Learning from the Mystics


Stone archway leading the eye over to a countryside scene, with a river in the foreground, a tree in a field in the midground and a hill in the background.

I have just finished the exceptional book ‘Femina‘ by Janina Ramírez, and it has given me serious pause for thought. Not just about the historical characters explored in the book. Many of those I was fortunate to already know, although some have been a joy to discover. Reading the book also led me to consider what mysticism may look like in the modern world.

Early in my time as a blogger, I was called a ‘Twitter Mystic’ by a kind follower. I was a little flattered, rather taken aback and not really sure what to do with the comment. It has sat with me for a couple of years now, in the back of my mind as I explored the wisdom of the Desert Mothers, modern day feminist theologians and prophets, returned to the medieval mystics and took it all back with me to the Bible. To the Mary who sang revolution over her pregnant belly. To the many women who debated with Jesus in a culture where this was disgraceful behaviour. To the many more women who were influential in the growth of early Christianity, those minimised and those erased forever.

Mystic. Prophet. Do those words feel uncomfortable to you? Words of an earlier time perhaps, not for the 21st Century. Actually, I have come to believe we need Mystics and Prophets more in these days than ever before.

We need people who are not afraid to speak truth to power, be that in our governments, societies or faith institutions. We need people who are not afraid to challenge the status quo and re-imagine what we may have got wrong for all these years, in pursuit of the path of righteousness. We need people who practice kindness and gentleness in the storm of hate, spite and unfiltered speech. We need people who step away from the swirling, manipulative world deliberately constructed to keep us in place, and tune in to the truth beyond the oppression. The truth that sets us free.

I don’t claim to be anything more than a young-middle-aged mother with lots of diverse experience from a life journey you wouldn’t believe if you saw it in a movie. The most I have in common with Julian of Norwich is the ill health, being stuck mostly in one place all the time and having lots of thoughts to share! But if others see something of a mystic in me, I’ll take that. Perhaps we could all benefit from cultivating the mystic in us?

Peace be with you.

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