Thursday, December 12, 2013
About Julian of Norwich
Last night Mirabai Starr talked about the various saints she has translated and written
about. These included St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and Julian of
Norwich. (I am convinced that the "raptures" of that early Teresa as well as the ecstasy of St John were kundalini manifestations, but I will say more about this at a later time.) As I had expected, Mirabai was gracious, witty and informed. I loved the presentation.
I think most of us are more familiar with the first two than Julian. Here is what I have
found about her (from wikipedia):
"When she was 30 and living at home, Julian suffered from a severe illness. Whilst apparently on her deathbed, she had a series of intense visions of Jesus Christ, which ended by the time she recovered from her illness on 13 May 1373. Julian wrote about her visions immediately after they had happened (although the text may not have been finished for some years), in a version of the Revelations of Divine Love now known as the Short Text; this narrative of 25 chapters is about 11,000 words long. It is believed to be the earliest surviving book written in the English language by a woman."
In Julian's private writings, she actually proposed that Christ was "mother" (female) as well as male. She described God as a loving caring being, not the judging and raging deity that many of her time insisted on.
Because of the unorthodox nature of her views, her writings received little notice for many years. Today, modern feminist writers who wish to reclaim the "feminine face of
God," often turn to her works for support.
By the way, her name was not actually Julian. This was, rather, the name of the little church she was attached to as an "anchoress" (isolated retreatent). (Apparently her little cell did look out upon the city, so she could at least see out.) Norwich was the name
of the town (then a thriving commercial center) where the church was located.
One of her most famous sayings is "All will be well/ and all will be well." (quoted by T.
S. Eliot in "The Four Quartets.")