Psychic Kathleen

Confessions of a Psychic - the life of a psychic practicing off and online in Canada for more than 30 years.
19th Century Spiritualism & The Suffrage Movement

The connections between the suffrage movement, spiritualism and the emerging notions of sanity throughout the latter part of the 19th century make a fascinating her-storical study.  I've spent more than 40 years researching and writing on subjects related to the psycho-spiritual realm and women.  From Yoga to Carl Jung, feminism to psychic development and literature to psychology, I've relentlessly sought answers to my restless soul's quest to understand the spiritual feminine. 

The Spiritualist tradition has been in my family for two generations.  My mother and father's father were separated when my parents were divorced in the early '60's yet both attended the Spiritualist Church services in different cities spanning several decades. Following a parallel path yet neither knowing the other were serious followers of the same spiritual tradition.  The Spiritualist Church had an enormous impact on both their lives respectively.

People Wanted to Know More About the Spirit World

The budding romance of psychology and philosophy of the 19th century was keen to show that both spiritualist mediums and believers were mentally deranged.  Bombastically, spiritualism attracted the insane.  No doubt the popularity and buzz value of spiritualism was affording the new psychologies a weigh-in to centre stage.   Any religious experience that involved the suspension of everyday consciousness, including ecstatic divine communion or mediumship, was reducible to a pathological model.  Sadly, this remains an insidious barrier to authentic research in this field.

Considering that spiritualism is a gift to prove the existence of afterlife, this obnoxious and pseudo-scientific pronouncement has effectively kept spiritualism in a dark corner for most people.  Its growth has been systematically stunted on all fronts.  When it emerged in full force by the middle of the 19th century, the Titans of science and religion came out in full force to discredit, dishonour and obliterate it.  Interestingly, no matter how hard the Titans stomped, Spiritualism continued to grow like a weed. People wanted to know more about the spirit world. How it was organized, what souls did while there, how was it different from this corporal world and most of all, how can we reach these souls?  It seemed that gifted, trance mediums were the only ones willing and able to convey this information.

Women dominated the mediumship field by more than 100 to 1 male.  This didn't escape the notice of the medical profession, one of the most veraciously opposed of the Titans.  In females who were diagnosed with insanity, the disease was not surprisingly aligned with their sexuality. This explained why so many women succumbed to the pathological condition of mediumship (an interesting circular argument favoured by the Victorian mind).  Vibrancy and feminine sexuality were virtually contradictory notions.

There were a few gifted mediums in that enlightened period that challenged the notion that only males were designed for higher levels of spiritual attainment.  On the heels of the witch burnings there had to be an inordinate degree of prudence applied as the miracles performed by these mediums came into the public forum of debate.  All mediums were urged to emphasize their Christian roots and use language familiar and acceptable to the Christian majority.  There remain vestiges of this caution evident in many spiritualism adherents. Male dominated language and perceptions in the official doctrine of Spiritualism continues to this day.  Very odd considering!  

Our Grandmother of Wisdom & Light

If you decide to pursue this line of query, I recommend Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond be the first trance medium on your list to study.  Many claimed she was a female Avatar (the materialization in an earthly body, by choice, to promote an issue important for the progress of the human family) or announcer like John the Baptist.  She was exceptionally gifted and the best known Spiritual phenomenon of her day.   Cora was one of a kind.

She was born in 1840 in Cuba N.Y. and died in Chicago in early 1923.  When she was a young child, people travelled days to sit with her and be healed.  At 15 years old, she was on the stage going into deep trance and bringing forth messages that would affect the course of American history.  She attracted thousands of followers from around the world, inspired the brightest minds of the 19th century and was the first American woman to earn her own income.  Susan B. Anthony, the renowned feminist of the 19th century, was counted among her closest friends. 

She was at the centre of the first Parliament of Religions in Chicago (yet was soon banned from attending).   The first Spiritualist Church was built for her followers in Chicago, called the Church of the Soul.

She wrote prolifically and her discourses under trance were all published.  She taught the most gifted mediums and attracted thousands to Cassadaga Camp every year (later called Lilydale).  The vestiges of this are evident in Lilydale's Waterlily Logo which was Cora's spirit world name given to her by one of her guides, Ouina.

Cora Richmond’s Brilliance & Gift are Un-Matched

Why do spiritualists today still fail to highlight the contributions made by this stunningly gifted medium? Why were her stories, writings, and teachings moved to the backstage of spiritualism's archives?  Why did they destroy her books and articles immediately after her death?  All questions worthy of ponder.

She was the most loved of the 19th century inspirational speakers.  She spent months at a time at the White House as one of Lincoln's mediums; William James cast her in his famous novel The Bostonians; and she attracted thousands of people in America and England to her discourses. She taught and supervised the development of the most gifted mediums at the time.  Her book published in 1888 titled, The Soul in its Human Embodiments was a primary training manual for mediumship study and development.

If for no other reason than curiosity, I highly recommend you study Cora’s works.  Her brilliance and gift are un-matched.

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