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The Habitual Nature of Spiritism

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Water cups, candle, incense, flowers boveda
Omimelli's Bóveda

Spiritists are indeed creatures of habit. I will illustrate why habits and rituals are as fundamental to Spiritism as are the practices of prayer and meditation.

French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry may not have been a Spiritist, however, he spoke eloquently about the beauty of habits and rituals in his book The Little Price. The fox, one of the characters, wanted to be tamed by the little prince so they could be friends. The fox explained to the little prince the role and importance of ritual.

“It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox. “If, for example, you come at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy.

I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances.

At four o’clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am!

But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . .

One must observe the proper rites . . .”

“What is a rite?” asked the little prince.

“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox.

“They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours.”

What can we learn from this interaction? The fox is the world of spirits and spiritists walk in the shoes of the little prince in their desire to commune with the spirit world.

Let’s further ground the conversation.

Ritual Space

In the case of Spiritists, the Bóveda— a table with glasses of water, candles, and flowers at the bare minimum—is the ritual space for prayer and meditation. Ritual space is nothing without a proper ritual mindset, otherwise it is devoid of preparation and devotion. The confluence of those elements lead to prepare the body, mind and soul for what’s to follow: Focused and purposeful prayer and meditation.

Bóvedas vary in size and organization. They evolve over time as a Spiritist develops communication with their spiritual framework or cuadro espiritual, a set of spirits that works with an individual. Some spirits may have proclivities they want expressed in the common ritual space—the bóveda is not just a ritual space own by the Spiritist—and the Spiritist will accommodate those. An example can be how full the glasses of water are or what kind of colognes are used.

Cross, glasses of water and center bowl.
Water to the brim is a must in my bóveda.

In my case, I favor a large bowl of water in the middle or fuente where I do cleansings. A cross represents the confluence of the four elements and the axis of forces that connect our material world to the spirit world. The glasses of water are always filled to the brim, a preference stated in spiritual communication. There are flowers when available, incense, and a variety of perfumes and Florida water. The Florida Water is modified as per one of several recipes given to me by one of my spirit guides.

Having the prettiest of bóvedas with fine glasses and fresh flowers is not all there is to Spiritism. However, organizing ritual space to specification and preference will lead the Spiritist to achieve the proper mindset to do the work. Results are what makes a Spiritist stand out from a neophyte. There will be no results if a Spiritist is not inclined to sit down, accomplish stillness of mind, pray, meditate and help to elevate those spirits in need as well as to pray for others who may need assistance and elevation.

How do you achieve a ritual mindset?

My suggestion is this, do your best to achieve mindfulness. Prepare your body for ritual. Bathe, dress in clean clothes and make sure you have uninterrupted time.

Ritual mindset is accomplished by following a series of actions that allow the Spiritist to place the mind, body and spirit in the proper frame of mind to work:

  • An opening prayer, be it personal or from the book Selected Prayers,

  • Lighting a candle and incense,

  • Cleansing one´s body at the bóveda with Florida Water,

  • Invoking the presence of protective spirit guides,

  • Singing songs to the spirits

  • Stating communication parameters.

All of these steps help lead to a meditative state of mind. Those are but fundamental ways to achieve a ritual mindset. They are good and proven steps to follow which develop healthy habits.

Timing, anticipation, habits, they are all part of the beauty of ritual preparation. The Little Prince points to having a set time to meet someone meaningful. In the case of the Spiritist, to meet with spirits. The fox and the little prince have a dialogue and reach an agreement.

“It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox. “If, for example, you come at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy.

I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances.

However, most Spiritists do not have the luxury of a direct and instant communication with definite answers from the Spirit World.

Do spirits answer our invitations to communicate?

Let’s underscore something crucial. When a Spiritist pierces the veil between the physical and the spiritual world, the action is carried out on his or her own timeframe. However, what about the other side? Is it polite and logical to assume that spirits are hanging around waiting to communicate and do a Spiritist bidding?

As Spiritists we send messages to the World of Spirits with our voice, thoughts, and ideally, with the full force of our spiritual being. Then we patiently wait. Yes, wait.

We are knocking at the proverbial door, however, that does not mean that the other side is ready to answer immediately. It is elegant and proper to let spirits know how to best reach back so they are heard and understood. I will work on a subsequent post to explore means of spiritual communication.

However, I want to leave you with a few ideas. Consider carefully what is of most benefit to prepare for ritual. Keep a journal and take note of the things that work to get you in the right frame of mind for Spiritual work. Leave no detail out. Sometimes what seems insignificant could be the very key to spiritual success. If you note that there are patterns or habits that keep you from wanting to spend time and develop your spiritual talents, make note of those as well and do your best to avoid them.

Spiritists are creatures of habit, cultivate good ones and good spirits will surely manifest in your life.

Wishing you light and elevation,


Oní Yemayá Achagbá

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