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    Mysticism is a religion or a religious philosophy which posits that unity with God, who is a surveillant of mysterious power affecting the universe or the ultimate cause, cannot be realized by rational deduction, nor a practice of regular creed, and ritual and is only possible through supernatural practices, meditation or a confidential ritual.

    History[edit | edit source]

    Beliefs[edit | edit source]

    Union with the Divine[edit | edit source]

    Mysticism, rooted in Neo-Platonism and Henosis, is commonly understood as a union with God or the Absolute. In the 13th century, the term "unio mystica" described the ecstatic experience of spiritual connection with God. In the 19th century, influenced by Romanticism, this union was seen as a profound religious experience, providing certainty about God or a higher reality.

    William James popularized the idea of "religious experience," comparing it to sensory experiences in his 1902 work, "The Varieties of Religious Experience." He believed these experiences were fundamental to personal religion, transcending theology and church institutions. James suggested that religious experiences were consistent across different traditions.

    However, the term "union" may not apply universally. In traditions like Advaita Vedanta, where there is only one reality, there is no separate entity to unite with—it's more about recognizing the inherent unity. Additionally, some traditions focus on the experience of nothingness rather than unity. The interpretation of mysticism as union has become standard, but it's important to recognize its limitations and variations.

    Interpretative Context[edit | edit source]

    Mysticism involves understanding and giving meaning to mystical and visionary experiences, as well as related states like trances. Dan Merkur suggests that mysticism can encompass various forms of ecstasy or altered states of consciousness and the associated ideas and interpretations. It's important to differentiate between temporary experiences and mysticism as an ongoing process within a religious context, as emphasized by Parsons and Richard Jones. Peter Moore adds that mystical experiences can also occur spontaneously in people not tied to any religious tradition, without necessarily being interpreted in a religious way.

    Intuitive Insight and Enlightenment[edit | edit source]

    Some authors highlight that mystical experience involves intuitively understanding the meaning of existence and uncovering hidden truths, leading to solutions for life's challenges. Larson describes it as an intuitive grasp of existence's significance, while McClenon defines mysticism as the belief that special mental states reveal ultimate truths. Horne adds that mystical illumination is a profound visionary experience that resolves personal or religious issues.

    Evelyn Underhill suggests that "illumination" is a broad term for mystical experiences. It comes from the Latin "illuminatio," which was used in Christian prayer. Similar terms in Asian traditions include "bodhi," "kensho," and "satori" in Buddhism, often translated as "enlightenment," and "vipassana," referring to intuitive cognitive processes.

    Spiritual Life[edit | edit source]

    Some authors argue that mysticism goes beyond mere "mystical experience." Gellmann suggests that its true aim is human transformation rather than just experiencing mystical or visionary states. McGinn agrees, stating that personal transformation is crucial in assessing the authenticity of Christian mysticism.

    Variants[edit | edit source]

    Numerology[edit | edit source]

    Numerology, or Arithmancy, is a way of analyzing numbers and mathematical patterns from a mystical perspective. In this view, numerical patterns hold a deeper spiritual or divine purpose and certain truths about the esoteric can be discovered by interpreting these patterns.

    New Thought[edit | edit source]

    New Thought is an American new religious movement which believes in the primacy of the mental realm. By thinking good thoughts one can affect reality. It also believes in a kind of pantheism where every human has a divine self.

    Relationships[edit | edit source]

    Friends[edit | edit source]

    • Christian Mysticism - My Christian variant. Praise Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
    • Sufism - Islam is good too, you know.
    • Neoplatonism - Philosophical mysticism is still mysticism.
    • Idealism - The non-physical world is just as important as the physical world, if not more so.
    • Theism - Let's worship the divine.
    • Gnosticism - Awesome. We'll take down the Demiurge together.
    • Pythagoreanism - The numbers, what do they mean?

    Frenemies[edit | edit source]

    • Occultism - My son. You scare me sometimes.
    • Asceticism & Hedonism - My followers usually adopt one of your ways and hate the other.
    • Catholicism - I have mixed feelings...
    • Empiricism - I want to experience the Divine. Too bad that most of your followers are atheists.

    Enemies[edit | edit source]

    Gallery[edit | edit source]

    Further Information[edit | edit source]

    Invisible College[edit | edit source]

    Wikipedia[edit | edit source]

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