The modern age was not only hostile to but ignorant of mysticism. This parallels its relationship of fealty to the idol called Patriarchy—which still reigns everywhere.
Dorothee Soelle insists that mysticism is the deconstructing of hierarchical thinking (and therefore a threat to Patriarchy) when she says mysticism “comes closest to overcoming the hierarchical masculine concept of God.” and she defines mysticism as the “certainty that nothing can separate us from the love of God.” We approach it when we place ourselves, freely and without guarantee of success, on the side of love.”
And Rosemary Reuther tells us that patriarchy sits on a bedrock of dualism. To deconstruct dualism is to make room for the mystical therefore.
Mysticism does that. It is about non-dualism. Examples abound: Meister Eckhart, “in Breakthrough, [i.e. mystical experience], I learn that God and I are one.”
Julian of Norwich on body and soul in harmony–“God is in our sensuality.”
A “beautiful oneing was made by God between the body and the soul.”
“God is the means whereby our substance and our Sensuality are kept together so as to never be apart.”
“God has forged a glorious union between the soul and the body.”
“God willed that we have a twofold nature: sensual and spiritual.”
Or Thomas Aquinas: “Love makes ecstasy.”
A “wonderful communion” exists between body and soul. Eckhart, following Aquinas, says “the soul loves the body.”
How different this is from Augustine who said “the soul makes war with the body.”
The toxic masculine seeks knowledge and not wisdom; it also seeks to lord over others, including of course Mother Earth and her creatures. Dualisms and put-down of women and war mentalities and reptilian-brain conquests dominated the modern era. Can we move beyond this in a more healthy balance of the feminine and masculine sacred marriage so that earth might survive?
The next eight years will tell the story.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, pp. 277f.
And Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 104f.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Indra’s Net” A spiderweb illustrates the Hindu conception of reality: “a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net….Each jewel…stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom; each…is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel.” From The Enlightened Mind, by Stephen Mitchell. Photo by HibaHaba on Flickr
Queries for Contemplation
Do you see yourself and society growing beyond modern, dualistic, and anti-mystical consciousness? Do you sense the mystic in you coming ever more alive?
Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond
Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.” –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.