This year we returned to Lyon again following their pressing invitation,
and although we were aware of the evolution of Spiritism there
only by correspondence, the reality exceeded our expectations. Our readers
will certainly appreciate the report of the situation given here. They
will see an indication of the irresistible advancement of the Doctrine and
a clear demonstration of its moral consequences. Before we speak about
the spiritists of Lyon we need to mention those of Sens and Mâcon that
we visited in-passing, taking the opportunity here to thank them for their
warm welcome. We also identified there a remarkable progress both in the
number of followers and in their general opinion about Spiritism. Those
who once laughed, have now become enlightened and those who do not
yet believe observe a prudent reserve, imposed by the character and the
social position of many who no longer fear today the public acknowledgment
of their faith and the promotion of the new ideas. Given the pronounced
and generalizing opinion the doubters tell themselves that there
could be something there besides the fact that everyone is free to choose
their beliefs. Now, before they say something they want to know what it
is about, whereas before they spoke of something that they did not know.
To many people one cannot deny the fact that this is already progress.
Later we will return to those two centers that are still young and numerically
small while Lyon has already achieved maturity. In fact the spiritists
are no longer counted in the hundreds; as we considered a year ago, but now in the thousands, or rather, that we can no longer count how many
and estimate that if the progression remains as it is today, in a year or two
there will be more than thirty thousand.
Spiritism recruits in all classes but it is particularly in the working
class that it propagates faster and that is not a surprise given that it is the
class that suffers the most and turns to the side where one finds more consolation.
You that scream against Spiritism, why don’t you offer them the
same? They would turn to you. Instead, you want to take away something
that helps them to carry their burden of miseries. You are doing the best
possible thing to keep them away from you and to broaden the ranks of
your adversaries. What we have seen with our own eyes is so characteristic,
and contains a great lesson that we chose to dedicate the majority of
our report to the workers.
Last year there was a single center for the meetings, the one in
Brotteaux, led by Mr. Dijoud, as the group leader and his wife. Others were
formed later at different locations like the one in Guillotière, in Perrache,
in Croix-Rousse, in Vaise, in Saint-Juste, and etc. and not counting a
large number of private gatherings. Last year there were only two or three
fairly novice mediums. Now there are mediums in all centers and several
are first rate. In one group alone we saw five writing simultaneously. We
met a young clairvoyant lady whose faculty was developed at a very high
level. We also saw a remarkable collection of drawings done by a medium
that cannot draw and they compete with the performance and complexity
with the drawings of Jupiter, although in a different style. We must not
forget a healing medium as much commended for his devotion as for his
There is no doubt that the number of followers multiplies but what
is even more important is their quality. We declare openly that we have
not seen anywhere spiritist meetings as edifying than those of Lyon
and that is for the order, the reverence and the attention given to the
instructions received from their spiritual guides. There we saw, men,
elderly persons, ladies, young men and even children whose respectful
attitude and seriousness contrast with their age. They never disturbed
the silence of our gatherings which sometimes were for very long durations.
They seemed as much eager to learn from us as their parents. That
is not all. The number of changes in the moral behavior of the workers
is as much significant as that of the followers. Reformed vices, appeased
hatred, pacified relationships, in one word the most Christian virtues
developed, and all that for their unbreakable trust in the spiritist communications
about the future, something in which they did not believe
before. To them it is a reason for joy to take part in those meetings and
learn from the instructions of the spirits, coming out refreshed against
adversity. There are some who have to walk for miles and they do that
irrespective of the weather and so as not to miss a single session. Theirs
is not a vulgar, blind faith, but that based on a reasoned and profound
The spirits who assist them know remarkably well to position themselves
at the level of the audience. Their essays are not pieces of eloquence
but are good familiar instructions, unpretentious that for that reason reach
their hearts. Conversations with deceased relatives and friends, plays a
significant role from where they almost always take away useful lessons.
Often the whole family gathers and the evening goes by in a delightful
conversation with those who are gone. They want news from their uncles,
aunts, cousins; they want to know if they are happy. Nobody is forgotten.
Everyone wants to hear something from grandpa and he gives advice to
each and every one.
• How about me grandpa, a young man asked the other day, won’t
you say a word?
• Yes, my dear, I will tell you something: I am not happy with you.
The other day instead of going to work you had an altercation for
some silly reason. That is not good.
• How do you know that, grandpa?
• I certainly know. Aren’t we the spirits around you? Can’t we see
everything that you do?
• Forgive me grandpa. I promise not to do that again.
Isn’t there something touching about such communications between
the living ones and the dead? Future life is right there, pulsating before
our eyes; there is no more death and no more eternal separation and no
void; heaven is closer to Earth and it is better understood. If that is a superstition,
will to God that there shouldn’t ever be another one!
A remarkable fact confirmed by us and that must be mentioned is
the ease with which these people mostly illiterate and hardened by the
harshest work, understand the scope of the Doctrine. We can say that
they do not see its serious side. During the instructions that we gave to
several groups, we unsuccessfully tried to excite their curiosity through
the report of physical manifestations however none of them had ever seen
a single table moving, while everything that was related to moral teachings
captivated their interest in the highest degree. The speech below was
addressed to us during our visit with the Saint-Just group. We report on
it, not to satisfy a foolish and childish vanity but as a testimony of the
feelings that dominated in workshops penetrated by Spiritism and also
because we knew it would please those who wanted to give us demonstrations
of sympathy. The text is the full transcription since we would have
been a misgiving in adding a single word. We only revised the spelling.
“Mr. Allan Kardec, disciple of Jesus, interpreter of the Spirit of Truth, you
are our brother in God. We are united in a single heart, under the protection
of John the Baptist, guardian of humanity and precursor of our great
Master Jesus, our Savior.”
“We beg you, our dear master, to probe deep into our hearts so that
you can feel our sympathy towards you. We are poor workers, without
artifices. A thick curtain was cast upon us, since our childhood, to suppress
our intelligence but you, dear master, by the will of the Almighty,
you tear that curtain off. The curtain that was considered impenetrable
could not resist your honorable courage. Oh! Yes, brother, you took the
heavy pickaxe to find the seed of Spiritism that was hidden in a granite
terrain. You sow it on the four corners of the globe and even onto the poor
ignorant neighborhoods that begin to enjoy the bread of life.”
“We all say from the bottom of our hearts; we are animated by the
same fire and we all repeat: Praise Allan Kardec and the good spirits
who inspired him! And you, good brother and good sister Mr. and Mrs.
Dijoud, blessed by God, by Jesus and by Mary, you are kept in our hearts
and you shall never leave because you have sacrificed your own interests
and material pleasures for us. God knows; we thank God for having chosen
you for this mission and thank also our superior guardian St. John
“Thank you Mr. Allan Kardec; a thousand times thank you in the
name of the Saint-Just group for being among us, simple workers and still
too imperfect in matters of Spiritism. Your presence brings us great joy
amidst our tribulations that are significant at this moment of commercial
crisis. You bring us the healing balm which is called hope and that appeases
hatred and rekindles love and charity in one’s heart.”
“We will do our best, dear master, to follow your advice and those of
the superior spirits that have kindly helped and instructed us, so that all
of us can become true and good spiritists. Dear master, rest assured that
you will carry the sympathy of our hearts for eternity, we promise you
that. We are and will always be your sincere and reverent followers. Allow
me and the medium to give you the kiss of fraternal love in the name of
all brothers and sisters present here. We would also be very happy if you
raised a toast with us.”
We have come from far away, climbed the heights of Saint-Just in a scorching
hot day. They had prepared some refreshments around their instruments
of work: bread, cheese, fruits, a glass of wine; a true feast offered
with the old times simplicity and sincere heart. A glass of wine! Ah! For
us, and considering that that good people don’t have that every day; but it
was a celebration for them: we would talk about Spiritism. Oh! Our heart was full of joy in our salute and their modest lunch was worth a hundred
times more than the most splendid feasts to our eyes. May they have here
the assurance of that!
Someone in Lyon said: “Spiritism penetrates the working class through
reason; wouldn’t it be better to have it done through the heart?” That person
certainly does not know the workers; it would be desirable to find so
much heart in everyone. If such a language is not inspired by the heart;
if the heart means nothing to the one who finds strength in Spiritism to
fight bad inclinations; to fight with resignation against misery; to subdue
their grudges and animosities; to share a slice of bread with someone who
is even unhappier, we must confess that we don’t know where the heart is.