The Spiritist Review - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1861

Allan Kardec

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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 powerful mediumship.

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 conviction.

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 the Baptist.”

“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.

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