Psychic Kathleen

Confessions of a Psychic - the life of a psychic practicing off and online in Canada for more than 30 years.
Our Forgotten Grandmother of Wisdom

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 enthralling.

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 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 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 the start!

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 development.

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.

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