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Subject:Greetings
Time:05:39 pm
Hello, I do not "practice" magic, per se, basically only in so much that a prayer is invocation or divination. I suppose I dabble a little bit with sigils, but that's about it. I do however have a deep fascination with all of the things this group is founded around, so I'm sure I'll fit in. I'm a presbyterian and a third year Drawing and Painting major at the University of Georgia. Currently, the topic that I am obsessed with the most is the jewish lore concerning angels and I'm heavily influenced by William Blake and C.S. Lewis. Umm... yeah. I'm very extroverted, but I don't really like talking about myself, so I guess if you'd like to know any more specifics, you might just have to ask me.
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Subject:Hello, folks!
Time:04:19 pm
I hope you don't mind one more member.

Well, I'm Protestant Christian, in a general sense. I was raised Baptist, but I've never formally joined any church. I almost seem to have more in common with the Catholics I talk to. I find it fascinating, but something about Catholicism just doesn't feel right for me personally, so I continue to wander along the path by myself.

While I follow no structured path of faith or mysticism, I have a strong sense that there's more to the world (and to Christianity) than the people around me seem to acknowledge. To me, the beauty and wonder around me are significant, and I think that miracles are much more common than others realize. Because of that, I've developed an interest in ghosts, spirits, tarot, and various mystic and magical traditions (the Cthulhu icon, however, is just because I enjoy Lovecraft's stories).

I seem to be pretty far behind most of you when it comes to scholarship, so I'm not sure how much I'll be able to contribute, but at least I have a polite set of ears and a good mind on me. Anyway, it's nice to know that there are others like me out there.
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Time:10:13 pm
A site with lots of metaphysical supplies and some just plain fun stuff.
Capricorn's Lair
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Time:01:52 am
And so inspired by Nate, I'll now post my religious history.
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Time:01:33 am
Current Mood:thirstythirsty
Here are some links to some texts(readable for free online!) that may be useful or of interest to the esoteric christian.

EDIT: Added the book of enoch.

The Book Of Enoch
The Magus by Francis Barrett.
The Key Of Solomon, translated by S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers
The Sepher Yetzirah, translated by W.W. Westcot
The Corpus Hermeticum
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Subject:Esoteric backgrounds?
Time:05:32 pm
Current Mood:diarrheic (I hate having the flu)
So how did you guys come to this path and what are your esoteric backgrounds?

I came to this path kicking and screaming with the desire of a starved lover, if that makes any sense.

I am submitting an old post which pretty much describes my path to this point. The only things different are that I have taken full Regular status in the Order of St. Michael, and that I am taking formal esoteric studies (as compared to my earlier readings) with the Magi Group.

My Spiritual Life Thus Far...

As promised, I am moving my material from the blog site to here.

====================================================================================

It should be no surprise that my first religious experience occurred when I was 3 days old. I had been born in 1967 with E Coli Meningitis, a life-threatening illness. My parents were not sure if I would make it or not. My first religious experience was a baptism in extremis. Of course, I do not remember it, but I believe that all that I have experienced, all that I know, all that I care about in terms of my spirituality is rooted in that sacramental experience. While it took me a while to realize this, I know it now and look forward to new ways in which I may be able to live out my Baptismal call.

My parents were not particularly religious during my childhood. To be sure, they believed in God and did not keep me from trying to understand God, but they did not participate in church. I did have some experience with church on major holidays, but no other involvement.

My parents divorced when I was 9 years old, in 1976. Custody shifted between my parents, and my pre-high school years saw some major developments in my spirituality. When I was 11, I was living with my mother, and she decided to return to the faith of her own childhood, Christianity, as expressed in the Episcopal Church. She started to go to services, and after about a month decided that it was my turn to come along. So, I came, kicking and screaming into the Episcopal Church.

At first, I was none too impressed. But after about a month, after we had made more friends at the church, I began to understand more fully what was involved in a personal relationship with Christ. Indeed, I began at first to feel the general Baptismal call of being drawn to Christ in the Eucharist. At first I couldn t understand it, I just knew that during the Eucharist I felt an overwhelming Presence.

When I was 12, I was visiting my father, who, along with his family, had become born again. I went to their church and responded to an altar call in which I admitted my need for redemption from sin and acknowledged Jesus as that which was in charge of my life. My life since that time has not been the same.

Upon returning home to my mother s house, I returned to the Episcopal Church full of zeal for the House of the Lord . That summer, I went to a summer camp and while I was there, I had an experience that led me to believe that God was calling me to become an Episcopal priest. I became active in the adult choir (at 13, mind you) and became involved in a youth version of the Cursillo movement (an ecumenical movement which focuses on conversion, study, prayer, and service they are best known for their retreats). I also did some camp counseling at the diocesan summer camp.

Around this time in my life the first of several religious dichotomies I experienced in my life surfaced. Was I an Episcopalian with a very close relationship to God through Jesus, or was I a Christian (i.e. born again) who was trying to live the sacramental life? The nature of the argument in a sense circled around that which I was to later discover to be my center, my Baptism. In the Episcopal Church, it is taught that the sacrament of Baptism is a gift of invisible grace given through visible means. This grace was salvation. I had a sincere difficulty with this because I also believed that one had to have a conversion experience in order to be saved. I dreamed of becoming a priest who was involved in evangelism and helping others to come to Christ. However, I soon decided that what I needed to do was to leave the Church and have a Believer s Baptism in a Southern Baptist Church, as I could not reconcile with the Baptism issue, even though I felt drawn to the Eucharist and the priesthood. Shortly after the time of my second baptism, I had an experience that was to change a lot of my life my mother died. Within a month, friends of the family and I settled her accounts and I went to live with my father in Spain (he was in the Navy). During these two years, I was involved with evangelical church activities and helped with some missionary activities (I have never been much of a preacher, but I thought I was a pretty good witness overall). Although I was pretty much evangelical in my outlook at that time, I still felt a calling to the Episcopal Church and missed the liturgy. In 1985, I graduated from high school and returned to the States to take up studies at the University of Vermont.

At the University of Vermont, I had a number of experiences that challenged and strengthened my faith. I returned to the Episcopal Church and actively became involved in campus ministry. I continued to try to pursue ordination within the Church but still struggled with the Evangelical/Sacramental divide.

While I was there, I also took a number of religion courses and was able to get beyond my very insular understanding of faith to be able to critically view it and the faiths of others without getting judgmental. One of these classes (on the teachings of the Bhagwan Shree Rashneesh) taught me a great deal about meditation. I have been meditating since I was 12 (I m 34 as of the writing of this), but I found it to be interesting to use meditation in different ways (e.g. using body movement, chakras, etc. as compared to just mantra work). Some of these things I have incorporated, some I have not. In general with new practices, I tend to take the approach of trying to subject them to falling within my relationship with Christ.

When I was a junior, I also had another experience, which was exposure to the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement. I experienced the so-called Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which I now see as simply a larger fulfillment of my Baptismal gifts and it became part of my prayer life. Today it is not as important as contemplative prayer, but it is still there, to be called upon when needed.

During all of my years in college, and all but 1 year between my college years and when I was married 8 years later, I lived in intentional community of one form or another. These experiences taught me a lot about life with others and areas of strength and weakness within myself.

My first experience with intentional community was in a college dorm. The dorm I was in was designed to create intentional community around different topics. The topic of interest for me and for others of like mind was to explore Christianity through comparison with other religions and other denominations within Christianity. I eventually came to be a leader of this group during my sophomore and junior years.

At the end of my junior year, I left the dorm to join an intentional community comprised of students and former prisoners in what was part of the Dismas House movement, a grasssroots organization created to help former prisoners readjust to society. Here I learned a great deal about myself and how to get along with people from all walks of life.

After graduating from college, I decided that I enjoyed the intentional community life, and joined the Lutheran Volunteer Corps in 1989. I did a year of volunteer work in a Salvation Army shelter and lived in intentional community as an Episcopal charismatic evangelical with a mainstream Lutheran, a liberation theology Lutheran, and a neopagan. As the program was heavily influenced by spirituality, we had faith nights where I struggled with how I felt and how I understood others of different perspectives. By the end, I didn t agree with everyone, but I had learned to be even more open and understanding of others perspectives.

After a year of being out of intentional community (OK, I lived in a house with 4 other people), I moved to Philadelphia to pursue my Masters degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania. I quickly found a house full of evangelical Christians and joined them. We lived together until I married in 1997.

I think that my first real substantive crisis of faith occurred when I was about 24. I had started up the process towards ordination within the Episcopal Church, even visited a seminary, and I entered spiritual direction to begin preparing myself. At the time, I saw myself not as someone who wanted to be a priest, but a priest in the making.

After about a year of spiritual direction, it became clear that due to my opinions on Baptism, conversion, and salvation, I was not going to be acceptable to the Episcopal Church as a priest. I was truly broken. I had spent my life up to this point preparing for what I thought was an inevitability. But it wasn t.

While I was preparing for the priesthood, I had decided to try to find an undergraduate degree that would be helpful for a ministry as a priest. I ended up taking some courses in social work after finding that in my second year of psychology courses I would be doing group therapy with rats. I enjoyed the courses, found them to be relevant to what I wanted to do, and decided to pursue it further after spending a semester doing volunteer work in a shelter.

At this point, social work was my bread and butter. I believe that at the time I went through a depression while trying to find out what was really God s calling for my life. I knew fundamentally that God still loved me, but I sure didn t understand what the hell He was up to. The funny thing was that I was being more and more attracted to my secondary field, to the point where today I know that it is God calling for me, and my attraction to the priesthood has been delivered from me.

During my wanderings in the desert, I then began to do some spiritual exploring through the encouragement of good friends of mine. A particularly good friend of mine introduced me to members of the Philadelphia men s movement. I attended a retreat with members of the movement and began to participate in monthly rituals with them. These rituals were essentially neopagan. In retrospect, I don t think that I fully understand exactly what they were, but I must say that I enjoyed them, and it helped me through a rough time.

It also planted a seed in me that led to my feeling comfortable and more familiar with pagan thought.

In 1993, this period of my life concluded with meeting a girlfriend who was almost Wiccan. She taught me a lot about a number of things, including neopagan thought. I was attracted to the fuller acceptance of self found in the Wiccan Rede, An it harm none, do what thou wilt. I also had a few spiritual experiences with her that began to increase my understanding of the immanence of divinity in creation.

This period of exploration ended, when I found that in order for me to feel complete, I needed to settle my issues with Christianity.

I knew that I did not want to return to the Episcopal Church, because it hurt too much at the time. I also did not want to return to more evangelical or Pentecostal churches because I did not feel fulfilled there. Luckily, I met a few friends during my graduate social work education that were, for lack of a better word, evangelical Catholics. Their faith and integration of sacramental perspective, church Tradition (as opposed to tradition), and evangelicalism intrigued me, and I started to attend Mass. While attending Mass, I felt more at home. Through a variety of spiritual experiences, I came to more fully understand accept, and internalize the nature of the Catholic Church.

I think that the pivotal moment for me was when I attended a Charismatic rally with my new girlfriend (later sponsor for reception into the church, and even later, wife). While there, I had a moment where I felt the confluence of the different streams of my life coming together. The local Cardinal was presiding at the Mass, and in that moment, I felt Tradition, liturgy, sacramentalism, evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism coming together. I really knew that I had found my place. I then decided to take up RCIA classes (convert classes) and in 1994, I was received into the Catholic Church. I felt (and still feel) that I had come home.

Except for one thing.

The pagan thing.

I had grown pretty fond of pagan freedom and thought and found a lot in it that I could relate to. I do not recall the actual moment (probably around 1996) when I started to redevelop an interest in pagan thought, but I do remember taking a course in which I did a small-scale qualitative study of Wiccans. While I was involved in it, I read some of the basic texts of the Wiccan movement and found a lot that I could relate to.

I then found myself living a dual life. Another dichotomy had developed in which I found myself to be a practicing and spiritually devout Catholic as well as a neophyte Wiccan. At the time I thought that they were complete opposites.

I tried everything. I went to Confession a number of times. I prayed. I begged that it be taken from me, but finally ended up praying that if it was God s will for my spiritual life that the desire for it increase, and if it wasn t, that it would decrease.

Eventually, I came to terms with the fact that it would be with me for a while. I decided to try to find people of a like mind. I went to the Web, as I live in a very conservative diocese and it wasn t likely that I was going to find anyone with similar beliefs.

I looked in Catholic communities on the Web. I looked in Pagan communities on the Web, and didn t find anyone. I did find a lot of Bible-throwing and bad-mouthing on both sides.

Finally, out of desperation, I decided to do some web searches on different words, and the one that finally got it was Catholic and Craft . What I came across was the Catholic Craft website.

Catholic Craft, according to the website, is a perspective that tries to keep the best of both. Sure, it strays away from the norms of both, but it provides a forum where people can try to find a good and balanced mix of the two. While reviewing the website, I noticed that they had a mailing list, which I subsequently joined.

Here I found a community of like-minded people, some of whom are known quantities in the Christian Magic world. I began to learn about the mixed and oftentimes complementary history of the two perspectives. I learned some more of the basics as well.

Some of what I learned pointed me in the direction of panentheism, a concept used heavily in Creation Spirituality. This is the idea that Creation is not God, but that God is in all of creation, like a tea bag is not water, but infuses the cup so that it becomes something other. With this as a new starting point for a better framework of my understanding of creation, I came to start to see Magic as a neutral force that was present throughout the Bible and used by those who worshipped God, and those who worshipped others. I see it today as a neutral creative source of energy that can be manipulated. I believe that this force is heavily augmented when used in accordance with God s will.

My practice of magic at this point is rather minimal. Usually I use it for daily devotional time by creating sacred space using a cast circle, and I use it for self-improvement. I have not been interested in going too much further, as I believe that all should be done for the honor of God. Also, I have not proceeded because I do not believe that I have a full enough understanding of its uses. I would rather use it in a good manner than to blunder and cause harm to others or myself. Magic for me has been more devotional, and less focused on doing things on this plane.

I have also become a Novice in a Christian religious Order which is open to esoteric thought. My first encounter with the Order was through a former member, whom I knew as DocFox. He has recently passed on. I remember putting out a request for information about a year ago about groups of people who actually met face to face and discussed the integration of Christianity and the Craft. He had mentioned the Order, and I kept it on the back burner for a while.

After about a year of participation in the Catholic Craft list (and becoming co-moderator), I decided to revive the search for a group, and remembered his post about the Order. I then did another websearch and found a couple of the sites associated with the Order, and was intrigued.

Since joining it, I have found a fellowship of open and tolerant Seekers who have encouraged me on my esoteric path, and have encouraged me to keep Christ at the center of it.
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Subject:Hello
Time:10:41 pm
Well, I'm something of an oldie for this group. I've been following this path for several years and am always glad to meet new people who are also on this crazy path. Feel free to look me up as nateprentice.

Nate
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Time:07:54 am
Interesting opinion piece about God creating paranormal phenomena. I agree with it and am glad to see more open-minded Christians speaking out.
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Subject:Intro?
Time:11:18 pm
Hello. I've been looking for a place like this.

I consider myself Christian, but a lot of other Christians don't...

I meditate to clear my aura, believe in directing "good vibes" and thoughts to other people, use rudimentary feng shui, and say prayers over lit candles/in counted groups to achieve particular mental and spiritual states. I also use salt to clear my tarot cards. ;^)

At any rate, hoping to meet some like-minded and/or similarly aligned people. ^_^
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Subject:new to group
Time:10:06 am
Hi there Green Jeanz ...looks like right now we're the only two members...maybe some more ppl will join! Anyhow, my name is Joel, I am a dancer, GD mage, and lover of yoga, green tea, and all things sensual. I grew up in a non-denominational church, and up until two years ago I was involved in a spirit-filled church..anyhow, I have always been very very personal and intimate in my relationship to God, but I was just not seeing the TRUTH in the church as we know it...I took a year off, and in that period I ran across Qabbalah, which led me to Golden Dawn, which led me to Rosicrucianism...I am in love with God, and I have a heart for all "Christians" who want to develop a true relationship with the Master...anyhow, ttyall later!

Joel
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