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What is Spiritism?

Spiritism is a branch of Spiritualism that deals with the religious and philosophical doctrine established in France. This doctrine was established in the 1850s by Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail, a French teacher, educational writer, and translator. Rivail wrote under the pseudonym Allan Kardec. He was primarily known for writing books on the nature, origin, and destiny of spirits and their relationship with the material world.

Most of Kardec’s works result from the learning and study of the Mediumistic phenomena. He initially believed them to be fraudulent but later changed his stance. His work involves questioning several mediums that work in a trance on a spectrum of matters. He compiled, synthesized, and compared all the answers he obtained from spirits and then turned them into a knowledge bank called Codification. The Codification asks one to engage in a constant effort to investigate the world around us through science and try to make sense of our findings or research by philosophy. It asks one to utilize them in day-to-day living to improve the world around them through religion.

This approach representing the conjoining of Science, Philosophy, and Religion is often known as the triple-aspect of Spiritism. Consequently, Spiritism thus is a moral doctrine that solidifies religious sentiments and is known for belonging to all religions and not just one in particular.

Spiritist Philosophy

Spiritist philosophy stipulates that human beings and other living beings are immortal spirits at their core. They temporarily inhabit physical bodies to attain moral and intellectual improvement through several necessary incarnations. This philosophy also suggests that disembodied spirits have a benevolent or malevolent influence on the physical world through passive or active mediumship. Spiritism is a religion that believes in evolution and its affirmation.

This term first appeared in Kardec’s book, which tried to distinguish Spiritism from Spiritualism. This book was called The Spirits Book. The concept of Spiritism is currently present in 35 countries through the International Spiritist Council. The notion has influenced a social movement that supports healing centers, charity institutions, and hospitals. This movement involves millions of people in dozens of countries. The most significant number of adherents of this movement is in Brazil.

Spiritism is a primary component of the syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion Umbanda. It is also very influential in the Vietnamese faith, Cao Đài, which was started in 1926 by three mediums. These mediums claimed to have received messages that understood Allan Kardec as the prophet of a new universal religion.

Difference Between Spiritism And Occultism

Spiritism can be distinguished from Spiritualism mainly because it believes in the concept of reincarnation. Spiritualists did not accept the idea of Spiritism because they could not agree with the Spiritist view on reincarnation. Spiritism is also very different from Occultism because the learnings of Spiritism are exoteric. On the other hand, Occultism and its teachings are esoteric because they are confined to an inner circle of initiates and disciples.

Most knowledge about Spiritism is available publicly. It is never acquired through a ceremony of initiation or an event of hierarchical ascension. Kardec terms Spiritism as a science dedicated to studying the relationship between human beings and angelic beings (spirits). Consequently, some Spiritists believe that they do not adhere to religion but a philosophical doctrine. This doctrine is said to have a scientific fulcrum and a hard moral ground.

Another author of the Spiritualist movement, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, wrote a chapter about Spiritism in his book History of Spiritualism. In one of his chapters, he postulated that Spiritism is Spiritualist, but this theory cannot be reversed, so vice versa is not possible. Major Spiritualist works widely accepted in Spiritism are by 19th-century physicists William Crookes and Oliver Lodge.

Fundamental Principles Of Spiritism

As postulated in The Spirits' Book, the primary principles of Spiritism are:

  • God as Supreme Intelligence and the First Cause of all things.

  • God is an eternal, immutable, material, unique, and all-powerful being who is fair and reasonable.

  • Spirit is not abstract or undefined. It is a natural, circumscribed being, which is sometimes appreciable by the senses of touch, sight, and hearing.

  • All Spirits can attain perfection if they pass through the different degrees of spirit-hierarchy in their proper order. This procedure is effected by incarnation, which is sometimes imposed as an expiation or a mission. Material life is a trial or test that they have to undergo multiple times before attaining absolute perfection.

  • A spirit’s successive corporeal existences are always evolutionary. They never retrograde. However, the rapidity of this progress solely depends on the efforts that a spirit makes to achieve perfection.

  • The soul is known for possessing its individuality and uniqueness before its incarnation. This individuality is preserved and can only be observed once the soul is separated from the material body.

  • Once a soul enters the spirit world, it recognizes many other spirits that it had known on the earth. All its existences from the past lives eventually come back to the soul’s memory. The soul is reminded of all the good and evil deeds they have done in their past lives.

  • Spirits continuously affect the moral world and the physical or the corporeal world. They act based on both matter and thought and are known to constitute the powers of nature. The efficient cause of many classes and degrees of such phenomenons are unexplained or misinterpreted.

  • Spirits are constant in relation to humankind. The good spirits make an effort to lead us towards the right road and sustain us under the trials and tribulations of life. They try to aid us in bearing these struggles with courage and resignation. On the other hand, the bad ones tempt us to partake in evil. They find the prospect of seeing us fail as pleasurable, and they wish to make us like them.

  • The moral learnings of the higher spirits are like that of Christ. In the gospel maxim, it is said, ‘‘Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you;’’ that is to say, that one should do good to all and wrong to no one. This principle of action postulates a rule of conduct for all of mankind with a universal application. From the minor matters to the greatest, this rule applies to all. Spiritism is a branch of Spiritualism that was started in France in the 1850s by a French teacher, educational writer, and translator named Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail. He wrote books under the pen name Allan Kardec about “the nature, origin, and destiny of spirits, and their relationship with the physical world.” Kardec’s works are the result of his research into mediumistic phenomena, which he thought were fake at the start. He compiled, compared, and synthesised the answers he got from spirits by asking a lot of mediums in trance about a lot of different things. This body of knowledge is called the codification. Science and philosophy are two ways of looking at the world around us. We need to make sense of our findings and apply them to our daily lives so that we can improve ourselves and the world around us, which is why we do this all the time (religion). When Spiritism comes together with science, philosophy, and religion, it’s called the triple-aspect of Spiritism. Spiritism, then, is a moral doctrine that boosts religious feelings in general. It also belongs to all religions, not just one. Spiritists believe that humans, along with all other living things, are essentially immortal spirits that temporarily inhabit physical bodies for a few necessary incarnations in order to grow morally and intellectually. It also says that disembodied spirits, through passive or active mediumship, can have a good or bad effect on the physical world. Spiritism is a religion that believes in evolution. There was a book called The Spirits Book written by Kardec that he used as a way to separate Spiritism from spiritualism. Spiritism is now represented by the International Spiritist Council in 35 countries around the world. It has led to a social movement of healing centres, charities, and hospitals that includes millions of people in dozens of countries, with the largest number of followers in the country of Brazil. Spiritism is a big part of the Umbanda religion, which is a mix of African and Brazilian cultures. It is also very important in Cao ài, a Vietnamese religion started in 1926 by three mediums who claimed to have received messages that identified Allan Kardec as a prophet of a new universal religion.

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