Sunday, 27 December 2009

“Evolution of Spiritualism”

I thought many of you would be interested in the paper entitled “Evolution of Spiritualism” which was presented by Al Batten from Canada at the 29th World Congress of the International Spiritualist Federation in Eastbourne, England on 31st July 2006

"I would like to start with a question: What is a Spiritualist?

If everyone here were to get up and answer that question there would probably be as many different answers as there are people; but I will guarantee you that there would be one common theme in each answer; there is one basic reason why we are gathered here. One of our early pioneers in North America was a fellow by the name of Hudson Tuttle who, in my mind gave the definitive description of a Spiritualist when he was asked that question: “What is a Spiritualist”. And his answer to that was that “anyone who believes that departed spirits communicate with man, however else they disagree, are Spiritualists”. And how right he was; we are all here because we believe in communicating with spirit and strangely enough most people stop right there and think that’s it; that’s what it is all about. But he went on to add this statement: “but it is only as they cultivate their noble faculties, and harmonize their lives, are they entitled to the term in its highest meaning”.

In this statement he has given us three conditions to think about ...............communication, noble faculties and harmony. Individually they don’t mean much but together they are the backbone of Spiritualism and not one of them can stand alone for together they represent the three pivotal moments in the development of Modern Spiritualism. And they also provide that answer to my second question.

What is Spiritualism? In a nutshell the answer to this question can best be summed up in one statement: “Spiritualism represents a process of evolution which is governed by a set of immutable, unchangeable laws. It is the philosophical, scientific and religious reasoning which leads to the knowledge and understanding that everything in existence is Divine and interdependent, and is involved in an eternal process of evolving from a lower to a higher form of existence; progressing to higher levels of the purity and perfection of that form; always moving closer, through an eternity of time, to the source of its creation.” Sound surprising? You will notice that there is no mention of communicating with Spirit in that statement because it’s more than that and how we get to it is the essence of Spiritualism, and that then brings us back those three conditions: communication, noble faculties, and harmony. But before we go any further let’s rearrange them a bit to suit the sequence: 1. the noble faculties, 2. the communication, and 3. the harmony; in other words, the philosophy, the science, the religion; the three conditions we are more familiar with and are the commonly accepted terms when we talk about Spiritualism.

One of the primary natural laws is that of Cause and Effect; we know the Effect of these three terms within Spiritualism because we see them all around us in our practices, but we sometimes don’t quite understand what the Cause is, in other words, where the philosophy, science, and religion come from; how did they actually enter into our lexicon.

Well this takes us to a series of events that define Modern Spiritualism as we know it; a series of events that took place in the United States. It is important to recognize that Spiritualism is a uniquely American religion that was fostered by an evolution of religious thought that could only have happened in America; the land of the original revolutionaries. It was, in itself, the product of a religious revolution; but that is the subject of a whole different lecture and we don’t have enough time to talk about that today.

First we were given the philosophy which defined those noble faculties. Now many Spiritualists think that our philosophy evolved from the Spirit World through messages from our Spirit friends over a long period of time and they are right in one respect; it did come from the Spirit World but not through messages. It actually originated with one man who had a very special gift through which he provided the basics of our philosophy and, at the same time, built the foundation for Modern Spiritualism.

His name was Andrew Jackson Davis and he lived from 1826 -1910. He was an interesting fellow; a simple man who was simply known as “Jackson”. He started out life in extreme poverty, was self educated, became a seer, clairvoyant healer, philosopher, author, social activist, and he was controversial

He was a person who left a mark, he made a difference and for a period of 15 months from November 1845 to March 1847, he did something very special. Something that led to a series of events that spread like a fire storm throughout North America and the rest of the world

Later in this talk we will go into the details of how he came to a certain point in time, but at the young age of 19, on the evening of November 28, 1845, he entered what he called, “The Superior Condition”, a condition which is the highest level of spiritual attunement for the human mind, and he visited the Spiritual Universe and, in a sense, went back to the beginning of time, to the dawn of the Universe, and started a journey that led to an exciting revelation; the existence of a new world, a spiritual universe that we call the Spirit World. The process took a little over 15 months and through a series of 157 trance lectures he described his experiences and observations which were then transcribed into a book called, The Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations and a Voice to Mankind.

To be continued.

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