From Wikipedia ...
Allan Kardec is the pen name of the 19th century French educator, translator and author Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail (1804 - 1869). He is the author of the five books known as the "Spiritist Codification" and is also the founder of the philosophy of "Spiritism" which is explained below.
(Note: On this webpage, the terms "Spiritism" and "Spiritualism" and related nouns and adjectives are always capitalized whenever used.)
KARDEC'S FIVE BOOKS
Kardec's five books are as follows:
- The Spirit's Book (1857)
- The Book on Mediums (1861)
- The Gospel According to the Spiritism (1864)
- Heaven and Hell (1865)
- Genesis (1868)
KARDEC'S SPIRITUAL WORK
Kardec became interested in spiritual subjects in his 50's. This included studies of mediumship, séances and physical manifestations (moving objects) by Spirit.
Kardec decided to test some of his spiritual theories by accumulating and analyzing information collected through mediumship. He compiled a multitude of questions concerning the nature and mechanisms of spirit communications, the reasons for human life on earth, and aspects of the spiritual realms. He asked those questions to ten mediums, all purportedly unknown to each other, and documented their responses. From these, he concluded that the best explanation was that personalities that had survived death were the source of at least some mediumistic communications. He became convinced that the mediums:
- provided accurate information unknown to themselves or others present (e.g. personal information about deceased individuals);
- demonstrated unlearned skills such as writing by illiterate mediums, handwriting similar to the alleged communicating personality, and speaking or writing in a language unknown to the medium (xenoglossy and xenography); and
- accurately portrayed a range of personality characteristics of deceased individuals.
Kardec then compiled the mediums' responses that were consistent and adapted them into a philosophy that he called Spiritism, which he defined as "a science that deals with the nature, origin, and destiny of spirits, and their relation with the corporeal world."
Specifically, The Spirit's Book contains 1019 questions by Kardec with answers from enlightened spirits through mediumship. These spirits included: John the Evangelist, Saint Augustine, Saint Vincent De Paul, Saint Louis, the Spirit of Truth, Socrates, Plato, Swedenborg, Hahnemann, Fénelon, and Benjamin Franklin. This book has been called the "Tree of Life."
Like Swedenborg, Kardec completed an amazing amount of spiritual study without the benefit of modern technology.
For most supporters, Spiritism is not a religion but a philosophical doctrine with a scientific basis and moral grounds. For others, Spiritism is a religion, though it has no priests or ministers and apparently follows no significant rituals. Spiritists follow Spiritist doctrine (i.e. regular meetings, medium meetings, youth and children's meetings, healing, lectures, seances) and organize charitable endeavours. As we understand it, Spiritism is close to the religion of Spiritualism, except that Spiritism openly supports reincarnation while Spiritualism does not. In The Book of Mediums, Kardec says that ...
"We assume then, as the ground-work of our belief, the existence, survival, and individuality of the soul, of which Spiritualism is the theoretic and doctrinal demonstration, and Spiritism the practical proof."
Spiritism is followed in many countries including Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Portugal, Spain, United States, several Latin American countries and Vietnam. In particular, the largest following is in Brazil with about 40 Million practitioners.
CHICO XAVIER (1910 - 2002) was a popular Spiritist medium and philanthropist in Brazil's Spiritist movement. He wrote more than 10,000 letters to family members of deceased people, mainly using psychography. His books sold millions of copies, the proceeds of which were all donated to charity. One of his most famous, "The Astral City," details one after-death experience. This experience is described in the film "Nosso Lar" which is listed on our RESOURCES-10 webpage.
An important Spiritist website is KARDECPEDIA. Through this website, all of the Spiritist teachings are available, including the five books. Here is a direct link to Kardecpedia's Outline of the Spirit Teachings. This website is a treasure chest of spiritual information!
Below are two YouTube videos which explain "Who was Allan Kardec?" and "The Spiritist Teachings."