by Bruce Johnson —
Modern Spiritualism describes itself as a science; philosophy and religion that began in Hydesville, New York in 1848.The two primary tenets of Spiritualism are that the human soul survives the death of the body, and that contact and communication between terrestrial people and those living in a spirit world is a historically proven reality. The philosophy of Spiritism taught by the French Spiritist Allan Kardec was similar in many ways to that of Modern Spiritualism, but unlike many early Spiritualists, absolutely recognized reincarnation as well. Upon investigation, we can see both Spiritualism and Spiritism manifesting throughout antiquity.
Recognizing that ancient civilizations often combined Spiritualism with magical practices, we see Spiritualism as a religion flourishing in Atlantis before it’s sinking. I suspect the popularity was due in part to the strong tradition of worshiping dead heroes like kings, Titans and giants from their history. Many on Atlantis sought the guidance and protection of these mighty beings as well as other human spirits through Spiritualistic meetings. Atlantean Spiritualists knew of good and evil spirits, had a hierarchy of angels and demons, and taught that the spirit world had multiple levels. Mediumship, prophecy and the interpreting of dreams and omens were often practiced by the spiritually gifted of Atlantis. Spiritually educated mediums were more likely to adopt reincarnation into their philosophy, and might be called Atlantean Spiritists.
The Egyptians believed in a spirit world containing positive and negative spirits of varying levels which the Egyptian medium could discern. Lying and impersonating spirits had to be avoided in olden times, and need to be shunned today. Egyptians believed the spirits of the dead knew what was taking place on earth and could cause benefit or harm to humans. Charms and amulets were commonly used as protection from evil spirits. Spiritualist gifts frequently demonstrated in Egypt include- dream interpretation, various forms of divination including crystal divination and mirror gazing, and the widespread custom of writing letters to deceased spirits on papyrus to communicate with them. The Egyptian priests practiced an early type of “direct voice” phenomena when they communed with spirits through wooden statues that could speak, nod and move.
Babylonian Spiritualism was similar to Egyptian Spiritualism in that both recognized two levels of mediumship in their cultures. The higher level of mediumship was acknowledged by the state in both countries and rarer. The lower level rated medium was more common, unofficial, unsanctioned and often less developed than the most gifted mediums. The Babylonian understanding of and communion with spirit world residents had parallels and differences to Egyptian Spiritism. Both civilizations were familiar with human and non-human spirits.
Chinese Spiritists have practiced a wide variety of Spiritualist phenomena for many centuries. These include-trance mediumship, mental mediumship, direct voice, inspired art, direct writing, spirit materialization, clairvoyance, telepathy, exorcism, and telekinesis. Like today, Chinese Spiritism had to occasionally deal with poltergeists or “noisy ghosts”. The Bible is brimming with all types of Spiritualistic phenomena. These include-spirit materialization, trance mediumship, glossolalia, contact with angels, fire immunity, luminous phenomena, clairvoyance, lying and impersonating spirits, direct writing, levitation, visions, apportation, dream interpretation, independent voice, prophecy, clairaudience, healing, inspired speaking, casting out evil spirits, and multiple physical phenomena to name a few.
Bruce Johnson has over 30 years of study in the fields of Ancient Wisdom and occultism. He has taught classes on a wide range of topics, from Atlantis to mediums to Zoroaster. He is also a spiritualist minister, with a background in spiritual astrology. He lives in Colorado with his wife and their cat.