THE MEDIUMS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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282. Questions on Invocations.

I. ." Can we invoke spirits without being mediums?"
" Every one .can invoke spirits, and if those you call cannot manifest themselves materially, they are nevertheless near you, and listen to you."

2. " Does the spirit invoked always come at the call made to him ?"
" That depends on the conditions in which he is, for there are circumstances in which he cannot do so."

3. " What causes might prevent a spirit from coming at our call ?"
" Firstly, his will; then his corporeal state, if he is re-incarnated ; the missions with which he may be charged ; and still further, permission may be refused him. There are spirits who can never communicate — those who, by their nature, belong still to worlds inferior to the earth. Neither can those who are in the spheres of punishment, at least without a superior permission, which is granted only for the general good. That a spirit may be able to communicate, he must have attained the same degree of advancement as that of the world to which he is called; otherwise he is strange to the ideas of that world, and has no point of comparison. It is not the same with those who are sent on missions, or in expiation, to inferior worlds; they have the necessary ideas to reply."

4. " For what motives may the permission to communicate be refused to a spirit ?"
" It may be a trial or a punishment for him, or for the one who calls him."

5. " How can spirits, dispersed in space or in different worlds, hear from all points of the universe the invocations that are made ?"
" They are often forewarned by the familiar spirits that surround you, who go to seek them; but here is a phenomenon difficult to explain to you, because you cannot yet understand the transmission of thought among spirits. All I dan tell you is, that the spirit you invoke, however distant he may be, receives, as it were, the rebound of the thought as a kind of electrical commotion, which calls his attention to the side from whence comes the thought addressed to him. It might be said he hears the thought, as on earth you hear the voice."
" Is the universal fluid the vehicle of thought, as the air is that of sound ?"
" Yes, with, this difference, that sound can be heard only within a very limited radius, while thought attains the infinite. The spirit, in space, is like the traveler in the midst of a vast plain, who, hearing his name suddenly pronounced, directs his attention to the side on which he is called."

6. " We know that distances are but trifles to spirits ; yet one is astonished to see them sometimes respond as promptly to the call as if they had been all ready."
" And so, indeed, they are sometimes. If the invocation is premeditated, the spirit is forewarned, and often finds himself there before he is called."

7. " Is the thought of the invocator more or less easily heard according to circumstances ?"
" Without doubt; the spirit called by a sympathetic and kind sentiment is more quickly touched: it is to him the voice of a friend which he recognizes ; without that it often happens that the invocation miscarries. The thought that springs from the invocation strikes the spirit; if it is not well directed, it strikes in the void. It is with spirits as with men; if he who calls them is indifferent or antipathetic, they may hear, but do not often listen."

8. " Does the spirit invoked come voluntarily, or is he constrained to come ?"
" He obeys the will of God, that is, the general law that rules the universe ;• and yet constraint is not the word; for he judges if it be useful to come , and there still is his free will. A superior spirit always comes when he is called for a useful end ; he refuses to anwer only in circles of persons either not serious, or treating the thing as a joke."

9. " Can the invoked spirit refuse to come at the call made on him ?"
" Perfectly ; or where would be his free will ? Do you think all the beings in the universe are at your orders ? And do you consider yourselves obliged to answer all who pronounce your name ? When I say he can refuse, I mean on the demand of the invocator, for an inferior spirit may be constrained to come by a superior spirit."

10. "Is there any means by which the invocajtor may oblige a spirit to come against his will ?"
" None, if the spirit is your equal or your superior in morality; I say in morality, not in intelligence, because you have no authority over him: if it is your inferior, you can, if it is for his good, for then other spirits will second you." (No. 279.)

11. "Is there any difficulty in invoking inferior spirits ? and is there any danger, in calling them, of putting ourselves in their power ?"
" They rule only those who allow themselves to be ruled. . He who is assisted by good spirits has nothing to fear: he controls the inferior spirits; they do not control him. In isolation, mediums, especially those who are beginning, should abstain from such invocations." (No. 278.)

12. " Is it necessary to be in any particular frame of mind for invocations ?"

" The most essential of all dispositions is concentra tion of thought, when we desire aught of serious spirits. With faith and the desire of good, one is more powerful to invoke superior spirits. In elevating the soul by concentration of thought, at the moment of invocation, we are identified with good spirits, and attract them to us.

13. " Is faith necessary in invocations ?" " Faith in God, yes ; faith will come for .the rest if you desire good, and wish for instruction."

14. " Have men more power to invoke spirits when united by community of thought and intention ?"
" When all are united by charity and for good, they obtain grand things. Nothing is more injurious to the result of invocations than divergence of thought."'

15. "Is making a chain by joining hands for some minutes, at the beginning of reunions, of any use ?"
" The chain is a material means, which does not promote union among you if it exist not in the thought: what is more useful is to be united in one common thought, each one calling to his side good spirits. You do not know all you might obtain in a serious reunion, from whence is banished every sentiment of pride and personality, and where reigns a perfect sentiment of mutual cordiality."

16. "Are invocations for fixed days and hours preferable ?"
" Yes, and, if it be possible, in the same place; the spirits come to it more willingly: it is the constant desire you have that aids the spirits to come and put themselves into communication with you. Spirits have their occupations, which they cannot leave at a moment's warning for your personal satisfaction. I say, in the same place; but do not suppose this to be an absolute obligation, for spirits come everywhere: I mean, a place consecrated to that is preferable, because there concentration of thought is more perfect."

17. " Have certain objects, such as medallions and talismans, the property of attracting or repelling spirits, as some pretend ?"
" This is a useless question, for you know very well that matter has no action on spirits. Be very sure that no good spirit ever advises such absurdities ; the virtue of talismans, of whatever nature they be, has never existed save in the imaginations of credulous people."

18. "What must we think of spirits who give rendezvous in dismal places, and at undue hours ?"
" These spirits amuse themselves at the expense of those who listen to them.- It is always useless, and often dangerous, to yield to such suggestions: useless, because one gains absolutely nothing but to be mysti- . fied ; dangerous, not for the evil the spirits might do, but on account of its influence on weak brains."

19. " Are there days and hours more propitious than others for invocations ? "
" For spirits that is perfectly indifferent, as is everything material, and it is a superstition to believe in the influence of days and hours. The most propitious moments are those in which the invocator can be the least disturbed by his accustomed occupations ; when his body and mind are most calm."

20. "Is invocation an agreeable or a painful thing for spirits ? Do they come voluntarily when they are called?"
" That depends on their character and the motives from which they are called. When the object is praiseworthy, and when the surrounding is sympathetic to them, it is agreeable to them, and even attractive; the spirits are always happy in the affection testified for them. There are those to whom it is a great happiness to communicate with men, and who suffer from the indifference in which they are left. But, as I have said, it depends upon their character ; among spirits there are also misanthropes, who do not like to be disturbed, and whose answers show their ill humor, especially when they are called by indifferent people, in whom they are not at all interested. A spirit has often no motive for coming at the call of an unknown person, who is indifferent to him, and almost always moved by curiosity; if he comes, he usually makes but short visits, unless there may be a serious and instructive end in view in the invocation."

Remark. We see people who invoke their relations only to ask them the most ordinary things of material life ; for instance, one to know if he shall rent or sell his house, another to know what profit he shall have from his merchandise, the place where money is deposited, whether or no a certain business will be advantageous. Our relations from beyond the tomb are interested in us only by reason of the affection we have for them. If all our thought is limited to thinking them sorcerers, if we think of them only to ask favors of them, they cannot have any very great sympathy for us, and we should not be astonished at the little benevolence they sometimes evince.

21. "Is there a difference between good and bad spirits, in regard to their readiness to come at our call."
" There is a very great difference; bad spirits come voluntarily only inasmuch as they hope to govern and make dupes; but they experience a strong contrariety when they are forced to confess their faults, and only ask to go away again, like a pupil called up for correction. They can be constrained to come, by the superior spirits, as a punishment, and for the instruction of the incarnated. Invocation is painful for good spirits when they are called uselessly, for frivolities ; then they do not come at all, or soon withdraw."
" You may take it as a principle, that spirits, whatever they be, like no more than yourselves to serve as amusement for the curious. Often you have no other end, in invoking a spirit, than to see what he will tell you, or to question him on the particulars of his life, which he does not care to tell you, because he has no motive for giving you his confidence ; and think you he is going to put himself at the bar for your good pleasure ? Undeceive yourselves: what he would not have done during his lifetime, he will not do as a spirit."

Remark. Experience proves, in fact, that invocation is always agreeable to spirits, when made with a serious and useful motive ; the good come with pleasure to instruct us ; those who suffer find comfort in the sympathy shown them ; those whom we have known are satisfied with our remembrance. Frivolous spirits like to be invoked by frivolous persons, because that gives them an opportunity to amuse themselves at their expense ; they are ill at ease with grave persons.

22. " In order to manifest themselves, do spirits always need to be invoked ?"
" No; they very often present themselves without being called, and that proves that they come willingly."

23. "When aspirit comes of himself, can we be sure of his identity ?"

" Not at all; for deceiving spirits often employ this means, the better to delude."

24. "When we invoke the spirit of a person by thought, does he come to us even when there are no manifestations by writing or otherwise ?"
"Writing is a material means by which the spirit may attest his presence ; but it is the thought that attracts him, and we show it by writing,"

25. When an inferior spirit manifests himself, can we oblige him to withdraw ?"
"Yes; by not listening to him. But how do you expect him to withdraw when you amuse yourselves with his vileness ? The inferior spirits attach themselves to those who listen to them with complacence, like the fools among you."

26. " Is invocation, made in the name of God, a guarantee against the intermeddling of bad spirits ?"
"The name of God is not a check for all perverse spirits, but it restrains many ; by this means you always remove some, and you would remove many more, if it were made from the bottom of the heart, and not as a common formula."

27. " Could several spirits be invoked by name at the same time ?"
" There is no difficulty in that; and if you had three or four hands to write, three or four spirits could answer you at the same time : this is what does happen when there are several mediums."

28. "When several spirits are simultaneously invoked, and there is but one medium, which one answers ?"
" One answers for all, and he expresses the collective thought."

29. " In a stance, could the same spirit communicate with two mediums at the same time ?"
" As easily as you have men who can dictate several letters at the same time."

Remark. We have seen a spirit answer at the same time by two mediums,— to one in English, to another in French, — and the answers were identical in sense; some were the literal translation of the others. Two spirits, invoked simultaneously by two mediums, might establish a conversation with each other ; this mode of communication not being necessary for them, as they can read each other's thought, they sometimes do it for our instruction. If they are inferior spirits, as they are still imbued with terrestrial passions and corporeal ideas, it might happen that they would dispute and apostrophize each other with big words, upbraid each other with their wrongs, and even throw pencils, baskets, planchettes, &c, at each other.

30. " Can a spirit, invoked at the same time in different places, answer simultaneously to the questions addressed to him ?"
" Yes, if it is an elevated spirit."
—"In this case does the spirit divide himself? or has he the gift of ubiquity ?"
" The sun is one, yet he radiates all around, throwing his rays afar without subdividing himself: it is the same with spirits. The thought of the spirit is like a star that projects its light to a distance, and may be seen from all points of the horizon. The purer the spirit, the more his thought radiates and extends, like the light. The inferior spirits are too material; they can answer only to a single person at once, and cannot come if they are called elsewhere. A superior spirit, called at the same time to two different points, will answer both invocations, if they are equally serious and fervent; if not, he will give his preference to the more serious."

Remark. The same with a man who can, without changing his place, transmit his thought by signals seen from different points.
In a s&ance of the Parisian Society for Spirit Studies, when the question of ubiquity had been discussed, a spirit dictated spontaneously the following communication : " You asked, this evening, what is the hierarchy of spirits as to ubiquity ? Compare us to an aeronaut, who rises little by little in the air. When he leaves the ground, a very small circle can perceive him ; as he rises, the circle enlarges for him ; and when he has reached a certain height, he appears to an infinite number of persons. So with us : a bad spirit, who is still attached to the earth, remains in a very restricted circle, in the midst of persons who see him. If he grows in grace, if he becomes better, he can talk with several persons ; and when he has become a superior spirit, he can radiate like the light of the sun, show himself to many, persons, and in many places, at the same time. CHANNING."

31. "Can the pure spirits be invoked —those who have ended their series of incarnations ?"
" Yes, but very rarely : they communicate only with pure and sincere hearts, and not with the haughty and egotistical: you must be careful to distrust inferior spirits, who take this quality to give themselves more importance in your eyes."

32. " How is it that the spirit of the most illustrious men comes as readily and familiarly at the call of the most obscure ?"
' Men judge spirits by themselves, and that is an error: after the death of the body, terrestrial rank no longer exists ; there is but the distinction of goodness among them; and those who are good go wherever there is good to be done."

33. " At what length of time after death can a spirit be invoked ?"
" It can be done at the very instant of death ; but as, at this moment, the spirit is still in trouble, he answers but imperfectly."

Remark. The duration of the trouble being very variable, there can be no fixed time to make the invocation ; yet it is rare if, at the end of eight days, the spirit has not sufficiently recovered to be able to answer : he can sometimes very well do so two or three days after death; it can, in any case, be tried with care.

34. " Is the invocation at the moment of death more painful for the spirit than if made later ? "
" Sometimes ; it is as if you were torn from sleep before you are fully awakened. There are some, however, who are not at all disturbed by it, and even whom it helps out of their trouble."

35. " How can the spirit of a child, who has died very young, answer with knowledge, when, during rfis life, he had as yet no consciousness of himself?"
" The soul of a child is a spirit still enveloped in the swaddling-clothes of matter; but, disengaged from matter, he enjoys his spirit faculties, for spirits have no age ; which proves that the spirit of the child has already lived. Yet, until he shall have become completely disengaged, he may preserve in his language some traces of the character of childhood."

Remark. The corporeal influence which makes itself felt on the spirit of the child, for a longer or shorter time, is sometimes remarked, in the same way, on the spirit of a person dying in a state of insanity. The spirit himself is not crazy, but we know that some spirits, for a time, believe themselves still in this world: it is, then, not astonishing that the spirit of an insane person should still feel the fetters which, during life, opposed his free manifestation, until he become completely disengaged. This effect varies according to the causes of the insanity, for there are some maniacs who recover the lucidity of their ideas immediately after their death.

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