The Spiritist Fallacy

René Guénon

Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2003
364 pages
Paperback
ISBN: 0-900588-71-3
Price: $24.95 US
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Hardcover
ISBN: 0-900588-72-1
Price: $39.95 US
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Many readers of Guénon’s doctrinal works have hoped for translations of his two detailed exposes of Theosophy and Spiritism. Sophia Perennis is pleased to make available both these important titles. Whereas Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion centers primarily on historical details, The Spiritist Fallacy, though packed also with arcane facts, is unique in revealing how one of the greatest metaphysicians of our age interprets the phenomena, real or alleged, of Spiritism.

The doctrinal expositions that accompany his astonishing account offer extraordinarily prescient insight into many deviations and ‘psychological’ afflictions of the modern mind, and will be as valuable to psychological practitioners and spiritual counselors as to historians of esoteric history. It also offers a profound corrective to the many brands of New Age ‘therapy’ that all too unwittingly invoke many of the same elements whose nefarious origins Guénon so clearly described many years ago.

Table of Contents

PART ONE: DISTINCTIONS AND NECESSARY PRECISIONS

Definition of Spiritism—The Origins of Spiritism—Beginnings of Spiritism in France—The Modern Character of Spiritism—Spiritism and OccultismvSpiritism and Psychism—Explanation of Spiritist Phenomena

PART TWO: EXAMINATION OF SPIRITIST THEORIES

The Variety of Spiritist Schools—The Influence of the Milieu—Immortality and Survival—Representations of the Afterlife—Communication with the Dead—Reincarnation—Reincarnationist Extravagances—The Limits of Experimentation—Spiritist Evolutionism—The Question of Satanism—Seers and Healers—Antoinism—Spiritist Propaganda—The Dangers of Spiritism—Conclusion

Praise

The Collected Works of René Guénon brings together the writings of one of the greatest prophets of our time, whose voice is even more important today than when he was alive.
Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions

If during the last century or so there has been even some slight revival of awareness in the Western world of what is meant by metaphysics and metaphysical tradition, the credit for it must go above all to Guénon. At a time when the confusion into which modern Western thought had fallen was such that it threatened to obliterate the few remaining traces of genuine spiritual knowledge from the minds and hearts of his contemporaries, Guénon, virtually single-handed, took it upon himself to reaffirm the values and principles which, he recognized, constitute the only sound basis for the living of a human life with dignity and purpose or for the formation of a civilization worthy of the name.
Philip Sherrard, Christianity: Lineaments of a Sacred Tradition

About the Author

René Guénon (1886–1951) was one of the great luminaries of the twentieth century, whose critique of the modern world has stood fast against the shifting sands of intellectual fashion. His extensive writings, now finally available in English, are a providential treasure-trove for the modern seeker: while pointing ceaselessly to the perennial wisdom found in past cultures ranging from the Shamanistic to the Indian and Chinese, the Hellenic and Judaic, the Christian and Islamic, and including also Alchemy, Hermeticism, and other esoteric currents, they direct the reader also to the deepest level of religious praxis, emphasizing the need for affiliation with a revealed tradition even while acknowledging the final identity of all spiritual paths as they approach the summit of spiritual realization.

His greatest contributions are a blindingly lucid exposition of the principles of orthodoxy and traditional metaphysics, an uncompromising critique of the deviation of modernism, and a breath-taking view of the polyvalence of traditional symbols. Implicit in these three genres, as in all Guénon's writing, is the need for personal affiliation with an orthodox tradition as a precondition for a bona fide spiritual practice that might lead, at least in principle, to the intellectual intuition of which he speaks.

Little known in the English-speaking world till the recent appearance of his Collected Works in translation, Guénon has nevertheless long been recognized as a veritable criterion of truth by a vanguard of remarkable writers who evince that rare combination: intellectuality and spirituality. Regarded by leading scholars as the first truly authentic interpreter of many Eastern doctrines in the West, Guénon never tired, in face of the seemingly inexorable process of dissolution in the twentieth century, of pointing to the transcendent unity of all religious faiths and the abiding Truth that contains them all.