Mysticism and Esotericism, continued

Some wonderful commentary to my post yesterday on Mysticism and Esotericism. Consider these words from Fr. Aidan, who is speculating on why esoteric movements (like the Rosicrucians) have flourished over the years: As you suggested ... there is a “hermeneutic of suspicion” that has had both official distrust and fear from the Church against various mystics and mysticism in general ... and the fear and distrust of the common masses or even one’s fellow parishioners against people, like mysel … [Read more...]

Mysticism and Esotericism

A reader writes: How would you define the balance between Christian Mysticism & Christian Esotericism?Richard Smoley in Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition, differentiates them by saying, "Esotericism is characterized by... an interest in different levels of consciousness and being. Mysticism is not quite so concerned with these intermediate states; it focuses on reaching God in the most direct and immediate way. The mystic wants to reach his destination as quickly … [Read more...]

What Christian Mysticism is Not

One way to understand Christian mysticism would be to begin by clarifying what things are commonly called “mysticism” but really aren’t — at least, not from an orthodox Christian perspective:Christian mysticism is not occultism. It’s not about uncovering some long lost secret, à la The DaVinci Code. Christian mysticism is not magic. It’s not about wielding spiritual power or engineering our own experience. Christian mysticism is not esotericism. It's not about learning techniques for psychic … [Read more...]


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