One of the last things we did at the seminar with Bernard McGinn this past weekend was read through and discuss Saint Francis of Assisi’s poem and religious song Canticle of the Sun. McGinn considers this to be a very mystical text from Francis, as Francis seems to see God powerfully in and throughout the whole of creation, including in the sun, moon, stars, Earth, etc. McGinn noted that it is a kind of nature mysticism. Francis wrote most of it in the year 1224, and the last few lines in 1226 just before his death. Continue reading ““Canticle of the Sun,” by St. Francis of Assisi, and Joseph Smith’s “Olive Leaf””
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian novelist, writer, and philosopher. He often explored questions of psychology, philosophy, and religion. He wrote many acclaimed novels.
He published a short story in the 1870s in a collection called A Writer’s Diary with the title “The Dream of a Queer Fellow,” also published as The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. As Maria Popova points out, “the story sheds light on Dostoyevsky’s personal spiritual and philosophical bents with extraordinary clarity — perhaps more so than any of his other published works.” As with so much so-called “fiction,” it is perhaps a true reflection of his own deepest intuitions, spiritual experiences, and understandings. Continue reading “Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “First Vision” Account”
Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022 AD) was a Byzantine Christian monk and poet, and was canonized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox church. He wrote much about Christian mysticism, including his own experiences. The following comes from his Hymns of Divine Love:
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was a noted poet, essayist, and journalist, perhaps best known for his collection of poems titled Leaves of Grass.
He wrote of divine experiences on several occasions in his poems: Continue reading “Walt Whitman’s “First Vision” Accounts”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) is widely known as a great 19th century transcendentalist essayist, poet, philosopher, naturalist, and historian, among other things. He is most well-known for his book Walden, and his essay “Civil Disobedience.”
The following comes from his poem titled “Inspiration”: Continue reading “Henry David Thoreau’s “First Vision” Account”
Nancy Clark worked as a cancer researcher and cytology instructor at Ohio State University for many years, until her retirement. She is the founder of the Columbus Ohio branch of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, Inc. (IANDS). She is also the author of several books on spirituality, detailing her spiritual experiences and insights.
In 1979, at about the age of 38, she had an experience while giving a eulogy at the funeral of a friend that forever changed her life. She later called it a “near-death-like” experience, being similar to many NDEs (including one she had earlier in life), but she was not near death at all. She describes it in one place like this: Continue reading “Nancy Clark’s “First Vision” Accounts”
Sophia von Klingnau was a nun who lived in a convent in Klingnau, Switzerland, sometime in the 13th or 14th century. Her writings were published in the Schwesterbücher (Sister Books).