Spiritualism, or the ability to communicate with spirits on the “other side”, is as old as man himself. Every culture has in its spoken and recorded history, the stories of those who had the ability to speak with guides, angels and those ancestors of their people who had crossed over in death.
For example, the early Egyptians had a well-established class of priests and a written system of belief called The Egyptian Book of the Dead, which encompassed all of their knowledge of the transmigration of the soul, preparation for death and the afterlife, and great information concerning spells, magic rituals, healing and philosophy.
Other early civilizations like the Persians, Greeks and Romans had beliefs about the afterlife and communication with spirits. The great Greek teachers, Socrates and Plato, both believed that they communicated with “daimon”-spirit guides who guided and taught them.
The Hindus believe in “The Wheel of Life”, the process of reincarnation until the soul is enlightened and reunited with God, which they share with the Eastern religions of Buddhism, Confucianism and Shintoism.
Early Hebrew Rabbis and Christian teachers communicated with those who had died, however, both religions did not believe in necromancy or witchcraft, which they believed was conjuring the dead for the purpose of doing evil.
Native American culture is extremely important to Spiritualism. The American Indian has always had a strong tie to the belief that everything has a spirit, not just humans, but animals, plants, trees, etc., and that those spirits can and should be communicated with on a regular basis. Their shamans facilitated communication between an individual and their own spirit guide or animal totem. Because of their great ancient beliefs, this land of America is considered sacred land and many great Indian spirits remain to communicate with us in the modern era.
Most of what we would call this “early” spiritualism was characterized by the belief that only shamans or priests, who had sacred and esoteric knowledge that was not available to the average person, were able to communicate with those on the other side in order to advise their people, establish a belief system, predict events and heal.
In later times, several people came forward whose work was very important in establishing a difference in how we view spiritual gifts and communication with the dead.
Emanuel Swedenborg, “The Swedish Seer” was an amazing man of much education and many talents. Later in his life he felt led by God to pursue spiritual gifts such as Mediumship. With his scientific background, he postulated that communication with spirits was a result of Natural Law which is a basis of Modern Spiritualism.
Austrian Franz Mesmer, whose “Mesmer Séances” were group therapy sessions in which spirit entities helped him with healing, demonstrated that the trance of Mesmerism is identical to the trance of Spiritualism.
The spirit guides of Mother Ann Lee and her followers predicted a coming time of great material and spiritual wealth. When the Hydesville Rappings occurred, her followers were assured by their guides that this was indeed the spiritual wealth that they had predicted.
One of the most important forerunners of Modern Spiritualism, Andrew Jackson Davis’s creation of the Progressive Lyceum for educating children is still celebrated in Spiritualist churches as “Founders Day.” He was called “The Father of the Religion called Modern Spiritualism” and recorded wonderful information received from his guides, including “The Magic Staff” which was given to him by his guide, Galen. That saying served Jackson his entire life and serves us in our pursuit of spiritual excellence as well-“Under All Circumstances Keep an Even Mind.”
Thanks to these wonderfully brave and gifted people, the time when only shamans were able to communicate with higher beings like guides and angels or with the spirits of those who have departed this physical life is over. Through their great work, we are now able to understand and learn the Natural Law by which we all can receive higher wisdom and guidance and can now celebrate the spiritual gifts that we all have been given. Modern Spiritualism brings the gift of Mediumship to all who would desire to know the word of God.
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