"Spiritism is the new science that comes to reveal to men, through irrefutable
proofs, the existence and nature of the spiritual world and its relation with
the corporeal world.”
Allan Kardec 2 was exhausted, depressed, on an April morning in 1860.
He had few resources and an immense task, besides an increasing number of
misunderstandings. In this state of mind, Gabi – his affectionate wife - brings
him a package containing a letter and a "...richly bound copy of The Book of
sender manifested his gratitude to Kardec: that book had saved his life. He
encouraged the Encoder to "(...) continue in his tasks of enlightenment of
Humanity (...)". And he described his personal drama: with the death of his
wife, despair had led him to plan suicide in the waters of the Seine in Paris.
After days of anguish, he was to take that insane step. On a bridge, staring at
the waters of the river: "... I touched a somewhat wet object that shifted from
the rail, falling to my feet".
had been a bookbinder since his youth. The book had fascinated him and it was
the one to which he had attached the letter. It contained the following: "This
work saved my life. Read it carefully and enjoy it. - A. Laurent".
followed this advice and changed his life. And he added his own testimony:
saved me too. God bless the souls who worked for its publication”. - Joseph
Encouraged by these precious testimonies, Kardec continued his work.
Allan Kardec became aware of the mediumistic facts, brought to him by a friend,
he analyzed them, and asked the Spirits about these mentioned events. He then
organized their answers, and gathered them in a didactic order in "The Book
of the Spirits".3
the Introduction of this work, Chapters III to V, he analyzes the "(...)
progressive series of phenomena that gave rise to this Doctrine. The first fact
observed was the movement of various objects. They were called "turning tables
or dancing tables".
phenomenon was not limited to the movement of material objects, or to uniform
movements (circular, for the most part). They were sometimes abrupt and
disorderly. Objects were violently shaken, knocked over, taken in any direction,
lifted, and held in suspension. Tables would rise and, with one foot, give a
certain number of strokes, answering the questions with a yes or no, according
to the number of strokes.
means was limited, but it answered questions. He set out for the alphabet. The
dialogue was thus broadened.
"This means of correspondence was time consuming and uncomfortable. The Spirit,
and this is still a noteworthy circumstance, indicated another one".
pencil was then attached to a basket, or to another object. The basket was
placed over a sheet of paper, and it moves and “(…) the pencil writes and forms
letter, words, phrases and whole speeches of many pages, dealing with the
highest questions of Philosophy, Moral, Metaphysics, Psychology, and so on, and
as quickly as one might write by hand".
basket or the drawing board can only be set in motion under the influence of
certain persons, endowed with a special power, which are called the mediums
was later recognized that the basket and the drawing board were really no more
than an appendix of the hand; and the medium, holding the pencil directly, began
to write by an involuntary and almost feverish impulse".
first edition of "The Book of Spirits”, resulted from fifty notebooks
assembled by friends, plus the issues Kardec had asked the Spirits, totalizing
501 questions, and published on 04/18/1857.
March of 1860, the second edition, then definitive, with the present form, was
published and it was sold out in four months.
book "Presents the basic foundations of Spiritism, and has the purpose of
compiling the clarifications that this Doctrine provides to those who seek to
understand human existence more comprehensively. It is divided into four parts,
which are called: primary causes; the Spiritist world or the world of Spirits;
of moral laws; of hopes and consolations.
It addresses the scientific, philosophical and religious aspects of the
Spiritist Doctrine, (...) through 1019 questions followed by their answers
It says that "Spiritism is strong because it rests on the very foundations of
religion" and that through it "Humanity has to enter a new phase, that of moral
progress which is an unavoidable consequence”. 4
an article in the Spiritist Magazine of April 1866, edited by him, Kardec
"There are two parts in Spiritism: that of material facts and that of their
moral consequences. The first is necessary as proof of the existence of the
Spirits; so it was through it that the Spirits began; the second, which derives
from it, is the only one that can lead to the transformation of Humanity through
individual improvement. Improvement is, therefore, the essential objective of
Mentioned by Zeus Wantuil and Francisco Thiesen,
page 240, vol. II, in the work "Allan Kardec".
the September 1865 edition of the same Magazine, 6 the Encoder said
that "The Book of Spirits contains the fundamental bases of Spiritism; it
is the cornerstone of the building; all the principles of the Doctrine are
exposed there (...)".
Among these we highlight:
The Spirits’ existence; their pre-existence to the physical body; and their
The Spirits’ nature and their relation with human kind
The Spirits’ infinite progress
(Created simple and ignorant, they build their destiny) - the Law of Evolution;
The Law of Cause and Effect;
The Moral Laws;
Successive reincarnations (plurality of existences and inhabited worlds);
Forgetfulness of the past;
The Reasoned Faith;
The Moral Laws – The Inner Reformation;
The present life, the future life and the future of Humanity, according to the
teachings given by the Superior Spirits with the help of various mediums.
“The mediumistic phenomena always occurred in the world, but men were not aware
of the laws that govern them". 7
was up to Allan Kardec to compile and order the information received from the
Superior Spirits that allow us to become acquainted with this knowledge.
repercussion with the launch of The Book of Spirits made him think about
the greatness of the work and the efforts that he had to develop:
understood then the immensity of my task and the importance of the work I had to
do to complete it. Difficulties and obstacles, far from frightening me,
redoubled my energies. I saw the goal and resolved to achieve it with the
assistance of the Good Spirits. I felt I had no time to lose, and I did not lose
it, either in useless visits or in useless ceremonies; it was the work of my
life. I gave it all my time; I sacrificed my rest, my health, because the
future was written before me in irrefutable letters”.
Herminio C. Miranda calls it “The Book of Hope”:
These Spirits (...) came to teach that all human wisdom is in conscious
obedience to the Divine Laws. They came to warn that we invite pain whenever we
stubbornly try to go against the unchangeable wisdom of these laws. They came,
finally, to bring to men the book of hope".9
Reading this book is thus of immense value to anyone.
it is the Encoder himself who recommends it in The Book of Mediums and
indicates the order of readings of the Basic Works of the Spiritist Codification
- the so-called Pentateuch Kardec or Spiritist Pentateuch: "We shall say
(...) anyone who wishes to engage seriously in this matter, should first read
The Book of Spirits because it contains the fundamental principles without
which it may be difficult to understand some parts of this work”. 10
recommends the following sequence to read his work:
"The Book of Spirits";
"The Book of Mediums";
"The Gospel According to Spiritism";
"Heaven and Hell", and
Subsequently (July 1859) published What is Spiritism. On page 149 of this
book, he suggests that we read it before the order he indicated.
many lives has this extraordinary Doctrine transformed for the better since
April 18, 1857, with the release of The Book of Spirits?!
how many others will benefit, especially when prejudice and superstitions are
banished from their hearts.
understanding of these teachings will little by little lead us to know the
Divine Laws and to harmonize with them - which will favor our evolution.
Studying it, in order to understand it well and live its teachings, is the best
way to worship Allan Kardec and the utmost book of the Codification of the
KARDEC, Allan. The Gospel According to Spiritism.
Evandro Noleto Bezerra. 2nd
Edition, Brasilia: FEB, 2013. Chapter I, item 5, page 39.
XAVIER, F. Candido. The Spirit of Truth, by the Spirit Hilario Silva. 3rd
ed. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 1977. cap. 52.
KARDEC, Allan. The Book of Spirits.
Evandro Noleto Bezerra. 2nd
impression. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 2011.
BRAZILIAN SPIRITIST FEDERATION. The Spiritist Book in FEB: general catalog.
Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 1993, pages: 54/55.
WANTUIL, Zeus, THIESEN, Francisco. Allan Kardec: biobibliographic
research and interpretation essays.
Rio de Janeiro:
FEB, 1980, v. 2, page 134.
6 - KARDEC,
Allan. Spiritist Magazine. Translator: Evandro Noleto Bezerra. Rio de Janeiro:
FEB, 2004. Eighth year, 1865, page 378.
7 - REFORMER, Aug
/ 74, page 249, FEB.
KARDEC, Allan. Posthumous Works. Translator: Evandro Noleto Bezerra. 1st
Edition. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 2009. pt. 2, Constitution of Spiritism,
item X - Allan Kardec and the new constitution of Spiritism, page 483.
MIRANDA, C. Herminio. Lights in the dark night. One edition. Brasilia:
FEB, 1992. Chapter 23 - The Book of Hope, 126.
KARDEC, Allan. The Book of Mediums.
Evandro Noleto Bezerra. 2nd Edition. One impression, Brasília: FEB, 2013.
Introduction, page 11.