What is Spiritism
"Spiritism is a science that deals with the nature, origin and destiny of Spirits, as well as their relationship with the corporeal world."
"Spiritism realizes what Jesus said of the promised Comforter, by bringing knowledge of those things which allow Man to know where he came from, where he is going and why he is on Earth; so attracting mankind towards the true principles of God's Law and offering consolation through faith and hope." -- Allan Kardec.
Spiritism and its Codification
Spiritism is the set of laws and principles, as revealed by Superior Spirits, contained in the works of Allan Kardec, which constitute the Spiritist Codification:
- "The Spirits' Book",
- "The Mediums' Book",
- "The Gospel According to Spiritism",
- "Heaven and Hell", and
- "The Genesis".
Spiritism is at the same time, a science of observation and a philosophical doctrine. As a practical science, it consists of relationships that can be established with the spirits; as philosophy, it includes all the moral consequences resulting from such relationships.
Spiritism reveals more profound concepts with respect to God, the Universe, the Human Being, the Spirits and the Laws which govern life itself. Furthermore, it reveals who we are; where we have come from; where we are going to; what is the objective of our existence; and what are the present and past causes of pain and suffering.
Definition and Philosophy of Spiritism
According to the Gospel According to Spiritism, Spiritism is the new science which has come to reveal to mankind by means of irrefutable proof the existence and nature of the spiritual world and its relation with the physical world. Spiritists, or followers of Spiritism, believe that death is not the end of life and man continues to live as a spirit being who can communicate with those living in this world. After death man retains his character and qualities in the spirit world. This knowledge makes man rearrange his values and priorities in life by becoming less materialistic and tending more toward spirituality.
Spiritists abide by the moral teachings of Jesus Christ as contained in the Gospels. Rather than seeing Jesus as a saviour of humanity from its sins, they see him as an example of moral perfection to be emulated. Spiritism teaches that man is solely responsible for his conduct, be they good or bad.
- God is the Supreme Intelligence on the Universe, Creator of all things. God is eternal, immutable, immaterial, unique, omnipotent, supremely just and good.
- Beside the material world inhabited by incarnate Spirits, there is a much bigger and complex one, occupied by the Spirits.
- Within our Universe there are many other inhabited worlds, with beings at different degrees of evolution: some equal, others more or less evolved than human beings.
- The Spirits are the intelligent beings of creation. They constitute the world of the Spirits, which pre-exists and outlives everything.
- Spirits are created simple and ignorant. They evolve intellectually and morally, passing from a lower order to a higher one, until they attain perfection, where they will enjoy unalterable bliss.
- Spirits preserve their individuality before, during, and after each incarnation.
- The Spirits' relationships with human beings are constant and have always existed. The Good Spirits attract us towards goodness, sustain us in life's trials, and help us bear them with courage and resignation. The Imperfect Spirits induce us towards error.
- Jesus Christ is the guide and model for all humankind. The Doctrine He taught and exemplified is the most pure expression of God's Law.
- The morality of Christ, as contained in the Gospels, is the pathway for the secure progress of all human beings. Its practice is the solution for all human problems and the objective to be attained by Humankind.
- Human Beings are given, as a Natural Law, the free will to act, but they must always answer for the consequences of their actions.
- Prayer is an act of adoration for God. It is found in the natural law and is the result of an innate sentiment in every Human Being, just as the idea of the existence of the Creator is innate.
About the Spirits
The spirits are not, as often supposed, beings created apart from us, but the souls of those who have lived on the Earth or on other worlds, stripped of their bodily envelope. He, who admits the existence of the soul surviving the body, admits therefore, the existence of spirits; to deny them would be to also deny the existence of the soul.
Often, people have a very wrong idea about the state of spirits; they are not, as some believe, vague and indefinite beings, nor flames, like the swamp lights, or ghosts like those in tales of souls from another world. They are beings like us, having a body like ours, however, fluid and invisible in its normal state.
When the soul is united to the body during life, it has a double-envelope: one heavy, coarse and destructible which is the body, the other fluid, lightweight, and indestructible, called perispirit.
So there are three essential things in men:
- The soul or spirit, a principle where resides intelligent thought, will and moral sense.
- The body is the material envelope that connects the spirit with the outside world.
- The perispirit is the fluidic envelope, light and weightless, which serves as the bond between the mind and the body.
When the material mantle becomes used and cannot work any longer, he dies and his spirit takes off like the fruit is stripped of their seed, the tree of its bark, the snake from its skin, in one word, as one leaves old clothes that no longer fits, is what is called death.
Death is nothing but the destruction of the material mantle; the soul leaves that body just as the butterfly leaves its chrysalis, but preserves its fluidic body or perispirit.
The death of the body liberates the spirit from that mantle that bound it to earth and made it suffer; once free of that burden, it is left with only its ethereal body, allowing it to travel through space and bridge distances with the speed of thought.
The union of soul, the perispirit and material body is the constitution of man; the perispirit and soul, once separated from the body, become the being called spirit.
Distinctions from Spiritualism
Perhaps two of the leading spiritual groups in the world today that propagate the teaching about the continuity of life after death - and offer proof by communicating with the dead - are Spiritism and Spiritualism. Although there are many similarities between the two, they differ in some fundamental aspects, particularly regarding man's quest toward spiritual perfection and the manner by which the followers of each practice their beliefs.
Although Spiritism also teaches the immortality of the soul and communication of the living with the dead, it differs from Spiritualism in its philosophy and practices.
Spiritism also teaches reincarnation or rebirth into human life after death. This basically distinguishes Spiritism from Spiritualism. According to the Spiritist doctrine, reincarnation explains the moral and intellectual differences among men. It also provides the path to man's moral and intellectual perfection by amending for his mistakes and increasing his knowledge in successive lives. For this reason Spiritism does not accept rebirth in animals as this would be retrogressive.