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Observations placeholder

Mystical Levitation in Christianity

Identifier

013011

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

None of it proven of course, but nonetheless useful to know

A description of the experience

MYSTICAL LEVITATION IN CHRISTIANITY [from a Christian website]

Levitation is a phenomenon of psychokinesis (PK) in which objects, people, and animals are lifted into the air without any visibly physical means and float or fly about. The phenomenon has been said to occur in mediumship, shamanism, trances, mystical rapture, and 'demonic possession'. Some cases of levitation appear to be spontaneous, while spiritual or magical adepts are said to be able to control it consciously.

There seems to be several general characteristics about levitation. The duration of the phenomenon may last from a few minutes to hours. Generally it requires a great amount of concentration or being in a state of trance. Physical mediums that have been touched during levitation usually fall back to a surface. Levitations of saints usually are accompanied by a luminous glow around the body.

Numerous incidents of levitation have been recorded in Christianity and Islam. Incidents reported among the Roman Catholic saints include the incident of Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663), the most famous, who is said to have often levitated through the air. It is reported he often gave a little shriek just before levitating, and on one occasion levitated for as long as two hours.

Saint Teresa of Avila was another well known saint who reported levitating. She told of experiencing it during states of rapture. One eyewitness, Sister Anne of the Incarnation, said Saint Teresa levitated a foot and a half off the ground for about a half hour.

Saint Teresa wrote of one of her experiences: 'It seemed to me, when I tried to make some resistance, as if a great force beneath my feet lifted me up. I know of nothing with which to compare it; but it was much more violent than other spiritual visitations, and I was therefore as one ground to pieces.' (Evelyn Underhill 'Mysticism,' 1955)

Also Saint Teresa observed these levitations frightened her but there was nothing she could do to control them. She did not become unconscious, but saw herself being lifted up.

And, at the beginning of the twentieth century Gemma Galgani, a Passionist nun, reported levitating during rapture.  A list of recorded examples includes:
 

  • St Joseph of Cupertino (Mystic, born 17 June, 1603; died at Osimo 18 September, 1663; feast, 18 September.) reportedly levitated high in the air, for extended periods of more than an hour, on many occasions.
  • St Teresa of Avila (born in Avila, Spain, March 28, 1515.She died in Alba, October 4, 1582.) claimed to have levitated at a height of about a foot and a half for an extended period somewhat less than an hour, in a state of mystical rapture. She called the experience a 'spiritual visitation'.
  • Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), levitation in states of ecstasy.
  • Hadewijch of Antwerp Flemish Catholic mystica (first half 13th century) is said to have levitated in state of trance.
  • Saint Philip of Neri (Born at Florence, Italy, 22 July, 1515; died 27 May, 1595.) supposedly went up several yards during prayer, even to the ceiling on occasion.
  • Ignatius Loyola (Born in 1491 at the castle of Loyola above Azpeitia in Guipuscoa, Spain; died at Rome, 31 July, 1556.) is said to have not only risen several feet but became luminous in the process.
  • Saint Robert de Palentin allegedly levitated eighteen or twenty inches.
  • Saint Dunstan (Probably his birth dates from about the earliest years of the tenth century.) supposedly rose off the ground a little bit just before his death.
  • St. John of the Cross (b. at Hontoveros, Old Castile,Spain 24 June, 1542; d. at Ubeda, Andalusia, 14 Dec., 1591)
  • And, at the beginning of the twentieth century Gemma Galgani, a Passionist nun, reported levitating during rapture.
  • Saint Martín de Porres (December 9, 1579--November 3, 1639) To help Martin serve the poor and needy, God blessed him with miraculous powers of bilocation, of being able to pass through closed doors, and of levitation, according to Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints.
  • Magdalena de la Cruz (1487-1560), a Franciscan nun of Cordova, Spain.
  • Girolamo Savonarola, sentenced to death,allegedly rose off the floor of his cell into midair and remained there for some time.

The source of the experience

Other religious person

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Psychokinesis

Symbols

Science Items

Levitation

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References