The Spiritual Mass is a reunion of mediums in search of contact with non-corporeal entities. A series of variations on spiritual masses are observed in the Caribbean and in the United States, but some common elements include the use of a white candle, a large glass bowl filled with water, a cross, florida water, and a book of prayers. Additionally, white flowers or plants associated with spirits are also used for cleansings during a spiritual mass.
Holding a spiritual mass is not unlike a séance, as it requires that mediums and expectators are concentrated and have a sole purpose: Spirit communication. To that extent spiritists take pride in working for the good of people, in seeking to do charity by helping others elevate their spiritual knowledge, learning about their ‘cuadro espiritual’ or their assigned guardian spirits, and by lifting negative spiritual influences or helping to improve physical conditions.
Some mediums work is based on trance formulas learned from their elders, some other mediums that have developed all by themselves, may not have such learned trance patters, but the results in either case can be quite impressive. For example, most mediums in Puerto Rico normally start their trasmission with a salutation from the spirit who normally expresses its intent to prepare the ‘vessel’ or ‘casilla’ to receive the spirit. You may hear for example a spirit saying: “Soy Maria preparando la casilla y sus organos para recibir los fluidos y comunicaciones…” (“I am Maria preparing the vessel and his/her organs to receive spiritual fluids and communications…”). Normally the session may continue and suddenly the medium is fully possessed and the work or communication of that spirit begins.
However, I am getting ahead of myself here. The initial steps at large to begin a misa are to read a series of prayers from the Alan Kardec Book of Prayers to invoke guardian spirits, pray for peace and stability and for the souls of those who may need assistance. Depending on the spiritist temple there maybe a basin of water, florida water and flowers at the foot of the table so participants can cleanse themselves before the spiritual mass gets into full motion.
The spiritual mass is directed by one elder spiritist who is known as the ‘president of the table’. This person has the chore to do most of the reading and follow up carefully with the mediums at work. He will keep notes for those present if possible and direct other spiritists to assist the physical mediums as needed. Any spiritist who wants to share a message received or some inspiration may do so after asking for permission from the Table’s President. There is order in this spiritual transmission, but sometimes things can be thrown on a tail spin if more than one “causa” or “negative spirit/thought form” manifests at the same time. It is hard to follow up with one rowdy spirit, when two or more show up attention is divided and it is imperative to keep the flow of prayers going to assist those physical mediums whose bodies are taken by these unpleasant energies.
The President is thus responsible to expedite the process of having the spirit share its message, make the spirit recognize that evildoing is not conducent to spiritual elevation and to lift those ‘workings’ that the spirit may have been responsible to perform.
Not necesarily one will find these malign entities at every Spiritual Mass, actually if that is all you are seing upon attending a few spiritual masses at the same temple, then you want to reconsider going to that particular temple and visiting one where attendees are more organized about their affairs. When spiritists are tidy about their lives and keep spiritual hygene, spiritual masses evolve beyond ‘lifting causas’ to become a learning grounds where spirits that come and visit actually share some information about their whearabouts and what they have learned since they died. When our thoughts and lives revolve around material needs, oftentimes the spirits that will manifest will be also concern with similar survival matters. Like attract like.
In the next post about Spiritual Masses I will share some more about masses where evildoers are lifted versus those rare masses where spiritis actually conduct teaching sessions. I will also expand on the process of spiritual trance both from the formulaic point of view and the freestyle trance possessions.
Until then, I wish you to stay in the company of good spirits.
Oní Yemayá Ashagbá