Finding Underlying Concepts in Beliefs

by Tom Butler

The Spiritualist Society of Reno has no dogma but there are important concepts which shape our understanding of the world we live in now and the greater reality we will continue to experience after this lifetime.

Other systems of belief have their unique take on reality, and in many ways, their views may seem to conflict with Spiritualism; however, most if not all beliefs are true expressions of reality as they are understood within that system of belief. The challenge is to find the underlying concepts–principles of reality–on which beliefs are based so as to establish common ground amongst the many views.

This article provides examples that will help you understand the idea of normalizing concepts.

The most important concept here is that, just as people experience a progression toward increased spiritual maturity, society and the prevailing worldview has also evolved. This is discussed in the Etheric Studies essay on Perceptual Agreement which is part of the Implicit Cosmology Series. Worldview is the thought form representing beliefs of society. It is the filter through which individuals pass experiences to determine how to respond; whether or not to believe or disbelieve.

Knowledge given to society via revelation, mediumship, channeling, automatic writing, or any other form of transcommunication, is necessarily filtered by worldview. In mental mediumship for instance, what was intended by the communicating entity is either rejected or translated by the medium into imagery that agrees with his or her current understanding. Thus, as worldview changes, what is given as revelation from the other side in this modern day may be very different than what was given in the 1800s. The “truth” would be the same, it is just the expression that would be different.

There are relatively few Spiritualists, making it difficult for our community to know everything, think about all concepts and compile all that is known into thought which agrees with Spiritualist tenets. There just are not enough of us, yet there is so much important information to be compiled. At the same time, there are many, many more people in the world who are Spiritualists in nature but practice different systems of belief. The message is fundamentally the same, it is just the outward expression that will be different. For this reason, it is important for Spiritualists to learn to “normalize” other people’s viewpoint so as to find the common concepts. The principle of nature are all about fundamental concept, so learning to understand the principles which govern nature’s behavior may mean learning to recognize them as they are understood by others.

Examples of seemingly irrelevant, “un-Spiritualist” concepts that are really in accord with Spiritualist thinking include:


The core concept of angels is the presence of an etheric personality–maybe a thoughtform, a morphic field or a person–that has an interest in the wellbeing of someone or something in the physical. Spiritualist usually think of these entities as guides or “friends on the other side.” In some systems of thought, this is known as nature spirits or devas.

When encountering any reference to a personality that is not specifically a discarnate person, always look for common references that might indicate that the intent is really a reference to an etheric helper. Information about such an entity based on other systems of belief may  help Spiritualists better understand the idea of a guide.


According to Spiritualist understanding, a person progresses spiritually by learning to understand governing principles of nature. That is, by understanding the ways of nature, and learning to live in accordance with that understanding, people gain in spiritual maturity. Further, Spiritualists believe that this learning process never ends.

With spiritual progression as a fundamental objective, and based on what is being learned via Instrumental TransCommunication, it is clear that people will continue to have learning experiences after transition out of this lifetime. The venue for these learning experiences may or may not be physical. This remains an open question. What is clear is that a person is born into this lifetime, lives this life, transitions into a region of apparent reorientation, and then “transitions” again into a new venue for learning.

Rather than being overly concerned about whether or not reincarnation is a fact, when a Spiritualists encounters the concept in other systems of belief, it is a good idea to consider what is being said about what reincarnation really is–continued opportunity for progression.

Life Plan

The concept of a life plan is something of a corollary of continued progression. A good way to think of this is as an urge to gain understanding about a specific concept. It is clear that people do not come into this lifetime as their personality‘s first experience for learning. Some may, but most clearly exhibit understanding that suggests prior progression. If the measure of advanced maturity, having mastered many concepts, then a life plan might be expressed as the intention to master a new concept.

So, the underlying concept is continued progression. It may be expressed in different ways, but fundamentally, it agrees with the Nine Principles in the NSAC Declaration of Principles.

Akashic Records

This concept is based on akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning “sky,” “space” or “aether.” A cosmic gallery of pictures and the records of every thought, action and feeling since the world began. Many believe that these records can be contacted in certain psychic states of consciousness. See the article Akashic Records.

The concept of life records are often associated with reincarnation, but the underlying concept does not necessarily lead to the idea of reincarnation. Think of it more as a thought form which contains the emotional thought energy of experiences. These can be associated with an individual, but from the Spiritualist perspective, it is more likely that such information becomes available to fill an individual’s need.

A mental medium is able to sense the sitter’s etheric personality and those associated with the sitter (loved ones, guides — “friends on the other side.”). It is likely the medium senses this information as the sitter needs. So in this way, Spiritualist are in agreement with the concept of Akashic records.


A principle in Theosophy, Buddhism and Hinduism that states that we are the cause of our present conditions. These conditions are said to be governed by the Law of Action which holds that, for every action there is a reaction with our deeds, acts and attitudes creating our future and making one ultimately responsible for oneself. This concept is probably more correctly thought of as “imperfect understanding of the operation of reality.” The operation of reality if often referred to as Natural Law Natural Law.”

Spiritualists should hear “learning to understand Natural Law” when they hear the term, “Karma.” This is not a system of punishment and/or reward. It is simply continued opportunity to have experiences leading to understanding of Natural Law.

Spirituality According to the Hermetic Wisdoms

Compiled by Tom Butler

The objective of Spiritualism is to show that we continue as a self-aware personality after the change called death. The purpose of Spiritualism is to teach spirituality based on that understanding. From awareness that we are immortal in an infinite reality comes the understanding that we are citizens in a community of life, and with that citizenship comes responsibility. Understanding that responsibility may be referred to as “spiritual maturity.”

“Spiritual” is defined as 1. Reverence toward Infinite Intelligence. 2. Anything related to Infinite Intelligence. 3. A person who is striving to understand and live in accordance with Natural Law. The question that should be asked and answered is “What does being spiritual mean in my daily life? How do I go about being spiritual?”

For Christians, doing whatever the Bible dictates is being spiritual. Most of the Bible is about behavior but there are references that teach spirituality in the context intended by Spiritualists. For instance, John 14:21 states: He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Jesus told his followers that “I am the way.” By that, we think he was saying that the lessons he represented were the way. From this perspective, Jesus taught a very important path of knowledge for seeking spiritual maturity. Loving Jesus means loving what he taught—the path of knowledge.

The Hermetic Wisdoms also teach the metaphysics of seeking spiritual maturity beginning with the Emerald Tablet thought to have been written by Hermes himself. The first paragraph states: It is true and no lie, certain and to be depended upon, that which is above is as that which is below; and that which is below is as that which is above, for the performance of the one truly great work. The “great work” is the Ancient Wisdom School’s code phrase for development of spiritual maturity. The Emerald Tablet is a roadmap for gaining spiritual maturity.

Around 1200 A.D., teachers of ancient wisdoms invented the system of teaching known as the Tarot. The twenty-two keys of the Major Arcana are deigned to represent the teaching needed to lead the seeker on the path (the great work) to spiritual maturity. These are arrayed in three tiers Key 1-7 representing potencies; Key 8-14 representing laws or agencies; Key 15-21 representing conditions or effects.

For this discussion, Key 1-7 can be thought of as the Natural Law as it pertains to creation, while the second tier represent the formative influences Natural laws have on the creative process and the last tier represents the manifestation of reality in all its complexity. Thus Key 1 operates through the agency of Key 8 to cause the effect of Key 15.

If spiritual maturity is a measure of how well a person understands the operation of Natural Law, then on of the few instructions books I know of that explains how  to achieve this is the Tarot as described by Paul Foster Case in The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages. Every feature, including the colors, numbers and Hebrew letters have meaning that is both obvious and hidden for those who are willing to contemplate their arcane message. You can learn much by simply contemplating these images, but you might also consider taking a correspondence course from The Builders of the Adytum (B.O.T.A.) at I should say that this is not an endorsement for the use of the Tarot as a tool for divining.

key-0Key 0 The Fool

The No-Thing

The Fool represents both the beginning and end the education of the student. It represents the active principle of existence, and in many ways, is Infinite Intelligence and the spiritual energy it emanates. He is that which was, is and shall be. The precipice represents the unknown possibilities of the future and the creative process. The dog represents adaptation of nature to benefit the individual. In some systems, it also represents nature’s constant challenge to the student.

key-1Key 1 The Magician

Creative Ability, Attention Intention

The symbols of the Magician refer to powers of the self-conscious phase of personal mental activity. These powers are directed primarily to the control of forces and things below the self-conscious level. The energy utilized comes from above, from superconsciousness. It is fixed and modified by acts of attention. Concentration is the great secret of the magical art. True concentration is perfect transparency, in which personality becomes a free, unobstructed channel for the passage downward and outward of the superconscious radiant energy. Herein is the secret of true volition, and Eliphas Levi tells us, “All magic is in the will.”

Elements of natural life are on the table as: Fire (wand), water (cup), air (sward) and earth (coin). It is noteworthy that, when the magician is seen as a new student, it is necessary to have the tools out where they are easily accessed, but for the adept, as represented by the Fool, the tools are safely stashed in his pack and the Fool is confident in his ability to access them.

key-2Key 2 The High Priestess

Imagination, Potential for Creation

This is the feminine nature in both men and women and represents the collective unconscious of humanity. She is the soul, the anima of humankind. She is receptivity, magnetism, memory, reflection and feminine wisdom. The High Priestess represents access to the collective memory, sometimes known as the akashic records.

Her robe is blue to represent the headwaters of all of the water (stream of consciousness) in the rest of the Tarot. The element water, represents the primary root-substance, the cosmic mind-stuff which is the element particularly attributed to the creative world. She is symbolic of this root-substance. The circles on the drape are pomegranates, representative of fertility of ideas.

key-3Key 3 The Empress

Selection of Potentials, Manifestation, Creation

The Empress represents subconsciousness as the mother of ideas, the generator of mental images. The power by which she works is the power of deductive reasoning. The apparent multiplication of images is really the splitting-up of the seed-ideas into manifold presentations. This is symbolized by the multiplication of the original seed in the wheat-ears at her feet.

She is called the Empress because subconsciousness has control over all sequences of development in the material world. This control extends even to the mineral kingdom, so that adepts are able to effect transformations even in the inorganic world, by purely mental means. The particular mental function peculiar to subconsciousness is imagination, based on memory.

Symbolic of mastery over transformation of the elements. Note the stream of consciousness.

key-4Key 4 The Emperor

Constituting Intelligence, Embodiment

The Emperor represents the self-consciousness of man, when its activities are engaged in the work of inductive reasoning whereby errors arising from superficial interpretation of experiences are overthrown. He is the definer, the lawgiver, the personality. He frames the constitution of your personal world. It is this influence which determines our worldview.
The Emperor represents the ordering process of our minds whereby we control the conditions of our environment. The cube he sits on represents formation of physical reality.

key-5Key 5 The Hierophant

Law and Adaptation

The Hierophant represents intuition, which follows reasoning and adds to it. Intuition is subconscious response to reason; through laws of association at work below the conscious level, thought-relations which go beyond the results attained by reason are attained. Usually these are perceived by interior hearing. Intuition, it should be noted, means literally “inner tuition.”

In the symbols of this Key we find all we need to know in order to distinguish genuine intuitions from baseless feelings which echo our own emotional states and give form to our ignorance.

key-6Key 6 The Lovers

Discernment and Discrimination

This Key is associated with discrimination and the use of mind. It shows how logic and truth can unite. All developed thinking processes: precise thinking, perception and mental vision are at work here. The right and left sides of the brain are working together for a higher purpose here.

Superconsciousness (the Angel) sheds its influence impartially upon both self-consciousness (the man) and subconsciousness (the women). These two figures are nude, meaning they hide nothing from each other. Self-consciousness observes the objective world and gathers accurate data. Subconsciousness acts as the connecting link between self-consciousness and superconsciousness.

key-7Key 7 The Chariot

Receptivity, Will

The charioteer is the result of the mastery of the Keys 1-6 that have gone before. The rider in the chariot is your own true Self. This key represents the Primal Will, as one is able to see the needs of the whole. We have free will but it is a synthesis of innumerable cosmic influences coming to us at a point within us.

The more perfectly we understand that the office of human personality is to serve as a vehicle for cosmic forces, the mores freely does the Primal Will behind all manifestation find expression through us.

The charioteer is the true Self, the Master-power behind all forms of life-expression.

Based on: The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages by Paul Foster Case, Macoy Publishing Company, Richmond VA, 1947. Contact Builders of the Adatum (

Concluding Remarks

It is worth repeating that the intention of this discussion is not to teach a method for divining. Nor is it a suggestion that you should consider learning the Cabala. The Hermitic Wisdoms offer important insights into the nature of our being, and the lessons associated with the Major Arcana of the Tarot provide a workable path for your understanding of Natural Law and how it applies to you. It does this largely without dogma and religious overtones, so in many ways, it is an excellent complement to Spiritualism.

Concepts Involved in Spiritualism

Concepts Involved in Spiritualism

One of the reasons Spiritualism is so interesting to study is that it is concerned with so many aspects of our life.  To add to this interest, Spiritualism approaches often familiar subjects, such as human behavior and creativity, from a very different perspective than that held in science.  Scientists are obliged to base new research on existing theory and practice, thus forcing anything that falls outside of this norm into the category of “phenomenal,” and thus often “ignored.” In fact, mainstream science doe snot have the vocabulary necessary to address anything concerned with a greater reality. By acknowledging the existence of Infinite Intelligence, Natural Law and personal survival, Spiritualism can offer more complete explanations for the way things are around us.

Because of this different view, any explanation of the way Spiritualists approach the study of Phenomena should be preceded with an explanation of some of the fundamental assumptions held by Spiritualists.  We invite you to take a few minutes to read the following explanations for these fundamental Spiritualist concepts.  There is also a supporting web page explaining the terminology of Spiritualism in Phenomenal study.

Please note that these concepts have been described from a perspective designed to encourage scientific inquiry.  As such, some terms normally used in Spiritualism may have been substituted with terms thought to be more consistent with those used in the academically community.

Please visit the NSAC website for more complete information about the Religion of Spiritualism and the NSAC.

The Nine Principles of Spiritualism

Perhaps the best place to begin describing Spiritualist concepts is by offering the nine guiding Principles of Spiritualism.  These are:


Declaration of Principles

  1. We believe in Infinite Intelligence.
  2. We believe that the phenomena of Nature, both physical and spiritual, are the expression of Infinite Intelligence.
  3. We affirm that a correct understanding of such expression and living in accordance therewith, constitute true religion.
  4. We affirm that the existence and personal identity of the the individual continue after the change called death.
  5. We affirm that communication with the so-called dead is a fact, scientifically proven by the phenomena of Spiritualism.
  6. We believe that the highest morality is contained in the Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye also unto them.”
  7. We affirm the moral responsibility of individuals, and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey Nature’s physical and spiritual laws.
  8. We affirm that the doorway to reformation is never closed against any soul here or hereafter.
  9. We affirm that the precepts of Prophecy and Healing are Divine attributes proven through Mediumship.


About Spiritualism

Please follow this link to the NSAC website for a description of Spiritualism.


Following then, are explanations of some of the concepts important to Spiritualism:

A Prime Creator and the operation of Natural Law

In Spiritualism, the Prime Creator, First Cause, God, whatever you think of when you think of the force that started reality in the first place, is known as Infinite Intelligence.  Yes, it is correct to say that Infinite Intelligence is God.  Spiritualists do believe in God.  But there are a few important differences in the way Spiritualists understand God.  Infinite Intelligence is not a father figure that offers rewards and punishment to his children.

Infinite Intelligence influences our world and our lives through the Principles of Natural Law.  Natural Law, spiritual energy and purpose are thought to emanate from Infinite Intelligence.  The more a person can learn to live in accordance with Natural Law the more that person will find life to be agreeable–or at least understandable.  Put another way, living in a way that violates Natural Law is certain to create difficulties in a person’s life.

Living in accordance with Natural Law is not a matter of doing “good” or “bad.”  Yes, living in a way that is consistent with Natural Law would seem to have good results for a person, but this goodness would be in the same context as the goodness one derives from not violating a traffic law, and thereby, not being given a traffic ticket.

Spiritualists seek to understand Natural Law as a way of life. Spiritual Maturity can be defined as the understanding of Natural Law and living in accordance with those Principles.  A spiritually mature person can be defined as a person who has learned to live in accordance with Natural Law, rather than in conflict with it.

Spiritualist will say that understanding and living in accordance with Natural Law is an equivalent with the idea of “obeying the will of God.


The history of Humankind includes considerable reference to the ability of people to communicate with spirits.  As Humankind evolved toward our current civilization, so has the nature of this communication and belief as to who we are communicating with.  There has been one constant throughout this long history: that is, the part that the individual plays in this communication as a medium between this world and the other side.

Mediumship is fundamental in human behavior.

In Spiritualism, mediumship is taught as an ability that can be learned and is practiced as a regular part of a person’s relationship with nature.  Mediumship is not a mysterious gift handed down by a god to a favored few.  It is an ability that is inherent in each of us.  It can be learned just as an average person can train to be an accomplished athlete.

As with any human ability associated with consciousness, individuals experience mediumship in different ways.  It has been our experience that people who have not studied mediumship, or who have not had personal experience with it, will not easily recognize this ability within themselves.  However, with some training, it quickly becomes clear that the ability is there and in use as a natural part of a person’s life.

About Mediumship

In general, any form of transference of information from etheric to physical reality involving a person living in the physical, is considered mediumship.  It is important to note that in Natural Law, there is the Principle of Agreement.  Simply stated, this Principle holds that an object of reality must energetically agree with the aspect of reality it will occupy.  For instance, you as Self exist in this physical aspect of reality by living in a physical body.  You are not your body.  Perhaps it is more correct to say that you are in a symbiotic relationship with your body, for once the body dies, you as Self continue.  Without your physical body to help you “energetically agree” with this physical aspect of reality, you cannot remain here

Items of information are considered objects of reality.  And so, items of information cannot exist in the physical without something to help them “energetically agree” with the physical.  So you can see that any form of communication between our world and the spirit world must be facilitated in some way by something in our world as a transformer.  Mediumship is that transformer.  Thus, it is through our mediumship that our spirit friends are able to impress their thoughts and actions into the physical.

Meditation provides a good comparison for the nature of mediumship. Meditation is “the intentional directing of attention to the clear aspect of one’s own inner nature.  In meditation, a person is asked to seek a state of relaxation in which the body is more or less asleep while the person remains mentally alert.  The objective is to remove external stimuli so that the mind is free to focus on internal, mental processes.  Once so relaxed, the person is then asked to clear the mind of thoughts about daily issues and to focus on not thinking at all.  This is no paradox, really.  The objective is to achieve a mental condition in which the person is ready to mentally listen to something that may originate “behind” or “within” the normal mental chatter.  It is this “listening” that is important in mediumship.

In mediumship, “Listening” is more often referred to as sensing and may take the form of mentally hearing, feeling or seeing subtle sensations, depending on the individuals way of interfacing with the environment.  From the web site of the National Association of Spiritualist churches web site:

“A medium is one whose organism is sensitive to vibrations from the Spirit World and through whose instrumentality, intelligences in that world are able to convey messages and produce the phenomena of Spiritualism. The phenomena of Spiritualism consists of: prophecy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, gift of tongues, laying on of hands, healing, visions, trance, apports, revelations, raps, levitation, automatic and independent writing and painting, photography, materialization, psychometry, direct and independent voice, and any other manifestation which proves the continuity of life.”

Probably the most common form of mediumship is what has historically been referred to as “intuition.”  When people state that they have a hunch or that they have a feeling about something, they are recognizing the operation of mediumship in their lives.  Mediumship is a native ability that is as common as thought, itself.

People may function as mediums without being aware of their contribution to the Phenomena occurring around them.  The poltergeist phenomenon is a good example.  Hauntings researchers are coming to the conclusion that poltergeist are made possible when there is a young person in the household.  While they are not usually aware of their contribution, these people appear to provide the psychic energy needed for a nonphysical entity to cause changes in the physical world.

People may be strong physical mediums, yet when they are witness to something phenomenal happening around them, perhaps direct voice or levitation, they may not recognize that they have played an important part.  This ability to facilitate the occurrence of Phenomena is sometimes referred to as “being a battery.”  In this regard, a person organizing a development circle, who is aware of the concept of a human battery, will often try to situate strong mediums so that they will help to energetically balance the group.

Mediumship via Electronic Means

An important modern day development in mediumship is spirit communications via an electronic device.  This is most commonly known as Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP); however, when images are involved, or two way communication through a device such as a radio, it is know as Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC).  And yes, what is known about this phenomenon tells us that it is correct to describe it as Technology Augmented Mediumship (TAM).  This phenomenon is known by many other names as well, making it clear that this is a very young science.  We will refer to the phenomena as EVP on this web site.

You should know that there are differing opinions as to whether or not EVP is influenced by the mediumship ability of the person doing the recording.  Spiritualists who are familiar with mediumship will recognize the similarities in how mediumistic phenomena occurs and how EVP occurs.  It is also noteworthy that some of the first EVP recordings were made while researchers were attempting to make audio recordings of the direct voice phenomenon produced by mediums.

For more information, please refer to the American Association – Electron Voice Phenomena web site at

Healing Intention

Spiritual healing is a central concept of Spiritualism.  It is taught and practiced in the Spiritualist church as a demonstration of the existence of etheric reality, that people are spiritual beings and that there are entities that exist beyond our physical realm.  It also shows that physical life is a preparation for the larger more expanded life beyond death.

One of the forerunners of Modern Spiritualism, Harry Edwards, felt that there were three purposes or goals behind the act of spiritual healing:

  • Spiritual healing is a recognizable, approachable and understandable sign and proof of Humankind’s immortality. Spiritual healing provides the reassurance that we are spirit now. We are immortal now.
  • The act of spiritual healing comes from what is good. It is received in goodness and accomplishes only that which is good.  It points out the true meaning behind the Brotherhood of Humankind.
  • Spiritual healing is beautiful because it heals.  It frees the body from pain and allows the spirit to expand and realize its own potential.

Healing Postulates maintained by the NSAC:

  • Spiritual healing is the direct result of law-governed forces.
  • To make spiritual healing an effective health tool the healing force (energy) requires direction that has intelligence behind it.
  • In order to be successful, the guiding force, the Intelligence behind spiritual healing, must be able to successfully ‘diagnose’ and ‘treat the particular illness in question.

So you can see that Infinite Intelligence is thought to be the source of all healing, not the person who is functioning as a healer.

Spiritual healing is thought of as two distinct forms:

  • Spiritual healing is a conveyance of energy from a spiritual source to the one in need.  This is the more desirable form of healing, in that the healer is functioning as a conduit for a nonphysical intelligence to bring energy to the one in need.
  • Magnetic healing is a transfer of the healer’s personal energy or vitality to the one in need.  While this can be a powerful form of healing, it is not normally the objective form taught in Spiritualism.  This form can deplete the healer’s personal energy to an undesirably low level.

The energies thought to be involved in spiritual healing assume many forms:

  • There is a certain amount of healing potential in the process of healing, itself.  Properly done, the act of healing is a very relaxing experience for both the one in need and the healer.  Like meditation, this can be very therapeutic.
  • The human body is believed to posses a form of energy often called Vitality, bio-energy (parapsychology), chi (Taoism) or prana (Hinduism).  This energy is said to be etheric energy that has been differentiated by the Self to maintain the human body.
  • Spiritual energy is a higher form of energy thought to be made available to a person by a nonphysical entity who directly accesses this energy from Infinite Intelligence.
  • The human body is thought to be surrounded by energy fields generated by the higher bodies occupied by Self.  This is seen as the auric field or the aura.  The first and most commonly recognized body is usually known as the etheric body.  The condition of the etheric body is thought to be a precursor to the condition of the physical body.  For instance a negative attitude will appear to clairvoyants as a dark color in the aura and the physical body is thought to eventually respond with a relevant ailment.

Close examination of other energetic healing modalities, such as therapeutic touch, etheric healing, Reiki, and laying on of hands, will show that all are based on more or less the same fundamental concepts.  Specifically, that it is possible to bring additional energy to the one in need in support of healing.  It remains the responsibility of the recipient to accept this energy.

It should also be recognized that the one in need may have habitually violate some aspect of Natural Law, and until they come into compliance with Natural Law, help from spiritual healing will be temporary at best.  Also, the one in need may very well be working to exit the body in transition.  In this case, successful energetic healing would eventually facilitate this transition.

Planes of Existence

Planes of existence are a central concept in metaphysics.  The simple explanation is that there are levels or “other universes” in reality that are similar to our physical universe, but that are different in their relationship to Infinite Intelligence and offer differing opportunities for personal development.

It is believed that, as Self, a person enters into the “lower” planes to experience Natural Law from the perspective offered in the lower planes.  Self’s purpose is to gain an understanding about the operation of Natural Law, and thereby, gain in spiritual maturity.  In this way, then, Self is thought to progress back toward Infinite Intelligence by gaining lessons in spiritual maturity that are available on each plane.

The concept of planes of existence is not the same as the concept of parallel realities or parallel worlds.  In the parallel concepts, the physical universe is entirely or partially replicated but remain physical.  This replication is usually attributed to either the Uncertainty Principle as described in Quantum Physics or to important decisions that result in splits in the stream of time.

One of the Principle of Natural Law recognized in Spiritualism is the Law of Continuity, which holds that there are no breaks between the physical and the spiritual reality.  There are differences, however.  A phrase commonly used in Spiritualism to describe the difference between the physical aspect of reality and others is, “This new state (of existence after physical death) has definite existence, but is characterized by a different atmosphere and kind of awareness.”

Remembering that everything is energy, the energetic difference between planes is probably a difference in many fundamental characteristics of energy.  It is common in discussions to refer to the difference as one of differing vibration.  Such a term is useful, as is “higher” or “lower,” but these terms should not be thought to be descriptive of the difference in the character of the underlying energy.  The difference is more that of attitude and worldview.

The Phenomena of Spiritualism

The term, etheric, is used here as a reference to that aspect of reality that is thought to exist beyond this physical universe.  Some may think of this as:

  • The higher planes of existence
  • Beyond the Veil
  • The other side
  • A different dimension
  • Finer worlds
  • Summerland
  • Spirit world
  • Etheric reality or etheric aspect of reality
  • Heaven

However you think of it, the idea is that there is one reality, but that this reality has many aspects.  Our physical universe is only one aspect of the total reality.

You do not have to accept the existence of a greater reality on faith, alone.  There is considerable evidence for its existence that comes from many parts of the paranormalist community.  It is convenient to refer to the study of these phenomena as “Etheric Studies.”

The primary sources of this accumulated evidence are:

  • Information brought to Humankind via the various forms of mediumship–modern and historical.
  • Observed events such as hauntings, physical mediumship and apparent spiritual healing.
  • Mathematically derived indications of a nonphysical aspect of reality
  • Theories and observations in physical science that seem to point to a greater reality than is currently known by science.
  • Clinical evaluation of functioning mediums that indicate physiological and behavioral changes in coincidence with observed phenomena.
  • Instances of mediumship via electronic means as is know in EVP and ITC.

This evidence points to the existence of a nonphysical reality, but it does not necessarily define the nature of that greater reality to the extent that science has defined our physical world.

Definition of Phenomena

Any manifestation of nonphysical energy into physical reality.  “Phenomena” with a capital “P” is used here, otherwise, “phenomena” with lower case “p” refers to mundane or physical world manifestations of nature.  Here, Phenomena is generally thought of as an intrusion of subtle energy–usually called spiritual energy in the Spiritualist church etheric energy–into our physical awareness.  This energy is sometimes referred to as etheric energy.  Typical examples include:

  • Mediumship: a medium is a person who is able to sense the presence of a nonphysical entity, either through the physical senses or by way of thoughts and impressions conveyed by the entity.  From the most fundamental perspective, this nonphysical information is spiritual energy (etheric energy but of intelligent origins) that is emanated by entities residing beyond the veil.   Mediumship, then, is the act and process of conveying this energy into the physical realm.
  • Clairvoyance: a clairvoyant is a person who is able to psychically sense nonphysical energy and is able to project his or her awareness to other locations–physical or nonphysical.  As such, clairvoyance (clear seeing) is though of a the ability to project awareness beyond the persons physical location.  A modern trend is to refer to this as remote viewing.
  • Spiritual Healing: a spiritual healer is a person who is able to manage etheric energy, either in the form of vitality or in the form of etheric energy.  Please refer to the concept of healing for more information on this subject.

Spiritualists believe that such Phenomena is not supernatural or miraculous in any way, but that it operates according to the Principles of Natural Law.

How We View Phenomena

The Spiritualist church defines Spiritualism as, “Spiritualism is the Science, Philosophy and Religion of continuous life, based upon the demonstrated fact of communication, by means of mediumship, with those who live in the Spirit World.”  It should be clear from this definition that the Spiritualist church is serious about understanding the foundation of facts that support acceptance of the Declaration of Principles.

The Spiritualist church does not impose dogma nor creed on its members, but instead, encourages them to do the research necessary to prove the facts for themselves.  In the same way, Phenomena discussed on this web site will not be described in terms of faith, and therefore be considered proof of the Principles.  Instead, Phenomena will be approached as any good scientist would approach a poorly understood phenomenon–with open mind and great curiosity.

Please consider what we have posted on this site and join us in the Spiritualist’s effort to better understand the nature of reality.