Immediately upon starting to read this book, I felt like a close friend was speaking to me. Rowntree has a reassuring, sympathetic, humourous and, above all, realistic voice that teens will find endearing. She never talks down to them, so important at a time when they may be questioning themselves about everything. Yet she validates their experiences, instructing them to trust their own inner wisdom telling them they really are communicating with departed loved ones.
She begins with a discussion of death — where else? — and continues to explain the spirit world, what mediumship is, how to safely open up and close down to spirit communication, how to be a responsible medium, and reactions one may encounter from people if they find out you’re a medium. I thank Rowntree for adding that latter chapter. It’s hard enough as an adult wondering if you should tell others what you do for fear of being laughed at; with the acute awkwardness sensitive teens might feel if their gift is revealed, Rowntree’s guide is invaluable.
The chapter “Working in a Way That’s Right for You,” is another standout. This chapter is all about trusting your instincts to work only in a way that feels genuine and having the courage to follow your own guides. This is so important as a developing medium, even if you work with a teacher (and a good teacher, as Rowntree points out, will encourage you never to work any other way). She writes:
It’s not always possible to follow your gut in all areas of your life (“My gut says don’t go to school or work this morning even though I have an important exam or meeting. OK then, I’d best stay in bed!”), but working with Spirit is the one area where it’s not just possible, it is really important. And although that may seem difficult, and maybe even a little crazy at first, it won’t take long at all before you realise just how important it is to listen to and follow your gut.
Perhaps more than at any other time of life, the teenage years are ones of exploration of inner and outer worlds. Everything is new, exciting, maybe a bit scary, surprising… every emotion comes into play. And as the teen years progress, one gains the autonomy to go out and try more and more. Rowntree captures some of this in her chapter on different ways of working with Spirit. For most of the book she discusses the traditional way of working with mediumship: giving messages from departed loved ones through conversation. In this chapter, she describes alternate ways, such as scrying, reading cards, and automatic writing, which may open up whole new worlds of fascination. It’s a fun chapter!
Rowntree mentions animal communication in this chapter, and I’m glad she did. Often a teen’s first experience with death will be with the death of a beloved pet, and a sensitive teen may begin picking up messages from the animal. This is common among mediums. Almost every Spiritualist service or message circle I’ve attended has included one or more messages from a departed pet. In every case the pet parent has been as grateful for this message as he’d be with one from a beloved human. Beginning teen mediums need to know the love that existed between pets and people goes on after death and it’s ok to relay those messages, too.
The book ends with a discussion of next steps, where a teen can go to develop more as a medium and be among older mediums to get training and experience, such as Spiritualist churches and private classes. In closing, Rowntree states that “the absolute best thing about being a medium though, for me, is just the fact that it’s pretty blooming cool. You get to see, hear and learn about some really interesting things and to play your part in helping people to heal, grow and develop.” Reading Teen Spirit Guide to Working with Mediumship will set teens well on their way to doing that, too.