A highly prolific and respected advocate for the early Modern Spiritualist Movement, Emma Hardinge Britten travelled America, Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand in an effort to discuss and bring awareness to spiritual matters. Her powerful speches prompted the growth of multiple Spiritualist groups and churches through out the country, resulting in a large following of people who’d later deem her “The Mother of Modern Spiritualism”.
A gifted medium known for going into a deep trance as she communicated with spirits, Emma Hardinge Britten is responsible for creating the original Seven Principles which was and still is the essential guideline to spirituality. However, Britten herself did not write these principles. Rather, the principles were formed in 1871 during her mediumship with deceased social reformer and medium Robert Owen. Owen was well-known for his communication with the spirits of Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. Like Britten, he firmly believed that his communication with the dead served to better the present state of existence. The Seven Principles and their explanations are as follows:
The Fatherhood of God: the recognition that there is a creative force responsible for life.
Not only did this force birth the universe, but it also continues to create and impact our lives on a daily basis. This force is known as God.
The Brotherhood of Man: the belief that humanity is united as a family, as a network of people whose interactions affect and influence each other.
This belief encourages kindredness and friendship between yourself and your neighbor and serves as motivation to foster others in both a physical and spiritual sense.
Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels: the acceptance of mediumship as a way to communicate with deceased people
Communication with the dead can occur through just about anyone, but the assistance of Spiritualist churches and skilled mediums can be extremely advantageous.
Continuous Existence of the Human Soul: the understanding that life continues after death and that our personal responsibilities remain present.
After death, we remain the same spiritually, but we exist in a different dimension. Our personality traits and inner struggles remain the same, but they can change based on our own level of progression in the afterlife.
Personal Responsibility: the recognition that we are responsible for own thoughts and actions.
Every aspect of life can be attributed back to our own personal decisions and actions. No other person can be blamed for our lack of spirituality but ourselves.
Compensation and Retribution for all Good and Evil Deeds done on Earth: the acknowledgment that life is a series of cause and effect.
If we’re good to others, we will grow spiritually, causing us to receive good fortune in return. If we’re negative or unkind to others, we hinder our spiritual growth which results in less joy.
Eternal Progress Open to Every Human Soul: the realization that every soul desires to progress spiritually and exist in love and happiness.
By following our intuitions and expanding our desires to understand spirituality, we can flourish and grow as a direct result of our efforts.
As the medium responsible for channeling The Seven Principles, Britten played a pivotal role in the advancement of spirituality, and the world began to know her as an enthusiastic and intelligent woman whose gifts provided deep insight and clarity into the afterlife.
Born in 1823, Britten displayed signs of her gift for mediumship as a small child. She could frequently predict events and often told her parents that she was communicating with the dead. However, it wasn’t until 1856, during a visit to America in which Britten met a medium for the first time, that she realized just how special her gift was. It was there that she learned that she had an impressive skill for table tipping, the ability to trigger spirits to move and flip over tables. In that same year, Britten received a message from a deceased friend who’d died on the ship Pacific during a table séance. At the time, no one had been informed yet that the ship had sunk. When the news was released, people were stunned by Britten’s shocking accuracy.
It was then that she became a famous medium and psychic, and people from all walks of life began to request her services on a frequent basis. Working side by side with Miss Kate Fox, also a famed medium, Britten continued to hone her skills and fascinate everybody she came into contact with. Eventually however, she made the decision to devote herself to public speaking and writing full-time, and this quickly skyrocketed her career to the next level. In 1865, she gave the “Great Funeral Oration on Abraham Lincoln” two days after the president’s tragic assassination. She’d later become famous for this speech.
1875 saw a new development in Britten’s impressive resume. Present during the founding of The Theosophical Society, which aimed to promote the investigation of psychics and psychic phenomena, both Britten and her husband would become significant to the organization. Many of the society’s meetings were held in their home, but Britten would later resign from the society for reasons she’d later discuss in her writings.
One of Britten’s most popular works The Faiths, Facts, and Frauds of Religious History was released in 1879, further cementing her career as a writer. She also remains well-known for her book Art Magic, a compilation of Occult lore, which was very controversial due to the mysterious timing of its release. Because it was published so closely with the start of The Theosophical Society, many occult students accused the book of serving as mere propaganda for the organization. The Theosophical Society vehemently denied this.
Starting in 1887, Britten began publishing her own weekly paper The Two Worlds: A Journal Devoted to Spiritualist, Occult Science, Ethics, Religion and Reform. Much of the articles in this paper described The Theosophical Society in a negative, bitter light as Britten had become increasingly disenchanted with the group and its members by that point. She continued writing and publishing the popular paper for five years. To this day, it remains a much discussed work of writing.
When Britten eventually made her way back to England, she was met with much praise and appreciation. She quickly set out to form a Spiritualist union which would serve to promote Spiritualism through religion, philosophy, and science. In 1890, she accomplished her goal, and The Spiritualists National Union was officially formed.
Britten died in her home on October 2, 1899, but her dream of creating a school for prophets came true a year later when the Britten Memorial Institute and Library, a training school for mediums, was founded in Manchester, England.
Today Emma Hardinge Britten is still very much remembered, and her legacy will forever live on through her extensive collection of writings and teachings.