Examining history, I must say the surfacing of Spiritualism during the Modern era was essential for us to have the spiritual vitality we are experiencing today. Spiritualism was one of many spiritual & religious movements to occur in the 1800s, but its rise in the late 1800s cemented its status as a spiritual practice. When we look at Spiritualism, many of us look to Alan Kardec the leader of Spiritism (a branch of Spiritualism). Kardec's writings (known as the Spiritist Codification) went world-wide, but it's landing in Latin America & the Caribbean, I believe took Spiritualism to new heights. I sometimes wonder if Kardec knew the positive effects his works were going to have? Or the numerous people it will touch.
When Spiritism landed in Latin America and the Caribbean it was able to reach a new level as a devotional practice. The exposure of Spiritism to the African & Indigenous spirituality birthed Espiritismo and its many variants such as Espiritismo Cruzado & Mesa Blanca. Espiritismo is an evolving, multi-cultural, & multi-ethnic spiritual practice. In part, I believe 1/2 the credit is the concepts of Spiritism/Spiritualism, but even more so the idea that these concepts already existed within African & Indigenous spirituality. The belief in communing with spirits, ancestors, and other divinities is not foreign to the African & Indigenous, so it is not surprising to take up Spiritism. What makes Espiritismo distinct from Spiritism/Spiritualism is the Boveda.
The Boveda (Spiritual Altar) is what allows us to have a simple home base practice to bring together the entirety of what represents our spirituality. Representations of our spirituality can include ancestors, spirit guides, divinities/saints we work with, artifacts & tools that we use for spiritual works, and many more things. Considering that many of us identify ourselves as multi-ethnic with an eclectic ancestral mix, I can imagine we wish to provide a form on unification. I believe Espiritismo offers the ability of unification via the Boveda. An elder once told me that the Boveda is a cemetery. This makes since consider it is a secure place for our ancestors & guides to congregate. I think the Boveda can be expanded. I like to look at it as a portal that connects to all the different energies we link to it. Notice how I mentioned, "link to it". That's right unless a connection is forged with a spirit & maintained via the Boveda then there is no possibility for the spirits to congregate. Let's examine the standard of the simple item in all Boveda's which makes the linkage possible.
Each boveda comes with the following: a white cloth, several glasses of water, and a candle. The white cloth is placed on the boveda and examining this custom I can see how it is the veil that represents the division between the spiritual realm and our physical realm. If the boveda is the portal (or vehicle) than the cloth acts as the door or veil that allows the energy of the spirit to transmute itself into the portal/vehicle. Water is used for purification, but water as an element is a conduit of energy. I can imagine it further helps the animation of spiritual activity for the altar. Light from a candle is associated with a very famous phrase said in Espiritismo, "Luz y Progresso" which translates to "Light & Progress". The light can be received to help the progress of the spirits we work with.
Regardless of one's religious or non-religious upbringing, anyone can begin a home base practice within Espiritismo. As a practice, Espiritismo is universal and welcomes all cultures & traditions. Look to its connection within the Lucumi-Orisha traditions from Cuba. Many Orisha practitioners & initiates are Espiritistas as well. It is common to find a Boveda in practitioners & initiates homes, along with their ancestral shrines. Within Lucumi divination systems (Ifa & Dillogun), in many oracles, Espiritismo is referenced as a necessary practice for individuals. This flexibility we see is remarkable and proof that two spiritual practices or religions can coincide and function extremely well together. Thus, Espiritismo is the perfect fit for our modern era.
To learn more about Espiritismo & The Post Modern, be sure to check out the monthly webinar
"A Post Modern Guide to Universal Spiritualism". In this webinar, we will review the concepts of postmodernism, the history of Espiritismo, ancestral veneration, mediumship development, the importance of elders, and much more. To register for this event visit the events page of my website to see the next date.