5 Most Mysterious Mystics

Science is a slow process and it’s yet to answer many of the great questions about life, death, time, space etc But some people are rather impatient and would rather make up their own mystical answers to life's great mysteries

People often turn to theology, philosophy and the occult, to try and find answers of their own  Mysticism is the search for apparent hidden truths through a range of special techniques such as meditation, rituals, spiritual development, certain drugs, or by just wearing a second hand kimono and quoting David Bowie lyrics So today we look at the dark and rather fearsome never-world of mysticism and discover some of the most influential mystics in history  Aleister Crowley was an occultist, a painter, a novelist, a mountaineer, a poet, and possibly a spy for Great Britain The press, of the late nineteen-hundreds, were not very fond of Crowley and dubbed him “The Wickedest Man in the World” since they said he was a Satanist

He founded the religion of Thelema and wrote The Book of Law, which contains its guidelines He wrote it in 1904 in Cairo, during his honeymoon, which I’m sure his wife, Rose, was delighted about The main concept of Thelema is “Do what thou wilt" Crowley had previously been a member of the famous occult society The Golden Dawn but they were not fans of his bisexuality and lifestyle so he left after about a year, losing out on his Egyptian clothing discount card and subscription to Spooky Tales monthly It’s thought that his membership could have been an intelligence operation to undermine Samuel Liddell Mathers, one of Golden Dawn’s founders

There are many other events in Crowley’s life that could have been undercover work, such as when he wrote German propaganda during WW1 Our next mystic rose all the way from the peasant villages of Siberia to the top of the court of Tsar Nicholas II Grigori Rasputin left behind his wife and three remaining children in his early twenties to become a monk, claiming he’d had a vison from Our Lady of Kazan By 30, he had become a religious wanderer, walking between holy places and receiving hospitality in exchange for religious wisdom and likes on Instagram Through his unique interpretations of the scriptures, and his hypnotic steely gaze, he quickly built a following and ended up in St Petersburg around 1904, where he was eventually introduced to the Tsar

He cemented his place with the royal family through his mystical healing powers He supposedly helped the Tsar’s son, Alexei, recover from near death through the power of prayer but it’s probably down to the fact that he stopped him taking aspirin, which was having a savage effect on the boy’s haemophilia He became a trusted advisor to the royals and even helped them to take major military decisions during WW1, encouraging them to withdraw large numbers of troops, either to reduce casualties or perhaps to free up German troops to move westwards and defeat the British We weren't this crazy monk’s biggest fans and it’s been rumoured British Intelligence had a hand in his mysterious death It could have just been the work of the Russian aristocracy though, since they were not fond of Rasputin either, thanks to his influence and his slow descent into debauchery, given that he grew a love of dessert wines and brothels

His body was found floating in the river and it’s alleged that he was poisoned with cyanide, shot in the kidney and head and then drowned If you’re going to murder someone, you may as well do it right Another Russian now, born some forty years before Rasputin in 1831 Helena Blavatsky was a spirit medium who co-founded the Theosophical Society Theosophy is the idea that you can find salvation through discovering the mysteries of the universe, presumably by being really really good at googling

The aim of the group was to follow The Intelligent Evolution of All Existence, something which our modern world has definitely fought hard against, just take a look around Helena claimed to have gathered various ancient wisdom and psychic powers from her travels around the world starting in 1849, from the Americas to India and Tibet Her biographers suspect that this was a lie and she was actually just in Europe, photoshopping the Himalayas into her selfies while she was really sitting in a Starbucks somewhere in Poland Hey we’ve all done it, Helena She did become hugely famous for her occult teachings and although now her name is less well known, in those times it was recognised internationally, as much as any modern trend setting guru

She was basically the Kim Kardashian of the occult, with a smaller bottom A more modern mystic now Nirmala Srivastava, who died in 2011, was the founder of Sahaja Yoga, a practice that covers a bit more than tight leggings and being able to suck your own toes It’s all about reaching a state of awareness and unlocking your Kundalini Kundalini is said to be a body energy that flows through your various Chakras, which are like invisible USB ports that run down the centre of your being

This is why you should never drop a yoga teacher in a bath, they may electrocute themselves The general aim is to reach thoughtless awareness, where you understand everything but you’re not really paying attention, a bit like when you keep eating peanuts even though you’re not really hungry She claimed in 1979 to be the embodiment of Shakti, the Hindu idea of cosmic energy that runs throughout the universe She’s also named herself the Maitreya, from Buddhism, and Mahdi, of Islam She also claimed the Iron Throne and said she knew what was in the suitcase in Pulp Fiction

And finally, a woman with an astonishing life, who helped lead the American suffrage movement and was the first ever female to run for president Victoria Woodhull was born in rural Ohio to an illiterate mother and a con-man father She was a bright child at school but could not attend often and had to leave very young when her father burnt their mill down in a shady insurance scam She then became a magnetic healer, by following the work of Austrian mystic Franz Mesmer, and probably a good dash of her old man’s con man skills But she quickly moved on to greater things

While still supporting the spiritualist movement, her and her sister became the first women to open a stock broking firm when they set up on Wall St in 1870 Within a few successful months, they used the money they had raised to launch a newspaper, primarily as a tool to back Victoria’s presidential campaign The paper focussed on feminist issues, supporting ideas such as free love, vegetarianism, sex education and legalised prostitution It was like Vogue, if you swapped all the adverts for actual content When the 1872 presidential vote came around, Victoria was actually in prison, since she had ruffled some feathers by devoting a full paper issue to the affair between Elizabeth Tilton and Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, a prominent Protestant minister in New York, highlighting the hypocrisy of the sexual double standard between men and woman, that had led her to believe in free love

  We would all like to find the hidden secrets of the universe and unlock some kind of secret path to happiness and enlightenment, but if you want to become a mystic you first need to get a really cool sounding name I mean just look at the people we’ve talked about today, Crowley, Rasputin, Blavatsky, Srivastava Obviously, as it seems, one needs a sufficiently awesome name to be able to align one’s chakras, reach a higher level of being and heal the sick I’m afraid if you’re going to call yourself “Steve the mystic” you’re not going to be so mystical now are you?

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