Allan Kardec was the codifier of Spiritism. With the teachings he received from higher spirits through various mediums, he wrote five books that would become the basis of the Spiritist Doctrine: The Spirits’ Book, The Mediums’ Book, The Gospel According to Spiritism, Heaven and Hell and The Genesis. He also left unpublished writings, which were collected 21 years after his death in the book Posthumous Works, and several other books of initiation to the doctrine which has not yet being translated to English. Allan Kardec is the pen name of a French educator called Léon-Hipollyte Denizard Rivail. Rivail was born in Lyon, France, on October 3rd, 1804. He was baptized in the Catholic religion; Rivail started using the pseudonym Allan Kardec many years later when he got in contact with Spiritist phenomena. During a medium session at the Baudin’s family home in Paris, the spiritual guide Zefiro said he had known Rivail in a previous existence when they lived together in Gaul. According to Zefiro, at that time, Rivail was called Allan Kardec. When Rivail published his first Spiritist book – The Spirits’ Book – in 1857, he decided to sign it with the pen “Allan Kardec”, and began to use it in all his new works.

The valuable educational experience of Hipollyte-Léon-Denizard Rivail prepared him for his great mission: the coding of Spiritism. Kardec was 50 years old when, in 1854, the magnetizer Fortier told him about the strange phenomenon of “turning-tables”, which had been reported in the French newspapers. The tables were moved and rotated without the intervention of anyone. At first, Kardec believed that the phenomenon could be an action of magnetism. Sometime later, however, Fortier reported something even more extraordinary: the tables could also speak and answer questions. “This is something else now,” Kardec replied. “I will believe it when I see it, and when it has been proved to me that a table has a brain to think, nerves to feel, and can become a sleepwalker; until then, I’ll see it as a bedtime story only.” In May 1855, he witnessed the phenomenon at Mrs. Plainemaison’s house, and then no longer doubted it. “My ideas were far from being held, but there was a fact that should have a cause. I foresaw something serious beyond the apparent futility in this kind of game that was made of these phenomena, and also the revelation of a new law, which I promised to study further.” In meetings at the Baudin’s family house, Kardec could observe the phenomena more carefully. The young Caroline and Julie Baudin wrote on a slate with the help of a basket, a method that required the work of two people and therefore totally excluded the intervention of the medium’s ideas. There, he saw several communications and responses to the questions posed. Kardec concluded, after all, that the messages were actually intelligent manifestations produced by the spirits of men who have left the Earth.

 “Unshakable faith is only that which can meet reason face to face in every Human epoch.”

 “Spiritism is a science which deals with the nature, origin and destiny of Spirits, as well as their relationship with the corporeal world.”

The study of the works of Allan Kardec is fundamental to achieve a true understanding of the Spiritism.


Allan Kardec