Allan Kardec

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General Considerations

269. SPIRITS can communicate spontaneously, or come at our call; that is, on invocation. Some persons think we should abstain from invoking such or such a spirit, and that it is preferable to wait for the one who wishes to communicate. This opinion is founded on the fact that, in calling a designated spirit, we are not certain that it is he who presents himself, while he who comes spontaneously, and of his own impulse, better proves his identity, as he thus announces his desire to converse with us. In our opinion this is an error; firstly, because there are always spirits around us, most often of a low class, who ask no better than to communicate; in the second place, and for this last reason alone, in not calling any one in particular, the door is open to all who wish to enter. In an assembly, not to give the word to any one is to leave it to every one ; and the result of that is well known. The direct appeal, made to a designated spirit, is a bond between him and us ; we call him by our desire, and thus erect a kind of barrier against intruders. Without a direct appeal, a spirit would often have no motive for coming to us, unless it might be our familiar spirit. These two methods have each their advantages, and the difficulty would be only in the absolute exclusion of one of the two. There is no trouble in regard to spontaneous communications where one is master of the spirits, and is certain not to let the bad gain any dominion ; then it is often useful to wait the good pleasure of those who desire to communicate, because their thought is under no restraint; and in this way very admirable things may be obtained, while you cannot be sure that the spirit you call will be disposed to speak, or capable of doing so, in the sense that is desired. The scrupulous examination we have advised is a guarantee against evil communications. In regular reunions, especially in those engaged on a continu- ' ous work, there are always the accustomed spirits, who are at the rendezvous without being called, because, by reason of the regularity of the stances, they are pre-engaged ; they often begin • spontaneously to treat a certain subject, develop a proposition, or prescribe what should be done ; and then they are easily recognized, whether by the form of their language, or by their writing, or by certain habits familiar to them.,

270. When it is wished to communicate with a designated spirit, he must of necessity be invoked. (No. 203.) If he can come, this answer is usually obtained : Yes; or, / am here; or, What do you want of met Sometimes he enters directly into the matter, answering by anticipation the questions it is proposed to address to him.
When a spirit is invoked for the first time, it is best to designate him with some precision. In the questions addressed to him, we should avoid dry, imperative forms ; they might be a reason for his withdrawal. The forms should be affectionate or respectful according to the spirit, and in all cases testify the kindness of the innovator.

271. We are often surprised at the promptitude with which an invoked spirit presents himself, even the first time ; it might be said he has been forewarned ; this is, indeed, what has been done when we are thinking of making an invocation. This thinking is a kind of anticipated invocation, and as we always have our familiar spirits, who are identified with our thoughts, they prepare the way, so that nothing opposes it; the spirit whom we wish to call is already present. When this is not the case, the familiar spirit of the medium, or of the interrogator, or one of the habitues, goes to find him, which does not require much time. If the invoked spirit cannot come instantly, the messenger (the heathens would have said Mercury) asks for a delay, sometimes of five minutes, a quarter of an hour, and even several days, and when he arrives, says, He is there; and then we can begin the questions we want to ask him.

The messenger is not always a necessary intermediary, for the appeal of the invocator may be heard directly by the spirit, as is said, No. 282, Question 5, on the mode of transmitting thought.
When we say, Make the invocation in the name of God, we mean that our recommendation should^ be taken seriously, and not lightly; those who see in it only a formula, and of little consequence, would better abstain from it.

272. Invocations often present more difficulties to mediums than spontaneous dictation, especially when exact answers are wanted to circumstantial questions; For that end special mediums are required at once flexible and positive; and we have seen (No. 193), that these last are quite rare, for, as we have said, the fiuidic relations {rapports) are not always instantaneously established with the first spirit comer. It is, therefore, best that mediums should not attempt special invocations, until assured of the development of their faculty, and of the nature of the spirits who assist them ; for with those who are badly surrounded, the invocations could have no character of authority.

273. Mediums are generally much more sought for invocations of private interest than for communications of general interest; this is explained by the very natural desire we have to converse with those who are dear to us. We consider that we ought to make several important recommendations on this subject to mediums. First, to accede to this desire only with the utmost reserve with persons in whose sincerity they cannot completely trust, and to be on their guard against the snares that malicious persons might set for .them. Secondly, not to lend themselves to it. under any pretext, if they discover motives of curiosity or interest, and not a serious intention on the part of the invocator; to refuse themselves to all idle questions, or those aside from the circle of questions may rationally be addressed to spirits. The suggestions should be put with clearness, perspicuity, and without evasion, if categorical answers are desired.

All those that have an insidious character should be declined, for it is well known that spirits do not like those intended to put them to the proof; to insist on questions of this nature is to wish to be deceived. The invocator should go frankly and openly to the desired end, without subterfuge or windings: if he fears to explain himself, he would better abstain. If invocations are made in the absence of the one who has requested them, it should be done with the greatest prudence ; it is even oftentimes preferable to abstain entirely, those persons alone being fit to criticise the answers, to judge of .the identity, to challenge explanations if there is cause, and to put incidental questions brought up by circumstances. Besides, their presence is a bond which attracts the spirit, often little disposed to communicate with strangers for whom he has no sympathy. In a word, the medium should avoid all that could transform him into a consulting agent, which, in the eyes of many persons, is synonymous with a fortune-teller.

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