Mystical exercises: New skills for the old ceremony.

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Passage Journal - Hasselt University, Belgium

Read the call at:



According to Michel de Certeau, in a technocratic society as our own, religion is caged in the ‘zoo of the imaginary’, together with other genre-creatures, such as science fiction, romance, or the ‘witchcraft of ethnology’, as he calls it. For the next issue of Passage, we want  to let these spiritual, imaginary animals out of the cage, and into the banal, crumbling, hyperconnected everyday reality we inhabit.



We are looking for growling mystical and spiritual exercises that seek survival rather than salvation, somewhat maladapted, misfitted, freed from the bars, yes, but still in a stilted environment. We want to publish meditations on stretching and bulking the soul (the soul, yes, but also the sweat, and maybe also the blood and  tears) before the particularities of one’s life. We want excess and eccentricity, ambiguity and complexity crashed into the most mundane. 

But, more importantly, we are looking for exercises that articulate a relational self, an awareness of an Other, or others. We are seeking new skills for old ceremonies. We are interested in the different modes of being and doing that were explored in these practices, and how those serve, or on the contrary, resist, present secular, contemporary life. We are especially interested in smaller, intimate, lesser known (aspects of) spiritual practices, stories, and adaptations.



We want to make clear that we are not looking for appropriated, re-packaged, and instrumentalized concepts (‘tao for creatives’, ‘mindfulness for academics’ etc.). Nor are we looking for easy esoterism on the ineffable. We are looking for contradictions, frictions, crashes: want to see how untimely practices can be both agents of rebellion and of oppression, identification and alienation, reaction and revolution.



Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

- the exploration of the anachronistic potential of ancient spiritual practices confronted with both a radically new cultural framework (historical, geographical) and personal narratives. 

- specific modes of religious living (together) (e.g. beguine communities)

- a creative-critical interpretation of the work of religious thinkers (we are a.o. thinking of Hadewijch, Teresa of Avila, Kierkegaard, Bataille, Weil… but we would very much love to learn about others, especially from other traditions) or religious concepts (credo, initiation, fetish, rite, sacrament etc.)

- stories of (re/de) attachment to one’s religious or spiritual tradition 



As Passage, we are – as always – looking for contributions that are perhaps too personal and too literary to find their place in more classical academic journals (see below), but are at the same time theoretically and methodologically sound enough to allow for a critical peer-review in a scholarly context (find our first issue at

We are launching this call for proposals for future papers that fit the following criteria:


    • Passage as in corridor, connective space between oneself and disciplines, periods, cultures - but also genres. The encounter between the intimate and past cultural practices and discourses is key.

    • Passage as in a way in or out. The encounter between past and self is an outcome, but, ultimately, a means to an end: understanding and proposing other ways of being: how do we live? how could we live? How should we live?

    • Passage as in a fragment of text* or painting. The potential of citational practices is exciting - what happens when you crash your own voice against others’? We find special joy in building scaffoldings with other works* (see the second set of criteria below).

    • Passage as in the French pas sage, not well-behaved. In classic academic approaches, an “I” is to be suppressed, denying its compatibility with empirical science. We want to nuance that and break away from these conventions (see last point in criteria below).


    • Is there an "autobiographical" and/or autofictional voice, an "I" that offers itself up?

    • Is this “I” clearly embodied, sensuous?

    • Is this “I” using the past to create new possible practices, discourses, forms that serve an existential purpose?

    • Is there at least another theoretical, literary, artistic voice, a form of cultural heritage, practice, discourse with which the “I” engages, and vice versa?

    • Is (at least one of) the voice(s) theoretically and methodologically sound enough to allow for a critical review by peers?

    • Does the piece need both voices, otherwise it feels like it is missing something?

    • Is there a sense of experimentation that would not be publishable in a traditional scientific journal?


Please send us a proposal for your piece (we are text-based, but feel free to go beyond, surprise us!):

  • under 500 words.

  • attached to email as .docx file or similar

We aim to get back to you within a month.

If the proposal is accepted, we will draw a personalised timeline and submission deadlines.