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Pilgrimage & Mysticism

Mysticism is described as the immediate consciousness of the ultimate reality of God or the experience of such communion as described by mystics. As evidenced by the popular explosion of titles attempting to quench the spiritual thirst of seekers, this quest is alive and well among readers today. Here are some sources to help satisfy the soul's search for serenity.


The pilgrim's progress in modern English by John Bunyan — Classical — Penned in the 1400's, this allegory follows the Pilgrim on his mystical and dangerous journey to safe arrival in the desired country. Full of universal, moral lessons, at one time this work was succeeded only by the Bible in popularity.

The Camino: a journey of the spirit by Shirley MacLaine — As MacLlaine hikes the 500 miles across Spain to the last resting place of St. James, the Apostle, she reflects on her life and philosophy and has illuminating dreams which take her back to previous lives and civilizations.

Entering the castle: an inner path to God and your soul by Caroline Myss ; foreword by Ken Wilber — Based on the interior castle of St. Theresa, each chapter is packed with meditations to help spiritual growth and weed out the wastefulness of everyday living to create a deeper, more joyful existence.

Fumbling: a pilgrimage tale of love, grief, and spiritual renewal on the Camino de Santiago by Kerry Egan — This profound account of a pilgrimage through northern Spain describes a journey from grief to faith, joy, and an awareness of the connection of God to everyday experiences. The cathedral in Santiago is particularly popular and powerful due to its housing of the remains of St. James, a disciple and relation to Jesus.

In search of sacred places: looking for wisdom on Celtic holy islands by Daniel Taylor — A literature professor visits pilgrimage sites, museums, and other sources of information about Celtic Christians and the Celtic saints. This book provides the kinds of reflections that explain why pilgrimages are worthwhile.

In search of stones: a pilgrimage of faith, reason, and discovery by M. Scott Peck ; illustrated by Christopher Peck — A visit to the ancient stone formations of the British countryside provokes a series of inspirational reflections on faith, holiness, death and other common aspects of life in a quest for self-discovery.

On pilgrimage: sacred journeys around the world by Jennifer Westwood — Follows over 60 pilgrimage destinations worldwide and describes the spiritual transformation that occurs during 12 stages common to sacred journeys. Emphasizes both the individual personal as well as the multi-cultural and multi-faith aspects of spiritual travel. Complete with color illustrations.

Travels with my donkey: one man and his ass on a pilgrimage to Santiago by Tim Moore — An entertaining, unusual adventure with the history of the pilgrimage and various towns on the way which shines with humorous descriptions of the locals, fellow pilgrims, day to day experiences and donkey details. The author explains how to manage our best power through non-random acts of kindness to act as a channel for divine grace and benevolence.

Religious Pilgrimages

Medjugorje: the mission by Wayne Weible — Catholicism — The continuing story of the author's attempt to spread the story of his discoveries in Medjugorje as he documents their effect on his personal conversion to Catholicism and impact in various parts of the world.

Shrines of Our Lady: a guide to fifty of the world's most famous Marian shrines by Peter Mullen — Catholicism — Beautifully illustrated and in full color, this book presents the first guide in recent years to explore the cult of Mary and most famous Marian shrines.

One thousand roads to Mecca: ten centuries of travelers writing about the Muslim pilgrimage edited and introduced by Michael Wolfe — Islam — A collection of works by both eastern and western writers in which Mecca is the common destination and Islam the subject of inquiry. A historically, geographically and ethnically diverse collection of travel writing which substantially contributes to the understanding of the Hajj.

Standing alone in Mecca: an American woman's pilgrimage into the heart of Islam by Asra Q. Nomani — Islam — A Wall Street Journal reporter and single unwed mother chronicles a pilgrimage to Mecca as well as her own doubt and frustration with her Islamic faith. She also recounts her struggle for equal treatment of women in her mosque, and by doing, instructs the reader about modern Islam and gender roles within it.

General Mysticism

The essential writings of Christian mysticism edited and with an introduction by Bernard McGinn — Historical — Part 1 covers the preparation for encountering God through biblical interpretation and prayer, part 2 covers the mystics actual encounters with God, and part 3 shows how they have been received over time and how they actually practiced their faith.

The ecstatic journey: walking the mystical path in everyday life by Sophy Burnham — Including more inspiring accounts of saints and ecstatics, this book demystifies mysticism and shows the many paths readers can follow in their everyday lives for powerful spiritual encounters.

God, faith, and health: exploring the spirituality- healing connection by Jeff Levin — Explores the effects of a healthy lifestyle, religious fellowship, spiritual support, optimism, faith and hope on healing, and touches on energy, consciousness and mysticism's effects on and relationship to healing.

The ways of the mystic: seven paths to God by Joan Borysenko — Explains how one doesn't have to go to Nepal or climb a mountain to have a mystical moment; it can be attained as soon as one learns how to be fully present in one's everyday life.

Religious Mysticism

Buddhism: origins, beliefs, practices, holy texts, sacred places by Malcolm David Eckel — Buddhism — The history of Buddha and Buddhism are covered along with sacred circles, holy writings, the sacred landscape, path to Nirvana, Buddhist temples, meditation and the cycle of rebirth. Lavish color photography and a helpful map reveal the course of Buddhism's expansion throughout Asia.

The life of Jesus Christ and biblical revelations: from the visions of the venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich as recorded in the journals of Clemens Brentano by arranged and edited by Carl E. Schmoger — Christianity — A detailed vision of the creation, fall of the angels and Adam, the birth of Christ, his public life, persecution, crucifixion and resurrection.

The life of the Blessed Virgin Mary: from the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich by translated by Sir Michael Palairet ; with supplementary notes by Sebastian Bullough — Christianity — A vision of the life of the Virgin Mary recorded by the Roman Catholic nun and mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich.

The poem of the Man-God by Maria Valtorta — Christianity — This five-volume series provides many insights into the life of Jesus, Mary, the Holy Family and followers and concentrates mainly on the last three years of Jesus ministry. Readers insist that this work contains no contradictions with scripture and is truly inspired.

How to hear from God [Large print]: learn to know his voice and make right decisions by Joyce Meyer — Christianity — Meier explains the ways God communicates with his listening followers, such as dreams, visions, the still small voice mentioned in scripture and "verse claiming," which is the Lord speaking to an individual through a message or lesson given to a biblical character. She also details obstacles obliterating the voice of God in our lives and shares some of her own personal battles fought against the blocking of that voice.

Hypnotism and mysticism of India by Ormond McGill — Hinduism — Compiled in collaboration with a Sadhu, contains a knowledge of the high magic of India, includes techniques of Oriental breathing, body and mind control, the reading of Akashic records, astral projection and Yama; the yoga method of self-development which makes one completely new.

The Shambhala guide to sufism by Carl W. Ernst — Islam — A Professor of Islamic Studies shows the many facets of Sufism, from the time of Mohammed to contemporary Sufic leaders. He introduces both the political sphere of Sufism as well as the personal; the relationship between master and disciple, the sacred texts and the mystical experience.

The secrets of Chinese meditation: self-cultivation by mind control as taught in the Ch'an, Mahayana, and Taoist schools in China by Lu Kʻuan Yü (Charles Luk) — Taoism — Provides students with practical instructions for controlling the breath and vital principle, circulating it through the psychic channels and centers, calming the mind and developing insight, consciousness and self-realization.

Mystics, magicians, and medicine people: tales of a wanderer by Doug Boyd — New Age — An entertaining account of Doug Boyd's research, travels and experiences with enlightened healers and teachers around the world.

Life After Life

Heaven and hell by Emanuel Swedenborg ; translated by George F. Dole — Classical — Swedenborg's classic vision of a highly organized heavenly life, the world of spirits, sacred and profane love and other matters that enhance an understanding of life here and in the hereafter.

The divine comedy of Dante Alighieri. Vol. 1. InfernoClassical — Dante's allegorical vision of Purgatory and Hell written in the Middle Ages.

The Tibetan book of living and dying by Sogyal Rinpoche — Classical — Introduces the reader to the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism, moving gradually to topics of death and dying. Concepts such as reincarnation, karma and bardo, and practices such as meditation, tonglen and phowa teach one to face death constructively.

Absent from the body: one man's clinical death, a journey through heaven and hell by Don Brubaker — During 45 minutes of clinical death, the author experienced the glory of Heaven and also journeyed through Hell.

Beyond the darkness: my near-death journey to the edge of hell by Angie Fenimore; foreword by Betty J. Eadie — A victim of childhood abuse and attempted suicide describes her descent into a hell of terrifying visions and psychic disintegration on the other side of the grave and her return to life through religious faith.

The case for heaven: near-death experiences as evidence of the afterlife by Mally Cox-Chapman — Based on more than 50 first-hand accounts, this book profiles brushes with Heaven as well as the remarkable changes in the lives of those who have survived near death.

A divine revelation of hell by Mary K. Baxter — Over a period of 40 days, the author received a vision of Hell and was commissioned by God to tell all about it. Here is an account of the place and beings of Hell as contrasted with the glories of Heaven.

A divine revelation of heaven by Mary K. Baxter, with T.L. Lowery — Here is the companion volume to the book above, in which the Lord gave the writer an experience in Heaven designed to counterpoint the preceding horrors of Hell.

Embraced by the light by Betty J. Eadie with Curtis Taylor — This national bestseller describes miraculous visions and emotions which occurred for four hours after clinical death in near photographic detail. Overall, this is compelling, inspiring and infinitely reassuring.

The final quest by Rick Joyner — represents a panoramic vision given to the author over a period of one year and involves the last great spiritual battle between the hosts of Heaven and the hordes of Hell.

The call by Rick Joyner — the continuation of this vision and conversations with heavenly personages which paints an increasingly broad and clear spiritual picture of our times.

Heaven: close encounters of the God kind by Jesse Duplantis — An account of the author's journey to Heaven where he describes the city of Heaven and surrounding paradise and his conversations with Jesus and other biblical persons.

Heaven by Randy Alcorn — This addresses popular questions on Heaven such as, will there be pets or home ownership? Based on years of Bible research as well as historical fact, Acorn tries to correct popular myths and misconceptions and focus on what the resurrected Earth will be like in terms of our bodies and future occupations.

The heavens opened by Anna Rountree — Easy-to-read account of the author's encounter with Heaven exposed through pictures and events in this unseen world. Detailed notes at the back of the book help to further clarify many of the objects seen in the author's vision.

I saw heaven by Roberts Liardon — This book gives a detailed account of the author's journey to Heaven when he was eight-years-old.

Return from tomorrow by George G. Ritchie, with Elizabeth Sherrill — Awarded the Campus Life Mark of Excellence, this is a recollection of nine minutes of clinical death which changed the author-psychiatrist's life forever.


The complete idiot's guide to near-death experiences [electronic resource] by P.M.H. Atwater ; with David H. Morgan — Discusses the history of near-death experiences , basic types of experiences, near-death look-a-likes, children's stories, suicides and after-affects, including differences between adults and children, what is remembered or blocked, and medical changes afterward.

Eternal garden [electronic resource]: mysticism, history, and politics at a South Asian Sufi center by Carl W. Ernst ; foreword by Annemarie Schimmel — An exciting, readable contribution to the study of Islam in India based on 14th Century manuscripts which is thorough, penetrating and illuminating.

God, faith, and health [electronic resource]: exploring the spirituality-healing connection by Jeff Levin — This e-book is an online copy of the same title summarized under the heading Personal and Contemporary Mysticism.

Hasidism [electronic resource]: between ecstasy and magic by Moshe Idel — Breaks new ground in the study of mystical Judaism in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The book is full of brilliant insights concerning key concepts in early Hasidism.

Julian of Norwich [electronic resource]: autobiography and theology by Christopher Abbott — She was one of the most significant mystics of the 14th Century who received 16 revelations after suffering a serious illness when she was 30 years old. Here is her story.

Mysticism and religion [electronic resource] by Robert S. Ellwood — An overview of the major issues and positions in the study of mysticism written by an Emeritus Professor at the University of Southern California.

The mystic heart [electronic resource]: discovering a universal spirituality in the world's religions by Wayne Teasdale ; foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama ; preface by Beatrice Bruteau — Explores mysticism from a multicultural perspective, comparing the history and practice of many diverse faiths from ancient times to New Age. Glossary, index and recommended reading are included.

Mysticism, mind, consciousness [electronic resource] by Robert K.C. Forman — Ponders the nature of the conscious mystical experience in Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and other western religions.

Signals [electronic resource]: an inspiring story of life after life by Joel Rothschild — Two men make a pact that the first of them to die will signal the other from the other side. When one of them dies unexpectedly, this is what happens.

Voyages beyond doubt [electronic resource] by Bruce Moen — Recounts early experiences in the author's journey of exploration and discovery in the afterlife.

Voyages into the afterlife [electronic resource]: charting unknown territory by Bruce Moen — A continuing account of the afterlife exploration begun by the author in 1992 when he attended a program to locate and assist newly deceased humans not progressing, stuck or lost due to circumstances of death or beliefs held prior to departure.


  • Christian Mystics: Review the ideas and writings of traditional and contemporary Christian mystics in essays and articles, featuring special articles on Quakerism, female mystics, the art of prayer and more
  • Mysticism (from Wikipedia): Definitions of mysticism, examples of major traditions and philosophies with links to major mystics and concepts in Hinduism, Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, Occultism, the Christian Gnostic sect, traditional Christianity, Islamic Sufism, Judaic Kabbalah, Quakerism and Neoplatonism
  • Roots of Western Mysticism Resources: This is a list of some of the more useful websites and books for teaching and research covering Christian, Jewish, Islamic and non-religious mysticism from modern Europe and North America