Allan Kardec

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10. From what precedes above we conclude that in consequence of their orbital movement through space, the celestial bodies exert upon each other a greater or lesser influence, according to their mutual proximity and respective positions; and that this influence can cause momentary disturbances to their constituent elements and modify the conditions of vitality for their inhabitants. Additionally, the regularity of these movements determines the periodical return of the same causes and effects; that while some periods are too short to be perceived by men, other periods go through generations and races who do not perceive them and consider them to be the normal state of things. In contrast, generations contemporary to these transitions suffer their effect and feel that everything is beyond the ordinary laws; they believe them to have a supernatural, marvelous, and miraculous cause, albeit they are simply the fulfillment of the laws of Nature.

If by the sequence and reciprocity of causes and effects these periods of moral renovation of Humanity shall also coincide with the physical revolutions of the globe, as everything leads us to think, then such periods can be accompanied or preceded by natural phenomena, which appear strange to those who are not accustomed to them, by the appearance of strange meteors and by the recrudescence and unusual intensification of deadly plagues. Still, these occurrences are neither a cause nor a supernatural omen; instead, they are the result of the general movement that takes place on the physical and moral world.

When predicting the era of restoration that would open to Humanity and mark the end of the old world, Jesus affirmed that it would be announced by extraordinary phenomena and by earthquakes, by a variety of plagues and by signs from the skies – these being simply meteors, without any abrogation of the natural laws. Nevertheless, ordinary and unaware people saw in these words a prediction of miraculous facts. *

* An extraordinary and abundant rain of shooting stars occurred in 1866 which terrified the inhabitants of Maurice Island. This occurrence preceded the terrible epidemic that from 1866 to 1868 decimated the population of the Island. The illness that was spreading in a benign way for a few months developed into a devastating plague. This was a real sign from the skies; it is perhaps in this meaning that we must understand the phrase “stars falling from the sky,” which is said in the Gospel as being one of the signs of the times. (Details of the epidemic of Maurice Island: Revue Spirite of July of 1867, pg. 208, and November of 1868, pg. 321).

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