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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index


What Are They Saying About Mysticism?

Egan, Harvey. (1982).
New York: Paulist Press.


ISBN: 0-8091-2459-9


Description: Paperback, vi + 134 pages.


Contents: Introduction, 9 chapters, epilogue, chapter notes.


Excerpt(s): Neumann argues for a great variety of mystical experiences: theistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, materialistic, idealistic, extraverted, introverted, personal, and transpersonal. What they all have in common, however, is the psychological experience of numinous elements threatening the ego's conscious life. It would seem, therefore, that the great variety and quality of archetypes, or psychic possibilities, which are part of the inherited structure of the psyche, might explain shamanistic experiences, the world of Carlos Casteneda, and psychedelic drug experiences. For Neumann, however, the supreme form of mysticism preserves the greatest tension between the ego and the self.

Mystical experience is, for Neumann, intrinsically heretical, anti-dogmatic, anti-collective, and in opposition to the dominant, conscious contents of the "cultural canon." Peter paradigmatic of those scholars who hold the counter-position. He writes:


In fact mystics of a particular tradition have no more of a tendency to heterodoxy than do the non-mystics within that tradition. Indeed mystics are often notable for their defense of tradition against heterodox beliefs and practices. It is, however, implausible to suppose that mystics of any tradition should find their experiences incompatible with the doctrines of the instit ution in which their experiences have been cultivated. (pages 22-23)



This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP

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