The nature of the communication that exists between the medium and the spirit can be placed in two main categories: Physical and Intellectual Phenomena.

The first refers to all mediumship phenomena that involves the spirit acting upon inanimate objects in the physical world by using energy from the medium.
The second refers to all phenomena in which information is the product of the communication.

Physical Phenomena:

How mediumship of Physical Phenomena works:

(“Mediums’ Book” # 75-76). Kardec writes: “The universal fluid, in which resides the principle of life, is the chief agent of Spirit-manifestation, and this agent receives its impulse from the Spirit, whether the latter be incarnate or discarnate. This fluid, condensed, constitutes the perispirit or, in other words, the semi-material envelope of the Spirit. In the state of incarnation, the perispirit is united to the matter of the body; in the erratic state, it is free. When the Spirit is incarnated, the substance of the perispirit is more or less bound, more or less adherent, if we may be allowed the expression. With certain persons, a sort of emanation of this fluid takes place, as the result of their organization, and it is this fact, strictly speaking, which explains the peculiar qualities of physical mediums. The emission of this animalized fluid may be more or less abundant, its combination more or less easy and mediums will accordingly be more or less powerful. There is nothing to guarantee the permanence of the medianimic faculty and the occasional loss of power by mediums is thus explained.

Let us here call in the aid of comparison. When we desire to act physically upon a given point at a distance, it is our thought which determines the action, but thought cannot of itself strike the blow; it must have an intermediary which it directs, such as a stick, a projectile, a current of air, etc. Observe, too , that thought does not act directly upon the stick, for if the stick is not touched, it will not act. The source of thought, which is nothing else than the Spirit incarnated within us, is united to the body by the perispirit. However, the thought can no more act upon the body without the perispirit, than it can act upon the stick without the body. Thought acts upon the perispirit because the perispirit acts upon the muscles, the muscles seize the stick, and the stick strikes the mark. When the Spirit is not incarnated, he/she requires an extraneous auxiliary; this auxiliary is the vital fluid, by the aid of which he renders the object apt to obey the impulsion of his will.

When an object is set in motion, carried away, or raised into the air, the Spirit does not seize it, push it, or lift it, as we do with our hands; the Spirit, so to say, saturates it with his/her own fluid combined with that of the medium, and the object, being thus vivified for the moment, acts as a living being would act, with this difference, that not having a will of its own, it follows the impulsion communicated to it by the will of the Spirit.”

For this kind of phenomena to occur the medium must possess the ability to instinctively project from its perispirit an animalistic fluid called ectoplasm. Once in a trance state the ectoplasm passes through the mediums pours, or through the eyes, mouth and ears. The spirit wanting to make the phenomena happen will use this ectoplasm from the medium, from the people (non-mediums) in the immediate environment where the effect will take place, and directly from nature. Once the spirit has taken ectoplasm from these 3 sources it can manipulate (using its perispirit) this semi transparent substance and use it to act upon physical objects, or create effects perceivable by non-mediums with their 5 senses.

The ectoplasm taken from people in the environment does not require these people to be in a trance state or even aware that this is happening. While ectoplasm from mediums appears white and a solid cloud like, for the people not in a trance the ectoplasm appears as sweat coming from their pours.

Physical phenomena is generally associated with the communication with spirits of lower orders, first because its teaching value for those who witness the phenomena is extremely limited and second because the phenomena requires a spirit that has a very materialized perispirit, not a characteristic of more evolved spirits. Also, the fact that spirit communications through physical phenomena has such a destructive toll on the medium is evidence of the involvement of spirits of lower orders.

One important point also to consider is that many times Spirits of different orders work in groups for a phenomena to take place, so the spirits of lower order may be the ones instigating the phenomena, but spirits of higher orders may be the ones giving instruction for it to occur.

Intelligent Phenomena:

How mediumship of Intelligent Phenomena works:

In Physical Phenomena the spirit trying to communicate takes magnetized animalistic fluid from the medium to use in the magnetization of objects; in the case of Intelligent Phenomena there is no such taking. In this second kind of phenomena the spirit communicating and the medium come to an agreement through the Law Of Affinity. As stated earlier in this law intelligent beings share an affinity or repulsion based on the mperfections and virtues they share in common.

When the Spirit comes near, the medium receives vibrations from the spirit; if there is an affinity, a bond between the perispirits of both the Spirit and the medium occurs. A conversation, in every sense of the word then takes place between these two beings in two different dimensions.

The level of awareness of the medium before, during and after this kind of communication takes place is determined by the kind of mediumship, the level of development of the mediumship and the nature of the agreement made between the two participants. Many times these agreements first occur between the spirit and the medium before the medium reincarnates. But this is not always the case.

Another important point to note is that no matter the type of intelligent communication phenomena, the medium is not a direct mouth piece for the spirit, instead the medium is an interpreter for the Spirit. Which means the medium expresses what is being communicated from the spirit, based in his/her own level of understanding the message being filtered through his/her own brain. This is why more evolved Spirits tend to seek out more ethically/intellectually evolved mediums so that what the medium understands is most closely exact to what the Spirit is communicating.


As said before, this 6th sense is more developed in some individuals than others. Nonetheless, the sense exists naturally within all incarnated spirits in different states of development. It is for this reason that Spiritism teaches that ‘we are all mediums’ since our capacity to become aware of and communicate with these other dimensions is in the process of development.

Another relevant factor that is touched upon within Spiritism is that of sleep. When an incarnated spirit (human) sleeps the spirit is able to separate itself from the material body and again interact directly with the Spiritual world. Upon awaking the incarnated spirit remains aware of the experience to a very limited extent. For this nightly interaction with other dimensions too does Spiritism say that we are all mediums.