The shaman is not a mystic. Perhaps the shaman’s wise advice is what anyone else could have given, or perhaps the shaman’s insights were the product of drugs, as Bill Porter suggests of ancient Chinese shamans and as is known of Yaqui and other North American indigenous peoples. But the mystic shares the shaman’s individuality, his direct link to the divine, circumventing (or defying) authority. Every major world religion has its mystics, all of whom did not fit the established order and its insistence on an institutional and prescribed “way.” Still, the mystic does not fight authority, and only requires solitude. At the same time, also like the shaman, the mystic could be very practical. John of the Cross was a tireless administrator, and many mystics devoted themselves to helping others, like the Russian starets or the Hindu sage Ramakrishna. Being a hermit is a mode of life that, by doing away with contrivances and getting to the real nature of living, can provide a setting for a deep appreciation of mysticism.