Spiritualism is a belief that the spirit of a dead person actually exists and they can communicate with the living. Spiritualist usually try to make contact with spirits through a psychic medium. They believe that they can contact spirits directly. Spiritualists believe that spirits can give knowledge about moral issues. That is what is right and wrong.
They have a strong belief that you may leave your body, but cannot leave your spirit. Spiritualism is mostly known for its belief for contacting and communicating with the dead.
Different types of communication with spirits of the recently deceased has been found and observed in communities, but the motive and the nature of this varies across the world.
Most Americans believe in an afterlife. In most religions, there is no heaven and hell in the afterlife and there is one place that is neither good nor bad and everyone goes there.
Spiritualism has a strong belief that some people have the ability to act as a channel between this world and the spirit realm. They communicate through different mediums such as in vision or by sensing them or by hearing them. Other ways include: using a crystal ball, by writing, meditation or talking boards.
To communicate with spirits, a medium gathers where one person acts as a medium to connect with the spirit. This is known as séance. This process may vary in structure, but normally seekers sit in a circle holding hands with each other. When spiritualism is mixed with Christian philosophy, it is said that the spirits serve as a part of worship. There are many spiritualist churches and anyone can be a part of it and practice it.
Characteristics and Belief
Spiritualism is different from any other kind of religion like Christianity, Islamic, Hinduism etc. However, it is a movement by having its own characteristic, belief and dimensions.
Spiritualism is said to be the eighth largest religion in Britain and has a huge number of groups across the country. Those who believe in spiritualism, also believe that communication with spirits is possible. Modern spiritualism is something different and includes a wide range of beliefs. They strongly believe that souls do not die with the body and they enter a spirit world.
This spirit world is around the material world and can communicate to the material world through a suitable medium. Spiritualist say that the spirit has the same nature as they were in material world and they are interested in the life of those whom they left in the material world. Spiritualists claim that it is based on scientific law. They say that the difference between spiritualism and other religions is that other religions are based on beliefs, while spiritualism has evidence that there is life after death.
Spiritualist say that human beings after death in the spirit world are also responsible for their good and bad deeds in the material world. The fear that even death cannot free a person from his/her wrong deeds will make aware of a person to do good in their present life.
Sometimes spiritualism is criticised because of some fake spiritualist. The genuine spiritualists say that it does not mean spiritualism is untrue or hypothetical. Some of the greatest scientists in this world have also convinced the existence of a séance world.
They also believe that specific spirits can be called through mediums who will advise on ethical issues.
Spiritualism started in the mid eighteenth century and then it became a religion. This inspired many to try and establish a connection with their loved ones who had died. In the early days of human existence, it was a ground for fraudsters seeking fame, honor and fortune.
However, many mediums gave evidence that actual contact is possible. Spiritualism has many followers on both sides of the Atlantic. There were researchers and scientists who researched about this existence of spirit. Hence the followers of this religion reduced, but many people still believe in this and still are active today.
Many people who believed in this made spiritualist churches of different types. This movement was big in south America and Brazil. The main belief in this was the healing of the sick.
Spiritualists believed that the sick can be healed by this and named it as spiritual healing and it was very popular and effective. The use of a talking board, automatic writing, meditation gave spiritualism a strong foundation to believe in this religion. Séances encouraged this movement to grow faster with groups of friends. In 1951 spiritualism became legal as a religion in England.
Today, many believers of this show the process of communicating with spirits on television with live audiences.
In the USA and western Europe, spiritualism spread into the nineteenth century. It believed that there is a supernatural world and under certain circumstances, we can communicate with this world. This concept can be correlated to Hinduism, Buddhism, Brahmanism. It is believed that the communication with sprits can be done by only a small number of people like priests and soothsayers.
Spiritualism was driven by a serious concern about fate of the human soul and also it was motivated by human curiosity. Those who have lost faith in the Christian religion, spiritualists have showed them a religion which is just not an ancient tradition but can be observed by everyone. People who believe in life after death have a new way to discovering immortality.
Some people lost their loved ones untimely, so they can have a chance to communicate with them by this. It is hard to say whether there is any evidence for the existence of it.
Spiritualists believe that anyone can become a medium by some practice, study and research. They believe that spirits can help for growth of the materialistic world. They believe that spirits can be contacted lead to they can help in different kind of materialistic issues and about God and the afterlife.
Specific spirits are contacted for solving worldly issues. Formal communication with spirit world are held by mediums to get information and guidance about the afterlife.
A renowned scientist and researcher named Emanuel Swdenborg described the spirit world. He gave two views of his study, which was the same as early spiritualists. The first one was that there is no single hell and a single heaven. Instead there is a series of hell and heaven. Secondly, he concluded that spirits are the path between God and human that is they are the intermediate. He also said that God sometimes uses this medium to communicate with the human.
Swedenborg was against the spirit contact mechanism. However, his works reflected the desire to do the opposite. In 1741 Swedenborg had mysterious experiences and visions, which claimed that he was called by God to establish Christianity and build a church.
Another scientist and researcher called Mesmer invented a technique called hypnotism. Hypnotism helps to connect us with supernatural beings. Hypnosis involves intense concentration and attention to achieve a state of awareness. The practitioners of this in north America entertained people and also showed people how to communicate with the divine.
Andrew Jackson Davis combined the theories of Swedenborg and Mesmer and called it harmonial philosophy. He was greatly driven by the theories of Fourierism. He published some books on this.
In 1848, spiritualists began their movement and Kate and Margaret fox of New york state said that they had established communication with spirits. They said that the spirit contacted them through rapping noises. This was appealing to some Americans and they both became famous. They garnered popularity for the séance. Cora l.v Scott. It was a trance lecturer. She was beautiful and her appearance attracted man. Her audience was mesmerised by her physical beauty and the way that she spoke about spiritualism, hence they believed that spirits were communicating through her.
One more famous spiritualist was Achsa W. Sprague. For some time, she was ill and she claimed that she recovered by the mediation of spirits. Sprague was popular and was an advocate of women’s right.
Another prominent trance lecturer before the civil war was Paschal Beverly Randolph. He played a vital role in abolitionist movement. Many abolitionist tried to improve the conditions of native Americans. The fox sisters demonstrated the seance and automatic writing. It came up as a profitable venture. It became a popular way off entertainment and the Fox sister earned her living by this and other people followed them.
Theatrical presentation and performance became an important part of spiritualism. Also, the visible, tangible and audible evidence of spirit existence attracted more and more paying audience.
Spiritualism was prominent among those who were mourning the death of their close one. During the American civil war, many people faced the loss of their loved ones. They were willing to connect with them by a séance.
One famous case was Mary Todd Lincoln who was in intense sorrow for her son’s death. She arranged a séance, which was also attended by Abraham Lincoln. The sudden upward movement in spiritualism was the consequence of the American civil war and world war-1, where many lost their life. The spiritualists also believed that this spirit supported cases of slavery and women rights.
Due to this belief, many converted to spiritualism and wrote books on how future revolution will take place and that will be guided by spirits of superior men and women.
The claims made by spiritualist about the existence of spirits were investigated and explored by the society of physical research which was founded in London. This spiritualism spread throughout the world quickly, especially in the United Kingdom and United States. Various organizations were formed to encourage this movement in America and Europe.
In London, a spiritualist alliance published a newspaper called the light. It featured a different article on spirits and also letters of people who have experienced the existence of spirits.
In Britain, social gatherings included table turning. This is a type of séance where spirits will connect to people seated around a table holding hands.
A French spiritualist named Allan Kardec wrote a book, which became a foundation of spiritism and was widespread in all countries. Spiritualism was more famous among middle and upper class people. It was popular with women. Spiritualists met at different places like lecture halls, private gathering, camps, meetings to discuss more about this movement.
A large number of spiritualists appeared in different places and they encouraged others for this movement. Different spiritualists had different kinds of views and opinions. Some of them supported Christianism and were conservative while other were non-Christian and supported social efforts.
Spiritualists also looked at it from a scientific perspective. Many books were published on supernatural things. They included sketches or images of sprits. Some published ghost stories in their newspapers and magazines. Some trance lecturers also wrote books on the afterlife and it had a deep impact on their readers. Another famous trance lecturer Emma Hardinge Britten wrote a book named Modern American spiritualism where she explained about the medium in detail.
One more medium was a materialization medium which was invented by Helen Duncan. Spiritualists were uncertain about the theories of evolution in the nineteenth century.
The immortality of spirits was questioned. This tended to spiritual evolution. The spiritual evolution occurred more rapidly. In a talk by John Page Hopps, he encouraged the evolution in spiritualism and claimed that human after death evolved on a number of spheres. Theosophy was opposite of a spiritualism concept. Theosophy and spiritualism were both popular and they clash on their different concepts and beliefs. Cora l.V. Scott, a spiritualist rejected evolution and encouraged a type of pantheistic spiritualism.
The evolution in spiritualism will bring a freshness in the movement said Alfred Russel Wallance. Alfred wrote in a magazine that universe has a motive and certain things of living beings cannot be explained. Alferd then published a book named world of life where he described spiritual evolution. Alfred also said that the spiritual nature in human beings is not by itself and is inspired from universe of spirit.
By the nineteenth century, spiritualism was more like syncretism. Syncretism is the amalgamation of different religions. The syncretic spiritualists today are diverse in their content and about the afterlife and the existence of god. Differences in belief and thought of spiritualists have lead to different groups of spiritualists.
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