In our overly mediated world, where all experiences are instantly analyzed and Tweeted, where does one find the Ecstatic? How do you leave the soul ajar and open to a pure, transcendent experience when you are constantly bombarded with filtered stimuli? For some, like Kelly Link, it is found in the Fantastic, as evidenced by her wonderfully surreal tale, “Summer People.” For Peter Berbegal, a child of the Sixties, it was drugs and then the Harvard Divinity School. In an excerpt from Nikolai Grozni’s novel WUNDERKIND, it is classical music where the out of body and mind can be found, while Kevin Young finds it in soul music. A doomsday cult is at the center of Peter Rock’s “The Raccoon and the Letter,” while Kung Fu is the ultimate path for a chosen few in Oliver Brody’s profile of a master and student’s ten year plan to reach the heights of the martial art. For Emma Straub, paradise is Joey from New Kids on the Block. Elissa Schappell found Nirvana through her epilepsy, and, despite the dangers, misses the neural fireworks that have driven visionaries like Joan of Arc and Dostoyevski. The issue is also packed with poetic searches for transformative states, from Villon’s dancing and women to modern takes on wine, sex, and religion. There are many paths to enlightenment. The pages of the Ecstatic issue are filled with a few we have found particularly intriguing. I hope you welcome them.