The Spiritist Review - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1861

Allan Kardec

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There are spirits since the day humans began to exist on Earth. Therefore, the spirits have been manifesting to human beings since those days. History and tradition are full of evidence on this subject, whether it was because some did not understand the phenomena of such manifestations; while others were discouraged to talk about them out of fear of imprisonment or burning at the stake; or because such events would be considered superstitious or coming from charlatans by very prejudiced people or from those who were not interested in the enlightenment of others; or finally because the phenomena were attributed to the devil, by another kind of interest, the fact of the matter is that even up until recently the phenomena had not been explained in a satisfactory way, or at least the true theory had not yet become of public domain, probably due to the fact that humanity was not sufficiently mature for that as for many other wonderful things that take place in our days. It was reserved for our time to see the emergence of the steam engine, electricity, animal magnetism from the point of view of applied sciences, as well as Spiritism, being the most remarkable of them all not only for the material proof of our immaterial existence and immortality, but also for the establishment of a somehow material and permanent communication between the invisible world and us.

What incalculable consequences should not be born of such a miraculous event! However, speaking only about something that touches everybody in general, as death for example, we see it reduced to its actual role of a natural accident, necessary and even happy I would say, thus losing its painful and terrible stigma, since it is the awakening of those who die. Can we still be in touch with those who are dear to us the day after their death? Nothing has changed beyond our physical relationships! We don’t see them anymore, we don’t touch them or hear their voices but we continue to exchange our thoughts with them, as we did when alive, and often to us in a more advantageous way. What can remain so painful after that? If we add to the preceding the certainty about the fact that our separation will not last more than a few years, a few months, a few days maybe, wouldn’t it all be just the transformation of what used to be terrifying before into a simple event, something that was certainly the permanent torment of so many people? I am moving away from the main subject, though!

Before I explain to you the very simple practice of communications, I would like to try to give you an idea about a physiological theory that I built for myself. I am not saying that it is correct since I have not seen it explained by science yet, but at least it seems to me that it is something similar to this. The more adequate the matter is to receive the influence of the spirit the easier it is for the spirit to act. Hence it does not act directly upon all kinds of matter, although it could act indirectly as long as there it finds between the spirit and that matter certain substances of a flexible association, capable of establishing the contact between the two extremes, that is to say, the raw matter and spirit. That is how the spirit of a living person can move blocks of stone, can manipulate and aggregate it thus forming what we call houses, columns, churches, palaces, etc. Was it all done by a human body? Who would dare say? Yes, humans made it all, as it is my hand that writes this letter. Let us return to the subject though because I am moving away again.

How does the spirit act upon the heavy block of stone it wants to move? Through the graduated matter between the spirit and the block; the lever establishes the connection with the hand; the hand establishes the connection with the muscles; the muscles with the nerves; the nerves with the brain and the brain with the spirit, unless there is a more delicate matter, a fluid that allows the relationship between the brain and the spirit. Whatever is the case, the existence of an intermediary would not hurt the theory. If the spirit acts as a first or second hand in touch with the brain, it always acts very close so that when the contact is considered reversed, or in its natural order, there you have the spirit acting upon a very subtle matter, organized by the Creator’s wisdom so that it may receive directly or almost directly the action of his will. That matter, the brain, acts through its ramifications, the so-called nerves, upon a less delicate matter called muscles, still capable of responding to its commands. The muscles impinge movement onto the solid parts of the body, limbs and bones, while the remaining structure serves as support to the action. When the bones are not strong enough or long enough to carry out the action, its force is then multiplied by the use of tools such as the lever, and the heavy and inert block moves, obedient to the will of the spirit that would not be capable of such an action but through the intermediary hierarchy below.

That is more or less how the minor actions of the spirit are explained, as well as the execution of things like drying a lake, moving a hill, etc. The body almost disappears amidst a multitude of necessary instruments in which it only plays the role as the first layer of contact.

Suppose I want to write a letter. What should I do? Establish a connection between my spirit and a piece of paper, as I did before with the stone. I replace the lever by the pen and that is it. The piece of paper reflects my spirit’s thoughts, like the movement of the block also manifested by the will of the spirit earlier on.

If my spirit wants to transmit the thought more directly, more promptly to you, and as long as there is no barrier such as distance or an interfering body between us, again, by means of the brain and nerves, it acts upon the organ of voice hitting the air in a number of ways, producing a variety of conventional sounds that reflect the thoughts, then affecting your hearing organ that in turn transmits my thoughts to your spirit again through the nerves and brain. It is always the thought, manifested and transmitted by a series of graded physical agents, interposed between the principle and the objective.

If the theory above is true then there is nothing easier than the explanation of the phenomena of spiritist manifestations, particularly the writing mediumship that is our focus now. Since the psychic substance is identical to all spirits, their means of action upon matter must be the same. Only the strength may vary. Also, the matter of the nerves is organized in such a way that it may receive the action of a given spirit, there is no reason why it could not receive the influence of another spirit, whose nature is the same as the former and since the substance of all spirits are the same, then all spirits are capable of exerting, I would not say the same action but the same mode of action upon the substance, every time they have the necessary conditions to do so. Well then, this is what happens in the evocations.

What is evocation? It is the act through which a given spirit, owner of a body, requests another spirit, or put simply, allows another spirit to use his own body, its instruments, in order to manifest their thoughts or will. And that does not mean that the owner leaves the body behind. They can temporarily minimize their own action upon the organs of transmission, leaving them to serve the other spirit but only during the period of time allowed by the owner, given the axiom of natural law, that each person is the master of their own home. However, it is necessary to say, it also happens in Spiritism what happens in other human societies, that such right to ownership is not always scrupulously respected by the spirits and that many mediums have been surprised for having given shelter to uninvited and even less desired guests. Nevertheless, this is one among the thousands of meaningless troubles of life that we must learn to endure, because they also have their useful side, not to mention the fact that we are tested while they are the manifest demonstration of the spirits’ action upon our body, leading us to write things that we were not even dreaming of or that we were not willing to hear about. Yet, this only happens to mediums in their infancy. Once the medium is experienced it will probably happen more, but they do not allow their body to be taken over.

Is everybody capable of being a medium? It should naturally be so, although to varying degrees, as with all others skills. This is Mr. Kardec’s opinion. There are writing mediums, clairvoyants, hearing mediums and intuitive mediums. The mediums who write, these are the most numerous and most useful. There are medium who see the spirits; others who hear and talk to them as they do with the living, although rare; others who receive the thought of the evoked spirit in their minds, then orally transmit it.

It is very rare when the medium bears several of these faculties at the same time. There is still another kind of medium, whose presence in a given place allows the spirits to communicate through rapping knocks or by the motion of objects, like the movement of a small table, the levitation of a chair, a large table or any other object. That is how the spirits started to manifest, revealing their existence. You heard about the turning and dancing tables. You laughed as I did too; oh well! It was the first means employed by the spirits to attract our attention. That is how their presence was acknowledged, after which, with observation and study we discovered unknown faculties up until then were ignored, through which we can enter into direct communication with the spirits.

Isn’t all that wonderful? Nonetheless, it is all natural, only that – I repeat – it was reserved for our time, the great discovery and application of this science, like many other marvelous secrets of nature.

Now, to get in touch with the spirits, or at least to see if you are able of doing so through writing, we take a piece of paper and a sharpened pencil and move into position to write. It is always good to start by saying a prayer to God, then evoking a spirit, meaning that one would kindly invite them to come to communicate with us, helping us to write. Then, patiently wait in the same position.

There are some people that have a more developed mediumistic faculty that they start writing right away. Others, on the contrary, only see their faculties developing with time and perseverance. In that case the session is repeated every day, for about fifteen minutes. It is useless to go beyond that interval but it must be repeated daily since perseverance is one of the first conditions of success. It is also necessary to say a prayer and evocation from your heart, and even repeating it during the exercise; have a strong will, a strong desire to succeed, and particularly do not get distracted. After writing there are some final precautions to be taken. When the person is about to write there is generally a slight shake of the hand, sometimes preceded by a light numbness of the hand and arm, and on other occasions some minor pain in the muscles of the arm and hand. These are the precursor signs and almost always evident that the moment of success is not far off; sometimes followed by immediate success, in other cases it may arrive in a few days, but it will come. The only difference is that to get to such a condition one needs more or less time, varying from an instant to six months, but I insist that only fifteen minutes a day are necessary.

Regarding the spirits that can be evoked for such exercises, it is preferable to address the familiar spirit that is always around, while other spirits may be present only momentarily and not be present at the time of evocation, or incapable of attending our invitation for any given reason, as this does happen sometimes.

The familiar spirit that is somehow similar to the Catholic guardian angel, is not exactly what is presented by the religious dogma. It is just the spirit of a mortal that has lived like us but who is much more advanced than us, hence infinitely superior in intelligence and benevolence; that executes a mission here that is commendable to them and useful to us, following us in this world as in the other one, until they are called to another reincarnation or until the time that we ourselves are called to realize a similar mission with a mortal that is less developed than we are, once we have achieved a certain degree of evolution.

All that, my dear friend, so marvelously present in our ideas of universal solidarity, as you see. All that, by showing us such solidarity that has occurred at all times and always working between us and the invisible world, demonstrates that evidently this is not an utopian human design but one of the laws of nature; that the first thinkers who preached it were not inventing it, but only discovered it; and finally that since such solidarity is part of nature it will fatally be incorporated by human societies, despite the resistance and obstacles still opposed by blind adversaries. * I still have to talk about the mode of evocation. It is the simplest thing.

There is no mystical or compulsory formula for that. You address the spirit in the terms that suit you; that’s all. I will tell you what I do just to help you understand how simple it is. “Almighty God! Allow my guardian angel (or the spirit of …, if you prefer to evoke another spirit) to communicate with me, and make me write.” Or even this one: “In the name of Almighty God I ask you my guardian angel (or the spirit of …) to communicate with me.”

Now, would you like to see the result of my own experience? Here it is.

After six unfruitful weeks of exercise I one day felt my hand tremble, agitate and suddenly drew some shapeless characters on the paper. During the following exercises the characters became more regular, although still incomprehensible. I wrote lines and pages at the speed of my regular writing, always unintelligible. On other occasions I wrote different paragraphs, small, large, sometimes even using the whole page. Then it was just straight lines, from top to bottom, or horizontal lines across the paper; then circles, small and large, repeated so many times that the whole paper became darkened by the pencil. Then, after one month of the most varied kinds of exercise, but also most insignificant, I started to become upset with that and asked my familiar spirit to at least draw some letters, in case he could not write words. I then received all letters of the alphabet but it stopped there. Meanwhile my wife who always had the feeling that she was not a medium decided to try and after only fifteen days she started writing correctly and with agility. More fortunate than I was, she wrote correctly and intelligibly. One of our friends was able to start scribbling, as I did, from his second exercise but it did not go further than that.

We did not give up, convinced that it is a trial and that sooner or later we would write. One needs patience. It is not difficult. In another letter I will tell you about the communications that we received through my wife and that, quite unique within themselves; are without a doubt convincing enough in respect to the existence of the spirits. That is enough for the day. I wanted to give you a presentation, although it is a short summary, however, so you could embrace the totality of the spiritist theory. I hope this is enough to excite your curiosity and particularly catch your attention. Your study of the specialized books will do the rest. Pending the book which will have the practical instructions that I mentioned to you, I will shortly send the philosophical book entitled The Spirits’ Book. Read, study, read again, try, work and above all, don’t give up. It is worth it. Still: don’t give importance to those who laugh; many of them are no longer laughing, although they still have the organs that served them formerly.

To you and see you soon,

Canu

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* Everyone knows the level of mockery and the audacity of exploitation of natural facts which are not yet explained, however little they are considered marvelous.

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