By Orson Peter Carrara

A transhistorical and transcultural view of Spiritism

Denizard Lopes Augusto de Souza (photo) is a psychologist and sociologist from the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. He lives in the country’s capital, Brasilia, where he is a university lecturer and works as a clinical psychologist. He is also an active member of the Spiritist Movement and a volunteer worker at the Comunhão Espírita Spiritist Centre. In this interview he talks about his experience in the Spiritist Movement and the lessons he has learned:

You were born into a Spiritist family, having been named after the codifier of Spiritism, Allan Kardec. How did you assimilate the principles of Spiritism through your life?  

My grandfather, João Augusto de Souza, became a Spiritist in 1925. It all began as he walked outside the headquarters of the Spiritist Federation of Pernambuco State in the city of Recife. All of a sudden, he heard a voice that told him: “Get in.” So he did and he watched a talk by the great Spiritist speaker Djalma Farias, who happened to be there. From that day he began studying the works of Kardec and eventually became a Spiritist speaker himself. He also founded Spiritist Centres across Pernambuco. And he named my father Rivail, after the man who systematised Spiritism, Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail, or Allan Kardec. My father followed his path and became a Spiritist himself. He named me Denizard and my older brother, Rivail. As for assimilating the principles of Spiritism, I owe that to two factors: firstly, the unique example set by my late father, who passed away in 2000. He had a faultless character and the highest moral values. And secondly, the extensive Spiritist library left by my grandfather to my father, who encouraged all of us to study and learn from those books. 

As you look back in time, what has really stood out from all your activities in Spiritism?

Reading and studying the classics of Spiritism: Kardec, Léon Denis, Gustav Geley, Richet, William Crookes, Ernesto  Bozzano, Johann Karl Friedrich Zöllner and Conan Doyle among others. That has been a real opportunity for intellectual, scientific and spiritual discovery, or “rediscovery.” And these books were all around us, in my father’s house. So I spent my childhood and teenage years surrounded by many Spiritist books. My family attended the Grupo Espírita Regeneração Spiritist Centre in Recife. And that’s where I gave my first talk at the age of 16. That was 37 years ago and that was the first of many Spiritist talks and lectures. I continued my direct involvement with that organisation, and others across the state of Pernambuco, until I moved to Brasilia in 1994. I have published three academic books and two as a medium (Spiritist books, stricto sensu). I must say that I have learned a great deal from a personal perspective, on mental, physical and spiritual health, thanks to the mediunimic work (psychophonic and psychographic) that I have carried out since I was very young. It’s also important to highlight that the collective work of Spiritists in Brazil has created an extensive network of Spiritist social work and solidarity. It’s perhaps one of the biggest in Brazil or the world. From a personal perspective, I think that Spiritism is a permanent bridge that gives us access to wisdom, self-knowledge and, above all, contact with numinous experiences: as individuals or as groups, getting in touch with our real essence, which is divine light.   

How do you measure the work of Allan Kardec against the overall cultural legacy of the world, taking into account the fact that so many people don’t know him or, even among Spiritists, so many continue not to read or study his books? 

Kardec was a synthetic thinker, an encyclopedist! He managed to establish a dialogue with the sage Spirits, but he never overlooked their human condition. “The Spirits, for me, were never predestined foretellers, but instead a means of obtaining reports.” (Posthumous Works - Second Part - The First Works - Allan Kardec). Kardec is, therefore, a method! He knew that the Spiritual Benefactors knew a lot, but they didn’t know everything. The basic principles of Spiritist Codification have been known to humankind for millennia! Reincarnation, immortality of the soul, life after death, the spiritual world, the spiritual body, communications from the Spirits and the plurality of inhabited worlds are ancestral knowledge. What is original and genuine in Kardec is the scientific, philosophical and spiritual rationalisation that he imprinted on the Spiristist revelation. That is the mark of Kardec! In that sense, “Kardequian reason” is not restricted to modern rationality (illuminist and positivist) but goes well beyond that and establishes a dialogue with the Greek, the Egyptian, the Judaico-Christian and the Indian civilisations, among others. In The Spirits’ Book there are elements of Greek cosmogony, the laws of History (Illuminism), the idea that spiritual life is inserted in bodily life and vice-versa, the ancestral reincarnation teachings from Vedanta philosophy (Buddhism and Hinduism), as well as the theories of evolution of matter, life and Spirit. But… “Spiritism continues to be unknown to Spiritists,” José Herculano Pires used to say. In that sense, Spiritism as an endless source of wisdom and new revelations, through mediumship, can play a key role in the social, human and spiritual development of all of us. 

In a recent interview, you mentioned the work of Allan Kardec as “transhistorical” and “transcultural”. Could you elaborate on that?

That’s right! The Spirits’ Book is a transcultural and transhistorical synthesis book. Even though the Spirits weren’t out of Chronos, the historical time, during the preparation of the work, their perspective was inevitably influenced by their memories of previous lives in different cultures and civilisations, as well as their collective wisdom. That allowed them to bring to Kardec revelations of a transhistorical and transcultural nature. In other words, the wisdom of many civilisations and cultures: the Greeks, the Egypticians, the Jews, the Christians, the Hindus, those from the modern times and many others. From that perspective, to read The Spirits’ Book is like revisiting the past in its aspect of universal wisdom. But it also amounts to overcoming it taking into account the progress humankind has made in our social and cultural evolution. The Spirits’ Book goes beyond the limits of its time and its historical context (the second half of the 19th Century in France, the Industrial Revolution, rationalism and modernity). It goes well beyond that as it points to future knowledge: “The plurality of inhabited worlds,” “Quintessence” (Quantum mechanics was only devised in the first decades of the 20th Century), dimensions and planes of reality etc. It revisits, therefore, Socratic dialogue and its spiritual dialectics, which states that we must “know to be and be to know.” It investigates the spiritual world in an experimental and scientific (modernity) world and projects the seeds to the future…



Leonardo Rocha -



O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita