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Altered Consciousness in Religion

  • Etzel Cardeña
  • Michael Winkelman
Publiceringsår: 2011
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 255-276
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Altering Consciousness. Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Volume 1: History, Culture, and the Humanities.
Volym: 1
Dokumenttyp: Del av eller Kapitel i bok
Förlag: Praeger


Mysticism can be regarded as an integral element of religion. It includes both a way of life and a direct consciousness of the presence of God. Broadly defined as such, one can encounter mystical dimensions within all religions of the world. In order to alter consciousness, mystics in different traditions use a variety of techniques – different types of meditation, visualisation, repetitive prayer, dark room retreats, etc. These techniques lead to a variety of altered states of consciousness, including visions and experiences of what has been called “the pure consciousness event. What we need is a model of personality enabling us to understand different types of mystical experience, including visions and voices. Such a model should combine cognitive psychology with depth psychology. The heuristic value of such an approach, counting as it does with dynamic, associative ways of handling emotionally charged information, should enable us to understand new or unexpected features in reports of religious experience, whether it be Old Testament prophets combining, in their visions, contemporary iconographic elements with verbal data, or Christian mystics like John of the Cross, using sensuous, erotic imagery in his poetry while simultaneously stating that the mystical adept has to reach beyond the senses. In this chapter such a model is presented.


  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
  • altered states
  • Mysticism
  • mystical experience
  • psychology


  • ISBN: 978-0-313-38308-3

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