The Spiritist Review - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1861

Allan Kardec

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Mr. Michelet must be on guard since all the maritime gods of Antiquity are about to cause harm to him. That is what we learn from Mr. Taxile Delord in his witty article published in the Siècle last February 4th. His language is worthy of the Orpheus in the Underworlds of the Parisian operettas and here is a sample: “Neptune suddenly appears at the door of Amphitrite’s home and says: You sent for me, here I am Neptune. You did not expect me now, dear Amphitrite. It is time for my nap but I cannot close my eyes since the arrival of that devilish book entitled ‘The sea’. I wanted to browse it but it is full of nonsense. I don’t know which seas he wants to talk about. As for me, I cannot recognize myself. Everybody knows very well that the sea ends at the Pillars of Hercules. What else can be beyond that…?”

It goes without saying, that Mr. Michelet is a winner from all points of view. Well, after his adversaries disappeared Mr. Taxile Delord tells him: “You would perhaps be glad to know what became of the maritime gods after they were expelled by the sea from its empire. Neptune is a large scale fish breeder; Glaucus is a swimming teacher at the Ouanier’s baths; Amphitrite works as a receptionist in one of the Mediterranean baths in Marseille; Nereus has accepted the position of cook on one of the transatlantic liners; several Tritons died and others are exposed in fairs.”

We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by Mr. Delord about the current situation of former Olympian heroes, but in principle and unwillingly he said something more serious than intended. The word god in former times had a very elastic meaning. It was a generic qualification applied to every being that seemed to rise above human level. That is why their great individuals were deified. We would not find them so ridiculous if we had not used the same word to designate the unique being, the sovereign Lord of the universe. The spirits that existed in those days as they do today also manifested and those mysterious creatures must have belonged to the same class of gods, according to the ideas of that time and with more reason than today. Ignorant people worshiped them, looking at them as superior creatures. They were sung to by the poets and their stories flooded with profound philosophical truths, hidden by the veil of ingenious allegories, whose scope formed the pagan mythology. The masses that generally only see the surface of things took it as a rule, not investigating the bottom line of those thoughts, absolutely as people in our time only see La Fontaine’s fables as nothing more than animal talk.

That is in essence the principle of mythology. The gods were nothing more than the spirits or souls of the mortals, as in our days. However, the common passions of pagan religion do not provide a good impression of their elevation in the spiritist hierarchy, starting with their leader, Jupiter, something that did not preclude them from enjoying the incense that was burnt at their altars.

Christianity swept their prestige away and Spiritism now reduces it to their true value. Their own inferiority allowed them to endure several incarnations on Earth. It is then possible to find some, among our contemporaries, who have received the honors of deity, something that does not make them any more advanced. Mr. Taxile Delord, who undoubtedly does not believe in these things, just wanted to make a joke. In spite of that he still said something that is perhaps more truthful than he thought or at least it is not physically impossible, as a principle. That is how, imitating Mr. Jourdain, many people practice Spiritism without knowing it.

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