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Christian Mysticism

Discussion of Christianity and other religious systems. How can we explain our faith to Christians? How can you merge your faith in Jesus with your belief in the metaphysical?

Christian Mysticism

Postby Peregrine » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:15 pm

For about ten years, I've received newsletters and ordered lesson books from a group known as Astara. They borrow from the wisdom of all beliefs. This includes Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, Taoism, Hinduism, and Judiasm as well as UFOlogy.

From what I read about them, the founders consider themselves "Christian Mystics" and, because they were most familiar with teachings of Jesus, they tended themselves to use Christian oriented meditations for their own practice. However, they also borrow from other paths. In some of their first lesson books, for instance, they teach about the chakras and the use of meditation to energize each chakra.

I also used to have a cyber-buddy online who considered herself a Christian, but also said she has her own tarot cards for her own readings. Stuff like that.

When I used to hang out at BeliefNet, one of the pagans at the paganism board also recommended Christian Mysticism for me, based on some of my comments and questions.

Funny, to this day I am not really clear on what that means exactly. All I know is that they have no problem with me if I want to do chants or talk about the Tao while also borrowing from New Testament parables and such.

Yikes... Got to go... Baby is crying again... Wants to play with Mommy. :)
It's like walking down an empty street, listening to your own footsteps. But all you have to do is knock on any door and say, "If you'll let me in, I'll live the way you want me to live. And I'll think the way you want me to think." And all the blinds will go up, and all the doors will open, and you'll never feel lonely. Ever again.

~Henry Drummond, "Inherit the Wind" (1960)
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christian mystics

Postby starfish » Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:59 am

From what I've read and understand Jesus was a spiritual master himself teaching various techniques and concepts that tend to go unrecognized or misunderstood. There is a book called the Science Of Spirituality as in The Holy Bible by H.H. Dr. J.B. Athavale and Sharon Clarke Sequeira, respectively, which reveals both the literal and implied meanings if you are interested in researching. Christianity has dealt alot with possession, demons, Angels, the use of holy water, and the spiritual dimension, it is as though the majority of seekers are of a relatively low spiritual level in these days and only the few have the zeal to grow beyond.
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Postby Imiko » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:42 pm

In my honest opinion, The Christians are being Hypocritical. They go off and say that We Worship the Devil, and take some techniques from Wicca and use it themselves? It bothers me a lot how they can just shut out other religions, say that only theirs is right, and then take things from other Religions and use them to their Will.

I also find that the way they push every other Religion aside is quite.. infuriating. And thus the reason why my Mother is Christian and I am not.
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Postby Release.the.bats » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:09 pm

@Imiko: They didn't take from Wicca. They took from paganism.
Wicca didn't exist until the 1960s. Paganism has been around for an exceptionally long time, believed to be as long as man has existed, but not completely proven. Since we don't know precisely when we came to be.
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Postby [SnowRaven] » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:58 am

Release.the.bats wrote:@Imiko: They didn't take from Wicca. They took from paganism.
Wicca didn't exist until the 1960s. Paganism has been around for an exceptionally long time, believed to be as long as man has existed, but not completely proven. Since we don't know precisely when we came to be.


This is a point many people make in these types of discussions and I always tend to feel two ways about it: 1) Yes, someone codified what they thought it was and slapped a name on it during the last century, & 2) Somewhat divisive stance that pigeon holes certain people. -- For me, an eclectic solitaire who also calls herself: Wiccan/Witch/Pagan, the Goddess I worship has always been there. I feel connected to those long ago worshipers, those Wiccans/Witches/Pagans/Priestesses/Strega/Wise Women. IMO, 'Wicca' existed long ago, simply under different names/guises/practices. Perhaps too fine a point to be put on it..... *shrug*

I think Catholicism is rife with Mysticism: wafers & wine = body & blood of Christ? [Cakes & Ale ceremony] And since the different Christian sect all sprouted from this main religion - there you go.
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Postby Release.the.bats » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:13 am

I follow history personally.
Wicca couldn't have influenced the Christians because it's only around 49 years old, give or take.
The only reason I don't take Wicca into account as a religion with an olde name is because I don't feel that it is. I believe that it is based on a lot of different old traditions but it isn't old in the slightest.
They did take from pagans historically and unless other separate pagan groups have facts to follow their argument of the Christians taking only from them, I don't believe them either.(Italian wicca, witta[even though it's been proven to be a lie already] etc.).
A lot of pagans have a tendency to stretch the truth about the past, especially when they claim to have found a secret religion amongst a certain group of people. Then claim it's been around for thousands of years and talk about how they've been persecuted by Christians.
I don't mind thinking that there have been people in the past with similar beliefs to Wicca, sure. But Wicca as a religion didn't exist then.
It's like saying there were Christians before Christ, how can there be Christians before Christ when it is supposed to be based off of his teachings.
I also believe that the deities have always existed at the same time as we give them life.
For example: Water has existed since life was created. Well the entities of water therefore existed, but were not as complex until man came along. And gave them all different meanings and names, we made them complex.
As for Catholics showing more mysticism, that would be because Catholicism was the first church based around the teachings of Christ. Therefore, they'd have more pagan bits within their teachings as opposed to baptists and so on.
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Postby Imiko » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:53 am

A lot of really good points have been thrown into the picture here. But we must remember that the fact is they have taken from other religions. Not just Pagans, like you have said. I just find it frustrating to go visit my school, and have the Christians stare at me as though I'm some sort of Demon, when they take from other religions as well. Maybe not Wicca, Most likely Pagan. Agreed on that point. But I still think that if they are so offended by us, then why would they continue to use those techniques? I'm just guessing there is a little bit of Under Education thrown into this somehow. Even I may be a little under Educated when it comes to that kind of thing.
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Postby Release.the.bats » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:15 pm

In all technicality almost all religions took from another and made it their own.
As an eclectic pagan I completely succumb to this.
Now, the difference with Christianity is that it took from us and then began yelling at us about being heathens after stripping us of our customs. They took what we had, made it their own, then claimed we were going to hell. Basically.
Why do Christians use techniques of paganism?
Because it's religion twisted it around.
For example:
The birth of Christ is historically either in spring or summer. But the Christians celebrate it in December. Why? Because that's when our Yule-tide is. They needed to make it easier to convert us, so they decided to adopt our main holidays and put stories behind them so they seemed Christian in nature.
A lot of things are like this. Many people don't know what a pagan is let alone be able to guess that their religion stole a lot from pagans. Others will tell you that the history is wrong and our Gods were created by rebels of their Gods and therefore we copied them.
Historically this is inaccurate but people will believe anything really, except the truth in most cases.
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Postby [SnowRaven] » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:19 pm

The worship of Mithra is really where Jesus Christ came from - one misogynistic faith fathering another, really. But I always maintain that the writers of the bible could have done more than just change the main character's name. Talk about outright plagiarism.

The roots of Goddess worship [which flowered into what we know as Wicca] didn't contribute much to the Christ mythos. Other than turning the Goddess into Mary. The point I was trying to make is that I don't feel that my faith/path is only 49 yrs old. Rather I feel that Wiccans are among the groups reawakening or bringing this worship back into the light. So they coined a term/label - so what. I state that what I believe is an old religion simply because the Goddess herself is timeless. No one made her up 49 years ago.....
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Postby [SnowRaven] » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:25 pm

Release.the.bats wrote:In all technicality almost all religions took from another and made it their own.
As an eclectic pagan I completely succumb to this.
Now, the difference with Christianity is that it took from us and then began yelling at us about being heathens after stripping us of our customs. They took what we had, made it their own, then claimed we were going to hell. Basically.
Why do Christians use techniques of paganism?
Because it's religion twisted it around.
For example:
The birth of Christ is historically either in spring or summer. But the Christians celebrate it in December. Why? Because that's when our Yule-tide is. They needed to make it easier to convert us, so they decided to adopt our main holidays and put stories behind them so they seemed Christian in nature.
A lot of things are like this. Many people don't know what a pagan is let alone be able to guess that their religion stole a lot from pagans. Others will tell you that the history is wrong and our Gods were created by rebels of their Gods and therefore we copied them.
Historically this is inaccurate but people will believe anything really, except the truth in most cases.


Sing it, Sista!! :lol:

Easter is coming up - the most Pagan of holidays! They barely changed the Goddess' name there.... fluffy bunnies and eggs, oh my! And the Goddess gives birth to her son [resurrection]

Again, Mithra rose from the dead - exiting a rock [womb]. Nothing original there....

I think the real problem is that Christianity took our stories/faith wholesale, twisted it around to benefit the male gender and then told us we were wrong. The gal is amazing!
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Postby Release.the.bats » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:27 pm

There are many controversies over where Christ came from as a being.
Whether he was real or not, whether he was influenced to exist by a pagan God(like satan) or whether he is a bunch of them together.
It's all controversial.
There is more to Wicca than simple Goddess worship.
Which is why it as a religion, hasn't simply existed since Goddess worship did. That's like saying there isn't a different between the Druids and the Norse pagans. Because they worship many Gods, yes they do that's why their pagan. But their actual teachings and what they follow are distinctly different, that is why Wicca is a new religion. No the Goddess wasn't created 49 years ago but the religion of Wicca, this way of worshiping the Goddess and interacting with your surroundings, was.
That's why you cannot say Wicca is older than it is, elements of it are sure, it took from different pagan traditions and melded them together, that's why it's teachings are different from specific teachings of old.
That's why Wiccans cannot call themselves Druids or Hindu's, they're pagan religions because they worship many deities but religions are different in the way they worship. That's what makes each religion different, their views on the deity, the proper way to honor them, and what's right and wrong morally.
Which is why(as I said previously) Wicca as we know it, didn't exist until 49 years ago.
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Postby Release.the.bats » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:39 pm

Here is an example that might help you better understand what I mean by saying Wicca didn't exist until the 1960s:

So let's say you remember having at least one past life[Represents Paganism].
Well you examine who you were then, the life you led etc.
You come to understand that while that life influences who you are in this one, whether it's dramatically or not, that you aren't the person you were then. The life you live, the way your body works is all different in this life than in that life[Wicca]. So while you are influenced by that life, you aren't that person and it would be wrong of you to claim to be that person, because by all technicality you aren't.

So Wicca cannot claim to be an old religion, just because it's traditions are old. Because it didn't exist the way it does now, back then. Therefore it isn't an old religion, but has influence from various old traditions.

Does that help anyone?
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Postby [SnowRaven] » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:42 pm

It's all where one stands really. All practicing Pagans today have no real clue, save some native americans, how their particular Deity was worshiped eons ago. And do we really need to walk in the same patterns, make the same offerings, etc. to be able to call ourselves followers of that Deity? Some say yes. I'm speaking of intent rather than the forms such worship takes. Perhaps the label is not elastic enough for the way I apply it.
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Postby [SnowRaven] » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:44 pm

Release.the.bats wrote:Here is an example that might help you better understand what I mean by saying Wicca didn't exist until the 1960s:

So let's say you remember having at least one past life[Represents Paganism].
Well you examine who you were then, the life you led etc.
You come to understand that while that life influences who you are in this one, whether it's dramatically or not, that you aren't the person you were then. The life you live, the way your body works is all different in this life than in that life[Wicca]. So while you are influenced by that life, you aren't that person and it would be wrong of you to claim to be that person, because by all technicality you aren't.

So Wicca cannot claim to be an old religion, just because it's traditions are old. Because it didn't exist the way it does now, back then. Therefore it isn't an old religion, but has influence from various old traditions.

Does that help anyone?


So there are no old religions, then.
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Postby Release.the.bats » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:57 pm

No.
Hinduism is old.
Judaism is old.
Animism and shamanism are old.
Actually animism and shamanism are believed to be where we, as pagans, began.
But that dosen't mean we can claim to be shamans.
It's very simple historically.
The religion that we have found to be the oldest among men, is paganism through animism.
The umbrella term for paganism, the polytheistic belief itself is old.
But if you change something.
Like the differences between Catholics and Christians, their very fine and only have to do with the biblical teachings and how they personally believe you get to heaven. They both believe in heaven, believe in God, Jesus etc. the absolute basics of their beliefs.
But they worship in different ways and believe that getting to heaven you take separate paths.
Therefore you cannot claim them to be the same when they are two separate religions.
Therefore you cannot claim Wicca to simply be old because it's a pagan belief system.
The ways Wicca goes about things, like Goddess worship, altar work, magick etc. it's all based on morality.
It's going against Wicca to do black magick right? Because black magick is bad, where as white is good. That leads to semantics about right and wrong.
It's a different take on the old traditions.
Therefore, it cannot claim to be old, because it uses these traditions in a different way than they were used in the past.
For example:
The first clock from ancient rome, a sun dial.
Clocks have changed a lot since then and now we have different names for different clocks. But they all work the same right? And the general knowledge is that clocks the existence of clocks are old. But the clocks we have now, are not. Our digital clocks, alarm clocks etc. are all different types of clocks. They still tell time, which is the fundamental reason for a clock to exist. But they do it in different ways.
Some have numbers for every 3rd hour, some have numbers for every hour, some don't have a face etc.
It's all different, but their still clocks.
The idea of a clock is old, just like the idea of paganism is old.
But Wicca is not old, just like digital clocks are not old.
You cannot claim wicca to be an old religion of paganism anymore than I can say digital clocks have existed since the romans because they used sun dials.
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