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What Is Spiritualism

Learn about spiritualism, what it is, and what it means to be a spiritualist. Includes a brief history of spiritualism and some of the theology.
TAGS: spiritualist, spiritualism, mediums, mediumship, psychic, spirits

What Is Spiritualism

Spiritualism is a difficult religious practice to define concretely, as the beliefs of those who practice it vary greatly. Spiritualism is a way of life, the most notable difference from most other religions is that it isn't theological in nature, and is more about experiencing the divine as an individual rather than worship. In spiritualism there is no savior, it is believed that every person has a spirit, and that there is life after death. Some who consider themselves a Spiritualist believe in reincarnation, while others do not.

It is possible for two people to be Spiritualists, but also have contradictory belief systems, the experience of spirit is however a common factor between all who practice. Many Spiritualists meditate, practice yoga, some practice Shamanism and use mind altering plants in a spiritual context, some may fast, some believe in god, some practice the tantra, and some do not. Understandably, this is a sticky religion to define. Psychic phenomenon is accepted by Spiritualists, and is generally seen as a side effect of the Spiritual ascension process, not the goal itself.

While Spiritualism can not really be credited to any one founder, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), was a philosopher and teacher of the spirit, and much of the movement's earlier success is attributed to him. In 1848 the Fox sisters supposedly contacted an entity who was disturbing the Fox family with strange activities and sounds. The famous "Hydesville Knockings" as they were called, led to the interest in mediumship and ushered in the popularity of that form of Spiritualism in America. Some say that Spiritualism only applies to the idea that disembodied spirits exist, while it is true that those who have such beliefs would most likely be a Spiritualist, this is not a requirement in order to be considered one.

Spiritualists are also known to study astrology, Qi Gong, Reiki, and a number of other spiritual practices. As long as one believes that they have a spirit, have had a spiritual experience, and do some type of spiritual practice, they can be considered a Spiritualist. Being a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or member of any other religion does not mean one can not be a Spiritualist, even though theology is not a requirement to be a Spiritualist. Hopefully this clears up some of the confusion about Spiritualism, you might even find you have been one for years and didn't even know it!

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