How I learned to channel

Epistemology, phenomenology, and practice in a New Age course

by Adam Klin-Oron

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New Age channeling aims at intimate and daily contact with benevolent incorporeal entities. In an Israeli channeling course, students learn to interpret external events in a new light and to monitor internal mental, physical, and emotional processes in new ways, culminating in an ability to achieve “controlled flow,” a state of consciousness in which self-attention is heightened but a sense of volition diminishes. Through the braiding of epistemology, practice, and phenomenology, they engage in a new mode of being-in-the-world and inhabit a new lifeworld where they become conduits to external forces. Anthropological fieldwork also aims at understanding epistemological systems through active participation, but by examining my own experience in the channeling course I demonstrate how temporary suspension of disbelief differs from permanent adoption of a new system of belief.