The astral plane has been ventured from the archaic ages where our uncivilized forefathers sought directives of life and strove to understand our demise into death. Mysticism is as old as mankind perhaps with stories that have fabled our civilizations’ from time immemorial of instances where contact with realms unknown to the normal existence have been experienced. Whether such realms exist or not has been a fodder for debate in all philosophical, scientific, traditional and religious circles. Shroud with mystery and controversies, anomalies and assertions it is difficult to actually determine if the astral plane exists or even dispute its existence.
Spiritualism also called Spiritism; espiritisimo; candomble; voodoo; shambala; umand; juju and a myriad of other names from various human races and native communities the world over is the belief that people who have died can communicate with the living through a medium. The belief that angel, demons dead relatives or any believable incarnation of an afterlife can establish contact with us, attaining a sort of realm that connects these two spheres that metaphysically supposedly exist in this same world. Most of traditional mankind worship was based on ancestral worship with belief that God had a resting place for us after we cease to exist and from the celestial pedestal; we continued influencing the lives of those we left behind. The priests and priestesses, oracles and enchanters as well as shamans depending on the community served these deceased spirits and communicated their designs to the living. Tales of prophesies by the interpreters who spoke for the dead coming true can almost be found anywhere in the world at localized level. Practices of witchcraft and ancestral worship still dot
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the universe especially in local communities of third world countries where the priests and interludes still have a great say in the lives of the natives who believe they can actually communicate with the dead.
Very interesting stories are told of manifestations of the spirits among the living as well as the experiences of individuals with psychics and gypsies. Movies in Hollywood especially horror movies especially immortalize the notion of the existence of the spirit world. Nigeria’s Nollywood also has its share of traditional ancestral worship and they are basically in the context of these Jujus in the modern world and conflict of civilization religion and the traditional beliefs in spirits.
With growing scientific nature of our present life and the present religious interpretation as well as malice among some quasi mediums the world has generally doubted the truths behind the belief in spiritualism. Skeptics of the existence of mediums and credibility of sensitive’s have always called for scientific evidence to back their hallowed claims of this spirit world and is so substantiate the truth of their claims about their communication. Skeptics refuse that there is actually truth in a sensitive insinuating that he/she is feeling a presence of the dead and communicates to his customers the wishes of the dead. One Skeptic was quoted saying, “Death is a part of life, and pretending that the dead are gathering in a television studio in New York to talk twaddle with a former ballroom-dance instructor is an insult to the intelligence and humanity of the living." --Michael Shermer. This cynicism mainly arises from the commercialization of Spiritism. With sensitive’s writing books, holding internet sessions or much publicized TV shows in which the psychics enter into the realm of mystiques then suspicion is obviously arose.
The cynicism is further dependant on the lack of physical evidence or scientific procedure to actually demonstrate that the sensitive’s are actually in communication with the dead. Like in Shermer’s sentiments it is an insult to our intelligence which has grown used to facts that are demonstrated scientifically and put to test so that they can prove beyond reasonable doubt that they do exist.
Another reason for skeptism is the fact that through extensive study of some of the psychics psychologists have discovered diddling among some psychics. Some psychologists have noticed a queer example in most sensitive’s leading their customers along in getting answers not form the psychic world but using the information the customer offers unknowingly to substantiate his claim to reach the netherworld. In a criticism of Patrick Hutchinson in the skeptic’s dictionary the writer claims that psychics use ambiguity in their statements and rely on subjective validation to give credibility to their messages. For example telling, a crowd that he has gotten a message from a grandmother of a girl who has been molested in her childhood pits the psychic in position to always get a volunteer because in the current state of affairs most women live in the dark with histories of child abuse. Yet if no one comes up the psychic insinuates that the grandmother’s message is that she should stop bottling up the secret atrocity. This puts him in a position of no risk since people will assume the girl in question is scared of stigma.
Sensitives and those who believe in them have on the other hand criticized skeptics on their pessimism and that they are trying to discredit their gifts that are given to them by God to help people. It is true that psychics have in some cases helped people cope with loss and re-assuring. People have even attained assertiveness with the belief that their forefathers were watching after them.
The belief in the psychics has also been as a result of some actualities in their prediction. In some remote tribe in Kenya on the shores of Lake Victoria believes that Spiritism is very true and they can swear they have seen it firsthand. Being a fishing community, cases of tides running down fishermen while fishing are very common. They however never let their dead lie on the lake bed they dive in after the lake has calmed and for days they swim around where the man died to recover his body. They claim that in such situations usually one of the bystanders especially a friend would fall in a trance and describe the exact location of the drowned body in the voice of the deceased. Eileen Garret one of the most famous sensitive’s, incidentally witnessed the death of her husband before it actually happened.
With theses convictions and a million stories that are told by different people in different regions psychics have survived and the belief in them remained steadfast in those who are in close proximity with them. Spiritism, although not encouraged by religions have the psychics quoting instances of Spiritism in the bible Koran and other religious publications. They demonstrate through religious texts the contact between celestial bodies the dead and supernatural with living men and women. Psychic quote the bible to shun the idea spread by anti spiritualists that they are ungodly, for instances; “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of
my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts — 2.1 7, 18)
The theories of mysticism usually arise in our insatiable desire to find meaning in our lives the struggle with the supernatural, fates and other dynamics we cannot control bears this idea of human kind. In establishing the paths of life man has discovered a lot of things including continuity which is evident in our philosophical religious and social beliefs independently. The belief I the existence of our soul in a an eternity lend us to believe we can connect with our inner selves by a complete cosmos between the physical and spiritual creates the belief in a spirit world which has outlasted our bodies a bass for our knowledge and ideals.
This thesis paper seeks to establish why human beings are in constant need for the psychic and if there can actually be contact with the other world that is as claimed by sensitives as the world of the dead. This paper will explore various arguments by both proponents of those who believe in spiritualism and those who do not to establish their contrasts and inconsistencies then examine how man establishes his niche in the world by identifying on factors that determine his existence and demise.