What is Spiritism? The doctrine of communication with the afterlife


The practice of spiritism is based on holding encounters in which spiritists, also known as mediums, manage to establish effective communication with spirits, acquiring through them knowledge and advice to conduct themselves on this earthly plane.

What is Spiritism?

Spiritism is a doctrine or practice that focuses on the connection with the spiritual world and, therefore, with the entities that inhabit it. This possibility is supported by the belief in the immortality of the soul and the nature present in the spirits to maintain in one way or another an interaction between the earthly plane and the spiritual plane. To make such a connection a spiritist or medium is necessary.

What is a spiritist?

Spiritists are people who live by the practices of doctrines related to spiritism. They act as a channeling medium for connection with spiritualities. The consciousness reached by these through the precepts established by their foundations leads them to enhance or develop, as the case may be, their receptive psychic abilities, becoming channels through which the spirits transmit their messages.

History of Spiritism

History of spiritism

The belief of the human being in the ability to communicate with the soul of the deceased, pay tribute to them or offer them elements that improve their stay "in the afterlife" is quite old. For example, in the Middle Ages it was believed that spirits roamed between the world of the living and the dead, therefore, they could return to this plane as ghosts.

Later, in the XNUMXth century, the spiritist doctrine promoted by the writings of the French Allan Kardec It popularized these beliefs in an unprecedented way, participating in its practices a large number of people belonging to all social classes.

As a result of this, many people sympathized with spiritism in Europe and the United States. The ideas related to the goodness and love of God imposed on all creatures, transcendence, and life after death enjoyed great acceptance, gaining countless followers.

In fact, its scope was such that in some countries it influenced various philosophical thoughts. In Spain, for example, spiritism was taken as an option that could be part of the regular programs of secondary education and of the faculties of science, philosophy and letters.

With the arrival of the twentieth century, spiritualism in Europe diversifies, it is then that currents arise that try to remain strictly attached to the doctrine contributed by Allan Kardec and on the other hand, others with a much more religious sense are born.

From that moment on, various manifestations of spiritist practices in America are evidenced, highlighting the statement of spiritism as science, philosophy and morality in Argentina, or the current that proposes spiritism as science, philosophy and religion in Brazil, to name a few. Not counting the spiritistic and animistic practices inherited from the natives.

Learn: Everything you need to know about the Spirit Vault

Beliefs and foundations of Spiritism

The basic principles of spiritism in general contemplate the following premises:

  • It is believed in the existence of an omnipotent God creator of the universe.
  • It is believed in the existence of a spiritual world made up of the souls of the deceased and other evolved entities.
  • It is believed that spirits can influence the physical world in various ways and that spiritists, likewise, can influence the actions of spirits.
  • There is no single leader in spiritism who directs the center of practice.

Is there syncretism in the practices of spiritism?

There is no doubt that spiritism has somehow merged with the customs of other religious and spiritual cults, at least this is how it has done in the Caribbean and other places in Latin America, in addition to adopting certain beliefs of Roman Catholicism, it is also unified with curanderismo, Afro-descendant, and indigenous cultures.

It is thanks to this phenomenon that we can find the manifestation in various spiritual practices of Catholic personalities like Santa Marta, invoked to dominate the will of other people; San Luis Beltrán, invoked to heal curses; San Marcos de León invoked to appease attitudes; or Santa Clara, invoked to develop clairvoyance, to name a few examples. 

In relation to the influence of other religious cultures we can evidence it through the healing or healing customs through the use of herbs, inherited from indigenous or African shamanism, which is also present through the use of altars, portals, vaults and its multiplicity of elements.

Sessions or spiritualist masses

The sessions, Spiritist masses or meetings They are congregations in which a group of people who believe and practice spiritism meet to communicate with the spirits.

Sessions are usually conducted with few participants seated around a table, in front of a portal, or in front of a spiritual vault, in dark or dimly lit rooms. They are usually presided over by a spiritist or medium, who through trance or psychic connection connects with the entities, thus transmitting their messages.

Types of spiritism

Types of spiritism
  • French spiritism: Its main doctrine is the premises established in the investigations and compilations presented by Allan Kardec. This type of spiritism has enjoyed wide popularity since its inception in the mid-nineteenth century.
  • Table spiritism: also known as scientific or white table spiritism. It is very popular in Cuba and Puerto Rico. His doctrine stems from the teachings of the Spiritist doctrine of Allan Kardec. In their spiritual meetings the participants sit around a table covered with white linen. The session is directed by a medium through which the spirits that make their presence manifest themselves in different ways.
  • Cord spiritism: In the rituals of this current the participants of the sessions form a circle while holding hands, it is believed that such action makes those present connect physically, mentally and emotionally. Then, in the company of various songs and body movements, an atmosphere conducive to falling into a trance is created, and then the spirits are manifested. The central point of this type of spiritism is the search for sanction.
  • Cross spiritism: It is a type of spiritism born in Cuba that mixes various religious cultures such as: popular Catholicism, the cults of Bantu origin better known as: Palo Monte, Palo Mayombe, Palo Congo, gypsy (Sanse) or European customs and other Yoruba traditions. In addition, it incorporates characteristics present in other spiritualist currents such as table and cord spiritism. Its most representative ritual is the Spiritual Mass and Coronation Mass that begins the consecration ceremonies in Kariosha de la Regla de Osha Afrocubana.
  • Indigenous spiritism: As its name indicates, it is related to the mixtures made between the native beliefs of America and the Spiritist doctrine of Allan Kardec. This style is used to identify especially Puerto Rican spiritualism. However, there are other variables of indigenous doctrine in the rest of the countries of the continent, which present certain differences depending on the customs of the place, but in the same way, they merge with Catholicism and Kardecianism. Some outstanding variants were developed in the Antilles, highlighting voodoo in Haiti, the 21 Divisions in the Dominican Republic, or also the Marialionceras practices in Venezuela.
  • English Spiritism: the principles of this type of spiritism coincide with French spiritism. They have the belief that the soul survives after physical death and therefore communication with the deceased is possible.

Spiritualism today

The various spiritualistic practices continue to enjoy popularity in many countries of the world. In Europe, In countries such as: Germany, Portugal, or the United Kingdom, the practices and beliefs of French or Kardecian spiritualism are still maintained. In the same way, it is a deeply rooted belief in Spain and France where since his arrival a close cultural bond was generated around spiritism.

Spiritism in America

In America its practice stands out in almost the entire map from north to south. In the United States there are also a considerable number of believers in psychic activities with the presence of various centers for mediums and spiritists. In Latin America we can find a greater practice of this culture.


Brazil It is the country with the largest number of inhabitants who practice Karedecian, it is estimated that the number of followers is around 4.000.000 people. With renowned representatives such as Chico Xavier who wrote more than 400 books related to spiritism. The activity of spiritualists is so notorious in Brazilian society that there are many spiritual centers and clinics open to the disposition for the help of those who need it.   

Spiritual practices in Mexico

In Mexico Spiritist doctrine entered with great force and acceptance for the second half of the XNUMXth century. For this purpose, groups with recognized participants were formed. In effect, a newspaper known as "the Spiritist Enlightenment" was created, which disseminated information evidently related to spiritualist themes. This laid the foundations of a society open to this type of practice, which in the company of its indigenous roots makes spiritism very popular.

Spiritism in Venezuela

Spiritism in Venezuela

In Venezuela a type of spiritism called "Marialioncero" is practiced. Its main center is located in the Sorte mountain, located in the Yaracuy state. This spiritual culture possesses the belief of the existence of God as creator, omnipotent and supreme, contemplating later, a series of spirits that have hierarchies among them, being led by: the three Venezuelan powers, headed by «Maria Lionza or María de la Onza »in the company of the Grand Chief Guaicaipuro and the Negro Felipe. During their rituals, the mediums fall into a trance and their bodies are taken over by various spirits who take the opportunity to transmit their messages, sing, dance and receive entertainment.


At Haiti Spiritualism makes its presence in some way through the practices of "Voodoo", which is a religion resulting from the syncretism of various spiritual cultures such as Catholicism and various beliefs brought to America by slaves trafficked from the Gulf of Guinea in Africa. Its particularity lies in the manipulation of spirits and the ability attributed to it to resurrect the dead by incorporating them into other bodies (zombies).

Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic a spiritism known as "21 Divisions" is popular in which one works through the invocation of various spirits known as "Lua or Loa." His doctrine is in great syncretism with the Catholic saints and African cultures from the ancient Dahomey territory (present-day Benin). During their rituals the spirits take the mediums into trances using their bodies to converse, drink, dance, smoke, and walk among those present.  

Cuba: Cross Spiritism

In Cuba, As mentioned above, since his arrival, spiritism became a mixture that gave rise to "crossed spiritism." In the development of this practice, multiple religious cultures merge, resulting in the spiritualism in force on the island to this day. In this style converge all Afro-descendant practices (current palería and Santeria) and other European doctrines such as French spiritualism in the company of gypsy and even Chinese cultures. He maintains the use of the spiritual vault as the center for his work and works with mediums who normally transmit the messages supplied by the spirits without the need to fall into a trance (in mid-unit), however, on occasions it is possible that if they perform the trance for full.

Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico the Kardecian spiritism with the use of the white table. Such was its acceptance, that from the highest levels of Puerto Rican society constant Spiritist meetings were held, the doctrine being disseminated from now on to all social classes. Finally, spiritism took on its own personality in the same way that it did in the Dominican Republic, Cuba or Haiti, maintaining wide social acceptance until today.

The practice of spiritual doctrine, especially of a Kardecian nature, ultimately spreads throughout America. Its practice is common in: Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, and Uruguay. In other countries such as Chile, the diffusion of this type of customs is relatively new due to the fact that their society is very traditional with respect to religious issues, however, spiritualist centers are already present in that country.

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