What is Bohemian Mysticism?
Truly, it’s just a name. To name something makes it easier to discuss and there has been a dialogue regarding Bohemian Mysticism for decades. The name helps for the sake of clarity, as to what Bohemian Mysticism represents I will say that it embraces the spirit of the Bohemian attitude of freedom. To be clear, it is the attitude of freedom, of living and walking a path free of regard for conventional rules and practices that defines Bohemian in the case of this content. It is not meant to represent an iconoclastic attitude toward religion or theology but rather to embrace them freely. It’s about examining all of the information and making choices without being bound by what we have been told or taught to think but rather following our own ideas by finding what is resonant to us.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Bohemian Mysticism means examining all the information one finds interest in, seeing how deep the resonance goes and then building a foundation for ones own practice. It is a way to fine tune ones way of living life. Much of the information for this site is a sample. An overall and very general pagan approach is used for the sample to demonstrate choices within choices, options for resonance. The word resonance is used often since the point of Bohemian Mysticism is to avoid its opposite, blind acceptance.
Ultimately, the idea is to shape it, bend it if you want to…or not, the choice is yours. For that reason, I call it an “Open Source” spiritual/self-help construct meant to encourage learning more about one’s spiritual practice and about oneself. I personally incorporate all sorts of things into my own spiritual practice, from Hoodoo to Shamanism to transcendental meditation and attending churches of varied denominations, and that is the tip of a very large iceberg. At the end of the day it is all about finding resonance and it’s OK if what resonates is different from time to time.
Early religions were like muddy ponds with lots of foliage. Concealed there the fish of the soul could splash and feed. Eventually, however, religions became aquariums. Then hatcheries. Farm fingerling to frozen fish stick is a short swim.
Of course religions omnipresent defenders are swift to point out the comfort it provides for the sick, the weary and the disappointed. Yes, true enough. But the Deity does not dawdle in the comfort zone! If one yearns to see the face of the Divine, one must break out of the aquarium, escape the fish farm, to go swim up wild cataracts, dive in deep fjords. One must explore the labyrinth of the reef, the shadows of lily pads. How limiting, how insulting to think of God as a benevolent warden, an absentee hatchery manager who imprisons us in the “comfort” of artificial pools, where intermediaries sprinkle our restricted waters with sanitized flakes of processed nutriment.
After the tanks were in place, nobody talked much about soul anymore. Instead they talked about spirit. Soul is hot and heavy. Spirit is cool, abstract, detached. Soul is connected to the earth and its waters. Spirit is connected to the sky and its gases. Out of the gases springs fire. Firepower. It has been observed that the logical extension of all politics is war. Once religion became political, the exercise of it, too, could be said to sooner or later lead to war. “War is Hell.” Thus religious belief propels us straight to hell. History unwaveringly supports this view. (Each modern religion has boasted that it and it alone is on speaking terms with the Deity, and its adherents have been quite willing to die -or kill- to support its presumptuous claims.)
Not every silty bayou could be drained, of course. The Soulfish that bubbled and snapped in the few remaining ponds were tagged “mystics.” They were regarded as mavericks, exotic and inferior. If they splashed too high, they were thought to be threatening and in need of extermination. The fearful flounders in the tanks, now psychologically dependent on addictive spirit flakes, had forgotten that once upon a time, they, too, had been mystical.
Religion is nothing but institutionalized mysticism. The catch is, mysticism does not lend itself to institutionalization. The moment we attempt to organize mysticism, we destroy its essence. Religion, then, is mysticism in which the mystical has been killed. Or, at least diminished…not only is religion divisive and oppressive, it is also a denial of all that is divine in people; it is a suffocation of the soul.
“Ritual is to the internal sciences what experiment is to the external sciences.”
The sentiment behind that statement is one of the reasons for ritual in any practice although it isn’t something people do for the most part. I remember as a youth sitting in church seeing people sitting in the pews distracted. Some would make grocery lists, some would doodle or fondle the hymnals in a bored and distracted way and some would just sleep. Ritual is a way to take action and it is helpful as it opens the door to accountability, insight and empowerment. It also puts one in a position to ruminate on their own intentions rather than some abstract dogmatic religions intentions for them.
*The rituals contained within this site are the ones most requested over the course of time. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.