Mediumship and clairvoyance are frequently interchanged to describe either one of these psychic abilities/ practises, but this is actually not quite correct. Although they are closely related in capacity, they are actually very different in purpose and function in different ways. Clairvoyance, for instance, refers to an individual’s ability to sense events, people or objects through means other than the five ordinary senses of perception – sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste. It may occur spontaneously or through deliberate concentration, either while in a normal, fully conscious state of mind or during trances induced by meditation, for instance. It is on occasion associated with telepathy, although it is generally derived from a physical external source, as opposed to the use of telepathy, where information is gathered directly from another person’s mind.
The four mainly used types of clairvoyance are X-ray (the ability of looking into enclosed areas, such as rooms, boxes or envelopes), medical (the ability to diagnose diseases by viewing the inner workings of a person’s body), Travel (a change of the perception centre, allowing mental travel to distant places or times) and Platform (this type is concerned with the perception of discarnate spirits). It is perhaps this fourth, Platform type, which frequently causes the term clairvoyance to be applied to mediumship. Mediumship, in contrast, is concerned with the communication with non-corporeal beings, spirits in general and spirits of the deceased, rather than the gathering of information on present or future events, or living individuals. Again, there are several different types – mental (communication facilitated by telepathy or clairvoyance), trance (the taking over of the individual’s body by a spirit either in a partly conscious or full trance; both mental and trance types are often referred to as channelling) and physical (the ability to produce physical phenomena such as voices, raps and other noises, levitation or the materialisation of objects, resulting from a spirit manipulating the energy which is released by the individual).
A medium may also use other abilities, such as clairsentience (touch), clairaudience (hearing), clairalience (smell) or clairgustance (taste) in order to enable communication with the spirit world. Frequently these abilities have to be practised by the individual, although others claim that they have a natural ability to use one or all of them. Clairvoyance and mediumship are thus primarily differentiated by the fact that the former is an existing ability used to perceive and gain information concerning past, present and future events or persons from inanimate objects, as well as from living individuals and over long distances, while also being able to perceive things from the afterlife. The latter, meanwhile, is a combination of one or more abilities used to enable – and generally restricted to – communication with the spirits of deceased individuals/ other entities within the spirit world. This communication is the result of a practise which can be learned and honed by practising various abilities. The former ability may also form a part of the practice involved in the performance of the latter.
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