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Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New OrleansThe Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey$
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Melissa Daggett

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496810083

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496810083.001.0001

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Le Cercle Harmonique

Le Cercle Harmonique

(p.101) Chapter 7 Le Cercle Harmonique
Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans

Melissa Daggett

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter documents the diminishing fortunes of the once proud elite of the free people of color. Henry Louis Rey’s séance circles and his registers reflect some of the downward spiral and the political turmoil. Topics and spirit messengers are discussed as well as the rich symbolism found within the covers of the séance registers. Recurring symbols include the Banner of Light, the Route, and the Ladder of Progress. Old friends and comrades, such as Nelson Desbrosses and Eugène Warbourg, return to the séance circle to encourage the participants in their quest for equality. The venues of the séances are also discussed. The protocol of the Cercle Harmonique is described, and the composition of Rey’s two circles are explained. The chapter puts forth a unique gender analysis for the spirit messengers, the mediums, and the participants. Concluding remarks summarize the intersection of philosophies and religions in the Cercle Harmonique.

Keywords:   Nelson Desbrosses, Eugène Warbourg, Cercle Harmonique, gender analysis, séance circle

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