What Is Channeling and Are There Different Types of Channeling?

by Anne Reith, Ph.D.
Woman looking upward with a transparent angel standing behind her
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Woman looking upward with a transparent angel standing behind her that indicates channeling

How is channeling viewed?

I want to begin by acknowledging that channeling, perhaps more than most metaphysical skills, is often misunderstood.  Some people don’t want anything to do with channeling because they believe it is “weird,” “scary,” or even “evil.” 

Actually, I initially avoided learning how to channel because I found the idea “scary.” But then I experienced it firsthand. It was one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life!


What is channeling?

Channeling is often defined as the act of allowing a spiritual entity (e.g., angel, archangel, ascended master, guide, deceased loved one) to merge, join, or enter your body and use your vocal cords to communicate directly with those on the Earth plane. 

Channeling can be done in different ways. Commonly, the channeler is sitting quietly with eyes closed. However, sometimes the entity will move the channeler’s body (e.g., open your eyes, move your arms/legs, have you walk around).

What does channeling feel like?

True channeling is a spiritual experience that is difficult to describe. This is partly because each channeler will experience it in their own unique way.  It’s truly something you just have to experience for yourself.

Here are some of the more common body sensations that channelers may experience:

  • Getting very hot or very cold
  • Tingling or vibrating sensations
  • A feeling of floating or being very heavy
  • A feeling of pressure on one or more areas of your body
  • Feeling as if there is a presence near you or touching you

Although the experience of each channeler is unique, one thing is ALWAYS consistent: The other side is ONLY love.

Consequently, when you channel, you are allowing a very high-vibrational, spiritual level of love to come into our body. The love you feel is incredible and defies words! 

Because this experience is so powerful, those channeling (especially for the first few times) often experience a sense of awe. Tears of joy are also very common. I always joke, “Who needs drugs when you have channeling”!

Different types of channeling

The following types of channeling are actually better understood as a continuum rather than black-and-white categories. However, these descriptions are often used:

  • Conscious Channeling:
    • This can also be referred to as voice channeling
    • During conscious channeling, the channeler is aware of what is happening. This includes being able to stop the experience at any time. 
    • Typically, the channeler can remember some or even all of what they said.  Often conscious channelers will say that they hear themselves speaking as if they are at a distance or as if they were listening from another room.  Other channelers will say that when told about what was said, they feel as if they are remembering a dream. 
    • There are many people currently alive on the Earth plane who consciously channel.  For example, Esther Hicks brings through the group of entities that refer to themselves as Abraham (no relation to the Old Testament).  They speak about the Law of Attraction.
  • Trance Channeling:
    • This form of channeling is done while in a deep trance state. 
    • A trance is a form of extreme relaxation that produces an altered state of consciousness, much like sleep. Depending on the depth of the trance, the channeler (a) usually has limited or no awareness of what is happening, (b) often lacks the ability to recall what was said, and (c) may not be able to stop the experience.
    • One of the most famous trance channelers was Edgar Cayce.  He was referred to as “The Sleeping Prophet” because he only channeled when he was in a deep trance state.  As is typical of most trance channelers, he lost all muscle tone and had to be lying down. He was also unable to remember what he said, which meant that his secretary had to be present to take dictation and then transcribe the notes from the channeling session.
  • Physical Mediumship:
    • This is a special form of channeling in which a medium channels a deceased loved one.
    • Physical mediumship can be done by conscious or trance channelers.

Is it “better” to do conscious or trance channeling?

Neither method is better than or less than another. Both can bring through powerful and profound information and guidance from the other side.

However, my guides have explained to me that due to the thinning of the veil between the Earth plane and other dimensions, it is no longer necessary for most people to be in a deep trance in order to allow channeling to occur.  For this reason, conscious channeling has become much more common than trance channeling.

Learning how to channel

For most people, it takes time and practice to learn how to channel.  Each channeler needs to learn how to:

  • Relax their mind and body.
  • Learn how to allow their soul to “step aside” in order to make “room” for the entity to use the body.
  • Discern between messages that are coming from the Light and messages that are coming from a dark source.

I always recommend that you find a teacher who can guide you through the process of learning how to channel. It’s important that this teacher is:

  • An experienced channeler.
  • Clearly states that only entities “of the Light” are allowed to channel during their classes.
  • Creates a loving and safe environment in which students can practice their channeling skills.
  • Never pushes anyone to try channeling until they feel ready to do so.

You can search online for someone who teaches this subject. However, be sure to trust yourself regarding whether this person is the right teacher for you. If something doesn’t feel right, trust that!

What are natural channels?

Years ago, I coined the phrase natural channels to describe those who channel (or learn how to channel) easily.  I now believe that “natural channels” have probably channeled in a previous lifetime(s). They already know how to channel, so doing it in this life is simple and just a matter of remembering how it is done.

I happen to be a natural channel, so I know that this can happen. Although I was initially very nervous about channeling, my teacher and I were both surprised when I channeled the very first time I tried it. 

I no longer teach channeling, but I did so for almost 20 years. I have observed that once natural channels learn about channeling, they often report that they have already had channeling experiences in this lifetime, but they didn’t know that’s what it would be called.

Here are some examples of what natural channels report:

  • They often report that there are times when they would say something and later be unable to explain where the thoughts or words came from. This is especially common when they were under a great deal of stress and didn’t know what to do or say in a situation. Spirit knew this person already knew how to channel, so they stepped in and basically said, “Step aside and let us handle this.”
  • Automatic writing is a form of channeling that uses one or both hands (e.g., writing, typing, texting) to produce written words. Although not always the case, automatic writers often find it fairly easy to make the transition from writing to voice channeling.
  • Those who are artists or musicians can be natural channels, especially if they look back and report that they sometimes experienced being “in the zone” when producing their artwork or music. Signs that they are in this zone include (a) not being able to fully remember what they were doing and (b) producing something that feels different from their usual creative endeavors.

Should you channel when you are alone?

Once you are an experienced channeler, it’s completely safe to channel by yourself. Keep in mind, though, that if you are a trance channeler, you will need a way to record your channeling session, because you will not remember what you said.

However, if you have never tried channeling before, I strongly recommend that you have someone physically present with you, preferably a teacher or spiritual coach.

Why? Because you may unknowingly be a natural trance channeler. This doesn’t happen very often; but when it does, it can be dangerous if not handled carefully. Remember, trance channelers are those who go into a deep trance when they channel, and they, therefore, lose all muscle tone.

Let’s say that you are a natural trance channeler and you wanted to try channeling. If you sat down in a straight-backed chair and started to relax deeply, you would automatically go into a deep trance. This means that you would (a) not be conscious of what was happening and (b) lose all muscle tone. Consequently, you would likely fall out of the chair and could seriously harm yourself.

This is one of the reasons I recommend that first-time channelers explore this amazing skill in the presence of an experienced channeler. This could be either (a) in a classroom setting or (b) one-on-one with a spiritual coach. An experienced channeler will recognize the signs when someone is going into a state of trance, which can happen very quickly! This person can make sure you are safe.

NOTE: In my eBook Channeling 101, I provide additional recommendations when trying channeling on your own.

How do you know when someone is really channeling?

Channeling has become very popular, and many people claim to be channeling. Most of them are, but some are not.

Whether you are listening to someone who is channeling or you are reading messages written by someone who claims to be channeled, you need to carefully evaluate the following:

  • Is the person truly channeling?
  • Are the messages coming from “the Light” and not from a dark source?

Here are some ways to determine “true channeling” from “false channeling”:

  • ALL the messages should be loving, supportive, and encouraging.
  • The messages should NEVER cause anyone to feel frightened, blamed, or reprimanded.
  • Especially when channeling with a group, the messages will usually apply to humanity as a whole and not to an individual.

Determining if channeled messages are coming from the Light

Anyone who is working with Spirit needs to master the essential skill of discernment. This is learning how to distinguish between messages that are coming “from the Light” and messages that are coming from dark sources.

Unfortunately, a full discussion of discernment is beyond the scope of this blog post. However, it is critical that all channelers develop this ability in order to remain safe and know which messages should or shouldn’t be listened to.

For more information about discernment, please refer to the following resources:

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By Anne Reith, Ph.D.

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