THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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Family conversations from beyond the grave:
A Widow of Malabar

We wanted to interrogate one of those women from India, subjected to the tradition of being burnt over the cadaver of their husbands. As we did not know any of them we had asked St. Louis to send one to us, who could be capable of satisfactorily responding to our questions. He said that he would gladly do so in due course. In the Society’s session on November 2nd, 1858 Mr. Adrien, clairvoyant medium, saw one woman that wanted to speak, giving us the following description of her:

“Large black eyes, with a yellow sclerotic; round face; salient and fat faces; saffron brunet skin; long eyelashes, black arched supercilious; a bit large nose, slightly flattened; large and sensual mouth; uniform, beautiful and large teeth; long wavy hair, black, abundant and greasy. She had a fat body, big and stubby. Silken outfit that left the breast somewhat uncovered. She was wearing bracelets on arms and legs.”

1. Do you remember more or less over which time you have lived in India and where you were set on fire together with your husband’s body?
- She shook her head, as she did not remember. St. Louis answered, indicating that it was about one hundred years ago.

2. Do you remember your name from that time?
- Fatima.
3. What was your religion?
- Muslim.

4. But doesn’t Islam prohibit such sacrifices?
- I was born Muslim but my husband’s religion was Brahmanism. I had to comply with the customs of the religion of the region where I lived. Women do not belong to themselves.

5. How old were you when you were killed?
- I believe I was about twenty years old.

OBSERVATION: Mr. Adrien explained that she seems to be between twenty-eight and thirty years old, but mentioned that women age faster in that country.

6. Did you sacrifice voluntarily?
- I preferred to have married someone else. Think about it and you will see that all of us think like that. I followed the customs but bottom line is I would rather not have done it. I waited for another husband for several days but nobody showed up. Then I obeyed the law.

7. Which sentiment may have established such a law?
- A superstitious idea. They think that by burning us to death they please the divinity; that we redeem the faults of the one we lost and that by doing so we will help him to be happy in the other world.

8. Was your husband happy with your sacrifice?
- I have never tried to see my husband again.

9. Are there women that do such a sacrifice in good faith?
- There are a few: one in a thousand. The reality is that they would not wish to do it.

10. What happened to you at the time that your corporeal life was extinguished?
- Perturbation. I felt that all went dark, and then I don’t know what happened. My ideas were confused for a long time after that. I went everywhere, however, I could not see properly. Still now I do not feel completely lucid. I will have to go through many incarnations to elevate myself but I will no longer burn... I don’t see the need to burn people, to thrown oneself into the flames so as to improve... particularly for faults that were not ours. Besides, I was never pleased with that... As a matter of fact, I never wanted to know about it. Would you kindly pray a little bit for me? I believe that there is nothing like the prayer to give us courage to withstand the trials that are sent to us... Ah! If I had faith!

11. You ask us to pray for you but we are Christians. How could our prayers be pleasant to you? - There is only one God to all men.

OBSERVATION: The same woman was seen among the spirits present in several of the following sessions. She said that she came to be instructed. It seems that she was touched by the interest that we demonstrated towards her, as she followed us on several other meetings and even in the streets.


The Beautiful Weaver


News – Luísa Charly, known as Labé, also known as “The Beautiful Weaver”, was born in Lyon, during the time of Francis I. She was of a perfect beauty, a finely educated lady. She knew Latin, Greek, spoke Spanish and Italian, and even wrote poetry in those languages that would not discredit the national writers. She was familiar with all kinds of physical exercises, capable of horse riding, gymnast and the handling of weapons. She had a very energetic character, distinguishing, together with her father, among the bravest fighters in 1542, during the siege of Perpignan, where she fought disguised under the cover name Captain Loys. Failed the siege, she renounced her career and returned, with her weapons, to Lyon with her father. She married a rich rope manufacturer by the name of Ennemond Perrin and soon became only known as “the beautiful weaver”, name by which she was recognized in the street where she lived and where her husband’s factory was located. She organized cultural gatherings in her house, for which she invited the most brilliant minds of the province. She left a collection of poetry. Her reputation as a woman and her beauty attracted to her the masculine elite, exciting the envy of the Lyonnais ladies, who tried to revenge with calumny. Her conduct, however, was always irreproachable.

She was evoked in one session of the Parisian Society of Spiritist Studies on October 26th, 1858 when we were told that she could not come yet for reasons that were not explained. On November 9th she attended our appeal and here is the description given to us by Mr. Adrien, our clairvoyant medium:

“Oval head, pale mate skin; lively, beautiful black eyes; arched eyebrows; developed and intelligent forehead; fine Greek nose; medium mouth, lips indicating goodness of spirit; beautiful, small and good looking teeth; extremely black hair, slightly curled. Noble pose of head, slender, handsome appearance. Wearing white outfit.”

OBSERVATION: There is no doubt that nothing proves that such a picture, like the preceding one, is not just the result of the medium’s imagination, since we cannot control it. But when he does the same with such an amount of precise details with respect to contemporary people that he had never seen, recognized by relatives and friends, we can no longer doubt his authenticity. Therefore one can conclude that if he unarguably sees some of those he can also see the others. Another circumstance worth mentioning is that he sees the same spirit over many months and the portrait does not change. It would be necessary to assume that he has a phenomenal memory such that he was able to remember the minor details of every spirit that he had already described. This would amount to a number in the hundreds by now.

1. Evocation
- I am here.

2. Could you kindly respond to some of our questions?
- With pleasure.

3. Do you remember that time when you were known as “the beautiful weaver”?
- Yes.

4. Where have you taken the virile qualities that made you embrace a career with the weapons that are, according to the natural laws, an attribute of men?

- It was pleasing to my spirit that was eager of great things. Later it turned into another level of more serious ideas. The ideas that we bring since birth that do certainly come from previous existences,. These are a reflection, however greatly modify by our own resolutions or by God’s will.

5. Why haven’t you persisted on those military tastes? How come they so promptly gave rise to the feminine pleasures?
- I saw things that I wish you don’t ever see.
6. You were a contemporary of Francis I and Charles V. Could you give us your opinion about those men and establish a parallel? - I don’t wish to judge. They had imperfections that you know; their virtues were less plentiful: a few traces of generosity and that is it. Leave all that behind because their hearts could still bleed: they suffer a lot!

7. What would have been the source of such a privileged intelligence that made you capable of receiving an education superior to the women of your time?
- Painful existences and God’s will!

8. You had then accomplished a previous progress?
- It could not have been different.

9. Has that instruction made you evolve as a spirit?
- Yes.

10. It seems that you were happy on Earth. Are you still happy now?
- What a question! However much one may be happy on Earth, heavens’ happiness is something very different! What treasures and richness you shall one day know. Those riches that you do not even suspect or completely ignore!

11. What do you understand by heavens?
- Heaven to me is represented by the other worlds.

12. Which world do you inhabit now?
- I inhabit a world unknown to you but I am not much bonded to it. Matter does not attach us much there.

13. Is it Jupiter?
- Jupiter is a happy world but do you think that among all worlds it is the only one that is favored by God? They are as plentiful as the grains of sand at the beach.

14. Have you kept the poetic vein that you had here?
- I would respond with pleasure but I am afraid this could shock other spirits or place me below my position, what would make my answer useless, falling into the emptiness.

15. Could you tell us in which class we could place you among the spirits?
- No answer.

16. (To St. Louis) Could St. Louis respond to that?
- She is here. I cannot say what she does not wish to say. Don’t you see that she is among the most elevated among the spirits that you ordinarily evoke? As a matter of fact, the spirits cannot precisely define the distances that separate them. They are incomprehensible to you, but those are immense.

17. (To Luisa Charly) – Under which form are you among them?
- Adrien has just described me.

18. Why this and not another form? Finally, why in the world where you are now you don’t look like you were on Earth?
- You evoked me as a poet; I came as a poet.

19. Could you dictate some poems to us or any literary text? We would feel happy to have something from you.
- Find my old writings. We don’t like these tests, particularly in public. However, I will do that on another occasion.

OBSERVATION: Everyone knows that the spirits don’t like to be submitted to tests and requests of such a nature always have more or less that character. That is no doubt why they almost never agree. Spontaneously and when we expect the least they sometimes give us surprising proofs that we would have uselessly requested. But almost always it is enough to ask them something in order not to obtain it, particularly if the request conceals a sentiment of curiosity. Thus, the spirits, and particularly the elevated ones, want to demonstrate to us that they are not at our service.

On the very next day, through the medium that had served her as interpreter, the Beautiful Weaver wrote the following:

“I will dictate what I promised. It is not poetry that I don’t wish to do. In reality I don’t remember what I did and you would not like that. This will be prose, of the modest kind.”

“I exalted love, sweetness and good feelings on Earth; I spoke a little of what I did not know. It is no longer of love that I speak here but of a broad, austere and enlightened charity; a strong and constant charity that has only one example on Earth.”

“Oh Men! Consider that your happiness depends on you, as does the transformation of your world into one of the most advanced of the sky: just eliminate hatred and hostility, forget resentments and rage; lose pride and vanity. Leave all that as a burden that sooner or later is necessary to abandon. Such a burden is a treasure to you on Earth, I do know well, that is why you will have merit for abandoning it, leaving it behind; however, it is an obstacle to your happiness in heaven. So, believe me: speed up your progress. True happiness is the one that comes from God. Where will you find pleasures that are worth the joy it gives to the elected ones, the angels?”

“God loves men that seek progress in their paths. You can then count on His support. Don’t you trust Him? Do you think it is perjure, that you should not give yourself entirely and without restrictions? Unfortunately you don’t want to understand or only a few among you do understand; you prefer the present day to the next one; your narrow vision limits your feelings, your heart and your soul and you suffer to move on, instead of naturally and easily walking through the good path, out of your own free will, hence suffering is the means employed by God to moralize you. Do not avoid such a safe route, but terrible to the traveler. I shall finish by exhorting you to no longer see death as a scourge, but as the door to the real life and true happiness.”

LUÍSA CHARLY

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