The woman sat across from me wide-eyed. I had reported that the spirit of her deceased husband told me she was going to be travelling soon to England.

“I just bought the tickets,” she replied. “How do you know that?”

“Your husband knows what’s going on in your life, because he’s still part of your life,” I replied, reminding her that it was he who had told me how he passed and specific details about their long marriage. The sense of his presence was as strong as the robust personality I described to his wife.

“And now he’s saying, ‘Don’t you dare take those pills in your purse.'”

I reported the words exactly as I heard them, not learning until later that my client had stopped at a pharmacy on the way to our sitting. Her grief was so profound that she had decided if she didn’t hear from her husband during our session, she was going to end her life.

Thanks to a connection across the veil that was as clear as a five-bar cell phone signal, my client continues to move forward in her earthly life, her perspective on death forever changed. I saw her recently at a ladies’ luncheon where I spoke about the work of a medium and the meaningful messages such work conveys. She and I shared a smile and a knowing look across the room.

Clear and accurate communication with those in spirit changes lives. As the story above illustrates, mediums sometimes save lives, but unlike other life-saving professions, the work of a medium is unregulated in the United States. Certification is optional, licensing nonexistent. We have no Hippocratic oath to uphold ethical standards such as “do no harm.” The responsibility for honesty, integrity, education and self-evaluation rests upon us, the practitioners.

Serving others
When is a medium ready to work as a professional, announcing their services and offering them publicly, whether paid or not? The answer is subjective, but one’s readiness as a medium cannot be determined solely by the number of classes taken or by the length of time one has been practicing.

In his book, Mediumship Mastery, Stephen Hermann writes of a first-time student who attended his open study group. After the class, the student was very excited. She asked about additional courses, but did not follow through with them. Two months later Stephen discovered an advertisement by this same woman marketing her services as a professional medium. He knew from her work in his class that she was not yet ready to serve in that capacity.

I teach a two-day mediumship class entitled “Serving Spirit.” The course material is helpful for people of all ability levels. It is packed with good information, tools, and opportunities for practice, but a weekend course in spirit communication does not a medium make.

So, what does?

The ability of a medium and their professionalism is determined by the reliability and quality of the link they are able to establish with those in the spirit world. A true medium strives to consistently prove the continuity of consciousness, which is the main purpose of mediumship.

The spirit world
All humans have the ability to tune in to the presence of those in the spirit world, but a skilled medium does so with intention, instead of by happenstance. As a result of that intention, a medium’s sitters — with rare exception — should leave a sitting or gallery reading with the awareness that the medium was truly communicating with their loved one(s). They should feel that the information passed along was not vague and generic, but pertained unambiguously to identifiable loved ones with relevant memories, messages, and other specific, verifiable details the medium could not have known.

My good friend and colleague, evidential medium Susanne Wilson (www.CarefreeMedium.com), is the director for mediumship education at the Afterlife Research and Education Institute (www.afterlifeinstitute.org). Susanne prays before each session to deliver “clear, accurate, healing messages from spirit” to each of her clients, “one day at a time, one client at a time.”

Susanne and I are both keenly aware that the client plays an important role in each session. It is critical that sitters be open-minded and ready to believe when faced with irrefutable evidence from the medium. To that end, a professional medium takes the time to educate sitters about the process of spirit communication prior to their meeting and to set appropriate expectations.

Ideally, every reading would meet the criteria above, but even great mediums have an occasional “off” day. We may not always know why a sitting doesn’t go well. A poor connection across the veil could have nothing to do with the medium’s energy or ability. It could be due to dissonance with the sitter’s energy, there could be a deeper spiritual reason why the connection doesn’t click, or it could be the cycles of the moon. Whatever the reason, if a sitting doesn’t go well more than 5 percent of the time, perhaps it’s time to put more effort into practice readings and determine how to improve the connection.

Presence of spirit
Are you ready to put your name next to the title “medium” on a business card or shingle? Can you clearly sense the presence of spirit when you set the intention of tuning in? When you sit with a client, are you confident that you will make a link quickly and clearly? Can you tell the difference between your consciousness and that of the spirit? Are you willing to have your sessions recorded because you are confident of the accuracy and authenticity of the information that will be heard on such a recording?

What would those in the spirit world say about your sessions? Would they be pleased or frustrated with how accurately you represent them and their messages to their loved ones? If you were to face those same spirits when your time on Earth comes to an end, would they thank you for a job well done or tell you that perhaps you should have spent a bit more time working on your abilities before you put their words in your mouth?

A consistent and clear connection with those in spirit is possible. My goal is not to discourage you if you don’t meet the criteria above, but to encourage you to work at honing your abilities. Mediums who run before they can walk do a disservice to the Work.

A medium can be a healer of broken hearts, a messenger of hope, and a catalyst for spiritual growth. It is a tremendous honor to be a professional medium, but we carry a responsibility to serve those in spirit and those they love here on Earth to the best of our ability. May we never stop growing, stretching, and striving to be the best spirit communicators possible.

Such a goal takes dedication, commitment, and practice well beyond the classroom experience, but the result is worth it. We earn the right to be the voice for those who no longer have a physical voice.

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Suzanne Giesemann
Suzanne Giesemann, the author of 11 books, is an evidence-based medium and spiritual teacher. She is a former Navy Commander who served as a commanding officer and as aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11. She will be teaching her “Serving Spirit” class in the Twin Cities area on March 18 and 19. Information about Suzanne, including upcoming presentations and classes in the area is available at www.SuzanneGiesemann.com.

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