Allan Kardec was the codifier of Spiritism.
Allan Kardec was the scrupulous organiser of the material upon which 19thcentury Spiritist philosophy was based. He was by no means, an imaginative or a mystic writer.
On 18 April 1857 Kardec published “The Spirits Book”, which would signify the beginning of the Spiritist Doctrine. This book was signed by the name of Allan Kardec, therefore separating his current work from the time he was known as a writer and a prestigious pedagogue, when he used to sign his teaching works by his family name: Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail.
During the few years he had left in this existing reincarnation, he wrote all the books that comprise the Spiritist Codification.
Short biography of Allan Kardec
Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail (Allan Kardec) was born on the 3 October 1804, in the city of Lyon, France. He was the son of the judge Jean Baptiste-Antonie Rivail, and his mother was Jeanne Louise Duhamel.
Professor Rivail started his education in Lyon and completed his secondary studies in Yverdun, Switzerland, where he rapidly became one of the school’s most eminent pupils. An intelligent and zealous supporter of the famous Professor Pestalozzi, he then applied himself whole-heartedly to the propagation of the education system championed by Pestalozzi, which came to have a great influence on the French and German school systems.
Many times, when Pestalozzi was called abroad to establish Institutes such as that of Yverdun, he left Denizard Rivail in charge of his school. A remarkable linguist, he spoke German, English, Italian and Spanish fluently and could easily express himself in Dutch.
Professor Rivail was a member of several learned societies, among others, the Royal Society of Arras. He was the author of numerous educational works, such as:
A Plan for the Improvement of Public Instruction (1828)
A Course of Practical and Theoretic Arithmetic, on the Pestalozzian System, for the use of Teachers and Mothers (1829)
A Classical Grammar of the French Tongue (1831)
A Manual for the use of Candidates for Examination in Public Schools; with Explanatory Solutions of various Problems of Arithmetic and Geometry (1848)
Grammatical catechism of the French Tongue (1848)
Programmes of ordinary studies in physics, chemistry, astronomy and physiology, taught at the Lyceum
Normal Dictations for the Examinations of the Hotel de Ville and the Sorbonne, with Special Dictations on Orthographic Difficulties (1849).
Alongside with his teaching career, Rivail also worked as an accountant for the trade industry, therefore having a very stable financial life. His name was well-known and highly respected, and many of his works were adopted by the University of France. He met the professor Amelie-Gabrielle Boudet during his teaching years and they married on 6February 1832.
In 1854, Professor Denizard for the first time and through a friend of his, Mr. Fortier, learned of the phenomena of the turning tables. This was a fashionable and popular game played throughout Europe since the first appearance of the Spiritist phenomena in 1848, in the city of Hydesville, in the USA, with the Fox sisters.
In the following year, after receiving more information about the intervention of the spirits from Mr.Calotti, his friend for more than 25 years, Denizard became more interested in the subject.
After a while, in May 1855, he was invited by Mr. Patier, a very reliable and educated man, to participate in one of these experimental meetings.
Professor Rivail had a great interest in magnetism and agreed to participate, thinking that the phenomena were somewhat related to each other. After attending a few sessions, he started to ask questions in the search for logical answers which could explain the fact that inert objects could send intelligent messages. He was awed by the manifestations, for it seemed that behind them there was an intelligent cause that was responsible for those movements. He decided to investigate because he suspected that behind those phenomena there was the revelation of a new law.
The “invisible forces” manifested in these sessions, revealed themselves as being the souls of men who once lived on Earth. The Codifier was becoming even more intrigued. In one of those sessions, a message was addressed specifically to him: “He would give life to a new philosophical, scientific, and moral doctrine.” Kardec replied that, since he had been chosen, he would do everything to successfully accomplish the obligations that had been entrusted to him.
Although very sceptical at first, Allan Kardec had begun his observations and studies of the spiritist’s phenomena with the enthusiasm typical of a grave and rational man: “I will believe it when I can see and prove that a table has brain and nerves and that it can became a sleepwalker.”
After his initial astonishment and disbelief, Rivail started to consider the validity of such phenomena. He then continued his studies and observations, even more convinced of what he was witnessing. He said: “Suddenly I was in the midst of a very strange fact, contrary, by the first view, to the laws of nature, happening in the presence of honourable and trustworthy people. Even so, the idea of a table that could speak didn’t fit in my mind”.
Basically, the development of the Spiritist Codification began at the residence of the Baudin family, in 1855. In the house lived two young girls who were mediums. They were Julie and Caroline Baudin, 14 and 16 years old, respectively. Using the “basket and spinning top”, a device similar to the turning tables, Kardec asked questions to the discarnate Spirits, which they answered by means of mediumistic writing. In proportion to the answers to his questions, Kardec noticed that the outlines of a doctrine were being drawn and he prepared himself to publish what later became the first work of the Spiritist Codification.
The way through which the Spirits communicated in the beginning was by usage of the basket and spinning top, fitted with a pencil in its centre. The mediums’ hands were placed at the edges of the basket and the involuntary movements provoked by the Spirits produced the writing. With time, the basket was substituted by the mediums’ hands, originating what it is now known as psychography. The consultations with the Spirits originated to the “Spirits’ Book”, published on April 18, 1857. A new horizon of possibilities in the field of knowledge was disclosed to the whole world.
From then on, Allan Kardec dedicated himself intensively to the work of expanding and revealing the Good Tidings. He travelled 2,079 miles, visited twenty cities, and attended more than 50 Spiritist doctrinal meetings.
For his profound love of the good and of the truth, Allan Kardec had constructed for ever the greatest Wisdom’s Monument that Humanity could have ever ambitioned, revealing, through rational and positive comprehension of the multiple existences, the greatest mystery of life and destiny; all of it enlightened by the Christian principles.
Born into a Catholic family and having being raised in the Protestant tradition, Allan Kardec decided to follow a different path, choosing to be a free thinker and a pragmatic man. From that perspective, of a very demanding intellectual life, he was a man of a grave character and highly educated, always eager to investigate the so called “turning tables”. Back then, the world was curious about the endless psychic events that could be seen everywhere and that, later on, would become the advent of the greatest comforting doctrine – lately receiving the name of Spiritism – having as its Codifier, the immortal and famous professor of Lyon.
Nonetheless, Spiritism was not a man’s creation but rather a Divine revelation for Humanity, in defence of Christ’s postulates legacy, appearing in a period of history when materialism prevailed amongst the most intelligent and prominent minds of Europe and America.
The Codification of Spiritist Doctrine has ensured Kardec’s inclusion to the gallery of Humanity’s greatest missionaries and benefactors. His work is as extraordinary as the French Revolution, which established human rights in society. Kardec’s work established man’s boundaries with the Universe and gave mankind the key to solve its mysteries, including the problem of death, which until then had been mistaken by the existing religions.
The Master’s mission, as foreseen by The Spirit of Truth, was full of obstacles and risks, for his mission was not only the work of codification of the Spiritist Doctrine, but above all to instruct and transform humanity. His mission was so enduring that, in a letter written on 1 January 1867, Kardec talks about his friends’ ingratitude, his enemy’s hatred and the insults and defamation from fanatics. Despite it all, he never failed his mission.
His pen name, Allan Kardec, has the following origin: One night, a spirit who called himself “Z”, told him as part of a personal message received through a medium, what happened in a previous existence. This was that he had lived as a Druid, Galia, answering by the name of Allan Kardec.
His friendship with the Spirit of Zephyrus, who promised to help him in his transcendental task, in which he would effortlessly succeed, was getting stronger. When the time came to publish the Spirits’ Book, the author was faced by a dilemma: would he sign his new work with the name of Hipolyte Leon Denizard Rivail, or would he use his pen name of Allan Kardec? Because his name was famous in the scientific world, he adopted definitely the name he used in a previous existence, “Allan Kardec” to prevent his fame from overshadowing his new area of work.
Books codified and written by Allan Kardec:
The Spirits’ Book (1857)
What is Spiritism (1859)
The Mediums’ Book (1861)
The Gospel According to Spiritism (1864)
Heaven and Hell (1865)
The Genesis (1868)
Posthumous Work (1890)
On January 1, 1858 Allan Kardec published the first number of the Revue Espirite, which served as powerful auxiliary for the work he carried out for twelve years without stop, until his death. It is also considered to be the core of Spiritism, not only because he was its editor until 1869, but also because the Revue Espirite expressed his thoughts and his work as the Codifier of the Spiritism.On April 1, 1858 Allan Kardec founded The Spiritists' Parisian Studies Society, which had as its objective the study of all the relative phenomena to the spiritist’s manifestations and its applications to the moral sciences, physics, history and psychology.
From 1855 to 1869 Allan Kardec dedicated his existence to Spiritism. Representing The Spirit of Truth, he established Spiritism and brought to Mankind the Promised Consoler.
The Codifier of Spiritism died in Paris, on 31 March 1869, at the age of sixty five. It is written in his grave: “To be born, to die, to be reborn yet again, and to constantly progress, that is the Law.”