Over the past several years I’ve been researching, reading
and writing about 19th century spiritualism. I can’t seem to get my
fill of it. The connections in particular between the suffrage
movement, spiritualism and the emerging notions of sanity are
Prior to spiritualism taking up my central research stage, I spent 30
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 for the answer to how
spiritual development unfolds for women uniquely differently than men.
Spiritualism however, has always been in my genes. It 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 but both
attended the Spiritualist Church services in different cities spanning
several decades. Following a parallel path yet neither knowing the other
were serious adherents of the same faith.
Spiritual Mediums Classified as Deranged
Historically, the budding psychology of the 19th century was keen to
show that both spiritualist mediums and believers were mentally
deranged, in fact that spiritualism actually 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 divine gift to prove the existence
of afterlife, this obnoxious and pseudo scientific pronouncement has
effectively kept spiritualism off in left field 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 came out in
full force to discredit, dishonour and indeed obliterate it.
Interestingly, no matter how hard the Titans stomped, Spiritualism kept
growing like a weed.
It was a well known fact for example, that women dominated the
mediumship field by more than 100 to 1 female to male. Of course this
didn’t fail the notice of the medical profession, one of the most
veracious 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
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 of course
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 to this
day. There remains evidence of male dominated language and perceptions
in the official doctrine of Spiritualism. Very odd and disappointing
considering this rather discriminatory regard by that very religion at
Cora L. V. Richmond
I especially recommend Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond be the first trance
medium on your list to study. It was shockingly obvious when seeing her
presence in full trance that she was an angelic like instrument of the
higher spiritual world, even the celestial world. 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. Whatever label you apply, she was an
exceptional Light and the best known Spiritual phenomenon of her day.
Cora was a 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. By the time she was 15 years old she was on the stage going
into deep trance and bringing forth messages that would affect the
course of American history. The highest celestial beings spoke through
Cora. 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.
Cora was beautiful and was particularly annoying to the male dominated
establishments of the time. Women and men were galloping full speed to
see and hear Cora speak. Her beauty and eloquence quelling even the
staunchest of critics.
She organized 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 many books, 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.
Supervised the Development of the Most Gifted Mediums
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?
She was the most loved of 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
It’s time to bring Cora to the center of spiritualism’s her story.
As spiritualism reaches its time in this coming century let’s not forget
one of our most enlightened and gifted Grandmothers of Wisdom.
Visit My Web Sites to Read More Articles and See Videos
Tarot by Kathleen My Flagship Web Site
Tarot by Kathleen in Canada
Best Psychic in Canada
Free Online Dream Dictionary
Youtube Video Channel - Lectures on Psychology and Psychic Ability