Tag Archives: mystics

Mystics {20} ~Confucius

Though he was a teacher, politician, and editor, Confucius is best known as a famous Eastern mystic and philosopher. Confucius’s famous teachings, known collectively today as the basis of Confucianism, include the importance of morality and sincerity, correct social relationships, the need for justice, and a number of other traditions and beliefs inspired by Chinese tradition. Confucius’ ideas continued to evolve after his death when some of his students journeyed to the West to develop what would become known as Neo-Confucianism.

Mystics {19} ~Rent Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke

René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke, better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was an Austrian poet and novelist. He is “widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets”. He wrote both verse and highly lyrical prose. Several scholars have described Rilke’s work as “mystical.”

Mystics {18} ~Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, known more commonly as Agrippa, was such a famous mystic during the age of the Renaissance that he is still one of the familiar mystics in history. Though he also worked as a soldier and secret agent, Agrippa is perhaps best known for his occult writings. These writings, collectively entitled De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres, are still considered to be the most complete source of Western occult and magic. The books contain ideas on ancient wisdom and theology, theories about the world of spirits, and of course, various instruction about alchemical practices. Agrippa had a number of alchemical laboratories, and even taught alchemy in universities throughout France and Italy.

Mystics {17} ~ Hadewijch Of Antwerp

Hadewijch of Antwerp is a famous female mystic who lived during the early 1200s. Nearly everything we know about her life has been learned from the three known books she authored: Letters to a Young Beguine, in which Hadewijch included a series of spiritual letters; Poems in Stanzas and Poems in Couplets; and Book of Visions. Letters to a Young Beguine holds the majority of Hadewijch’s mystic ideas. The most prominent is the idea that the soul — created by God in his own image –constantly yearns to become one again with the divine.

Mystics {16} ~ Joan Of Arc

It is not enough to declare Joan of Arc merely one of the most well known female mystics in history. She is undoubtedly one of the most famous mystics of any gender, faith, or nationality to have ever lived. Joan of Arc’s mystic visions began during her youth, and documents have been found attesting to the fact that it was generally assumed by many that the young girl had some sort of supernatural power. She is best known for convincing the would-be king of France of her religious power, who in turn allowed her to lead the French army at age 16.

Mystics {15} ~ Dogen

Though he studied and became enlightened in China, the Buddhist monk Dogen remains one of the most famous Japanese mystics in eastern history. The knowledgeable Dogen taught his students a variety of subjects, though his most famous teachings included the study and practice of full self-realization — a typical idea of the Chinese Zen masters under whom Dogen studied, but a concept that was completely new to Dogen’s Japanese contemporaries.

Mystics {14} ~ Helena Blavatsky

Though some might call her a charlatan, Helena Blavatsky ranks among the most famous female mystics in history. Just as controversial in life as she has proven to be in death, Blavatsky was the sole founder of the Theosophical Society, a Spiritualist organization with ideas inspired by teachings ranging from Christianity to Hinduism. Many of Blavatsky’s most famous ideas are included in her extremely influential book, The Secret Doctrine.

Mystics {13} ~ Gurdjieff

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff is easily one of the most famous mystics in history. He also happens to be one of the most interesting. Though not much is known about Gurdjieff’s upbringing in Armenia, we do known he once worked as a Russian spy. Most believe that it was sometime during this phase that he learned about the traditions of Eastern religions and experienced his “awakening,” because shortly after, Gurdjieff left to establish a school in Paris where he taught self-realization and mindfulness.

Mystics {12} ~ Thomas Merton

Not only is Thomas Merton one of the most famous mystics in modern history, he is also one of the most beloved mystics of the Catholic tradition. A Trappist monk, Merton wrote hundreds of poems and more than 70 books, including his most famous The Seven Storey Mountain. Throughout his life, Merton initiated various interfaith projects with prominent Taoists, Hindus, and Buddhists. Many of these projects had to do with issues of social justice, of which Merton was a passionate advocate.

Mystics {11} ~ Lao Tzu

The founder of Taoism and the author of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu is at the top of the list as one of the most enduring Eastern mystics. Like Confucius and Buddha, Lao Tzu has become a semi-legendary figure. He lived in China during the 5th or 4th century B.C.E., and his mysticism tended greatly toward the natural. Many Taoist elements combine humanity and nature, declaring them equally important when it comes to achieving the Way.