In February 2007, I took Betsy Coffman’s beginning channeling class, or “C1.” This was 10 months before I started working with Mendy Lou Blackburn regularly. While I had done a little bit of channeling at the piano with my composer friend years before, I had never done any verbal channeling, and most of this method was completely new to me. I’m posting it in hopes that it will be of use to some people I know who have recently started into this kind of endeavor. For a bit of background about Betsy and her work, you can check the interview with her I posted on this blog some months ago. It would also be useful to read my post “Orion’s Net,” which concerned an experience I had with the main entity Betsy channels.
Here’s what I wrote about the C1 class at the time it happened:
It was a little difficult for me to come to terms with what I read about Betsy’s source, Orion, on her website. Orion was supposed to be an entity from a “universe beyond and behind the Pleiades.” Give me a break! I don’t react well to gobbledygook like that. However, I had a good feeling about Orion from meeting him in one of Betsy’s Monday night public sessions. And I had a good feeling generally about taking the class. I decided to jump in.
The main point of the class was for Orion and his associates to make adjustments in our systems that would increase our telecommunications capabilities, so to speak. This was immediately palpable. Almost the moment we sat down, the entities began working on us. We were told that they would work mainly on our crown and throat chakras, and we did feel a lot going on around our heads. Betsy told us that headaches were a common reaction, and that she still gets a headache before giving a class or a presentation. The headache, she said, was a reaction to the pressure of the energy building up, and the best way to deal with it was to start talking or writing, to let the message out. She described other possible bodily reactions that would let us know the work was being done. We sure didn’t have any trouble believing that something was going on; all of us had very strong, even overwhelming sensations of powerful energies in the room. I felt lightheaded, spinny, and oddly nonverbal, almost unable to speak.
As is typical with classes of all kinds, at the beginning we were asked to introduce ourselves and tell why we had come to this particular experience. I had a whole speech prepared about my reasons for being there, but I felt quite unable to give it, so I explained that I wasn’t able to say much of anything and that I was going to leave my introduction for another time.
Betsy gave us the story of how she came to be there, as well. I was amused to find that she wasn’t too crazy about the Pleiades business, either. She said that for the entire first year that she channeled, most of the messages had to do with her former life somewhere in the Pleiades. Her reaction was rather like mine—“Again with the Pleiades!” And she felt that the information wasn’t of any practical value. Finally she told the entities, “You know, I’m really not interested in this. Couldn’t you tell me something more useful?” At that point, apparently, she began to receive information that she could apply to her own present life and the lives of her clients.
Betsy talked a lot about what channeling felt like and how we could be sure we were really doing it. She said it was normal to feel that we must be making it all up, since it was easy and natural, not a struggle at all. She recommended starting with prayer, and then beginning to say something, just about anything, to give the entities a “runway” to take off from.
Our first tries
I was a little surprised to find that we would be individually put on the spot. We went around the room, with each student in turn making an attempt to channel. All of us managed to do some form of channeling, or at least to have some sort of communication with some sort of energy, on the first try. Betsy said that we were an exceptional class. “Oh, you say that to all your classes,” someone teased, but Betsy insisted that we had accomplished something unusual.
My experience on that go-round was extremely puzzling, and I still don’t understand it. When it was my turn, I felt a definite contact with an energy that was not familiar to me, but did not seem problematic in any way. I could feel it near the top of my head. I asked how I could make a stronger connection, and the energy suddenly flowed down through my body into my pelvis, where it seemed to pool and settle in. I was having a lot of trouble with joints in that area, and I thought the entity might be wanting to help with that. I felt my hands starting to move, and I reported that I was getting physical movements, not words.
Because I hadn’t introduced myself and described my background, Betsy didn’t know that this was a common experience for me. She was not pleased, and said I wasn’t ready for that and should not let this being take over my body. She coached me through tossing it out, and had us all say, “Begone!” and “Go to the light!” I was a bit shocked, because I hadn’t perceived anything negative. The entity felt comfortable to me.
When the thing was gone and Betsy felt we were all well protected and on an even keel again, she explained that the being had been an aspect of me, someone I had been in a past life. She saw it as an imperious, ruthless queen, someone who had done great harm. I hadn’t perceived any personality whatsoever, and frankly, I felt a little doubtful about her perceptions. However, some of the students saw something along these lines as well.
This encounter made me feel more vulnerable and wimpy than ever. However, Betsy’s take on what had happened was quite the opposite. She said that I was having problems like this specifically because I was such a powerful channel. This was certainly not something I would have expected to hear. She went on to explain that because I was powerful, I was being noticed; I stood out energetically and attracted attention, including unwanted attention.
I told her that I had been attacked by an extremely negative entity in the past, and had had some other experiences that made me very nervous about contacting new and unknown beings. I wanted to be open enough to get the job done, I said, but I didn’t want to be open to just anything. How could I protect myself? Betsy, who tends to speak rather biblically, told me to “put on the armament of the Kingdom of Heaven.” “The breastplate and everything,” she added. I didn’t have a clue what the armament of the Kingdom of Heaven ought to look like, but this sounded like a great idea. I quickly built myself a medieval suit of armor, covering everything down to my toes and fingertips. I felt wonderfully safe in there, but could still perceive everything I needed to perceive—the armor didn’t block anything I didn’t want to block. At the same time, Betsy called on the Archangel Michael to guard us, and I had an image of Michael in his own armor, holding his sword up straight in front of his body, standing between us and anything that might wish to cause harm. These images were a great comfort. (While Michael is apparently an extremely popular entity with whom people report contacts quite often, I didn’t perceive him as actually being with us; I just had a mental picture of him. He might well have been there, though, without my being aware of him.)
Later, I had occasion to tell a little bit about the demon attack I had survived in 1999. [See my post “A Case of Possession.] Betsy said that my brushes with the dark side made me more powerful than I would have been otherwise, because I could recognize and deal with those forces. She said I was about 80 percent light and 20 percent dark. I’m not quite sure what to make of that.
In the early afternoon, we were given an exercise in which we were supposed to visualize three entities, one to our left, one in the center, and one on our right. We were to ask each one for its name, its relationship to us, a message, and a gift. While this exercise was a little bit mechanical, it seemed helpful and confidence-building to have a definite framework to start with.
I had often complained that channeled entities have such pretentious names, like Orion or Emmanuel or Ramtha. Well, the first entity I contacted, the one on my left, said that his name was Larry! Spirit’s really playing with me, I thought. Larry started off with a big, warm hug. When I asked what he was to me, I heard the word “father,” but he bore no resemblance to my father at all, in any form, and I don’t know what that was about. His message was, “Don’t sell yourself short.” For a gift, he showed me an old-fashioned telephone, the kind we used to rent from Ma Bell. It was that standard beige, an early touch-tone model, and it sat on a small table with a white tablecloth, appearing to be lit by a spotlight, floating in front of me. What a perfect gift—as if to say, “Call anytime.” As I was taking leave of Larry, I embraced him again, and could see/feel a scruffy, stubbly sort of salt-and-pepper beard. Larry seemed to be the kind of guy who could be found sitting around in his undershirt, drinking a beer, watching the game. If Orion is from the Pleiades, Larry must be from Cleveland. I wanted unpretentious, and I got it.
The next entity, in the center, was a complete contrast, and in her case I had that feeling Betsy had warned us about, the feeling of “I must be making this up.” It was Kuan Yin that appeared to me, and having sincerely wished to contact her in the last few days, I was delighted to see her. She held a long mala of large, deep green beads, and that was what she gave to me. I decided that they must be jade, though truly they were too dark of a green. I just thought jade would be properly symbolic. Kuan Yin’s message seemed at cross purposes with Larry’s; she said, “Be humble and listen.” She gave her name as Kuan Yin of the Spring, which conveniently happens to be the form of the goddess depicted by the porcelain statue in my office. That part felt the most possibly made up.
The third entity caused me a lot of confusion. Because I was looking to the right, and Fryderyk had been hanging around his usual spot there, I thought at first that the being was Fryderyk himself. It only took half a minute or so to be sure that it wasn’t, but by that time Betsy and Orion were well ahead of me in the exercise, and I couldn’t catch up. I never really managed to pin down just what I was in contact with. It seemed far more abstract and nonhuman than the previous two beings. I felt a strong sense of expansion in my head and body. “I Am That Which Expands,” was the thought that appeared. As I struggled to pick up something clearer, I saw an image of an intense sunset, as if it were a sunset in the dark somehow, with a deep orange slash of cloud just above the horizon, against a background of nearly all charcoal grey. At that point, Betsy took us on to a discussion of what had just happened to each of us, which was too soon for me. For a while I kept trying to let the experience run to its completion, but I was inevitably pulled back into the class, and I never reached any definite conclusions about this entity.
Since Fryderyk was around much of the day, I wondered if Betsy would notice him. At one point, when he was only in a tenuous and delicate contact with me, I said to her, “Look over here. What do you see?” Betsy gazed at the space near my shoulder, where I was perceiving a little spot of gold light, and exclaimed, “Oh! It’s like a leprechaun!” Then, more seriously, she said, “It’s someone who loves you.” Leprechaun, that’s a new one. He was compared to angels, woodland sprites, and similar ethereal beings during his life, but never leprechauns! (I might have compared the image more to Tinkerbell, as in the movie, myself.)
We had another try late in the afternoon. As we went around the circle, I felt my contact with Orion, the three beings I described above, and everyone else I had encountered in the room slipping inexorably away. I couldn’t seem to do anything about it. When Orion got to the person next to me, I felt that there was absolutely no hope of any channeling or anything else of use coming through me. I felt completely disconnected from the phone lines. But Orion started to tell me that there was someone trying to come through. I think he said specifically that it was some part of me, but I couldn’t hear or process very well at the time, so I’m not sure.
Until the last moment I thought nothing would happen. Imagine my surprise when I opened my mouth and meaningful words came out! The words made sense and they were delivered with force and conviction. It was my inner Queen, but no energy was coming into me from the outside, and I had no sense of being invaded. I knew that she was nothing more nor less than an aspect of myself, and I was not afraid. Rather, I felt filled to the brim with strength and power.
“I know,” she began. “I am the one who knows.”
Betsy asked, “Should we address you as the knower?”
“Would you give us a name?”
Nothing bubbled up in my head, but without warning I found myself saying, “Marie.” I heard the French pronunciation, or at least I think I did, but as I was having enough trouble speaking English, that was not what actually came out of my mouth.
“Will you be speaking through Elene again?”
“No.” This sounded definite. Hmm, why not?
“Just this once?”
“Do you have a word to give us?”
“Confidence.” This came out with utter ease, and I was astonished to find the speech continuing. “Do not be swayed. Have confidence. When others speak, listen to yourself. Be sure. Do not be swayed. You know. You know.”
Betsy asked if there was anything more.
I smiled. “Elene is quite surprised. But I’m not.” There I felt more like I was editing.
Then Marie indicated that her presentation was over. However, as the next student began, I could still hear and see more words on the same theme. I felt like I could have continued to speak for a good half hour. I also noticed that I could have written the words down just as easily as speaking them (and I wish I had). That made me feel better still—that I could potentially do this work without the assistance of another person to take notes, and without having to remember everything later. And most of all I was greatly relieved to find myself truly, inarguably channeling something, absolutely not making it up.
I thought that Marie must have been the queen personality that Betsy had described earlier. However, although Marie appeared to be a person who expected to be heard and obeyed, I didn’t see her as “ruthless.” She seemed to be interested in helping the members of the group to find their own power, not to take power for herself. I still don’t feel that she was the being that had slipped into my body that morning. Betsy could have been right, though. One way or another, I experienced the heady feeling of knowing myself to be a multidimensional, complex, damned impressive being, capable of tremendous strength and clarity. (Just like everybody else….)
The last student channeled her deceased father, with whom she had had a difficult relationship. For much of the weekend, this student found herself surrounded by family and friends who had passed on, and Betsy felt that she was likely to turn into an able medium. The conversation with her father was perhaps the most useful and significant event of the entire class.
Some themes kept repeating as we moved from entity to entity: roses, the name “I Am” or “Je Suis,” queens and their attributes. The entities or guides were a varied lot. A couple of people said that they were channeling Orion himself, strangely enough. Or maybe that’s not strange at all.
Betsy mentioned that often people get uncomfortable when someone appears to receive a message from a source they think is too big or important, particularly when the source is Jesus. Then we really think we must be making it up. Surely Jesus isn’t speaking to us—he must be awfully busy, after all, and we are so insignificant. “But think about it,” Betsy said, with great seriousness. “Shouldn’t Jesus be our best friend? Of course he loves us and wants to talk to us!”
I’m never quite sure what to think about Jesus or what to expect of him, but at one point when Betsy just spoke his name in passing, on the subject of asking for protection, I felt a new and truly immense energy enter the room, just for a moment.
The second day
That evening, I was quite energized, and I was up till 3:00 writing. I didn’t get a headache, but I did have severe itching over much of my body, which went on for hours, and I had an overall discomfort that felt a lot like jet lag. I slept poorly, waking often, then waking earlier than necessary the next morning. I was fairly wiped out when I got to the class. The group was about evenly divided between those who had gone to bed early and slept longer than usual and those whose experiences were more like mine. A number reported headaches or other annoyances. We spent a substantial amount of time debriefing and speculating.
This time I made sure to give a little bit of the introduction I had skipped the day before. I confessed that my fondest wish was to truly converse with a particular being with whom I had an intense and long-term relationship. He wasn’t a leprechaun, I explained; he had been a pianist and composer in his Earth life, during which I, as far as I knew, had been close to him. I gave his name, only his first name, which Betsy naturally had a little trouble with. I said that the name was Polish, but nobody flashed on his identity, which was fine with me. Everyone seemed to receive all this as perfectly ordinary. As we worked through the day, Betsy did her best to facilitate the communication I so desired, but there was no success. Fryderyk hung around but also distinctly hung back. I couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t trying harder to come through; I felt sure that he was capable of it, and that if I couldn’t speak for him, surely Betsy could.
Again, I felt largely nonverbal through the morning. This time, I also felt unable to stay awake. I could hardly hold my head up, and reclined into the couch with my eyes closed. When my first turn to channel came around, I realized that I was essentially asleep. I could hear everything that was going on, but I wasn’t really in the room with everyone. Maybe I’ll do an Edgar Cayce, I thought; as far as I knew, it might work even better if I were asleep. Nothing much happened, though. I could feel a whole cloud of entities hovering in front of me, but I couldn’t make any clear contact with anything or anyone. Betsy tried to perk me up, saying that I was in too deep and needed to sit up and come to attention, but I was just too tired to do anything about it. Mine was the only apparent failure of the whole weekend. I still learned something important from it.
When we made our next and last attempt of the day, Betsy made me go first so that I wouldn’t fall back to sleep while the others worked. She coached me in great detail to keep me from falling into an overly deep trance. It wasn’t such a concern by that time—I had gotten over the weariness of the morning. It was a good thing that I was more with it at that point, because the exercise consisted of answering questions posed by other students. What a responsibility for us fledgling prophets!
“Drop into your heart”
To get me properly off and running, Betsy coached me carefully and in detail. Her basic description of getting into the channeling state is that you “drop into your heart.” This felt very literal to me, and was easy and natural to do throughout most of the class. Betsy watched closely as I “dropped” this way, and whatever I noticed about what I was doing, she saw at the same time. At some moments, I felt that I was starting to think too much, and Betsy immediately said, “You’re getting into your head again. Drop into your heart.” At one point, I went too far down, and she immediately told me to come back up. The feeling was like getting an elevator to the proper level and exactly lined up with the edge of the floor. When I had it right, it was obvious. Betsy pointed out that it wasn’t necessary to go very deep in order to channel. I suppose I had thought that more dissociation or slower brainwaves or something would be required.
The experience this time was rather undramatic. I did feel an entity close in front of my face, hovering. It did not seem to be anyone I knew or had contacted before. It may well have been facilitating the communication somehow, but I must say that I did not feel it was speaking through me. This time around, the sensation was that I was perceiving more through my typical, everyday methods, seeing energy patterns in the subjects’ bodies and picking up emotions. I seemed to come up with useful answers to at least some extent, but I didn’t feel that I was doing anything more than what I often do in the context of giving treatments. Perhaps it was a bit clearer than usual. Whatever was happening, it was accepted by the group as channeling.
For example, the first student who questioned me asked about a relationship problem. I could vividly see a knot in her heart, and I told her simply and directly, “You have a constriction in your heart. You need to let go of it.” I spoke without thinking first, and I was perhaps less diplomatic than I would have been in my normal state, but it just felt like me talking. She wanted to know if this relationship was able to progress and whether she should pursue it. In the back of my mind I was thinking that she should ask herself, not me! I told her that I didn’t know what was going to happen, but that if she kept herself all closed up and terrified the way she was, she would be sure to prevent the relationship from working out. I didn’t like being forced to come up with an answer to such a grave question; my impression was that this woman was relying a great deal on outside guidance, maybe more than was healthy, and that she might give too much weight to my answers. This worried me even though I am used to being an authority figure in my regular job, and I have to advise people on important matters all the time. I guess in my capacity as a doctor I am only human and my guidance isn’t seen as supernaturally potent, as might happen with channeling. [This has changed to a degree– these days patients often ask me specifically to do psychic work for them.]
I seemed to be operating on at least two different levels as I continued answering questions. I responded directly to what I perceived, without consciously judging the messages, at least not too much. At the same time, I was entirely conscious, and in the background I was thinking in an ordinary way about what I was saying. However, I wasn’t planning what to say before saying it. It was an interesting state.
When it was my turn to ask a question, I took the opportunity to ask about one of my health problems. The student who was channeling said that there was an issue about forgiveness, and that she heard the word “mother.” Betsy was receiving a message too, and jumped in on this. Her impression was that it was a past life issue, while the student was speaking of my present life. Another reason not to give too much weight to specific answers, I would say; impressions may be essentially true but slightly off. (Which should be obvious to even the casual observer.) Betsy also said that I had a tooth that was contributing to my problem, which was what my chiropractor found a couple of days later. I haven’t been able to make much out of the forgiveness issue as yet, but I am keeping it in mind.
All flavors of channeling
I think that, among all the various attempts by all the students, we experienced practically all the possible flavors of channeling within that one weekend. We contacted everything from dead humans to apparent deities to our own higher, or at least different, selves. My own experiences ranged from working almost as my usual self to being almost completely bypassed by another personality. Perhaps the most important thing I learned was that channeling, in a broad sense, is something we do quite commonly, even when we don’t think of it that way. Writing a poem when I don’t know where the words are coming from is not so different from having Queen Marie speak through my voice. Doing spontaneous choreography or trance dancing is not so different from having another entity move my limbs. Directly perceiving the condition of a patient’s body is a lot like being told. Even when we get information ourselves, unmediated by any outside entity, we don’t necessarily know where it’s coming from. A great deal of the time, we’re doing what Jon Klimo calls “open channeling,” where the source is unknown but we’re getting something beyond the capabilities of the quotidian self.
But who or what were the entities with whom we spent the weekend? For the most part, I have no clue. I do feel confident, however, that they were far more than just our own selves, even our far larger selves. There was an incontrovertible sense of “otherness,” and more importantly, I felt distinct energies that were definitely not part of my own field.
Betsy has a relatively simple and practical answer to this overarching question, one which is espoused by many in the channeling world. It’s all Spirit, she would say. Right now this is Spirit being Orion, this is Spirit being Betsy, this is Spirit being Larry, or Saint Michael, or Susan’s father. It doesn’t really matter how we divide things up and make distinctions, it’s all One. That explanation goes a long way for me.
A few hours after the end of the second day of class, I repaired to my room, determined to talk with Fryderyk somehow. I could still feel a pretty strong connection to him, and I hoped there was a chance. I sat down with a notebook and a pencil. And at last, at incredibly long last, we talked.
I didn’t want to be overheard, but I did want to use definite words, so I tried whispering softly, almost silently, to him. When words seemed to rise out of the darkness in my head, I whispered them back to myself. It felt like a real conversation, even though I was speaking both parts. It wasn’t exactly that I heard him, more that I was just hearing my own voice, but saying things that were not my own thoughts. Limited though it was, it felt like a miracle after all these years of struggling to communicate.
It started with a rush of romantic drivel on both sides— “I’ve waited so long for this,” that sort of thing. It was predictable, but wonderful and exciting and miraculous. I wanted to make the most of this rare opportunity, though. When we had settled down a bit, I asked about Rose, about whom I was intensely curious. [Rose Creet, Leslie Flint’s friend, with whom Fryderyk has/had long-term connections.] “You must have spent a number of lives with her.”
“Only a few.” After a moment’s pause, “But you, I have contended with you many times.” Contended? I didn’t think I would have come up with that word. “I have contended with you, and I have been content with you.” I liked that.
But I would like to meet Rose, I insisted. Would that be possible? He was oddly coy and evasive. She was too far away, she couldn’t come here. “But I could go there,” I suggested. No on that, too. Everything I asked about was met with resistance of some sort.
I switched to another touchy subject, the piano. “Have you given up on me as a student?”
“Yes.” Not unexpected, but not what I wanted to hear! I tried to ask why, and couldn’t get anything clear. I started to argue with him, telling him that despite my severe inadequacies, I had a good musical mind and I was worthy of his attention. To my horror, I found myself dissolving into tears and begging pathetically. I was far too emotional to understand any reply, except that there did seem to be something along the lines of, “Well, you might try practicing more.” However, I felt a huge, unrelenting love and tenderness from him the whole time.
Finally, I turned to matters of healing. I tried to explain that I felt that he and I had some problems in common, and that it seemed to me that somehow if I could heal him I could heal myself, and vice-versa. I wasn’t exactly sure how to explore this idea, but I wanted to see how he reacted to it. He said, “I am beyond the need for healing.”
Yeah, right, I thought. Even at that moment I could clearly sense a deep pain in the center of his being.
During this part of our interaction, the intensity of love and longing increased to almost an unbearable level. He moved around my right side, wrapping himself around me. There was just a moment of him sinking into my body, and then he faded away.
It turned out to be impractical to write while all this was going on, but I was able to remember and jot down the highlights afterward. It made perfect sense to me that he had not spoken to me during the class in this way. Our conversation was not at all for public consumption, and would have been inappropriate and embarrassing in that context. He had been not shy but wise.
The sense of power, strength and solidity I had gained from Marie stayed with me for a few days. I also felt physically more solid and stable, and my problem joints held together better—perhaps a gift from that mysterious first entity. Of course, as is wont to happen, all those benefits faded after a while.
Last night I found myself in touch with Fryc again, but I was extremely sleepy and couldn’t work up a good communication with him. I hope it was only the fatigue and nothing more that prevented it. This morning, though, I had a nice chat with Kuan Yin. She kept calling me “daughter,” which kind of bugged me for some reason. She was big and warm and enveloping, and I saw a lot of pale yellow. I asked whether she would be available to speak to me at other times, and she said no. Surprised, I asked why not. Her reply was, “Daughter, you don’t need me.” I protested that I did too need her, but you know, all the messages of the past few days seem to be pointing in the same direction, that I need to rely on myself and my own intuition. Which, interestingly enough, was my own point of view in the first place. Go figure. At any rate, I asked Kuan Yin if I could at least visit sometimes, and that seemed to be OK.