The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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A Culprit Spirit Arrives in the Spiritual World
(Medium Mrs. Costel)

I will tell you what I went through on the occasion of my death. My spirit retained my body through physical connections and it took great pains to free it. I felt so strong at the age of twenty-four that I could hardly believe that I had left such a life behind. I sought my body and that surprised me, terrified me, for finding myself lost in that multitude of shadows. Then the consciousness of my state and the revelation of my faults in all my incarnations suddenly struck me. An inexorable light illuminated the most remote corners of my soul, and I felt naked and a sensation of overwhelming shame. I tried to escape, looking for other things familiar to me, surrounding me. The radiant spirits floating in ether gave me the feeling of an unreachable happiness. Shadow-like forms, devastated, drowned in despair, some sarcastic, others furious, all circulating around me and I felt stuck to the ground. I saw humans coming and going and I envied their ignorance. A total new order of things, or things that I had to meet again, suddenly invaded my soul. Dragged by a relentless force, trying to escape that relentless pain, I traveled distances; the elements, the material obstacles, the splendorous nature or celestial splendors couldn’t calm for a moment the excruciating pain in my conscience, or the horror caused by the revelation of eternity.

A mortal can sense the physical torments by the shivering of the flesh, but your fragile pain, softened by hope, tempered by distractions, annihilated by forgetfulness, will never translate the anguishes of a soul that suffers unremittingly, without hope or regret. I spent a time whose duration I cannot determine just envying the selected ones, in which I could see them glimpse the splendor; hating the bad spirits who continued to persecute me with their mockery, despising human depravity, whose nastiness were clear to me, made me move from a profound depression to an insane rebellion.

Then, you soothed me. I heard the teachings of your guides. The truth penetrated my soul and I prayed and God listened. It was revealed to me by God’s mercy, as it was revealed by God’s justice.

Punishment of the Egoist
(Medium Mrs. Costel)

Note: The spirit that signed the three following communications was a woman who was an acquaintance of the medium when alive, and whose conduct and character justify well her ongoing sufferings. She was particularly dominated by an exaggerated selfishness, and by a personality which is reflected in the last communication, given her pretentious desire to have the medium totally dedicated to her, having her quitting her regular studies.


Here I am the unfortunate one. What do you want me to teach you? Your resignation and your hope are just words to someone that knows that your sufferings will last the endless sequence of centuries, like the grains in the sand of a beach. You say that you can smooth them out. Meaningless words! Where would you find the courage, the hope for that? Then, oh simple mind, try to understand what is a never ending day. Is it a day, a year, a century? What do I know? Time does not go by; the seasons are dull; eternal and slow like the water seeping out of a rock, this hated day, that wretched day that weighs on me like an urn made of lead… I suffer!

Nevertheless, I know that above such misery God governs sovereignly, our Father, our Lord, and the aim of everything. I want to think about it. I want to beg for God’s help.

I struggle and drag myself like the mutilated that travels the long journey. I don’t know the power that entices me towards you. Perhaps you are the salvation. I move away from you a little bit soothed, a little bit warm again, like the shivering old man in the sun light beam. My frozen soul draws a new life near you.


My disgrace grows every day; it grows, as I understand eternity. Oh misery! How much I curse you and all the guilty hours, hours of selfishness and forgetfulness, ignoring all charity, all devotion, only thinking to my own well being! Be cursed human arrangements! Vain preoccupations of material interests! Curse you who has blinded me and lost! I am destroyed by the endless regret of lapsed time. What can I tell you, you that are listening to me? Watch yourself incessantly; love the others more than yourself; don’t stay long in the path of easiness; don’t fatten your body up to the price of your soul; be vigilant, as the Lord demanded the disciples to be. Do not thank me for this advice, which was never heard by my heart. Like a chastened dog, fear makes me trudge on but I still don’t know pure love! Its divine dawn breaks slowly. Pray for my withered and wretched soul!


Note: The two essays above were received at the medium’s house. The one below was given spontaneously at the Society, a fact that explains the meaning of the first phrase.

I come to find you here, since you forgot me. Do you believe then that isolated prayers and having my name pronounced will sooth my suffering? No, a hundred times no. I roar of pain; I wander without rest, without shelter, without hope, feeling the eternal spike of punishment penetrating my revolted soul. I laugh when I hear your complaints, when I see you slaughtered. What are your feeble miseries?! What are your tears?! What are your torments that prevent you from sleeping?! Did I sleep, me? I want to, do you hear me? I want you to think of me, leaving behind your philosophical dissertations; make the others also think of me. I cannot find an expression to provide you with the image of this anguish, of this time that goes by in the stationary clock of eternity. I only see a faint ray of hope, and I got that hope from you; don’t leave me.


Note: The communication below is not from the same spirit but from a superior spirit, one of our guides, responding to our request to provide his opinion about the preceding communications.

This picture is very true and it is in no way exaggerated. You may perhaps ask me what this woman has done to be in such a terrible condition! Has she committed any horrible crime? Has she stolen? Was she a murderer? No. She did nothing to deserve man’s justice. On the contrary, she enjoyed what you call earthly happiness: beauty, fortune, pleasures, and adulation. She had everything, lacked nothing and people used to say about her: What a happy woman! She was the cause of envy by others. What did she do then? She was selfish; she had everything but a good heart. She may not have breached man’s law but she did breach God’s law since she ignored charity, the first of all virtues. She only loved herself. Now nobody loves her. She gave nothing; now she gets nothing. She is isolated, tired, abandoned, lost in space, where nobody thinks of her, nobody gives any attention to her and that is her torture. Since she only sought mundane pleasures, and such pleasures no longer exist, the void was created around her. She only sees emptiness and that seems like eternity to her. She feels no physical torture; the demons do not come to torment her, which is not necessary. She torments herself and suffers even more because those demons would still be creatures that would think of her. Egotism was her happiness on Earth; she chased it. Now it is the worm chewing her heart, the true devil.

Ah! If people only knew how much they will pay for their selfishness! However, God teaches you every day, because if God sends so many selfish spirits to Earth, it is that they will punish one another in this very life, and then you will have a better understanding by the contrast that charity is the only antidote to this leprosy of humanity.

Alfred de Musset
(Medium Ms. Eugenie)

A spirit spontaneously communicated in our November 23rd session, writing the following: “Since before anything else I want to please you, my question is; what would like me to talk about. If you have a subject, let me know. Thus, ladies and gentlemen, I am all yours.” Alfred de Musset
• Considering that your visit is unexpected, we don’t have a subject prepared beforehand. We then ask you to kindly choose one yourself. Whatever it is we will appreciate it very much.
• “You are right. Yes, because as I am a spirit, in particular, as well as every other spirit, in general, we know your needs better thus we can choose the subject better than you would.

What should I talk about? I am confused amidst so many interesting subjects. Let us begin by talking about those who strongly wish to become spiritists, but seem to step back before what they believe to be an apostasy. Let us then talk about those who retreat before the idea of finding themselves in contradiction with Catholicism. Hear me well: I say Catholicism and not Christianity.

Are you afraid of disowning your parent’s beliefs? It is a mistake! The forefathers, those who founded that sublime religion since its origin, they were more spiritist than you. They preached the same doctrine that is taught to you today. As your religion does, whoever uses the word Spiritism says: charity, benevolence, forgetfulness and forgiveness of all offenses! Like Catholicism, it teaches the abnegation of oneself. You can then, timorous consciences, without scruples, gather around the table and talk to the beings that you grieve. Like your parents, be charitable, good, compassionate and you shall all meet at the end of your paths, the scale which will assess your actions will indicate the same weight, give the same worth to your deeds. I call you to come fearlessly. Come graceful women with plenty of illusions in your hearts; come and those illusions will be replaced by a more beautiful and shiny reality. Come, wives of hardened hearts, suffering their dryness, come to find here the water which softens the rock and quenches the thirst. Come, loving women who seek happiness during your entire lives; who feel the depth of the emptiness in your hearts and desperately try to fill it up. Come women of eager intelligence. Science flows here, pure and transparent. Come and drink out of this rejuvenating source. And you, bending elderly, come and laugh at that youth which scorns you, because the sanctuary doors are open to you; birth will restart to you, bringing the happiness of your early days. Come and we will help you see the brothers who reach out to you, waiting for you. Come all of you because there is consolation to all. As you see, I am here in good faith. I shall gladly be your server.”

Taking advantage of the good will of the spirit Alfred the Musset, we addressed him the following questions:

1. What will be the influence of Spiritism on poetry? – A. Poetry is the balm applied onto the wounds. It was given to human beings as a celestial manna. Every poet is a medium, sent to Earth by God, to regenerate his people a little, not allowing them to become entirely callous. What can be more beautiful? What can speak more to the soul than poetry?

2. Painting, sculpture, architecture and poetry were, one by one, influenced by Pagan as well as Christian ideas. Can you tell us if after Pagan and Christian arts, there will be one day a spiritist art? – A. You ask a question that answers itself. The germ is the germ; it becomes the silkworm and later the butterfly. What is lighter, more gracious than a butterfly? Then! Pagan art is the larva; Christian art is the cocoon; spiritist art will be the butterfly. (About this see the earlier article Pagan, Christian and Spiritist Art)

3. What is the influence of women in the nineteenth century? Note: This question was asked by a young man alien to the Society.
A. Ah! That of progress. The question was asked by a young man. That is nice and I would be amateurish for not responding. I am sure that everyone here wants to hear that.

The influence of women in the nineteenth century! Would you believe that they have waited this time to raise their hands, poor and weak men that you are? If you tried to lesser them it was for fear; if you tried to muffle their intelligence it was because you were afraid of their influence. You were only unable to oppose barriers to their hearts. Since their hearts were a God given present, they remained master and sovereign. But behold, the woman also becomes a butterfly; she wants to leave her cocoon; reclaim her divine rights; like the butterfly, she throws herself in space, breathing the air of her fair value. Don’t you think that I want them to become erudite, scholars, poets! No. But I do want, it is wanted here in this world where I live, that the one who must elevate humanity be worthy of her role; that the one who must form men starts to know themselves, and to give her since her early days the love for what is beautiful, grand and just, it is necessary that she have this love on a higher level. She needs to understand it. When the educating agent of society is reduced to nothing, it hesitates. That is what you must understand in the nineteenth century.

Intuition of Future Life
(Medium Ms. Eugenie)

Note: The medium writes in an old notebook, which was used by another medium and where there was a message written and signed by Delphine de Girardin. This fact explains the beginning of the communication.

“I find my actual name; it will serve as my signature, before even starting.”

“I want to speak to all of you now and demonstrate that you are spiritualists; that is why I only need to address your reason. Why do you go to the cemeteries on November 1st, if it only keeps the remains of the loved ones that you lost? Why do you waste your time taking fragrant flowers, it reminds you of friendship and kind memories? Why do you evoke their memories if they no longer live? Why the rolling tears, asking for their consolation or to be taken by them? Answer now, you who whisper – because those who don’t speak in whispers, whisper in their thoughts – matter is the only thing that exist there. After us, it is the nothingness. Tell me now: aren’t you in contradiction there? Nevertheless, cheer up since you have more faith than you think. God that has created you imperfect wanted to give you hope, and in spite of that, and without your understanding, unconsciously, you speak to those loved ones; you ask them to feel the smell of the flowers that you lay before them; you beg for their friendship and protection. Mother! You call your daughter an angel, asking for her prayers. Daughter, you ask for your mother’s protection and advice. Many among you say: I feel the truthfulness of your words in my heart, but that is in disagreement with what I learned from my parents, and your scrupulous spirits shut up in your own ignorance. Go then and act fearlessly because the spiritist faith is in agreement with all religions, since it says what is repeated by all: Love, charity, humility. See and believe all that comes from your hesitation.”
Delphine de Girardin

OBSERVATION: The contradiction mentioned by the spirit in the beginning is seen all the time, even on those that more strongly deny a future life. If everything ends with the corporeal life, then why the celebration of the dead if they can no longer hear? We were told about the case of a gentleman in the highest possible stage of absolutely materialistic ideas. He had lost a son not long ago and his sorrow was such that he felt like committing suicide in order to join him. Well, join what? The bones that are no longer his?

(Medium Ms. Eugenie)

Note: In the session of the Society when the message above was received, the spirit of Ms. Girardin was requested to give another one about reincarnation, then responding: “Oh! I wish; this medium is used to seeing me doing things that she is not always pleased with, and you are right.” This last sentence is an allusion to certain particular ideas of the medium about reincarnation.

“Reincarnation is a logical thing; it makes sense. Thus, it is all about giving some thought to that, of wanting to take a good look of what is around us. You only need to look inside, into our inner self, to find evidence of reincarnation. You see a good father at the table; he has several beautiful children, some of remarkable intelligence, others in an almost abject state. Where does the difference come from? The same father, the same mother, the same education, so many contrasts though! Think about your memories; don’t you find there the intuition of facts from which you have no knowledge about and yet they come back to you as if they had actually existed? Aren’t you shocked when you see someone for the first time and have the strong impression of having already known that person? You are, aren’t you? There you go! That demonstrates a previous life to you, one in which you participated; it demonstrates that the intelligent boy must have gone through several existences, hence improved, and that the other may well be in the initial ones; that the person who you meet may have been close to you and the fact that you remember did actually happen in another life. Besides, it is necessary to be perfect to enter the kingdom of God. Let us see that! Do you believe that you lack so little that three or four months in the celestial spheres after your death will be enough for you? * No, I don’t believe in such a pretension. Perfection is acquired after work and moral fortune is not inherited from material wealth. In order to purify you do need to animate several bodies and each of them keeps part of your impurities. If you think about it you will not be able to resist to the evidence.
Delphine de Girardin

*Reference to some people’s opinion about the future life

The Day of the Dead
(Medium Ms. Huet)

Note: In the session of the Society on November 2nd, Charles Nodier once requested to carry on his already initiated work, responded: “Allow me, my dear friends, to talk about something else tonight. Next time I will continue the initiated work.”

“The date today is so personally dedicated to us that we cannot help it but call your attention to death and the prayers claimed by the majority of those who have come before you. This week is a period of fraternization between Earth and Heaven, the living and the dead. It is the time when you must think of us in a more particular way and think of yourself as well, because the living ones will soon pray for you as they do to us, and such a thought must help you to become better. You shall be received before God according to the way you have lived there. What is life, after all? It is a very short migration of the spirit on Earth, yet sufficient enough time though to stack up a real treasure of graces and be prepared for tough sufferings. Think about it. Think of heaven and life will then seem very light, whatever it is.”
Charles Nodier

The following questions were addressed to the spirit regarding the communication above:

1. Do the spirits come in larger number to the cemeteries today than usually? – A. We return more spontaneously to the places where our remains are in this period, because your thoughts, your prayers are there with you.

2. The spirits that come to their tombs on those days and find nobody praying for them, do they suffer for feeling abandoned, whereas others have relatives and friends who remember them? – A. Aren’t there devoted people who pray for the dead in general? Then! Those prayers reverted to the forgotten spirit. They are the celestial manna, falling upon the lazy as on the active man. It reaches the celebrity and the unknown. God shares it equally and delivers them to those in need, through the good spirits who no longer need them.

3. We know that the formula of the prayers is indifferent; yet, many people need a formula to concentrate their ideas. Hence we would thank you if you could dictate one to us for that occasion. We would join our thoughts and destine it to the spirits in need. – A. I want to do that too. God, creator of the universe, have mercy on those creatures; take their wakenesses into account; shorten their earthly trials, if beyond their strengths; have compassion on the sufferings of those who have left Earth, inspiring in them the desire to advance towards the good.”

4. No doubt there are several spirits here to whom we can be useful. We would ask them to reveal themselves. – A. What a request! You will be overwhelmed.
5. We are not afraid, absolutely. If we cannot hear them all, what we tell one can be used by all of them. – A. Be it then! Do as demanded by your heart.

A general appeal was made, without any particular designation, to any spirit who was present and willing to communicate and request assistance; a very known character who died two years ago manifested, showing feelings very different from those in his life, and that was unsuspected by everyone.

Allegory of Lazarus
(Medium Mr. Alfred Didier)

Christ loved a man called Lazarus. He suffered when he heard about his death and asked to be taken to his tomb. Lazarus’ sister begged the Lord, saying: “Is it possible to bring my brother back from the dead? Oh you, who loved him so much, give his life back!”

Nineteenth century world, you are also dead. Faith, which gives life to people, extinguishes gradually. Some believers uselessly tried to wake you up from your agony. It is too late. Lazarus is dead. Only God can save him.

Christ was then led to the grave. The stone was lifted, showing bandages that dressed the cadaver, and the horror of death. Christ raised his eyes to heaven, hand in hand with Lazarus’s sister, he lifted his arm and declared: “Lazarus, stand up!” Despite his bandages and shroud he awoke and stood up.

Oh World! You are like Lazarus. Nothing can bring you back to life. Your materialism, your turpitudes, your skepticism are the bandages around your cadaver, and you smell bad for you have been dead for a long time. What is that, which will make you cry out, just as Lazarus: Do you rise up in the name of God? It is Christ, obeying the appeal of the Holy Spirit. For ages, the voice of God was heard. Are you more decomposed than Lazarus?

Familiar Little Leprechaun
(Medium Mrs. Costel)

I have never communicated with you and I am very happy for being able to enlarge your literary understanding. You know well the opinion I had about the so-called fantasy world, you who so eagerly read me. Often alone, during long winter nights, in one corner of my lonely home, I would hear the moaning and sorrowful notes of the wind. While my distracted eyes vaguely followed the pictures formed by the flames in the fireplace, the familiar little leprechaun was certainly entertaining me, thus I did not invent Trilby: I just repeated what he had whispered into my attentive ears. What a marvelous thing, feeling these invisible guests living around us! No mystery with them. They do love you, regardless, and do know you better than you do yourselves. In my scholarly life, in my life as a man, I owe to these invisible friends my best successes and my dearest consolations. It is my turn now to whisper to friendly ears things guessed by the heart and that are not repeated. I want to say, dear medium, that I shall often have the kind privilege of talking to you.
Charles Nodier

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