Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Spiritualist Declaration of Principles

One of several major non-coincidences in my life which have pointed my way along what I must call (for want of better words) a “spiritual path” is my happening to live within 10 minutes of Cassadaga, Florida for the past 15 years or so. Raised a hundred miles north, I had heard of Cassadaga since youth because people would drive to the tiny community even over long distances for readings by the psychics and mediums who lived there. I never imagined that I would live next door to it.

It is a very old town, with old wooden houses, old moss-hung trees, and old ponds, reached by winding country roads. It has been the quiet home of the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp for over 100 years. You can read all about it at the linked site if you want to. I intend to refer to it in more than one blog entry.

My purpose for now is to print the Spiritualist Declaration of Principles.

I do not call myself a Spiritualist and I have not joined any Spiritualist group, but I have benefited a great deal from attending Cassadaga Lyceum lectures and discussions. I found their no-rules, free-choice approach a refreshing liberation from the Christian church encounters that litter my past, as did many others I met at Lyceum. In almost every discussion, someone talks about his or her upbringing and contrasts the freedom of Spiritualism with the dogmatic, paternalistic atmosphere of Christian denominations. One of the great points of pride with Spiritualism is that it does not lay down rules. Its members tend to portray Christian churches as ruling by fear: "Believe what we tell you to believe, and do what we tell you to do, and you will not be punished."

I will tell you about my own experiences in Cassadaga elsewhere, but I do want to dispel any preconceptions that psychics and mediums are often charlatans, or demented. The teachers, psychics, and mediums I’ve met in Cassadaga over time are honest, sincere, and usually well above average intelligence. Quite a few have professional degrees; a number have taught (or teach) in universities or public schools. If there is anything obvious that distinguishes them from people you might meet at a Baptist or Methodist or Catholic Church, other than their sometimes individualistic clothing, it is that they are independent-minded seekers rather than believers looking for answers from a priest or a holy book.

Here is the closest thing to a “credo” that they have:

Adopted by Spiritualists of America

We believe in Infinite Intelligence.
We believe that the phenomena of nature, both physical and spiritual, are the expression of Infinite Intelligence.
We affirm that a correct understanding of such expression and living in accordance therewith constitute true religion.
We affirm that the existence and personal identity of the individual continue after the change called death.
We affirm that communication with the so-called dead is a fact, scientifically proven by the phenomena of Spiritualism
We believe that the highest morality is contained in the Golden Rule: "Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye also unto them."
We affirm the moral responsibility of the individual, and that he makes his own happiness or unhappiness as he obeys or disobeys Nature’s physical and spiritual laws.
We affirm that the doorway to reformation is never closed against any human soul, here or hereafter.
We affirm that the Precepts of Prophecy and Healing are Divine attributes proven through Mediumship.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, I see what you were referring to.

    So I gather that your concept of spiritual experience has to do with a literal spirit or soul separate from the body.

    I know many who subscribe to this idea. I personally fall short of believing in such things.

    This is not to say that I rule out the possibility that there are powers of the mind that we do not fully understand.

    I have seen glimpses of my own brain functions that hold promise for experiences I am unable to tap into at will.

    I see claims of above average intelligence associated with psychics and mediums as a defense against the skeptics. (I have heard this before as defense of many concepts)

    My own brushes with the dead have all been in the form of memories triggered by stimulous in my environment that I associate with the deceased.

    Any predictions of my future by so called psychics have proven false or could apply to anyone.

    I have had premonitions, which I can easily attribute to instinctual responses to circumstances that I have experienced sometime in my past. Sometimes they play out, sometimes not.

    Of course, I remain open to all possibilities. But I need more to go on than faith or the word of others.

    Hudini very much wanted to believe in such things, but was routinely dissapointed when he tried to contact the dead.

    Skeptics have offered rewards for evidence, but to date I am unaware of any takers.

    I kind of like the WPM definition of death.

    At this time I have asked to be cremated and have my ashes spread near a river where my father fished as a kid. It would give me great pleasure to know that my remains become part of that place.