Founder’s Day is a Spiritualist Holiday (observed by the NSAC, and a few other denominations) set aside each January 25th to honor those teachers who paved the way for Spiritualism to develop and form as a religion and philosophy. The day marks the beginning of the first Spiritualist Lyceum, founded on the teachings and principles set up by Andrew Jackson Davis, who is especially honored on this day by several Spiritualist traditions who consider themselves as historical/spiritual successors to his teachings.
Andrew Jackson Davis (not to be confused with President Andrew Jackson) is considered to be the “John the Baptist” of the American Spiritualist movement, as his visions and mystical teachings regarding natural philosophy, mediumship, and the Spirit World predated the arrival of the Spiritualist movement by only a few years.
Known as the ‘Poughkeepsie Seer’ Davis was an extremely accomplished Medium and Spiritual healer. Though he had very little formal education, he would dictate, and later write down messages from Spirit as well as visions that he saw in Trance. Davis wrote an enormous body of works in this state covering every subject conceivable including metaphysics, astronomy, medicine, as well as Spiritualist phenomena such as the state of the soul when transitioning from life, and his visions of a peaceful realm in the spirit world which he termed 'the Summerland'.
Davis referred to his teachings as the ‘Harmonial Philosophy’ and gave lectures throughout his life. He found his teachings especially well received by Spiritualists, and while he never formally joined a Spiritualist association, he considered Spiritualism to be the highest form of religion. At one point stating ‘“It is the grandest religion ever bestowed upon mankind.’
Through the study, discussion, and investigation of his Harmonial Philosophy many Spiritualists developed a uniquely Spiritualist system to express their beliefs and teachings. This is truly Davis’s greatest contribution to Spiritualism, that although many of his texts are no longer studied directly, his teachings have so saturated Spiritualist thought and practice that some have argued that Davis is the true philosophical founder of Modern American Spiritualism.
“The Harmonial Philosophy purports to be a revelation of the structures, laws, orders, and uses of the material and spiritual universe. It is a progressive exposition of the boundless system of Nature, addressed to the human instincts and understanding”. -Andrew Jackson Davis
The real value of this day, however, is education. Davis passionately loved learning, and recognized the importance of education not just in the sense of acquiring facts and diplomas, but acquiring wisdom that would provide us with a moral compass. The true goal of Davis’s Harmonial Philosophy was that by developing ourselves spiritually, we can create a world and society, where his visions of the peaceful Summerland, a state of justice and equality, would be active on earth. This is why we look to our past, to remind us of those goals.
Growth is the central law of our being and the object of all exertion, as it will be the result of all experience. Through growth we shall overcome evil with good and straighten the crooked ways of error and injustice. Such labours and efforts will and do receive the benedictions of angel intelligences even as good deeds attract admiration and co-operation from the generous and noble of every age and country.” -Andrew Jackson Davis
By living according to our beloved Harmonial Principles, by promoting healing, justice, and education, we can co-create in the spiritual goodness that pervades the worlds, and create a paradise in the here and now.
Your friendly neighborhood Spiritualist