New Career: Spiritualist?

We were talking this morning about my first gleanings on the spiritualist world. I have done a little work and reading on
--but the new discovery, The Temple of Truth (unbelievable name, isn't it) makes me quake. Lilydale is a little community near the Chautauqua Institution in way Western New York, known for it's spiritualist community...and spiritual hotspots that mediums use to have easier access to those they communicate with. The hotels, to date, warn that seances are inappropriate and forbidden in the lobbies. Here's what they say about themselves (

Since it was established in 1879, Lily Dale has been the world's largest center for spiritual development and the practice of the Spiritualist religion. For nearly 130 years, Lily Dale has offered a world-renowned summer program of lectures, workshops and other activities featuring best-selling authors, leaders in academic and scientific research into psychic phenomena, as well as the world's most powerful mediums, teachers and healers. Lily Dale is widely known as a place where knowledge and enlightenment converge in ways that deepen faith and heighten awareness. The energy of the universal life force can be felt, experienced and developed here in this serene 19th century lakeside community surrounded by towering, old-growth forest.

The heart of the Lily Dale year is our summer season, from late June through the first Sunday in September, when tens of thousands of visitors attend the wide array of programs offered on the grounds. A full schedule of workshops and seminars is highlighted by special events featuring some of the leading names in spirituality. Daily and weekly activities, mediumship demonstrations, healing services, evening entertainment, and a variety of attractions throughout the grounds will make your visit to Lily Dale uplifting and renewing. Accommodations at either of our historic hotels, campgrounds, or in one of several private guest homes make taking in all that Lily Dale has to offer relaxing and even more enjoyable.

But your spiritual journey needn't end with the summer season. There are an increasing number of opportunities offered off season in Lily Dale through the Church of the Living Spirit and the Lily Dale Spiritualist Church, as well as through the growing network of Spiritualist churches, schools and camps throughout the United States and Canada.

On spiritual healing at Lily Dale, From Abundance Magazine, the writer,Mindy Sommers recounts their experience at the "Inspiration Stump":

Inspiration Stump, one of Lily Dale's most famous landmarks, is where registered mediums (and nervous mediums-in-training) "give back to spirit" by offering free readings to those visitors assembled. Inspiration Stump is actually a huge tree stump in the middle of a dense forest at the end of a long and narrow footpath. After you walk for about a quarter mile, the forest opens up to a clearing where there are dozens of benches assembled, facing the five or six foot wide stump. Medium after medium stands or paces in front of the stump, getting impressions from those assembled, and when one is to receive a message, they will say, "May I speak to you?" or "Can spirit speak with you?" Most of the mediums are female, but the one who embarrassed my husband out of his private reverie was male. "Sir, may spirit speak with you?" We were sitting all the way in the back, and Glen was jerked out of his daydreaming but managed to answer "yes" in a strong voice. For some reason, everybody turned to look at him, which was unusual. The medium's staccato bursts of information were unusual, too. His rhythm had changed. He spoke louder and more strongly, and was more specific with Glen than he had been with the others he had read. It came like machine-gun fire. "A death of someone from your past is near, you will be asked to speak at his funeral." Bang. "You are a preacher, or could have been one if you chose, and you have a preacher in your family." Bang. "You are a landlord." Bang. "You will go to Fort Lauderdale." Bang. Glen's father was a preacher. We have rented an apartment in our home. I can't vouch for the other stuff, not yet anyway. But the man's change in tone and force struck us both, as did his specific references. Glen, who usually walks around with a slightly cynical smile, was shaken a bit.

a sample of automatic writing the caption reading "Copy of original automatic writing from Jesus

So in the spirit of Memento Mori, automatic writing and the thinking around remembering death, remembering our mortality...I think this sidebar into spiritualism might be a nice rich add to this mix as it is dealing with death in an interesting way--as the mediums are the thin scrim between those living and those on the spiritual plane--acting as the voice and hands of those that have passed on. And, to that, reinterpreting death to those that believe, proving in a way, that life continues beyond the grave, giving comfort and better health to the living. Also, to my labyrinthine thinking, the link to the NYState burn out zone amazingness, that time of spiritual fervor, consciousness of individuals, and the emergent religions and cults stemming from eccentric and amazing personalities that lead people to follow and believe. Lets recall Joseph Smith and his magic seer stone (the stone he placed in a hat with some of the golden plates within which he placed his face to read the plates); The fervor of Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Fredrick Douglas; the sacred passions of Mr Humphries and the Oneida Community; of course, the Fox Sisters and the establishment of commerce, growth and expansionism with the construction of the Erie Canal and all the smaller connecting canals and lakes that made this wilderness accessible to all creating a link to the sea via the Hudson River. Remember, Samuel Clemens spent summers here, and the world came to Trumansburg and Sheldrake for their health and rest on boats and trains...bringing culture to the locals.I havent really overlapped the dates, by to my thinking, this truly was an amazing time. Rich and wierd.

The shakers were inspired by the rapping that the Fox sisters translated--and participated in that. A group of Shakers established a community on Sodus Bay (outside of Rochester) in the 1820s--so they could have been influenced. According to the page, there was a period of time that is termed " A Manifestation of Spirit presence" among the
Shakers from 1837-1847:

"Their visions never came from any active, religious thought, nor from any prayerful anxiety of the mind. Neither was it from any educational lessons by which pious teachers were [4] trying to make little angels of them before the proper time. Visions were not the order of the day any more than were the spirit rappings before the appearance of the Fox children.

The origin of spiritualism with this family was through the medium of obscure and simple rappings and were as foreign to the mind as were the visions among the children of the several Communities. The whole affair, of both parties, at first seemed very childish and hardly worth the serious attention of more mature age. But the intelligent taps that were heard by the little Fox girls have made themselves heard throughout the whole earth, and thousands of believers in spiritualism have been blest through this simple medium."

"...These little girls were moved with singular [57] operations, as shaking, dancing and whirling. Sometimes they were prostrated upon the floor and would remain in an unconscious state for several hours. At other times they would be conversing with unseen friends whom they frequently designated by name."

From these trances and spiritual manifestations came the inspiration for music (many of their hymns) and automatic drawings (think the wonderful tree of life illustration that is signature Shaker).

More links to the life beyond. As we think about remembering our death, should we be thinking (or at least illustrating regardless of what we think) about communicating with those beyond. Who-whee...

More later>>