Becoming a Mystic

unrecognizable tourist standing under rough cliff in mountains during vacation

Photo by Jarod Lovekamp on

I never started out to be a mystic or even a contemplative person. As an ordinary Polytheist, I had my morning and evening devotions. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I was being “Bothered. By. Gods.” They kept intruding in my life. After my brain injury, the “Bothering Gods” took me in hand. Now, I spend parts of each day in devotion and contemplation. My blog is the result.

When people think of mystics, they picture a wild-eyed hermit living in the desert. There are more to mystics than that. In essence, a mystic is a conduit between the Gods and the human world. All mystics live in the liminal spaces between the Gods and the ordinary. In that vein, poets are mystics since they translate the Divine into understandable terms.

The Christian (lay) mystic Carl McColman (Note 1) believes that mystics are a blessing for themselves and their communities. For him, the mystic conveys the Divine to others. In Polytheism, the mystic acts as an oracle for the community

McColman describes becoming a contemplative to be on a journey into the “heart of God.” In his book, “Answer the Contemplative Call,” he describes the steps. First recognize “the call,” (Note 2) then prepare for the journey and finally embark on the “adventure.”

Judith O’Grady, a trance seer, (Note 3) describes the process from a Pagan perspective. The God Bothers the person who is disturbed by being pestered. Eventually the person recognizes what is happening. They can chose to answer the “call.” In doing so, they enter the wonder of it all. Eventually a connection between the “seer and the seen” is formed.

How the process can work is that the person makes themselves receptive to the Gods. Jane Meredith in “Aspecting the Goddess” suggest that the person gently introduce themselves to a specific God (or group of Gods). The person gives these Gods attention through prayers and devotions. By nurturing the connection, the person opens themselves up to listening. The God may or may not respond. If not, the individual starts the process with another God.

In many cases, the God Bothers the person. It is then up to the person to respond. A person can refuse, but most people choose to answer the God. Then it becomes a journey that two of you enter together. It is more of a deep communication of adoring the Divine and receiving the God’s Blessings. Mysticism requires a person to keep an openness and a continual effort to know each God.

Note 1. Carl McColman is a Lay Cistercian. He is devoted to the practice of contemplation with the context of marriage and family.
Note 2. “Answering the Call” in the Christian sense is recognizing the yearning for God and then seeking the mystery. Polytheism regards “the call” as a God entering a person’s life and the person responds in kind.
Note 3. Judith O’Grady is a biologist and a druid as well as a trance seer.

Suggested Reading:
Lady Sable Arabia, “The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power”
Amy Hereford, CSJ, “Religious Life at the Crossroads”
Jane Meredith, “Aspecting the Goddess”
Carl McColman, “Answering the Contemplative Call”
Judith O’Grady, “Pagan Portals: God Speaking”

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