Where We Came From
The History of Spiritualism
The essence of what we now call Spiritualism has its origins in ancient history. Within our lineage can be seen certain fundamental truths which run through many of the world’s major religious philosophies.Though they may be expressed differently within each culture and era, these precepts are remarkably similar. Generally, it is universally accepted that the Divine animates the spiritual life of all beings here on earth.
In more recent times, the shape of Spiritualism as we know it today emerged within the inspired work of philosophers such as Emanuel Swedenborg in Europe, and Andrew Jackson Davis in America. They were but two of the many truth seekers and visionaries who dared to reveal their awareness of spiritual reality in direct contradiction to the prevailing orthodox dogma of the time. Indeed, most of our great religions have sprung from the divinely inspired words of a great medium.
Emanuel Swedenborg was an eminent 18th century engineer, physicist and economist whose works contain the very foundations of Spiritualist thought: personal responsibility for one’s eternity, direct spirit communication, the oneness of all mankind, and a relationship with one’s God which did not require the intervention of a priest.
In the mid 19th century, the great American visionary Andrew Jackson Davis wrote a revolutionary work called The Great Harmonia and, together with his contemporaries, Emma Hardinge Britten and others, moved Spiritualism into prominence both in North America and across the globe.
That which is called Modern Spiritualism is celebrated annually on March 31st, this being the date in 1848 when yet another two-way communication with the spirit world took place, this time at the Hydesville, New York home of the Fox family. It must be noted, however, that the spiritual terrain was already ripe for change. Quakers, Universalists and New Thought movements had long before taken root in the United States, manifesting and recording their own phenomena well before 1848. The Hydesville rappings were simply the spark which ignited the flame, the flame which became what we now call Rational Spiritualism.