Mysticism

The Mystic Way 15: Spiritual Marriage and Joy

Last time we looked at the language of deification in the Unitive State. Here we finish the extracts from Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism with the second style of language used by mystics to describe the experience of union, that of spiritual marriage, and explore the source of the mystic’s joy: “At this point we begin to… Continue reading The Mystic Way 15: Spiritual Marriage and Joy

Mysticism

The Mystic Way 14: Deification in Union

Last time we looked at the characteristics of the Unitive Life. Here we continue the extracts from Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism to explore the first style of language used by mystics to describe the experience of union, that of deification: “We have said that the mystic of the impersonal type, the seeker of a Transcendent Absolute,… Continue reading The Mystic Way 14: Deification in Union

Mysticism

The Mystic Way 2: Awakening of the Self

Last time we looked at an overview of the phases of the mystical life using extracts from Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism. Here we continue the extracts with an exploration of the first phase on the path: the awakening of the transcendental consciousness: “This awakening…is a disturbance of the equilibrium of the self, which results in the… Continue reading The Mystic Way 2: Awakening of the Self

Mysticism

Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 5: Inner Transformation

Last time we looked at the third characteristic of mystical love. In part five, we continue the extracts from Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill, and explore the final characteristic: the need for selfless devotion to a profound inner transformation. Extract: “(4) Mysticism entails a definite Psychological Experience. “That is to say, it shows itself not merely… Continue reading Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 5: Inner Transformation

Mysticism

Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 4: Method of Love

Last time we looked at the practical spiritual activity of mysticism in the first two characteristics. In part four, we continue the extracts from Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill, and explore the third characteristic: the importance of Love. Extract: “(3) The business and method of Mysticism is Love. “Here is one of the distinctive notes of… Continue reading Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 4: Method of Love

Mysticism

Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 3: Practical Spiritual Activity

Last time we looked at the difficulties mystics have expressing their experiences, and introduced the four characteristics of mysticism. In part three of our extracts from Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill, she goes into more detail about the first two characteristics. Extract: “(1) Mysticism is practical, not theoretical. “This statement, taken alone, is not, of course,… Continue reading Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 3: Practical Spiritual Activity

Mysticism

Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 2: Ineffable Reality and Symbolism

Last time we looked at the differences between mysticism and magic, as explained by Evelyn Underhill in Mysticism. In part two, we continue the extracts with a look at why mystics have such trouble expressing their experiences in words, and introduce the four characteristics of mysticism. Extract: “The greatest mystics, – Ruysbroeck, St. John of… Continue reading Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 2: Ineffable Reality and Symbolism

Mysticism

Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 1: Magic and Mysticism

In this series, we’ll look at the characteristics of mysticism as explained by Evelyn Underhill in her classic text Mysticism: A Study of the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness. In part one, she explains the important differences between magic and mysticism. Extract: “The spiritual history of man reveals two distinct and fundamental attitudes… Continue reading Characteristics of Mysticism, Part 1: Magic and Mysticism

Book Reviews

Review: Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill

This week I’m reading Mysticism: A Study of the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness by Evelyn Underhill. This is the classic text on mysticism. It explores the subject in depth, and although Underhill focuses mostly on mystical Christianity, she also looks at Sufism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and others too. Part 1 explains how mysticism… Continue reading Review: Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill