Hell – What is it like? (According to Spiritism)

By Brian Foster


hell1Is there really a Hell? And if the answer is yes, do truly bad people reside there forever? According to Spiritism, there is a kind of Hell, and it is one that you create for yourself or you are at a place because of your like-mindedness with others. By the way, you stay there as long as you wish.


Hell, the place that no one really wants to live. It has been depicted as many things, the netherworld, underworld, purgatory (a slightly different level of hell); places where the gods Pluto and Hades reigned. Where various Christian writers described the lakes of sulfur, the worms that ate your flesh; an eternal punishment, all waiting for the wicked to pass from their physical bodies so they may be dragged down to the depths.

But ask yourself, after living just one lifetime of, say, forty to eighty years, would it be just to then exist for all time being punished? The answer according to the Doctrine of Spiritism is no. Jesus sent the Spirit of Truth to us to reveal that we are immortal souls in a continual quest to become pure.

On the other hand, after you have been particularly wicked for one life, where do you go? Certainly not to one of the levels of heaven. The sad truth is that at one time or another; all of us have lived immoral lives, whether guilty of debauchery, corruption, murder, arson, or any other crimes that we would rather not contemplate. So where did we stay after our complete failure?

Law of Affinity

As with many aspects of life in the spiritual world, the answer lies in the Law of Affinity. Whereas, those who are like-minded, share the same purpose in life, seek pleasure in similar venues, conjugate together. Hence, according to the Spiritist doctrine, there is no permanent hell, only a place where people who have failed in the physical life go to for a period of time, until they discover the need to believe in love and begin the quest to better themselves. For after all, God is just and would not condemn a spirit for eternity, but does create the opportunity for all to rise and become pure.
The natural law of affinity, where like attracts like is the great filter that separates heaven and hell and all strata in between. The Spirits Book states;

1012 second question – “Heaven” and “Hell,” then, as men have imagined them, have no existence?
“They are only symbols; there are happy and unhappy spirits everywhere. Nevertheless, as we have also told you, spirits of the same order are brought together by sympathy; but, when they are perfect, they can meet together wherever they will.”[1]

Doesn’t sound too bad, almost like here on earth, the riffraff gather in their seedy bars and hangouts together and only occasionally venture out in the better part of town to cause havoc. We have all known people who could live forever on the wrong side of the tracks and be perfectly happy in their existence.

What Happens After Death?

In Allan Kardec’s book, Heaven and Hell, he describes our choices after our return to the spirit world, “Actually, there are only two alternatives for a spirit; temporary punishment allotted according to its wrongs, or recompense awarded according to its merits.”[2]

The weighing of good versus bad deeds is a recurring theme in people’s NDE’s (near death experience). Again, in the book, Heaven and Hell, there is a whole section titled, “The Penal Code of the Future Life”. Here are some of the pertinent highlights;

“3) There is not one single imperfection of the soul that does not carry disagreeable andPayHere inevitable consequences, just as there is not one single good quality that is not a source of joy. The amount of punishment is therefore proportional to the amount of imperfection, just as joy in proportional to the soul’s good qualities.”[3]

Everything is taken as a whole; there is a balancing out process between what we accomplished for the good and what we caused or omitted for the bad. There is no wholly bad person, although it may seem to us sometimes. Jesus knows that within all of us, lays the potential to rise above our base instincts and become what our destiny demands. Consequently, we aren’t punished just to be punished; we are corrected as a good parent disciplines a child, with an eye for the child to learn the lesson and to not repeat their behavior. This is reinforced by penal code number seven;

“7) The spirit suffers for the evil it has done in such a way that with its attention constantly directed toward the consequences of such evil, it better understands its problems and is thus led to correct itself.”[4]

So how does the spirit suffer? Some, who have not evolved morally remain in the delusion that they are still alive and thus constantly experience the same feelings, such as hunger, loneliness, and all of the normal problems of life, but not able to participate in the real physical life. For those who have committed crimes, “The incessant presence of their victims and the circumstances of their crime are a cruel torment.”[5]

For others, those who have committed the most heinous offences;

“Some spirits are immersed in thick darkness. Others find themselves in complete isolation inumbra-nossaLar space, tormented by their ignorance of the situation as well as the fate that awaits them. The guiltiest suffer tortures that are all the more pungent because they can see no end to them. Some are kept from seeing their loved ones, and all generally endure sufferings whose intensity is relative to the evils they practiced and the pain and necessities they caused others to suffer, until repentance and the desire for reparation bring them enough tranquility to foresee the possibility of putting an end to their situation through their own efforts.”[6]

All souls have a way out, they need to realize the extent of their actions and formulate a plan to make right what they have caused. No better justice could be served. Not one soul is lost forever; all are guided toward the lighted path.

Where do these punishments take place? Back to the Law of Affinity, where similar spirits are broughthell together is the answer. While the celestial cities are above us, ready to receive good souls, lower regions, on earth and below it are ever alert for more recruits. Do all of these souls, who need to learn their vital lessons, are amassed together in one sulfurous smelling pit, like a Hieronymus Bosch painting?


The Law of Affinity is more complex than that, “brought together” in the paragraph above has a hidden meaning. In the book Liberation, a truly frightening account of the Spirit underworld, by Andre Luiz, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, one of the judges in hell, Gregorio, explains his part in the greater scheme of punishment and atonement.

“The children of the Lamb may help and even rescue many. However, there are millions of individuals, like myself, who ask for neither help nor liberation. It is said that we are nothing but moral delinquents. So be it. We are criminals watching over one another. The earth belongs to us because animality rules upon it, offering us the ideal atmosphere. I myself have no notion of heaven. It may be a court for the elect. But for us, the world is a vast kingdom for the condemned. In the physical body, we are prey to the web of fatal circumstances; however, the web that the lower realms have prepared for us will serve millions. If our destiny is to separate the wheat from the tares, our sifter will not lie idle. Experienced as we are in the fall, we shall test all those who appear to us on the road. The Great Judges have ordered us to guard the gates. Thus, we have servants everywhere. All men and women that have wandered away from the pathway of normal evolution are subject to us, and you surely know that there are millions of them. Furthermore, earth’s tribunals are ineffective at uncovering all the crimes that occur. Yes, we are eyes in the darkness, and the smallest hidden dramas do not go unnoticed by us.”[7]

Hell is organized. Hell is watching. They don’t have to pull people down to their level, it all happens naturally. Lost souls descend, similar to the laws of gravity which cause us to fall to earth; selfish, materialistic, mean, avarice souls are as naturally pulled down as loving, charitable and nurturing souls are raised up. Each according to their natural selection and the power of attraction to like spirits.

Hell is controlled by the inmates. The judge, Gregorio, either through his longevity or talent for evil, enjoys his job of insuring punishment for those who mistreated others. Like the efficient prison warden, Jesus allows those undergoing their punishment to be led and controlled by their peers. After all, who better? They have heard all of the stories, all of the excuses, witnessed all of the crying in shame and therefore are immune to any pity. All bad deeds are indelibly recorded in our minds; we are our own witnesses for the prosecution.

Therefore, you may ask, how do these low people improve in such a harsh environment? When Andre Luiz descends into the lower regions and witnesses the lost and tortured souls residing there, he asks his instructor, Gubio, how could God allow this? Gubio supplies the answer;

“For the same instructive reasons that God does not exterminate a human nation, when, insane with a thirst for domination, it unleashes cruel and destructive wars; instead he hands it over to the expiation of its crimes and to the misfortune it has brought upon itself, so that it can learn to become part of the eternal order that presides over universal life. Over the course of many centuries, the matter used by those intelligences is worked and restructured, just like in the earthly circles; but if the Lord visits humankind by means of sanctified individuals, he also corrects spirits by means of hardened or beastly ones.”
“So, does that mean that evil spirits, demons…” I begin to ask hesitantly.
“… are we, ourselves.” The Instructor patiently completed.[8]

slavesAndre Luiz describes hell as if it were comparable to the “cities of the Orient two hundred years ago”[9], where carts are pulled by slaves and oxen, well dressed people, with hard sullen faces, coexisting with people in rags with misshapen features. No children to be seen. A rough, unforgiving place where the conversations were mostly about turning others into the same low state as themselves. A location, where the spirits of the living roam at night, will come to plot with others, how to cause the downfall of more spirits.

Hence, those who have been evil and now reside in Hell are used to gather more of the same, in an everlasting feedback loop of accumulating similar spirits. Gubio explains to Andre Luiz, how this process functions on an individual basis;

“Yes, Andre, each mind lives amongst the company it has chosen. The same principle applies for those who live within the dense body or outside of it. It is important to realize, however, that most of the souls in this place are here due to the forces of attraction. They were incapable of perceiving the presence of spirit benefactors who work with among incarnates in endeavors of self-denial and benevolence, and due to their low vibrational level resulting from repeated wrongs, impenitent idleness, or willful crystallization in error, they found nothing but darkness all around them. Alone and confused, they went looking for discarnates with whom that had an affinity and they naturally met in this immense hive carrying the whole load of the destructive passions that characterized their journey. When such souls get here, however, they must endure the watchfulness of the powerful and hardened intelligences who rule like dictators in these regions, where the bitter fruits of evil and indifference fill the storehouse of unprepared and malicious hearts.”[10]

Therefore, the wicked amongst us are placed in a truly evil realm, where they can determine, over the course of time, if this is where they wish to spend the rest of their days. After all, what could be a more direct application of one of the main doctrines of Spiritism; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is precisely what is occurring to the spirits that have committed wrongs in their physical life, others are doing unto them what they have done unto others, and by the way, how does it feel?

Brian Foster has a BSCS degree and a MBA. He has worked in R&D for medical device corporations and in IT for large financial institutions. Brian Foster has a blog at http://www.nwspiritism.com.
Works Cited
Kardec, A. (2006). Heaven and Hell. Brasilia (DF), Brasil: International Spiritist Council.
Kardec, A. (2010). The Spirits Book. Guildford, UK: White Crow Books.
Xavier, F. C. (2013). Liberation. Brasilia (DF), Brazil: International Spiritist Council.

[1] KARDEC, Allan, The Spirits Book, White Crow Books, Question 1012, p. 519
[2] KARDEC, Allan, Heaven and Hell, EDICEI, Part 1, Chapter V, p. 87
[3] KARDEC, Allan, Heaven and Hell, EDICEI, Part 1, Chapter VII, p. 118
[4] KARDEC, Allan, Heaven and Hell, EDICEI, Part 1, Chapter VII, p. 119
[5] KARDEC, Allan, Heaven and Hell, EDICEI, Part 1, Chapter VII, p. 127
[6] KARDEC, Allan, Heaven and Hell, EDICEI, Part 1, Chapter VII, p. 127
[7] Xavier, Francisco C., Liberation, EDICEI, p. 106
[8] Xavier, Francisco C., Liberation, EDICEI, p. 57
[9] Xavier, Francisco C., Liberation, EDICEI, p. 63
[10] Xavier, Francisco C., Liberation, EDICEI, p. 67


Mankind needs to know it!


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[…] Is there really a Hell? And if the answer is yes, do truly bad people reside there forever? According to Spiritism, there is a kind of Hell, and it is one that you create for yourself or you are at a place because of your like-mindedness with others. By the way, you stay there as long as you wish. Read More. […]


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