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Polytheist Mysticism and the Dangers of Union

By P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

[Snip] One of the difficulties of discussing mysticism in a polytheist context is that the term “mysticism” has generally been understood through certain non-polytheist religious lenses, and has been defined rather exclusively through them. Even though many monotheistic religions don’t like, tolerate, or even think mysticism (under their monotheist definition) is at all possible, nonetheless they are the ones who have defined it in ways that still prevail in religious studies, for example. Religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, and others have often bought into the monotheist definitions of it, even though they have perfectly good terms for some of these phenomena in their own languages (e.g. in Buddhism, satori, etc.).

What is that definition, you might be asking? In essence, the notion is that mysticism is any spiritual practice that aims toward union of humans with their gods–or, since this is a definition propounded by monotheists generally, let’s be honest, and say it is “union with God.” Of course, already, from a polytheist perspective, there is a problem there…so, let’s go back to my first suggested definition provisionally for the moment, with its pluralized objects of union.

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