Mediums and Channelers

J. z. knight (1946– )

J. Z. Knight channels "Ramtha," or "the Ram," for the purpose of presenting his message to humankind. The Ram says that he lived only one time on Earth, 35,000 years ago, as a young man from Lemuria who grew up in the port city of Onai in Atlantis. Through the vehicle of J. Z. Knight, who was his daughter in that existence, he claims that he did not die a physical death during that lifetime but learned to harness the power the of mind so that he could take his body with him to an unseen dimension of life. Ramtha states that he is now a part of an unseen brotherhood that loves humankind. He is, therefore, fulfilling a mission of aiding and preparing humankind for a great event that has already been set in motion.

Entertainers such as Shirley MacLaine, Linda Evans, and Richard Chamberlain have been in the audiences of Ramtha, along with throngs of people around the United States and Canada. Since 1978, thousands have studied the Ramtha videos, cassettes, and books. For a period of time, it seemed impossible to pick up a weekly tabloid without finding an article about Ramtha and his high-profile disciples in its pages. In 1988, Ramtha founded the School of Enlightenment on J. Z. Knight's ranch in Yelm, Washington, which continues to hold teaching seminars. Knight and her followers make clear that the school is neither a church nor a nonprofit organization. They pay business taxes and run the school as a business.

Born Judith Darlene Hampton on March 16, 1946, in Dexter, New Mexico, Knight

Shirley MacLaine. (
grew up in poverty and married Caris Hensley, a gas station attendant, soon after attending Lubbock Business College in Lubbock, Texas. The marriage produced two sons, but ended in divorce. It was while she was working as a cable television salesperson in Roswell, New Mexico, and Tacoma, Washington, that she began using the initials "J. Z.," signifying her first name and her nickname, "Zebra," derived from her penchant for wearing black-and-white clothing.

It all began for J. Z. Knight one day in 1977 when she and her second husband, Jeremy Wilder, a dentist, were cutting out and putting together small pyramids and experimenting with "pyramid energy." She jokingly put a pyramid on her head, and as it slipped down over her eyes, Ramtha appeared physically before them in their kitchen in Tacoma.

In the beginning, Knight said that she believed that the power of the pyramid may have induced the manifestation of the spirit entity, but she grew to understand that it was a combination of the student being ready and the teacher appearing, plus her own spiritual energy and her willingness to take a step into

J. Z. Knight with Linda Evans. (AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS)
J. Z. Knight with Linda Evans. (
the unknown. "I feel I may have created a state of readiness in my mind," she said. "Part of my mind said, 'Girl, here you are doing something really bizarre.' Another part of my mind said, 'This is wonderful—you are starting to reach out and explore.' I think by virtue of that process alone, the entity's consciousness was able to become visual to me at that time."

It took two years of Ramtha's working with J. Z. Knight before she got used to his presence. Frankly, she stated, it was her persistent love of God that maintained her. "To have gone through the two-year study with Ramtha and his teachings, then to have the courage to change my life and to allow myself to be used as an instrument and to face a critical world and go on with the teachings led to a very beneficial personal growth and depth for me," she said. "I have been nailed to the cross of the media, and yet nothing will keep me from progressing because I know the truth."

After her period of study with Ramtha, Knight gave her first public channeling in November 1978, and word of the content and the mystique spread quickly and gained a wide following for the 35,000-year-old entity and his channel. Knight's increased popularity and the demand for public appearances placed a strain on her marriage, and in 1981, she divorced Wilder to marry Jeff Knight, a trainer of Arabian horses. In the late 1980s she underwent a series of financial and legal stresses, and she filed for divorce from Knight in 1989.

Knight has said that Ramtha occurs in her life in three different ways. The first is when she leaves the body in trance. She claims to have no conscious recollections of what transpires when Ramtha takes over. In her personal assessment, he is a consciousness that works through her brain and mind and manipulates her body in order for that to occur. "We both cannot occupy the same space," she said, "so I was afraid of letting go because that meant death, in a sense, to me. It took me two years to get over that fear."

In her opinion, Ramtha is a "channeled consciousness," rather than a spirit. "As a consciousness that has hyperlucidity, Ramtha can be considered superconsciousness that affects itself through physical mass," Knight said.

Secondly, Ramtha appears separate from her. The channeler said that she had come to understand that his visual appearance "may be a hologram of his consciousness that was actually working through my brain to create that vision."

The third manner that Ramtha can manifest is that he can answer J. Z. Knight when she has a question. "I can actually hear the answer that is translated in my head," she said. "I hear that as a vocal voice. Ramtha has never imposed by taking over my body. Regardless of what anybody says, I am not being possessed. It is of my own free will."

Ramtha told the thousands of men and women who gathered for the series of popular lectures and seminars that they were gods, possessed of a divine nature, fully capable of creating and realizing whatever goals they desired. When answering questions from individuals, he addresses them as "master," thereby indicating that he considers them on the path of self-mastery. Consistent with other New Age teachers, Ramtha teaches that all those who meditate upon the vital life-force within will be directed to the path of self-realization.

Although J. Z. Knight has been criticized by those who point out that there is no substantial evidence that Ramtha's Lemuria or Atlantis ever existed and that 35,000 years ago, humankind was still at the hunter and gatherer stage of development, she has received the harshest criticism for the high prices she charges for her seminars. The channeler admitted that at first she had difficulty with Ramtha's insistence that she must charge people for the teachings, but the entity told her that people did not appreciate knowledge that they receive for free.

"The only way we ever gain wisdom is when we interact and experience life," she explained. "We pay the price of experiencing life in order to gain wisdom, the virtue of which is the prize of evolution. So the price people pay to attend the teachings is equal to the price they pay in life to gain knowledge and wisdom. It is equal and relative to personal experience, which always comes with a price."

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