Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Global Spiritualism



 In South Africa, the native population still follow age-old spiritual traditions.  Their Shamen or Sangomas know, as humanity from the beginning has known, that life continues after the death of the physical body and that communication between those who have passed and those of us remaining on Earth is not only possible but has always happened.  They still communicate with the spirit world (their ancestors) as their forebears have done for centuries.  Some years ago, the well-known British medium, Albert Best, visiting South Africa, went to meet a Sangoma and in broad daylight, Albert’s late wife, materialised, fully formed beside him for all to see!
 
There is nothing new in this.  Psychic gifts have always been around.  Spiritualism is a natural progression from the work of Shamen.  It is designed for a different type of society, that’s all. Emma Hardinge-Britten, in her fascinating book “Nineteenth Century Miracles” describes the work of numerous mediums and psychics all over the world, both before and after 1848.  The inexorable growth of materialism since the Industrial Revolution led to millions of people moving from the land, where they worked closely with nature, to cities, where the natural world was almost entirely absent.  Those in the Spirit World, who care for and worry about us, knew the world needed a dramatic demonstration of the power of the Spirit in order to counteract materialism: Hence the Hydesville knockings and the birth of Spiritualism in 1848.

The early days Spiritualism produced a lot of mediums, many of whom were what we call Physical Mediums, gifts that we encounter but rarely today.  These gifts allowed the mediums to dazzle and amaze nineteenth century Americans and Europeans:  So much so that by 1863 it was possible to hold a convention of people representing several million Spiritualists world-wide.  Unfortunately, human greed allied to the cupidity of many sitters, led to widespread fraud, especially where materialisation was concerned.  As a result the numbers of avowed Spiritualists declined rapidly, a situation not helped by splits within the Spiritualist movement; splits that led to the formation of organisations such as Christian Science, Theosophy, Spiritism and Christian Spiritualism.

Religions have always split.  This is human nature I suppose; people wanting to be the big fish in the smaller pond.  We need to focus more on what unites us instead of what divides and begin working together again, exchanging ideas and discussing the way forward for us all.  Especially is there a need to discuss and implement, ways to raise the standard of mediumship and give it a more spiritual dimension.   Many demonstrations of mediumship today are little removed from fortune-telling.  The proof of life after death and the philosophy that stems from this is vital for a world struggling through the morass of materialism.  People are crying out for guidance and we owe it to them and those in the spirit world to be less self-indulgent and work harder to help them. What can we do?
 
In addition to a willingness to work with other groups and discus openly mutual challenges and the future, we need to examine our past.  Spiritualism as a religion, not just as a vehicle for psychic development and practice, brought a new dimension into religious thinking.  A dimension incidentally that caused much heart-searching within the Christian church at the time.  It is a dimension which all the great religions had in their infancy but lost as they were side-tracked by the lure of power and its corruptive influence.  Not long after 1848 Spiritiualism began to produce a body of philosophy, under guidance from spirit, and powerful speakers appeared.  Speakers, working in trance and through inspiration, like Emma Hardinge-Britten, Andrew Jackson-Davis, Estelle Roberts and many others were able to explain why knowledge of eternal life is so important for us all.  We need more like them today.

Early Spiritualism did not have churches and powerful trance, physical and mental mediums developed their gifts in home circles.  Indeed I know no leading medium today whose development did not involve sitting in a home circle.  Development was not all that such circles provided.  They also gave anyone prepared to sit in love and harmony with others to link with those in spirit, an almost magical sense of the true beauty and glory of life in all its forms.  Home circles are not just places to make contact with family and friends and receive proof of their continued existence.  In such circles, knowledge of the life awaiting us after passing from Earth-life is given with a gentleness and love that brings immense comfort to the sitters.  Details have been given of the boundless opportunities existing for us all once the need for food and physical shelter are removed; details of the schools and halls of learning; of visits from those bright beings who have progressed beyond anything you and I can envisage; of gatherings for special celebrations and of groups dedicated to helping those on Earth.

I know churches that see home circles as competition and therefore discourage their formation, preferring to run development circles in the church.  This is to completely misunderstand the role of home circles.  In the past the spirit world have told us that one day mediums will not be required because each individual will be his or her own medium.  Each of us will be able to contact those in spirit whenever we choose and receive guidance direct.  It is only through the intimacy and harmony of home circles that this wonderful state of affairs can be achieved.  Let us therefore switch off our televisions, put away our smart phones and at least once a week join our friends from the spirit world in joy and harmony.  The benefits would be immense.

Nowhere could the influence of the spirit world have greater benefits than upon scientific research, if only scientists asked for help and made themselves available.  However, the materialistic bias of scientific training needs to be altered before this can happen.  Some scientists are finally willing to accept that much that happens on Earth cannot be explained satisfactorily on the basis of physics and materialism alone.  Should we perhaps make greater efforts to show that Spiritualism and mediumship are not ‘weird’?  It is as natural as breathing and scientists in the spirit world can help those on Earth.  To do this we would of course require logical and convincing arguments, not airy-fairy New Age gobbledegook. 
 
If we succeed it would return science to the holistic position it held before materialism took hold.  Then science accepted that all physical life was energised by the power of spirit and the physical should always be examined in relation to the spiritual.  Science could benefit a great deal from such a change.  Many of the disasters brought about by introducing new drugs and medical treatments too hurriedly could have been avoided by co-operation with spirit scientists.    What an opportunity this is for Spiritualists! 
 
For an illustration of how Astronomers and Astro-physicists could benefit and thus widen our understanding, one need only look at “The Lowlands of Heaven”, written through automatic writing by the Rev George Vale-Owen. In it was given a description from spirit of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, things unknown at that time.  They were only discovered by scientists in the late twentieth century and even today, little is known about them and their purpose.  Spirit claimed in 1913 that these forces were used in the creation of ectoplasm and the transmission of light throughout the universe:  Fascinating claims that at least deserve to be properly investigated.

Global Spiritualism faces many challenges but incredible opportunities.  Challenges within Spiritualism itself are the easiest to overcome.  If we stopped being so defensive and introspective, put more effort into raising standards, worked in closer harmony with the spirit world, then our internal squabbles would quickly disappear.  The role of ego would be diminished and ideas for widening our spiritual impact on humanity in all fields of human endeavour (not just in religion) would begin to flow.  We should look forward with confidence, secure in the knowledge that the spirit world will help us all the way.
 
Lionel Owen                                                                                                             March 2017


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