Original Research - Special Collection: Holiness

The Way of the Mystic: The Sanjuanist stages of the spiritual path

Celia Kourie
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3258 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3258 | © 2016 Celia Kourie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 November 2015 | Published: 12 August 2016

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Celia Kourie, Department of New Testament, Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, South Africa

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A major conceptual dynamic in all major religious traditions is the need for purification and transformation of the individual in order to effect integration and maturation of the personality in the divine. Although the means by which this purification takes place differs according to the cultural and religious configurations of any given tradition, nevertheless a recurring image is that of an inner and outer odyssey. A major example is the threefold path of John of the Cross, which presents a psycho-spiritual journey by which ‘divine osmosis’ can be realised, passing through the ‘dark night of the soul’, and culminating in ‘spiritual marriage’. Although not accepted by many theoreticians and practitioners of mysticism, nevertheless the value of the Sanjuanist schemata still holds sway in contemporary society.


Mystic; Sanjuanist stages of the spiritual path; Religious traditions; John of the Cross


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