Spiritualism and Spiritism
Spiritualism is a religion that believes the spirits of the dead can communicate with us in sessions held by mediums, persons with the ability to receive messages from the spirits of the deceased. Spiritualism appeared in the middle of the XIX century when it aroused a large interest in the United States and Britain.
The movement lost importance due to the many frauds that were proved, but the fact that spirits can communicate with the living is today a proved occurrence, with thousands of cases that give no room for doubt, although there are numerous other cases of persons claiming to be mediums and exploring the credibility of people,to make money.
Spiritism, a particular case of spiritualism, was created by Allan Kardec, born in Paris (1804-1869) who set the theoretical basis of the movement. Although he never visited Brazil, the major development of Spiritism occurred in this country, specially due to the work of a famous Brazilian medium and writer, Chico Xavier (1910-2002).
The adepts of Kardecian Spiritism believe that human beings have many lives, to learn lessons and perfect their spirits. Before coming to the physical plane, the spirit agrees with a plan for his life, devised to create conditions to teach lessons the person needs. When the spirit is born on a new body on earth, it loses memory of his previous stay on the spiritual plane and has to live his life as best as he can. Sometimes he does what is expected of him and learns the lessons, but other times he goes astray. In such case, he will have to go through the ordeal of another life one more time until all the lessons are absorbed and he can be considered an evolved spirit.
According to the Spiritist doctrine, reincarnation provides the path to man’s moral and intellectual perfection by amending for his mistakes and increasing his knowledge in successive lives. The belief in several lives is not unique to Spiritism. Almost all the Eastern religions, including the major ones – Buddhism and Hinduism – believe in reincarnation and in many lives is to perfect the spirit.
Spiritism is not a religion but a philosophy or a way of life by which its followers live by. There are no priests or ministers and the adepts do not follow any religious rituals in their meetings. They also do not call their places of meetings as churches and instead call them by various names such as centers, society or association. Their activities consist mainly of studying the Spiritist doctrine, applying spiritual healing to the sick and organizing charitable missions.
In Brazil, the movement had spread and became widely accepted, mostly due to Chico Xavier‘s works.
Allan Kardec refers to Spiritism as a science of the relationship between spirits and human beings. As a result, some adepts see themselves as not adhering to a religion, but to a philosophical doctrine with a scientific and moral grounds. On the other hand, many adepts don’t see any problem to embrace Spiritism as a religion, as well.
Jesus Christ is considered to be the major prophet in Spiritism and is revered as its top figure, but the interpretation of the Gospel differs in several points from the Christian Churches. With the many distortions that occurred in Christianity over the centuries, it is difficult to figure out which interpretation is close to what Christ wanted to teach us.
Roberto Lima Netto believes that our objective in life is to be happy, and that Jungian psychology and Spirituality, his main areas of interest, can help us in this search for happiness. He is the author of several books, including “The Little Prince for Grown-ups” and “The Jungian Bible” that can be found in Amazon. His blog is www.HappinessAcademyOnline.org.
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