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SPIRITUALISM and Spiritism

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Author Topic: SPIRITUALISM and Spiritism  (Read 2527 times)
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« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2007, 01:28:39 pm »

Both are valid ways of getting information, but in Spiritualism the major emphasis is on mediumship. Mediumship is preferred because the information is coming from spirits in the spirit world, and not from the medium personally. As a result, messages and readings should be more accurate and not clouded by what the medium personally thinks or feels.

Being a medium (or psychic) is a very large responsibility and typically takes years to develop. You do not have to be "born with it". Every person has the basic capability, although few develop it. Anyone can pick up a French horn and make sound, but only a few will learn to make beautiful music with it. Becoming a medium (or psychic) is the same way.


Predicting the Future and The Continuity of Life

Isn't predicting the future what this is all about anyway? No. The main reason spirits come back to the earth plane through mediums is to prove the continuity of life, although they may come back to offer help too. So many people believe in life after death but don't give it any real thought. People don't fully realize that you, your personality, your being actually continue after your body dies. Your friends and loved ones in spirit are coming back to let you know that they love you and are OK. The continuity of life is proven when the medium gives you something in a message that uniquely identifies the spirit - when you know who it is, without a doubt.

The "something" that spirits will use to identify themselves can be most anything - their name, occupation, how they passed from the earth plane into Spirit, their relationship to you, their peculiar hairstyle or dress, a favorite dish they used to like to cook, their quirks and habits, special things they did with you on the earth plane, how they met you, or just about anything, even if it's funny or ridiculous. The point is to let you know who they are.

Spirit can more accurately predict the future than you can because they have a better vantage point. Imagine yourself in a car at night, driving down the road. It is snowing hard and you have your headlights on but you can't see very far. The snow hitting the windshield has a mesmerizing effect. A large tractor trailer passes right by you without a problem, just like it was noontime on a sunny day.

The truck driver has a better vantage point to see the road from. The truck driver is sitting far above the headlights and isn't mesmerized by the view of the snow hitting the windshield. The view from the seat in the truck is much better than down in the car.

Spirit has a better perspective to see where you are heading in your life. Spirit can see where the road you are on will most likely take you. Why most likely and not absolutely? Because you have the freedom of choice. You can change your mind about things and take a path that leads into something entirely unexpected at any time. But Spirit will be right more often than not.

Remember that people in the spirit world are often guides. Because they are guides it is appropriate to ask them to help you find your way, but you should not live your whole life clinging to them (and getting readings every day) for every little decision that comes up. How would you feel if you had someone continually asking you silly questions every day - "Should I eat eggs for breakfast or cereal instead?" "What should I have for lunch then?" "Do I wear the green dress today or the blue one?" Keep it in perspective. Remember that spirits are people just like you. Be grateful that they are there to guide and help you.


Messages and readings are a form of mental mediumship. The medium raises his or her vibration and allows Spirit communication through in the form of thought. Spiritual healing is a
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« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2007, 01:39:43 pm »

form of both mental and physical mediumship. The healer raises his or her vibration and allows spiritual healing energy to come through. This energy can have positive mental and/or physical effects.

Spiritual healing can reduce pain and suffering, lessen or eliminate symptoms, and promote quicker recovery. The positive healing energy that comes from Spirit through the healer is very powerful and can cure ailments and diseases, oftentimes after medical science has given up and the patient comes to the spiritual healer as "a last resort". But spiritual healing is not a substitute for seeing a doctor.

There should be no contest between medical science and spiritual healers (although you may hear differently). Each have the same goal, which is to restore and promote health. This is not an either-or proposition - no one says you must use one method exclusively over the other. Use them both for your benefit. Don't discredit either one. When you find what works for you go with it. Remember that every body is unique - what helps you may not work at all for someone else.

How does this work? There is a lot of positive energy freely available to everyone in the world. Where does this positive energy come from? Positive thoughts and actions are a source of positive energy. This is true and not just something to be scoffed at. Your thoughts and feelings are energy. This positive energy can be focused, producing positive results. The healer is the pathway for the energy to come through.

The spirits around the healer (who are healers themselves) also come through the healer to work on the person in need. The healers in the spirit world are doing the work, the healer is just providing the avenue for them to come through.

How does healing take place? You sit down on a comfortable chair (like a padded piano stool) and just relax. The healer stands behind you and places their hands close to you (they typically touch very little). The healer often works through the aura to promote healing. The healer will start at the top of your head and work down your back and shoulders, then come around the front and work the kneecaps and shin down to the ankle. The healer will work on the areas that need it according to Spirit's directions. The healer will often hold your hands for a few moments and/or talk with you just before the healing is completed. Be sure to say thank you.

Healing can also take place without the person who needs it being physically present. This is called absent healing. When the healer is in a meditative state, the healer can become the pathway for the positive healing energy to flow, which can be sent forth to anyone anywhere.

Healing, like other types of mediumship, can be taught, and some people will find it easier to develop than others. Healers can obtain various credentials (although it is not absolutely necessary). Healers can become commissioned through the National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC). Other Spiritualist organizations offer certifications or commissions as well.

There are many different methods of healing beyond what is described here. Spirit works with each healer in their own way. Spiritual healing could be best described by the Prayer for Spiritual Healing. The first part is said with the focus on yourself and the second part with the focus on others:
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« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2007, 01:43:58 pm »

What is a Spiritualist Church like?

Spiritualists sing hymns and listen to the lecture (sermon) and take a collection the same way other religions do. There are some significant differences though.

A healing service often takes place before the regular service. When the regular service begins, the healing list is read. The healing list is a list of people who are in need of some form of healing. If you know someone who is in need of healing, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, you can put their name on the healing list. The list is read before the congregation, who are asked to focus their thoughts and to see the people on the list in perfect health. The Prayer for Spiritual Healing is then read aloud.

The Declaration of Principles is also read aloud. After a few short announcements the lecture begins. Lectures are commonly about the applications of Spiritualism to daily living and are very down-to-earth and easy to understand. Many lectures are often based on quotations from the Bible or other inspirational works.

After the lecture, the message service begins. Mediums are called one at a time to the rostrum (podium) and give messages to people in the congregation. The service concludes with a hymn and a closing prayer.

Spiritualism is not Christianity

Spiritualism is considerably different from Christianity - God is not defined as a super-being that sits on a throne and watches over you. Spiritualists do not worship God in that sense. God is defined as the "God of your understanding." There are no symbols like the cross that Spiritualists pray to. The sunflower is the symbol of Spiritualism but is not prayed to either.

Some Christian religions consider Spiritualism to be the work of the devil. This idea just doesn't make sense - Spiritualism expresses a belief in God, promotes healing, and brings communication from our loved ones in the spirit world.

No one has to be saved to become a Spiritualist, and Spiritualists don't go out saving anyone. The Spiritualist viewpoint about saving is very straight forward. Save your self now. You are responsible for your own happiness and unhappiness.

Jesus and the Bible

The major focus of many Christian religions is on Jesus' life with the disciples, his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. The stories of Jesus' accomplishments are told and retold many times. Spiritualism does not have any one person (or experience) whose story is told and retold and made the major focus of the religion. Spiritualism does not believe in Jesus as the savior of the

* National Association of Spiritualist Churches (
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« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2007, 01:53:57 pm »

world. Spiritualism does not believe that Jesus is any more (or less) the son of God than anyone else. Remember that You are Spirit, and Spirit is God. Jesus is Spirit, and Spirit is God. Spiritualism views Jesus as a human being - one of the greatest mediums that ever lived on the earth plane.

The Bible is filled with many stories that relate to Spiritualism. There are many examples of Spirit communication (which is a basic tenet of Spiritualism) in both the Old and New Testament. Spiritualists may use the Bible as the basis of a lecture, but the Bible is not given a central role in like it is in many Christian religions.

Spiritualism as an Institution

Spiritualism can be looked at as having three main parts - a belief in God, Natural Law, and spirit communication. Spiritualism is called a religion, a philosophy, and a science.

Spiritualism is a Religion

Spiritualism believes in God. God goes by several names such as Infinite Intelligence, Mother Father God, or most often the "God of your understanding". Spiritualism does not define God in any particular manner - if you were to ask every Spiritualist what God is you would get a different answer for each person you spoke to, but a general consensus might be that God is an ever-present, positive force in the universe. A belief in Spiritualism often does not require you to change your view of or definition of God. Spiritualism has been called a "religion of conviction not conversion".

Spiritualism is a Philosophy

Spiritualism believes in Natural Law, which provides a basis for a philosophy of life. The Declaration of Principles is a general set of principles that Spiritualists believe in and go by. The principles are not dogma or creed.

Declaration of Principles  *

1. We believe in Infinite Intelligence.

2. We believe that the phenomena of Nature, both physical and spiritual, are the expression of Infinite intelligence.

3. We affirm that a correct understanding of such expression and living in accordance therewith, constitute true religion.

4. We affirm that the existence and personal identity of the individual continue after the change called death.

5. We affirm that communication with the so-called dead is a fact, scientifically proven by the phenomena of Spiritualism.

6. We believe that the highest morality is contained in the Golden Rule: "Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you do ye also unto them."

7. We affirm the moral responsibility of the individual, and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey Nature's physical and spiritual laws.

8. We affirm that the doorway to reformation is never closed against any human soul here or hereafter.

9. We affirm that the precepts of Prophecy and Healing contained in all sacred texts are Divine attributes proven through Mediumship.

Spiritualism is a Science

Science is concerned with the collection of observations and facts, and Spiritualism also concerns itself with the collection of observations and facts regarding spiritual communication

* National Association of Spiritualist Churches (
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« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2007, 01:56:33 pm »

and spiritual phenomena. Spiritualism does not believe that everything is already known and set in stone.

There is much to learn about the spirit world and spiritual phenomena. Spiritualism is willing to accept new facts and new truths as they come up, even if they refute present thinking and ideas. Spiritualism is one of the few religions that is willing to ask questions, encourages people to do so, and will honestly admit that it doesn't know when necessary.

Spiritualists don't often concern themselves with trying to prove spiritualism to the scientific community. The scientific community largely believes in lab experiments, which in many cases are nearly useless in relation to spiritualism and spiritual phenomena. Lab experiments are supposed to approximate natural conditions. Spiritual phenomena occurs under natural conditions not approximately natural conditions.

The rationale often used by the scientific community is like using a flashlight to prove that darkness exists. You shine the flashlight in an area and say that you are looking for the darkness. All you can see with the flashlight is the light it produces. You therefore conclude that there is no darkness because you can't see it with the light.

There is a variety of case studies, some experiments, and physical evidence that you can look at regarding proof of spiritual phenomena. Weeding out the counterfeit phenomena is important. Phony phenomena has only aggravated and confused matters. The best proof comes from your own experiences.

Spiritualism is a continuous learning experience. There is much studying and reading you can do to increase your understanding. As far as proof is concerned, it is up to each individual to prove it to him or her self. Be objective. Ask questions and be skeptical. Some of the finest Spiritualists are also among the most skeptical.


To continue with the movie analogy, you now have the missing hour and a half that you need to make the sense out of the first 15 minutes. The basic story behind Spiritualism is now "rounded out" and (ideally) you have broadened your thinking and perspective. There is more you can learn, much more. Spiritualism can be made a lifelong study. Many books are available on the subject. Classes are the best and most direct way to learn. In class you learn as much from your classmates as you do from the teacher. Make an effort to understand and keep an open mind.

First Spiritualist Temple     

29 Temple Place
East Aurora NY 14052
United States of America
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« Reply #50 on: August 08, 2007, 06:35:02 pm »

                                                        S P I R I T I S M

This article is about Kardecist spiritism. For the similar movement prominent from 1830-1920 in most

English-speaking countries, see Spiritualism.

Spiritism is a philosophical doctrine akin to Spiritualism, established in France in the mid nineteenth century,
which has become a sort of religious movement. Like Spiritualists, Spiritists believe in the survival of the
souls after death and the importance of eventual communications received from them, but the two
movements claim to be different.

Allan Kardec (1804-1869) Founder of Spiritism. -

Spiritism is based on books written by French educator Hypolite Léon Denizard Rivail under the pseudonym
Allan Kardec reporting séances in which he believed to be conversing with incorporeal spirits. His assumption
was neither original nor uncommon, as such beliefs had numerous followers then (among them many
scientists and philosophers) and séances were carried on very often by his contemporaries, though usually
for recreational purposes. His work was later extended by writers like Léon Dénis, Arthur Conan Doyle, Camille Flammarion, Ernesto Bozzano, Chico Xavier, Waldo Vieira and others.

Spiritism has adherents in many countries throughout the world, including Spain, USA, Japan and Brazil -- the
one with the largest proportion and the greatest numbers of followers.


                                           Allan Kardec (Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail)



          BORN IN Lyon, France, on October 3, 1804, of a traditional family, greatly distinguished in the legal profession and court system, Allan Kardec (Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail) did not pursue these careers.
From his youth, he was inclined toward the studies of science and of philosophy.

Educated in the renown School of Pestalozzi, in Yverdun (Switzerland), he became one of that celebrated
teacher’s most eminent pupils and one of the most zealous propagandists of the Educational system that
exercised a great influence in the reform of the Educational system in France and in Germany.

Endowed with a notable intelligence, he was drawn to teaching, due to his character and his special
aptitudes. At fourteen, he had already started to teach what he had previously studied, to some of
his schoolmates, who had assimilated less than he. It was at that school that the ideas originated,
which would later categorize him in the class of the progressive and free-thinkers individuals of the day.

Although he had been born under the influence of the Catholic religion, he was educated in a Protestant
country. The acts of intolerance that he witnessed under these circumstances, led him at an early age to
conceive of the idea of a religious reformation, in which he labored silently for many years with the ultimate
 aim of achieving the unification of the faiths. He lacked, however, the indispensable element
for the solution to that immense problem.

Spiritism came to light, at this time, to imprint in his mind the particular direction for future undertakings.

As soon as he completed his studies, he returned to France. Being thoroughly knowledgeable in the
German language, he translated into German a variety of works on education and on morals and,
what is uniquely characteristic of him, the works of Fénelon that had seduced him in an intriguing way.

He was a member of several societies, one of which the Royal Academy of Arras, that, in the competition
of 1831, awarded him notable recognition on the following subject: Which is a system of study more
harmonious with the needs of the time?

From 1835 to 1840, he established, in his home, at Sèvres street, free study courses on Chemistry,
Physics, Anatomy, Astronomy, etc., an accomplishment worthy of commendation at any time, but,
above all, at this time in which only a few illuminated minds dared to follow that path.

Always concerned with making the educational system more appealing and interesting, he invented
the ingenious method of teaching to count and a mnemonic picture of the History of France, with the
objective of fixating in the memory, the dates of major events and discoveries that illuminated each reign.

Among his numerous works to foster education, we will mention the following: Proposed Plan for the
improvement of Public Instruction (1828); A practical and theoretical study of Arithmetic, according
to the methods of Pestalozzi, for the use of teachers and mothers (1824); Classic French Grammar (1831);
A Manual of the Examination for the titles of capacity; Rational solutions to the subjects and problems in
Arithmetic and in Geometry (1846); Grammatical Catechism of the French Language (1848); Program for the
regular courses of Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Physiology, which he taught in Lyceum Polimático; Normal
dictations of the examinations of the Municipality and of Sorbonne, followed by Special Dictations regarding
Orthographic Difficulties (1849), an accomplishment highly regarded at the time of its launching and from
which new editions are still been published today.

It can be seen that even before Spiritism had become popularized Allan Kardec through his Celtic pseudonym,
had already become well known, through the varied nature of his accomplishments in the educational system.
His works always had the objective of illuminating the masses and of uniting them better to their respective
families and countries.

About the year 1855, the spotlight focused on the subject of the manifestations of the Spirits, and
Allan Kardec became dedicated to persevering on the observations of that phenomenon, and cogitating
mainly in deducing its philosophical consequences. He could see, at once, that these phenomena were
the beginning of new natural laws: the ones that govern the relationships between the visible and the
invisible world.

He recognized, in the action of the invisible world, one of the forces of Nature, whose knowledge would
throw light on the immense problems that until then had been considered insoluble, and he understood its
reach, under the religious point of view.

His main works written on this subject are: The Spirit’s Book, concerning the philosophical part of the
doctrine, and whose first edition appeared on April 18th, 1857; The Mediums’ Book, concerning the
experimental and scientific aspect (January of 1861); The Gospel according to Spiritism, concerning
moral and ethics (April of 1864); Heaven and Hell, or The Justice of God according to Spiritism (August
of 1865); Genesis, the Miracles and Predictions According to Spiritism (January of 1868); Revue Spirite,
a monthly newspaper of psychological studies, that had begun on January 1st, 1858. On April 1st, 1858
he founded the first Spiritist Society regularly constituted, under the denomination of “Parisian Society
of Spiritist Studies,” whose deliberate objective was the study of whatever could contribute toward the
fostering of this new science. Allan Kardec defended himself with total foundation, for having written
something under the influence of preconceived or systematic ideas. As an individual with a cool calm
nature, he observed the facts and from his observations deduced the laws that govern them.

He was the first one to present the theory regarding such facts and to organize them into a doctrinal
body, methodical and regular.

He demonstrated that the facts, which previously had erroneously been considered supernatural, were
actually subject to the universal laws. He classified them under the phenomena of Nature, thereby
eliminating the last refuge of the wonder and one of the elements of superstition.

During the first years of the introduction of the spiritist phenomena, they were considered more an
object of curiosity than of serious meditation. The Spirit’s Book caused the subject to be considered under
a totally different aspect. The turning tables that had merely been a prelude were discarded, and people
started to pay greater attention to the doctrine, that embraces all the subjects of interest for Humanity.

The date of the launching of The Spirit’s Book, was the foundation of Spiritism, which until then, had only
counted on scattered elements, without coordination, and whose reach most people could not understand.
Starting from that moment, the doctrine attracted the attention of the serious-minded people and took a
rapid development. In few years, those ideas overtook numerous followers in all social circles around the
world. That unprecedented success took hold, without a doubt, due to the sympathy that such ideas
inspired; but, it is also largely due to the clarity with which they were presented, which is one of the
characteristics of Allan Kardec's works.

Avoiding the abstract formulas of Metaphysics, he knew how to attract everyone’s to read about it
without becoming tiresome, which was an essential condition to the dissemination of the idea. On all of
the controversial points, his argument, of pure logic, does not leave room for dispute and it predisposes
the conviction. The material proof that Spiritism presents of the existence of the soul and of a future
life tends to destroy the materialistic and pantheistic ideas. One of the most fertile principles of that
doctrine is the plurality of the existences, already foreseen by a group of ancient and modern
philosophers, and, during these last times, by João Reynaud, Carlos Fourier, Eugênio Sue and others.
The plurality of existences, however, had been maintained in a state of hypothesis and of system,
while Spiritism had demonstrated the reality and the proofs that in this principle, one of Humanity's
essential attributes resides. From the plurality of existences derived the explanation of all the apparent
anomalies of human life, of all the intellectual, moral and social inequalities, allowing man to know
whence he comes, where he is capable of going, why he is upon the earth, why he suffers temporarily,
and can see, above all, the justice of God.

The innate ideas displayed in a present incarnation are explained by the knowledge previously acquired
in prior lifetimes; also, the action of men of ancient times that are relived once again explains the
progress of the individual and of Humanity; the sympathies and dislikes are naturally going to be a
result of the experiences and the nature of relationships from previous incarnations. Those relationships,
that reunite the great human family of all times, suggests as a base, the advanced principles of
fraternity, of equality, of freedom and of universal solidarity, which are the very laws of Nature and not
mere theory.

Instead of the postulate: “Without the Church there is no Salvation, which fosters separation and
animosity between the different religious sects that have been responsible for so much bloodshed,
Spiritism has as its emblem: Without Charity there is no Salvation, which enhances equality among
men, tolerance, freedom of conscience and mutual benevolence in the eyes of God.

Instead of blind faith, which annuls free thinking, Spiritism says: Unshakable faith is only that which
can meet reason face to face in every human epoch. In order to have faith a base is necessary; and,
this base is the perfect intelligence of that which one believes. To be a believer is not enough; above
all, it is imperative to comprehend. Blind faith is no longer a part of this century. It is in fact due to
the dogma of blind faith that today we still have, such a great number of non-believers; as it tries
to impose itself by annulling one of man's most precious abilities, that of reasoning, and of free-will.

A tireless worker, always the first to take on a task and the last one to leave it, Allan Kardec succumbed
on March 31st, 1869 . He was about to reduce his activities and to move to another place, due to the
considerable extension of his multiple occupations. Several works which were about finished, or that
were awaiting the opportunity to come to light, will one day demonstrate the extensive power of his

He died as he lived: working. He had suffered a heart ailment for many years that could only have been counteracted by means of intellectual rest and lessened physical activity. However, since he was
consecrated to his work, he refused everything that could absorb one single minute of his time and
deviate him from his favorite occupations. What happened to him occurs to all the souls that have
a strong temper: “the sheet dulled the blade.”

His body became numb and could no longer perform the services intended by his Spirit, while his spirit
remained, more and more active, more energetic, fertile, forever enlarging the circle of its activity.

In such an unequal fight, his physical body could not subsist eternally. An aneurism ended his life and
Allan Kardec died instantaneously. That left one less individual on Earth; but, a great name took his
place among those that had illuminated this century; a great Spirit had departed for the Infinite,
where all of those souls who he had consoled and illuminated, were waiting impatiently for his return!
Death, I was saying not too long ago, redoubled its blows in the illustrious arrays! Whom will it now
come to set free?

He went, as so many others, to recover in Space, to seek new elements for the recuperation of his
worn-out organism due to a life of incessant labors. He departed to be among those who would be
the luminaries of the new generation, to return shortly thereafter with them to pursue and to conclude
the task that he had left in dedicated hands.

The individual is no longer here; but his soul, will remain with us forever. He will be a strong protector,
an extra light, a tireless worker that the phalanges of Space have incorporated. As on Earth, without
interfering with anyone, he will expound his opportune advices; he will lessen the premature zeal of
the ardent ones; he will aid the sincere and the disinterested ones, and will stimulate the indecisive
ones. He now clearly sees everything that he had foreseen! He is no longer subject to the uncertainties,
nor to the frailties and he will share his convictions making us reach the goal with his finger, pointing
the way for us, in that clear and precise language, that had consecrated him among the literary annals.

The man no longer exists, we said it; however, Allan Kardec is immortal and his memory, his works,
and his Spirit will always be with those who stand strong and vigorously wave the flag that he always

An extraordinary individuality set up the task. He was the guide and the secure port for everyone.
On Earth, the work will outlive the worker. The believers won't congregate around Allan Kardec;
but rather, they will congregate around Spiritism, just as he had structured it, and with his advice
and his influence, we will move forward, with firm steps, to the blissful phase promised to a
regenerated Humanity.

More biographies on Allan Kardec:

A página de rosto da segunda edição de O Livro dos Espíritos

The Career of 'Allan Kardec' by Steve Hume

Academic books about Spiritism

Aubrée, M., & Laplantine, F. (1990). La table, le livre et les espirits. Paris: Éditions Jean-Claude Làttes.

Hess, D. (1991). Spirits and scientists: Ideology, spiritism and Brazilian culture. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Source: Revue Spirite - Journal D'Études Psychologiques, 12° Année. No. 5. Mai 1869. p.129-35.
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« Reply #51 on: August 08, 2007, 06:39:06 pm »


In his introduction to The Spirits Book (the first volume of the Spiritist Codification series) Allan Kardec claimed to have coined the term "Spiritism" to name the movement he was initiating because "new things deserve new names". However, similarly to the word daemon used to designate supernatural beings and spirits and had no negative connotation in Greek mythology, the word Spiritism was appropriated by conservative christians to designate their prejudicial interpretation of different movements and religions that practiced mediumship. Nevertheless, confusion with syncretic religions is less common today, as the followers of such creeds tend to emphasize their proper names. Examples of religions that were often called "Spiritism" in the past are Candomblé, Umbanda, Cao Dai, Santería, Quimbanda, Santo Daime and a host of shamanic cults.

Regarding Spiritualism, the confusion is more common, even now, as the two movements were very close since the beginning. As a proper noun, Spiritualism is a religious movement, prominent from the 1840s to the 1920s, found primarily in English-speaking countries. Some authors, like Camille Flammarion and Arthur Conan Doyle wrote books that are accepted by both groups. Spiritists usually include in the list of famous followers people like Sir William Crookes or the medium Daniel Dunglas Home, who were actually related to Spiritualism. Nevertheless, the two movements have drifted apart over the years and since the very beginning Spiritists rejected the term "Spiritualism" on the grounds that it is a generic term for the belief in an immortal soul.

Spiritualism (in English) as a common noun (uncapitalised) is a largely obsolete term for animism and other religious practices involving the invocation of spiritual beings, including shamanism.
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« Reply #52 on: August 08, 2007, 06:40:58 pm »

Character of Spiritism

Spiritists claim that Spiritism is not a religious denomination, but a social movement including religion, philosophy and science. The religious aspect derives from praying to the one God and following moral principles taught by prominent figures like Jesus, Francis of Assisi or Paul, the Apostle. The philosophical side is concerned with their studies of the moral aspects of Christianity as a social contract among men and its implications for the afterlife. The scientific claim derives from their investigation of another, spiritual, world through the study of the human soul, communication with spirits being their major goal. It must be noted, however, that the science of Spiritism is rejected by mainstream Science as pseudo-science.

Séances are a chief characteristic of Spiritism, conducted in a specific fashion. Mediumship is the common source of new theological, philosophical or trivial knowledge. Most Spiritist books are chanelled by mediums.

In the religious side, Spiritism claims to be a collection of principles and laws based directly on the teachings of Jesus, with further revelation received from Enlightened Spirits. Spiritists believe their doctrine to be the Consoler that was promised to mankind by Jesus (which interprets the Consoler as being a doctrine, not a person) to "reestablish all things in their truer meaning". Kardecist Spiritism not only believes to be a logical successor for Christianity, but also to be a truer form of Christianity, purified from unnecessary elaborations and additions: unlike previous doctrines which had been filtered by the imperfections of the flesh, the teachings collected in his books would be closer to the truth God commanded His messengers (Enlightened Spirits) to bring unto mankind.

Since Kardec's days Spiritism has lost most of its popularity among scientists due to the fact that Spiritism and Science are mutually exclusive.

Contemporary spiritist doctrine understand all christian beliefs to be part of a single religion established by the word of Jesus. As a consequence of this position, it's acceptable for Spiritists that a believer also profess another cristian faith. Rituals and the dynamic of centers are also not centrally controlled, being subject to influences or orientation by other christian doctrines the believer may follow. This policy is not always reflected in other christian doctrines and Spiritism followers are often expelled from other christian divisions. To cater for the religious needs of excommunicated members, most Spiritist centres encourage some form of active membership which includes "instructive", "social" and "medium" meetings, as well as charity work.

Present-day Spiritists see a fundamental difference between "Scientific Spiritism" (the study of spiritual phenomena, not to be confused with science) and "Kardecist Spiritism" (the religious and philosophical practice derived from it). The two aspects of the doctrine are seen as complementary.
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« Reply #53 on: August 08, 2007, 06:44:53 pm »

                                                  P R E C U R S O R S

Developments leading directly to Kardec's research were the famous Fox sisters and the phenomenon of the Talking boards. The hype of Mesmerism also contributed to the early Spiritist practice.

Emanuel Swedenborg, 75, holding the manuscript of Apocalypsis Revelata (1766).

                   Emanuel Swedenborg  (né Swedberg) (January 29, 1688 – March 29, 1772) was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, seer, and theologian. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. Then at age fifty-six he entered into a spiritual phase of his life, where he experienced visions of the spiritual world and claimed to have talked with angels, devils, and spirits by visiting heaven and hell. He claimed of being directed by God, the Lord Jesus Christ to reveal the doctrines of His second coming.

From 1747 until his death in 1772 he lived in Stockholm, Holland and London. During these 25 years he wrote 14 works of a spiritual nature of which most were published during his lifetime. Throughout this period he was befriended by many people who regarded him as a kind and warm-hearted man. Many people disbelieved in his visions; based on what they had heard, they drew the conclusions that he had lost his mind or had a vivid imagination. But they refrained from ridiculing him in his presence. Those who talked with him understood that he was devoted to his beliefs. He never argued matters of religion, and if obliged to defend himself he usually did it with gentleness and in a few words.
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« Reply #54 on: August 08, 2007, 06:48:18 pm »


The Fox Sisters. From left to right: Kate, Margaretta and Leah.  Sisters Catherine (1838–92), Leah (1814–90)   Margaret (1836–93) Fox played an important role in the creation of Spiritualism. The daughters of David and Margaret Fox, they were residents of Hydesville, New York. In 1848, the family began to hear unexplained rapping sounds. Kate and Margaret conducted channeling sessions in an attempt to contact the presumed spiritual entity creating the sounds, and claimed contact with the spirit of a peddler who was allegedly murdered and buried beneath the house. A skeleton later found in the basement seemed to confirm this. The Fox girls became instant celebrities. They demonstrated their communication with the spirit by using taps and knocks, automatic writing, and later even voice communication, as the spirit took control of one of the girls.

Skeptics suspected this was nothing but clever deception and fraud. Indeed, sister Margaret eventually confessed to using her toe-joints to produce the sound. And although she later recanted this confession, both her and her sister Catherine were widely considered discredited, and died in poverty. Nonetheless, belief in the ability to communicate with the dead grew rapidly, becoming a religious movement called Spiritualism, and contributing greatly to Kardec's ideas.
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« Reply #55 on: August 08, 2007, 06:49:42 pm »

Talking boards - Table-turning

Just after the news of the Fox affair came to France, people became even more interested in what was sometimes termed the "Spiritual Telegraph". In the beginning, a table spun with the "energy" from the spirits present by means of human chaneling (hence the term medium). But, as the process was too slow and cumbersome, a new one was devised, supposedly from a suggestion by the spirits themselves: the talking board.

Early examples of talking boards were baskets attached to a pointy object that spun under the hands of the mediums, to point at letters printed on cards scattered around, or engraved on, the table. Such devices were called corbeille à bec ("basket with a beak"). The pointy object was usually a pencil.

Talking boards were tricky to set up and to operate. A typical séance using a talking board saw people sitting at a round table, feet resting on the chairs' supports and hands on the table top or, later, on the talking board itself. The energy channeled from the spirits through their hands made the board spin around and find letters which, once written down by a scribe, would form intelligible words, phrases, and sentences. The system was an early, and less effective, precursor of the Ouija boards that later became so popular.

Allan Kardec first became interested in Spiritism when he learned of the Fox sisters, but his first contact with what would become the doctrine was by means of talking boards. Some of the earlier parts of his Spirits' Book were channeled this way.
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« Reply #56 on: August 08, 2007, 06:50:54 pm »

Franz Anton MesmerFranz Anton Mesmer (May 23, 1734 – March 5, 1815) discovered what he called magnétism animal (animal magnetism) and others often called mesmerism. The evolution of Mesmer's ideas and practices led James Braid (1795-1860) to develop hypnosis in 1842.

Spiritism incorporated and kept some practices inspired or directly taken from Mesmerism. Among them, the healing touch, still in Europe, and the "energization" of water to be used as a medicine for spirit and body.
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« Reply #57 on: August 08, 2007, 06:55:40 pm »


Spiritism blends together notions taken from Christianity, Positivism and Platonism.


The basic doctrine of Spiritism ("the Codification") is defined in five books written and published by Allan Kardec during his life:

The Spirits' Book — Defines the guidelines of the doctrine, covering points like God, Spirit, Universe, Man, Society, Culture, Morals and Religion.

The Book on Mediums — Details the "mechanics" of the spiritual world, the processes involved in channeling spirits, techniques to be developed by would-be mediums, etc.

The Gospel According to Spiritism — Comments on the Gospels, highlighting passages that, according to Kardec, would show the ethical fundamentals shared by all religious and philosophical systems. This may be the first religious book to acknowledge the existence of life elsewhere in the Universe, based on Jesus' saying "The houses in the realm of my father are many" (John, 14, 1-3).

Heaven and Hell — A didactic series of interviews with spirits of deceased people intending to establish a correlation between the lives they lead and their conditions in the beyond.
The Genesis According to Spiritism — Tries to reconcile religion and science, dealing with the three major points of friction between the two: the origin of the universe (and of life, as a consequence) and the concepts of miracle and premonition.
Kardec also wrote a brief introductory pamphlet (What is Spiritism?) and was the most frequent contributor to the Spiritist Review. His essays and articles would be posthumously collected into the aptly-named tome Posthumous Works.
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« Reply #58 on: August 08, 2007, 06:58:14 pm »


The five chief points of the doctrine are:

There is a God, defined as "The Supreme Intelligence and Primary Cause of everything";

There are Spirits, all of whom are created simple and ignorant, but owning the power to gradually perfect themselves;

The natural method of this perfection process is Reincarnation, through which the Spirit faces countless different situations, problems and obstacles, and needs to learn how to deal with them;
As part of Nature, Spirits can naturally communicate with living people, as well as interfere in their lives;

Many planets in the universe are inhabited.

The central tenet of Spiritist Doctrine is the belief in spiritual life. The spirit is eternal, and evolves through a series of incarnations in the material world. The true life is the spiritual one; life in the material world is just a short-termed stage, where the spirit has the opportunity to learn and develop its potentials. Reincarnation is the process where the spirit, once free in the spiritual world, comes back to the world for further learning.
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« Reply #59 on: August 08, 2007, 06:59:21 pm »

Relationship with the teachings of Jesus

Jesus, according to Spiritism the greatest moral example for humankind, is deemed to have incarnated here to show us, through his example, the path that we have to take to achieve our own spiritual perfection. The Gospels are reinterpreted in Spiritism; some of the words of Christ or his actions are clarified in the light of the spiritual phenomena (presented as law of nature, and not as something "miraculous"). It's only because of our own imperfection that we can't achieve similar things; as we evolve, we will not only understand better, but we will be able to do similar things, for all spirits are created equal, and are destined for the same end.
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