Although it was only recently that it was published, The Mediums’
Book has already given rise to the formation of private spiritist groups
in several places, as we advised. They tell us, however, that they have to
stop given the lack of mediums. That is why we see it as our responsibility
to give them some advice on how to face that issue.
A medium, particularly a good medium, is incontestably one of the
essential elements of any meeting that deals with Spiritism; but it would
be a mistake to think that in their absence there wouldn’t be anything
else to do and that we should sit back and cross our arms or adjourn the
session. We don’t absolutely share the opinion of a person that compares
a spiritist session without mediums to a concert without musicians. We
believe that there is a much more appropriate comparison – it is that of the
Institute of all scientific societies that know how to use their time without
the need to have before their eyes the elements of experimentation.
One goes to a concert to hear music. It is then evident that if the musicians
are not there than the objective will have failed. However, we go to
a spiritist meeting – or at least we should – to learn, to get instructed. The
question now is if we can do that without the medium. For someone who
attends such gatherings with the sole objective of seeing effects, the medium
would be as indispensable as the musicians in the concert; however,
those who seek enlightenment, who want to gain in-depth understanding
of the several parts of the science, those will have more than one way of achieving that even in the absence of an instrument of experimentation.
That is what we will try to explain.
For starters we say that if mediums are common, good mediums in
the true meaning of the word are rare. Experience constantly demonstrates
that it is not enough to have the mediumistic faculty in order to
receive good communications. It is then better to lack an instrument than
to have a defective one.
It is certain that those who seek more the fact than the quality in the
communication; that take part more for distraction than clarification, the
choice of a medium is indifferent, and the one who produces the greater
amount of effects will then be the most interesting one. But we speak
of those who have a more serious objective and see farther; it is to them
that we are addressing, since we are sure to be understood. On the other
hand the best mediums are subjected to more or less lengthy intermittences,
during which there is partial or total suspension of the mediumistic
faculty, not to mention the high number of accidental causes that
may momentarily deprive them from their participation. Let us still add
to the fact that the perfectly flexible mediums, those malleable to all sorts
of manifestations, are even rarer. They usually have special skills from
which they should not be diverted from. You see then, if we don’t have
enough spare supply of mediums, we can suddenly be unprepared when
least expected, and it would be unfortunate to have our work interrupted
on such occasions.
The fundamental teaching that is sought in serious gatherings is, no
doubt, the one given by the spirits. However, what would be the benefit
taken by a pupil from if a more skillful teacher was by his side and he did
not have to work himself? If he did not give any thought to the lessons?
What would be the advancement of his intelligence if the teacher were
permanently by his side, spoon-feeding him each task and sparing him
from the effort of thinking?
The spirits play two roles in the spiritist meetings: some are the
teachers who develop the principles of the science, clarifying all doubtful
points, particularly teaching the laws of true morality; others operate as material of observation and study, and serving as examples of application.
Once the lesson has been given, their task ends and ours begins, that is,
to work on what we were taught, so that we can better understand its
meaning and scope. This is to allow us time to do our duties (if we may
make this classical comparison) that spirits sometimes suspend their communications.
They get tired of endlessly and uselessly repeating the same
thing. They warn us, if we do not listen they will leave so that we take
time for reflection.
In the absence of mediums, a meeting whose objective goes beyond
the sight of a moving pencil has a thousand and one means of employing
the time in a useful way. We scantily indicate a few below:
1st – Re-read and comment previous communications whose careful
study will better express its true value. If anyone said that this
can be tedious and boring we would say that we are never tired
of listening to good music or poetry; that after having heard an
eloquent sermon we would like to read it again with a fresh mind;
that certain books are read twenty times because every time we
discover something new. Someone that is only impressed by words
gets bored when the same thing is only repeated twice, even if it
is something sublime; such person always feels the need for something
new to attract their attention, or better saying, in order to
distract them. The person that gives thought to the subject has an
additional sense: such a person is more in touch by the ideas than
the words. That is why they like to hear numerous times something
that speaks to their soul, not stopping at their ears.
2nd – Recount knowledgeable facts, discuss them, analyze
them, explain them by the laws of the spiritist science; examine
their possibility or impossibility; find what there is of probable or
exaggerated cause; distinguish imagination from superstition, etc.
3rd – Read, comment and develop each article of The Spirits’
Book and The Mediums’ Book, as well as all other publications
about Spiritism. We hope to be forgiven here for citing our own publications, which is very natural since that is why they were
written. As a matter of fact, this is only an indication and not an
intentional recommendation. Those who do not agree are perfectly
free to set them aside. It is far from us to be pretentious and
to believe that others cannot do it as well as or even better than
we did. Our only point here is that we do believe that through
these books the Spiritist Science is faced in a more comprehensive
way than in many other publications, and that they encompass
a larger number of questions and objections. That is why
we recommend them; for their intrinsic merit, the future will be
the great judge of that. One day we will provide a rational catalog
of the books that directly or indirectly deal with the Spiritist
Science, in the former and modern times, in France and abroad,
among the holy and profane writers, as soon as we have gathered
the necessary elements. It is naturally a very extensive work and
we appreciate very much those who want to facilitate the task by
providing us with documents and references.
4th – Discuss the several systems of interpretation of the spiritist
Regarding this subject we recommend Mr. de Mirville and
Mr. Louis Figuier’s books which are the most important. The
first one is rich with facts of the highest interest, collected from
legitimate sources. It is only the conclusion that is questionable
since he sees demons everywhere. It is true that his taste was well
served by chance, bringing before his eyes what could help him
best, whereas a large number of facts seen by religion as the acts
of angels and saints were hidden from him.
L’histore du merveilleux dans les temps modernes (translated
here as The History of the Marvelous) by Mr. Figuier, is interesting
from another point of view. It is not very clear why some facts are
described in details in the book but it is interesting to know them.
As for the so called spiritist phenomena, these occupy the smallest
part of the four volumes. While Mr. Mirville explains everything by the devil when others explain them by angels, Mr. Figuier who
doesn’t believe in the devil, or in angels, or in the spirits, good
or bad, explains everything, or believes to do so, as the result of
the human body. Mr. Figuier is a scientist. He is serious and is
supported by some scientists. One can then consider his books
as the last official word of the science about Spiritism, and that
word is the negation of any intelligent principle outside matter. It
is a shame that science may serve such a sad cause. However, since
it is science that incessantly unveils the wonders of creation that
writes the name of God on each leaf of the plants, on each wing
of the insects, that science is not to blame. The culprits are those
who struggle to persuade others, in the name of science, that there
is no hope after death.
The spiritists will then see in that book what becomes of the
terrible stroke of lightening that should supposedly annihilate
their belief. Those who could have been shaken, afraid of the
shock, will become stronger when they see the weakness of the
opposed arguments; the many contradictions resulting from the
ignorance and a lack of real observation of the facts. The reading
of this work can be useful with that respect, and also to allow the
spiritists to talk about it with better knowledge than the author
does with Spiritism, having denied it without having studied it,
for the sole reason of simply denying the existence of any extraordinary
human power. One must not fear the infection of similar
ideas. They offer the antidote themselves: human’s instinctive
aversion to the nothingness. The prohibition of a book is a demonstration
of fear. We do recommend Mr. Figuier’s book.
If the flimsiness of the arguments against Spiritism is manifested
in the serious works, their total worthlessness is only in
their bitter attacks and defamatory articles where the powerless
rage is betrayed by rudeness, insults and slander. It would give
them too much importance had we read them in our serious gatherings.
There is nothing to refute on them, nothing to discuss, and consequently nothing to learn. They just need to be neglected.
As one can then see, outside the instructions of the spirits
there is ample material for useful work. We would even add that
we can collect abundant material from their study to submit to
the spirits through our questions.
However, if we can provide for the momentary absence of mediums, it
would not be logical to sustain their indefinite deficiency. All efforts must
be employed with the objective of finding them. The best thing to do for
a spiritist gathering is to find mediums inside the group, here referring
the reader to our last publication, pages 306 and 307 (The Mediums’ Book,
Chap. XVII), where one can see that the task is easier than originally