A Psychomanteum is a small room or chamber invented by Dr. Raymond Moody and inspired by ancient techniques used 2500 years ago at the Oracle of the Dead in Ephyra, Greece. A psychomanteum helps the living process grief by seeing and/or communicating with people who have passed over to the spirit realm. An older expression of this is called “Mirror Gazing“, and there are numerous testimonies from people from all walks of life who have seen “apparitions” while gazing into a mirror. The most famous examples of this were the visions of Nostradamus. Some of these visions were intentional, in the sense the people wanted to make contact with loved ones who had departed, while others were spontaneous apparitions, meaning the spirits just appeared as if out of nowhere.
Psychomanteums also called “sleep temples” or dream-incubation temples of Asklepios were used much like our modern day Mayo Clinic where people went to be cured of illnesses that were non-responsive to other treatments. The patient would be put into a trance state of altered consciousness and the attending priest and/or physician would then give positive suggestions to their subconscious mind to facilitate healing. Often the patients would have dreams or see visions while in this trance state. Upon emerging, they would be healed.
In his book, Reunions: Visionary Encounters With Departed Loved Ones, author Raymond Moody, M.D. (who may be best known for his book, co-written with Paul Perry, Life after Life) talks about the healing process which can be achieved by making contact with departed loved ones.
Many people (even children) have walked away from experiencing the psychomanteum feeling at peace, knowing their loved ones are doing fine, while others have actually healed the relationship between themselves and the person who passed on; parents have been comforted by communicating with children who died, and children of deceased parents have been able to experience a sense of completion. Use common sense though. Don’t MAKE or convince someone to use a psychomanteum before they are read and open to the process.
The Psychomanteum Process:
Who should use a psychomanteum? Anyone with unresolved feelings about the death of a loved one is a good candidate for the psychomanteum. The process takes about three hours. A trained facilitator asks the participant to describe the person who died, their relationship with them and when, where and how they died. They are asked, “If you could speak to them, what would you like to say? If you could hear them, what would you like to hear?”
Participants then sit alone in a dark curtained booth about the size of a large closet, with a mirror at one end (tilted so the participants do not see their own reflection) in a big, comfy recliner in the center. They sit (or recline) there for forty-five minutes thinking about their deceased loved one. Some will see visual images, streams of light, or may feel touches or other bodily sensations. About 64-65% of participants feel they’ve connected with the person who has died. After they leave the booth, they review their experience with their facilitator.
Having a facilitator through the process is vital. If an individual were to construct a Portal (psychomanteum) at home, it is highly advised to have a safe and trustworthy friend serve as a facilitator or simply be there before, during, and after the process. There have been occasions when individuals used the psychomanteum while alone, had a profound experience, and had no one with whom to talk or debrief. The benefit of being able to talk about ones experience immediately after a session is great. The post-Portal (psychomanteum) process is very much like remembering a dream. The sooner upon waking one repeats and discusses one’s dream, the better the chances of recall and subsequently gaining insights and meaning. In the case of a Portal (psychomanteum) session a skilled and seasoned facilitator can make a world of difference in helping one remember the events that took place while in the Portal (psychomanteum).
Preparing to enter the psychomanteum: The proper state of mind is essential for a good experience. Take some times to meditate, pray, chant, sing or say the Rosary before you enter the room.
Safety: It is important to know that one is in a safe environment, in safe hands, and can openly speak about his or her experience without fear of being misunderstood or even ridiculed.
Be Open to Anything and Everything: Entering with an expectation of an encounter, can lead to frustration and disappointment. Many times subtle, and not-so-subtle, happenings in the Portal (psychomanteum) are missed due to the expectation of one kind or another experience. The most common is the expectation of a fully visible apparition, or some form of visual phenomenon. Some of the most profound happenings in the Portal (psychomanteum) have been physical sensations in the body or auditory experiences. Individuals must be open to anything and everything that happens in the surroundings within the Portal (psychomanteum) and within his or her body during a session.
How to Build a Psychomanteum: the best and most complete directions I’ve found so far on how to build a psychomanteum is at: http://www.manteum.com/materials.html#Tools.
Now, to use the psychomanteum:
Adjust the atmosphere in and around the area. Switch on the small light and close all the manteum curtains from the inside. They should overlap a little so as to exclude all light from outside. The fabric should “ripple” around the exterior of the manteum. It may help to reduce the room lighting level by closing the room curtains too.
Sit in the chair with your legs in front of you, straight or bent as you prefer. Allow your eyes to become accustomed to the low light level, and look into the mirror. Make sure you cannot see any part of your head in the mirror. If you can see your head, stand up and adjust the angle of the mirror by means of the string on the back of it. When you are satisfied it is positioned correctly, you are ready to begin.
Attend to family matters: Make sure you won’t be disturbed by your family by explaining that you need a little time on your own without interruption. Then when you sit in the chair, say a few words asking for protection during the process. Some people like to close their eyes and cover themselves in pure white light from head to toe whilst asking for protection against negative energies. Alternatively ask God or guardian angel for help, guidance and protection. These requests are a type of affirmation and will help ensure that your experience in the manteum will be a good and positive one.
Now open your eyes and look into the centre of the mirror. Relax. Allow your breathing to slow and deepen. Hold your breath briefly after you have breathed in, and again after each out breath. Relax. Keep looking into the mirror. Show and feel no fear – keep a positive outlook and expect only a positive outcome. See the dimly-lit folds in the black curtains behind you and keep looking into the mirror. Gradually change your focus from the surface of the mirror to a point on the other side of the mirror. You will see the reflection of the rear curtains blur a little or defocus, but that’s fine and is what you are seeking. Keep looking at a point behind the mirror. Your eyes may see a milkiness in the mirror, and when you blink that milkiness goes for a while but re-appears soon afterwards.
Each time you blink, the milkiness returns faster than the time before. You will almost certainly feel that you are not alone. After a while you may see a mist billowing in the mirror. At that point you are starting to break down the barrier between worlds.
Continue to look beyond the mirror and you may discern shapes, faces even, in the mist. With practice and experience, these shapes can become so real that they seem solid. Indeed many manteum users claim to have physically held their departed loved ones in their arms for a while, having come out of the mirror to them. Other users claim that they went into or through the mirror to meet other beings. You may wish to ask for advice from those you meet regarding a specific problem you are facing, or you may simply wish to resolve an issue with the person, which was not properly resolved prior to losing them. Remember there are no strict rules, this subject is in its infancy and we are pioneers, just like those on the other side of the mirror.
A typical session may last 20 to 40 minutes. You will know instinctively when it is time to end a session. At the end, give thanks to whoever provided you with protection during the session, and most importantly say into the mirror that you will return. This will help keep the lines of communication open from both sides.
Honor the space: Try to keep the area in and around the manteum “special”. Keep it clean and tidy, and have respect for what you do there. But don’t make it a cold, over-serious atmosphere – keep a sense of humor about what you are doing and allow that humor to live in the manteum. This will make every session enjoyable and you will want to return often.
I have never read that the use of the psychomanteum has caused mental or physical harm to anyone, but if you are undergoing psychiatric treatment or have less than a full grip on reality, the psychomanteum is not the best technique for you to explore at this time.. Wait until you are mentally strong enough to make the journey into this particular unknown. You need to be of sound mind and body to be sure of dealing with anything that might come along. No weak hearts please!
Do ensure that you will not be disturbed during your sessions. Each experience should be a good one if you allow it to develop and flow naturally, without worrying about who is about to disrupt a crucial moment.
Use the psychomanteum only after you have come to terms with your grief. If you are thinking of using the psychomanteum for grief therapy, you should consider getting some basic training in the subject beforehand. Remember you will be dealing with people who are often desperate for another few minutes with their lost loved one, so they should be treated with care, compassion and respect.
If you want to allow other interested people to try it out of curiosity, that’s fine. It is perfectly ok to sit outside whilst your visitor is inside, and it will comfort him or her to know that someone is at hand.
Do remember to protect yourself before every session. Use white light, prayers, words, visualization, whatever makes you feel secure, but remember to do it – this is important.
Alcohol and drugs do not mix with the manteum. You need to be fully in control of your faculties, to avoid negative energies influencing your experience.
Helpful Links and Resources:
- Raymond Moody’s Website: http://www.lifeafterlife.com/psychomanteum.html Dr. Moody’s book (with Paul Perry) is: Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones. © 1993. I liked his other book Parting Visions as well.
- PMW Atwater’s Site (Near Death Experiences): http://www.cinemind.com/atwater/
- All about Psychomanteums: http://www.blinston.com/Psychomanteum/aboutp.html