Development Circle

Development Circle

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

As its name suggests, a development circle is a group of people meeting on a regular basis to practice and develop as mediums. Also known as “Home Circles”—from the fact that they usually took place in someone’s home—they were once the very backbone of the Spiritualist movement. Emma Hardinge Britten said, “The mediumistic faculty in all its forms can be cultivated by sitting in the spirit circle, which tends to perfect and spiritualize the magnetism of the sitters by their mutual action on each other and by the influence of the spirits.”

There is no need for such a group to have an already established medium present. The whole point is to develop the sitters themselves as mediums. In The Ring of Chairs (2000), Janet Cyford points out, “There are many folk who will not form or lead a group, without a practicing Medium. This is a self-defeating attitude for it disregards the ability of Spirit to guide us by inner inspiration. In the early days of modern Mediumship, people sat together without a fully developed Medium and under Spirit’s guidance all types of phenomena occurred.”

Sitting once per week is the ideal, though once every two weeks is acceptable if weekly is not feasible. Building energy is important to development. This is initiated by everyone singing upbeat songs at the start of the proceedings. In addition to building the group energy, this also helps balance the individual energies of the sitters into a more harmonious whole. Exercises are performed in a variety of disciplines leading to development of clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, psychometry, etc.

The number of sitters is not important and will probably be governed initially by the size of the meeting place. Sitters may come and go as Spirit finds the right mix, but eventually will settle to a regular group dedicated to their development. It is perfectly safe to include teenagers in such a group, so long as they understand the purpose of the sittings. Many good mediums of today started as teenagers in such development circles in the past.


Buckland, Raymond: Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2004
Cyford, Janet: The Ring of Chairs: A Medium’s Story. Baltimore: Thirteen-O-Seven Press, 2000
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