Fate Magazine Book Review

Channeling by Jon Kilmo
Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles, California, 1987, 384 pgs., $17.95.

The trendy spiritual practice of the 1980's is channeling. In the past two decades there has been something of a publishing bonanza in the field of "channeled" materials, ranging from the intellectually demanding Seth books to the reassuring message of love in A Course in Miracles to the "I saw Yul Brynner in The King and I" dramatics of Ramtha.

What are we to make of this allegedly transcendental phenomenon? A lot, according to Jon Kilmo who has written a superb book entitled Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources. Channeling is not simply a charlatan's way to make a fast buck (although charlatans have made fast bucks at it) but represents an amazing spectrum of human possibilities, among them the suggestion that man may have access to information from sources that are beyond the rational mind.

Kilmo, who approaches the subject without bias, describes at each stage the various theories about the history of channeling, the origins of the transmitted information, and the psychological reasons why people channel and why the various "entities" assume their particular identities. Kilmo has conducted considerable firsthand research, interviewing a number of the principal characters, including the popular Lazaris. (See Craig Lee's "Voices from Other Worlds," May 1987 Fate.)

Kilmo's objective approach keeps him from making hasty judgments on the ultimate explanation for channeling. Instead he lets the authorities themselves (Tart, Wilber, Grof, Lilly, Smith, Mandell, Freud) battle it out, leaving the reader with the impression that Kilmo is more interested in understanding this complex practice than in explaining it away prematurely.

My personal view is that channelers are tapping into the unconscious or superconscious aspects of their selves. I have yet to see a discarnate spirit present a resume substantiating his or her previous experiences. If we wouldn't accept a job applicant in this world (someone we can see and touch) without proper credentials, why should we settle for less from some Lemurian who claims to have a corner on the truth?

Moreover, why has channeling become such a big business and why has so much channeled material been copyrighted? Does it make any sense that Ramtha and other ascended beings would care about publishing legalities? My common sense tells me otherwise.

Fortunately, Kilmo, who does not share my disdainful attitude toward channeling, has given us a comprehensive, documented, well- written study which does much to illuminate the issues. Fate readers would do well to include it in their lists of must-read books.
--David Christopher Lane