A psychomanteum is a small, dark chamber used to facilitate communication with a particular departed soul. Its origin stem from an ancient Greek ritual for contacting those in the spirit realm. At that time, individuals were led through an underground maze to a dimly lit place so they would be away from outside stimuli. In that area was a cauldron or bowl filled with water or oil. The person would gaze directly into the cauldron, look at and focus on his own reflection in the hope that the spirit would appear.
This was actually an early form of scrying, which is a type of divination used to predict the future by gazing into a crystal ball (crystallomancy), other shiny object or reflective surface. Reflective surfaces were believed to be a portal to the spirit world. Throughout ancient history, many cultures have used other methods, using herbs, plants, smoke or drumming, to induce an altered state of mind to achieve a higher consciousness in order to contact spirits for guidance, to answer questions, to heal and to connect with ancestors who had passed.
The earliest known term used for these chambers was psuchomanteia. In the 20th century, Raymond Moody, M.D., Ph.D., grief counselor, respected researcher in near-death experiences and author of Life after Life and other works, was inspired by the writings of Herodotus about the Oracle of the Dead and Homer in The Odyssey, in which they described these chambers. Moody believed that such a chamber would help individuals through the grieving process after the death of a loved one or friend. The time spent contacting and connecting with those in the spirit realm would help or create a powerful impact on emotional healing. Moody recreated a modern-day chamber and called it a psychomanteum. Currently, his work in the field continues, and he lectures, consults and researches on this topic, as well as others.
Moody’s psychomanteum chamber was a small, dimly lit room (approximately the size of a walk-in closet) with a mirror on one wall and a comfortable chair directly facing the mirror. It was intentionally hung so that the individual sitting in the chair was unable to see his or her own reflection. This was not the case in ancient psychomanteums, in which the individual stared at his own reflection while gazing into a reflective surface. Placed behind the chair was a lamp with a low-wattage bulb. Additionally, a black velvet curtain surrounded the chair to create a nestled and secure environment for the individual. Doing that was a form of sensory deprivation, which was used to block all external stimuli, thus allowing the mind of the individual sitting in the chair to focus only on the intended spirit that was to be contacted.
Before participating in the initial chamber testing, a rigorous selection process for potential subjects was put in place. Moody devised specific methods to prepare the selected participants for the experience. He encouraged them to dress in comfortable attire, to bring an object or picture that evoked strong memories of the deceased and to share their deepest feelings and experiences with him, either positive or negative. Moody continued to relax the participants by walking leisurely and talking about the grieving process and the expectations of the psychomanteum experience. To get his subjects even more relaxed and get them closer to a true meditative state, he had them also lie down and listen to soft music before entering the chamber.
The actual time spent in the psychomanteum was a mere 45 minutes to one hour, while in comparison, the preparation for it took quite a few hours. After each session in the room ended, he would discuss the experience in-depth with the participant.
Moody never guaranteed a connection with those who had passed during the time in the psychomanteum. People’s experiences within the chamber varied. In some cases, the spirit that the person hoped to contact did in fact appear to deliver a message, some final words or just some extra time that was needed between the two. In other cases, another spirit who had a relationship with the person appeared and offered similar comfort or an important message.
Sometimes, subjects experienced a feeling that a comforting presence was in the room, being touched by the apparition — a consoling hug, a gentle stroke on the hand or face, or the spirit appearing as if it were once again in human form. Moody reported that regardless of what did or did not “appear” from the spirit realm during the time spent in the room, the subjects had positive reactions to it and felt comforted, at peace and gained much needed closure regarding the passing of their departed.
Today, the purpose of the psychomanteum has been expanded to include not just bereavement and contacting spirits. It has become a key tool in helping people to attain a greater knowledge of the Self and to provide the ability to achieve a higher consciousness, which can aid in clarifying change and major life decisions.
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An earthbound spirit is a deceased person’s soul whose energy lingers in the physical world and has not yet crossed over into the spiritual realm. Many reasons have been hypothesized about why these souls do not cross over. Films and television programs tend to popularize the belief that entities who stick around on the physical plane are there to wreak havoc on loved ones, people who have purchased property in which they inhabited or those who have disturbed their resting places. Some of these are fictional accounts and do not represent the whole story.
The common collective research about near-death experiences (NDEs) has been that when one dies and transitions to the spirit world, a bright, loving, light within a tunnel appears and the soul is guided through it and greeted by past loved ones or benevolent entities. Whether or not you believe this, you have most likely heard it. The transition is completed and the soul becomes a part of the spirit world. But how do you really know if a soul has successfully crossed over?
Theories exist that some souls do not transition to the other side in a picture-perfect way. Some researchers and psychic mediums believe that perhaps a soul might encounter obstacles to its transition. These so-called earthbound spirits may have something holding them back that will not allow them to rest in peace. Listed below are some possible explanations as to why a spirit might remain stuck in the physical realm.
Confusion — A person who experienced a bewildering, traumatic, sudden death by way of a car accident, act of war, murder, plane crash, or other unexpected means, might not cross over immediately because he/she does not comprehend his/her own death. It may take a long while for the perplexed individual to accept what has happened and to allow the transition to the spirit world.
Unfinished Business — Earthbound spirits may not want to cross over because they were unable to complete an important project prior to their death and they are fixated on seeing it through; they may want to make sure that their loved ones rightfully benefit from the inheritance due to them; they might feel they have to relay one final important message to someone; or they have a specific goal that they were robbed of completing while they were still alive.
Fear of the Unknown — People who had specific religious beliefs when they were alive might still harbor those beliefs as an earthbound spirit. They may actually fear the act of crossing over. They might be guilt-laden because of their earthly deeds and fear being judged too harshly. The fear of crossing over may also stem from the fear of encountering souls in the spirit world who have wronged them or encountering those souls who they had wronged in the physical world. There might also exist the fear that if they cross over their energy will not continue on.
Guilt — An earthbound spirit who has commit suicide or whose behavior contributed to the death (e.g., addiction problems) may experience overwhelming guilt at abruptly leaving behind loved ones — leaving them to fend for themselves and to dig their way out of possible financial debt or legal troubles.
Right a Wrong — Especially in the case of an individual has been murdered, the soul will make every effort to stay in the physical realm to reveal clues surrounding the mystery of his/her death, in the hopes that those who were involved will be brought to justice. A spirit might also be compelled to delay crossing over in order to help a loved one or friend uncover the truth or warn about a situation or an individual who has been unfaithful or whose motives have been unscrupulous in some way.
Loved Ones not Letting Go — Earthbound spirits are often kept from crossing over because the loved ones they have left behind have not been able to move forward or let go and accept the death. The living individuals have not learned to live without the deceased. The spirit becomes tied to those feelings, which overrides their ability to move on to the spirit world. The spirits become stuck and chained down to the physical realm.
In conclusion, at times, the spirits as well as the living need help to make the necessary transitions after death. Psychic mediums and those who are extremely sensitive to spirits have been quite successful in assisting and persuading these earthbound spirits to cross over. They have also been able to uncover the various reasons that may have been holding the spirits back from doing so. They have been able to ally their fears and enticed them to a better place and out of a state of limbo. This process does not always happen immediately. It may take quite some time and patience to achieve the desired outcome for all.
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