Allan Kardec

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10. It is not possible to compel a spirit to present itself against its will, if the spirit is your superior, or even your equal, in morality, because you have no authority over such a one; but, if that same spirit is your inferior in morality you can constrain it, provided your evocation is intended to promote its welfare, for, in that case, your action will be seconded by other spirits. (“The Mediums’ Book,” Part II, chap. XXV, No. 10)

– The most essential of all states of feeling, when you wish to communicate with spirits of higher degree, is seriousness and concentration of purpose. Faith in God and the aspiration after goodness are the most powerful of all evocations as regards superior spirits. By raising the soul towards the higher spheres, through a few moments of serious thought, before evoking, you identify yourselves with spirits of correspondingly higher degrees, and thus dispose them to come to you. (Idem, No. 12)

– No talisman has the property of attracting or repelling spirits, for matter has no influence over them. Be sure that no good spirit ever inculcated any such absurdity, and that the virtue of talismans has never existed, except in the imagination of the credulous. (Idem, No. 17)

– There is no special formula for the evocation of spirits; and whoever should pretend to give such a formula may be safely charged with charlatanism, for forms are nothing to spirits. But we hold, nevertheless, that evocations should always be made with seriousness and in the name of God. (Idem, chap. XVII)

– Spirits who make appointments in lugubrious places and at unseasonable hours amuse themselves at the expense of those who listen to them. It is always useless, and often dangerous, to conform to such suggestions; useless, because you gain absolutely nothing by so doing, except being hoaxed; dangerous, not from any harm the spirits may do you, but from the effect they may have upon your own weak brains. (Idem, No. 18)

– No days or hours are more propitious than others for evocations. Physical conditions are not considered to be of any importance to spirits, and to believe in the influence of days and hours is mere superstition. The most propitious time is that in which the thought of the evoker is least preoccupied with his daily affairs, and in which he enjoys the greatest calmness of mind and of body. (Idem. No. 19)

– Malevolence has taken pleasure in representing the modern communication of humanity with spirits as being surrounded with the ridiculous and superstitious practices of magic and necromancy. If those who speak thus of Spiritism without understanding it had given themselves the trouble to study the subject before talking about it, they might have spared themselves their outlay of imagination and of allegations which prove only their ignorance or ill-will. For the edification of those who are unacquainted with the subject, we declare that, for communicating with spirits, no days, hours, or places are specially favorable; that, for evoking them, no special formulae, no cabalistic or consecrated signs, no initiation or preparation, are needed; that the employment of any outward sign or material object is powerless to attract or to drive them away, and that, for evoking them, the action of our thought suffices; and, finally, that mediums receive the verbal communications of spirits without quitting their normal state, and as simply and naturally as though they were dictated by a living person. Charlatanism alone could affect, in regard to these communications, to assume airs of eccentricity or to accompany their reception with nonsensical accessories. (“What is Spiritism?” Chap. II, No. 49)

– As a general rule, the future is hidden from human beings; it is only in rare and exceptional cases that God allows it to be foretold. If people knew what the future is destined to bring forth, they would neglect the present, and, moreover, would not act with the same freedom because they would be influenced by the idea that, if a thing is fated to happen, there is no need for them to take any trouble about it, or they would seek to prevent its happening. God has willed that this should not be the case, in order that each may concur in the working out of His designs, even of those that they would have opposed if they had known of them beforehand. God permits the revelation of the future when this foreknowledge will facilitate the accomplishment of a given event instead of hindering it, by leading those, who are to bring it about, to act in some other way than that in which they would otherwise have acted. (“The Spirits’ Book,” Parts I, III, chap. X)

– Spirits cannot guide us, ostensibly, in the work of scientific research and discovery. The ascertainment of scientific truth is the work of genius; knowledge can only be obtained through labor and effort, for it is through work alone that the human race advances on its way. Where would be the merit if they had only to interrogate spirits in order to arrive at the possession of knowledge? Every fool, in that case, might become a beacon of science at small cost to him or herself. It is the same with regard to industrial discoveries and inventions.

When the time for a discovery has come, the spirits charged with the direction of human progress seek out a person capable of seconding their action, and suggest to that individual’s mind the necessary ideas for bringing that discovery to light, but in such a way as to leave to him or her all the merit of the achievement; for it is this person who must elaborate, and bring to bear, the ideas thus suggested. All the great achievements of the human intelligence have been suggested in this way. But spirits leave each human being in his or her own sphere. They do not impart divine secrets to one who is only fit to till the ground; but they draw out of obscurity the one who is capable of seconding the divine designs. You should not allow yourselves to be tempted, by curiosity or ambition, into inquiries that are foreign to the purpose of Spiritism, and that can only lead to mystifications and disappointments. (“The Mediums’ Book,” Part II, chap. XXVI)

– Spirits cannot enable us to discover hidden treasures. Spirits of high degree take no interest in such matters; but mocking spirits often pretend to indicate treasures which do not exist, or which are in some other place than that in which they cause you to see them. Such deceptions, however, are sometimes useful, by showing you that the true source of fortune is work. If Providence designs a hidden treasure to be found by someone, it will be found by that someone in what will appear to him or her as a natural way; otherwise, it will not be found at all. (Idem, chap. XXVI, No. 30)

– Spiritism, by enlightening us in regard to the properties of the fluids that are the agents and means of action of the invisible world, gives us the key to a host of things hitherto unexplained, and that are inexplicable by any other theory; things which in the olden times have passed for prodigies. Spiritism, like magnetism, reveals to us a law which, though not wholly unknown, has been hitherto imperfectly understood; a law of which, while its effects were known, the world was ignorant, and the ignorance of which engendered superstition. This law being known, the marvelous disappears; and phenomena, formerly regarded as miraculous or supernatural, are brought into the category of natural things. Spiritists no more perform miracles by causing a table to rap, or the so-called dead to write, than does a physician when he restores a sick man to health, or the electrician, when he produces artificial lighting. Whoever should pretend to perform miracles by the aid of Spiritism would prove him or herself an ignoramus or a charlatan by the mere fact of such a pretension. (Idem, Part I, chap. II, No. 15)

– Among the many who have formed a very false idea of evocations, there are some who fancy that they consist in bringing back the dead, with all the lugubrious accessories of the grave! But it is only in romances, in fantastic ghost stories, and upon the stage, that the skeletons of the dead are seen coming out of their sepulchers, draped in their winding-sheets, and rattling their fleshless bones. Spiritism, which has never worked miracles, has never brought a dead body to life; when the body is once placed in the grave, there it definitively remains; but the spiritual being, fluidic and intelligent, was not buried with its gross outer envelope; it separated from that envelope at the moment of death, and when once that separation has been effected, it has no further connection with it. (“What is Spiritism?” Chap. II, No. 48)

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