From Religious Experience

The Dangers of Magical Practice – Ego Gratification vs. the Divine

As transiting Neptune slides into Pisces, many will become more interested in the occult.   If you decide to dabble in anything more strenuous than practical household magic, it’s worth keeping in mind one point that just might save your life. In his excellent book, The Philosophy of Magic, Arthur Versluis reminds us that in both Eastern and Western traditions, Magic has always been worked for the grace of God – not for ego-gratification. Sadly these days, however, the situation is quite the reverse. “As a result, one can see today a situation arising which involves the greatest possible danger to…

Self, Spirituality, and Zen – Journey of the Ox-Tamer

The concept of ‘self’ is as woolly as that of  ‘spirituality’. Yet today’s Western spirituality seeker must come to grips with both because now he’s so psychologically oriented, the ‘self’ is the centre of his ‘spirituality’.[i] While both mystics and psychologically oriented spirituality seekers often speak in terms of ‘transcending the self’, I suggest they mean completely different things.  The confusion is not surprising given that the source for today’s Western notions of spirituality is found in the European mystical traditions of the 12th century.[ii] In his book Riding the Ox Home (London, 1982), Willard Johnson helps come to grips…

Playing God – Religious Experience in the 21st Century

At the turn of the last century, the famous philosopher and scientist William James asserted “….the mother sea and fountain-head of all religions lies in the mystical experience of the individual”. James believed that the key to understanding such experience, was to be found in the manner in which our eyes and minds, together, created our world.  Quite simply, for James the varieties of religious and mystical experience were dependent on the varieties of human nature, which in turn, were dependent on the nature of consciousness itself. Has much changed in the 21st century where we embrace anything from artificial…