"No brims nor borders such as in a bowl we see my essence was Capacitie."


St. Mary's Parish Church, Credenhill where Traherne held the living from 1661 until his death and where the annual Traherne Festival is centred.


Thomas Traherne (c.1637-1674) was an English cleric whose work remained unknown until the discovery of his poems and meditations on a second hand bookstall in London in 1894. There have been further discoveries of his work in more recent times. Traherne was concerned that we have lost the ability to enjoy the world aright. He was surprised, on arrival at Oxford, that the university taught everything except what he considered to be the most important subject - 'felicitie'. He devoted his life thereafter to making good this omission and living in a way that reflected his understanding. The essence of his approach was the reintegration or absorption necessary to reawaken to Capacitie. Whilst his message is couched in the language of his times I have found nothing in the Eastern traditions, now popular in Western culture, that Thomas didn't see for himself.

The account of him in the anonymous preface to Thanksgivings (as quoted by Anne Ridler in her essay The Essential Traherne) says that on this subject of Felicity and the love of God towards mankind he dwelt continually when at home, and when he went out "was so full of them that those who would converse with him were forced to endure some discourse upon these subjects, whether they had any sense of Religion, or not. And therefore to such he might sometimes be thought troublesome, but his company was very acceptable to all such as had any inclinations to Virtue, and Religion." As to his character in general, the same source tells us, he was "of a cheerful and sprightly temper, free from any thing of the sourness and formality, by which some great pretenders of Piety rather disparage and misrepresent true Religion, than recommend it; and therefore was very affable and pleasant in his conversation, ready to do all good offices to his friends, and charitable to the poor almost beyond his ability."

Example of Traherne's handwriting. (See full page).

The Traherne Association publishes a newsletter and organizes an annual Traherne Festival which is held at Credenhill and Hereford. The festivals are held on the weekend which includes the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost. Details of the festival programme and membership information can be found at The Thomas Traherne Association.

May 2022

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Traherne Articles

Articles kept on this site dealing with the significance and consequences of awakening to Capacitie and Traherne's works and life.

Jeremy Maule Memorial Lectures.

The first annual Traherne lecture October 10th 2003. Solitude & Communion: Readings in Thomas Traherne and R.S.Thomas -Christopher Armstrong.

The second annual Traherne lecture, October 10 2004. Traherne's Cosmic Consciousness -John Powell Ward.

The third annual Traherne lecture, October 10th 2005. Traherne Then and Now -Denis Parry.

The opening lecture of the Traherne Festival, 2009. Thomas Traherne and the Affections of the Sublime -Jacob Blevins, PhD. McNeese state university, U.S.A.

Other Articles and Talks

Traherne Festival 2003. Thomas Traherne's Language as Loss of Innocence. -Martin Corless-Smith

Quadrant Magazine, March 2008. The Poet of Sudden Cloudbreak -A Commentary on Thomas Traherne -Alan Gould.

You are the Light of the World by Eric Best. A contemporary sermon, which Traherne himself might well have written or with which he would have enthusiastically concurred. In addition to throwing light on the New Testament text it unveils the meaning of Traherne's claim: Till we see our nothing, we cannot understand the value of our Being.

The Experience and the Meaning. This essay by Douglas Harding is included as a commentary on and explanation of Traherne's statement that "Till we see our nothing we cannot understand the value of our Being" (Select Meditations 4/66).

Awake in the Heartland - The Ecstasy of What Is -A review of Joan Tollifson's book in which she describes what her life has revealed to be necessary to "enjoy the world aright".

James Charlton's book, Non-dualism in Eckhart, Julian of Norwich and Traherne, A Theopoetic Reflection. A NOWletter commentary from Alan Mann. The book comprises five main chapters: Thomas Traherne, Meister Eckhart, Mother Julian of Norwich, Losing and Finding the Self, Non-dual 'Awakening '-A Way Forward. It includes a comprehensive bibliography, notes, glossary and index.

A Selection of Traherne Quotations. Following the online group meeting on 17th May 2015, a few quotations demonstrating Traherne's understanding, and evidence of himself 'standing in,' the Headless perspective as revealed by Douglas Harding.


The poems are from Centuries, Poems and Thanksgivings Edited by H. M. Margoliouth -Volume II Poems and Thanksgivings © Oxford University Press 1958.

My Spirit -includes the postscript, The Apprehension.
Thoughts (Thoughts I, II, III, & IV)

The Works of Thomas Traherne A major new edition from Boydell & Brewer containing previously unpublished material. Edited by Jan Ross and now available from Boydell and Brewer Ltd., PO Box 9 Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3DF, UK.

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External Links relating to Capacitie in Traherne's work.

The homepage of the Traherne Association website.

Prof. James J. Balakier. Thomas Traherne's Concept of Felicity, the "Highest Bliss," and the Higher States of Consciousness of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Vedic Science and Technology. This paper by Prof. James J. Balakier, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota, U.S.A offers the broadest range of articles and commentary on Traherne and analysis of his thought that I have found. The Table of Contents.

Introduction: Thomas Traherne and Higher States of Consciousness.
Traherne and the Inductive Method.
Centuries of Meditations.
The Dobell Poems.
Traherne's Experience of Felicity.
Traherne's Understanding of Felicity.
Felicity: Experience and Understanding.

More from Prof. James J. Balakier.

Table of Contents of Centuries of Meditations complete.

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863–1944). On the Art of Reading. 1920. II. Apprehension versus Comprehension. November 15, 1916.

Thomas Traherne: His Search for Felicity By Elsa-Brita Titchenell.

Waking Up in Heaven: A Contemporary Edition of Centuries of Meditation, by Thomas Traherne edited by David Buresh. Published as a quality hardback by the Hesed Press (Amazon list a paperback edition), this version is presented in a manner which makes Traherne's message very accessible to the present-day reader. The identification and location of Traherne's biblical references is extremely helpful and the book includes a table of contents cross-referencing the material in this edition to the original layout of Centuries.

Mystic Missal. A Door to Ways and Means on the Spiritual Path. The Search for Spiritual Truth can be an elusive and exhausting battle. The need for self-definition and self-knowledge is rare and seldom valued in today's society. In other words, we need all the help we can get. Through this site I hope to offer a few simple and effective tools for turning one's life into a living prayer : ways and means on the practical road to the Divine.

Forrest Gander. The Strange Case of Thomas Traherne. An article in which Forrest Gander reveals the connection between Traherne and contemporary philosophy, in particular the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty.

Surprised by Traherne -David Buresh. Musings about the writings and influence of Thomas Traherne.

The poetical works of Thomas Traherne, B.D., 1636?-1674 : now first published from the original manuscripts.

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