The Spirits’ Book
Containing the principles of the Spiritist Doctrine
About the nature of the incorporeal world, their manifestations and relationships with
men; the moral laws, present life, future life and the future of humanity.
WRITTEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DICTATED AND PUBLISHED BY THE
AUTHORITY OF THE SUPERIOR SPIRITS
By Allan Kardec
As indicated in the title, this work is not a personal doctrine: it is the result of the direct teachings of
the spirits themselves about the mysteries of the world where we will be one day and about all
questions which concern humanity; they somehow give us a life code, outlining the route to our
forthcoming happiness. As this book is not the result of our own ideas, since we had a diverse way
of seeing things about many important points, our modesty had nothing to suffer with the praises.
We prefer, however, to give the word to those who are completely disinterested of such questions.
The Courrier de Paris, June 11th, 1857 published the following article about the book: “The
Not long ago the editor Dentu has published a really notable book, even curious so to speak, if it
weren’t for things that cause repugnance to any banal classification.
The Spirits’ Book, by Mr. Allan Kardec, is a new page of the great book of infinity and, we are
persuaded, a mark shall be placed on that page. It would be deplorable to think that we are here to
promote bibliographic propaganda: it would be preferred to have our pen broken, had that been
admitted. We don’t absolutely know the author of the book but we proclaim out loudly that we
would like to know him. Whoever wrote that introduction which forwards The Spirits’ Book must be
a soul open to all dignified feelings.
By the way, so as to avoid any doubt with respect to our good faith and the accusation of
partisanship, we must say, with all honesty, that we have never carried out a profound study of the
supernatural things. If the observed facts caused us admiration, they have not made us shrug them
off. We somehow belong to the so-called “dreamers” category, since we do not think as everybody else does. Twenty leagues away from Paris, under the trees, at sunset, surrounded by a few sparse
cottages, we naturally think about things very different from the Stock Exchange, the macadamias
of the boulevards, the races of Long Champ. Many times we asked ourselves, and for a long time,
before having heard about mediums, what happened in the regions conventionally called Heaven.
Not long ago we even proposed a theory about the invisible worlds, consciously keeping it to
ourselves, thus feeling very happy to have found it, almost entirely, in Mr. Allan Kardec’s book.
To all the hopeless of this world; to all those who walk and wash with tears the soil of their fallen
paths, we say: Read the Spirits’ Book. It will make you stronger. We also say to the happy ones, to
those who have only found applause and fortune: study it and it will make you better.
The body of the work, says Mr. Allan Kardec, must be entirely attributed to the spirits who dictated
it. It is admirably divided in a system of questions and answers. These are, sometimes, sublime facts
which dos not surprise us. However, what should we say about the merit of someone who knew
how to provoke them? We challenge the most incredulous to laugh at this work when reading it in
silence and solitude. Everyone should honor the one who wrote its preface.
The doctrine is summarized in a simple phrase: do not do to others what you wouldn’t have them do
to you. We regret that Mr. Allan Kardec did not add: do to others what you would have them do to
you. By the way, the book clearly states that, without it the doctrine would not be complete. It is not
enough not to do evil things but it is necessary to do the good ones. If you are only a good man you
will have completed half of the task. You are an imperceptible atom of this huge engine called
world, where nothing is useless. Do not tell us that it is possible to be useful without doing good
deeds. We would be forced to write a book to answer that. Reading the admirable answers of the
spirits to Mr. Kardec, we told ourselves that there was a beautiful book to be written. We soon
noticed, however, our own mistake. The book has already been written. We would only spoil it had
we tried to complete it.
You are an educated man and have the good will of those who only need instruction? Then read the
Book First, about the Spiritist Doctrine.
You belong to the class of those who are only concerned with themselves and, as they say, take their
time to do their business and cannot see beyond their own interests? Read the Moral Laws.
You are ruthlessly hunted by disgrace and, from time to time, tortured by uncertainty embracing you
with its cold arms? Study the third book: Hopes and Consolations.
Everyone who entertains noble thoughts in their hearts and believe in the good read the book from
start to finish.
Those who only found subject for prank, our lament.
G. DU CHALARD
From the many letters addressed to us, since the publication of the The Spirits’ Book, we will
mention only two as they somehow summarize the impression produced by the book and the
essentially moral principles contained in it.
Bordeaux, 25th April 1857.
You have submitted my patience to a great test by the delay in the publication of the Spirits’ Book,
announced long ago. Fortunately I did not lose with the wait as the book goes beyond any idea I
might had, based on the prospects. Impossible to describe the effect it had on me. I feel like
someone coming out of the darkness. It feels like a door, closed until now, suddenly opened to me
and my ideas amplified in a few hours. Oh, how much humanity and those miserable concerns seem
greedy and puerile sided by this future, which I envisaged but which was so much masked by
prejudice that I could only imagine. Thanks to the teachings of the spirits, now that very future
seems defined, perceptible, but immense, beautiful and in harmony with the Creator’s majesty.
Those who, on reading this book, meditate, as I did, will find an endless treasure of consolations as
it encompasses all phases of the existence. I have suffered, along my life, losses which vividly
affected me; today they do not cause me any distress and my only concern is to usefully employ my
time and capabilities to accelerate my own progress hence now, for me, good has an objective and I
understand that a useless life is an egoistic one, which will not help us to progress in our future life.
If everyone else, who thinks like you and myself, and there are many, I hope, for the glory of
humanity, could understand each other, unite and work together, which power wouldn’t that be to
speed up the announced regeneration!
When I am in Paris I will have the honor to look for you and, if not an inconvenience, I will request
some explanations about certain parts of the book, and a few advices about the application of the
moral laws under certain personal circumstances.
You may have, Sir, the expression of my whole gratitude, since you have done me enormous good,
showing me the only path to real happiness in this world and thus, hopefully, a better place in the
Lyon, 4th July 1857.
I do not know how to express my gratitude for the publication of the Spirits’ Book, which I have just
read. How much consolation in your teachings to our poor humanity! As for myself, I confess, I feel
stronger and more encouraged to withstand the penalties and annoyances of my poor existence.
I have shared the acquired convictions, during the study of your work, with many friends. All feel
very happy; they now understand the inequalities of social positions and no longer complain
against the Divine Providence; hope, supported by a happier future, as long as behaving
accordingly, give them comfort and courage.
I wish, Sir, I could be useful to you. I am a simple person of the people, raised on an insignificant
position through work, lacking instruction, as I was obliged to work since childhood. Nevertheless,
I have always loved God and done my utmost to be useful to my neighbors. That is why I always
look for things that can make them happier. Let us unite, all scattered adepts, and make every effort
to help you. You have raised the flag and it is our duty to follow you. We count on your support and
Respectfully, Sir, if you allow me to call you my comrade, your dedicated.... C
We have many times been asked about the modes of communications that constituted the Spirits’
Book. We thus summarize here, with pleasure, the answers we have given to such questions. It is an
opportunity to pay tribute of gratitude to so many people who had the good will of supporting us.
As explained, the communications given through raps, earlier called typtology, are too slow and
incomplete for a lengthy work; hence such resource was never employed. Everything was obtained
in writing by the intermediary of several psychgraphy mediums. We have, ourselves, prepared the
questions and coordinated the work in its entirety. The answers are those literally given by the
spirits. The majority of those written answers were witnessed by us, others were obtained from
communications sent to us by comrades or collected by us here and there, wherever we had been
carrying out studies. It seems that for that matter the spirits multiply, in front of us, the reasons for
The first mediums who contributed to our work were Ms. B... whose good will never failed us. The
book was almost completely written by their mediation, in the presence of a large audience who
attended the sessions in which they had the most vivid interest. Later the spirits recommended a
complete revision in private sessions, when all additions and corrections were then implemented,
according to their assessment. This essential part of the work had the support of Ms. Japhet 6 who
showed enormous good will and disinterest to all demands from the spirits, as they were the ones
who precisely scheduled the sessions.
The disinterested would not be here a special merit, since the spirits disapprove of any traffic of
interest regarding their presence, but Ms. Japhet, who is also a somnambulist medium, and had her
time committed with utility, understood that it would also be a useful application to dedicate it to
the propagation of the Doctrine.
As for ourselves, we have already declared, since the beginning, and we have the satisfaction of
reinforcing now, that we have never thought of making the Spirits’ Book an object of speculation.
Its product will be applied to those things of general interest. That is why we shall be always
grateful to those who, from their heart and for the love of good, associated to the work we have