by Michael E. Tymn via e-mail|
As a child, Yvonne Limoges often felt “unseen” things were about her and sometimes heard noises, such as footsteps, when no material person was there. In her teens, she heard voices and saw visions, many times receiving beneficial warnings concerning her personal life. Today, Limoges, a 50-year-old resident of St. Petersburg, Florida, is a medium who shares her gift with others at the Kardec Center of The Spiritist Society of Florida, which was founded in 1982 by Ed Crespo, her father and a medium as well.
The objective of the Society is to study, teach, and practice the science and moral concepts handed down from the psychical research of French educator and author Hippolyte Léon Dénizarth Rivail, who later adopted the pseudonym Allan Kardec (1804-1869). During his investigations of mediums, beginning in 1854, Kardec encountered both earthbound and advanced spirits. From the latter, he received messages that he said were “marked by such sagacity, profundity, and appropriateness, and convey thoughts so elevated, so sublime, that they can only emanate from a superior intelligence imbued with the purest morality.” From these messages, he compiled The Spirits’ Book,which consists of 1,019 questions put by Kardec to the spirits, and their answers. From this book, the Spiritist philosophy spread from France to other countries, especially Spanish-speaking ones.
Limoges, a member of the Academy, was asked to share her experiences and views with other members. Your editor put some questions to her:
What are the fundaments of Spiritism?
"Kardec stated that the fundamental principle of Spiritism is the interaction between the inhabitants in the material world with spirits in the spirit world. So, although we have freewill, we believe, and have seen, that the influence of spirits on us in the material world can be very great, for good or bad, and so this is discussed and studied in great depth at Spiritist Centers. We believe right moral conduct and pure thoughts are the best way to avoid the not-so-nice influences that can so subtly be received by us from ignorant spirits. Spiritism is a continuing search for scientific, moral, and spiritual truths regarding the realities of life.”
How does Spiritism differ from Spiritualism?
"If you are speaking of the official organization of Spiritualists, there are four very distinct differences: Spiritists establish non-profit educational centers instead of churches; Spiritists have no clergy, no religious titles or certifications of any kind; true Spiritist mediums never accept remuneration for the use of their faculty (as an individual or as a group); and reincarnation is a basic tenet of Spiritism. We believe that our soul can only evolve to higher levels intellectually and morally, and in addition, truly spiritually transform itself, by putting our good intentions and efforts to the test through successive material incarnations. We do not believe it is sufficient to fully evolve our souls in the spirit world after only one incarnation.”
Does Jesus have a place in Spiritism?
"Spiritists believe the most superior spirit to ever incarnate on earth was a man, Jesus of Nazareth, on a Divine mission to teach all humanity universal spiritual and moral truths, and, the existence of an afterlife. He is our model regarding our moral behavior. We are all God's children and all equally able to progress through reincarnation to attain the level of superiority of one such as Jesus. In The Spirits’ Book, Kardec asks, "What is the most perfect type that God has offered to man as his guide and model? Spirits responded, “Jesus.” This message consistently comes through other mediums from spirits all around the world.”
Would you mind going into a little more detail as to how a soul evolves?
“We place great emphasis on teaching and practicing personal responsibility for our thoughts, words, and deeds, and, in our progressive moral and spiritual reformation. We believe that our current sufferings our due to our own choices made in past lives and we should support them with calm resignation, as we have been the architects of our own destiny. We believe we reach the final goal of no longer having to reincarnate through our own efforts and merit, by being as good a person as possible, doing no wrong and doing all the good we are capable of. Repentance, expiation, and reparation are involved within the process of reincarnation. We assist troubled or obsessing spirits when they communicate, and, also advise members or attendees who may be having problems of a spiritual nature.”
What kind of activity do you have at the Center?
"Besides the director and myself, there are two members who have been with us for many years and are very experienced mediums – Jacqueline Benenati and Marian Bugasto – with excellent and remarkable faculties. When we hold our monthly spirit sessions, I see spirits of relatives, friends, and spirits unknown to me alongside the attendees and they also can communicate through me. I relay visions, spirit messages of certain facts, advice, whatever, and so do the other mediums as well. Sometimes I see a certain word spelled out as a message for someone. It is fulfilling to see the surprised reactions of attendees when some spirit message is given that none of the mediums have prior knowledge of. This provides continuous proof to us that our mediumship is genuine and the spirit world is real. Many times the mediums pick up the same message for the same person and/or add to the same message. Our mediums are trained to be very diplomatic about how and what we say and some messages we know are just for us and we do not reveal it if it would upset a person, or we may tell a personal message in private after the session. As for future events, we always say, “God-Willing, so and so…may occur.” There are false spirits and we do not want to give anyone false hope. Spiritist mediums consider our mediumship as a sacred service and trust, and we know that we are only instruments and as easily as we were given this mediumship faculty it can as easily be taken away”
What is the nature of your mediumship and how did it come about?
"I have been attending spirit sessions at Spiritist Centers since I was a little girl, the first one being the one my father attended in New York City. By my late teens, I had read the Kardec books and others. I was finally told at a spirit session that I would receive spirit writings. Some were personal messages and many others instructional. I can receive spirit messages inspirationally and through direct spirit communication. During both processes, I have no idea what will be written beforehand. During inspirational spirit messages the whole writing just sort of pours out of me as a whole, no changes. Later, I was told spirits would be able to communicate through me, meaning using my body and voice mechanism, what some call a trance medium. Initially, I was semi-conscious, but now I am not conscious of what the spirit is saying during its communication. I can also relay spirit messages, visions, and information about spirits I see to our attendees, and I am then only in a semi-trance state. I am aware of what I am saying.”
Can you explain the difference between inspirational writing and direct spirit communication? Are we talking about automatic writing?
"In an inspirational spirit message, the message flows and pours out whole, and tends to be in response to an idea or regarding a question I may have been thinking of. I have a feeling of having been ‘inspired,’ but I know the message is not my own because the ideas can be so different than what I was expecting and/or they can use language that I know is not my own. Direct spirit communication is a complete dictation of a spirit communicating a message to me. I ‘hear’ their words and write them down.
"I received two small books through semi-automatic writing. Instead of typing, which is how I had normally received a spirit communication, I am told to get a pen and then, while my entire right hand and arm are feeling strongly magnetized, my hand starts writing mostly on its own effort as I try to stay relaxed. Both books came out complete and I had no knowledge of what their contents would be.”
Do you have a “guide” or “control”?
"One of our Center’s spirit guides stated that a wise superior spirit called “El Anciano,” Spanish for “Wise one” or “Elder” would oversee my mediumship. He appears as an old man with a beard and has been with me through several lifetimes. I do have another spirit who during the spirit session communicates first and last, to say he is “opening” my mediumship and then at the end of the session to say he is “closing” it. I have a group of different spirits who provide instructional messages and I believe El Anciano oversees this. For Spiritists, the names of spirits are not as important as the messages received, which should always be analyzed. Before I started as a trance medium, I remained aware of what the spirits were saying while they were communicating through me, but now I generally cannot remember. I may catch the first few words at the beginning and some words towards the end. I ask what the spirit message was about later on. Then, while under a semi-trance-like state, I receive specific personal spirit messages to relay to attendees.”
Do you receive profound messages as Kardec did or are the messages primarily evidentiary personal ones?
"I receive personal evidentiary messages, but I would say I mostly receive spiritually and morally instructive spirit messages. I have also received answers on questions I have put to the spirits, as in the Kardec books. I have very vivid dreams where I see specific details of things, events, and places that I will see in the future, as well as spirits who have passed into the spirit world. I have seen for example my grandmother and then at a spirit session through another medium my grandmother acknowledged that I saw her (the other medium did not know about my dream). When I receive written spirit communications, I sometimes receive words that I have to look up in a dictionary as well as foreign languages I am unfamiliar with. The ideas expressed are often different than my own. This provides proof to me that what I am writing is not from my own mind.”
Does your mediumship involve healing?
"I receive spirits who come through to provide spiritual healings. In spiritual healings, and in other circumstances, I feel strongly what we call spiritual fluids (or energies). I am very sensitive to my environment and when I meet people, as I can feel very good or at times feel sick to the point of getting dizzy and a bad headache. I always pray for spiritual protection from my guides. They tell me that they allow some of these unpleasant experiences for me to learn from.
Some spirits say reincarnation is a fact, while others say there is no such thing? Why do we receive conflicting messages on this?
"Just as in the material world, in the spirit world ‘like attracts like’ also. Spirits are brought by their guides to mediums who have similar beliefs. In addition, malevolent or troubled spirits are generally not going to be taken to mediums that would become frightened, not know how to deal with them, or not believe what they say. Spirits who did not believe in reincarnation when they were in the physical are more likely to say there is no reincarnation. Spiritist mediums know about reincarnation and undergo strict study and training on how to handle all types of spirits.
Has anything contrary to your beliefs come from the spirits?
"Absolutely! Spirits have communicated who do not believe in what we believe and say that what we do and teach is not true, or worse. But, some of these spirits do not realize they are in the spirit world and are physically dead. Every once in a while a spirit who used to be a priest will communicate to say that what we are doing is heresy and it is not for the masses. They say that the Catholic Church knows all about it and does not want this knowledge to get out to the common people because it is too dangerous for them to handle. These spirits are brought to our sessions to listen and learn, but mostly to communicate and have their say. Then, they are taken by the spirit guides of our center for further education and assistance. Incidentally, Catholicism has more similarities with Spiritism, such as guardian angels, prayers to saints or spirits, more belief in spiritual vision, and hearing voices, than does Protestantism.”