THE MEDIUMS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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Influence of the Personal Spirit of the Medium


223. 1. " Is the medium, at the time of exercising his faculty, in a perfectly normal state ? "

" He is sometimes in a state of crisis more or less pronounced ; this is what fatigues him, and why he needs rest ; but more often his state does not sensi bly differ from the normal state, especially in writing mediums."

2. " Can written or verbal communications also pro ceed from the spirit incarnated in the medium ? "
"The soul of the medium may communicate, like that of any other ; if it enjoy a certain degree of lib erty it recovers its qualities of spirit. You have the proof of this in the soul of living persons who come to visit you, and communicate to you by writing, often without your calling them.

" For you must know that among the spirits you invoke, there are some who are incarnated on the earth ; then they talk to you as spirits, and not as men.
Why should you suppose it cannot be the same with that of the medium ? "

" This explanation seems to confirm the opinion of those who believe that all communications emanate from the spirit of the medium, and not from foreign spirits."

" They are wrong only because they are absolute ; for while it is certain that the spirit of the medium can act by himself, this is no reason that others cannot act through him."

3. " How may it be known if the spirit who answers is that of the medium, or a foreign spirit."

" By the nature of the communications. Study the circumstances and the language, and you will distin guish. It is more particularly in the state of som nambulism, or ecstasy, that the spirit of the medium manifests itself, because it is then more free ; but in the normal state, it is more difficult. Besides, there are answers it is impossible to ascribe to him : this is why I tell you to study and observe.

" Remark. When a person speaks to us, we readily distinguish what comes from him, or what is only an echo ; it is the same with mediums.

4. " As the spirit of the medium may have acquired knowledge in his former existences, which he has for gotten under his corporeal envelope, but which he remembers as spirit, can he not draw from his own sources the ideas that seem to surpass the breadth of his instruction ? "

" That often happens in the somnambulic or ecstatic crisis ; but even then there are circumstances that admit no doubt ; study long and meditate."

5. "Are the communications coming from the medium always inferior to those that -might be made by foreign spirits ? "
" Not always ; for the foreign spirit may himself be of an order inferior to that of the medium, and then speak less sensibly. It is seen in somnambulism, for then it is most often the somnambulist's spirit who manifests himself, and who yet says some very good things."

6. " Does the spirit who communicates by a medium transmit his thought direct ; or has he the spirit in carnated in the medium as an intermediary ? "
" The spirit of the medium is the interpreter, be cause he is bound to the body that serves us to speak, and a chain is necessary between you and foreign spirits who communicate, as an electric wire is neces sary to transmit news from afar, and at the end of the wire an intelligent person, who receives and trans mits it."

7. " Does the spirit incarnated in the medium influ ence the communications he has to transmit from for eign spirits ? "
" Yes ; if he is not in sympathy with them, he may alter their answers, and assimilate them to his own ideas and inclinations ; but he does not influence the spirits themselves ; he is only a bad interpreter."

8. " Is this the cause of the preference of spirits for certain mediums ? "
" There is no other ; they seek the interpreter who best sympathizes with them, and who renders most exactly their thought. If there is not sympathy be tween them, the spirit of the medium is an antagonist, who brings a resistance, and becomes an ill-willed, and often unfaithful, interpreter. It is the same among you when the advice of a wise man is transmitted by a blunderer or an insincere person."

9. " It can easily be supposed that it may be thus with an intuitive medium, but not with those who are mechanical."
" You do not thoroughly take into consideration the part played by the medium ; there is a law in it you have not yet grasped. Remember that to eftect the movement of an inert body, the spirit needs a portion of animalized fluid, which he borrows from the medi um, to animate, temporarily, the table, before it will obey his will. Well, understand, also, that for an in telligent communication he needs an intelligent inter mediary, and that this intermediary is the spirit of the medium."

—" This does not appear applicable to what are called talking tables ; for when inert objects, such as tables, planchettes, and baskets give intelligent an swers, it seems as if the spirit of the medium has noth ing to do with it."
" That is an error ; the spirit can give to the inert body a momentary, factitious life, but not intelligence : never has an inert body been intelligent. It is, then, the spirit of the medium who receives the thought unwittingly, and gradually transmits it by the help of various intermediaries."

10. " It seems to result from these explanations that the spirit of the medium is never entirely passive." " He is passive when he does not mingle his own ideas with those of the foreign spirit, but he is never absolutely null ; his concurrence is always necessary as intermediary, even in what you call mechanical mediums."

11. " Is there not a greater guarantee of independence in the mechanical medium than in the intu itive ? "
" Without doubt ; and for some communications a mechanical medium is preferable ; but when the facul ties of an intuitive medium are known, it is immaterial, according to circumstances ; I mean, there are com munications that require less precision."

12. "Among the different systems that have been set forth to explain the spirit phenomena, is one which consists in believing that the real mediumship is in a body completely inert — is in the basket or the card, for instance, which serves as the instrument ; that the foreign spirit identifies himself with this object, and renders it not only living, but intelligent ; from thence the name of inert mediums given to these objects. What do you think of it ?"
" There is but one word to say to that : if the spirit had transmitted intelligence to the card, at the same time as life, the card would write alone, without the help of the medium ; it would be strange if an intelli gent man should become a machine, and an inert object should become intelligent. This is one of the many systems born of a preconceived idea, and which, like so many others, fall before experience and obser vation."

13. "A well-known phenomenon — that of tables, baskets, &c, which express, by their movements, anger or affection —might easily accredit the opinion that there is in animated inert bodies more than intelli gence, even life."
" When a man shakes a stick in anger, it is not that the stick is angry, nor even the hand that holds the stick, but the thought that directs the hand ; tables and baskets are no more intelligent than the stick; they have not one intelligent sentiment, but obey an intelligence ; in a word, it is not the spirit transformed into a basket, nor even that he lives in it."

14. " If it be not rational to attribute intelligence to these objects, may they be considered as a variety of mediums, designating them as inert mediums ? "
" It is but a question of words, which is of little mo ment to us, provided you understand us. You are free to call a man a puppet."

15. " Spirits have but the language of thought ; they have no articulate language ; this is why there is, for them, but one single language ; according to that, could a spirit express himself through a medium in a lan guage he had never spoken during his lifetime, in such case, from whence would he draw the words he would use?"
" You have answered your own question by saying that spirits have but one language — that of thought ; this language is understood by all, as well by men as by spirits. The wandering spirit, in addressing him self to the incarnated spirit of the medium, speaks to him neither French nor English, but the universal language, which is that of thought ; to translate his ideas into an articulate, transmissible language, he draws his words from the medium's vocabulary."

16. " If this be so, the spirit would be able to express himself only in the language of the medium ; whereas mediums are seen to write in languages unknown to them : is that not a contradiction ? "
" Understand, in the first place, that all mediums are not fit for this kind of exercise ; and secondly, that the spirits lend themselves to it only incidentally, when they consider it may be useful ; but for ordinary communi cations, and those of some extent, they prefer to use a language familiar to the medium, because it presents less material difficulty to overcome."

17. "Does not the aptitude of some mediums for writing in a language foreign to them proceed from the fact of their having been familiar with this language in another existence, and that they may have preserved an intention of it ? "
" That may be, certainly, but it is not a rule ; the spirit can, with some effort, temporarily overcome the material resistance he encounters —exactly what hap pens when the medium writes in his own language words he does not understand."

18. "Could a person who does not know how to write serve as a writing medium ? "
" Yes ; but you can readily imagine that there would be a great mechanical difficulty to surmount, the hand being unaccustomed to the movement necessary to form the letters. It is the same with drawing medi ums, who do not know how to draw."

19. " Could a medium of slight intelligence transmit communications of an elevated order ? "
" Yes, by the same means that one can write in a language unknown to him. Mediumship, properly so called, is independent of intelligence as well as of the moral qualities, and in default of a better instrument, the spirit can use the one at hand ; but it is natural that, for communications of a certain order, he should prefer the medium who offers the least material obsta cles. And, then, another consideration : The idiot is often an idiot only from the imperfection of his organs, but his spirit may be more advanced than you sup pose ; you have a proof of it by certain invocations of idiots, dead or living."
Remark. This is a fact verified by experience ; we have several times invoked living idiots, who have given proofs patent of their identity, and answered in a very sensible and even superior manner. This state is a punishment for the spirit who suffers from the constraint in which he is bound. An idiot medium may sometimes offer to the spirit who desires to mani fest himself, greater resources than would be supposed. (See Revue Spirite, July, i860, article on Phrenology and Physiognomy.)

20. " From whence comes the aptitude of some medi ums to write in verse, notwithstanding their positive ignorance of poetry ? "
" Poetry is a language ; they can write in verse as they can write in a language they do not know ; and then, too, they may have been poets in another exist ence ; and, as you have been told, knowledge acquired is never lost to the spirit, who must attain perfection in all things. Thus, what they have known gives them, doubtless, a facility they do not have in the ordinary state."

21. " Is it the same for those who have a general ap titude for drawing and music ? "
" Yes, drawing and music are also methods of ex pressing the thought ; spirits use the instruments that offer them the greatest facility."

22. " Does the expression of the thought by poetry, drawing, or music, depend solely on the special apti tude of the medium, or on that of the spirit who com municates ? "
" Sometimes on the medium, sometimes on the spirit. The superior spirits have all aptitudes, the inferior spirits have limited knowledge."

23. "Why does the man who has a transcendent talent in one existence not have it in a following one?"
" It is not always so, for often he perfects in one existence what he began in a preceding one ; but it may happen that a transcendent faculty sleeps during a certain time, to leave another more free to be de veloped ; it is a latent germ, which will be found after ward, and of which there always remain some traces, or, at least, a vague intuition."

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