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The Fox Sisters and the Spiritualism Movement

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Author Topic: The Fox Sisters and the Spiritualism Movement  (Read 2008 times)
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2009, 01:10:23 am »

A few words should be said about Andrew Jackson Davis for whom the Lyceum (meeting hall) at Lily Dale is named. He was known as the "Poughkeepsie Seer" who was born in 1825 in Poughkeepsie, New York, and grew up with little education. In 1843 a lecturer hypnotized him, and Davis decided to become a professional medium since he realized that he had clairvoyant abilities and could diagnose and prescribe for disease. He is said to have wandered off in a self-induced trance, and after one year he returned claiming to have spoken with Emanuel Swedenborg, long deceased, who had instructed him as to how to contact the supernatural. Soon a doctor and a minister helped to guide his talents, and he produced a book with their help entitled Harmonial Philosophy which went through thirty-four editions in thirty years. Thus it is only appropriate that a Lyceum or meeting hall for educational lectures would be named after him.

Each summer there is the yearly "Lily Dale Assembly" at which speakers provide instruction and inspiration in the Andrew Jackson Davis Assembly Hall and in the sacred wooded grove. Such sessions often begin with a hymn whose words state, "We are waiting, we are waiting for words of wisdom from the Great Beyond." There are some forty to one hundred and fifty mediums present each summer, many of whom go into a trance in order to communicate with the Great Beyond. A theology has developed in which God is not be seen as created in man's image, despite what Michelangelo and other noted depicters of religious individuals and scenes have created, especially the Victorians whose sentimental images of Jesus are still very popular. God, for the Spiritualists, is infinite intelligence, and intelligence continues both in life and in death, since life and death are but one. There are variations of belief among the converted, but all would agree that human personality is a passing manifestation of an ongoing spirit that goes through many transformations and partakes of the divine. Thus death is but a transformation back to the original Spirit, not the end of existence. A medium can therefore put one in touch with the dead who continue to live, but in an altered state.
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