Spiritualism is the belief that there is life after physical death and that there is the possibility of communicating with the spirits who exist in the non-physical plane. This communication can be on a personal level, often through meditation, or with the assistance of a psychic. The information is channelled through the psychic or by any variation of mediumship, clairvoyance or automatic writing. It encompasses a rational as well as scientific approach to traditional religious beliefs. Spiritualism doesn't follow any particular dogma but allows for open debate and freethinking.

You'll find visiting one of the churches warm and welcoming, services are easy going and attract a wide range of people from different backgrounds. The faith is left very much up to the individual, giving a greater amount of freedom than in other, more regimented religions. The services are held usually on Sunday evenings and consist of prayers and hymns. Some Spiritualist churches tend to lean more in the direction of conventional Christianity and their services reflect this in the style of delivery. Whilst at other spiritual churches there may be an acceptance of other belief systems, in particular New Age beliefs. And it is quite usual to hear words more usually associated with Hinduism for example the Sanskrit word 'Chakra 'meaning wheel, or vortex, which refers to each of the seven energy centres of which our consciousness is composed. Or references to the concept of 'Karma ' as found in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Likewise some spiritualists believe in reincarnation

An other belief held by spiritualists is that spirits are closer to God than living humans, and that spirits themselves are capable of growth and perfection. The afterlife is therefore not a static place, but one in which spirits continue to evolve. It is also believed that spirits are more advanced than humans and that spirits are capable of providing useful knowledge about moral and ethical issues, as well as about the nature of God and the afterlife. Many Spiritualists or psychics will speak of their spirit guides who may be from other cultures and be skilled in various aspects for example a doctor offering healing advice. These 'spirit guides' are relied upon by psychics for worldly and spiritual guidance.

Another viewpoint held by spiritualists is that of the seven planes. This is a similar belief along the lines of the Christian Heaven and Hell except that the plane you go to upon death depends largely on the life you lived. For example, some one like Mother Teresa would go to the Seventh Plane, and murderer would end up in the lower planes. The main difference between this belief and that of heaven and hell, is that there is the potential for spirits on all levels to learn and develop up to the levels above therefore become a higher evolved beings, but this, for some, may take many life times.

What makes Spiritualism particularly different from most other religions is the emphasis on providing evidence of life after death. This is usually conducted by way of psychics giving a demonstration of mediumship. This is done by the visiting medium passing messages from spirit beings or loved ones who have passed over to people attending the service. You will find spiritual churches in most towns up and around the country where you will be most welcome to attend. Entrance is free but most people usually make a small donation of about a pound. There will also be times when healing is given to the people attending, this is carried out by the healer laying on hands or sending healing thoughts and energy to those that can not be there in person.

At some churches help and tuition will be given on how to develop skills at being a healer and nationally accredited qualifications can be obtained. There is usually also the opportunity to learn first hand more about clairvoyancy and mediumship by attending a development circle that run once or twice a year. The majority of psychics learn their skills this way. These also are voluntary and a donation is usually made to cover the travelling cost of the teacher.

A full list of Spiritual churches throughout the UK can be found at the 'Spiritualists National Union' http://www.snu.org.uk/churches.htm

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