Here’s an easy and amusing way to have a conversation with your inner self, or depending on what you believe, the spirits around you with a gift of the gab and a penchant for literary influence.
Automatic writing, also known as free association writing, is the process or production of written material that does not come from the conscious mind of the writer. While not exactly like Thing from the Adam’s Family, it is a little like your hand having a mind of its own.
The practise gained popularity through the Surrealist movement of the early 20th century, though its true origins are cloaked in 18th and 19thcentury occultism and witchcraft. It likely holds some relationship with scrying techniques known throughout the Earth’s long standing mystic cultures.
Sigmund Freud did his share to legitimise the practise, renaming is as Free Association writing, as he began using the technique in conjunction with other psychotherapy measures. Freud believed, as do most psychologists, that automatic writing provides an outlet for subconscious thought streams to be released and heard. Much like dream states are believed to be our subconscious minds attempt to reconcile the vast amounts of information that our brains process in the course of a day, free association writing is believed a physical manifestation of that process.
Successful automatic writing sessions are said to induce a meditative or trance like state in the writer, though many believe that results can be achieved in varying states of cognition. One needn’t be a meditative guru in order to achieve measurable results; it is enough, apparently, to simply not pay attention to your writing hand while you write (much like I’m doing now ;))
As with any other subject connected to paranormal circles, this one has people forming camps of belief. There are two specific thoughts regarding where the written words come from; the first being, as Freud and his contemporaries suggest, that the subconscious mind is speaking through the pen, much like in a dream-state; and the second, being favoured by occultists, Wiccan practitioners and paranormal enthusiasts, is that the words are those of ghosts or spirits who channel their will through the writer and onto the paper.
Many in the second camp purport that the disjointed and often incoherent ramblings achieved through automatic writing are the result of the difficulties experienced by the spirits in manipulating the energies of the living; though a similar argument could be made for the subconscious dream-state position as well.
Regardless of the origin of the information, the practise is fairly easy to master, and the results can be more than a little unnerving. But as the experts will attest, this is one of those mystical endeavours that can’t come back to bite you…in other words, feel free to try free association writing as much as you want.
Below are instructions and some tips for learning the art of automatic writing and becoming reasonably proficient at tuning into the other side, where ever that other side might be.
- Find a quiet spot that will allow you to concentrate without distractions
- Sit at a table or desk where you’ll be comfortable with paper and pen (or pencil)
- Take a few moments to clear your mind
- Touch the pen or pencil to the paper
- Try not to consciously write anything
- While keeping your mind as clear as possible, let your hand write whatever comes across
- Avoid looking at the paper; you might even keep your eyes closed
- Give it time to happen (nothing might happen for quite a while)
- When it seems to be done, if and when automatic writing does occur, look over what your hand has produced carefully; the writing may appear to be nonsense or just scribbling, but try to decipher it as best as possible
- In addition to letters and numbers, look for pictures or symbols in the writing as well
- Keep trying; you may not experience results on your first few attempts
- If you start to achieve success, you can try asking questions to see if you can receive responses
- There is no guarantee that automatic writing will work for you, but don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first few times; give it a chance
- Be aware of psychological dangers: some messages that come across might be disturbing