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How a Spirit Explained Levitation to Allan Kardec

Posted on 30 August 2021, 9:08

As the last two posts here have been about levitations, I’m concluding the subject matter with an interview Allan Kardec, (below) the renowned French psychical researcher, had with the spirit of St. Louis, as set forth in Kardec’s 1874 book,The Book on Mediums.  The “universal fluid” referred to is apparently what later came to be called ectoplasm, teleplasm, or od, while the “perispirit” is now called the etheric or spirit body. Considering later research on od and ectoplasm, it makes much sense to me, but you can believe it or not!

kardec

Kardec:  Is the universal fluid an emanation from the Divinity?

St. Louis:  No.

Kardec:  Is the universal fluid at the same time the universal element?

St. Louis:  Yes, it is the elementary principal of all things.

Kardec:  Has it any relation to the electric fluid whose effects we know?

St. Louis:  It is its element.

Kardec:  What is the state in which the universal fluid is presented to us in its greatest purity?

St. Louis:  To find it in its absolute purity, you must mount to the pure spirits; in your world it is always more or less modified to form the compact matter that surrounds you; at the same time you may say that the state in which it approaches most nearly to purity, is that of the fluid you call animal magnetic fluid.

Kardec:  It has been said that the universal fluid is the source of life; is it at the same time the source of intelligence?

St. Louis:  No; this fluid animates only matter.

Kardec:  Since it is this fluid which composes the perispirit, it appears to be there in a kind of condensed state, which approximates it, up to a certain point, matter so called.

St. Louis:  Up to a certain point, as you say, for it has not all its properties; it is more or less condensed, according to the worlds.

Kardec:  What is the operation by which a spirit moves a solid body?

St. Louis:  He combines a portion of the universal fluid with the fluid exhaled from the medium suitable to this effect.

Kardec:  Do the spirits raise the table with the aid of their members in some degree solidified?

St. Louis: This answer will not yet lead to what you desire.  When a table is moved under your hands, the spirit evoked draws from the universal fluid what animates the table with a factitious life.  The table thus prepared, the spirit attracts it and moves it under the influence of his own fluid thrown off by his will.  When the mass he wishes to move is too heavy for him, he calls to his aid spirits who are in the same condition as himself.  By reason of his ethereal nature, the spirit proper cannot act on gross matter without intermediary, that is to say, without the link that unites it to matter:  this link, which you call perispirit, gives you the key to all material spirit phenomena.  I believe I have expressed myself clearly for you to understand.

Kardec: Are the spirits he calls to his aid inferior?  Are they under his orders?

St. Louis:  Equal, almost always; sometimes they come of themselves.

Kardec:  Are all spirits able to produce phenomena of this kind?

St. Louis: The spirits who produce these effects are always inferior spirits, who are not entirely disengaged from all material influence.

Kardec:  We understand that the superior spirits are not occupied by things that are beneath them; but we ask if, by reason, of their being more dematerialized, they would have the power if they had the will?

St. Louis:  They have the moral strength, as the others have the physical strength, when they require this strength, they make use of those who possess it.  Have they not told you that they make use of inferior spirits as you do of porters?

Kardec:  If we have thoroughly understood what you have said, the vital principal resides in the universal fluid; the spirit draws in this fluid the semi-material envelope which constitutes his perispirit, and it is by means of this fluid that he acts on inert matter. Is it so?

St. Louis:  Yes, that is to say, he animates matter with a kind of factitious life; the matter is animated with animal life.  The table that moves under your hands lives like the animal; it obeys the intelligent being.  It is not he who pushes it as a man does a burden; when the table is raised, it is not the spirit who raises it by strength of arm, it is the animated table that obeys the impulse given by the spirit.

Kardec:  What is the part of the medium in this matter?

St. Louis: I have said it; the fluid of the medium is combined with the universal fluid accumulated by the spirit: the union these two fluids is necessary; that is to say, the animalized fluid with the universal fluid, to give life to the table.  But remark that this life is only momentary;  it is extinguished with the action, and often before the end of the action, as soon as the quantity of fluid is sufficient to animate it.

Kardec:  Can the spirit act without the concurrence of a medium?

St. Louis:  It can act in spite of the medium; that is to say, that no doubt many persons serve as auxiliaries to the spirits for certain phenomena.  The spirit draws from them as from a source, the animalized fluid he needs; it is thus that the concurrence of the medium, as you understand it, is not always necessary; which is the case particularly in spontaneous phenomena.

Kardec: Does the animated table act with intelligence?

St. Louis:  It thinks no more than the stick with which you make an intelligent sign, but the vitality with which it is animated permits it to obey the impulse of an intelligence.  Understand that the table that moves does not become spirit, and that it has of itself neither thought nor will.

Kardec:  Which is the preponderating cause in the production of this phenomena, the spirit or the fluid?

St. Louis:  The spirit is the cause, the fluid is the instrument; both are necessary.

Kardec:  What part does the will of the medium play in this case?

St. Louis: To call the spirits, and to second them in the impulse given to the fluid. 

Kardec:  Is the action of the will always indispensable?

St. Louis: It adds power, but it is not always necessary.

Kardec: Why cannot everyone produce the same effect?  And why have not all mediums the same power?

St. Louis:  That depends on the organization, and the greater or less facility with which the combination of fluids can operate; then the spirit of the medium sympathizes more or less with the foreign spirits who find in him the necessary fluidic power.  This power, like that of magnetizers, is greater or less.  Under this relation there are persons who are altogether refractory; others with whom the combination operates only by an exertion of their will.  Others, finally, with whom it takes place so naturally and so easily that they are not aware of it, and serve as instruments against their will, as we have already said.

Kardec: Can persons called electric be considered as mediums?

St. Louis: These persons draw from themselves the fluid necessary to the production of the phenomena, and can act without the help of foreign spirits. Thus, they are not mediums in the sense attached to this word; but a spirit can assist them, and profit by their natural disposition.

Kardec: Is the spirit that acts on solid bodies in the substance of the bodies or outside of it?

St. Louis:  Both; we have said that matter is no obstacle to spirits; they penetrate everything; a portion of the perispirit is identified, so to say, with the object it penetrates.

Kardec:  How does the spirit manage to strike?  Does he make use of the material object?

St. Louis:  No more than of his arms to raise the table.  You well know that he has no hammer at his disposal.  His hammer is the combined fluid put in action to move or to strike.  When he moves, the light brings you the sight of the movements; when he strikes, the air brings you the sound.

Kardec: We can understand that when he strikes on a hard body, but how can he make us hear noises or articulate sounds in the air?

St. Louis:  Since he can act on matter, he can act on air as well as on the table.  As to articulate sounds, he can imitate them, as he can all other noises.

Kardec:  You say that spirits do not use their hands to remove the table; yet, in certain visual manifestations, hands have been seen to appear whose fingers have wandered over the keyboard of a piano, moved the keys, and caused sounds.  Would it not seem that in this case the movement of the keys is produced by the pressure of the fingers?  Is not this pressure as direct and real when it is felt on ourselves, when these hands leave imprints on the skin?

St. Louis:  You can understand the nature of spirits and their manner of acting only by comparisons, which give you an incomplete idea, and it is wrong to always wish to assimilate their processes to your own. Their processes must bear relation to their organization. Have I not told you that fluid of the perispirit penetrates matter, and is identified with it, that it animates it with a factitious life?  Well, when the spirit rests his fingers on the keys, he puts them there really, and even moves them; but it is not by muscular force that he presses the keys; he animates it as he animated the table, and the key, which obeys his will, moves and strikes the chord.  There is one thing you will have trouble in comprehending; it is this:  that some spirits are so little advanced, and so material in comparison to the elevated spirits, that they still have the illusions of the terrestrial life, and believe they act as when they had their body.  They can no more give a reason of the true cause of the effects they produce than a peasant can give a reason for the theory of the sounds he articulates; ask them how they play the piano, they will tell you they strike on it with their fingers, because they believe they do strike it; the effect is produced instinctively with them, without their knowing how yet by their will.  When they make you hear words, it is the same thing.

Kardec:  Among the phenomena cited in proof of the action of an occult power, there are some evidently contrary to all the known laws of nature.  Does not doubt then seem to be permitted?

St. Louis:  It is because man is far from knowing all the laws of nature.  If he knew them all he would be a superior spirit.  Every day, however, gives the lie to those who, thinking they know everything, presume to set bounds to nature, and they are none the less haughty.  In constantly unveiling new mysteries God warns men to down their own lights, for the day will come when the science of the most learned will be put to confusion. Have you not everyday examples of bodies animated by a movement capable of overcoming the force of gravity?  Does not the bullet, shot into the air, momentarily overcome this force?  Poor men, who think themselves so learned, and whose silly vanity is every instant disconcerted, that know you are still very small.

Next Blog Post: September 13

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.


Comments

Dorian JR:

Thank you very much for the https://oldcropcircles.weebly.com/ link!

The history of the phenomenon before 1978 sounds much more interesting to me than after it became a widespread pop-culture touchstone that is extremely easy for anyone with a few friends and some spare hours to replicate.

Nate Cull, Mon 20 Sep, 04:29

Whoever or whatever makes crop circles, it frequently damages private property. Many of the owners gain hardly anything from them, and would gladly sue those who’ve made them. That has obvious implications on whether the circle-makers are really either known or easily knowable.

Having said that, it doesn’t necessarily exclude human agency. People can send a laser beam to the Moon and receive back its reflection, print with lasers, and the long-time researcher of crop circles W.C. Levengood has pretty much shown that wheat can be bent as in crop circles by the use of intense microwave radiation.

https://ufotrail.blogspot.com/search/label/crop circles

All those facts point to a human and technological agency.

But that’s not to exclude natural and supernatural causes: there are reports of people who claim to have witnessed formations of corn circles in Belgium in the 1930s.

http://oldcropcircles.weebly.com/belgium-1936-overboelare.html

Dorian JR, Tue 14 Sep, 14:21

Nate,

Thanks for the link.  It’s almost bedtime here, so I will look at it tomorrow.  I haven’t closely followed the crop circle phenomenon, but I do recall hearing about the “circlemakers” many years ago and having them likened to magicians who say they can do everything mediums can do.  I don’t doubt that there are many human circlemakers, with or without spirit guidance, but I am wondering if they have produced large intricate circles overnight under test conditions.  If they have, I haven’t read or heard about it.  I hope the link covers that. Thanks again.

Michael Tymn, Tue 14 Sep, 10:18

“However, I find it difficult to believe that some of the more intricate crop circles were man made”

I am assuming that you do know about Doug Bower, Dave Chorley, and the entire online “Circlemakers” community, right?  They’ve been talking about how they made, and continue to make, circles since 1995.
http://www.circlemakers.org/

(I am not being sarcastic here. I’m from Generation X and grew up with BBSes and the Web, with my head into a lot of underground stuff from a kid, so I’m never quite sure whether older generations are aware of the subcultural scenes I take for granted.)

The documented existence of groups like Circlemakers, who are quite up front about the computer tools and teamwork that they use to plan and execute their designs, is why I think we need a little bit of critical distance from the idea that modern crop art is necessarily magical in its formation. Here’s a group of people explaining exactly how it’s done. You can choose to look behind the curtain or not look, I guess.

But I’ve helped build and walk labyrinths and I know how magical even a built piece of sacred art can be, so that’s why I’m saying it’s not necessarily an either/or choice between “constructed” and “inspired”.

Nate Cull, Mon 13 Sep, 22:50

Maybe you can ask the gouvernements of the UK or USA about the crop circles, no doubt have they Satellites with telescopic infrared vision directed on earth.

chris, Mon 13 Sep, 17:13

Nate,

Thanks for your “guesses” on both reincarnation and crop circles.  Both of them are above my “pay grade.”  However, I find it difficult to believe that some of the more intricate crop circles were man made, whether inspired by spirit or not, when they appeared overnight. I can’t cite particulars without doing a lot of digging into references, but I believe there were a number of them from the 1970s and 80s, that were supposedly created overnight or within a few hours. It seems to me that it would have taken much longer than that to create some of the larger ones, especially in the middle of the night and without an aerial view of things. But that is also a “guess” on my part.

Michael Tymn, Mon 13 Sep, 11:04

Michael Tymn: “I have thought about the possibility that intricate crop circles are some form of spirit expression”

I have quite a lot of reservations about the modern “crop circle” phenomenon and its uncritical embrace by New Age believers.

I believe the vast majority of the intricate designs we see are very obviously, at a first order, human-created art. That is, it is obvious to *me* that these are just works of art by human artists who enjoy making esoteric-themed beautiful transient things. Since the 1960s, we’ve had several entire generations of artists inspired along these lines. Perhaps this obvious point is not obvious to others.

BUT.

Since crop art is art that flirts with the psychedelic, created by artists who have a personal inclination towards the paranormal (even if they *think* they’re just doing it as a bit of a game), then I think it’s ALSO true to say that the designs are being influenced by communicators from the esoteric realms - as all human creative activity is. So it *might* be proper to say, that “to second order”, symbolic crop art is a communication from the spirit realm, even if it’s coming into our world via the very prosaic tools of computers and algorithms and sketchpads and ad agencies. Our human world is transparent to and permeated by the spirit world; the people “on that side” don’t really draw a distinction between the two realms as we do.

This idea might help explain some of the paradoxical remarks made about crop circles by communicators. (At least the trustworthy ones; there are, unfortunately, many psychic communicators who are not trustworthy.)

Now there *may* also be a much more basic and fundamental class of purely esoteric crop phenomena, that is not human-created at all. Those would be the original “fairy circles” that the human cultural phenomenon of “crop art” is inspired by and took as its model.

I think those “true” crop circles would look very small ordinary and simple compared to the big flashy human-made ones. I believe those ones would just be circles, with no designs, and would probably form in places well away from human habitation. But I’m guessing, because I’ve not convinced that I’ve seen any of those ones.

Nate Cull, Mon 13 Sep, 03:02

Michael Tymn: “The ‘facet’ explanation for reincarnation is consistent with what Frederic Myers said through Geradline Cummins and also with what Silver Birch said through Maurice Barbanell. I think it was Silver Birch who used the diamond simile. “


I believe St Stephen through Thomas Ashman also described reincarnation in terms very similar to the diamond/facet metaphor. It resonated very strongly with me when I read it in the mid-2000s, as if it was something I somehow “already knew” even though I hadn’t thought much about reincarnation before then (and was quite suspicious of the concept).

Since then I’ve seen this metaphor in multiple channelled sources, and it’s one of my personal flags indicating that the source is of deep interest.

My personal suspicion is that the “diamond metaphor” becomes more applicable when one graduates into the higher spheres that revolve around “group souls” rather than individuals. The lower spheres of the Summerland, beautiful and far more advanced than Earth as they are and which were the first to be clearly communicated to us back in the 1850s, seem to be more based around the psychological healing of the individual personality and so some of the group-soul concept is “higher esoteric knowledge” even to these spirits.

But with reincarnation vs eternal-persistence-of-the-personality vs merging-into-the-Divine debates starting to become a serious inter-religious sticking point by the early 1900s, it started to become important for us incarnates to know a little about the group-soul level, because it answers these problematic questions, even though a true grasp of this knowledge would be otherwise “way above our pay grade”. And so I think that’s why in the 20th century we start to see higher communicators from that level beginning to establish contact and to convey some hints along these lines.

That’s my guess anyway.

Nate Cull, Mon 13 Sep, 02:46

While I was composing my response to AOD’s latest NDE video, chris beat me to it, making the point about the experiencer not first running to NDE literature in order to interpret his own. I love it when we think in sync.

Newton E. Finn, Sat 11 Sep, 22:33

Good ones, Amos.  Thanks for sharing.

Michael Tymn, Sat 11 Sep, 21:08

Another gem, AOD, and what struck me so powerfully about this NDE account, apart from its humble honesty, is that the experiencer has so far refused to read other NDE stories, wanting instead to fully absorb and integrate his own experience without possible embellishment by the accounts of others. When you find NDE stories of this quality, AOD, please keep them coming.

Newton E. Finn, Sat 11 Sep, 15:31

Fascinating NDE. It was a good idea of him not to read other experiences before he told his own. So there was no mixing up. I read a lot of NDE’s on the website of Nderf.org and I think there are three keywords in most of the stories: light ,love and connection.

chris, Sat 11 Sep, 14:14

Newton,
Here is another NDE which I know you will appreciate.  It is a good comparison to the previous NDE link below. These stories are difficult to ignore.  - AOD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQVkcimoByE

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 11 Sep, 01:53

Yup, Michael, the scientism folk dance jubilantly around the Mars landing computers AND on the graves of the great psychical researchers. And yes, AOD, that was a wonderful NDE video! It raised two issues that I’ll take up in a new thread: first, “there are no sins;” and second, “the plan is perfect.” I think that both statements can be true or false in light of the context in which they’re uttered. Look forward to shooting this around in the near future with the congregation Michael has assembled here.

Newton E. Finn, Fri 10 Sep, 16:41

Newton,

There is definitely a paradox of sorts when it comes to comparing progress in space with progress in communication with the spirit world.  The media shows scientists jubilantly dancing around their computers after the successful landing of a robot on Mars, but offer good evidence that we have successfully communicated with the spirit world and it is considered a big joke.  The only reaction by the media is to laugh at the latest “woo-woo” news.

Michael Tymn, Thu 9 Sep, 21:51

Here is an NDE worth watching. - AOD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCOpzLBYeto

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 9 Sep, 21:09

I feel like saying two things: first, that it’s nice to see new voices like Dorians’ and Andrew’s chime in on this blog; and second, that I have little interest in UFO phenomena. Given the size of the known universe, and the potential number of planets habitable by humanoids or other intelligent lifeforms, I would be shocked if we were unique and alone on this side of the veil. Figuring out a way to travel faster than light would seem to be child’s play compared to figuring out a way for the dead to communicate with the living. Yet does this blog not provide ample evidence that this second, more difficult problem has already been at least partially solved?

Newton E. Finn, Wed 8 Sep, 15:27

Dorian,

Thanks for the comments.  I have not noticed a tendency among those interested in “occult matters” to lack interest in or avoid discussion of UFOs.  In fact, among my few friends it is a frequent topic.  Most of my friends have died off, so I realize that the small number left is not necessarily a valid sample. However, I don’t recall noticing it when most of my friends were alive.

As to drawing line on house pests, I have asked myself what I would do if living alone. I still would not be able to permit lizards to run around the walls and leave their droppings in the house or to run over the dishes in the dish closet, etc. I know of no traps in which to catch them or any way to catch them without injuring them. Same with ants.  I can’t permit colonies of ants to have a safe haven in my house and so we put out ant traps. I still remember the time about 50 years ago when our son came back from summer camp with lice in his hair. There was no question then that the lice had to be terminated.

Michael Tymn, Tue 7 Sep, 22:04

My second comment in a row:

On the question “Where do you draw the line” in relation to respect for the spiritual dimension of animal lives:  It will be hardly any novelty to say, but it looks right : namely,....

The answer is to be found by examining one’s heart.

If the heart is “disturbed,” first, one should acknowledge that, and then express it, anyway you find fit : from a simple “Moral or Prudential Algebra” of Franklin, via having talks with someone, to creating art.

The problem has vexed me, too, and I have found a way to gain peace vis-a-vis it. That peace is not the same peace as that of an ordinary person who, when asked to execute a simple technical task, - put a stamp, pass a biscuit - sees no problem about it, and does it.  The peace is rather, that of an artist, or anyone else who has acknowledged a problem in his inner life, treats every single instance of mental discomfort as one more opportunity for analysis, and by doing that, experiences a catharsis, and transforms his very perception of the situation.

“OK, I’ll kill the lizard but save my marriage. but…  why is my marriage worth saving? ”
Not that it isn’t, but try see more clearly what matters deep in your heart.

Through this process that I’ve just indicated, I see much more clearly what are the possible options in front of me, and even that very basic fact brings a much needed relaxation.  And, perhaps more importantly, it appears to bring some new threads of nobility in the mind.

Insofar this is unclear, I’m not going to try make it clearer. The answers are to be found in practice.

All the best

Dorian JR, Tue 7 Sep, 12:32

A new reader and first-time commenter, introducted to this place via Michael Prescott’s blog.

Here you raised the question of UFOs and spirit involvement :

Well, the other night I’ve been reading “The Edge of Reality” (1975), a collection of discussions between UFO experts, and on page 145, Jacques Vallee says :

One thing that bothers me whenever this subject of links with the occult comes up is a curious tendency on the part of even the most knowledgeable of those people to reject UFOs just as scientists do. For instance, you approach the subject of UFOs with people who are into the cabala or astrology, alchemy, spiritualism, or other esoteric topics. These are very well-established disciplines with certain hierarchies of subjects. But whenever you mention UFOs they just don’t fit into any of their existing categories; there is no occult school that has a tradition of UFOs. They are just as baffled about it as the rationalists, and they tend to reject it with the same kind of skepticism; in other words, you find the same kind of skepticism in the high priests of the occult as you find in the high priests of science.

HASTINGS: That’s quite true, absolutely true. Now why is that? The behavior of the UFOs, the technology, might have some similarities. But the behavior, the intelligence and the occupants absolutely have no place in any of the occult traditions.

HYNEK: But what about the humanoids? If you’re going to say they resemble anything, it seems to me if I were pressed to that, I would say they resemble large versions of the Little People, or sometimes the things that are called Elementals in the occult literature.

VALLEE: Yes, but there really is no occult tradition about contact with the Little People. There are Rosicrucian theories of contact with Elementals, but Elementals and the Little People (the Elves and Leprechauns of Celtic lore) are two different things. [......]

[Soon the discussion closes off with the following words:]

VALLEE: Well, maybe there is [a connection], but it’s certainly not clear to what extent, if there is a connection .... To me, that’s an indication of how important and central the subject is, that it doesn’t fit into any of the existing categories.

[end of quotations]

Some of you may be curious how good is the book.

... It’s likely one of the top five in the field.

And, it’s worth mentioning, like many other genuine UFO examinations, it makes it quite clear that the UFO phenomena are very often tied with psychic ones.
The UFO phenomenon is also very often tied with reports of the UFO changing its appearance, radically.
That strongly suggests that this subject is unlikely to become reduced to a theme of physical objects entering and leaving the narrow domain of our perception, from domains beyond our scope.

Dorian JR, Tue 7 Sep, 12:24

Andrew,

Thanks for your kind comments.

I’ve been interested in UFOs since one hovered over my house in California about 1951.  I even attended a UFO conference about 17 years ago. I have thought about the possibility that intricate crop circles are some form of spirit expression, and I have wondered if the “flashes” seen from Navy ships are spirit related, but I have never thought about the link between seance room phenomena and UFOs. To the extent that they might be called “supernormal” perhaps there is a link there.  I lean toward the more solid UFOs having broken through some time barrier.  According to a psychic I talked with many years ago, I come from the planet Sirius.  Perhaps that UFO I saw hovering over my home in 1951 replaced my original self with a “walk-in” of some kind and I don’t remember that part of it. smile  It is all very interesting.

Michael Tymn, Sun 5 Sep, 20:21

you are totally correct, Amos! Nature is the best prove of the divine design: how many insects ,including butterflies are attracted to the rotten fruit. How can you explain that the biggest flower on earth (rafflesia) attracts flies by smelling as rotten flesh and some orchids that look like and smell as a unique sort of female bug so that they can be pollinated by misguided male bugs. Just occasional evolution? No way! Even scientists today admit that the evolution theory of Darwin is just part of the story, certainly not the whole story.

chris, Sun 5 Sep, 15:44

Thanks to all whose comments add so much to this blog, this precious gift from Michael. I don’t want to take this discussion even farther afield, but I do want to link to a provocative piece from biologist Rupert Sheldrake, whose theories of morphic fields and morphic resonance have, I suspect, much to do with the subjects of reincarnation and communication with those in the afterlife. Here, Rupert explores the possibility that consciousness permeates not only things we recognize as living but, on some level, the entire universe (panpsychism). This would move in the direction of explaining, for example, how apparently inanimate objects can be animated in physical mediumship. So ask yourself the seemingly silly question whether the sun is conscious…and then work your way through this paper if you’re so inclined.

https://www.sheldrake.org/files/pdfs/papers/Is_the_Sun_Conscious.pdf

Newton E. Finn, Sun 5 Sep, 15:18

I believe that every living thing is a consciousness and the form the consciousness takes reflects that consciousness in some way in its spiritual evolution and purpose.  All creations of God are beautiful in design and function and there is no imperfection.  A rotten apple is a perfect ‘rotten apple’ by definition.  It is only in one’s individualistic preference for beauty or ‘cuteness’, that lines are drawn.  One may deem some forms worthy of respect simply because they are pleasing to the eye but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and is judgmental.  In my opinion, some of the most beautifully designed forms are to be found in those species that some humans find repulsive perhaps because they simply refuse to really look at them from a design and function perspective.


I find insects and spiders some of the most beautiful creatures in terms of design and function but I know that is only my judgmental self drawing the line.  Worms and maggots are beautifully designed for the purpose they serve and when seen apart from the environment in which they live are no less beautiful than caterpillars that turn into butterflies.


I think that God’s designers (of which I hope to become one) have a great sense of humor exhibited in the design of many species they create including the Warthog and Horned Toads.  Some birds I find especially designed with humor in mind.  Their colors and forms are masterful ideas of beauty and function, pleasing to the eye in some and also a reflection of the joy of creation. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 5 Sep, 14:07

Andrew,
Andrew,I follow the Roswell case on history channel…maybe the Belgium version is later. I think it has nothing to do with ectoplasm, because that is sensitive to white light. I think they are alien crafts , from species who are able to enter more dimensions than we are for the moment and who are more advanced or it is a hidden US air and space program. In the earlier link I gave on this blog the spirit Jonathan Hunter gives his opinion on those ufo’s.

Chris, Sun 5 Sep, 11:54

Newton Finn 4 Sep, 15:00:

“So our friend and his brethren (Egyptian priests) see now that all nature in your world is a phenomenal manifestation of the Supreme; and that if life in all its varied forms may not be held up as an object of adoration, still the groping spirit who strives to reach up through nature to its God is not to be visited with unreasoning blame…. It was a faith which recognized God in all nature, and especially in all animal life.” So let us postmodern “Egyptians” take heart that we’re on the right track, however difficult and impossible and contradictory it may seem and feel, to struggle to live with reverence for life.

Well said, by Imperator and you, Newton. Seeing God in all creatures isn’t achieved by sentimentality; a lot of nature is beautiful, but some is not: do you see God in worms, horned toads and warthogs? Developing reverence for life is, as you say, a struggle. It’s not only a matter of enjoying “cute” animals. Perhaps, like so much else, it requires perceiving beyond earthly appearances.

Michael 1 Sept. 22:13:

I agree with everyone relative to animal life, but I always wonder where you draw the line, especially with regard to house pests.  Do you let flies, ants, and roaches invade your home or do you exterminate them? How about rats, which are the cute squirrel and chipmunk family?

There is no way to avoid drawing lines. The person who is indifferent to any animal suffering has drawn the line at one end of the scale. The Jain who sweeps the sidewalk so he won’t accidentally kill ants by stepping on them draws the line at the other extreme.

The lines drawn are often unconscious. The person who doesn’t care hasn’t come to a reasoned policy, he’s just self-centered, ignorant of the effects of his behavior. The Jain may appeal more to our feelings, but his value system is based on tradition and religious teaching—I doubt any Jain has come via philosophy or personal morality to the conclusion that he must sweep the path ahead.

Even people who do think about their relation to other animals have to draw the line at some arbitrary point. No set of rules can relieve them of that decision. I don’t think there is anything “spiritual” about letting pests degrade a home. That’s voluntary martyrdom, and the consequences are almost surely negative.

But that still leaves plenty of room to improve the lives of animals we care about.

Rick Darby, Sun 5 Sep, 06:55

Wanted to express appreciation to you Michael and other regular commentators Newton Finn, Amos Doyle , Eric Franklin et al for some excellent thought provoking observations and ideas over the past few months.As a regular reader of all your material I’d like to find out whether anyone has followed the recent revival of interest in the Roswell aliens incident of 1947 and UFO’S generally. Seems outlandish but witnesses include Michio Kaku , 60 minutes and many other notable people with no particular interest in these phenomena.All these people have observed aircraft   beating all laws of physics in the air and water. Apparently no nation on earth has the technology to conduct the manoeuvres of these objects.Astonishing.My further question is has anyone considered the possibility that there is spirit involvement. As witnessed in many seances the movement of Apports , trumpets etc in ways that coincide with the UFO’S in speed and dexterity makes me wonder. Am I out on a limb here or does anyone else see the connection??

andrew g simpson, Sat 4 Sep, 20:05

To bring the discussion on this thread full circle, a discussion which began with the spiritualist subject of physical mediumship (spirit “animation” of inanimate objects) and then appeared to drift off into animals and the sanctity of all lifeforms, let me offer some quotes from “Spirit Teachings” which I came upon in this morning’s devotional reading. With reference to the religion of ancient Egypt, Imperator had this to say: “The great God was to them represented by every living thing…. When they saw God in everything, they did well…. Their doctrine of transmigration through vast ages and cycles was an error which symbolized and typified eternal and unceasing progress…. So our friend and his brethren (Egyptian priests) see now that all nature in your world is a phenomenal manifestation of the Supreme; and that if life in all its varied forms may not be held up as an object of adoration, still the groping spirit who strives to reach up through nature to its God is not to be visited with unreasoning blame…. It was a faith which recognized God in all nature, and especially in all animal life.” So let us postmodern “Egyptians” take heart that we’re on the right track, however difficult and impossible and contradictory it may seem and feel, to struggle to live with reverence for life.

Newton E. Finn, Sat 4 Sep, 15:00

Chris, thanks for the link.  The ‘facet’ explanation for reincarnation is consistent with what Frederic Myers said through Geradline Cummins and also with what Silver Birch said through Maurice Barbanell. I think it was Silver Birch who used the diamond simile.

Michael Tymn, Sat 4 Sep, 07:20

Michael, I just saw a video of Elaine Thorpe/Jonathan Hunter where many questions are answered. They deal with reincarnation and yes….
hell. About reincanation he tells the story of the facets and the diamond. The old ‘personality’ seems to stay in the afterlife, while another facet incarnates. On hell he says that you will go where you think you will go, so positive thinking is the message here. He also speaks about the differences in going over (tunnel,meadows,doors), eartbound spirits and other topics.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gp52YZGiAKs

Chris, Fri 3 Sep, 17:58

Michael,
I think your compassion for ants will cancel-out your disdain for geckos. In Florida, my wife has a similar problem with the Anole lizards which she calls “Tic Tacs”.  They are very similar to smallish geckos. She reacts to them as your wife does.  Actually she won’t go into a room when she knows a “TacTac” is in it.  Actually if you would encourage the geckos in your house perhaps that would solve your ant problem and you would be home-free in heaven.- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 3 Sep, 17:10

Yes it is a no-win situation, Michael. While I spent many months rescuing and relocating the ants who invaded my home and think I finally succeeded in moving the colonies outdoors, I can’t catch those damn flies. So when they get out of control, I swat them, feeling guilty about it and seeking forgiveness from them and God for yielding to what Schweitzer called “necessity.” I think we are put into such situations (and there are many) as a kind of stretch-and-strain apparatus (Fritz Schumacher’s words) to help us more fully develop our humanity. The point IMHO is to learn not to feel good about evil when we decide we have to do it.

Newton E. Finn, Fri 3 Sep, 15:05

Newton, thanks for the link to your interesting article about Schweitzer.  One innocent creature was saved from extinction by it. As I was reading it, an ant leisurely made its way across my desk. I was about to tear a piece of paper from a note pad and terminate the trespasser, but you and Schweitzer inspired me to let it meander on its merry way.

Nevertheless, neither your wise words nor those of Amos, have helped me deal with the gekko situation. They are simply too fast to gently catch with one’s hand and deposit them uninjured to a safe abode outside. If I ignore my wife’s scream that another reptile has invaded our home, I face marital disharmony and an unsanitary house. If I grab a weapon, i.e., a flyswatter, and put my old military training to the test, I will no doubt deal a fatal blow to the creature. My percentage of misses is much more now than when I was younger, but I can still score 50 percent or better on the first swat.

When I carry the fatally wounded animal to its final resting place, I will feel great guilt and picture the GEICO gekko lecturing me during my stopover in Hell. It’s a no-win situation.

Michael Tymn, Fri 3 Sep, 00:03

I think I could write a discretion in response to the issues that Michael, Chris and Newton have brought up regarding animals.  But at the risk of going far a-field from the topic of this thread I have the following comments.


When one considers animals, I think that one should think in terms of consciousness and not form.  It is consciousness that links us all together in the fabric of life.  It may be that one should acknowledge that all consciousnesses, while being part of the great consciousness, are learning through experience to return to that creative consciousness that, just like electricity is a basic element of the universe.


Consciousness exists in the physical world for but an instant.  Whether it is for hours, days or weeks as in the case of some insects or for a century or more as in the case of some reptiles and a few humans. But compared to eternity, a hundred years is but an instant on the skein of time.


Whenever I swat a fly or catch a mouse in a snap trap, their time of physical experience is not appreciably shortened. When possible, for the more sentient animals, I try to inform them that they have put themselves in danger by entering my home and if possible, I catch them and release them in an environment that is more conducive to their well-being.  The snake that entered my kitchen I threw a towel over him, picked him up and released him in the forest of trees in my front yard.  Similarly, if a mouse imprisons himself in an empty plastic trash can under my kitchen sink, I take him outside and, against my better judgement, (mice are filthy creatures in the house) release him, preferably as far away from my house as I can get.  (I have had an experience of a mouse with a deformed leg returning to my house when I released him too close so that he knew the way to return.)

The lesser consciousness in those creatures that humans deem inferior are still a part of God, a small part that is evolving through experience in physical form.  When they have placed themselves in danger and I reluctantly have to arrange for their demise, I simply say “Go with God.” And dispose of them if possible.  On a very rare occasion, as with a bird that knocks herself out against my windows, I may actually bury them.
 

Several weeks ago, I caught a racoon in a live trap and had to remove him from the vicinity of my house.  He did not seem afraid in the trap but did stare at me with two beady black eyes and communicated to me his deep concern with what was happening to him.  When I released him several miles from my house in the river bottoms, he belted from the trap when I opened it a little with such speed and dexterity that he became the flying embodiment of the word ’freedom’ itself. I felt good about releasing him for the next several days. (I hope he has a good life for a few more years.)


Well, I don’t know, but all life is precious; all living things are consciousness embodied and deserve the same respect that is given to consciousness in a human form. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 2 Sep, 17:45

Albert Schweitzer, who distilled the elemental, universal value of “reverence for life,” was compelled to kill poisonous spiders in his jungle hospital and dispatch many other dangerous pests. When someone brought him an injured young osprey (he treated animals as well as humans), he decided to catch small fish to feed the osprey, fully realizing that he was killing one species to save another. His “reverence for life” ethic, to which the below-linked essay provides a brief and inadequate introduction, provides an appropriate background for the comments of Chris, Michael, Rick, AOD, and others about this deeply felt dilemma of life and death…at our hands.

https://newtonfinn.com/2017/12/18/two-rivers-one-spirit/

Newton E. Finn, Thu 2 Sep, 14:53

Michael, I understand your animal problem. I ‘ve the same dilemma especialy with all sorts of aphids. In my conservatory they keep sucking the life out my tropical plants. So my dilemma is : can I kill the aphids or they kill my plants. I know very well that I created that problem myself.I created an unnatural environment with no natural predators for the aphids. So I try to play the predator to save the plants…but know that the aphids still win the battle. In spring I killed a rat who was feeding on the fallen birdfood…it still feels wrong, but I know that they are a source of deseases. Mosquitos I also kill inside the house, animals that attack me of have the intention to harm me, I feel I have the right to defend me. And then there is animal food. God made us omnivore, so some of us need meat to function well. Know that even the vegetarians eat lots of meat or do they really think that all their sallads are completely aphid and bugfree? And you don’t want to know how many microbes and bacteria you inhale en eat…that is also life…even the plants are life. So the choice is killing other life or killing yourself while starving to dead. Don’t you think that God would made us different when it was not allowed to kill our fellow friends in animal and plantlife? I think that motivation and how we treat the other life is important. Have respect for the animals and plants that gives us our strenght by eating them, even for the bugs you kill, consider that they do what they supposed to do, but that you have a reason to do what you do. Think and act with respect. I regretfully notice that the animalfarming business have lost treating them with respect. Do we really need to full up small spaces with chickens,pigs and cows so they even can not move? Give them space and let them see daylight and let them eat natural greenery. Luckely the opinion of the treatment of animals is getting better and more respectfull ans some government make laws to prevent such treatments.

Chris, Thu 2 Sep, 09:07

I agree with everyone relative to animal life, but I always wonder where you draw the line, especially with regard to house pests.  Do you let flies, ants, and roaches invade your home or do you exterminate them? How about rats, which are the cute squirrel and chipmunk family?

Here in Hawaii, we have problems with gekkos, small lizards three, four, or five inches long.  They are no problem as long as they stay outside, but if they make it into your home they run around the walls and leave their droppings all over the place.  They are too fast to catch and return to the outdoors.  The only way to catch them is with a fly swatter, which stuns them and knocks them from the wall so you can finish them off on the floor, although it is sometimes a fatal blow or knocks their tails off.

Are all these pests to be ignored and leave us living in an unsanitary abode, attacked by flies, overrun by aunts, etc., etc.  I’ve asked this question of other animal lovers in the past and have never received a straight answer.

I feel bad when I hear my wife scream and I have to rush to her aid and exterminate a lizard. They often look so innocent and I wonder if my initial station in the afterlife will be with hundreds of lizards crawling on me.

I don’t fish, but what do you think of fishermen who use worms on their hooks?  What if your child comes home from school infested with lice in his hair?  Do you welcome them?  If not, where do you draw the line?

Michael Tymn, Wed 1 Sep, 22:13

Newton E. Finn, 1 Sep, 00:34:

Thanks for your comment about animals. I don’t know if animals are closer to God then we are (although considering the acts of some humans that sounds right!). Otherwise, your thoughts resonate.

Two cats allow me to share their home, and after long observation I am convinced they are sensitive, capable of emotions and moods. Like us, they can be apparently remote and self-centered, but at other times they display caring and attachment. It’s fascinating how cats are an amalgam of human-like and non-human-like behaviors.

It makes me ill to learn about mistreatment of animals. It is a deed very much on the negative side of mankind’s ledger. No one is obligated to like any individual animal or species, but unless to prevent greater harm, they should be left alone to play their role in the great scheme of life.

Rick Darby, Wed 1 Sep, 21:04

A very big thanks for the links to Isabelle Duchene. I looked at the video and was impressed with Isabelle’s comments and intend to spend some time looking at her website.  I think there are many mediums in the world, some of whom do not speak English.  It is unfortunate that English-speaking people are not aware of them. Thanks again Chris for bringing Isabelle Duchene to my attention.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 1 Sep, 17:20

Michael,
I found an interesting interview with Isabelle Duchene, an Belgian trancemedium, in English about the four sorts of mediumship and also about circles. On her own website are some photo’s of physical mediumship.She explains in the interview that ectoplasm reacts on light as photographs before the digital era…they were also developed in red light, because white light destroys the development.Maybe you know her ...she recommends your book on her website.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ls5LMVsFFo
https://www.isabelleduchene.com/trance-mediumschap.html

Chris, Wed 1 Sep, 15:01

Newton and Chris
Consciousness is prime!  All living things have a spark of that consciousness which creates and enlivens the planet earth.  Animals are a part of that same consciousness that most humans claim as their own.  The Greek physician Hippocrates noted that more than 2,500 years ago when he is reported to have written about animals that their consciousness is the same as the consciousness of humans but,  “only the form is different.”

Well, I am not so sure that animal consciousness is exactly the same as human consciousness but I believe, after living closely with some animals and a lifetime of observing many different species of animals, that they all are aware , that they have emotions and all try to fulfill the purpose of their life.

Personally, I believe that consciousness is evolving and that the consciousness of the ‘lower’ animals (not just mammals) is growing through experience just as we are. That is the mechanism by which ‘God’ is continuing to evolve and by which he becomes omniscient.  I believe it was Patience Worth who said that she could not describe God because he was not the same today as he was yesterday and will not be the same tomorrow.

I can no longer watch movies with animals in them as I have developed a special sensitivity to the inner experience of those animals. Even photographs of animals speak to me.  I have become so sensitized to the thoughts of animals that I choose not to have a pet even though I would like to share my home with one. I do have a groundhog under the porch and various creatures around my house including a snake in the kitchen last week, birds at the bird feeder, squirrels at the bird feeder and many spiders and other insects.  They are all part of the great consciousness experiencing physicality.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 1 Sep, 14:33

The quote from Gerber sums up my thoughts about levitation and other physical séance phenomena.

“For nowadays when there are so many people who believe in no God, no Beyond, no spirit world and no survival after death, it does some good that they should witness the kind of things of which you speak, if only because it compels them to think of these matters, to relinquish their skeptical attitude and to make a beginning of trying to discover the truth.”

That’s it in a nutshell. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 1 Sep, 13:31

I must admit that Greber is right in my case. In my negative period I was looking at Ghost Adventures and there was my interest for spiritualism created. It was a world ,I never knew it existed. I quickly realised that it was all to negative and went on the search for the positive things and found them…when I read those spirit teachings I became more and more positive, but don’t be misunderstood, so now and then there are some bad days too. I think that’s part of life, isn’t it?

Chris, Wed 1 Sep, 07:50

Chris, you’re so right concerning the animals, the other living creatures with which we share the earth. Thank you for standing up for them in the midst of this sixth mass extinction largely caused by us. OF COURSE the animals and other life forms think and feel on some level, even rejoice and suffer, each in their own way. Are they all not closer to God than we are, not having eaten of that mythological tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Newton E. Finn, Wed 1 Sep, 00:34

Like Amos, I get the gist of what St. Louis, or perhaps his group soul, is saying, but it is a very fuzzy picture.  One of the most interesting discussions of all this is set forth in Johannes Greber’s book, “Communication with The Spirit World of God,” first published in 1932. Greber was a Catholic priest who left the Church to study psychic phenomena after some interesting experiences with mediums.  Here are a few extracts from that book relative to od or odic force, which is supposedly the life force.  I think od is another name for ectoplasm or teleplasm, but I know at least one person who disagrees.

“Inasmuch as od is spiritual in its nature, it also has the property, in common with spirits, of being unaffected by the resistance offered by matter of any kind…You have something similar in the case of the so-call Roentgen rays, so that it will not be difficult for you to understand what I am saying.”

“But all life, in both the material world and in the world of spirit, is bound up with the odic force.  This is the most powerful force in Creation, and it is the force by means of which God, who is the source of this force, can overthrow all things…”

“The condensation of od in the presence of heat and in bright daylight is not entirely impossible, but requires a quantity of od far greater than that available, except in the rarest instances, to the spirit world for communicating with man. Otherwise, for Creation as a whole and for the performance of special tasks, the good spirit-world has at its disposal odic energy in unlimited amount and strength.”

“...the od of the superior spirit world is far too fine and pure to combine with the very differently constituted od of terrestrial beings….It follows that for its work on earth the spirit world must use od of a type suited to the terrestrial od, and, as a rule, finds the type it needs in those terrestrial beings within whose sphere that work is to be performed…Terrestrial beings able to spare sufficient odic energy are said to be ‘mediumistic’.”

“It is true that a spirit can grasp and move concrete objects without materializing its spirit hands, provided that object has been previously dissolved into od, for any matter which has been converted into od, and hence, etherealized, is directly accessible to a disembodied spirit. But unless such dissolution has taken place, a concrete object can be grasped by a disembodied spirit only when the latter’s spirit hand had undergone materialization, for only like can grasp like.”

“Tables, chairs, utensils of all kinds, rise and float from one spot to another; instruments begin to play; a bugle rises into the air and blows; a drum near at hand gives off beats, bells fly across the room and ring…It goes without saying that good spirits do not stoop to these tricks, for it is not their place to produce phenomena intended only to gratify man’s taste for the extraordinary….But even the ‘high carnival of evil’ as you call it, which goes on at modern spiritistic meetings, has not infrequently a good effect in spite of everything. For nowadays when there are so many people who believe in no God, no Beyond, no spirit world and no survival after death, it does some good that they should witness the kind of things of which you speak, if only because it compels them to think of these matters, to relinquish their skeptical attitude and to make a beginning of trying to discover the truth.”

Thanks to all for the comments so far.

Michael Tymn, Tue 31 Aug, 23:37

As a spiritual healing medium, I find the following explanation interesting as I apply it to peoples’ bodies and their physiological systems in which movements and changes occur in manifested “supernatural” healings:
“It is not he who pushes it as a man does a burden; when the table is raised, it is not the spirit who raises it by strength of arm, it is the animated table that obeys the impulse given by the spirit.” My interpretation [by Newton E. Finn, above] is that spirits and mediums do not exercise any kind of force to move objects or cause other physical manifestations. Rather, the spirit infuses a kind of “life” or agency into an otherwise inert object, which object then temporarily has the power to act on its own, subject to the will of the spirit and the capacity (openness, thinness) of the medium. An fascinating instance of the ancient belief of animism seems to be laid out here—a special case in which naturally inanimate objects are animated for the sole purpose of allowing “supernatural” phenomena to occur.

Jane Katra, Tue 31 Aug, 21:51

Rick,
I agree with you, I think.  Translations rarely convey the true cultural intent of the language.  If the translation is more than 150 years old then perhaps an update of that translation would be appropriate at this time.  (I am pretty sure that “chord” and “string” are meant to convey the same thought but the translator’s choice of ‘chord’ does not have the same meaning in English when applied to a piano as a piano ‘string’ would have.)


I find the translations of the responses of the spirit “St. Louis” to be somewhat difficult for me to understand.  What is all of this “fluid’ stuff; “fluid that composes the perispirit”, “magnetic fluid”, “universal fluid”, “electric fluid”, “animal magnetic fluid”. “fluid exhaled by the medium”, “fluid thrown off by his will”, “animalized fluid”. “necessary fluidic power’?  Where is the evidence for all of this “fluid”?  Perhaps use of the word “fluid”  is another translation problem.

This is one of those translations that makes me think I think that I know what it says but I have to use my own brain to supply the intent.  But then, that is really my own input into the translation which may or may not be the original intent.

I guess that maybe that is why I haven’t spent much time with the Kardec spiritist “religion” of South America. – A-OD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 31 Aug, 21:38

In 1874 “fluids” would be about as ethereal a medium as one could conceive. Since the development of quantum mechanics, field theory would probably provide a more informed understanding of the dynamic operating in communication between dimensions.

Victorian commentary on spirit contact is charmingly quaint, but not particularly enlightening.

Frank Juszczyk, Tue 31 Aug, 20:56

Rick, to the extent that anyone can explain things beyond our current comprehension, this interview indicates that physical mediumship is NOT a matter of a spirit him-or herself moving anything on his or her own. Nor is it a matter of the medium, via his or her power or capacity, causing things to move on his or her own. Nor is it a combination of the two. Rather, physical mediumship involves a power or capacity of the spirit to temporarily instill into inanimate objects the ability to move around as if they were alive, or in the case of a living object like a body, to do things normally impossible for it to do, such as to defy the law of gravity. Once the object is so animated, infused with spirit energy, THEN the spirit, using the medium’s thin space and, in certain cases, the medium’s ectoplasm, can tell a table to lift, a trumpet to fly, a body to levitate, etc., which the objects have now been empowered to do. At least that’s how I read this most interesting interview, which does present NEW information, at least to me.

Newton E. Finn, Tue 31 Aug, 16:18

Rick, I saw on the History channel a program about a man who could put on a lamp only with his mind in scientific conditions, so those electric men seems to exist.
To animate the table with temporal ‘animal life’, is I think living like a robot. If it’s got no commands it does not do anything.I do not agree st. Louis when saying that animals have no intelligence and aren’t able to think…there is enough prove to contradict.

chris, Tue 31 Aug, 15:30

It is funny to read that there are little advanced spirits who think that they strike the piano with their fingers instead with the fluid to animate the pianokeys and their will. How many times do we,humans, think that we play the piano only with our fingers not noticing that our muscles are driven by the automatic part of our consciousness. Other parts will help us reading the composition and help to place our hands and coordinates the movements…maybe we don’t differ so much afterall.

chris, Tue 31 Aug, 09:24

This Q and A is derived from the Anna Blackwell translation, now about a century and a half old. Does anyone know of a valid modern translation? Anyway, the language may be a close parallel to the 19th century French, but as English it’s often awkward and puzzling.

“St. Louis” seems to offer an explanation of physical mediumship that resembles what might be a consensus within psychical research. The more elevated spirits are too far from the earth plane to pull off demonstrations on their own; they need to work with spirits of lower development. In addition, they must draw ectoplasm from the medium or sitters to form their proxy and activate it.

I don’t understand several of “St. Louis’s” statements in this dialogue.

He animates matter with a kind of factitious life; the matter is animated with animal life.  The table that moves under your hands lives like the animal; it obeys the intelligent being.  It is not he who pushes it as a man does a burden; when the table is raised, it is not the spirit who raises it by strength of arm, it is the animated table that obeys the impulse given by the spirit.

What does it mean that the table is “animated with animal life”?

***

Kardec: Can persons called electric be considered as mediums?

What persons are called electric, and what does that mean?

***

Since he [the animating spirit] can act on matter, he can act on air as well as on the table.  As to articulate sounds, he can imitate them, as he can all other noises.

How does he act on air and imitate specific sounds?

***

... Fluid of the perispirit penetrates matter, and is identified with it, that it animates it with a factitious life?  Well, when the spirit rests his fingers on the [piano] keys, he puts them there really, and even moves them; but it is not by muscular force that he presses the keys; he animates it as he animated the table, and the key, which obeys his will, moves and strikes the chord.

Can anyone explain how the piano key “obeys [the spirit’s] will, moves and strikes the chord” (I think he means a piano string).

Rick Darby, Tue 31 Aug, 07:57

Most instructive Q&A you’ve put before us, Michael. I found this answer particularly helpful in trying to understand more about physical mediumship: “It is not he who pushes it as a man does a burden; when the table is raised, it is not the spirit who raises it by strength of arm, it is the animated table that obeys the impulse given by the spirit.” My interpretation is that spirits and mediums do not exercise any kind of force to move objects or cause other physical manifestations. Rather, the spirit infuses a kind of “life” or agency into an otherwise inert object, which object then temporarily has the power to act on its own, subject to the will of the spirit and the capacity (openness, thinness) of the medium. An fascinating instance of the ancient belief of animism seems to be laid out here—a special case in which naturally inanimate objects are animated for the sole purpose of allowing “supernatural” phenomena to occur.

Newton E. Finn, Mon 30 Aug, 15:31


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