Wednesday, January 27, 2010


FOTOS 1 and 2: ALLAN KARDEK 1804-1869
Pseudonym of Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rival

FOTO 3 : His Grave at
Cimétière du Père Lachaise, PARIS


ALLAN KARDEK is the pseudonym of the French teacher and educator Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail (Lyon, October 3, 1804–Paris, March 31, 1869).

He is known today as the systematizer of Spiritism for which he laid the foundation with the five books of the Spiritist Codification.

Rivail was a disciple and collaborator of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, and a teacher in courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, physiology, comparative anatomy and French in Paris.

For one of his research papers, he was inducted in 1831 into the Royal Academy of Arts.
He organized and taught free courses for the underprivileged.

On February 1832 he married Amélie Gabrielle Boudet.

He was already in his early 50s when he became interested in the wildly popular phenomenon of spirit-tapping.

At the time, strange phenomena attributed to the action of spirits were reported in many different places, most notably in the U.S. and France, attracting the attention of high society.

The first such phenomena were at best frivolous and entertaining, featuring objects that moved or "tapped" under what was said to be spirit control. In some cases, this was alleged to be a type of communication: the supposed spirits answered questions by controlling the movements of objects so as to pick out letters to form words, or simply indicate "yes" or "no."

At the time, Franz Mesmer's theory of animal magnetism was popular in the upper reaches of society.
When confronted with the phenomena described, some researchers, including Rivail, pointed out that animal magnetism might explain them.

Rivail, however, after personally seeing a demonstration, quickly dismissed the animal-magnetism hypothesis as being insufficient to completely explain all the facts observed.

Rivail was determined to understand exactly what was causing the physical effects popularly attributed to spirits.

As a teacher with some scientific background (he had never attended a university), Rivail decided to do his own research.
Not being a medium himself, he compiled a list of questions and began working with mediums and channelers to put them to spirits.
Soon the quality of the communications, allegedly with spirits, appeared to improve.

Rivail used the name "Allan Kardec" allegedly after a spirit (identified as Zefiro), whom he had been communicating with, told him about a previous incarnation of his as a Druid by that name.
Rivail liked the name and decided to use it to keep his Spiritists writings separate from his work, basically books for high school students.

In April 18, 1857 Rivail (signing himself "Allan Kardec") published his first book on Spiritism, "The Spirits Book", comprising a series of 1,019 questions exploring matters concerning the nature of spirits, the spirit world, and the relations between the spirit world and the material world.

This was followed by a series of other books, like "The Book on Mediums" and "The Gospel According to Spiritism", and by a periodical: the "Revue Spirite", which Kardec published until his death.

Kardec thus produced the books that form the Spiritist Codification.

Allan Kardec coined the word "spiritism" and followed modern scientific methods in its study, which was recognized among others by Camille Flammarion, a famous French astronomer and author, who said "spiritism is not a religion but a science".

Having died in Paris, due to aneurysm, Kardek is buried at Cimetière du Père Lachaise.

At the top part of his burial chamber is written an inscription in French saying:
"Naitre, mourir, renaître encore et progresser sans cesse, telle est la loi".
("To be born, die, still to reborn and progress unceasingly, such is the law").

The eulogy is due to Camille Flammarion.

That sentence became a sort of spiritis's motto.

Visitors from all over the world, especially from Brazil where his doctrine has millions of followers, come bringing flowers to his tombstone, which is reputed to be one of the most flowered at the Cimetière.

The body of his wife Amélie Gabrielle Boudet is also buried there.




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