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Why Do Mystics Talk About “Purgation” or “Purification”?

Traditionally, the mystical (or contemplative) life within Christian spirituality has been understood as involving three developmental stages: Purgation, Illumination, and Union. This three-step model of the mystical life goes all the way back to the earliest centuries of Christian history.

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Walter Hilton: The Scale of Perfection

The Scale of Perfection is, in essence, a book of spiritual guidance or direction, written by an elder contemplative for a younger reader.

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Mysticism and Faith: How Do They Relate?

Mysticism is important because it implies an experimental spirituality — it’s not something you learn from a book, but it’s a reality that we live, in our own heart and minds and bodies. But does this mean that there is no room for doctrine and faith in the mystical life?

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Howard Thurman

When we consider also the rich mystical sensibility that characterizes Howard Thurman’s sermons and writings, it is clear that he is one of the great twentieth-century Christian contemplatives.

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Reclaiming the Bible as a Mystical Masterpiece

Part of the process of reclaiming mystical Christianity in our day will be the equally important task of reclaiming a mystical understanding of the Bible.

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A Conversation with the Compost Queen

Trina Paulus, author of the best-selling Hope for the Flowers, talks about environmental activism, the spirituality of waiting, and two very special butterflies named Yellow and Stripe. September 1997 marks …

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Contemplation (Contemplative Prayer) — the Heart of Christian Practice

From the earliest centuries of the common era, up to now in the third millennium, the heart of Christian spirituality is the practice of contemplation. The earliest monks read the …

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The Book of My Life

The Book of My Life By Teresa of Àvila Translated by Mirabai Starr Boston: New Seeds, 2007 One of the challenges of being a reviewer is learning the discipline of …

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111 Mystics

The following list of books represent those writings by 111 Pagan, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim mystics dating from the beginning of the common era to the present day. Please buy …

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My Original Mystical Booklist

Note from Carl: I began this list in 2007, and added to it here and there over the years. Eventually it seemed large and unwieldy, and so I created shorter, …

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