Who was Allan Kardec, the Encoder of Spiritism?

Some important data on the history of Spiritism, especially those referring to Allan Kardec and nascent Spiritism are found in the work Allan Kardec [1], in three volumes, by Zêus Wantuil and Francisco Thiesen, published by the Brazilian Spiritist Federation in 1979/80 . The second and third volumes also contain analyzes and comments of great depth on many topics related to the doctrine and the spiritist movement.





Allan Kardec's Christian name was Hyppolyte Léon Denizard Rivail, was born in Lyon, France, on October 3, 1804, to Jacan Baptiste Antoine Rivail and Jeanne Louise Duhamel. His father's family was made up of judges and lawyers and his mother was made up of distinguished mathematicians, theologians and writers. He was baptized by Father Barthe on June 15, 1805 in the Saint Denis de la Croix-Rousse church, having been born at a time marked by serious political unrest, social and religious conflicts.


It was the time of Napoleon I. At 10 years old he went to study in Switzerland with the famous educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, who was passionate about the art of teaching. The Institute was in the city of Yverdon, Switzerland, and operated as a boarding school. The students received a thorough education there, according to an innovative pedagogical method by the famous teacher, based on the conviction that love is the eternal foundation of education, being Rivail an exemplary disciple.


Their formation, their method of study and learning were essential in the codification of Spiritism. In 1825 Kardec ran the “Escola de 1º Grau” and in 1826 he founded the Rivail Technical Institute, based on noble principles, always working with seriousness and innovative methodology. In 1828 he decided that he would dedicate his life to education and, in 1831, published three books and met Amélie Gabrielle Boudet, who was a teacher at the school of fine arts, poet and painter, whom he married in 1832.


Amélie-Gabrielle Boudet (1795-1883), was his dedicated companion, supporting him at all times, being known among spiritists as "Madame Allan Kardec". They never had children, as it is read in Revue Spiritede 1862, both having always been worthy people, of unassailable morality, dedicating themselves entirely to the cultivation of the superior ideals of culture, education and the good.


In 1834 he had to sell the Institute due to financial problems with his uncle, who was his partner, and the money from the sale was invested in investments. Before knowing mediumistic phenomena, Rivail wrote several books, such as: Plan for the Improvement of Public Education (1828); Practical and Theoretical Course in Arithmetic, according to the Pestalozzi Method and for use by teachers and mothers (1829); French Classical Grammar (1831); Capacity Examination Manual; Rational Solutions to Arithmetic and Geometry Questions and Problems (1846); Programs of ordinary courses in Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy and Physiology; Points for Exams at Hotel de Ville and Sorbone, accompanied by Special Instructions on Spelling difficulties (1849).


Rivail was a very educated person and knew several areas of knowledge, such as science, philosophy and the arts, translated German and English works into French, and vice versa, was a member of several cultural academies and had several degrees.


In 1855 he met Mr. Carlotti, a longtime friend and, invited to Mrs. Roger's house, he met Mrs. Plainemaison and Mr. Patier. Rivail watches some experiences at Mrs. Plainemaison's house, being impressed by the phenomena, which occurred in conditions that left no room for doubt, recognizing that there was a fact that necessarily stemmed from a cause. Kardec saw in those apparent futilities something serious, such as the revelation of a new law that he decided to study in depth. [2]


He met the Baudin family and started attending weekly meetings at his home. The mediums were the teenagers Julie and Caroline Baudin. Rivail, who only sought to educate himself, saw that a new doctrine appeared there and began his serious studies of Spiritism, noting that spirits, being nothing but the souls of men, had neither full wisdom nor integral science, verifying that the knowledge they had was in accordance with their advance, their degree of evolution. And he also said that observing, comparing and judging was the rule he constantly followed.


In 1855 he received a message from the Spirit Zephyr, who usually manifested himself in these meetings, telling him that in a previous reincarnation Kardec had been a druid in the region of the Gauls and that he was called ALLAN KARDEC, and from then on, using this name . On April 30, 1856, he received the first revelation of the mission he had to perform, the Codification of a new Doctrine. On the dates of May 7, 1856 and June 12, 1856, he received two more confirmations of that mission.


In September 1856, much of the codification work was already completed, but Kardec wanted to submit it to the spirits. Having received confirmation from spiritual friends that they were satisfied, he published the first edition of The Spirits' Book on April 18, 1857. Interesting fact is that Kardec checked the obtained communications several times, submitting the most sensitive questions to various Spirits through several mediums.


Until then, the Doctrine had only sparse elements, without coordination and whose scope had not been understood by everyone. With The Spirits' Book, Spiritism managed to get the attention of serious men and acquired rapid development, which was due in large part to the clarity of Kardec's style.


On April 1, 1858, Kardec founds the Spiritist Society of Paris - SPES, at the Royal Palace, Galeria Valois. SPES 'doors were not open to the public, although there were "general meetings" at which visitors presented by members of Sociétép could be admitted. This was due to the objectives of the meetings, linked essentially to the theoretical and experimental research of the phenomena.


On October 9, 1861, in an event that became known as the Auto da Fé de Barcelona, ​​more than 300 books on Spiritism were burned in the public square, as they were considered harmful by the Catholic faith. The fact ended up giving notoriety to Spiritism, making it even better known.


About Kardec, Gabriel Delanne wrote that for his invaluable service to humanity, resulting from scientific findings, blind faith in a future life was replaced by unbreakable certainty. [3]


On March 31, 1869, at the age of 65, he disincarnated in Paris, most likely victimized by the rupture of an aortic aneurysm. From 1855 to 1869, Kardec consecrated his existence to Spiritism, giving lectures, making trips to spread the Doctrine, with studies and research, having been buried in the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, a famous necropolis in the French capital. On the tomb, above his tomb, it is written: "To be born, to die, to be reborn yet and progress without ceasing, such is the law", in French.


  1. [1]WANTUIL, Zêus; THIESEN, Francisco. Allan Kardec. Volume I. [s.l.]: FEB, 1979. [2]WANTUIL, Zêus; THIESEN, Francisco. Allan Kardec. Volume II. [s.l.]: FEB, 1979. p. 64. [3]Wikipédia. Allan Kardec. Disponível em: <https://bit.ly/2wu0C7p>. Acesso em: 13 jun. 2018.

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