Spiritism is a religious and philosophical doctrine that first appeared in 19th century France with the works of Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail, who wrote his books with the pen name of Allain Kardec. He discussed the nature, origin, and destiny of spirits plus their connections with the physical world. Initially he studied the acts of the mediums and their claims that they could talk to spirits; he considered then a fraud, but slowly he began to change his opinion and eventually became a believer.

Note. This image of Allain Kerdac was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

This file comes from Gallica Digital Library and is available under the digital ID btv1b8529781h, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77972078

During his lifetime he assembled al the answers that the spirits provided him in what he called the codification, a unifying body of premises. There are three foundations:

  1. Science: study the world around us to discover hard data
  2. Philosophy: give meaning to the findings for humans.
  3. Religion: this critical knowledge must be used in or everyday lives.

Rather than an esoteric practice that has been derided in all the modern forms of entertainment like the cinema, Spiritism constitutes a moral doctrine that appears in almost all religions based on the belief that we all carry an immortal spirit inside our bodies, which can be considered as “a temporary receptacle” to be discarded. The disembodies spirits that wander around our physical world can have good or evil intentions. The believers in Spiritisms also adhere to the Theistic Evolution, which established that God works in accordance with the laws of Mother Nature. Thus, there would not be any mismatch between the theories of Creation and Evolution.

On April 18, 1857, Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail published Le Livre des Esprits, which is a collection of the answers provided by the spirits as relayed by the mediums in various seances along the 1850s. These players gave signs of a modern corporate unity as they defined themselves as the defenders of the “Spirit of Truth.” He did not proclaim to be “the author” but rather “the organizer” as he explained that he was just compiling and organizing the thoughts of spirits without prejudice.

The basic concepts enumerated in that book were the following:

  1. Monotheism: there is only One Supreme Being, the source of good and evil.
  2. Creationism: God created the Principle of Everything.
  3. Teachings of Jesus Christ: very valid as moral and ethics lessons.
  4. Survival of the Spirit: our bodies are just temporary receptacles.
  5. Reincarnation: these spirits jump from one receptacle to another.
  6. Plurality of Worlds: there are more than one physical world.
  7. Perfectioning of the souls; through the different reincarnations, the spirits become wiser and savvier.
  8. Power of Migration: the spirits can travel between different worlds.

The worldwide influence of Spiritism should not be underestimated as there is an International Spiritism Council that agglutinates associations from 35 countries. The most powerful one is based in Brazil where millions practice Afro-American religions and are influential in health centers, charity institutions and hospitals.

In a second article, we will discuss the American Spiritism of the 18th Century.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

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