Is it the writer’s own subconscious, external entities of dubious intention, dead loved ones, or helpful spirits and wise guides responsible for the fascinating material often brought through and recorded in automatic writing? Going on the “multiplicity of self” theory, perhaps the information that comes through some people who have no conscious knowledge of the subject matter belongs to another self – a self with extraordinary capacities and visions that the primary self does not have access to?
Automatic writing is sometimes performed longhand using pen and paper, as was the case with Alice Bailey who wrote 24 books on the Ageless Wisdom between 1919 and 1949. Bailey believed that all of the highly detailed and complex material was telepathically communicated to her by Tibetan Master of Wisdom, Djwal Khul. Bailey never lost consciousness during the transmissions, and could start and stop writing at any time.
More recently, Helen Schuchman found herself surprised to hear an inner voice that she believed to be Jesus instructing her to “take notes” for what later became the voluminous materials that compose the Course in Miracles. Schuchman, like Bailey, could close the inner channel of communication at will, and spontaneously pick back up where she left off when the writing sessions resumed. She would jot down the information in shorthand note form and then read it aloud to her colleague, William Thetford, who typed the content into manuscript form as she read. Through this process of inner dictation, Schuchman scribed a 622-page Text, a 478-page Workbook for Students, and the 88-page Manual for Teachers between 1965 and 1972.
Automatic writing is sometimes done in a trance state, while other gifted “receivers” choose to use a board and planchette system, such as the traditional Ouija board, to guide their hands to spell out individual letters and numbers that form messages. As technology continues to evolve, the use of tablets, laptops, and smartphone devices make automatic writing even more seamless and dynamic.
Both Alice Bailey and Helen Schuchman are beautiful examples of the profound potential that automatic writing holds for us when undertaken for the purpose of healing and inspiring others. These women lived very humble and unassuming lives, yet the information that they each brought through has had far-reaching influence and profound significance for humanity’s walk on the Path.