A NEW ERA – CONSIDERATIONS CONCERNING SOMNAMBULISM
(PARIS, FEBRUARY 19th, 1867, MEDIUM, MR. T…, IN SPONTANEOUS SLEEP)
NOTE: No prior question had provoked the subject that was covered in this session. In the beginning the medium had busied himself with health, later, little by little, he saw himself conducted to the reflections, whose analysis is provided below. He spoke uninterrupted for approximately one hour.
Spiritism’s progress causes a certain fear in its opponents that they are unable to disguise. In the beginning they played with the turning tables, without thinking that they were caressing a child that was bound to grow up…and the child grew up…then they foresaw its future and said that soon they would be proven right…But, as it is customary to say, the boy had a troubled life. Resisting all attacks, the anathemas, persecutions, even the mockery. Similar to certain grains carried by the wind, it produced innumerous shoots…for each that was destroyed, one hundred more rose in its place.
In the beginning they employed the weapons of another era against it, those that in another time worked against new ideas, because these ideas were only sparse flashes that had a difficult time coming to light through ignorance and because it had not yet created any roots in the masses;…today is different; everything changed: the customs, ideas, character, beliefs; mankind is no longer moved by the threats that frighten children; the devil, so feared by our grandparents, no longer instills fear: they laugh at him.
Yes, the old weapons bent against the breastplate of progress. It is as if, nowadays, an army wants to attack a fort equipped with cannons, arrows, battering rams and the catapults of our ancestors.
The opponents of Spiritism saw, through experience, the uselessness of the worn out weapons of the past against a regenerative idea; far from harming it, their efforts only served to further its credibility.
In order to fight competitively with this century’s ideas, it is necessary to be on par with this century; it would be necessary for the progressive doctrines to oppose the even more progressive doctrines; but the lesser cannot beat the greater.
Then, not able to succeed through violence, they resorted to cleverness, the weapon of those that are conscious of their weakness… From wolves, they turned themselves into sheep, in order to enter the corral themselves, from there they would plant disorder, division, confusion. Because they were able to cause disturbances in some areas, they judged themselves masters of the domain too soon. Not even because of this did the isolated adherents stop their continuous work and daily the idea opens its path without causing much ruckus…They are the ones causing the ruckus…Can’t you see it cut across everything? In the newspapers, books, in the theater and even in the cathedra? It works all consciences; it pulls the spirits to new horizons; it is found in an intuitive state in those that have never heard of it. Here is a fact that no one can deny and that every day becomes more evident. Is this not proof that the idea is irresistible and that it is a sign of the times?
Therefore it is impossible to destroy it, because it would be necessary to destroy it not only in any one area, but in the entire world; after all, aren’t ideas carried by the wind? How would one reach them? It is possible to pick up packages filled with merchandise at customs. But, the ideas are impalpable.
Then, what to do? Try to take possession of them, in order to accommodate them to your own wishes…Then! It is the path which they decided upon. They told one another: Spiritism is the precursor of an inevitable moral revolution; before it is completely fulfilled, let us divert it to our benefit; we will make it as if what happened to it was like what happened with certain political revolutions; in altering its spirit one could change its course.
Thus, the campaign plan is altered…We will see spiritist meetings form themselves, whose confessed objective will be the defense of the doctrine, and whose secret objective will be its destruction; supposed mediums who will have recommended communications, adequate to the proposed end; publications that, under the cloak of Spiritism, will strive to destroy it; doctrines that took some of its ideas, but with the purpose of supplanting it. Here is the struggle, the true struggle that it will have to endure, and that it will be pursued desperately, but from which it will arise victorious and stronger.
Of what are men capable before God’s will? Is it possible to ignore it before what is happening? Is His finger not visible in this progress that defies all of its attacks? In these phenomenon that arise from all sides as a protest, like a refusal given all denials?…Is not the life of men, the luck of mankind in His hands?…Blinded are they!…They do not count on the new generation that raises itself and that is daily surpassing the generation that passes…yet in a few years this one will have disappeared, not leaving behind anything except the memory of its insensible attempts, to detain the impulse of the human spirit that marches, marches despite everything…They do not count on the occurrences that will hasten the blossoming of a new humanitarian period…nor on the support that will be raised in favor of the new doctrine and whose powerful voice will impose silence on its detractors through its authority.
Oh! How different will be the face of the world to those that will come in the beginning of the next century!…What ruins they will see behind them, and what splendid horizons will open themselves up ahead of them!…it will be like the aurora driving out the shadows of the night;… The ruckus, the tumults, the thundering of the storm will be succeeded by joyful songs; after the distress, men will be reborn towards hope…Yes! The twentieth century will be a blessed century, because the new era will be seen, announced by Christ.
NOTE: Here the medium stops, dominated by unspeakable emotion and completely spent from fatigue. After some minutes of rest, during which he seemed to have returned to a degree of ordinary somnambulism, he continues:
– What was I saying then? – You addressed the new campaign plan of the opponents of Spiritism; to later face a new era. – That’s it.
While they wait, they fight over the terrain little by little. They more or less renounced the weapons of other times, whose inefficiency was recognized; now they prepare the ones that are omnipotent in this century of selfishness, of pride and greed: gold, the seduction of self-love. Together with those that are inaccessible to fear, they explore vanity, the earthly necessities. Those that resist the threat, sometimes will lend complacent ears to adulation to the liking of material well-being…They promise bread to those that do not have it, jobs to the artisan, clients to the businessman, raises to the employee, honors to the ambitious, if they renounce their beliefs; they hurt us in their position, in their ways of living, in their affections, if they are unruly; after some time, the mirage of gold produces on some its ordinary effect. In this bunch, some weak characters are naturally found, that succumb to temptation. There are those that fall into the trap in good-faith, because the maneuvering hand hides itself…There are also many that cede to the tough necessity, but that do not think any less therein; their renunciation is only apparent; they submit themselves, but only to raise themselves in the first opportunity…Others, the ones that have the true courage of faith in the highest degree, face the danger resolutely; these are always victorious, because they are sustained by the good Spirits…Some, ah!…But these were never spiritists at heart…they prefer the gold of the earth to the gold of heaven; they remain, in form, connected to the doctrine and, under this cloak, they only serve the cause of their opponents even better…, it is a sad exchange that they make for which they will pay dearly!
In the time of cruel trials which you will cross, happy will be those who are extended the protection of the good Spirits, because it has never been so necessary!…Pray for the brothers that were led astray, so that they enjoy the short moments of respite granted to them, before the Supreme Justice weighs upon them…When they see the storm burst, more than one will ask for grace!…But it will be answered: What have you done with our teachings? As mediums, did you not write your own condemnation hundreds of times?…You had the light, and did not take advantage of it; we had given you a shelter, why did you desert it? Then, taste the luck of those whom you preferred. If your heart had been touched by our words, you would have remained firm in the path of good, which was traced by you; had you been faithful, you would have resisted the seductions extended to your self-love and your vanity. Then you believe that you are able to impose them on us, like on men, through false appearances? Know, in case you doubt it, that there is not one movement of the soul that does not have its backlash in the Spirit world.
Do you believe that the clairvoyance which develops itself in such a large number of people is for naught? Do you think that so many mediums spontaneously fall asleep to ecstasy only to pique your curiosity? No, we will undeceive you. This faculty, that has been announced to you for so long, is a characteristic sign of the times that have arrived; it is a prelude of the transformation, because, as it was said to you, this must be one of the attributes of the new generation. This generation, more morally advanced, will also be so physically. Mediumship over all forms will be more or less general, and the communion with the Spirits, so to speak, normal.
God sends the faculty of clairvoyance in these moments of crisis and transition, to provide His faithful followers a way to dismantle the plot of His opponents, because the bad thoughts, that judge themselves hidden in the shadow of the depths of the conscience, they reverberate in these sensitive souls, as in a mirror and discover themselves. The one that only emanates good thoughts is not afraid to know himself. Happy is the one who is able to say: Read my soul as an open book.
OBSERVATION: The spontaneous somnambulism, of which we already spoke, is not, in effect, nothing but a form of clairvoyant mediumship, whose development had been announced for some time already, just like the emergence of new mediumistic aptitudes. It is evident that in all moments of general crisis or persecution, the people gifted with this faculty are more numerous than in normal times. This happened often in the moment of the revolution; the Calvinists of Cevennes, persecuted like wild animals, had numerous clairvoyants that would warn them of what transpired afar; through this fact, and through irony, they were qualified as enlightened; today it is beginning to be understood that the distant vision that is independent of the organs may very well be one of the attributes of human nature, and Spiritism explains it through the expansive faculty and through the properties of the soul. The facts of this genre have multiplied themselves in such a way, that we are no longer as impressed; what in other times seemed like a miracle or witchcraft to some, is today considered a natural effect. It is one of the thousand ways through which Spiritism penetrates, so that, if it went to one source, it emerges through other means.
Then this faculty is not new, but it tends to generalize itself, without doubt through the motive indicated in the above communication, but, also, as a means to prove to the incredulous the existence of a spiritual principle. Like the Spirits say, it would itself even become endemic, which would be naturally explained by the moral transformation of mankind, a transformation that should produce in the organism modifications that facilitate the expansion of the soul.
As with other mediumistic faculties, this can be exploited through charlatanism. As such, it is good to maintain oneself in constant vigilance against the charlatanism that, for any one motive, could try to simulate it, and through all possible means, to ensure the good-faith of those who claim to possess it. Beyond the material and moral disinterest and the notorious honorability of the person, which are the first guarantees, it is advisable to carefully observe the conditions and circumstances in which the phenomenon is produced and to see if nothing seems suspect. (Spiritist Magazine, August, 1867)