Since the beginning of time people have spoken about being “inspired” to do something but what does it mean to be “inspired” and how does Spiritualism view “inspiration?”
One definition of inspiration from Webster is: “…a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.” Creative people have often spoken of receiving inspiration for their works, including Mozart who wrote: “When all goes well with me…the thoughts come streaming in upon me fluently; whence or how is more than I can tell.”
Spiritualism itself owes much of its early success and growth to great inspirational speakers and writers. Many people were brought into Spiritualism by the inspired lectures of early Spiritualist orators such as Cora L. V. Richmond, who was known as the Orator of Modern Spiritualism and Emma Hardinge-Britten, known as the Silver Tongued Lecturer.
grew many Spiritualists began studying these phenomena in order to distinguish
“inspirational speaking or writing” from speaking or writing from the person’s
own mind. One of these early
pioneers was Judge John Worth Edmonds who proposed several ways of knowing if
inspirational writing/speaking was authentic including: “…the medium is
speaking in a language unknown to him…conveying distinct thought and utters
proper sentences…understood by those who are acquainted with the language” and
“He prophesies events which are to happen and which do happen…in regards to
matters with which he has no connection…or knowledge.”
along with other researchers like Hudson Tuttle, concluded that inspirational
speaking or writing depend not only on the assistance received from the Spirit
World but on the medium’s own training and discipline in the pursuit of higher
believed that “…an inspirational speaker is one who is in more of less
sensitive condition, and therefore able to receive the thoughts of
spirits.” This applies to
inspirational writing as well.
writing can be broken down into two distinct categories: independent and
automatic writing. In independent
writing, the writing is produced many times without visible physical contact
with the medium and sometimes without writing material. Slate writing, in which writing is produced
when two slates are put together with or without a writing instrument in
between and having no contact with the medium, is considered independent
writing, the medium has contact with the writing material and produces messages
in a dissociative state. In one
well-documented demonstration of automatic writing, the famous medium Mrs.
Lenora Piper wrote with both hands simultaneously while holding a conversation
and all three communications were on a different subject!
Many great books
have been written by inspirational writing including most of the writings of
Andrew Jackson Davis. For fifteen months
Davis dictated one of his greatest works, The
Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations, and A Voice to Mankind, while
in an inspired trance.
talked about the medium being in a “sensitive condition” or a trance state and
receiving information from the Spirit World which he then imparted to others
but what is trance and how does it work in inspired speaking/writing?
Trance, in the
Spiritualist view, is being under direct hypnotic control of a discarnate
spirit and in this state, being able to reveal information that they could not
have obtained by normal means. There are
several ways this might occur including telepathy in which the thought from the
entity is conveyed directly to the mind of the medium or, more rarely, by
direct control in which the entity controls the medium’s body completely.
Not only have many
of Spiritualism’s greatest works been composed from this entranced state but
many of the great books of other religions as well including the religion based
on the inspired writings of Swedenborg and the Koran which was written from the
inspired revelations of the prophet Mohammed.
There are many instances of inspired writing in the Bible and indeed
many people consider the Bible itself to be inspired writing.
It is clear that much of our human spiritual history, including the religion of Spiritualism, has been influenced by inspiration from the Spirit World and, as Spiritualists, we believe that our spiritual future will be influenced by higher inspiration as well.
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