Ludus amoris is a term in the Western mystical tradition that refers to the divine play (play of God). The term is in Latin and may first have been used by the Christian mystic Henry Suso (1300–1366). The term has also been used in the titles of works of literature and music.
The mystics have a vivid metaphor by which to describe that alternation between the onset and the absence of the joyous transcendental consciousness which forms as it were the characteristic intermediate stage between the bitter struggles of pure Purgation, and the peace and radiance of the Illuminative Life. They call it Ludus Amoris, the "Game of Love" which God plays with the desirous soul.... The "Game of Love" is a reflection in consciousness of that state of struggle, oscillation and unrest which precedes the first unification of the self. It ceases when this has taken place and the new level of reality has been attained.:227–228
According to Windeatt, "The notion of the play of love (ludus amoris) probably derives via Suso from Stimulus Amoris. The Middle English version of Suso's Horologium refers to 'þe pleye of loue þe which I am wonte to vse in an amarose sowle'.":288n6
Ludus Amoris has also been used in the title of a number of works in literature and art. These include:
- Ludus Amoris, a 1902 book in English by Benjamin Swift (pseud. for William Romaine Paterson), OCLC 663953996
- Ludus Amoris, a 1945 book in French by Edouard de Guérolin, OCLC 79758439
- Cantata: IV: Ludus amoris: for speaker, soprano & tenor soli, SATB, and orchestra, a 1977 musical score in English by Jonathan Harvey, OCLC 4183489
- Ludus amoris juridicus in festo nuptiali ... Christiani Treschenbergii, patritij Elbingensis, cum ... Dorothea Heinia ... Eliae Heinii, civitatis Elbingensis p.t. judicis terrestris filia celebrato adornatus a P. P. N. C., a 1689 Latin book, OCLC 668941038
- Ludus amoris, a 2016 canon for 3-part choir by composer Carlotta Ferrari
- Lila (Hinduism), the divine play
- Underhill, Evelyn (1911). Mysticism: A study in the nature and development of man's spiritual consciousness. London: Methuen. OCLC 177164.
- Windeatt, Barry (1994). English mystics of the middle ages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521327407.