It was the latter. She also facillitated a vision of
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 7:21
Subject: Re: signs and wonders
Probably for the reasons we have
cited, Eliot's passages, such as the one you quote, can be interpreted as
mystical experience or as a vision of unity in the
BTW, I'm no expert on mysticism, but I don't think
being a mystic always means "a person having a conscious,
interpersonal relationship with a spiritual entity." Buddhists for example do
not have a personal relationship with God nor do they have a God in the
sense of an entity. The Buddha or a guru may be revered, but they
are only facilitators for the samadhi or sartori, which is not personal,
but rather impersonal. From my reading it seems to be a state of pure
being at one with all being.
I wonder if the children of
Medjugorje thought of encountering the Virgin as heaven itself, or whether
heaven was an experience the Virgin
> Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: signs
> To: [log in to unmask]
> My concern is
that we not get derailed by stereotypes.
> I have led a fairly
active prayer life over not a few decades.
> I have read about this
stuff, attended guidance sessions, listened to
> endless tapes.
I don't have any formal training as a spiritual director or anything
> and I make absolutely no claim on being a mystic,
whatever that is.
> One thing I feel very confident about is
that if someone goes around saying
> he or she is
> a mystic, then
one can be fairly certain that such a person is not a mystic,
> mystic one means a person having a conscious, interpersonal
> with a spiritual entity.
> Indeed there
are reports of people having spiritual experiences on a regular
> I believe something like 200 such experiences a year in the US
> attention by the proper authorities.
> One bizarre little example, with which no one quarrels happened in a
> outside Portland, Oregon. The Virgn Mary appeared
in the corner of a
> It was witnessed by a whole lot
(thousands) of people. It was not a hoax.
> It just came and eventually
went. A mystery.
> At the other end of the spectrum are the
visionaries of Medjugorje in
> They were not nice little
obedient, innocent peasant children who knew
parish priest said they were certainly not the people he would have
> The only significant characteristic was that everyone knew
> teenagers would not lie.
> It started in
communist times with the first two doing their favourite thing
> sneaking out after supper to go smoke cigarettes and sing pop
> by the communists. They saw lights which
turned out to be the Virgin.
> Then the manifestations came to four
others and they collected as a group.
> Put the spiritual
dimension aside if you want. These six people have been
prodded, measured in and out of their visionary states, as well as
> by communist authorities and church
authorities. The medical examinations
> been done by all
the leading authorities in Europe. Whatever it is, it is
> not a
> The visionaries have kept a careful record of everything they
> It seems that the Virgin was hoping they
would join religious orders. None
> of them did.
> They are all
raising families. The most articulate of them says that it is a
> life, because once one has seen heaven, then it is agony not
to be there.
> Both the
> previous and current Popes advocate that
people go there. The phenomenon
> has been accepted by Rome, just not
officially (like sainthood, it takes a
> time for the
Church to commit itself). One interesting anomally was that
> the visionaries were together in the apparition room ( in the
> church - later
> she appeared separately to each of them -
and apparently still does) before
> apparitions happened,
birds would swarm about the place, and then go still
> during the
> So are these people mystics? Does it matter?
Mystical experience can be a manifestation of holiness, but there are
> on record
> of people going on to lead very mediocre,
worldy lives, totally unconcerned
> All this is by way of preface to suggest that of
course Eliot would deny
> being a mystic,
> if for no other reason
than that he would lose credibility with a whole lot
> and would look like a nutter to a whole lot of others. I
personally find it
> hard to believe that he could have
created the kind of poetry he did in Ash
> Wednesday and
Four Quartets without having had some intimate experience of
> It may well not have been visions, &c as the
stereotypes suggest; it
> certainly is consistent with
> "a deeper
communion" as he put it in 4Q. He certainly had the sensibility
> To me the following has the sura of mysticism:
"We must be still and still moving
> Into another intensity
a further union, a deeper communion
> Through the dark cold and the
> questioned endlessly over about
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ken Armstrong"
<[log in to unmask]>
<[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, March 22, 2010 7:59
> Subject: Re: signs and wonders
> > Nancy
> > > Perhaps he did. I only reported what he did say,
that he was not a
> > > mystic. I no longer remember where I read
it because it has been many
> > > years since I researched Eliot
and mysticism at great length, but I
> > > remember it without
doubt. I'm not sure it matters much if he
> > > experienced it
himself or experienced it through literature or
> > > speaking
with others. So much of his work is evoked by reading, which
> > >
is, after all, personal experience.
> > At the risk of raising
everyone's ire except Carrol's, let me
> > hazard that reading and
personal experience are very much not the same.
> > Again, no
professional line here, but a story that Ong repeats comes to
mind about a ship's captain who learns by experience being a poor risk
> (so many things capable of wrecking/swamping a vessel). The
> > here about Eliot could go on and on with no positive
> > having never said whether he did or didn't have
a mystical experience.
> > For myself, I think mystical experiences
are not so rare, even if
> > mystics, relatively, are, and Eliot more
than likely had such
> > experiences, whether plural or singular.
Don't know how that affects
> > Gerontion or TWL.
> > Ken A
> > > So maybe he did
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