What is a spiritist?

We have often heard people say : "you make tables move, you make the dead speak" or "spiritism is a sect isn't it". This type of very common remark reveals that the speaker is unaware of a certain number of things that we would like to clarify. "Being dogmatic in no way and having no ini- tiative rituals, spiritism is open to all those seeking intellectual and moral emancipation" (taken from a message).

Spiritists are men or women like all the others, going about their daily business. The only dif- ference between them and the rest of society lies in their beliefs which are considered to be different, strange even bizarre. In fact, it amounts to no more than having faith in a God who is the creator of all things and the certainty that the evolution of the human being takes place via reincarnation. Certainly the most striking fact is that the spiritist communicates with hereafter, which is a source of knowledge supporting his convictions.

The survival of the soul has become something obvious, long since demonstrated by Allan Kardec, Gabriel Delanne and all the researchers and intellectuals having dealt with the question over the last 100 years. The spiri- tist of today becomes increasingly sure of this belief as he communicates with the afterlife within a structure which, in our case, goes under the name of "The Allan Kardec Group".

There are a certain number of conditions to becoming a member of this group : acquiring the basic spiritist philosophy by basic reading, especially "The Book of Spirits". We also advise people to read our reviews and publica- tions so that they may become aware of recent developments and the aims of our Society. Following this there is an interview with one of the leaders of the group which will determine whether or not the person is allowed to join the Society.

Contrary to popular opinion, spiritists do not spend most of their time communicating with spirits. This explains why the new member will not be overwhelmed with seances and mes- sages because the mediums are not at the dis- posal of a clientele as is the case with certain business practises.

There is regular activity in a spiritist group ; seances, experimental seances, working groups and information meetings. There is no contin- uous communication with the afterlife, which in itself would be unsustainable for the mediums.

For us, being a spiritist is essentially about informing people and perpetuating the idea. There is a lot to be learned from the ideas but they need to be correctly explained and an acceptable definition given before the work can start. Our job is to pass on the spiritist message as best we can to those having a false or misin- formed version of what we do.

Moreover and morally speaking, our knowl- edge of spiritism leads us to examine the great questions facing humanity from a social point of view, constantly keeping in mind the expres- sion "Love one another". Starting from here, the spiritist opens his field of thought to the principles of equality, fraternity, justice and peace.

Spiritualism also influences the field of sci- ence, especially that of medicine where alter- native treatment may be found via magnetic healing, herbal remedies and hypnosis.

So, we see that the fact of being a spiritist involves much more than "meeting" those recently deceased and takes us much further on a philosophical and moral level regarding the very meaning of our life on this earth. We are far from the notions of pedestal tables and meetings aimed at establishing some hypo- thetical contact with the afterlife with the intention of reassuring us about the continuation of life after the death of close relatives or indeed of one's own life. The certainty of life after death is a first step which reassures those who need reassuring but if spiritism stopped at this point it would be of little use as far as the evolution of each one of our lives is concerned.

Here, to conclude, is a extract from a message received from the spirit of Gabriel Delanne in 1999 :

"He who hears, who heeds the beat of his heart revealed by ours, he who reacts in answer to what we say, who knows his life will be poor in quality without God, he who has received the light from beyond, who has learned to see the trials of life not as a test but as necessary learning experiences, he who can go beyond death and marvel at the spirit, he who learns and gradually understands that blood pulses in all the corners of the universe, he, the spiritualist has understood what it means to be a human being. He not only becomes happy but is able to make others happy.”

For more answers to your questions about spiritism, check The New Book of the Spirits.