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Spiritism is one of the oldest cults in existence. Practically every major civilization has indulged in spiritistic practices. Through the centuries it waxed and waned in popularity, but still it managed to survive until this present day. Estimates of the number of practicing Spiritists are as high as half a million in the United States and more than three million in Brazil.l Good statistics are difficult to obtain because of the stigma attached to one who claims to be a Spiritist.

The ancient history of Spiritism is both interesting and informative. In the literature of the Egyptians, Babylonians, Chinese and Greeks there can be found positive evidences of spiritistic practices.2 Although the names of the deities change from civilization to civilization, there are similarities among these gods which cannot be ignored. The Umbandan deity Ogum, the god of war for example, corresponds with: Ares (Greek god), Marte (Roman god), Wodan or Odin (German god), Mitra (Persian god), Krichma (Hindu god) and Morduc (Babylonian or Syrian god). There can be no doubt as to the antiquity of this form of religion. One might say that Spiritism is as old as the oldest of civilizations.