Philosophy was born by the creative genius of a man. However, in those philosophical schools in which mysticism was cultivated, women occupied a prominent place.
“What does mysticism really mean? It means the way to attain knowledge. It's close to philosophy, except in philosophy you go horizontally while in mysticism you go vertically.” Elie Wiesel
Part of the spiritual process for any of us is to look for inspirational models and guidance. Historical figures, women mystics from different denominations and their histories serve as an inexhaustible source of inspiration for all of us today.
Women, as well as men, devoted themselves to prayer, meditative, and ascetic practices, which were usually associated with mystical life. Some of them created texts in which they sought to convey what they learned through their practice.
A mystical life is a life structured by the “tuning” of one’s body, mind, and emotions to search for the presence of the divine. Female mysticism offers practical tools for deepening self-awareness and solving the problems of everyday life, the opportunity to explore your true identity. This is the key to survival and a balanced life on earth.
Let’s dwell upon some very famous figures representing female mysticism through centuries and countries.
Sun Bu’er was born around 1119 (during the Jin Dynasty). Somewhere in 1167, she and her husband met the famous Taoist, Wang Chongyang, one of the “Five Northern Patriarchs”. Having learned the secret practices of immortality from Wang Chongyang in the Golden Lotus Temple, Sun Bu’er received her Taoist name and numerous titles. After that she founded the Qingjingpai School and started to teach female alchemy.
Her life of an ascetic woman devoted to Tao inspired countless women. She created numerous alchemical works. In her collection of fourteen poems, she described the path to the wholeness with the help of chi energy. These poems also narrated on meditation and breathing exercises. In her works she analysed the interrelation of seasonal changes with changes in the human body. Sun Bu'er died in 1182, predicting her own death.
Anandamayi Ma or Nirmala Sundari, born in 1896, is an Indian saint. The name "Anandamayi Ma" means "Mother, imbued with bliss." In India, many of her followers consider her to be the incarnation of the goddess Devi. She was treated by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi with the deepest reverence and love.
According to eyewitnesses, Anandamayi Ma possessed supernatural powers, for example, cured people of any diseases with a simple touch. But supernatural abilities were not the goal, but merely the side effects of religious practice for her. The only purpose of Anandamay Ma's life was the realization of God.
The theme of her teaching was striving for self-realization. Her teaching style included songs, conversations and daily life instructions as well as quiet meditation.
Hildegard of Bingen was a unique woman of all the times and people. She was an outstanding prophetess, mystic, visionary, religious and social activist, composer, poet, healer, naturalist, and a connoisseur of physics and cosmology. Hildegard of Bingen was supposedly born in the summer of 1098 in Bermersheim vor der Höhe.
Thanks to feminine intuition, the gift of clairvoyance, and practical skills, she very accurately described about 230 species of plants, each one had its own correspondence in the inner world of a human. Due to the accuracy of these descriptions, her work has not lost its relevance even now. According to the German Institute for Social Research and Statistical Analysis, in 2003, three percent of respondents in Germany practiced these treatments. On the basis of her teaching on bloodletting, a healing technique, called Hildegard-Medizin was developed in 1970. It is used in alternative medicine to this day.
At 43, Hildegard heard the "voice of heaven", commanding her to write down her visions. At the insistence of the abbot and the local archbishop, Hildegard, in ten years, has recorded 26 visions that formed the opus Sci vias lucis, better known as “Guidance” - Scivias. It represents the visionary image of the whole circle of life from the Trinity to the Last Judgment.
Her music album A Feather On The Breath Of God still strikes people with the vivid, lyrical and very sensual songs.
Catherine of Siena, a modest Italian girl, has a prominent place in fourteenth century history.
The first vision came to her when she was six. In the further spiritual life of Catherine and the formation of her high authority, her ecstasies were of great importance and resulted in distinct and long-lasting visions.
As the author of literary works, Catherine of Siena is known primarily for her letters, which she sent over ten years (from 1370 until her death). This is a rare example of religious prose, belonging to the pen of a nun and distinguished by undoubted artistic merits. These letters address the most important political, social and religious problems of that era. One can only be surprised that a modest Dominican nun, who received a very limited education, was able not only to understand the pressing problems of her time but also to significantly influence their solution. The addressees of her letters were Pope of Rome, cardinals, bishops, persons of royal blood, representatives of aristocracy and city authorities, people of art.
She considered Christ a "bridge" between the soul and God and narrated that idea, and her other teachings, in her famous book The Dialogue.
The influence of Catherine on the spiritual traditions was confirmed in 1970 by recognizing the Saint as the teacher of the Church.
Mata Amritanandamayi was born in 1953 in India, Kerala. When she was nine years old, she left school and later decided to never get married, preferring to engage in meditation.
With her loving embrace and charitable activities, Sri Mata Amritandandamayi Devi heals the world and revives mutual respect and love. Amma (Mother) is often called the “embracing mother”, as she is known for embracing people, thus giving them “good energy”.
She always states that her religion is Love. She considers all spiritual practices of all religions as different methods of achieving the same goal – preparation for the eternal existence in the state of blissful consciousness. Her charitable organization Embracing the World gives medical care, shelter and food to the poor and provides education as well.
To conclude, it is important to say that Nature itself has endowed women with the power of creation. Intelligence, beauty, spirituality, emotions, and talent - all this is about a woman, whose strength is in her skills to empathize and make the world around her more beautiful and kind.
Every woman possesses tremendous Divine Power, which she unknowingly uses in everyday life. So each of you is capable of renewing society’s commitment to the mystical aspect of our lives. Your magic is creative energy. We hope these stories will inspire you to deeper contemplate your inner self!
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