Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
AfterlivesThe Return of the Dead in the Middle Ages$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nancy Mandeville Caciola

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702617

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702617.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Psychopomps, Oracles, and Spirit Mediums

Psychopomps, Oracles, and Spirit Mediums

Chapter:
(p.259) Chapter 6 Psychopomps, Oracles, and Spirit Mediums
Source:
Afterlives
Author(s):

Nancy Mandeville Caciola

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501702617.003.0007

This chapter analyzes several spiritist cults in Southern France that formed around individuals who claimed to be in regular contact with the dead. These spirit mediums, though at first taken aback when the dead began to appear to them, ultimately learned to control their interactions with the latter. They became voluntary oracles who opened up the world of the afterlife to crowds of other people, and they acted as psychopomps for the dead, helping them to find rest in the afterlife. Clerics also evaluated local popular beliefs according to their own religious values, sometimes condemning mediums as heretics, at other times arrogating oracular roles to themselves. Such accusations from the medieval Christian church often inverted the true character of ongoing cultural shifts: the “crime” of many dissenters was in fact to fail to keep pace with novelties that were pioneered by church institutions, rather than the reverse.

Keywords:   spiritist cults, Southern France, dead, spirit mediums, afterlife, psychopomps, heresy, medieval Christian church, cultural shift

Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.