A Spiritualist Timeline

This will be a brief post, I just wanted to run down a few dates to help set up a little timeline for myself. This is very gestural, but I am hoping to widen it out a little as time goes on, maybe compose a page for it instead of a post? We’ll see. Entries beginning with a * describe broader movements rather than specifically dated people and works.

ca. 1300-ca. 1320: Dante’s visions begin, leading to the composition of The Divine Comedy which represents a systematic account of his spiritual experiences.

1582-1587: John Dee and Edward Kelley work together to produce what will become the basis for Enochian Magic (e.g., the angels of the apocalypse).

*1730s-1740s: First Great Awakening in North America.

1757: Emmanuel Swedenborg has vision of the apocalypse (also, William Blake, future Swedenborgian, born). His elaborate visionary work follows.

ca. 1761: William Blake’s first visionary experience. From 1790 until his death in 1827, his visions take on an increasingly systematic character.

*1790-1840s: Second Great Awakening in United States.

1827: Joseph Smith has vision of the angel Moroni.

*1840s-ca. 1920s: As Second Great Awakening cools, spiritualism proper gets going. The field is very diverse and diversifying, often retaining ties with global movements like feminism, home rule movements in British Empire (e.g., Besant), and abolition in the U.S.,  Caribbean, and Brazil. Richly nationalist expressions of spiritualism seem to become more common globally, in part driven by intensifying cross-fertilization between mutual aid societies (e.g., lodges) and spiritualist currents. Orientalism leaves a deep mark on spiritualism here, too (e.g., E. A. Wallis Budge).

April 18, 1857: Allan Kardec publishes The Spirits Book.

1858: Paschal Beverly Randolph founds Fraternitas Rosae Crucis.

1875: H. P. Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott, and William Quan Judge form Theosophical Society.

1889: Annie Besant joins Theosophical Society.

April 8-10, 1904: Aleister Crowley records the message of Aiwass, laying the basis for Thelema. (Almost literally, at tangent to spiritualism)

November 15, 1908: Zélio Fernandino de Moraes incorporates caboclo and preto velho spirits in spiritist seance, an event from which Umbanda grows.

1913-1930: C. G. Jung records the spiritual encounters that will go on to form the basis of Liber Novus / The Red Book. This will form the basis, well, for pretty much the entirety of Analytic Psychology.

November 1917-ca. 1920[?]: George Yeats begins channeling the material that will form the basis for W. B. Yeats’s A Vision. W. B. Yeats will credit the work with a return of his poetic sensibilities and observe that the spirits encouraged him to remain active in political life.

1930s: Raimundo Irineu Serra founds the Daime Church in Brazil.

ca. 1949: Allen Ginsberg begins receiving visions from William Blake. The Blake material still a significant part of his spiritual work in 1966.

February 20, 1974-February/March 1982: Philip K. Dick has mystical experience and undertakes his Exegesis.

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One thought on “A Spiritualist Timeline

  1. Pingback: Spiritualism and the African Diaspora | Disrupt & Repair

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