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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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Sparkle the Dark Up

Every year on December 1, I play what is far and away my favorite secular song for the holidays: December will be Magic Again by Kate Bush. Rhiannon and I …

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Meditating with a Cat

This morning my wife had a migraine. Poor lass, she gets one about every three months or so (the stress of living with me). Anyway, she squirreled down into the …

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Five Goals of Celtic Spirituality

Well, at least, these are my goals for doing the Celtic do: 1. Development of the imbas, which is to say, higher/mystical knowledge; 2. Growth in the nine virtues, including …

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Box of Fairies

The softly romantic cover illustration of Gwen Knighton’s Box of Fairies, replete with a half-dozen or so cute diminutive naked fairies frolicking about Gwen Knighton and her harp in a …

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"The More We Are Protected, The More We’re Trapped Within"

Last night I saw Peter Gabriel and Sevara Nezarkhan at Chastain Park Amphitheatre here in Atlanta. The set list: Red Rain More Than This Secret World Games Without Frontiers Mercy …

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