Automatic Writing

Neal Donald Walsch, the author of Conversations With God : An Uncommon Dialogue, says that he wrote the book by asking a question, then unconsciously typing an answer on his typewriter. Thus began a process of asking and getting answers that turned into a book that stayed on The New York Times Best Sellers List for 137 weeks! This is automatic writing.

The Book of Mormon was said to be written by Joseph Smith through automatic writing. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said he engaged in automatic writing, guided by the spirit of his father. Books are purported to be “ghost written” in this way by such authors as Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde.

Automatic writing is a technique that anyone can do, though, like many techniques of divination and communication, it will require practice to have any success. Essentially, the idea is, using a pencil, pen, or some other handheld apparatus, you simply let your movement go, to be driven by an unseen hand. The planchette, now associated with talking boards, originally held a pencil and was used for automatic writing. As suggested by Neale Walsch’s work, a keyboard can work as well. Disconnecting yourself from the writing is the key. You may get your best success by achieving a trance state.

Drawing of hands on a triangular mechanism with a pencil attached
Drawing of a planchette, used for automatic writing, from Claudio Marchiaro e Frank Bonethe, “Lo spiritismo la teoria e le tecniche”, Milano 1978

In séance situations, I will pass around a clipboard with blank paper and invite each sitter to hold it face-down, making blind marks with a pencil. When we examine them at the end, we often find interesting images and letters.

How to start with automatic writing

  1. Prepare yourself to be open. Do any grounding and shielding exercises that you know. Free yourself from distractions in your environment and your thoughts.
  2. Sit comfortably at a table with a blank page and a pen or pencil. Breathe deeply and open yourself. You may begin with a question, or name a person or entity you want to reach.
  3. Touch your pen or pencil to the page. Allow yourself to move on the page, unconsciously. Do not look at the paper. Close or mask your eyes if necessary. Be open to the movement for as long as you can.
  4. When movement stops, examine the page. You may only see meaningless scribble. You may find crude images or letters. You may even find that you have drawn or written quite legibly. Turn the page in different directions as you examine it. Some things may not be apparent until viewed from certain angles.
  5. Document your pages by snapping a photo or filing them away. You may find that you see things your missed before when you go back and look again at a later date.

Don’t be discouraged if nothing happens. As I said before, this is the sort of thing that takes practice.

Also, consider what you could do with a drawing pad on your computer, or allowing yourself to type.

When typing or writing, another technique is to ask a question and simply write the first things that come into your head. While this may not feel very supernatural, many people do feel inspiration in the form of thoughts. You’ll be able to tell if you are tapping into your imagination or another source.

In the past, mediums used talking boards, glass moving, and other spirit message technologies to accept dictation. These methods tend to be slow and tedious, so prepare to take some time if you use them.

There is controversy around automatic writing, like all psychic and spiritualist techniques. The only way to find out is to try it yourself. Reach out and tell me about your experiences and whether or not it works for you.

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