What is Mysticism?


Coming from a Pentecostal background this kind of came as a shock…

What is Catholic Mysticism? How does it differ from New Age Mysticism?


suggest the writings of classical Catholic mystics such as St. John of the Cross or St. Teresa of Avila. Fr. Benedict Groeschel has good intro books for both, understandable, and accessible to modern readers. His books The Journey Toward God, and Spiritual Passages are both good intros to the Christian spiritual life in general and in particular the classical Catholic notion of mental prayer, contemplative prayer, and the 3 stages of the spiritual journey.

Thomas Dubay’s books are also excellent and reliable, if a bit more advanced.

Christian Mystics contemplate God.

New Age mystics contemplate I know not what, but certainly not God.


As an ex-New Ager, I know we just contemplated with tarot cards and crystal balls and on auras and stuff.

If one desires to become a Christian Mystic, how do they know where the fine line lies between Christian Mysticism and New Age Mysticism?


I don’t think there is fine line, I think there is a vast gulf.

to be a Christian mystic start by abandoning all pagan and new age practices, return to practice of the faith, beginning with Mass and the sacraments, and full confession and absolution of any anti-Christian activities. Study the faith, read and pray with scripture, and undertake the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Pray daily, beginning with the common prayers and devotions. time spent in lectio divina (prayer with scripture) daily, and most especially Eucharistic adoration will set the stage for mental prayer and contemplative prayer. From there God will lead the soul, and either of the guides I mentioned above will describe that state. If God wishes to grant the gift of infused contemplation, he will do so, in the soul that practices the demands of the Faith, and is concerned with conforming his mind, heart and will to that of God.


No tarrot cars etc, Novenas instead,
No crystal balls,
confession instead,

this should help

but more helpful, as to what is good and bad
superstition :cool:
Observances for knowledge:cool:

basically, we gain our knowledge, by prayer, self mortification, visions we pray for, or are given, and by saints. I suggest a novena to Philomena as a start, if you want to enter such, but mysticism is a gift, which can be asked, and not a movement of funky oddball types, or newage people.:cool:


I’m looking into the possibility of St. Philomena as my patron saint… I’m somewhat torn between her and St. Jude. Oh well…

I’ve already rid myself of all pagan articles and materials… now the only thing I’m struggling with is even the smallest desire to return, which I know in my heart of hearts I’ve found the TRUE Way, Truth, and Life…

You’re right puzzleannie… it is a vast gulf. Thanks for the advice though.


Pleasure, she’s mine :slight_smile:


I think the big difference between New Age (pagan/God-less) mysticism and Christian is that the former is about controlling others and things and demands sensual stimuli (is basically prideful), whereas Christian mysticism is about the dark walk of faith, in which one trusts God with the outcome (is humbling).

Just trust God and He will lead you on your mystical path, but don’t expect the excitement and exaltation that the God-less path promises. When we enter the truth of God, we become less in our own eyes because we see ourselves as we really are. The New Age path is more about seeing ourselves as God. :slight_smile:


That makes so much sense!

Thanks for condensing what puzzleannie and Marc Aupiais said into dummy people terms… :blush:


well that sort of language is all I understand! :shrug:


Wow, buddy list filling up, with these great additions (3 new additions to mine), anyhow, I enjoyed all these posts, and yes, me and my fellow in this puzzeleni are sort of intellectual, but we are saying very simmilar things, all for your benefit and others, God works in such a way as to accommadate all levels, whether you, or other readers, and perhaps even nick09, or ourselves, as we review what is known. Keep posting, and nick9, and co. keep responding to good questions with openness:thumbsup: :cool: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :rolleyes: :thumbsup: .:cool:



Mystical Theology

Subject area: “Mysticism


Or just skip into what mysticism happens to be :thumbsup:
thanks Cats and Dogs, sadly, we all focussed too much on differences before defining mysticism :slight_smile: but the truth is good :rolleyes:

anyway, yes it is useful.


No we do not pray for visions, but you can pray for spiritual gifts.


Coming from a Catholic background it came as as a shock too. I’ve encountered New Age mystics however there are many types of new age mystics. Those who think they are, those who believe in God but also dabble in other phenonemon, those who don’t believe in God and dabble in other phenonemon. Many have a belief of the universe. I’ve heard many new ages make many claims to many visions, and talking to Arch Angels in their background, and messages from planet what the bugger, however pretty much none of them have any discernment or aware one must apply it, and I don’t think any of them were Catholics or practicing Catholics.

On the other side of the coin, being given certain spiritual gifts and being Catholic can cause many in the Catholic faith to view you with skeptism or as a nutcase or being deceived by Satan, so it isn’t a pic-nic in the park if a Catholic were ever to come out as a mystic. And if you have been given spiritual gifts that include prophecy and visions etc, there are guidelines that have to be followed if you choose to come out with those prophecies.

However those who have these gifts and contemplate and keep praying (I suggest the Rosary to be included) can be a lovely way of life. The communion between yourself and the Lord is like a love affair.


Well yes, but it is acceptable to ask for signs, when necessary, when respectful and when from angels, saint or God by the power of God, as related to mysticism, but we can ask for general or specific things, but often what we don’t ask for, we don’t get.:thumbsup:


Christian mysticism is the result of revelation of Jesus Christ himself, to the individual, however that may happen.

New age mysticism focuses on receiving experiences for self, for the sake of the experience.

Christian mysticism is totally rooted on love for Jesus Christ, and achieving union with Him. It is the soul aligning their will in love, with Christ, which is love.



Here’s a good overview of Catholic mysticism from ewtn.com:

Mysticism In General

How is this different from New Age mysticism?

Instead of focusing on God, New Age focuses on self, and a “change of consciousness.” If you hear talk of a change of consciousness, even if it is called “Christ Consciousness,” then the practice is New Age and to be avoided.

Typical New Age beliefs:
(From Unmasking the New Age by Douglas R. Groothuis)

  1. All is one - or monism, that ultimately there is no difference between God, a person, a carrot, or a rock.

  2. All is God - or pantheism. No distinction made between the Creator and the created. The Christian belief is that God the creator stands transcendently distinct from His Creation. God is present in His creation, but He is not to be confused with the created.

  3. Humanity is God - New Agers believe human beings are god in disguise, and that only ignorance keeps us from realizing our divine reality. Christianity affirms that though human beings are made in the image of God, they are not in essence God. If we are in a state of grace, we have the Indwelling Trinity, but we ourselves are not God.

  4. A Change in Consciousness: New Agers believe that we have forgotten we are God. So to reverse this metaphysical amnesia, we can engage in techniques to alter ordinary consciousness. These techniques are meant to open the doors of perception so that we can be aware of our “oneness” and our “spiritual power.” In order to achieve this “change in consciousness,” non-Christian meditation techniques that draw one into oneself instead of toward God are employed. See this document from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the faith on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation.

  5. All religions are one: New Agers believe that the externals of religion may differ, but the essence is the same. They believe there may be many paths to the one truth, many methods to become one with the One, but all differences are superficial and external.

  6. Cosmic Consciousness or “Christ Consciousness” - as consciousness changes, so will the future. New Agers believe that the “messiah is within,” and that Christ consciousness or cosmic consciousness is awakening in Christians and non-Christians alike. They think the “messiah within” will lead all of us forward into a glorious future.


Good information, beckycmarie! :thumbsup:


Thanks so much… that post really cleared it up for me!

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