Syntagma Digital
Editor, John Evans

Midweek Mysticism: Mystics have no fear of death


Continuing the discussion from the last piece on “assisted dying”, the assertion here is that genuine mystics lack all fear of death.

While others quake and quail at the mere mention of the “D” word, the mystic sails on towards its inevitable arrival with, as Hollywood might put it “a song in his heart”.

I must make the distinction though between death itself, which is easy, and the pain of dying, which might be considerable. We are none of us immune from that, although I believe mystics can rise above it in startling ways.

There are many explanations for pain in this context. The most persuasive is the Hindu idea of Karma, a pay-back for all our deliberate ghastliness in the present incarnation. I’m not sure I totally go along with that, preferring the Christian notion of redemption — although that might be self-deception. In the end only real experience will guide you to the truth.

The genuine mystic will receive at least two extraordinary experiences before being shunted off this mortal coil: the Divine Light experience (see my description here: The Comforter) which will change him (or her) forever and set him up for the next stage: Seeing into the nature of reality.

This is an out-of-body experience which walks him through the death process. Read an account of it here: The act of dying as a living experience

That then is the aim of the spiritual adept: to get both initiations before the end comes. Is there any more than that? It may be that he is charged with passing on this “good news” to those with ears to hear and eyes to see.

All this information is available in some splendid books out there, but I’m convinced they will only come into your consciousness if you are ready to understand them and, more to the point, ready to act upon them by receiving their message directly through spiritual experience.

If you turn away from this topic in fear (and many do) or with a snort of contempt, you are not ready yet.

Stick to Pythagoras’ Theorem.

John Evans

To be published: Mystology: A different way of looking at the world. Also a website,

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Saturday Ramble: Assisted Dying?

Library AngelIt’s the topic of the moment thanks to a new Bill going through Parliament. I believe, however, there’s a lot of it going on now … silently.

The present block on this practice is that anyone doing the assisting is liable to be charged with murder.

The current legal and moral discussions refer to medical professionals administering the fatal dose. It’s not yet clear how this would (or will) be done and what administrative procedures would be written into the law.

When my mother was 80 and in hospital after suffering a number of devastating strokes, she could only speak in gobbledygook, but was otherwise aware. Knowing how much she was suffering, I told the excellent head nurse that we all wished it could be over, by whatever means it took. She just nodded.

After we returned from lunch, she led me aside and said that our mother had just peacefully passed away. I was never more grateful for anything in my life.

We don’t need a bureaucratic law, just simple compassion and understanding. I hope if ever I’m in the same situation, such a nurse or doctor will be on hand, whatever the law may say.

The professionals should not be hampered by ill-considered laws made by sometimes ignorant politicians or religious fanatics, often of the Christian kind.

There is also the opposite case. We in England had Harold Shipman, a British Doctor who killed more than two hundred of his patients for money.

There have been a handful of those, but I believe the evidence shows that people requesting this service, whether for themselves or others, are acting out of overwhelming compassion and need.

I know. I’ve been there.

John Evans

Coming soon to a bookseller near you: Practical Mysticism: A different way of looking at the world.

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Saturday Ramble: A politics of the afterlife will prevent the world destroying itself

The Soul rising to Heaven

Life in the 20th/21st centuries has been broadly inimical to any concept of an afterlife.

The weighty intrusion of science into traditional modes of living bears down heavily on all forms of spirituality and anything deemed “natural”. Human society has become more like an ant-hill mimicking the construct of a machine. Observe your way of life more closely and this will become apparent, even to the most obtuse among us.

The thesis of this article is that a re-emergence of belief in an afterlife, amounting to a certainty, will reduce this tendency to dust. Take a look.

There was a time when everyone believed in an afterlife. And not only Christians.

In those days, death was a simple passing through a gossamer curtain to another aspect of life. People lived their lives to the full, conscious that they could survive anything.

In modern times those certainties have been lost beneath a deluge of atheism and scientific speculation. Giants of theoretical science claim that this is all we have … so just get used to it.

The inevitable consequence of this dogmatic view is that our existence must be protected by any means possible. Therein lies the politics of the afterlife.

Physical immortality through medical intervention is passionately sought and paid for, even if it means freezing a newly-dead body for hundreds of years. Cosmetic surgery — now on the NHS — is de rigueur among women of a certain age, often 23 or over.

Politicians of the Left have responded by weaving ever more legal safety nets to stop us walking into danger. The Left is, of course, mostly atheistic. Man is their god and the measure of all things. And he is doomed to extinction. The job of socialists is to extend that span for as long as possible.

The result of this kind of government action is that modern society has become neurotic, as David Cameron pointed out on one of his better days. Sometimes it crosses boundaries that properly belong to the individual and border on the psychotic. Everyone will have their favourite examples.

I believe the cause of this denaturing of life lies outside the political landscape, however. It derives from the moments when Darwin, Freud and others cackhandedly lost touch with the essence of existence and rebuilt it on a rickety structure of theory, poorly executed experiment, and narrowly-based investigation. In our century, the movement relies almost entirely on mathematics and complex equations.

And yet, contrary to received opinion, an afterlife is provable using a multitude of anecdotal evidence from the length and breadth of historical testimony. If you had read as many accounts as I have, you would be in no doubt. See this piece on survival after death — just below this one.

That may not be “science” as we know it. It will always fail the repeatability test of the scientific method because only interactions between simple physical objects tend to a similarity of outcome.

The main sickness of modern society is the feeling of impending doom, even execution, thus “What the hell!” And that sums up all the ills of our world. We seem to be sentenced to death by an implacable fate.

The great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, was convinced that almost all mental problems in adults are religious in nature, usually linked to a loss of faith. Now this might seem to be something the churches should deal with, not politicians. I don’t agree.

There is as much disputation and loss of confidence among churches and their denominations as in other policy areas. Totalitarian religions are as much to blame for the emptiness of modern life as the titans of science, which has become a religion in itself: Scientism.

Politicians could help by refusing to fund Big Science projects, such as the Large Hadron Collider, and concentrate scarce resources on technology, where small-scale projects can have immense outcomes for employment and productivity. Look at Silicon Valley.

Governments could stop “following the science”. It is this apparent invincibility that’s giving a few rather pathetic figures the aura of knowing all the answers. Their depressing materialism is infecting modern life with a nihilism that is totally self-destructive.

Science has replaced a god as the object of worship in many socialised countries around the globe, including our own. The answer is not necessarily to go back to any one religion, although if Christianity reformed itself, it might become a useful vehicle for a new way of looking at the world.

Since the loss of an afterlife is at the heart of our deep societal neurosis, some way should be found to bring it back on to the public agenda.

Loss of an afterlife is our modern tragedy. It can only be healed by a less materialistic philosophy and a new conviction that death is not the end.

John Evans

… who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.

To be published soon: Mystology: A different way of looking at the world.

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Midweek Mysticism: What is an Energy Personality Essence?


It may surprise you to know that I’ve been communing with the thoughts of one for more than a decade. But then, as a friend once said, “Nothing you do will ever surprise me.”

A little harsh, I think, as I’m in very good company. Deepak Chopra, M.D. a respected doctor, and author of many compelling books, shares my strange compulsion: “[He] presents an alternate map of reality with a new diagram of the psyche, useful to all explorers of consciousness.”

Before I let you into the secret, here are some of the words of the Energy Personality Essence himself:

Each individual has access to intuitional knowledge and can gain glimpses of inner reality. The universe speaks to each of us. Consciousness creates form, not the other way around. All personalities are not physical. It is only because you are so busily concerned with daily matters that you do not realise that there is a portion of you who knows that its own powers are far superior to those shown by the ordinary self.

Prentice-Hall has been publishing the books of this astonishing being since 1972, the last in 1997. The author’s name is Seth, although his words were delivered by a remarkable woman called Jane Roberts and taken down in shorthand by her husband Robert Butts, an artist.

And, yes, the process is “channeling,” that ghastly word much used in the Blair era, thanks to his busy wife Cherie. It’s gone downhill all the way since then, but don’t let that put you off, it has always had a respected role in genuine mysticism.

The books are fairly chunky tomes written with huge intelligence and understanding, and are never less than dazzlingly insightful. They are not the fare of glossy women’s magazines or tabloid newspapers — the Daily Mail excepted, perhaps. They are also very addictive. I have quite a collection of Seth books.

The name Seth is interesting. The biblical Seth was the third son of Adam and Eve, depicted in their creation myths as a divine incarnation. The children of Seth were thought by some to make up a superior strand of humanity. Some of the Gnostic writings are often described by scholars as “Sethian”.

Let’s finish with some words of wisdom from the great Essence himself:

Do not think of the mind as a purely mental entity, and of the body as a purely physical one. Instead think of both mind and body as continuing, interweaving processes that are mental and physical at once. Your thoughts are quite as physical as your body is, and your body is quite as non-physical as it seems to you your thoughts are. You are actually a vital force, existing as part of your environment, and yet apart from it simultaneously.

The latter point is borne out by mystical experiences and is deeply unsettling to scientists. Those with ears to hear, and eyes to see, will know exactly what Seth is saying.

If you want to try one, I recommend Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul.

John Evans

Coming soon: Mystology: A different way of looking at the world. Also a website,

Author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.

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Midweek Mysticism: What’s wrong with Christianity?

Trees Cathedral
Christian Cathedrals are forests carved in stone

The story of the moment is the slow collapse of Christianity in Britain, especially among the young. The perception is that all organised religions are under threat in favour of a broader spirituality.

One underlying reason is the politically-correct notion that to choose one faith over another is “discriminating against” all the others and clearly angers some. Given the obvious fact that living involves a whole series of choices and that civilisation is a collection of past decisions, this is a spurious argument that, in the round, is slowly destroying the West, and certainly Britain as a robust, unified country. Obsessive Leftist politics has played a major part in this dissolution of the old faith.

Surprisingly, the Girl Guides are the new centre of attention after their creed was altered, removing references to God and Country, replacing them with Myself and Community.

As someone Christened into the Church of England when young, but who has developed a wider vision of its mission, I’m not surprised by these developments. The real pity is that the latest mass movements are beating up the organised religions for the wrong reasons. The truth is, all major faiths have their source in an original nature religion akin to Druidism (see pictures above).

An added complication is that violent Islamism has turned many people away from religion across the board, while the churches have settled into a comfortable, well-funded rut.

Historically, all religions arose from the same inner realisation: a sense that there is something bigger than us, apparently outside ourselves. This perception is mysticism and affects most people, but some — the mystics — grasp it more powerfully than others.

The best mystics are also capable writers. The two Spanish contemporaries, John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila are among the pick of them. St John’s The Dark Night of the Soul is a masterpiece, once you get round the clumsy stucture of it: poetic verses, followed by commentary.

Long research among the religious texts of the world have convinced me that there is no essential spiritual difference between them. As a French poet put it: mystics all speak the same language.

My own understanding, which is being confirmed daily by modern scholarship, is that the only proof we have that someone called Jesus existed at all is a single document of wise sayings, referred to by scholars as “Q”. The Gospel of Thomas, with its 118 sayings beginning “Jesus said …” is almost certainly an echo of it.

The four familiar Gospels of the New Testament were written at different times by what we would now call “novelists”. Luke was the most talented. He put colour, pace and structure into his writings, which included The Acts.

These documents were probably intended as texts for small proto-Christian groups and are widely different in storyline and content. Any similarities are almost certainly explained by succeeding writers copying their predecessors. Q is the one founding source of all of them.

None of the authors knew Jesus personally or could swear that he existed, except by faith or necessity.

Art expert Waldemar Januszczak made a recent TV film in which he showed the first depictions of Jesus in art. They are bland and contain little detail. They bear no resemblance to the florid, almost photographic, paintings of the Middle Ages. Renaissance artists turned Jesus from a cipher in a very ancient document into a potential movie star.

As for the crucifixion, it was an elaborate metaphor showing a “god” who comes down to Earth and suffers in his human body. Look in a mirror and hold your arms horizontally sideways. What do you see? A cross. Life itself is a crucifixion for all of us. The later interpretation of this event is more crucifiction than crucifixion.

There are at least nine other ancient figures who went through similar lives to Jesus: virgin birth, strange stars in the sky, miracles and teachings, grisly deaths: Horus, Attis of Phrigia, Zoroaster, Glycon, Heracles, Dionysus, Romulus, Odysseus, and Krishna.

None of this takes away the necessity for organised spirituality for most people, but a sense of perspective and historical accuracy is essential if one is not to be implicated by default in the appalling violence that periodically overwhelms various religions.

Christianity has been more vicious than most in stamping its mark around the world. Dissenters burnt at the stake for minor infractions, and slaughter on a mass scale that would make Adolf Hitler wince. The religious Crusade in the 1200s AD to wipe out the Cathars in southern France was atrocious. Men, women and children were brought down from their mountain retreat and burned to death in a field without mercy.

Later, St Bernard of Clairvaux said ruefully: “They were better Christians than us.”

Religion then is a social form of mysticism derived from the same instinctive source. The two pictures above illustrate how Christianity across Europe developed from the Druidism it replaced, with considerable violence. The Romans massacred 2000 druids on the Isle of Anglesey, effectively destroying the movement and attempting to wipe the record clean.

It took the romantics of the 19th century to re-establish it as a religion of nature, which Christianity has long demonised as the work of the Devil. Witches were set alight at the stake or drowned in a ducking-stool.

The fact is, Christianity took over much of what is called Paganism in order to placate the local population. Druids had sacred groves in the woods where they held their ceremonies. Cathedrals and Gothic churches are forests carved in stone.

Vegetation and Green Men are depicted in the walls and columns, most markedly at Rosslyn Chapel north of Edinburgh, which is said to be a copy of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Bishops wear robes and decorations not dissimilar to their pagan forebears. Magic — prayer for favours — is rife. Hymns are musical spells seeking friendly outcomes. Underneath there is little difference between the ceremonial of church and grove. They even look the same, and probably sound similar too.

But the Church has become tired and boring to much of the population who regard science as the new voodoo which answers their needs in multiple ways. However it remains true that nothing provides the deep connection with reality that mysticism does at its spiritual best.

We seem to have come full circle from pagan nature worship to a modern realisation that we can only progress in understanding by touching the profound soul of the universe with our own being.

John Evans

… who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.

Coming eventually: Mystology: A different way of looking at the world. Also a website,

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