Chapter 25 The Magical Elements of Mysticism: Ritual Strategies for Encountering Divinity

In: Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic
Naomi Janowitz
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Investigating the overlap between “magic” and mysticism, this essay explores the ways that language can facilitate mystical experiences of ascent and divine transformation. In Greek tradition (Derveni Papyrus) words could have an immediate connection with divine beings. In early Jewish tradition (Qumran Sabbath hymns) liturgical descriptions assumed a transformative efficacy on the ritual environment. In multiple ancient traditions the pronunciation of divine names or voces magicae both invoked the divine being and transformed the speaker. And beyond pronunciation, some early mystical traditions (“Mithras Liturgy”) involved breaths, clicking and other oral sounds as part of a process of ascent.

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