Getting to know a spirit centre means getting to know the locals, through leaving the tourist spots and taking the metro to areas of town where tourists don’t normally venture.
I was given a meeting point in a street in front of a shuttered-up shop. I began to wonder if I hadn’t got the wrong address, as the place didn’t look like a Spirit centre, and it turned out that because of my bad Spanish (or Catalan), I had arrived an hour early. Nobody spoke English to give me the information in advance, but with the right attitude we got there in the end.
After waiting for while in a nearby Bistro while sipping on a coke, I noticed that the shutter had been raised and a bit of light is showing through. Was this the right place?
Finally, the shutter opened completely to reveal a huge room. Being early I was welcomed by two members of the association, the president being away on that day. The two ladies had kindness and sensitivity shining out of them, and we already feel right at home. Despite my poor Spanish and their lack of English we still managed to understand one another. Although I understand Spanish very well, I don’t speak it and it was above all the intentions of our hearts and spirits which were expressed.
My two hosts explained to me that the centre has been in existence for over 30 years and that the premises are rented out to them by the local council with a few subsidies, which is important to point out in the context of the creation of a spirit centre.
I make the purpose of my visit clear – going to get to know spirit centres and groups throughout the world, as well as the challenges of our 1868 Spirit Project.
They then offer me a tour of the premises and its different sections.
First of all we walk into a huge public room, big and light enough to welcome the members and other visitors or organize receptions.
We feel free and at ease there because from the beginning we can have full view of the whole premises.
We notice bookshelves with works by the Spirit founders as well as works by Amalia Domingo Soler a Spanish writer of novellas, poems and essays, and who was very involved in the Spanish spiritualist movement.
On the left there is a small office which is used for administration purposes but also offers a place for people to be received in more privacy.
The many visitors can firstly take a seat in the larger room, which seats over 40, as well as a video projector.
My two hosts explain to me that this capacity is often reached on public study evenings.
They also point out that the participant are made up of of a few regulars and also a great number of occasional visitors from all walks of life.
There are two smaller connecting rooms: the larger study and meeting room. First of all there is the room where magnetism and seances are performed.
Upon entering this room, one feels most solemn and serene.
Opposite is to be found the room dedicated to spiritual studies and adapted for children.
A study evening
Little by little, but quite quickly, people start arriving. Some who have been coming often since the beginning, others who come less often, and some, as it had been explained to me, who are there for the first time. There are obviously a lot of Spanish people, but also South Americans and, of course- Brazilians! It is explained to me that there is a large Brasilian community in Barcelona.
We take our seats in the study and meeting room. This evening’s theme is ‘plural existences’ and will be mainly based on Allan Kardec’s work ‘The Spirits book.’
Someone suggests that a Colombian lady who is a member of the group and who speaks perfect English helps me out. This isn’t necessary because I understand Spanish and know the Spirits Book very well, which means I understand 70% of what is going on. I manage to participate from time to time by using Google Translate.
We start our study in a moment if prayer and of thanks and of assistance and of protection. This focuses our minds to put us in a state of meditation fitting for study.
The study is based on the different paragraphs of chapter IV of the Book of Spirits. Those who wish can read the passage and then a few minutes are taken for comment and for everyone to react and ask questions. There is a lot of participation.
The study itself closes with a prayer and during a moment of meditation we are invited, for those who wish, to go and receive magnetism in the other room.
We are asked to go forward, four by four, quietly and silently. The room is plunged into semi-darkness and relaxing music is being played.
We sit down on a chair, our backs straight, hand on our laps. We close our eyes. Someone in front of us comes towards us and magnetises us. We don’t see what is happening, but it is easy to feel the shivers, the good intentions and the love emanating from this person. After a while we are asked to open our eyes and go quietly towards the exit. We are offered a glass of magnetised water.
A great feeling of solemness and gentleness follows us out of the room.
We take our seats in the larger room, as everybody goes by.
End of the meeting
The study evening ends. I find my hosts from the beginning of the evening, who led the event and made magnetic passes with the other members.
Their welcome, their trust and their devotion fill me with emotions.
They introduce me to one of the active and founding members. All three of them encourage me to develop our Project 1868 group. They tell me that the road is not an easy one and that there will be many obstacles but that one has to keep one’s spirits up and to trust in the support of our brothers in the beyond if we have the right intentions.
They give me two of Amalia Domingo Soler’s works, “La Luz que nos Guia” and “La Luz del Futuro” and I promise to come back and see them and speak Spanish.
Summary of the meeting
We found this large centre to be very solidly implanted in the social and spiritual fabric of the local community.
The city of Barcelona is right to support them, because it can see that the centre is a place of peace and of solidarity.
This centre contains all of the fundamental attributes of a Spirit group such as Allan Kardec described it in his posthumous work, Project 1868:
The most urgent is to be equipped with suitably located premises where receptions may be held. Without any unecessary and unappropriate luxury, nothing should be lacking and it should be that those of distinction do not feel that it is beneath them. As well as my own private lodgings, there should also be:
- A large room for public séances and large meetings.
- A reception room
- A room dedicated to intimite evocations, a sanctuary which may not be defiled by foreign occupation.
4. An office for the Spirit Review, the archives and for administration purposes.
The place should be equipped and finished in such a way as to be fitting and convenient for its intented purpose.
There should also be a library comprising of all old and new French and foreign works and periodicals realting to Spirtism.
The reception should be open every day at certain times to members of the organization who could confer freely, read newspapers and consult the library and the archives. Outside followers who are in Paris and who will have been introduced by a member, would also be admissible.
Regular communication would be established with the different centres in France and abroad.
A clerk, a secretary and an office worker would also be employed by the establishment.
So, if you are in Barcelona one day, don’t hesitate to visit the Dominigo Soler Spirit Centre and participate in one of their events.