Matthew Bronson and Danny Hawkmoon Alford
Applied Psi 4(1), pp 3-10, Spring 1985

"I have a dream."

With this simple phrase, Martin Luther King Jr. ignited the hope and passion of a generation. Years later, the words of his famous speech resound with uncanny clarity in our collective psyche, continuing to awaken our longing for justice and freedom. and inspiring us with the strength to achieve it. The overwhelming power of this and other potent communications that have endured time is neither inexplicable nor isolated. For not only do they spring from the source which embodies our shared humanity, but with closer examination they can lead is to a better understanding of consciousness and particularly psi phenomena such as trance channeling. They can also heighten the effectiveness of our own speech and writing.

Clairparlance is our word for the powerful communication form that directly inspire listeners or readers to transcend in some way their habitual internal dialogue and personal ego-boundaries. We distinguish this particular psi ability from clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience--psi powers traditionally characterized by receptivity -- because of the active quality of verbal communication. Yet while a clairparlant event originates with a speaker's active projection of higher consciousness through language, the impact of his communication depends equally an the quality of the audience's listening or reading experience. A clairparlant event is thus not merely a function of words, but of the entire setting in which the act takes place.

People who have experienced a moving sermon, an inspiring book or lecture, or the healing words of a trance channel can attest to the uplifting effect of clairparlant acts; in rendering us transparent witnesses to the ongoing miracle of our natures, such communications make us co-creators of both personal and collective realities. The capacity for clear-speaking and clear-writing, however, is not reserved for our heroes of communication like Shakespeare, Socrates, and Mohandas Gandhi. These "warriors of the words" were simply embodiments of a capacity that is the birthright of all humanity.

Our task in this article is to inquire into the structure and process of clairparlance, in the aim of enhancing our personal and professional lives with a renewed appreciation for language as the interplay between being and doing. In this connection we quote Benjamin Whorf, the pioneering linguist and spiritual father of our study:

We all know now that the forces studied by physics, chemistry, and biology are powerful and important. People do not generally know that the forces studied by linguistics are powerful and important, that its principles control every sort of agreement and understanding among humans, and that sooner or later it will have to sit as judge while the other sciences bring their results to its court to inquire into what they mean. [1]

We hope to raise up for students of consciousness an example of Whorf's promise.

Clairparlance as Personal Best
Although we will refer in our definition of clairparlance to the communications of renowned Social activists and spiritual masters, it is important to remember that anyone can enter a clairparlant mode, and thereby create a clearing for discovery in his thousand little acts of everyday speech and writing. As a step in our personal evolution, as an affirmation of our whole being, we can make literally every word count by observing and listening to not only our "great communicators," but to our colleagues and ourselves as well. After all, we live in almost constant communication by our very nature. "Man, considered as a species, is one of the singing kind, except his notes refer to ideas." W. Von Humboldt, creator of linguistics as a discipline, reminds us that the study of clairparlance can lead us to the finest, most powerful language-songs, while inviting us to join in with our own clear voice.

We have all had clairparlant moments at one tine or another; we've been in the "clairparlant groove." Those who teach or speak publicly often have moments (like a colleague of ours recently reported) when the lecture flows spontaneously and elegantly from our lips in a way that completely fits the moment, without our having to search or grope for the exactly appropriate words. Our listeners sit wide-eyed on the edges of their seats, as if we were voicing for them some latent truth of their own experience. Some of us have comforted a friend with a healing dance of word and gesture. Others have transcended a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in a negotiation process by a single, joyful sleight of tongue. These moments are windows on our clairparlant nature through which language, as a living thing, intersects with our self, as living being. During such times, a highly charged, precise version of ordinary language courses through us, and we experience ourselves as conduits for the fundamental logos.

Some Characteristics of Clairparlance
This direct tapping into the underlying logos may not seem as novel to all peoples as it does to us in modern Western Culture. Clairparlance appears to be a practice more cultivated in traditionally oral cultures, such as that of the Native American. Indeed, some Native American oratory, even after translation into English, presents a standard of clairparlance challenged only by the greatest poets and orators of western civilization. A primary characteristic of clairparlance is the frequent use of sensory images to deliver the intended feeling tone as a direct experience for the listener. Using images of taste and smell, the Chief quickens our own primal urge to remember these senses, so often taken for granted: Another characteristic of clairparlant texts is the rhythmic alternation between concrete (i.e., sensory) and abstract images. This technique is particularly evident in the form of the power metaphor as a special class of metaphor which goes beyond the mere comparison of unlike things, to open a flood of new significance on an old idea. When Martin Luther King Jr. invited his people, in another speech, to "bathe in the warm waters of mercy," he compressed the abstract concept of mercy into a forceful sensory experience; Winston Churchill galvanized the attitude of a generation with his use of the term "Iron Curtain" to symbolize the perceived communist domination of Eastern Europe; and for centuries Plato vividly characterized the debate over man's duality with his image of man as a charioteer harnessing a black and a white horse, representing his Appolonian and Dionysian aspects. In these and many more instances, a superbly apt blending of the sensory with the abstract imbues expression with a lasting and compelling grace.
Feeling Tones and Clairparlant Masters
The language of spiritual rasters and visionaries is often memorable for its underlying feeling tones or emotional style. The letters and speeches of Mohandas Gandhi, which moved millions to action and changed the course of modern history, were powered by the engine of his unflagging passion: "Life to me would lose all interest if I felt that I could not attain perfect love an earth," he wrote to his son. "After all, what matters is that our capacity for loving ever expands." [3] The transforming and healing powers of the words of Gandhi, and of the many others whom we recognize as harbingers of eternal truths, are owed in large part to the forceful field of universal love from which their communication springs.

A student of ours at the California Institute of Integral Studies reported in her journal that, while reading a favorite spiritual master, she entered into a state of mind characterized by "clear thinking, a clarity of perception entrained into an experience more aligned with a transformed perspective." She writes, "As I read, I could feel a change taking place in the mind. The content, which I don't recall, had nothing to do with it. But I began to grasp sections of the work as a whole, rather than word by word. And suddenly, my next step in life threw itself into relief; I saw exactly the next and really only thing I could do -- and proceeded to do it."

Especially notable in this account is the relative insignificance of content in the message's impact. The master she was reading explained his special kind of language as mantric speech:

My teaching is a form of ecstatic speech, and ecstatic speech is mantric. My speech and writings are not composed of 'oms' and 'hrirs' and similar mantras, but they are nevertheless mantric. The Teaching is a direct reflection of the Transcendental Mind, so that it has the capacity to draw you into that Disposition, that Company, that Radiance, that Realization. [4]

The idea that mantric speech can directly transform the listener has been the province of sages and shamans throughout the eons, and its connection with clairparlance is worth exploring.

Mantra, which is language in its non-referential aspects, is said to bring about a settling, healing state through a general relaxation of the "muscles of the mind." [5] Participation in a clairparlant event introduces a similar state in which individuals report profound emotional and physiological effects that are more lasting and meaningful than the specific content of the communication. Clairparlance washes over the audience like a wave of feeling-charged mantra cleansing the mind-body, as does deep meditation, leaving in its wake a memory of sequential emotional tones, and a sense of the personal changes induced.

Corresponding to the concept of feeling tones as the fundamental organizing principle of consciousness is the Gray/La Violette model of cognition [6], which holds that all thoughts are special emotional sequences. Reasoning from this model, it would follow that to achieve clairparlance in our own lives we must first contact the specific feeling tones we wish to share in a communication. The appropriate words, phrases, and intonation would then be attracted to these tones as iron filings to a magnet, or as birds to the shoulder of St. Francis.

Such a model also would explain why obsessive preoccupation with the surface level of language, with finding the right words, often disrupts a communicator's fluency, and why words spoken in the "clairparlant groove" seem to flow in a steady, even stream, ready for use as they are needed. This is surely how it was for the prophets of the Old Testament; according to tradition, their speech was channeled directly from the divine nature without critical reflection. "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven" (Ecclesiastes). In the time for speaking or writing, clairparlance, that inspiring Enrapture, may be invited by the intellect but not directed by it. Clairparlance is ever in the season of the heart.

Trance Channeling and Clairparlance
The phenomena of trance channeling and mediumship are closely allied to -- indeed, sometimes difficult to distinguish from -- the odes of prophets and seers. In all of these cases the personal ego-identity that characterizes non-transcendental states Is temporarily suspended, and another realm of sensibility takes voice through the speaker. Channels typically assert that they themselves are not the source of the wisdom they utter, but merely conveyors of an eternally valid message, which they feel compelled to communicate.

While it is not our task here to establish the origin or mechanism of channeling, as scholars and professionals endeavoring to apply psi to the problems of our age, we must accept the empirical validity of much of the information coming through trance channels and other expert intuitives. [7] Our Inquiry into powerful, inspiring communication often leads us to testimonies of people throughout history who have been enlightened and healed by the discourses of channeled entities.

The calling to channel is neither vague nor easily ignored. Typical of the personal accounts of initiation into channeling is that of the lbn Arabi (1165-1240), who viewed his writings as "a way out of the fire of inspiration" - fire which he sometimes feared might burn him up. By his own account, William Blake's words were born of his conversations with angels and the divine burning within his soul. His "tiger, tiger burning bright / in the dark celestial night," is a potent symbol of the vibrant force that propelled him to create the poems and paintings for which he is famous.

Although the word clairparlance is new to our language, the knowledge of its power stretches far back into mythological and biblical texts. Speaking the intent of the Gods was commonplace in antiquity; the Delphic oracle and the angel voices of St. Teresa are but two examples.

An eloquent expression of 18th century thinking on the subject arose through the following words of Emanuel Swedenborg, a scientist and psi-technician who profoundly influenced Blake and many others:

For the alchemists. mystics, and visionaries who are our historical antecedents, the intervention of spirit in channeling is no anomaly or miracle, but a necessary indication of the eternal unity of spirit, mind, and body. From their view, the "bizarre" facts of channeling needn't be squared with the rationalistic scheme that posits an abyss between spirit and body-mind. They assure us that channeling is not a freak occurrence, but a quintessentially human activity.

Swedenborg anticipated the skepticism of his peers and ours in explaining the phenomenon of hearing spirit voices:

Seth Speaks
For millions who have read, heard or felt the power of Seth, an entity channeled through the late Jane Roberts, such intercourse is far from fancy. The author of the remarkable texts of the Seth materials claims to be an intelligence, "no longer focused in physical realty," who reports from that vantage various insights into the constitution of being and reality. Seth claims to speak not only to our everyday ears but also to a "future portion" of ourselves that intuitively accepts and integrates the evolutionary signals being transmitted.

While the intent and the feeling tone of Seth's transmissions are dramatically simple, the undertones and overtones which they awaken in the audience are thunderous:

Repetition and the Clair-link
Repetition of words, drumbeats, mantra, and other repetitious sounds have been part of the technology of consciousness alteration since prehistory, and still shows up in the clairparlant discourses of master hypnotists and orators alike.

Our reading and personal experience of trance-language phenomena show that channeled personalities almost always use personal key phrases, termed clair-links, which they repeat at intervals varying with speaker and occasion. Seth uses "now" and "give us a moment." The entity who channeled The Law of One punctuates each spate of speech with "I am Ra." Ramtha, who comes through J. Z. Knight, enunciates the operative phrases "indeed" and "so be it" with intense emotion and stylized gesture. Ecton, through Richard Lavin, tags many sentences with "do you see?" uttered almost as a single word.

If we posit that the source entity is making use of the inherent language faculty of the channel to communicate its message, the clair-link marks a chunk being "downloaded" into the part of the brain which translates thought and feeling into a stream of speech. Clair-links somehow energize and facilitate the overall channeling process.

Dr. Fritz of Brazil
Regularities of channeled discourse invite our curiosity, especially where they overlap with clairparlance. Many clairparlants use special intonations and pronunciations to good effect. Consider the case of Dr. Edson Queiroz of Recife, Brazil. [12] Dr. Queiroz speaks the sing-song Portuguese typical of northeastern Brazil In his usual identity as a personable gynecologist. When in trance he channels Dr. Fritz, allegedly a surgeon of some renown in World War I Germany. In this clairparlant mode, his Portuguese assumes a flat staccato quality, his vowels become denasalized, his non-accented vowels are reduced anomalously. The overall impression created is of a native German attempting to speak Portuguese. The channel's shift in accents, however, never interferes with the impact of his speech.

Another characteristic of trance channels is their challenging of habitual thinking. Dr. Queiroz qua Fritz performs seemingly miraculous surgeries without asepsis or anesthesia, while describing his patients' internal physiology as if it were plainly visible. Sometimes spitting into open wounds and tossing tumors to his audience, Querioz is downright outrageous in his flouting of surgical decorum.

Channeled entities make other special uses of language which are characteristic of trance clairparlants in general. Notable in Fritz' speech is the complete absence of the first person singular "I, me, my;" everywhere he substitutes the plural "We, us, our." This jibes with his claim that he is acting in his miraculous interventions only as the agent for a council of disincarnate medical experts who direct and assist his efforts. When we asked how he could eschew asepsis and anesthesia, he replied that other members of the council were taking care of those details. Ra claims to be a "social memory complex" and consistently makes self-reference in the plural. Ecton and Hilarion (channeled by Jon Fox and others) are representative of many entities who refer to themselves as spokesmen ("spokesspirits?") for a collection of energy-forms that have banded together in order to achieve an intensity of vibration sufficient to manifest in our "density" or "plane."

Clairparlants not normally recognized as channels also make special use of personal reference: "I have a dream" gradually collapses all the individual "I"s of the audience into an encompassing intersubjectivity which finds its voice in his own.

Toward a Model of Clairparlance
In the following channeled text from the Starseed Transmissions we anticipate a testable model of clairparlance: This metaphor of a "living language of light" underlies not only clairparlance but all communication. It is directly consistent with our theme. Another startling correspondence is found in Rupert Sheldrake's hypothesis of "formative causation" [14], which describes the same line of thinking from a scientific mindset. Sheldrake posits that intelligent but intangible "morphogenetic" fields determine not only many of the mind-boggling patterns of animal instinct, but the very shape and structure of living organisms as well. With these M-fields he seeks to explain language as a classic form of our habituated behavior patterns.

Perhaps this hypothesis could be combined with the tools of linguistic analysis to show how linguistic form permeates the usual barriers of time and space. A research program to this end might include discourse analysis of the vocabulary, spacing, and rhythm of phrasing in the speech of trance channels who purport to be channeling the same entity (which is not uncommon). Careful description of the idiolect (personal speech Style) of each channel in a non-trance state should allow us to factor out personal differences and to describe the Speech tendencies of the source entity by a kind of linguistic "triangulation."

The research technique of contrastive analysis could be applied to cases like that of Queiroz/Fritz to sort out the native language patterns of the channel (Portuguese) from the xenoglossic effects of the channeled personality (German). Careful scholarship could reconstruct the regional dialect of the source period. Of course, independent confirmation of cases like the Egyptian xenoglossy of Rosemary [15] would lend credence to the model. If confirmed Sheldrake's M-field hypothesis would have broad repercussions in the fields of philosophy and psychology, as well as linguistics. [16].

The Applications and implications of Clairparlance: Clairobics and NLP
Clairparlance is a power -- seen, felt, and heard -- that can be harnessed in many ways as a healing technique to counter the common communicative impasses that confront us in both our personal and professional lives. Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), a set of principles and techniques now enjoying much popularity, offers an elegant model for analysis of subjective human experience, including the clairparlant act, in terms of the senses. By making sensory distinctions among human behavior patterns, NLP can actually replicate many instances of exceptional human performance, particularly in communication.

A deeper understanding of clairparlance can also be used to stretch Our communicative essence, as we do our bodies, in the form of "clairobics." Writer's block is a common manifestation of difficulty in communication. Clairparlance teaches us that attention to the flow of emotional tones behind, beneath, or around the flow of communication can reveal the roots of our inability to get on with the writing process. "What are the specific emotional tones of my intent and what is their appropriate sequence in my message?" is a more empowering self-inquiry for the writer than "What are the right words for me to say?" Manfred Clyne's Sentics techniques [17] are classically clairobic in that they stretch the muscles of our primary emotional responses such as joy, love, bliss, and fear, thereby releasing our blockage so that feelings flow freely through us. As the feelings flow, so flow the words, And our words become unblocked.

The fear of public speaking is one pervasive form of speaker's block, where once again, the lessons of clairparlance can be applied. A first principle of clairparlance is the necessity of getting free from self-consciousness, which frequently obstructs our own true voice. By studying and witnessing clairparlance at every opportunity, we can absorb the strategies of confidence and power and make them our own, while transcending the limitations of our native skills. We can discover our own clairparlant natures in this process and thus became powerful speakers in our own right.

Specific instruction in communication skills derive from studies like clairobics and NLP could be profitably included in the curriculum of preparation for many professions. Teachers in particular could benefit from training in the delivery of captivating lectures and in clairparlant discussion with students, using an enhanced repertoire of communicative strategies. Managers, sales people, and medical practitioners of all stripes also could benefit profoundly from a heightened grasp of the power of the word. Clairparlance is a power to heal, to move, to bring out thoughts and feelings into a physical form. It is a power at home with our humanity.

The Path of Clairparlance
This paper is offered as but one chapter in the ongoing revelation of the principles of clairparlance. Eastern cultures have long recognized that study of the phenomenon can only lead to better access to spiritual truths. In the Hindu tradition, clairparlance is seated in the fifth chakra, which, when awakened and opened (especially in conjunction with the heart and third-eye chakras) calls forth clear-speaking of the truth. The Buddha advocates "Right Speech" as a facet of the Eightfold Path, emphasizing its centrality to the process of enlightenment: In the West, the recent revival of interest in the psychotherapeutic significance of language has placed special emphasis on such "verbal hygiene" in the healing process. The modern therapist, however, tends to heal by listening. Perhaps we need to move back towards the ancient technologies of shamanism inherited from paleolithic times, to their focus on healing through speech. In the following description of the language of the shaman under the influence of the sacred mushroom we find a compelling summary of the power of clairparlance:

The Mazatecs say that the mushrooms speak. If you ask a shaman where his imagery comes from, he is likely to reply: "I didn't say it, the mushrooms did." No mushroom speaks, that is a primitive anthropomorphization of nature. Only man speaks, he who eats these mushrooms. If he is a man of language, he becomes endowed with an inspired capacity to speak. The shamans who eat them, their function is to speak, they are the speakers who chant and sing the truth. They are the oral poets of their people, the doctors of the word, they who tell what is wrong and how to remedy it, the seers and oracles, the ones possessed by the voice. "It is not I who speak," said Heraclitus, "it is the logos." Language is an ecstatic activity of signification. Intoxicated by the mushroom, the fluency, the ease, the aptness of expression one becomes capable of, are such that one is astounded by the words that issue forth from the contact of the intention of articulation with the matter of experience. At times it is as if one were being told what to say, for the words leap to mind, one after another, of themselves, without having to be searched for: a phenomenon similar to the automatic dictation of the surrealists, except that here the flow of consciousness, rather than being disconnected, tends to be coherent: a rational enunciation of meanings. Message fields of communication with the world, others, and oneself are disclosed by the mushroom. The spontaneity they liberate is not only perceptual, but linguistic, the spontaneity of speech, of fervent, lucid discourse, of the logos in activity. For the shaman, it is as if existence were uttering itself through him ... words are materializations of consciousness; language is a privileged vehicle of our relation to reality. [19]

It has been precisely our intent here to present "language as a privileged vehicle of our relation to reality." We hope to have inspired each of our readers with an enhanced quality of attention in all of their speech and writing. As students of clairparlance we can all learn to tap into the very best of our humanity and to share that with our world.


1. Whorf, B., Language, Thought and Reality, Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1956; p. 232.

2. Chief Seattle, Selection from speech to white settlers, 1854.

3. Erickson, Erik M., Gandhi's Truth. New York: M. Morton & Co. 1969; p. 316.

4. Da Free John.

5. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Transcendental Meditation, New York: New American Library, 1963.

6. Brain-Mind Bulletin. March 1982.

7. Rossman, M., "Psychic Technology and Social Responsibility," Applied Psi, Summer 1984; Kautz, W., "The Intuitive Historian: Reconstruction of the Life of Imhotep." Phoenix: New Directions in the Study of Man, Vol .4, Nos. 1 and 2. p. 61, 1980.

8. Swedenborg, E., Worship and the Love of God. 1745; cited in (no author), The Occult and the Supernatural, New York: Crown Publishers, 1975.

9. ibid, p. 121.

10. Roberts J.. Seth Speaks, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall: 1972; p. 5

11. ibid., pp. 7. 71-72.

12. Bronson, M., "Spiritist Healers of Brazil," Shaman's Drum, Vol. 1. p. 23 (Winter 1985).

13. Carey, K., The Starseed Transmissions, Mountain View, MO, 1983.

14. Sheldrake, R., A New Science of Life, Los Angeles: Jeremy Tarcher, 1981.

15. Kautz, W., "The Rosemary Case of Alleged Egyptian Xenoglossy," Theta, Vol. 10, No. 2, p. 26 (Summer 1982).

16. Drasin. D., "Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D." (interview). New Realities, Spring 1983.

17. Clyne, H. Sentics, New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1978.

18. Rahula, W., What the Buddha Taught, New York: Grove Press, 1959.

19. Munn, H., "The Language of Mushrooms," Hallucinogens and Shamanism, Michael Marner, ed., New York: Oxford Univ. Press, pp. 88-89.

20. Boorstein, S., "Notes on Right Speech as a Psychotherapeutic Technique." Journal of Transpersonal Psychology Vol. 17, No. 1, pp 47-56 (1985).

Matthew Bronson received his M.A. from University of California at Berkeley, and now teaches (at the California Institute of Integral Studies) and writes at the frontier of language and consciousness studies, particularly in the healing use of language.

Danny Hawkmoon Alford, C.Phil. in linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley, is a writer and lecturer in transpersonal linguistics. During his four years with the Cheyenne Indians he developed an alphabet for their language. He hosts a TV program an "Reality, Mind, and Language" in Oakland, California.