Mystic Traditions

Mystic traditions range from the deeply spiritual to superficial, and in many cases rely on repetitive mantras or meditative states to increase their power. Mystics come from every ethnicity and walk of life, and most religions can boast their own mystic traditions. Mystics believe there are ways to attain a direct and meaningful relationship with the deity they believe in.

Christian and Jewish Mysticism

Catholic mystic traditions revolve around an individual being blessed with enlightenment and a closer relationship with God; most recognized mystics are canonized as saints. This allows the Catholic Church to absorb mystic traditions into the hierarchy of the church, and to establish criteria for acknowledging mystics. The Trinity could also be called a mystic tradition. Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah, uses the Talmud as a teaching tool and verbal history to describe the soul of man and the essence of God, and how the one can be absorbed into the other so that a practicing Jewish mystic can even say "I am God" as part of a ritual following mystic tradition.

Buddhist and Islamic Mysticism

Buddhist mystic traditions lean heavily on meditation and an attempt to become one with one's inner core of being, known as the Essence of Mind. Mantras and meditative trances as well as specific teachings (paths of enlightenment) bring the individual closer to this state of being. Sufism is the mystic traditions of Islam, and has been described by scholars as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God." This single-mindedness is a common thread through all types of mysticism.

Other Types of Mysticism

Many mystic traditions exist among groups outside the mainstream religions such as the Freemasons, which combines the mysticism of Egypt, Greece, Crete and medieval Europe. Again, rituals are a large part of the traditions, and a personal, deeper understanding of deity or the universe is the goal. Pagan mysticism, or Gnosticism, diverged from Christianity by exploring novel beliefs about God and embracing the ability of women to be able to have a direct connection with God -- which many mainstream religions suppressed.

Fringe Mysticism

Many consider psychics, mediums, astrologers and numerologists to be mystics. The methods practiced by those in such circles are often presented as a performance or carried out for payment, making many feel that they are not true mystic traditions, as the primary goal -- a closer relationship with a deity -- is lost.

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