Doesn’t it seem like everyone and their uncle is channeling these days?

Maybe it’s true what they say about the veil becoming thin (not unlike the hair on your uncle’s head).

Recently I went to see a channeled entity named Lazaris in a posh Silicon Valley hotel conference room. I  wondered if the martini-slinging businessmen down the hall had any idea that this generic-sounding event entitled “Concept: Synergy” was actually a disembodied entity speaking to a few hundred people through a middle-aged man with his eyes closed. My dear friend Sarah was pretty excited about it, so I had agreed to join her. That’s the kind of friend I am—the one who happily and unquestioningly accompanies you to an alien talk on a Friday night. I hadn’t actually read much of the written material she’d shared with me ahead of time because, admittedly, it wasn’t all that compelling.

The room got quiet as the channeler slipped into his altered persona. His voice and appearance reminded me of Burl Ives, though notably less endearing. I was puzzled by the accent. It seemed to take on a British flavor that faded in and out—or perhaps it was that rare kind of accent I’d heard upon occasion, befitting of an elusive unusually-proper-English-speaking subset of old-wealth Americans from Connecticut? My friend Debbie’s words from a previous event echoed in my head: “now why is it that every channel has to have a British accent!?” Good question, I daresay.

The dude was basically saying a whole lotta nothin’ for hours. I don’t know about you, but if I pay to hear an extra-terrestrial speak, I want there to be some extra-ordinary content—a bigger or different viewpoint somehow, even if it’s wacky. But that wasn’t going to happen with Lazaris. He droned on about Wall Street and the mortgage crisis, spewing run-of-the-mill liberal political judgmentalism, pop psychology, new age gobbledegook and vagueries such as “the crisis of hope.” Blah blah blah. What’s worse, he underwent embarrassingly dramatic surges in his voice and hand movements for emphasis. I couldn’t help but think that he might be faking and that I’d seen better performances in high school auditoriums (or as comedian Chris Rock says, “I’ve seen better actin’ in Fast-Actin’ Tinactin!”). Sometimes he would turn and scribble something on the chalkboard behind him. I wondered whether he opened his eyes to do that.

The other attendees seemed pretty anti-social, so rather than trying to mingle during the break I perused the merch table, next to the row of crystal vendors on the side of the room. (Yes, it was all right there in the seminar room. Classy, huh?) I was greeted briefly with a piercing scowl by the hater-ladies staffing the table, but they quickly ignored me and resumed their dishing. Just as the break time was about to end, I picked up a mounted flyer and began reading, hoping to identify the crux of the Lazaris spiel. Before I finished the first paragraph, one of the ladies tried to snatch it back while giving me an exasperated under-her-breath reprimand: “Excuuuse me!!  Jack is back!” She pointed to the stage.

I said, “that’s okay, I can read and listen at the same time” (as if there was anything that required intensive listening). She was really freaking out and looking frantically around and behind me—I thought for sure she was about to call security. But I guess she decided to chill out and allow me to commit the reading crime of the century, if only because there was probably no security to be called. The flyer consisted of platitudes about Love and Joy and Healing, which I found pretty hilarious. I figured she could use some healing . . .  and probably she thought I needed some heeling.

There was a lot of hoopla and dramatic esoteric intrigue about the upcoming “ritual” in the next part of the show, which sounded a little creepy to me. It turned out to be nothing but a rather ho-hum guided meditation. Lazaris blathered on about “the ancients” and “the temple of the soul” and “surrendering” and other such clichés. He asked repeatedly—slowly, dramatically—”who…… are….. you….?”, sounding suspiciously reminiscent of a certain hookah-wielding caterpillar. Then he instructed us to “breathe in the chaos and the fear.” Pray tell, why in tarnation would I want to do that!? Sheesh. He seemed to be playing to the insecurities and superstitions of the crowd, amplifying the angst so that he could later uplift them from it all—a recipe employed by a phony psychic I once had the pleasure of visiting. The same technique is used in cult indoctrination. It’s known as “ruining” them so they can later feel the relief and embrace the offerings, whatever those may be. Fascinating, huh?

The best part of the event, for me, was the little kid seated in a wheelchair in front of me who seemed to be humoring his mom by cheerfully accompanying her: he was all full of sweetness and light. But his facial expressions and their timing made it clear that he wasn’t buying what Lazaris was selling. Ya gotta love kids—they can’t help but keep it real. My friend Sarah wasn’t really having it either, and each time we stole glances at each other we’d start cackling contagiously, trying to keep quiet but simultaneously enjoying playing the bad kids in the back of the classroom. I was very curious what motivated all those other people to attend. Some of them have been watching this particular guru-channel for 25 years! We interviewed an acquaintance of Sarah’s on the way out and the woman was kind of odd. She made no usual social acknowledgement of being introduced to a new person (me) and stood with her eyes closed as she spoke. (Perhaps she, too, was getting her channel on.) She told us that, while she herself is always initially bored by Lazaris, it gets much better as the weekend transpires. Maybe that’s when the Kool-Aid kicks in.

Are we really so starved for wisdom and outside validation that we’re willing to accept any old channeled character as a sage worthy of our time and energy? Hasn’t the novelty of channeling worn off to the point where we can be more discriminating about the message?

Cult-like behavior is more common than you think (and funnier than you'd imagine!)

MEDITATION BOOT CAMP is a true account of a 10-day silent Vippassana meditation retreat. It explores issues of control and conformity within a spiritual organization, and it's sprinkled liberally with Debbianne's colorful humor. Read it for FREE via instant download. Enjoy!

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Well, I can only assume that some people out there have received genuine life-changing inspiration from Lazaris, even if I don’t personally jibe with it. But I think what’s also going on is that people are seeking to fulfill a basic universal need: reconnection to the tribe. Whether it’s a Burning Man camp, a ladies knitting circle, Facebook, Jonestown, or the volunteer firemen’s drinking club, the cohesive sense of belonging is where the major value lies, regardless of whatever doctrine or activity serves ostensibly as the glue. We’re all just making our way up Mr. Maslow’s pyramid. Which is why the Abraham-Hicks circus is one of the most financially successful channeling operations—their seminars aboard cruise ships provide a unique social bonding opportunity for the participants. Another channeled entity, Kryon, tells his listeners (addressing them always as “dear ones”) that they are almost exclusively a collection of Lemurians. I’m not sure what purported flavor of alien Lazaris is, or what tribe I might personally belong to for that matter, but it definitely felt like I was crashing someone else’s dysfunctional family reunion.

Then there are the Pleiadians. I’ve read a few books by Barbara Hand Clow and Barbara Marciniak, and seen the latter do her live channeling thing. There are certainly plenty of interesting ideas and uplifting sentiments coming from “the Ps”, but there is also a thread of fear-mongering woven in at times. Their storytelling can tend toward “us and them” mentality—you know, the old global-elite-versus-the-righteous-masses gag. It’s not hard to see how that sort of rabblerousing appeals to many, but how is this helpful? And why do Pleiadians seem to have an affinity for chicks named Barbara? These are the mysteries. (And furthermore, do we really need to know in Hand-Clow’s books that Barbara and Gerry Clow engage in group sex? It’s enough to make you lose your cookies.)

Of all the channeled entities around these days, Bashar is probably my favorite non-Martian. Initially I was turned off by his booming voice and strange delivery (which sometimes strikes me as Eastern European in pronunciation—a nice break from the usual pseudo-British variety). After listening to a handful of clips, I realized that this alien is giving us the straight dope!  News we can use—nothing like the Lazaris fluff.  Bashar is like the “East Coast” alien—all tough love, wit, and efficiency.

He’ll answer any question at all, whether it’s got to do with teleportation, experiencing multi-dimensional reality, or just becoming a happier, more self-actualized human (not unlike the Abraham-Hicks material, but with a delightfully concise approach).  But he’ll also call you out if you’re not being honest, and I love that.  He’s not so much a guru, but more like the Great Gazoo on the Flintstones—a fun alien buddy who’s really smart, and a bit of a smart-ass too.  Allegedly he’s the “future self” of the channel, Darryl Anka, and is a hybrid gray/human being. Weird? Maybe. But it comes down to the substance of ideas. For me, Bashar’s words have been hugely instrumental, and it’s all about individual self-empowerment—not becoming a follower.

Well, at least his earlier material was. Some of the more recent stuff seems to me either ho-hom, or downright wacky. At one point, new entities started “sharing the mic” of the channel’s voice (Daryl Anka). Call me crazy, but I interpreted this as a classic “jumping the shark” marketing tactic. I don’t doubt the sincerity of Daryl one iota, particularly since I’ve met him in person. But I do think that channeled entities are never beyond reproach. They are subject to all sorts of questionable behaviors and motivations, just like humans! Take Ramtha, for instance, channeled by JZ Knight. That channel used to provide uplifting information, but at some point it turned to fear-based survivalism. Can channels get hijacked? I bet they can.

We really must take everything with a grain of salt, and be willing to toss out the bathwater and hold on to the baby (if there is one). That’s the only way to navigate this New Age world and sort out the wheat from the chaff. [Would you like to read more about that notion? I’ve written quite a bit more in this vein—what I like to call “Adventures in Baby Bathwater”—for example, there is this acclaimed memoir.]

The best teachers merely shine a light on some truth that’s already within us.

And let’s face it, you know when you’ve struck personal truth, regardless of what or who triggers the realization. It all comes down to trusting yourself to discern. And you can do this! You don’t have to rail against entire persons or teachings. You can sort through and pick and choose if you grant yourself permission to operate that way.

There is one other channel I should mention that is, as far as I can tell, completely on the up-and-up and always has been. It’s a pair actually. “Orin and DaBen” are channeled by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer, and their stuff is super positive, angelic and uplifting. The only complaint I’ve ever heard about them is that perhaps they are not so earth-oriented, so you might want to combine their teachings with something more grounded if this is an issue for you. Check out their inspiring books.

Shopping for a channel? The documentary film Tuning In interviews lots of them and provides insight about the channeling process. If it’s too freaky for you, why not assume it’s an act, listen to the content, then see if anything they say strikes a chord with you? We’re all free to discern and decide, but we do ourselves a disservice by deciding too quickly and resolutely sometimes. Alternatively, we can make peace with not knowing. Better still, we can leverage the hilarious parts to maximize fun!

Now, let’s see, if I were to hop on the bandwagon and start channeling a random alien (or my higher self . . . which may be the same thing), I’d probably use Channel Zero as my stage name—as a nod to one of my favorite musical acts, Public Enemy, and because of the vague double-entendre inference to the zero point energy field concept. Or maybe I’d become The Channel Changer, bringing bold new meaning to channeling, like you’ve never seen before!—just sign up for my special enlightenment workshop for a paltry five hundred dollars. Nah, the whole thing smacks of effort. Maybe I’ll just offer my word-smithery naming services to New Age entrepreneurs instead. Any takers?


Well, anyway, you wanted to know whether channeling was real or fake, right?

It boils down to this: Yes, it’s definitely real, but there are also fakers. Does this help? Drop me a line below, or subscribe to my stuff if you like this piece of writing. Thanks!

Love & Levity,


Cult-like behavior is more common than you think (and funnier than you'd imagine!)

MEDITATION BOOT CAMP is a true account of a 10-day silent Vippassana meditation retreat. It explores issues of control and conformity within a spiritual organization, and it's sprinkled liberally with Debbianne's colorful humor. Read it for FREE via instant download. Enjoy!

No spam! No way. Not here. Not us. Not ever. Powered by ConvertKit



  • Here’s my five hundred smackers, sign me up. Hell, enlightenment at 5 large, a bargain at twice the price!
    How much for a new name for Philothustra, Channeler of Zorchtron and the Slime People? Come out from
    under your rock, earthlings! Zorchtron just wants to play with you! We pwomise not to eat, er, hurt you.
    (Prepare the Playdough Ovens, Slime People!)

  • Felix Martinez

    That was truly spot on and I am also a Bashar fan.

  • Absolutely loved this article!….the amount of ‘channellers’ out there in cyber space is growing by the week it seems. Some channels can channel almost anyone it seems….Linda Dillon claims to channel ” Jesus Sananda, Universal Mother Mary, and Yahweh, as well as many of the Ascended Masters such as the Buddha, Kwan Yin, Lao Tzu, Sai Baba, St. Germaine, Sanat Kumara and Maitreya, the Apostles, and the Archangels Gabrielle, Michael, Raphael, Uriel and Jophiel. While the energies and personalities of each being are unique, the vibration of Love, pure and simple, remains consistent.” Pretty damn impressive I reckon, but when you actually listen to them all, they ALL sound exactly the same, and it will only cost you 200 bucks an hour for the reading, “dear ones”.
    At best most channellers are really only expressing a form of lower psychism, and not useful to spiritual development at all. Although I love what he is doing, David Wilcock swears by the readings of ‘RA’, but I can’t really get into them. The whole ‘ascension’ process that many keep banging on about in the new age circles seems full of contradictions and more of way to sell books.
    For me only a few channelled sources have managed to really help me ‘expand my consciousness’ – Edgar Cayce, Alice Bailey, and Dr Douglas Baker (non channel incarnate English master). Currently the most enduring and fascinating channel is Bashar through Darryl Anka, and his messages are music to my ears.

    My name is ‘Dingdongbangalong’ from the planet ‘Laughalotloudandoften’ and it has been pleasure serving ewes…..(personal readings can be arranged, just fill out this form, send 500 dollars, and I will say nothing you don’t already know, and anything you want to hear).

  • debbianne

    Oh, I like the direction of this energy…the fun-bubble created by this post is getting bigger and gigglier—thank you all for contributing!

  • Sarah

    It does seem like everyone is channeling these days. Your piece is not only entertaining, it’s informative. A lot of what you’ve done in your book and article, and are alive to tell about, is taste testing. We don’t have to go out and experience the bad and the uglies; you’ve done it for us already.
    Of course the reader would have to believe your assessments, but the good thing is you write with awareness and discernment, maybe sarcasm as well, but mostly warranted.
    Yes, we do have to be more discriminating about the messages we’ll accept.
    I’m also thinking maybe channels are like the tastes people have in food or dance. Some like it slow and bland and some fast and hot. I agree with you and have to say Lazaris was time consuming and mushy.

  • Krishna

    Another great post. Thanks. I really enjoyed reading this 🙂

    After much resistance, i finally succumbed to the Abraham-Hicks thing about 2 years back, and have heard a lot that is practical, wise, loving and funny, but, Bashar to me, is in a whole different league, especially how he never uses 10 sentences ( like ‘Abe’ loves to ) when 1 short one would do. And the guy is really funny.  

    The other thing that scares me is that the whole Abe thing really does feel like a cult to me – must be my stuff and buttons getting pressed, but it just seems like an extension of Jerry Hicks’ Amway thing. A spiritual ponzi scheme. I so don’t want to look at it this as Bashar vs. Abe, but i often do, and it was so good to read your post and find so much resonance.

    I have to confess, without any embarrassment any more, that i have watched ‘Tuning In’ twice : the first time i was too skeptical of all of them to actually hear the message, it was all about the messengers, and their weird accents and convulsions. But i saw it again a couple of months back, and to my surprise, ALL of the channelers seemed to be speaking so much truth. I just wasn’t in a place to hear any of it. So i know it’s as much to do with me as with the channeler, and i’m open to feeling differently even about Bashar a year or 3 from now. But for now, he’s my favourite Alien.

    • debbianne

      Krishna, so happy to feel the resonance and read your contributions here. I totally get it about the ponzi scheme (funny!). Bashar often says something that really clicks for me: “it’s not this OR that, it’s this AND that.” Meaning, in this case, that even though the Abe-Hicks thing is a cha-ching empire, it doesn’t mean the service isn’t useful to many (it certainly is). It’s just that all things are possible, and the biggest most expansive lesson I’ve learned in the last few years (thanks to my midlife crisis) is in letting go of judgment and allowing all the things of the world to simply exist, and just notice them and have fun with it all. It’s that very Art of Allowing that Abe’s been hawking!

      I especially appreciate your honesty with yourself—it takes inner strength to recognize and admit to your own limitations, and that’s what helps them fall away and make room for greater expansion. Bravo!

  • Billy Appleman

    What a fantastic treat to read on a Sunday morning (or any morning, afternoon, or evening). Made me laugh so hard I shed a couple of tears. My sentiments exactly, I could not have written this piece better myself and with any more wit, wisdom or humor. I love you!!!

  • Toni

    Love the article~!

  • Cosmic Fool Katie

    I haven’t been to a Lazaris event for years, so this was a fun read. I’m glad to hear that there were some giggles from the audience, but a little disturbed to realize that the Jachass is still scamming people and playing on their fears and insecurities. I am convinced that the channeler is a sadist who loves to scare and depress people into coming back for another slim glimmer of hope.

    But are you actually endorsing another channeler? You believe in this stuff, but just not the entities that don’t appeal to you? I’ll never understand or fathom the extent of human gullibility, I suppose.

  • Well, the way I look at channeling (and most other things) is this: I listen to the content and decide if it’s useful. I’m very pragmatic that way—belief can be overrated! Anyway, thanks for stopping by Katie.

  • Be afraid… be very afraid!

    • Ah yes, it’s a dance of belief and disbelief in this dualistic world. And so many “sages” to choose from, it’s overwhelming at times, like a spiritual Walmart… (and yes, you will pay dearly, dear ones, for that wisdom at times!) I appreciate your light-hearted cynicism, Trevor. Very much.

  • Be afraid… be very afraid!

  • “And we extend our unconditional love and appreciation for you as well!”—Bashar-speak.

  • Yes… 31 flavors, and something for everyone! Thank you for reading and taking the time to share your insights too.

  • Why thank you! Stop by any time.

    • “And we extend our unconditional love and appreciation for you as well!”—Bashar-speak.

  • Liminal Pulse

    “Hasn’t the novelty of channeling worn off to the point where we can be more discriminating about the message?” Absolutely! What an entertaining and fascinating take on mediums today.

    If anyone is interested, “The Veil Unveiled? The Question of Channeled Literature” at

  • Wouter

    Great article! I totally agree. Although Lazaris has some good things to say, I find it mostly a waste of time to listen to his fluffy messages. Bashar on the other hand is fantastic. I cannot get enough of his wisdom, simplicity and great sense of humor. Coming from Europe, I do wonder why it is that all channels seem to be located in the US (and a few in the UK)…

    • It does make you wonder, huh? I used to be puzzled by the “fact” that most crop circles show up in England… that is, until I realized that they’re here in the States too, but they only get limited local media coverage, so unless you’re particularly dialed in or live a county away from one of the sites, you’d never hear about them. Well, I’m glad you stopped by Wouter. Thanks for reading and sharing. (“Sharing!”—say it like Bashar). And I must concur, Bashar’s information really packs a wallop…!

  • Starr Seedd

    I’m a big fan of Bashar

  • Architects of light

    Very nice post, Thank you !! “Tuning in” is amazing ! I love Bashar, also Kryon, he’s intense and very powerful, also I have to disagree with you in the most loving way possible, about Pleiades being fear mongers. Check this out, if you want 🙂 Much love and thanks.

    • Thanks for joining in the fun! Well, you know, there is not one ultimate reality or truth and there is room for infinite perspectives. I have a friend who’s way into Pleiadian stuff and she puts it this way: “they’re like people—some are wounded children, some are really advanced, and there’s everything in between.” Diversity is the name of the game… in any star system! I love Wendy Kennedy—thanks for sharing the clip! 🙂

  • Laurie

    I was wondering when Abraham-Hicks would be brought up in all this. I did love the post. I can’t stand fakes and your writing Debbianne is incredible, captivating and hilarious.
    I don’t find Abe at all cultish. They never ask for anything. You don’t have to give up anything other than to purchase a book or pay to go to a workshop like any other teacher, lecturer, channeler, etc… I’ve never felt pressured.
    I will however look into Bashar. I am a geek for learning 🙂

    • Hi Laurie! Thanks for joining in the fun here. Learning geeks unite! (My Virgo Man has got to be the King of Learning Geekery, but that’s another story for another day…). So glad you’re enjoying the word-smithery.

      Yeah, Abe’s straight up. They never ever use that ruination technique… and there’s always tons of humor. Those are my two major criteria for whether or not a teacher has your best interests!

      And clearly, there’s no faking going on there. It’s really fun to watch the change come over Esther physically when you’re up close and she goes into channeling mode, isn’t it? Her eyes get big and glassy—kinda creepy… but really cool to witness. Her entire energy and personality transform (same thing with Darryl Anka and Bashar).

      Certainly Abraham-Hicks is no cult. If anyone derives that message from my writing, well they are really slipping some meaning in there that’s not coming from me! Naturally, though, there are times when Abe FOLLOWERS start treating it as a religion (because they are just so damn happy and grateful that it’s transformed their lives… and because they are not conscious of inadvertently promoting a kind of deification). What I mean by deification is when some fans take offense to anything that smacks of dissent, treating it as a threat. Which is highly amusing if you’re paying attention to the Abe teachings, right?

      But that’s just the way things go with humans and groups and beliefs. It’s all part of the Earth Game!

  • We all channel in different ways. Artists do it! But you’re right – we have to find the message and the channeler and the entity that resonates with us. What’s important is the message.
    As for the guided meditation and breathing in the chaos…sounds a bit like the Buddhist practice of Tonglen. It’s a beautiful practice that trains the mind to embrace the wholeness of life and not just our favorite bits (like the peace and serenity).
    Great blog!

    • Hey Sarah! I’m so glad you popped in because now I know about your “Divine Mess” show in L.A. Yay! Anyway, yeah, we all channel our Higher Selves, or however one prefers to define it. Take writing for example: if I’m not flowing the words and ideas from other dimensions, the writing is pretty mediocre, so I’ve learned not to bother if I’m not “in the vortex,” as they say. It’s just a matter of being tuned in to your real, whole, true self, right? And laughter is a great way to attune. 🙂 Keep up the great light-work, Sarah!

      • Yes! Come to the show some time! Next one is Jan. 25th. I love your writing. I’m a fan!

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  • Jole Morton

    LOL. It is always a pleasure to read your work Debbianne.

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