“Automatic writing” is writing achieved without deliberation or conscious control. This can be through subconscious processes, or by acting as a medium for spirits or other supernatural forces.
The writer is generally not aware of the content of the writing until after the process is complete.
Automatic writing is a form of writing where one allows their subconscious mind, higher self or a spirit to guide their hands, in an effort to form a line of communication. This form of communication as a spiritual practice found prominence during the emergence of the spiritualist movement of the mid to late 19th century – however it has existed in different forms for many centuries before hand.
Traditionally, automatic writing (in its spiritual form), will involve the medium, the person the spirit works through, to be seated with a pencil, pen, quill and ink, or other writing implement in hand, and a large sheet of paper set out before them.
They may enter a trance-like state, allowing themselves to be more easily manipulated by a spirit (or other entity), who will control the mediums arm in order to write messages, symbols or even drawings, conveying the message.
Most times those who act as a spirit medium for this process are channeling messages from the deceased, but at times the messages can be coming from other sources, such as extraterrestrial life, or in some rare cases, other living people.
The writings can be in the form of answers to questions, guidance and even prophecies.
Another form of automatic writing is to have one relax and just write out thoughts as they come to them, no actual deliberation of thought, but to rather allow the words to spill out on the paper in whatever order they may come. This may result in actual messages being passed on through the higher self.
It is said some authors experience this as they fall into ‘the zone’, a state where everything works so perfectly that they are unaware they are even writing at all.
With much automatic writing being presented as symbols, or having the appearance of very rushed, very messy writing, skeptics point out it could just be the results of the ideomotor effect (another term for another time, but essentially involuntary/unconscious muscle twitches and contractions, ie movement), especially if a tool such as a planchette is being used.