Excerpt from "The Spirits' Book", published in 1857). "Everyone who believes that there is something within them that is more than matter is a spiritualist; however, it does not necessarilly follow that they must therefore believe in the existence of spirit or in communications with the invisible world...Therefore, instead of the words spiritual and spiritualism for designating this latter belief, we have coined and employed the words Spiritist and Spiritism...Hence, we will say that the principle of the Spiritist Doctrine, or Spiritism, is based on the relationship between the material world and the invisible world, the later being inhabited by spirits. The adherents of Spiritism will be called Spiritists."
What is Spiritism?
We've talked about spirituality, spiritualism, but now lets get into "Spiritism". Although there are many similarities, the differences between Spiritism and Spiritualism is basically distinguished by the Spiritists belief in reincarnation, and as a science that dedicates itself to the relationship between spirit and those of us still on the physical plane. I would venture to say that most people who seek out paranormal sites searching for spirit manifestations, orbs, unexplained anomalies, electronic spikes, EVPs, and all other forms of spirit communication fall more into the category of "Spiritism".
Spiritism is and isn't a religion. That sounds contradictory, but the explanation is that Spiritism differs from all known religions, by demonstrating the logic of its teachings. It is a scientific and philosphphical teaching that is basic to all religions and its scope is just larger and it has no so-called dogmas, or what we refer to as "men of cloth". Its primary purpose is to supply answers when it comes to spirit visitation and respects all religions. Although it is based on Christian values, those same values can easily fit into whatever religious association one may choose. Though some may perceive it as a religion, in actuallity, it is more of a philosophical way of belief. The moral principles are in agreement with the ones taught by Jesus, Francis of Assisi, Paul the Apostle, Buddha, and Gandhi, just to name a few. In the country of Canada, Spiritism is a government-recognized religious denomination, where in other countries it does not fall under the name of a religion.
It reaffirms the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, Dr. Robert Hare, and other noted historians of various scientific fields. Spiritism is not opposed to science, instead tries to harmonize with it. The followers of Spiritism describe it as a three-fold: 1) science, for its studies on the mechanisms of mediumship and spirit comunication; 2) philosophy, for its theories on the origin, the meaning and importance of life; and 3) guidance of behavior which will bring spiritual and moral evolution to mankind.
Spiritism is a system of explanations in the general belief of the survival of spirit, and is founded upon the findings of mediums around the world. Thsese findings were compiled in the 19th centuey by Hippolyte Leo Denizard Rivail (under the name of Alan Kardec"). Mr. Rivail/Kardec's work soon spread and now has grown in thirty five different countries, with Brazil having the most significant number of followers, but there appears to be a real surge around the globe of people who believe in individual spirit contact as can be seen in the drastic increase of what some call the subject of the paranormal.
Fundamental Principles of Spiritism
As defined in The Spirits' Book, the main principles of spiritism are:
“God is the Supreme Intelligence-First Cause of all things.”
“God is eternal, immutable, immaterial, unique, all powerful, sovereignly just and good.”
“A spirit is not an abstract, undefined being, only to be conceived of by our thought; it is a real, circumscribed being, which, in certain cases, is appreciable by the senses of sight, hearing, and touch.”
“All Spirits are destined to attain perfection by passing through the different degrees of the spirit-hierarchy. This amelioration is effected by incarnation, which is imposed on some of them as an expiation, and on others as a mission. Material life is a trial which they have to undergo many times until they have attained to absolute perfection”
“A spirit’s successive corporeal existences are always progressive, and never retrograde; but the rapidity of our progress depends on the efforts we make to arrive at the perfection.”
“The soul possessed its own individuality before its incarnation; it preserves that individuality after its separation from the body.”
“On its re-entrance into the spirit world, the soul again finds there all those whom it has known upon the earth, and all its former existences eventually come back to its memory, with the remembrance of all the good and of all the evil which it has done in them.”
“Spirits exert an incessant action upon the moral world, and even upon the physical world; they act both upon matter and upon thought, and constitute one of the powers of nature, the efficient cause of many classes of phenomena hitherto unexplained or misinterpreted"
“Spirits are incessantly in relation with men. The good spirits try to lead us into the right road, sustain us under the trials of life, and aid us to bear them with courage and resignation; the bad ones tempt us to evil: it is a pleasure for them to see us fall, and to make us like themselves.”
“The moral teaching of the higher spirits may be summed up, like that of Christ, in the gospel maxim, ‘Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you;’ that is to say, do good to all, and wrong no one. This principle of action furnishes mankind with a rule of conduct of universal application, from the smallest matters to the greatest.”
H. Leon Denizard Rivail was a French educator and philosopher who adopted the name Allan Kardec, a name from a previous incarnation. His background in comparative physiology, astronomy, chemistry and physics peaked his interest in 1854 when he heard mysterious "rappings". Although still skeptical at the time, at the prompting of close friends he decided to look for natural answers when he began investigating on his own. Fellow researchers asked him to put together a book from 50 notebooks containing transcripts and journals of numerous spirit communications from mediums around the world, along with philosophical and scientific questions which he posed to different mediums.
"The Spirits' Book" contains the basic tenets of the Spiritist Doctrine. The book asks 1,019 questions, followed by answers and a brief discussion covering every aspect of the spirit world both in the spiritual realm as well as on the physical plane, and is a guide for living ethically in our unsettled world. This is a wonderful book answering questions in a way that other books don't. I have listed only the chapters of content as spelling out the sub-chapters would be much too long.
The General Elements of the Universe
The Vital Principle
The Incarnation of Spirits
The Return to Spirit Life
Return to the Body
The Liberation of the Soul
Spiritual Intervention in the Incarnate World
Occupations and Missions of Spirits
The Three Kingdoms
Divine or Natural Law
The Law of Worship
The Law of Work
Law of Reproduction
The Law of Preservation
The Law of Destruction
The Social Law
The Law of Progress
The Law of Equality
The Law of Liberty
The Law of Justice, Love and Compasson
Earthly Joys and Sorrows
Future Joys and Sorrows
Allan Kardec's View of Reincarnation
Divaldo Franco: Psychic-phenomanon
Divaldo Franco is one of Brazil's most renound mediums. He started to see spirit at age 4. Brought up in a strict Catholic home, he battled what he thought could have been the devil playing games with him, until his priest told him he was meant to be a Spiritist and he joined the Spiritist group at age 17. His story is both inspirational and inspiring in this lecture given in the United States. He continues to travel the world bringing clarity of spirit communication and visitation, writing over 200 books, and dedicates so much of his time to chairty. Mr. Franco never charges a fee for his readings and lectures, but does them out of true love.
My thanks and appreciation go out to my dear friend from the city of Canoas, in Southern Brazil, Jota Pedroso, who actually taught me that despite the fact I've always felt myself to be of a spiritual nature, in reality, I definitely fall into the group known as "Spiritists", a group probably much larger then we think, as the term "Spiritism" or "Spiritist" in our country is not often spoken of, and concentrates more on people who believe in the paranormal when it comes to spirit communication.
Jota is a medium, a musician, a radio and TV personality, and is very involved with EVPs and other means of spirit communication. Despite his having a family, a business, and all his other interests, he always finds time to counsel and help anyone in need.
Jota has given me his permission to include an amazing video he recently captured of a little bird pecking on the outside of his window as if inviting him to come outside to visit. This tiny beautiful little bird obviously could feel Jota's tenderness and goodness as it was not scared to jump on Jota's hand and remain there as Jota spoke to it softly of spirit communication and the teachings of Alan Kardec. Spirit visits in many ways, and this precious little bird is just another example.