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The Path of the Mystic
The word Mystic has come to us from Middle English, from the French mystique, meaning and through Latin via Greek as mustes; initiated one or muein, close the lips and eyes. It was first used as a noun in the middle of the 17th century through the lens of Christianity.
Encyclopedia.com gives the meaning as:
‘a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect’.
We can be critical of our heritage can be very judgemental of the religion of our ancestors. But if we expand the lens out a little further, this is where we get the rare glimpses of our even older Ancestors, our pagan ones. Evidence increasingly shows that indigenous cultures had no separation of connection, belief, and history. And how the words and actions of ‘Mystic’ transcend all religions and cultures.
If we understand the cosmology of our heritage, we can see that even here we are intertwined and are not actually that far removed from it. And even now, at the time of the Modern Mystic we are looking for deeper meaning.
Cosmology is the understanding of our place in the Universe. And in this context, the belief systems of a particular people and where those beliefs place them in the world/universe.
And it is from this place that we understand the term ‘Mystic’. It was first used in a religious context in the mid 17th century. And is a word that implies great faith and trust in an unseen God. One that offers the most deepest connections to our faith.
In that guise, mystic can go beyond our recent history and into the realms of our most Ancient History. For we know that our Ancestors revered the Mother and their deep connections to the earth. We can surmise through their devotion they believed in those spiritual truths beyond the intellect of the mind.
It is understood in these most ancient people that the first religion that was observed was animism, the attribution of a living soul onto plants and inanimate objects. From here came the belief in an afterlife, shamanism and ancestor worship. So it makes sense that growing from this animism that the Mystic would devote her life to the One. Her entire day revolving around this prayer and devotion and then sharing that with her wider community.
If we think about well known mystics we can see they all have one thing in common, they were devoted to their path. Think Rumi, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross. Single minded in their pursuit of the truth.
So where does mystic fit in with our modern day living? And how has the history of Mystic shaped out spiritual journey till now?
Caroline Myss talks about our modern spiritual journey as “mystics without Monasteries’. We are carving out our path of truth in the midst of our lives. With all the distractions and interruptions along the way. No longer do we answer the ‘calling’ in the same way: giving up our lives and families to live within closed doors. We now dedicate ourselves to the Earth and the practice of being Here.
And following our path of Mystic, we consciously call ourselves back from wherever our thoughts have taken us. Bringing awareness into every activity that we do. Treating ourselves with empathy and compassion. Surrendering other and over to the moment. We bring ourselves into active and flow. But with receptiveness. Remembering that these are not passive processes or states. They require action and change to follow the surrender. If we take no action, if we don’t follow through, we can remain in a state of apathy, procrastination and smallness.
The one thing I feel that we miss without the traditional Mystic life, is support and connection. This can confuse the awakening as we can continue to look outside of ourselves for answers. In my own experience, I spent a lifetime looking without. Frightened and ashamed of myself and my body in an unconscious way, constantly bypassing it’s wisdom and truth. Once I finally understood that connection to my body, and the fact that I have one, I started the process of looking within.
Trusting myself and what was inherent within me. I accessed myself and found the truth. I trusted myself and trusted God. I felt the path of the Mystics who walked before me and trusted them. I heard the voices of the ancestors and I listened.
The beauty of being able to look back at our History and the history of the Mystic is that we can see the deep wisdom that they found, which was inherent within them. Passed down through the Universe, to the Earth and to those whose feet are firmly planted on her soil.
*This article was first publishing the Spiritually Fierce magazine issue 3 2019