THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER IX
INTERVENTION OF SPIRITS ON THE PHYSICAL WORLD
Penetration of our Thoughts by Spirits - Covert Influence of Spirits on Our Thoughts and Actions - The Possessed -Convulsionaries - Affection of Spirits for Certain Individuals - Guardian Angels: Protective, Familiar and Sympathetic Spirits - Presentiments - Influence of Spirits on Life Events - Role of Spirits in Natural Phenomena - Spirits during Wars - Pacts - Occult Powers, Talismans and Sorcerers - Blessings and Curses

Penetration of our Thoughts by Spirits

456. Do spirits see everything that we do?
“They can if they so choose, since they are always with you. Practically, spirits only see what they direct their attention to and ignore what does not interest them.”

457. Can spirits see our innermost thoughts?
“They often see what you would like to hide from yourselves. Neither acts nor thoughts can be hidden from spirits.”

a) So is it easier to hide something from an incarnate person than when the same person has passed on?
“Exactly. When you believe yourself to be in complete, solitary privacy, you often have a crowd of spirits watching you.”

458. What do the spirits who observe us think of us?
“That depends on the spirits themselves. Lighthearted spirits enjoy the small disturbances they cause you and laugh at your impatience. More serious spirits pity your faws and try to help you rid yourselves of them.”

Covert Infuence of Spirits on our Thoughts and Actions

459. Do spirits infuence our thoughts and actions?
“They often direct both; their infuence is greater than you think, for very frequently it is they who guide you.”

460. Do we have any of our own original thoughts, while others that are suggested to us?
“Your soul is a spirit that thinks. You surely have noticed that many thoughts, and frequently conficting ones, come to your mind regarding the same subject, at the exact same time. In such cases, some of these ideas are your own, and some are ours. This leads you to feelings of uncertainty, because you have two conficting ideas in your mind.”

461. How can we distinguish between our own thoughts and those the spirits suggest to us?
“When a thought is suggested, it is like a voice speaking to you. Your own thoughts usually occur to you frst. This distinction is not of much practical importance to you, and it is often better not to be able to make it. Your action then has greater freedom. If you choose the right road, you do so more spontaneously, while if you take the wrong one, your responsibility will be greater.”

462. Do intelligent people and geniuses always get their ideas from their own minds?
“Their ideas sometimes come from their own spirit, however, they are often suggested to them by other spirits who deem them capable and worthy of understanding and disseminating them. When they do not fnd the required ideas in themselves, they unconsciously call for inspiration. They make an evocation without even being aware of it.”

If it were useful for us to be able to distinguish between our own thoughts and the ones suggested clearly, God would have given us the means of doing so, just as God has given us the means of distinguishing between day and night. When something is left vague, it is often in our best interest.

463. It is sometimes said that our frst thought is always the best. Is this true?
“It may be good or bad, depending on the nature of the incarnate spirit. It is always good for the one who listen to good inspirations.”

464. How can we determine whether a suggested thought comes from a good or bad spirit?
“Thoroughly scrutinize its quality. Good spirits only give good guidance. It is your responsibility to make the distinction.”

465. Why do imperfect spirits tempt us to wrongdoing? “To make you suffer like they do.”

a) Does that lessen their personal suffering?
“No, but they are jealous of those who are happier than themselves.”

b) What kind of suffering do they want to make us endure?
“That reserved for beings that are of a lower rank and far removed from God.”

466. Why does God permit spirits to lure us to wrongdoing?
“God uses imperfect spirits as instruments for testing your faith and perseverance in doing good. As a spirit, you must advance in the knowledge of the infnite. To do this, you suffer trials to attain goodness. Our mission is to lead you to the right path. When you fall prey to bad infuences, it is because you attract lower spirits by your malicious desires. Wicked spirits always come to assist you in carrying out the malevolence you desire to commit. They only help you do wrong when you give in to vile desires. If you are inclined to commit murder, you will have a swarm of spirits around you encouraging you. Conversely, you will also have others who will try to infuence you to do good. This restores balance and allows you to make your own decision.”

This is how God allows us to choose our individual path, and gives us the freedom of yielding to one of the conficting infuences that act upon us.

467. Can we free ourselves from the infuence of spirits who lure us to iniquity?
“Yes, because they are only drawn to those who attract them by the immoral character of their thoughts and desires.”

468. When repelled by our will, do spirits relinquish their own temptations?
“What other option do they have? When they see that they cannot accomplish their goal, they give up. However, they continue to watch for the right opportunity, like a cat who keeps an eye out for a mouse.”

469. How can we neutralize the infuence of wicked spirits?
“By doing only what is right and putting all your faith in God, you repel lower spirits and prevent them from controlling you. Do not listen to spirits who inspire you with despicable thoughts, cause confict, and stimulate malicious passions. Particularly distrust those who fatter your pride because this is how a spirit attacks you at your weakest point. This is why Jesus makes you recite in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.’”

470. Are spirits who try to lead us to wickedness and who test our resolve assigned a mission to do so? If so, are they responsible for the success of such a mission?
“No spirit ever receives a mission to do wrong. When they do this, it is of their own volition and they suffer the consequences of their wrongdoing. God may allow them to stay on their malevolent course to test you, but God does not order them to do so. It is up to you to resist.”

471. When we feel a vague sense of anxiety, indescribable uneasiness, or inner satisfaction, without any discernible cause, do these feelings simply result from our physical state?
“They are almost always an effect of the communications that you unconsciously receive from the spirits around you, or that you have received during sleep.”

472. When spirits want to tempt us to wrong do they take advantage of the circumstances in which we fnd ourselves, or can they cause such circumstances?
“They take advantage of any favorable circumstances, but often bring them about by pushing you toward the target of your unwholesome desires, while you remain completely unaware that this is happening. For instance, imagine individuals who fnd money on the side of the road during their travels. Spirits have not brought this money to this particular spot, but they may have suggested to those individuals the idea of going towards that direction. When someone fnds the money, these same spirits may suggest the idea of keeping it, while others suggest the idea of returning it to its rightful owner. This equally applies to all other temptations.”

The Possessed

473. Can a spirit temporarily assume the body of a living person, meaning, can it enter an animate body, and act in place of the spirit incarnated in it? “A spirit does not enter a body the way you enter a house. It integrates itself with an incarnate spirit possessing the same faws and qualities so that they may act in unison, but it is always the incarnate spirit who acts like he wishes upon the matter enveloping it. No other spirit can replace the one incarnated in a specifc body because a spirit is inextricably tied to its body until the end of its material life.”

474. If there is no such thing as possession or the cohabitation of two spirits in the same body, is it possible for one soul to be overpowered by another so that it sees itself “subjugated” or “obsessed” to the point of having its will somehow paralyzed?
“Yes, and it is this domination that constitutes what you call possession. You must understand that this domination is never established without the willing participation of the spirit who subjects to it, either due to its weakness or by its desire. People often have misidentifed cases of epilepsy or insanity for possession, when they really need a physician rather than an exorcist.”

The word possession, as popularly understood, presumes the existence and cohabitation of demons, that is, a category of beings of a wicked nature, with a person’s soul in his or her body. Since demons do not exist in the aforementioned sense, and since two spirits cannot simultaneously inhabit the same body, there is no such thing as possession according to the idea normally attached to that word.. You should understand the word possessed defned only as the absolute domination of a soul by an imperfect spirit to whom it has surrendered.

475. Can a soul drive degraded spirits away and free itself from their control?
“You can always rid yourself of any burden if you are resolutely determined to do so.”

476. Could the allure of a wicked spirit be so complete that the victim is unaware of it? In such a case, could a third party end the overpowering? If so, what condition should the person fulfill?
“The willpower of a moral individual may be useful by attracting the cooperation of good spirits. The more honest a person is, the more power that person has to drive away imperfect spirits and attract good ones. Nevertheless, this third person would be helpless in such a case if the one who is subjugated were open to the efforts made on his or her behalf. Some individuals delight in dependence that fatters their tastes and desires. Impure individuals at heart cannot exercise any liberating infuence, because they are despised by good spirits and bad ones do not fear them.”

477. Do exorcisms have any power over bad spirits?
“No, when bad spirits see someone seriously trying to cast them out by such means, they laugh and persist in their efforts.”

478. Well-intentioned individuals are sometimes obsessed. What is the best way to free oneself from obsessing spirits?
“To tire their patience and ignore their suggestions. Show them that they are wasting their time. They go away when they see that their efforts are fruitless.”

479. Is prayer an effective means of ending obsession?
“Prayer is always an effective means of obtaining help, but you must remember that reciting a few choice words is not enough to get what you want. God helps those who help themselves, but not those who limit themselves to only asking for help. Obsessed persons must do their utmost to cure themselves of the faws that attract bad spirits to them.”

480. What should we think of the instruction to cast out devils, as mentioned in the Gospels?
“That depends on the meaning you attach to the word devil. If you mean a bad spirit who overpowers a human being, it is obvious that it will be driven away when the person being obsessed destroys its infuence. If you attribute an illness to the devil, you may say that you have driven the devil away when you have healed your sickness. A statement may be true or false, depending on the meaning attributed to certain words. The most important truths may seem ridiculous when you only consider them in the form in which they are presented, and when a metaphor is taken literally. Understand this well, and remember it, for it is of general application.”

Convulsionaries

481. Do spirits play a role in the phenomena exhibited by individuals called convulsionaries?
“Yes, a very important one, just like magnetism, which is the original source of these phenomena. Charlatans have infated these effects and made them a matter of speculation, which has demeaned them.”

a) What is the general nature of the spirits who help produce this type of phenomena?
“Not very elevated. Do you think that higher spirits would waste their time in such a manner?”

482. How can the abnormal state of convulsionaries and hysterical individuals suddenly strike an entire population?
“Out of sympathy. Moral dispositions are communicated quite easily in certain cases. Surely you are not so unaware of the effects of human magnetism that you are unable to understand this. There is also the natural role of certain spirits in such occurrences, through sympathy with those by whom they are produced.”

Somnambulism and magnetism show us numerous examples of bizarre behavior identical to the ones convulsionaries display. These include physical insensitivity, thought reading, sympathetic transmission of pain, and so on. This makes it impossible to doubt that these hysterical individuals are experiencing some sort of waking somnambulism, determined by the infuence that they inadvertently exercise upon each other. At the same time, they are both magnetizers and magnetized without even realizing it.

483. What is the cause of the physical insensitivity sometimes observed in convulsionaries, and even in other people, when subjected to the most brutal torture?
“In some cases it is simply an exclusively magnetic effect, which acts upon the nervous system as certain substances do. In other cases, mental excitement stifes the sensitivity of the body, with life seeming to withdraw from the body to concentrate on the spirit. Have you not observed that when the spirit is intensely concerned with any matter, the body neither feels, nor sees nor hears?”

The excitement of fanaticism and enthusiasm often offer, by individuals subjected to tortures, examples of a tranquility that could hardly trump excruciating pain unless the sensitivity of the patient was defused by some kind of anesthetic effect. In the heat of battle, a severe wound is often obtained without being noticed, while a mere scratch is intensely felt under ordinary circumstances.

Since these phenomena are due to both the action of physical causes and that of spirits, one may wonder how public authorities, in some cases, were able to stop them. The answer is very simple. The action of spirits is only secondary. They do nothing more than take advantage of a natural predisposition. Public authorities did not overcome this predisposition, but rather the cause that stimulated it, reducing it from an active state to a latent one. They were right in doing this because this phenomenon was the impetus of exploitation and scandal. This interference, however, is ineffective when the action of spirits is direct and spontaneous.

Affection of Spirits for Certain Individuals

484. Do spirits affectionately prefer certain individuals?
“Good spirits sympathize with all good men and women, or those who are capable of betterment. Lower order spirits sympathize with those who are bad, or who may become such. In either case, the bond is a consequence of the similarity of thoughts and ideas.”

485. Is the affection of specifc spirits for specifc individuals exclusively of a moral nature?
“True affection has nothing to do with the material world. When a spirit attaches to a living person, it is not always through affection because it may also be a recollection of human passions.”

486. Do spirits take an interest in our bad luck and prosperity? When we encounter troubles in life, do the spirits who wish us well mourn for us?
“Good spirits do all the good they can, and celebrate all your joys with you. They mourn your problems when you do not bear them with resignation, because that problem produces no benefcial result. You are like sick people who refuse to take the bad tasting medication that would cure them.”

487. What kind of troubles cause the most grief to spirits? Is it our physical suffering or our moral faws?
“Your selfshness and callousness, because these are the roots of all your troubles. They laugh at the imaginary sorrows stemming from pride and ambition, and celebrate those that will shorten your trial.”

The spirits know that physical life is only feeting and that its tribulations are the means to enable us to reach a happier state. The moral faws that hold us back sadden them more than our short-lived physical troubles.

Spirits attach as little importance to our physical problems as we do to the insignifcant sorrows of childhood. Seeing the burdens of life as the means of our advancement, they regard them only as a feeting calamity that will restore the sick to health eventually. They mourn our suffering, as we are saddened by that of a friend, but appreciate them differently from their higher perspective. While inferior spirits try to drive us to anguish to hamper our development, good spirits try to inspire us with the bravery needed to transform our trials into something benefcial for our future.

488. Do the friends and family who have passed on before us have more sympathy for us than spirits who are strangers to us?
“Of course, and they often protect you as spirits, depending on their power.”

a) Are they sensitive to the affection we maintain for them?
“Very sensitive, but they forget those who forget them.”

Guardian Angels: Protective, Familiar and Sympathetic Spirits

489. Are there spirits who attach themselves to a specifc individual to protect and help that person?
“Yes, spiritual brothers and sisters, you also call them your protective spirit or good spirit.”

490. What should we understand by the expression guardian angel?
“A high order protective spirit.”

491. What is the mission of a protective spirit?
“Similar to that of parents to their children – to lead their wards down the right path, give them advice, console them when they are sick or suffering, and support their courage in the trials of human life.”

492. Are protective spirits attached to individuals from birth?
“From birth to death. They often follow them after death into the spirit life, and even through several successive physical lives as these existences are very short phases of their existence as spirits.”

493. Is the mission of a protective spirit voluntary or obligatory?
“Your protective spirit is duty-bound to watch over you, having accepted that task. Spirits can choose their wards from a selection of like-minded beings. In some cases, this position is a pleasure, while in others it is a job or duty.”

a) By attaching to a person, does a spirit cease to protect other individuals?
“No, but the spirit does so less exclusively.”

494. Are protective spirits inextricably tied to the ward assigned to them?
“Spirits often leave their position to fulfll various missions, but an exchange is carried out in that case.”

495. Do protective spirits ever abandon their charges when the latter continuously ignore their guidance?
“The spirits withdraw from their charges when they see that their guidance is fruitless and their charges are stubbornly determined to yield to the infuence of inferior spirits. However, they are never entirely abandoned and the spirits continue to make themselves heard. Their wards are the ones who shut their ears. As soon as incarnates call them back, the spirits return.”

“If there is any theory that could win over the biggest skeptics by its charm and beauty, it is that of guardian angels. To think that you always have a superior being by your side, ready to guide you, support you and help boost you in climbing the mountain of self-betterment, whose friendship is more devoted than the most intimate union that you can make on Earth is a source of great solace. These beings are there at God’s orders. It was God who has placed them at your side. They are there out of their love for God, and they fulfll an honorable but painstaking mission. Wherever you go, prison, solitude, the lepers’ house, or even the lowest haunts and taverns, they are by your side. Nothing ever separates you from your invisible friend, whose presence you cannot see but from whom your soul receives the gentlest impulsions and hears the wisest counsels.”

“If only you fully grasped this truth! It would help you in your moments of need and save you from the traps of malicious spirits! But how many times, on the great day, this angel of goodness will have to say to you, ‘Did I not warn you, yet you would not follow my lead? Did I not show you the abyss, and you insisted on throwing yourself into it? Did I not speak the truth to your conscience, and you followed devious suggestions?’ Communicate with your guardian angels and establish the affectionate intimacy that exists between loyal friends. Do not try to hide anything from them, Do not think of hiding anything from them because they are God’s eyes. Think of the future and try to advance upward. This will shorten your trials and make your lives happier. Come; take heart! Cast away all preconceived notions and reservations, and boldly travel the new road that opens before you! Go forth, you have guides; all you have to do is follow them. Your goal cannot fail you, for your goal is God.”

“To those who fnd it impossible to believe that high spirits would commit to such a grueling task requiring infnite patience, we respond that these spirits infuence your souls from afar. Space is nothing to us and our spirits can be connected to yours from worlds away. We possess qualities that you cannot fathom, and rest assured that God has not given us a task that is beyond our strength. God has not abandoned you on Earth without friends and support. All guardian angels have their wards, over whom they watch like parents watch over their children. They are elated when they see them following the right road and saddened when their guidance is ignored.”

“Do not be afraid to ask us questions. Always remain connected with us, as it will make you stronger and happier. This communication between human beings and their familiar spirits will eventually make everyone mediums, mediums ignored today, but who will show themselves later, spreading out like an ocean without shores to sweep away disbelief and ignorance. Those who have received instruction must in turn educate others. Those who are talented must raise their brothers and sisters. You cannot even comprehend what good you accomplish by doing so. The work imposed on you by God is the work of Christ. Why has God given you intelligence and knowledge, if you were not meant to share it with your brothers and sisters to help them on the road leading to eternal happiness?”
Saint Louis, Saint Augustine

The concept of guardian angels watching over us, despite the distance between worlds, is as natural as it is grand and sublime. Do parents not watch over their children through the wise suggestions in letters when distance separates them? Why should you be surprised that spirits guide their charges from one world to another? Don’t they have the universal fuid that binds all the worlds together, and unite them in solidarity - an immense vehicle for transmitting thought, just as air is the vehicle for sound?

496. If spirits abandon their charges and no longer help them, can they harm them?
“Good spirits never cause harm to anyone. They leave that to inferior spirits. You then accuse fate of the bad luck or troubles that plague you, but they are the result of your own bad behavior.”

497. Can protective spirits leave their charges at the mercy of spirits wanting to do them harm?
“Wicked spirits band together to counteract the good, but if wards would so desire, they could restore all the power to the protective spirit. While waiting for the return of their charges, protective spirits may fnd other individuals whose kindness and openness make it easy to help them.”

498. When protective spirits allow their wards to go astray, is it because they are unable to manage the malicious spirits who mislead them?
“No, it is not because they can’t but because they choose not to. Their wards will become wiser and better through the trials they have chosen for themselves. Protective spirits assist their wards through the wise guidance they provide however, unfortunately, sometimes they are ignored. The weakness, carelessness, or pride of humans is what gives strength to bad spirits. Their power over you comes solely from your lack of willpower to provide enough resistance to their action.”

499. Do protective spirits always accompany their charges? Are there any circumstances under which they may lose sight of them, without completely abandoning them?
“There are circumstances under which the presence of the protective spirit is not necessary.”

500. Do spirits ever reach a point where they no longer need a guardian angel?
“Yes, when they are able to guide themselves, in the same manner that students reach a point where they no longer need a teacher. However, this does not take place on Earth.”

501. Why is the role that spirits have in our lives covert? Why do they not openly protect and guide us?
“If you counted on their support, you would not act of your own accord, which would cause your spirit to remain stationary. All human beings need to acquire experience, often at their own expense, in order to advance. They need to exercise their own power, otherwise they remain stunted, like a child who is not allowed to walk alone. The action of spirits is regulated so that your free will is maintained. Without responsibility, you would not advance on the road leading to God. Human beings put forth their own strength because they do not see their invisible support. Their guides continue to watch over them, and call out to them to warn them of danger when necessary.”

502. When guardian angels succeed in leading their charges down the right path, do they gain any beneft for themselves?
“It is an admirable task, which is credited to them for their advancement or happiness. They celebrate when they are successful, and feel a sense of triumph in the same way that teachers are elated at the success of their students.”

a) Are they responsible if their wards do not succeed?
“No, since they have done everything that they could.”

503. Do protective spirits get upset when their wards proceed down the wrong road? Does it upset their own happiness?
“They are saddened by the errors of their wards and feel pity for them, but they do not experience the anguish of human parents because they know that if the wrongs committed by their wards are not remedied today, they will be tomorrow.”

504. Can we know the name of our protective spirits or guardian angels?
“How can you know their names if they have no existence for you? Is it not possible that there are spirits whom you do not know of?”

a) But how can we call them if we do not know who they are?
“Give them any name you wish – that of any superior spirit with whom you identify and respect. Your guardian angel will answer this call because all good spirits are brothers and sisters who are always ready to assist one another.”

505. Are the guardian angels who assume well-known names always the individuals who had those names?
“No, but they are like-minded spirits, and are often sent by their command. You require names, so they assume a name that will inspire you with confdence. When you are unable to execute a command in person, you send someone on your behalf.”

506. Will we recognize our protective spirit when we enter the spirit world?
“Yes, because you often knew it before you reincarnated.”

507. Do all protective spirits belong to higher orders? Are they sometimes average? Can parents, for example, become spirit guardians to their own children?
“They may but this would presume a certain degree of elevation and a quality granted by God. Parents who watch over their children may themselves be assisted by a more elevated spirit.”

508. Can all spirits who have departed the Earth under favorable conditions become the guardians of their loved ones who have stayed behind?
“Their power is restricted by their position, which does not always grant them full freedom of action.”

509. Do savages and morally inferior human beings have protective spirits? If so, are these spirits of the same order as those of civilized humanity? “All human beings have a spirit who watches over them, but their missions depend on their charge. A child who is learning to read does not have a professor of philosophy for this task. The advancement of the familiar spirit is always relative to that of the spirit it protects. While you have a higher spirit who watches over you, you may in turn become the guardian of a spirit who is lower than you. The progress you help that person make contributes to your own advancement. God does not ask for more from a spirit than its nature and degree of evolution can provide.”

510. When parents who watch over their child reincarnate, do they continue to watch over them?
“This task becomes more diffcult, but while free, parents may ask a like-minded spirit to assist them in accomplishing it. However, spirits do not undertake missions that they cannot see through to the end.”

“An incarnate spirit, especially in heavily material worlds, is debilitated by its body and cannot devote itself entirely to another. For this reason, those who are not elevated enough to serve as guardian angels are assisted by higher spirits, so that if the help of one spirit should fail, its place is flled by another.”

511. With the exception of protective spirits, are there wicked spirits who attach themselves to individuals to tempt them and cause them to struggle between good and bad?
“‘Attached’ is not accurate. It is very true that bad spirits try to draw you from the path of righteousness when they fnd an opportunity to do so. However, when one of them attaches to an individual it does so simply because it hopes the person is going to listen to them. In such a case, there is a struggle between a good and a bad spirit, and whoever successfully infuences that individual prevails.”

512. Could we have multiple protective spirits?
“Every one of you has a number of sympathetic spirits of varying degrees of elevation around you. They care about you out of love, and you have others who help you to do wrong, as well.”

513. Are sympathetic spirits forced to act as part of a mission?
“In some cases they may have a temporary mission, but they usually are drawn to an individual because they share similar good or bad sentiments.”

a) So it is correct to assume that sympathetic spirits can be either good or bad?
“Yes, human beings are always surrounded by spirits who are in sympathy with them, whatever their nature may be.”

514. Are “familiar spirits” the same as “sympathetic spirits” and “protective spirits”? “There are many levels of protection and sympathy, and you may call them whatever you like. A ‘familiar spirit’ is usually a friend of the home.”

Based on the above explanations and observing the nature of spirits connected to human beings, we can draw the following conclusions:
Protective spirits, familiar spirits or guardian angels have a mission to accompany the individuals they are protecting over the course of their lives and help them to advance. The degree of perfection in these protective spirits is always superior to that of their charges.
Familiar spirits connect with specifc people, for longer or short period of time, to be useful to them within the confnes of their possibilities, which can be quite narrow. They have the best intentions, but sometimes can be inappropriate and even fippant. They are concerned with the everyday details of human life and only act when permitted or ordered by a protective spirit.
Sympathetic spirits are drawn to us by personal affection, and similar good or bad inclinations. The length of their relationship with us is almost always dependent on circumstances.
A wicked spirit is an imperfect or perverse spirit who connects with someone in order to corrupt them. It acts of its own volition with no mission and its persistence is proportionate to the access granted to it. A person is always free to follow the suggestions of a bad spirit or to resist them.

515. What should we think of people who seem to attach themselves to certain individuals to lead them to their downfall, or guide them to the right path?
“Some individuals do in fact exercise a type of fascination over others that seems enticing. When used for malicious purposes it should be attributed to low order spirits who use contemptible people to more effectively overpower their victim. God may permit this as a means of enduring a trial.”

516. Could our good or bad guardian incarnate to more closely follow us in our human life?
“Sometimes, but they more frequently entrust this mission to incarnate spirits with whom they identify.”

517. Do spirits attach themselves to every member of a family to protect them?
“Some spirits attach themselves to family members who live together and are united by affection, but you must not think that guardian spirits are guilty of racial pride.”

518. As spirits are attracted to individuals based on their like-mindedness, are they attracted to groups of individuals for special purposes?
“Spirits go where they meet others like them, where they are more at ease and sure that someone will listen to them. Every one attracts spirits according to their predispositions, whether as an individual or as an element of a collective whole, such as a society, city or country. Societies, cities and countries are visited by various spirits, according to their predominant character and passions. Imperfect spirits withdraw from those who resist them. The moral excellence of collective wholes, like that of individuals, drives away bad spirits and attracts good ones, who maintain the sense of good among the masses, as others may spread the worst passions.”

519. Do agglomerations of individuals – such as societies, cities and countries – have their own special guardian spirits?
“Yes, because they constitute collective individualities pursuing a common goal, and that needs higher direction.”

520. Do the guardian spirits of groups of people have a higher ranking than those who connect to individuals?
“Their advancement is always proportionate to the degree of advancement of the humans involved, just as with individuals.”

521. Can certain spirits assist the progress of the arts by protecting those who foster and support them?
“There are special spirit protectors who assist those who call them, when they deem them to be worthy of their assistance. But what can they do for those who believe themselves to be something that they are not? They cannot make the blind see, nor make the deaf hear.”

The people of ancient times made these protective spirits special deities. The Muses were nothing more than the metaphoric personifcation of the guardians of arts and sciences, just like the family protective spirits were designated by the Roman names of lares and penates. Modern civilizations also have their patrons in the arts, in various industries, and in cities and countries, who are none other than higher guardian spirits, just under different names.
As each person has their own sympathetic spirit, most sympathetic spirits of a collective whole correspond to the majority of individuals that compose them, and that foreign spirits are attracted to such groups out of similarity of tastes and thoughts; in a word, that these groups, as well as individuals comprising them, are more or less surrounded, infuenced and supported according to the leading character of its members.
Among nations, spirits are attracted by the habits, manners and dominant characteristics of their people, and, particularly their legal system, because the character of a nation is refected in its laws. Those who uphold righteousness resist the infuence of wicked spirits. Wherever laws embody injustice and inhumanity, good spirits are in the minority and the bad ones who fock there keep the people trapped under their false ideas, and paralyze the good infuences that are lost in the crowd, like a single ear of corn in the midst of a sea of weeds. By studying the customs of nations or of any group of individuals, it is therefore easy to get an idea of the invisible population that meddles in their thoughts and actions.

Presentiments

522. Is a presentiment always a warning from a protective spirit?
“A presentiment is private guidance from a spirit who wishes you well. The same may be said of the intuition that leads a spirit to choose a specifc life when about to be reincarnated. This is a voice of instinct. A spirit, before incarnation, is aware of the kind of trials it is about to endure. When these trials are of a very clear nature, the spirit maintains an impression of them. This impression, the instinctive voice, becomes more intense or louder as the crucial moment draws near, and eventually becomes a presentiment.”

523. As presentiments and the voice of instinct are always somewhat vague, what should we do when uncertain?
“When in doubt, call out to your protective spirit, or pray to God to send you a messenger – one of us.”

524. Do our guardian spirits only warn us for moral guidance? Do they warn us in our personal affairs?
“Guardian spirits warn you with respect to everything that concerns you. Your guardian spirits try to lead you to the best possible course in everything that you do. Unfortunately, you often ignore their open guidance, and get into trouble through no fault other than your own.”

Our guardian spirits give us guidance and awaken the voice of our conscience. However, as we do not always attach enough importance to these hints, they give us more direct warnings through the people around us. If humans refect upon the various circumstances of their lives, they will see that, on many occasions, they received advice that would have spared them a good deal of aggravation or pain if they had not ignored.

Infuence of Spirits in Life Events

525. Do spirits exercise any infuence over the events of our lives?
“Of course they do, since they give you advice.”

a) Do they exercise this infuence in any way other than through the thoughts they suggest to us? Do they initiate any direct action on events?
“Yes, but their action never oversteps the laws of nature.”

We wrongly assume that spirits only manifest themselves through extraordinary phenomena. We would like to see them aid us through miracles, and we imagine them to be armed with some sort of magic wand. This is not the case, as their guidance is only through natural means, and their intervention usually takes place without our being aware of it. For instance, they may cause the meeting of two individuals who seem to have been brought together by chance; they suggest to the mind of an individual the idea of going in a particular direction. They call attention to some special point, and if the individual unknowingly follows their suggestions, this brings about the result they seek to obtain. This way, human beings believe they are following their own impulses and always maintain their free will.

526. As spirits possess the power of acting upon matter, can they cause incidents to happen to guarantee a given event? For example, are individuals destined to die in a specifc manner at a given time. If a person climbs a ladder, the ladder breaks, and the person dies. Have spirits caused the ladder to break to fulfll the destiny accepted by or imposed upon this person?
“Spirits can act upon matter, but only through natural law and not by deviating from it to cause an unforeseen event opposing these laws. In the example above, the ladder breaks because it is rotten or not strong enough to bear the man’s weight. However, as this demise was this man’s destiny, the spirits around him infuence him to climb the ladder that will break under his weight, and his death will take place naturally. In this case, no miracle was required to bring it about.”

527. Let us take another example, in which the natural state of matter does not intervene. A man is destined to be killed by lightning. He is caught in a storm and seeks shelter under a tree, the lightning strikes the tree and he dies. Have spirits made the lightning bolt strike to kill this specifc person?
“The explanation of this case is the same as in the previous example. Lightning strikes the tree at this particular moment because it was in accordance with the laws of nature. Lightning was not made to strike the tree because the man was under it, but the man was inspired with the idea of seeking shelter under a tree that was about to be struck by lightning. The tree would have been struck regardless of whether the man had been under it or not.”

528. A nasty person hurls an object at someone that nearly hits the person but does not make contact. Has the object been defected by a friendly spirit? “If the individual aimed at was not destined to be hit, a friendly spirit would have suggested the thought of stepping outside the trajectory of the object, or would have impacted the enemy’s sight to give that individual poor aim. Once thrown, the object follows its line of projection.”

529. What should we think of the magic bullets we read about in folklore and legends that always reach their mark?
“They are the product of the imagination. Humans beings love the spectacular and are not satisfed by the wonders of nature.” a) Can spirits who want us to lead our lives toward a different direction obstruct the work of spirits who direct the events of our lives? “What God has willed must take place. If a delay or interference occurs, it can only be by God’s allowance.”

530. Can fippant and mocking spirits cause pesky annoyances that defeat our projects and upset our plans? In other words are they the architects of what we commonly call the petty troubles of human life?
“These spirits take pleasure in causing disturbances that test your patience, but they tire of this game when they see that they are unsuccessful in perturbing you. However, it would be neither just nor correct to blame them for all your disappointments your own recklessness causes the majority of them. When your china breaks, it is much more likely to have been caused by your own clumsiness rather than by a spirit.”

a) Why do spirits cause pesky annoyances? Is it out of personal animosity or they attack the frst person who crosses their path for no other reason than pure spite?
“They act out due to both of these motives. In some cases, they are enemies whom you have made during your present or former life, and who pursue you accordingly. In others, they act without any fxed objective in mind.”

531. Does the turpitude of those who have done us harm on Earth end in the physical life? “In many cases they realize the unfairness of their actions and regret the wrong they have done to you. In other cases they continue to pursue you with their animosity, if God permits them to do so, as a continuation of your trial.”

a) Can we put an end to this sort of torture? If so, by what means?
“In many cases, you can do so by praying for them. Make them good in spite of their wickedness and you will gradually make them see that they are wrong. In all cases, they will stop attacking you if you can show them that you are able to rise above their behavior with patience, seeing that they gain nothing by their misdeeds.”

Experience proves that imperfect spirits wreak their vengeance from one life to another, and that we are forced to make amends, sooner or later, for the wrongs we may have done to others.

532. Do spirits have the power to divert misfortunes from certain persons and to attract prosperity to them?
“Only to a certain extent, as some misfortunes are predestined by Providence. What spirits can do is lessen your suffering by helping you to bear your trials and tribulations with patience and resignation.”
“Know that you are often responsible for avoiding pain and suffering, or at least reducing them. God has given you intelligence and when you use it, you enable friendly spirits to help you most effectively by way of suggesting constructive ideas. They only help those who help themselves, as dictated by the Bible, ‘Seek and you will fnd; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
“You must remember that what appears to be a misfortune is not always such, for its ultimate good is often greater than the seeming evil. You do not always recognize this because you are inclined to think only of the present and your own immediate satisfaction.”

533. Can spirits obtain the gifts of fortune for us if we ask them?
“They may sometimes agree to such a request as a trial for you. However, they often refuse, just as you deny the selfsh demands of a child.”

a) When such favors are granted, is it by good spirits or bad ones?
“Both. The condition of the request and whether it is granted depends on the intention. Acceptance is more frequent on the part of spirits who try to lead you astray and fnd an easy means of doing so through the material pleasures obtained by wealth.”

534. When obstacles seem destined to get in the way of our plans, is it always through the infuence of spirits?
“Such obstacles are sometimes thrown in your way by spirits, but they can more often be attributed to your own poor decisions. Social standing and character have a large role in your successes or failures. If you persist in following a path that is not the right one for you, you become your own wicked genius.”

535. When anything good happens to us, should we thank our guardian spirits for it?
“First thank God, without whose permission nothing takes place, and next thank the good spirits who have acted as God’s representatives.”

a) What would happen if we neglected to thank them?
“That which happens to ingrates.”

b) There are individuals who neither pray nor give thanks, and seem to succeed in everything they do in spite of this.
“Yes, but just wait and see the end of their lives. They pay dearly for the feeting prosperity that they have not merited. The more they receive, the more they have to account for.”

Role of Spirits in Natural Phenomena

536. Are natural phenomena, which we consider a disruption of the elements, due to chance or is there a purpose behind them?
“There is a reason for everything. Nothing takes place without God’s permission.”

a) Do these phenomena always have a reference to humankind?
“Sometimes they have a direct reference to humans, but they often have no other purpose than to re-establish the balance and harmony of the physical forces of nature.”

b) We acknowledge that God’s will must be the primary cause of these phenomena, but since we know that spirits can in fact act upon matter and that they are agents of God’s will, we would ask whether some among them could not exert an infuence the elements in order to rouse, calm or direct them.
“But that is obvious; it could not be otherwise. God does not exercise direct action upon matter. God has faithful agents in every degree of worlds.”

537. The mythology of ancient civilizations is entirely based on Spiritist ideas with the difference that they viewed spirits as deities. They represented those gods with special attributes; some controlled the wind, others lightning, while others ruled over plants and vegetation, and so on. Is this belief groundless?
“It is so groundless that it is far from having any semblance of truth.”

a) By the same reason could spirits somehow inhabit the core of the Earth and rule over the development of geological phenomena?
“Those spirits defnitely do not live within the Earth, but they direct its developments according to their various terms. One day you will receive an explanation of all these phenomena, and you will then understand them better.”

538. Do the spirits who rule over natural phenomena form a special category in the spirit world? Are they separate beings, or spirits who have incarnated before like us?
“They are spirits who will incarnate, or who already have.”

a) Do those spirits belong to the higher or lower degrees of the spirit hierarchy?
“This depends on their material and intellectual standings. Some give orders, while others execute. Those who satisfy material functions are always of lower order, whether spirits or incarnates.”

539. Does a single spirit partake in the production of natural phenomena, such as a storm, or is it a mass of spirits who are responsible?
“In innumerable masses.”

540. Do the spirits who exert power over natural phenomena act intelligently and with conscious intent, or from an instinctive and irrational impulse?
“Some act in one way, and others in another. Let us make a comparison: think of the hosts of animals that gradually formed islands and archipelagos in the ocean. Do you think that the transformation of the Earth’s surface has no Divine purpose and is not necessary to general harmony?”
“All this is accomplished by animals of the lowest degree that are simply providing for their physical needs without being aware that they are God’s instruments. In the same way, spirits of the most rudimentary degrees are useful to the general whole. While preparing for life, and before having full awareness of their acts and of their free will, they act upon certain phenomena in which they are the unwitting agents. They begin by executing the orders of their superiors and when their intelligence is more developed, they direct the processes of the material world. Further along, they are able to direct the effects of the moral world. This is how everything is useful, everything in nature is linked together, from the original atom to the archangel, who began as an atom. This is an admirable law of harmony that your mind is still too narrow to fully comprehend.”

Spirits during Wars

541. Are there spirits who help and support each side fghting in a battle?
“Yes, and who inspire their courage as well.”

Ancient populations represented the gods as taking sides for a group of people. Those gods were nothing more than spirits represented by allegorical fgures.

542. There can only be one right side in any war. How can spirits support the wrong side?
“You know very well that there are spirits who seek confict and destruction. For them, war is war; they do not care whether it is fair or not.”

543. Can spirits inspire a general in planning a campaign?
“Of course, spirits can use their infuence for this, or any other conceivable plan.”

544. Could bad spirits suggest unwise plans to them in order to lead them to defeat?
“Yes, but don’t human beings have free will? If a general’s judgment does not enable him to distinguish between a good idea and a bad one, he will have to bear the consequences of his blindness. Besides, perhaps it would be better for him to take orders rather than give them.”

545. Can a type of second sight or intuitive perception show him the result of his plans beforehand and guide a general sometimes?
“This often happens with men and women of genius. This kind of intuition is called ‘inspiration’ and causes them to act confdently. It comes to them from the spirits who direct them, and who act upon them through the abilities gifted to them.”

546. In the disorder and confusion of a battle, what happens to the spirits of those who die? Do they continue to take an interest in the struggle after their death? “Some of them do, others pull away from it.” In war, as in all other cases of violent death, the spirit’s frst feeling is one of shock. It does not know that it is dead and seems to be taking part in the ongoing action. The reality of its situation becomes apparent gradually.

547. Do spirits who fought opposing side of each other during battle still see each other as enemies after they die? Are they still furious with one another?
“Under such circumstances, a spirit is never calm. At frst, it may feel enraged with its enemy and even pursue it. When it has recovered its composure, it sees that its animosity is fruitless. Nonetheless, it may retain some traces of it for a longer or shorter period of time, depending on its character.”

a) Does it still hear the cry of battle?
“Yes, perfectly.”

548. When a spirit is casually watching a battle as a spectator, does it witness the separation of the souls and bodies of those who are dying? How does this phenomenon affect it?
“Very few deaths are instant. In most cases when the body dies, the spirit is not yet aware of it. When it begins to come to, its spirit may be seen moving beside its corpse. This appears so natural that the sight of its dead body does not produce any horrible effect. As the life of the individual is concentrated in its spirit, the spirit alone attracts the attention of those around it. They converse with this spirit and may even give it orders.”

Pacts

549. Is there any kind of truth to pacts formed with malevolent spirits?
“No, there is no such thing as a pact. It is merely sympathy between a vile nature and despicable spirits. For example, imagine you want to irritate your neighbor, but you do not know how. You call out for the assistance of lower order spirits. These spirits, like yourself, want nothing more than to do wrong and in return for the help they give you, they expect you to help them. This does not mean that your neighbor will not be able to fght such a conspiracy with an opposing scheme and the force of his or her own will. If you desire to do evil you call wicked spirits to your assistance by that desire alone, and you are in turn obliged to serve them as they have served you, because they need your help in the evil they seek to do. What you call a pact consists simply in this mutual assistance in doing wrong.”

Human beings sometimes fnd themselves dependent on wicked spirits and this stems from submitting to the bad thoughts suggested by them, and not from any sort of agreed upon stipulations. The idea of a pact, in the sense commonly attributed to that word, is a fgurative representation of the like-mindedness that exists between bad human beings and malicious spirits.

550. What is the true meaning behind the legends of people selling their soul to Satan in exchange for favors from him?
“All fables contain a lesson and a moral. Your mistake is in taking them literally. This is simply an allegory, showing that those who call out to wicked spirits to obtain fortune or any other favor defy Providence. They abandon their missions and trials on earth and reap the consequences of this rebellion in a future life. We are not saying that their souls are condemned to misery forever, but as they become more attached to matter rather than detaching from it, their enjoyment of human pleasures leads to their suffering in the spirit world. This continues until they have redeemed themselves through new trials, which may be even more diffcult and painful than those they originally abandoned. Through their indulgence in material pleasures, they remain controlled by impure spirits, and establish an unspoken pact that leads them to their demise. This pact can be easily broken at any time with the assistance of higher spirits, if they have the resolve to do so.”

Occult Powers, Talismans and Sorcerers

551. Can a malicious person cause harm to a neighbor with the assistance of a bad spirit?
“No, God would not permit it.”

552. What should we think of the belief that certain people can cast spells over others?
“Some people possess a very strong magnetic power, which they may use for base purposes if their spirit is bad. In that case, other bad spirits may encourage them. However do not take stock in any imagined magical power, which exists only in the imagination of superstitious people who are uneducated in regards to the true laws of nature. The facts presented to prove its existence are really due to natural causes that have been incorrectly observed and understood.”

553. What is the effect of the potions and practices that some people claim have helped them to control spirits?
“If they really put faith in them, these potions and practices make them ridiculous. If they do not, they are frauds who deserve to be punished. This is all deceit and hocus-pocus. There is no special word, cabalistic sign, or talisman that has any power over spirits because they are attracted by thought and not by anything material.”

a) Haven’t certain spirits sometimes dictate cabalistic formulas?
“Yes, there are spirits who give you strange signs and words, and prescribe certain acts to perform plots, but you can rest assured that these spirits are mocking you and your gullibility.”

554. Could those who believe in talismans attract spirits by their belief alone? Here the talisman would be a sign that helps direct their thoughts, which then are the true cause of the actions that take place.
“This is true, but the nature of the spirit attracted would depend on the purity of intent and the elevation of the party attracting it. One who is simple enough to believe in a talisman rarely has anything more than material motives. In any event, such practices imply a narrowness and a weakness of mind that would naturally pave the way for inferior and mocking spirits.”

555. How should we understand the word sorcerer?
“Sorcerers are individuals who are gifted, when they are honest, with exceptional abilities like magnetic power or second sight. These individuals can do things that you do not understand; therefore, you think that they are gifted with supernatural powers. If we take a look at history, how many ignorant people have accused educated persons of being sorcerers?”

Spiritism and magnetism give us the key to phenomena that ignorance has explained by exaggerated fables. The enlightened knowledge of these two sciences, which are actually one, show the reality of things and their true cause, which is the best protection against superstition and misconception. It shows what is possible and what is impossible, what is written in natural law and what is simply an outrageous belief.

556. Do some individuals really possess the gift of healing by touch?
“Magnetic power may act to that extent when it is supported by a purity of intent and the fervent desire to do good. In such a case, good spirits render their services. You must be cautious of exaggerated stories recounted by individuals who, overly gullible or enthusiastic, can discover something spectacular in even the most ordinary and natural occurrences. Likewise, be cautious of individuals who exploit gullibility for their own beneft.”

Blessings and Curses

557. Do blessings and curses attract good and bad things to those who are their object?
“God does not listen to an unfair curse, and whoever speaks it is guilty in God’s eyes. As we are subjected to two contrasting influences, good and bad, there may be a short-lived action. However, this action can never take place unless God wills it to happen as an additional trial for the subject of said curse. In any event, curses are usually set on the wicked, and blessings on the good. Neither a blessing nor a curse can escape Providence’s justice, which only strikes the cursed if they are wicked, and favors the blessed if they merit protection.”

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