(Reviewed by Melanie Hamilton)
One tricky thing about reviewing a book on the practice of mediums and
moving in the circle of the paranormal is recognizing one’s own biases.
Another is finding a way to talk about something that is intensely
individual while being able to help others find their way in. June Lundgren does both in her book, A Medium’s Guide to the Paranormal.
The medium is June Lundgren and the book is her own story. It is both the story of her journey to accept the challenges of being a medium as well as an introduction to the world as she experiences it. In both stories we are guided and directed carefully.
In the preface, Lungren sets the tone of the book. “Not everyone who reads
this book will agree or like some of the information given, which is their
choice.” Boy was that an understatement for me. I am not one to think of
“life’s most important questions” as “Does God exist? Are angels real? Is
there life after death?” And yet, I find wanting very much for people like
me–and others who might be put off by the whole medium and paranormal
stuff–to find their way into this book.
The presentation of her family background gives us context for her
scaffolding choices. In the first few chapters, Lundgren takes us through
her life of becoming a medium. She is a descendant of a long line of light
workers, “women with both psychic and spiritual gifts.” She’s inherited the
lore and practice of the Celtic and Native American. Her Irish relation
learned the craft from fairies. Her great-grandmother could see and hear
earthbound spirits. Her grandmother didn’t attend the séances that were
popular in her time. “She knew that these people should not be playing with
things they knew nothing about…There is always a real danger of possession
associated with any séance.”
However, Lungren, as a young girl, claims that she “communicated with
animals, angels, guides, and guardians daily” and it was her grandmother who
had the greatest influence on the appreciation of Lungren’s own gifts and
how to live with them. Her grandmother’s advice to question everything and
to keep an open mind is one that she has lived by and has led her to many
However her mother wasn’t as supportive. She felt that talking to invisible
people and animals would mark her as peculiar and that she would be
punished. Her mother had the gifts but didn’t use them.
Professionally, Lundgren has been a nurse for over thirty-five years.
Nursing balanced the psychic, allowing her to have a foot in each world.
Nursing also nurtured the logical side of her experiences and that shows in
the book. As a nurse, Lundgren applauds the increase in alternative
therapies, but is no longer happy with the field of medicine in general.
Her practice for the last couple of decades has been spiritual healing,
laying-on-of-hands. “The healing that I do is spiritual healing; God uses me
as a kind of conduit for his healing powers. I am only a go-between, nothing
Lundgren’s practice is strongly Bible-based, and she references the
Scriptures. She also believes that reading the Tarot is a doorway to evil.
Her paranormal guidance comes mostly from communicating with entities as
well as her deceased grandmother, and whoever is waiting to help her.
The chapter headings say a lot: “Possession and Spirit Attachment”,
“Walk-ins/Soul Exchange”, “ Orbs and Hauntings”, “ Ley Lines”, “Tools for
Divination and Communication”. Those are the ones that interested me. I
was not so excited about “Talking with God” and “Good versus Evil”.
“Atlantis”? Nope. “Homosexuality”? That got my attention. What is that
even doing here?
I don’t know if I was surprised that there is a conservative slant to her
approach. As she says early on, faith has a lot to do with whether
or not someone heals. For example, I don’t believe in possession, so I am
not likely to encounter or recognize it. However, at no time does Lundgren
press her beliefs on the reader. She presents her own support structure
without apology and all along invites us to choose our own adventure.
It may take a little effort on the readers’ part to transpose Lundgren’s
experience and examples into their own lives, but the effort is worth it.
Over and over again, Lundgren brings us back to this idea of being
vulnerable. “…Dark entities thrive on negative energy, such as anger,
fear, pain, despair, and depression. It is in their nature to try to elicit
these feelings because they sustain their existence. They are constantly
working in the background to stir up trouble and cause discord in people’s
lives. Some people are more susceptible to these negative energies (people
with mental illness, weak faith, and low self-esteem),” She covers a lot of
territory, taking us fearlessly into shadows.
A Medium’s Guide to the Paranormal is the description of a spiritual
adventure, one that takes us through areas of the paranormal landscape that
we might have only seen through the lenses of books and movies.