By Paulo Hayashi Jr.

The emblem of the Creator's work

In the basic work of Spiritism, The Book of Spirits, there is a simple initial passage called Prolegomena. The term derives from the Greek prolegomenon and means, “what needs to be said before” (1). The presention of a larger work sit on these basic notions or principles. Within this valuable introductory text stands out the emblem of the Creator's work. Here is the excerpt, both in the original and in the English translation:

« Tu mettras en tête du livre le cep de vigne que nous t'avons dessiné, parce qu'il est l'emblème du travail du Créateur ; tous les principes matériels qui peuvent le mieux représenter le corps et l'esprit s'y trouvent réunis: le corps, c'est le cep ; l'esprit, c'est la liqueur; l'âme, ou l'esprit unis à la matière, c'est le grain. L'homme quintessencie l'esprit par le travail, et tu sais que ce n'est que par le travail du corps que l'esprit acquiert des connaissances (2). » - Prolegomenes, p. 30.

“You will put in the book’s header the vine stock that we have drawn for you, because it is the emblem of the work of the Creator; all the material principles which can best represent the body and the spirit are united there: the body is the vine; the spirit is the liquor; the soul, or spirit united with matter, is the grain. Man quintessences the spirit by work, and you know that it is only by the work of the body that the spirit acquires knowledge (3). - Prolegomenes, p. 30.

Initially, it is essential to emphasize that the word used is an emblem and not a symbol. This word comes from the Greek “μβλημα - emblem”, “something to insert into (4)” or even “ornament on vases (5)”, and refers to the distinctive sign or illustration that helps in understanding and fixing a moral composition. Having an illustration or not represents the difference between an emblem and other moral pieces, such as proverbs, sayings and wisdom expressions. Furthermore, in the emblem, text and figure help each other in the global understanding of the subject (6). Unlike the symbol, which is an illustration, but which does not necessarily have to be linked to some information or moral content.

The emblem of the Creator's work is the vine, and some comments can be made on the matter. The notes are intended to explore the ideas embedded in the item for a better understanding of aspects of Spiritism and its practices. It is not intended to exhaust the topic, nor to question it. Understanding and assimilating the emblem can help us in our work and walk in the vineyards of God.

The vine has some unique characteristics about resilience, resilience, fruiting capacity and expansion that deserve attention and reflection. For the production of iconic wines, poorly endowed soils lacking in organic matter provide special conditions for the development of the plant. The vine when planted in soil with fertile soil and rich in organic matter provides a plant with a less deep root system than when cultivated in stony soil, for example. Many regions that produce cellar wines tend to be areas with poor soils, which forces the vine to develop deeper roots to reach the necessary nutrients underground. In other words, difficulties configure the way for the plant to develop in order to maximize its results with excellence. Furthermore, it signals the importance of God and the ancestors in order to have a better-developed root system. It is the Creator's search deep within to supply the right nutrients for life, as well as gratitude and zeal for kindred spirits. Another possible way of contemplating the root system is to link it to the moral education of childhood due to the initial period of formation of the individual (7).

Another fact about the vine is its ability to adapt to extreme weather conditions and its speed of regeneration, flowering and fruiting. In wine-growing regions, there is a clear perception of different scenarios according to the seasons and times of the year. It is worth noting that, traditionally, the culture comes from regions with a temperate climate and the capacity for resilience and overcoming difficulties is notorious. In artistic language, it can be said that the vine overcomes snow, desert and environmental inclement weather to fructify the plant's mission with praise. Certainly, the task of harvesting or harvesting constitutes an important symbolic point, although there are silent works from the must to the final production of the wine.

Another essential element for the production of the plant is the solar incidence. Through photosynthesis, the plant has the ability to produce energy to overcome external adversities and to bear fruit properly. Therefore, vines that have high solar incidence tend to produce sweeter fruits. Which will allow in the future the manufacture of reference wines. Thus, “bind the vines, lest they fall, and stand erect, and their branches will ascend to Heaven. (8)

Ascension and phototaxis is facilitated by the tendrils present on the vine and which help support its growth. These tendrils resemble small “springs” and help with attachment and adaptation of the plant to advance upward growth towards the light. The emblem reproduced in The Book of Spirits contains three tendrils and four leaves for just a single bunch of grapes. The perfect bunch is not just one exceptional berry, but also all of them. It is the importance of the family and the group of kindred spirits. However, if in a single berry we can know the number of seeds, in each seed we cannot determine how many vines there are. Thus, both individual and collective quality count towards overall progress.

However, just the plant itself does not generate good wines. It is also essential to interact with the human being and with what is called terroirTerroir is the interaction of natural, technological and human factors that allows the creation of areas with their own identity and defined characteristics, both in organoleptic and economic-social matters. In this sense, the areas of Champagne in France, Priorat or La Rioja in Spain, Douro in Portugal are regions with defined wine characteristics due to the interaction of this multifactor. Unlike wine fermented in a natural process at random, wine produced by human beings, from the moment they have mastered their production technique, tends to value certain standards and tastes rather than others. Thus, whether due to historical factors or natural elements, the wine-producing regions were organized and differentiated from one another through their terroirs.

World-renowned wines are produced from these regions with excellent terroirs. These aging red wines are known to mature and gain additional noticeable characteristics. Alternatively, even, correcting its initial flaws to show itself as a superior product that has improved over time. It is the exuberance of the wine that is exceptional, not because of its youthful external appearance, but because of the subtle and refined brilliance of nuances that are imperceptible to the vast majority of people. It takes a real connoisseur to appreciate all the nuances involved in a superior wine. It is the sophistication of the senses in order to go beyond the traditional and which involves education and practices, efforts and achievements to organize the biological and mental apparatus to capture and differentiate such microtones. In a way, in many ways it is similar to the performance of mediumship.

About the correct improvement of the human being together with time, it is also a proposal of Spiritism, especially with reincarnation. In this way, the content is improved with each hull change. In the considerations expounded by the Evangelist Luke (9) “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the wineskins, and the wine will be spilled, and the wineskins will be spoiled.” A similar passage is found in other Evangelists (10) as well. Through reincarnation, the wine that previously seemed of lower quality is refined to the point that it no longer needs the cask (11).

 The vine is a plant with exuberant fruit production and, in the case of modern commercial wines, it is necessary for the producer to carry out planned pruning of the buds. This makes it possible to reduce the number of bunches so that better quality fruits are produced. In addition, regular cuts in the plant itself are essential for its renewal and continuous production. Pruning is a way to balance the dry matter of the plant with the green part, which allows for better yield and use of the vine. Removing dry stumps and branches also allows you to avoid problems with fungi and other microorganisms that hinder the health of the vine as a whole.

Through pruning, the future is prepared, while managing the present, the resources of the vine and its conditions. It is being attentive and not neglecting yourself as a legitimate, faithful gardener.

In addition, in the recommendations of St. Augustine: “To work in the vineyard, it is necessary to be robust and powerful; man must have the strength that God has given him. He did not create Humanity to turn it into an emaciated bastard race; he made it as a manifestation of his glory and of his power(12)”. It is to give your witness to God to make life sacred through your protagonism and initiative in the works of realization. Therefore, the prosperous gardener is also a co-creator in the garden of the world.

In addition, through pruning, the seedlings are prepared for the expansion of the vineyard. In the recommendations of the spiritual author: “Cut off the shoots and plant them in another field; they will produce new vines and other shoots in every country in the world(13)”. Moreover, Saint Augustine presents us in a masterly way: “That splendid vineyard that must rise for God is Spiritism”. An authentic ode to the future of Spiritism(14).

In addition to the appearance of the vine, it is also noteworthy that wine is a drink present in several passages of the Bible. For example, the landing of Noah is quoted: “And Noah began to cultivate the land, and he planted a vineyard” (15). The first miracle of Jesus at the wedding in Canaan with the turning of water into wine (16) is also added, in addition to the valuable passages about the different workers in the Lord's vineyards. (17)

However, in the Prolegomena, the word wine “vin” is not mentioned directly, but liqueur “liqueur”. This is a sweet drink made through a prolonged contact of the fruit with the environment, in this case with alcohol. This makes it possible to transform the content that used to be two separate elements into just one. Unlike wine that undergoes a natural fermentation process, liquor symbolizes the refinement of human work in partnership with God. In addition, as we are reminded in the text, only with work can the individual bring the quintessence to the spirit.

In this way, the vine as an emblem of the Creator's work serves as a source of inspiration and moral example to carry out our daily struggles. To give thanks and resist the difficulties to fulfill our mission with zeal and dedication. To act in favor of present and future evolution, and not be limited to what happens at the surface level. Have the confidence and faith of perfectibility even if events happen subtly, invisibly and silently. In addition, we need to support and help our fellow human beings on the journey as well. It is essential that the grapes be close to each other's ripening point. Otherwise, the lack of an overall sweetness will not allow for proper wine production. Abundance does not come from just a single bunch, but from the whole set.

Therefore, we thank God for the opportunities to be in the vineyard and Jesus for the path and example of sweetening our being through work with tolerance, solidarity with patience and intelligence with love. In the final words of Saint Augustine: “Pray, love and do charity, my brothers. The vineyard is large; the field of the Lord is immense. Come, come: God and Christ are calling you and I bless you. (18)



[1] Link-1

2 Allan Kardec. Le Livre des Esprits. Nouvelle Edition as per the Seconde Edition Originale of 1860. Union Spirite Française Et Francophone. Link-2

3 Allan Kardec. The Book of Spirits. 2013.  Link-3


5 Link-5

6Saunders, A. (1993). Is it a proverb or is it an emblem? French manuscript predecessors of the emblem book. Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance, 55(1), 83–111. Link-6

7 Ver “Posthumous Works”, Allan Kardec, Item: Spiritist Creed, education and instruction.

8 Saint Augustine. “The vineyard of the Lord”. Spiritist Magazine: Journal of Psychological Studies - 1862. Brasilia: FEB, 2004, p. 136.

9 Lucas 5:37

[1]0 Marck 2:22; Matthew 9:17

[1]1 The Book of Spirits, question 168.

12 Saint Augustine. “The vineyard of the Lord ”. Spiritist Magazine: Journal of the Psychological Studies - 1862. Brasilia: FEB, 2004,  P. 137.

13 Saint Augustine. “The vineyard of the Lord”. Spiritist Magazine: Journal of the Psychological Studies - 1862. Brasilia: FEB, 2004, P. 136.

14 Saint Augustine. “The vineyard of the Lord. “Spiritist Magazine: Journal of the Psychological Studies Revista Espírita: Jornal de Estudos Psicológicos - 1862. Brasilia: FEB, 2004, p. 136.

15 Genesis 9:20

16 John 2:11

17 Matthew 20:1-16; Luke 20:9-19; Marck 12:1-11.

18 Saint Augustine. “The vineyard of the Lord. “Spiritist Magazine: Journal of the Psychological Studies Brasília: FEB, 2004, p. 137.


Eleni Frangatos - eleni.moreira@uol.com.br



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