Who or What Is Charles?Since 1981, I've been channeling a nonphysical spiritual teacher whom I call Charles. Many people ask me who or what is Charles. Here are my conclusions, after decades of considering this question.
When I first began to develop my channeling abilities, I assumed that nonphysical spiritual teachers existed, and it was possible to contact them in an altered state of consciousness, such as the one Jane Roberts used to reach Seth. She called that altered state a trance, and Seth a trance personality.
I did the best I could to achieve a similar altered state. The result was Charles, my own trance personality, an apparently reliable, often extremely wise source of information, much like Seth.
Since Seth had a name, I assumed that my own nonphysical spiritual teacher would have one. I was never told, however, that “his” name was Charles. Instead, I received this information: “Here's a sound you can use to contact a clear source of information.”
The sound began with “ch” and ended with “s.” It semed vaguely Chinese in the middle. Because I wanted a name for my teacher, I chose “Charles,” which resembled the sound I was given. And Charles it has been ever since.
There are other differences between my trance experience and that of Jane Roberts. It took about six months from my first Ouija board attempt to reach a reliable source of nonphysical guidance. Jane Roberts accessed Seth by Ouija board only a week after her first attempt, and was speaking in trance for Seth two weeks later.
Once Jane’s trance state became deep enough fully to accommodate Seth’s presence, the expressions on her face changed dramatically, as well as her gestures. Her eyes were often open, and she could even move around the room.
In trance, Jane’s voice deepened and took on a masculine cast. Furthermore, Seth spoke through her with an odd accent, not easily traceable to foreign speakers of English from any one country.
My face doesn’t change when I’m in trance, nor does the quality of my voice. I don’t speak in an accent.
People who know me well are often able to hear a difference in speech rhythm when Charles is coming through. I say “Uh,” “well,” and “you know,” like most of us when speaking. Such words or phrases are virtually absent from Charles’s speech, which rolls on as if he were a highly experienced, often entertaining lecturer. His humor seems to be different from mine. For lack of a better term, I call it cosmic irony.
I speak with my eyes closed at all times. While Charles may sometimes gesture, I don’t move around the room, as Jane did in her early sessions.
Because I wanted so much to emulate Jane Roberts in the beginning of my channeling experiments, I thought that differences between her way of working and mine were faults. Jane’s trance was so deep that she rarely remembered anything she said. She had to be reminded by transcripts done by her husband, Robert Butts.
My trance allows me to hear everything I say. I'm a passive witness. I recall what I said fairly well for an hour or two after the trance is over. Anything relevant to my own growth sticks in my memory. The rest disappears, as dreams often do, a few hours later.
I no longer see my alertness during trance as a sign that it isn’t as deep as Jane Roberts’s was. I’m grateful for the accelerated growth that becomes possible as a result of remembering what I’ve said.
I call Charles “he” for convenience, because the name I use for him is masculine. However, Charles, refers to himself as “we.” He says that he wants to acknowledge that I'm present in the trance state with him--and he’ll sometimes call upon me for help when he can’t find the specific word he wants.
People have often asked me whether Charles is a person who once lived in the world, and is now either between lifetimes, or has graduated from having to incarnate on Earth. I don’t know. I had a great uncle named Charles who died before I was born. But from what I know about his life (he committed suicide), I doubt he would have been a reliable source of spiritual knowledge.
Charles has further complicated the matter of who or what he is by giving a different answer every time someone asks the question. In some cases, these answers are related to each other. Each is an attempt to describe nonphysical communication by means of metaphors, or analogies with something else. For example, one of the explanations of Charles that I’ve felt the most comfortable with is that the name simply acts as a log-on password to a computer-like information network that exists in nonphysical reality.
In other cases, Charles’s statements about who or what he is seem inconsistent with one another. In considering these answers, I’ve accepted the possibility that the phenomenon of trance channeling may be more complex than the model began with: a medium goes into trance and a nonphysical teacher comes through to offer spiritual guidance and wisdom. Though I call the source of guidance that comes through me Charles, a variety of nonphysical entities could conceivably appear at different times. I may not be sensitive enough to distinguish one from one another,
Eventually, I realized that apparent inconsistencies in Charles's explanations of who he is were themselves a message. No matter how my trance experience might be explained, I’ll never know what’s really going on. Charles could be a product of my own brain or mind. In that case, I would have to define the soul as the highest possible level of organization within the brain.
Yet explaining Charles in reductionistic terms does little to reduce the value of his teaching. It’s still a miracle to me that I can go into trance for an hour and a half and talk and answer questions on virtually any subject with a degree of wisdom and fluency that I rarely achieve when not in trance.
Since 1981, I’ve done more than six hundred sessions for myself, going into trance at the word-processor keyboard. These personal sessions are one of the benefits of the lighter trance state I’ve cultivated, in which I’m conscious enough to hear and remember the information coming through me, but without my own personality becoming involved enough to distort it.
I've also done thousands of Charles sessions for indviduals and groups in the United States and Germany. My clients find their private sessions helpful. Some have been seeing me regularly for over twenty years.
Charles holds a monthly meeting here in Boston, in which he discusses topics from spiritual evolution on a personal and global scale to exploring astral projection and other altered states. The Charles Group has been meeting since 1984. It consists of about two dozen regular members, and a number of people who show up less frequently, as well as occasional one-time drop-ins. Some of the regulars have been around since the beginning.
The words of Jesus about how to distinguish between false and true prophets apply equally to channelers: “You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16) The fruits of the Charles material, in myself and others, seem to be an increase in happiness, well-being, and self-awareness. Even though I can’t say for sure where this information comes from, I’ve come to feel that its benefits speak for themselves.
The most remarkable things about the Charles material are its comprehensiveness, as a system of spiritual practices intended to promote self-actualization, and its sheer volume. Transcriptions of the Charles classes and my own sessions require more than forty megabytes of storage space on my computer. My 270-page book Otherwhere took up about one megabyte of space. I could conceivably publish the equivalent of forty-plus books of about that size based on the Charles material I’ve collected from 1981 to the present.