, our Creator
.This was written with Spiritual and Scientific knowledge, common sense and love and respect for all life.