Automatic Writing

Handwriting in Journal

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There are so many different types of psychic divination that you can use, but one of the most popular ways to get messages from the spirit world is the use of automatic writing. This is, quite simply, a method in which the writer holds a pen or pencil, and allows messages to flow through them without any conscious thought or effort. Many people believe that the messages are channeled from the spirit world

Did You Know?

  • Automatic writing first became popular as a part of the Spiritualist movement of the late 19th century.
  • If you'd like to try automatic writing as divination, be sure you can find a quiet place to work where you'll be undisturbed.
  • Many people believe that automatic writing channels messages from the spirit world.

Automatic Writing in History

Old Handwriting in Book
Tetra Images / Getty 

Automatic writing first became popular as a part of the Spiritualist movement of the late 19th century. Troy Taylor of Prairie Ghosts says,

"The original communications, like those of the Fox sisters in Hydesville, were little more than knocks and raps that spelled out long and elaborate methods. Most became frustrated by such slow methods of communication and began looking for something faster—and much more direct. Not long after, the art of "automatic writing" was born."

Taylor goes on to say that numerous mediums have claimed to generate message from famous deceased persons—historical figures, authors, and even composers. During the nineteenth century, a New York judge named John Worth Edmonds hoped to contact his late wife by way of automatic writing. Taylor continues,

"After a séance with the Fox Sisters, [Edmonds] became intrigued with the movement and publicly acknowledged his support of it, despite the potential damage to his legal career. He became most interested in spirit communications and began encouraging a medium friend, Dr. George T. Baxter, to try and contact famous and literary figures who had passed over."

While there’s no scientific evidence supporting automatic writing, keep in mind that it’s rare for science to support any metaphysical disciplines–Tarot, pendulum divination, and mediumship are all challenged regularly by skeptics.

That said, if you’d like to try automatic writing, here’s how to get started.

How to Use Automatic Writing for Divination

Writing in Journal
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First, as is always a good idea for divination, eliminate all your distractions. Send the kids to play with friends, turn off your cell phone, and get rid of anything that might interrupt you.

For many people who practice automatic writing, it’s most comfortable to sit at a table, but if you’d rather sit somewhere else, go for it. You’ll obviously need a pen or pencil, and some paper–plan on using more than just one sheet, so a notebook is probably the best way to go.

Next, you’ll need to clear your mind out. Stop worrying about whether you changed the cat box or not, quit thinking about the stuff you forgot to finish at work yesterday, and just let your mind go clear. For some people, music can be helpful with this, but many automatic writers find that music with vocals can influence their writing, so be cautious in your choice of background tunes.

As you ground yourself and clear your brain of extra fluff, put your pen to paper. Just write the first thing that comes to mind–and then keep going. As words pop into your brain, allow your hand to follow along and write them out. Don’t worry about trying to interpret them just yet–figuring out the meaning is something to do when you’re all finished.

Some people find that asking a specific question is a good way to get the flow started. You can simply write the question on your paper, and then see what sort of responses come out. If the answers you’re writing don’t seem to correspond to your question, don’t worry–write them anyway. Often we get answers to the questions we didn’t ask.

Keep going until it seems like the words have stopped. For some people this can be after ten minutes, for others, it can be an hour. Some people like to use a timer so they don’t find themselves sitting at a table all afternoon scribbling things out.

After you’ve finished, it’s time to review what you wrote. Look for patterns, words, themes that resonate with you. For instance, if you see repeated references to work or jobs, it’s possible you need to focus on matters related to your employment. Watch for names–if you see names you don’t recognize, it’s possible that you’re supposed to be taking a message for someone else. You may even find pictures—doodles, characters, symbols, etc. Keep in mind that your results may be neat and orderly, or they may be chaotic and all over the place.

As with any form of psychic divination, the more you practice automatic writing, the more you’ll come to understand the messages you’re receiving from the other side.

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Your Citation
Wigington, Patti. "Automatic Writing." Learn Religions, Aug. 29, 2020, Wigington, Patti. (2020, August 29). Automatic Writing. Retrieved from Wigington, Patti. "Automatic Writing." Learn Religions. (accessed March 26, 2023).