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The Spirits’ Book - 156 years of Spiritism.


To describe new things we need new terms. We need clarity of language to avoid the confusion implicit in the many different meanings of the word. The words spiritual, spiritualist and spiritualism have well-defined meaning. Spiritualism is the opposite of materialism. Anyone who believes there is something more than the material life is a spiritualist. It does not mean, however, that person believes in the existence of spirits or in their communications with the visible world. To give them another meaning by apply them to describe the doctrine of the Spirits, would simply multiply the ambiguity and confusion.


Instead of using the word spiritual, spiritualism to indicate the belief in the new doctrine, Allan Kardec chose the words Spiritist and Spiritism, leaving the word spiritualism to its own meaning. We then can describe Spiritism is the study of the relationship between the material world and the Spirits or the world of the invisible beings. The followers of Spiritism will be called Spiritist.


Object of Spiritism

Just as science itself has for its object the study of the laws of the material principle, the special object of Spiritualism is the knowledge of the laws of the spiritual principle. As the latter principle is one of nature's forces, reacting constantly on the principle material and vice versa, it follows that knowledge of one cannot be complete without the knowledge of other. (Genesis, Chapter 1)

 Spiritism did not find, nor invented the spiritual principle, but was the first to show its existence, by unshakable evidence. It was the first to studied it, analyzed it and to make its action clear. It joined the spiritual element to the material element.  Element material and spiritual element: These are the two principles, the two forces of nature. (Genesis, Chapter 1)


 Historical Context:


To understand the relevance of the publishing of the Spirits Book, it’s important to establish in which historical and social context it was brought to mankind from the superior spirits.





French Revolution: Changed the way western society lived. French Revolution, 14 July 1789 brought many advantages to different social classes; The Declaration of Human Rights, public access to education, individual freedom, equality, private property rights etc.

Industrial Revolution: Served as a lever to technological progress we are witnessing today, the invention of machinery and increasingly sophisticated equipment. It led to the development international relations, especially in economic areas, commercial and policies, transforming the world into a global village. It developed the short and long distance communications network, especially by intelligent use of electricity and electronics. It expanded the means of transport, especially by air and sea. It favored surveys medical and health approaches to control epidemic diseases, resulting in the increase of life expectancy;

Artistic and cultural manifestations reflect these changes, through literature, music, architecture etc. Philosophical, political, religious manifestations; Social and scientific developments;

The nineteenth century unfolded many enlightening ideas in the world, forwarding all countries for useful and precious reforms. All of these changes prepared society and the western world for a bigger and more profound reform. We speak of the moral revolution proposed by Spiritism. 


Fox Family in Hydesville


In 1847, in Hydesville, a small town in the State of New York, located 32 Kms from the city of Rochester, The house of John Fox and his family was troubled by strange events. Unexplained noises were being made, with such an intensity, noise and frequency that the family could no longer stand it.

What they didn’t know was that the Fox's daughters, Margaret and Kate and Leah were mediums.

On March 31, 1848, when the knocking became more persistent and stronger, Kate, aged 11, decided to challenge this mystery by starting up a dialogue with what everyone thought was the devil:

 "Mr.Goatfoot, do what I do: clap!"

"Now do just like me. Count one, two, three, and four... "

"Then I thought about doing a test that no one could answer. I asked the ages of my children. Instantly I was given the exact age of each, making a break from each other in order to separate them until the seventh, after which it paused bigger and stronger three strikes were given, corresponding to the age of the child Who had died. "

"Is it a human being that answers my questions correctly?"

"Is it a spirit?"

"If is a spirit of a murdered, knock twice. Were you murdered in this house? "

By the same technique they discovered that Charles B. Rosma had been murdered in the east room five years earlier, and that the murder was committed at midnight on a Tuesday, who had been killed with a blow of a butcher knife in the throat, the body had been buried, had passed through the pantry, down the stairs and buried 10 feet below ground. It was also noted that the motive was money What is the amount: $ 100? No answer. Two hundred? Three hundred? Etc. When you mentioned $ 500, confirmed the strikes.

They held public demonstrations in the Corinthian Hall in Rochester.

• The events in Hydesville had repercussions in Europe, awakening consciences and, along with the phenomena of table-turning, preparing the advent of Spiritism.

Just after the news of the Fox affair came to France, people became even more interested in what was sometimes termed the "Spiritual Telegraph".

Initially the facts could be perfectly explained by the action of an electric or magnetic current or unknown kind of fluid, and such was the first formed explanation. But within a short time, they noticed intelligent effects, such as the movement obeyed the will. The table could move to the right or to the left, toward some certain person, it could stand on one or two feet upon command, knock the ground a number of ordered times, knock regularly etc. It was clear that the cause was not purely physical and, based upon the principle: ''To every effect a cause is associated, to every intelligent effect there is an intelligent cause'', an intelligence being was appointed as the cause. However, what was the nature of this intelligence? Initial impressions were that it could be the reflection of the medium's intelligence or of his assistants. But experience soon disproved this, because the responses obtained were totally unknown to the thought and knowledge of the people present and even in opposition to their ideas, wills or desires. Therefore this intelligence could only belong to an invisible being.

The way to prove it was quite simple: they started a conversation with such entity. A conventional number of knocks to signify a yes or no answer or to designate alphabetical letters was created and, in this way, several chosen questions obtained answers. This phenomenon was called `talking tables'. Interrogated in this way about their nature, all the beings declared themselves to be spirits and belong to an invisible world. As the phenomena were produced in different locations, through several different people and observed by serious and intelligent people, it was not possible they were an illusion.

But, as the process was too slow and cumbersome, a new one was devised, from a suggestion by the spirits themselves: the talking board.

Early examples of talking boards were baskets attached to a pointy object that spun under the hands of the mediums, to point at letters printed on cards scattered around, or engraved on, the table. Such devices were called corbeille à bec ("basket with a beak"). The pointy object was usually a pencil.

Later it was discovered that such objects were only dispensable accessories. Experience has shown that the spirit who acted upon an unanimated body, could in the same way control the arms or the hands and lead the pencil. Writing mediums then appeared, that is to say , people who could write in an involuntary manner under the impulse of the spirits, being their interpreters and instruments. Thenceforth the communications had no limits, and the exchange of thoughts was as fast and easy as among the living. It was a vast field opened to exploration, the discovery of a new world: the world of the invisible, very much the same as the microscope has unveiled the world of the infinitely small.

Who are these spirits? What is their role in the Universe? What is their reason for communicating with the mortals? Such were the first questions demanding explanation. The spirits soon revealed that they were not separate from creation, but were instead the very souls of those who had lived on the earth or on other worlds. After having left their corporeal envelopes, they populate and fly through the space. They came to demonstrate that death was only for their bodies; their souls or spirits continue to live, that they are very near us, that they can see us very much like when they were alive. They kindly watch over those whom they loved and whose memories very much please them.

No one imagined that the spirits as a means of explaining the phenomenon, was the very phenomenon that revealed itself

 Rivail answers:

"I’ll only believe it when I see it with my own eyes and when you  prove me  that a table has a brain to think, feel and nerves to feel so that I can become a sleepwalker, for now, if I may, I consider everything a fairy tale. "

 "I glimpsed in those apparent futility, the hobby made out of the phenomena, something serious, like a revelation and a new law, so I decided to study it in depth."


Born in Lyon [France], October 3, 1804, son of Antoine Rivail and Jeanne Louise Duhamel;

From early age the boy proved highly intelligent and a keen observer, denoting frank inclination towards the sciences and the philosophical issues, focused on his duties and responsibilities as if he was an adult.  Allan Kardec () did not follow his parents’ careers. From early youth, he felt inclined to study science and philosophy. Later, as a teacher, he became widely known for textbooks published and the work done in the field. Through his teaching career, he exercised patience, selflessness, work, observation, willpower and love to good causes in order to better be able to play the glorious mission it was reserved.

Disciple and collaborator of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi; He used the Intuitive Learning proposed by Pestalozzi.       Militant of Education for Democracy, or access to education to the wide population.

Teacher of mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, physiology, comparative anatomy and French in Paris;

On February 1832 he married Amélie Gabrielle Boudet

May 1855 - Rivail presences for the first time the psychic phenomena and he decides to study them as a skeptic, in an attempt to prove these activities were fake; He realized there was something much more serious than simple entertainment.  Rivail gathered answers from many spirits regarding their origin, nature, fate and the relationship with the material world and compiled them very methodologically; based on his work as a teacher. The result is The Spirit’s book. Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail was a household name from the scientific and teaching background so he signs the book as Allan Kardec, a name suggested to him by the spirit Zephyr. It was his name on a previous reincarnation.

The Spirits Book, containing the fundamental principles of the Spiritist doctrine on the immortality of the soul, the nature of spirits and their relations with men, the moral laws, the present life, future life and destiny of humanity.
The book is innovative due to be presented in the form of questions (1019) by the codifier with the answers given by the venerable spiritual entities, similar to the technique used by Socrates and also Jesus.


The Spirits' Book

The Spirits' Book, the first work of the codification, presents the fundamentals of Spiritism. According to the cover the principles of Spiritism on the immortality of the soul, the nature of spirits and their relationships with men, the moral laws, the present life, future life and the future of humanity are formally recorded there - according to the teachings given by higher spirits with the help of various mediums - received and coordinated by Allan Kardec. The 1st edition, with 501 issues, contains the teaching given by the spirits, led by the Spirit of Truth. The messages were received by the young medium sisters Caroline and Julie Baudin, Miss Japhet and other mediums. In the second edition, which Kardec considered definitive, other mediums were used. The work, much more developed in this edition, consists of 1019 questions, comments and notes added. This book, in its general structure, presents:

■ Introduction, consisting of 17 items, contains a summary of the Spiritist Doctrine. This is where the terms spiritist and Spiritism appear, they were created by Kardec to indicate a belief in the existence of spirits or in its communications with the physical world.

■ Prolegomena (*), which topped by a strain (**) drawn by the spirits during the revelation of the Doctrine; authorship and purpose of the book, the spirits who contributed to carrying out the work, and excerpts of messages transmitted to Kardec on his mission to write The Spirits’ Book.

■ Body of work, divided into four parts, according to the board of matters namely:

Part first - primary causes: God. General elements of the universe; Creation; Vital Principle.

Second part - World of spirits: Spirits. The incarnation of spirits; the return of the Spirit from the material life to the spiritual life. A plurality of existences (reincarnation). Spiritual life. The return of the spirit to the physical life;. The emancipation of the soul; the intervention of spirits in the physical world. The occupations and missions of the Spirits. The three kingdoms.

Third party - Moral Laws: divine or natural law; Law of worship, Law of work, Law of reproduction; Law of conservation; Law of destruction; Law of society; Law of progress, Law of equality Law of, freedom, Law of justice, love and charity. The moral perfection.

Part fourth - Hopes and consolations: Penalties and pleasures on Earth; Future penalties and pleasures.

As we can see, the division of the material was not made arbitrarily, but rather denotes matching logical sequence of thought. The material contained therein is distributed in a methodological way, starting from broader issues to the more specific ones and, likewise, begin by speculation on transcendental order, going up to practical problems, typical of human nature.

■ Conclusion, composed of nine items, in which the Codifier shows the future consequences of present actions of our life and, returning to the basic principles of Spiritism, gives a polished finish to the work.

Regarding the authorship of The Spirits' Book, Allan Kardec attributes to the spirits. Here's what he said in the Prolegomena: This book is the deposit  of their teachings. It was written by the order and by the dictation of superior spirits, to lay the foundations of a rational philosophy, free from the prejudices of the spirit of the system. On the other hand, says Herminio Miranda is not the intention of the spiritual messengers - apparently - dictate a ready and finished job, as a "flash" divine, from top to bottom. They allow Kardec [naturally inspired by them] the initiative to develop the questions and not the essence of the design work, but the general plan of submission to men. The work [...] is a dialogue in which the incarnate man searches to learn from more experienced brothers new dimensions of truth. It is therefore necessary that the questions and doubts are raised from a human perpective, to clarify the spiritual world in a simple language.

 In short, The Spirits' Book is a repository of fundamental principles from which numerous' takes ' emerge for so many further speculations, achievements and accomplishments. In it are the seeds of all the great ideas that humanity dreamed of the times over, but spirits do not carry our work for us.

 It forms the basis of the work that was later called the Pentateuch Kardecian because divided into four books, it appeared later: The Book of Mediums 1859; The Gospel according to Spiritism (1861), Heaven and Hell (1865) and Genesis (1868).

 Triple Aspect Spiritism

Background research or study of nature, directed to the discovery of Truth. Such research is generally methodical, or according to the scientific method - a process for evaluating empirical knowledge
"Spiritism is a new science that has revealed to men by means of irrefutable evidence, the existence and nature of the spiritual world and its relationship with the corporeal world." Allan Kardec: The Gospel According to Spiritism.


It's research, argumentation, analysis, discussion, reflection and formation of ideas about the world, man and all.
• Spiritualism studying humans, especially the spirit, their problems, their origin and their destination.
• Spiritualist Philosophy: God, the soul and the afterlife.


Lactantius (III and IV century AD) states that the term comes from religare, rebind, arguing that religion is a link that reconnects human beings to God.
• "... one of its purposes is to instil religious feelings that we have no, strengthening them in that they have faltered. “AK: The Book of Mediums
• "There is no cult or rite, or temples, and that among its adherents, none taken, not received the title of priest or juice - a priest." AK: Posthumous Works

"Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ provides the ultimate renewal of man to the greatness of his immense spiritual future." Emmanuel (Chico Xavier): The Comforter.

• The Scientific Basis proves the spiritual manifestations.
• The Philosophical Basis realizes the moral consequences of the demonstrations.
• The Base religious practice or practice that strives for moral.


Today, it is said that Spiritism is a philosophical science with moral consequences.

To finish my presentation I will show you an excerpt from a message from Luiz spirit of France psychographed by  the young medium Ermance Dufaux, on the night of April 18, 1857, at the couple's home Rivail addressed to the Spiritsts there present, and today echoes in the ears of millions spiritists of the world:

Dear friends: Peace and joy! There is much left to do to reach the limit established to each of you. One existence will not be enough. So far you 'learned'. And we use the verb in the Platonic sense of 'recalled'. Hereafter, you have to evangelize, become apostles. And we use the verb in the Christian sense. It is imperative to the dissemination of the Philosophy of Spirits, now outlined in THE BOOK, that  you 'die' like 'old men' and reincarnate as ‘new men' in this very existence. The apostles of Spiritism must be  ' mentally and morally 'reborn. Only those 'reborn' can be considered ‘Spiritists’. If you do not regenerate mentality and morality, you will not implement the Kingdom of God on Earth.

 Each one must become  a new human being to the world; become a new  regenerated ‘entity', so those  who will be 'called' and 'chosen' , by the living example of its apostles, may see that Spiritism comes to 'regenerate' children of the TRUTH.





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