Automatic Writing

Guide to Automatic Writing and psychography

A simple guide to automatic writing, a way of channeling spiritual guidance.

What Is Automatic Writing?


Also known as psychography, it is the psychic ability to write words not originating from your conscious mind. Typically, these words are penned when an individual is in an altered state of consciousness or trance. Some attribute the outcomes to spirits capable of manipulating the writing utensil to facilitate communication.

Many people try automatic writing to make contact with spirit guides or, for mediumship purposes, to communicate with the dead. Some psychics have even claimed to write a whole book through automatic writing.

Example of Automatic Writing |
Example of automatic writing.

Typically, the writer is unaware of what is being written, and the writing is much faster, larger, and more expansive than their normal handwriting. During the process, some people experience a physical sensation like tingling in the arms or hands.


Originally, people practiced automatic writing by sitting with a pen or pencil poised over a sheet of paper, waiting for the hand to start moving of its own accord. Another method was to use a planchette—a board mounted on castors with a receptacle in which a pencil was fitted.

The board would move freely over the paper as the sitter rested his hand on the pencil. The handwriting that was produced was always different from that of the sitter themselves.

Automatic writers have been known to produce mirror scripts, starting at the bottom right of the page and finishing at the top left. At the height of spiritualism in the 19th century, automatic writing was common in seances, and it replaced the much slower methods of spelling out messages from spirits with table rapping or Ouija boards.

Ouiji board with planchette, spirit contact.
Ouija board with planchette

In some cases, automatic writing occurs involuntarily, as in the case of Anna Windsor. In 1860, Windsor began automatic writing with her right hand, which she called Stump. The stump had a personality of its own, writing out verses and prose while the left hand did something else.

Writing With a Computer

Today, it is possible to practice automatic writing with a computer, although if you are going to do this, you should ideally be able to touch-type. Pausing to search for each key before striking it is bound to slow down the flow of the messages; it will also make you too conscious of what you are writing. The whole point of automatic writing is to let it flow through you.

Being aware of what you are writing means that you may subconsciously block, control, or alter it. Your first attempts at automatic writing may not produce much, but they will improve with time.

Surprising Benefits of Automatic Writing

Through automatic writing, some mediums can produce messages not just from deceased relatives or loved ones but from famous historical figures such as Francis Bacon, Elvis Presley, and even Jesus Christ.

Others even co-write books with deceased entities.

Frederick Myers, one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research, found little evidence that spirits communicated through automatic writing, but, interestingly, after his death, several mediums claimed to receive automatic writing messages from him.

While psychical researchers continue to investigate automatic writing as evidence for the existence of the spirit world, the field of psychology has adopted automatic writing. In such instances, we may refer to as ‘inspired writing’.

Psychologists use it as a way for the unconscious mind to express thoughts and feelings that cannot be verbalized. Automatic writing continues to be used as a therapeutic tool to this day. Some critics warn of dangers in automatic writing; they claim that the writer is vulnerable to harassment from evil-minded spirits.

However, psychologists maintain that the real danger is exposing material from the unconscious that has been repressed.

How Do I Start Automatic Writing?

When you practice automatic writing, you are tuning into something beyond yourself – it is the same energy field that is tapped into for a psychic reading, crystal ball and tarot card reading – and for lots of other form of divination.

However, it will be a moot point whether you are in contact with a spirit guide or your own higher conscious. Only time will tell, when you’re able to analyse the quality of what you have written.

Exercise 1

  1. Make sure you are in a calm and relaxed mood. If you feel stressed or anxious, leave it and try another day.
  2. Find a good pen or pencil and a quiet place at a table. Sit there and let your hand move as it will. You may like to ask your hand if it has any messages for you. Hold your pen loosely in whichever hand you normally write with and let your mind roam freely. Write down whatever comes into your head for about five to ten minutes at the most.
  3. If nothing happens, visualize a column of light made up of golden letters, forming and reforming words. Focus on one letter, and let the light flow down into your fingers and the pen. Wait until you feel your pen tremble, and let it move. At first it may scribble and make patterns, but words may follow. Don’t try to read or make sense of them or you will lose the spontaneity.
  4. When you feel you are losing concentration, stop. Lay your pen down and see the column of light fading. Read what you have written. It may seem to relate to you or to another person in your life, perhaps a persona that is deep within you. Don’t be concerned if your first attempts appear nothing more than random scribbles or a jumble of disconnected words. It takes practice to establish a clear delivery of information.
  5. Do something mundane or physical like having a cup of tea to bring you back to earth.

Exercise 2

Automatic writing is not something to do in an idle moment or for a laugh, because you are potentially dealing with a force that is much stronger than you. Be patient; your initial attempts may not produce much of interest, but they will improve with time. If you would like to use it for channelling purposes, to channel your Spirit guide, use the following exercise:

  1. Set aside some time when you won’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably, with a sheaf of paper either resting on your knee or on a table in front of you. Make sure that your pen works or your pencil is sharp.
  2. Ground, balance and protect yourself. You might wish to say a short prayer as well.
  3. When you’re ready, hold the pen or pencil over the paper and ask a spirit guide to draw near. Trust that this guide is with you, even if you can’t feel anything, and begin to ask it some simple questions. For instance, you might like to ask its name and how it can help you. Write down each answer you receive, even if it only seems to be your imagination at work. Don’t attempt to analyse or evaluate the answers you’re receiving while you’re writing. Stop after about 30 minutes.
  4. Thank your guides for being with you and close down your chakras. You can now read what you have written. Although you will be very interested in the messages you have received, you should be discriminating about them. Spirit guides never issue orders or criticize you, so you should disregard any messages that do this.

Famous Automatic Writers

In rare cases, automatic writing involves the person’s physical hand being guided by a spirit hand that has partially materialized. It is therefore the spirit who literally does the writing. However, this is most definitely the exception rather than the rule.

One celebrated medium who was renowned for her automatic writing in the 1920s was Geraldine Cummins, who received communications from Phillip the Evangelist, Cleophas and F. W. H.Myers.

Another famous example of spirit communication is the book Life in the World Unseen. This was communicated in the early 1950s to its living author, Anthony Borgia, by Monsignor Robert Benson, who had already passed into the spirit realms and described in detail through automatic writing what he found there.

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Psychic Development

Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.

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