It is difficult to tell if Spiritualism is a belief system or a formal religion. As a form of spirituality, spiritualism seems far more evolving that old, established religions. Also, spiritualism has a tendency to be welcoming to many other religions while most major religions seems to be adverse (and in some cases openly hostel) towards spiritualism. The core beliefs of Spiritualism are simple: Humans have a spirit or soul; that soul continues on after death in the ‘spirit world’; some people have the capability to see, or hear, or feel the presence of spirits (and to pass on messages from the afterlife).
Most spiritualist believe in reincarnation however many established Spiritualist churches "denies, as fantasy, the doctrine of reincarnation". However, (and this is a big however) even the more established spiritualist churches allow for the spirit of an individual to return to this material world. The key argument among spiritualist seems to be more about the ideas of karma and the Asian concept of reincarnation than the idea that we can live numerous lives in order to perfect our spiritual nature.
Spiritualist church services are not too different than many other church services, except, perhaps, the part where a spirit medium provides messages from the spirit world for those in attendance. Other than that small difference church attendees sing hymns, receive an inspirational or educational ‘sermon’ and then socialize after the service is completed. Many spiritualist mediums will provide personal readings for a donation. One of the most famous location in the U.S. for spiritualist readings is the Spiritualist community of Lily Dale in New York.
Spiritualism is a true American religion, and not just because spiritualism traces it’s origin back to the rural areas of New York state and the Fox sisters in 1845. Some of the key tenants of Spiritualism are personal responsibility for one’s own development; religious freedom (there is no real religious dogma in spiritualism and people from all religious and spiritual backgrounds are welcome); all people from all ethnic backgrounds, men and women, are all spiritually equal; and freedom of choice, free will, is sacred. Spiritualism quick spread during the late 1800s into the early 1900s and found a number of important admires in the U.S. and Europe including author Arthur Conan Doyle, journalist William Thomas Stead, biologist Alfred Russel Wallace to name a few. Ironically, all of today’s mentalist and the entire mentalism movement owe their beginnings to the Spiritualist movement they sought to mimic and debunk.
In the early days of Spiritualism word of this ‘religion’ was spread by psychic mediums who provided lectures and demonstrations for the public. These demonstrations and lectures often drew large crowds and brought in large donations. Soon, seances and spiritualist gatherings were taking place in many homes across the U.S.. True to another great American tradition, capitalism, a number of magicians and ‘mentalists‘ saw a huge profit to be made using a spiritualist type ‘show’. Mentalist and magicians around the U.S. began creating their own version of a spiritualist gathering to entertain the public (only mentalist’s shows were devoid of the spiritual speakers and education). These traveling shows became very popular. Even the noted psychic medium Arthur Ford began with such a ‘show’.
Conversely, as membership and donations increased, many true spiritualist began establishing traditional churches and encouraging their spiritual community to practice mediumship within these churches. By the 1920s most people could not distinguish between a spiritualist gathering and a show put on by mentalists and magicians for entertainment. This huge blurring of the line between spirituality, making money and entertainment lead to a good deal of fraud and hoaxes. About this time one of the greatest of magicians, Houdini, began debunking so-called psychics. Audiences paid to see Houdini expose the tricks of fraudulent mediums. Interestingly, Houdini’s friend, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, passed on a warning from some mediums of Houdini’s eventual death on stage, "the waters are black for Houdini’ and foretold that disaster would claim Houdini while performing before an audience in a theater.
With time, many branches of Spiritualism have appeared. The lack of a central, sacred scripture allowed Spiritualist churches and members to embrace many types of spiritual writings. Some Spiritualists embrace the writings of scientist Emanuel Swedenborg’s and/or Franz Mesmer (considered the father of hypnotism) while others prefer the works of Allan Kardec (a pen name for Hippolyte Lйon Denizard Rivail). Kardec advanced Spiritism and felt Christian values should be the core of Spiritualism and that a more scientific approach to Spiritualism was warranted. Today, Spiritism has become popular in many parts of the world with a current rapid expansion in South America. It is not uncommon today, at Spiritualists gatherings and events, to find many types of spiritual guest speakers from best selling New Age authors to Tibetan Monks.
The history of Spiritualism is short compared to many modern religions, but it’s simple message and spiritual flexibility has allowed Spiritualism to cross numerous cultural, religions, educational, political and economic boundaries. There are numerous U.S. Spiritualist Churches as well as UK Spiritualist Churches. However, the number of Spiritualist church members remains small compared to other, much more established religions.Spiritualist suffer from a unique form of what might be called ‘spiritual persecution’. Psychic mediums and mediumship in general is consistently being attacked and asked to prove that every reading, every time, be absolutely accurate. Possibly it is because mediums provide reading both in church settings and provide personal readings for donations and income. However, no one is asking Catholic priests to prove last rites are scientifically valid. Nor are Christians in general asked to proof the existence of God in a scientific setting. If the scientific proof that prayer ‘works’ was legally required before anyone be allowed to pray most religious people would angrily revolt, as well they should.
Spiritualism is a curious and unique set of beliefs and religion. Another one of spiritualism’s unique attributes is that it allows for even animals to have a spirit form, afterlife and even afterlife communication (much to the delight of animal lovers). Except for the spirituality of Native Peoples, few other traditional religions seem to allow for this. Some major religions expressly state animals are soulless.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed this brief examination of Spiritualist and spiritualism.
In the area of spiritualism you may enjoy a psychic reading by Psychic Sofia who is a spiritualist minister. Also, Psychic Emerald Star is another clairvoyant who can provide a spirit readings. For more psychic mediums you can call, check out Psychic Mediums at PsychicChatline.com