Julian of Norwich

In the midst of the long-extended lockdowns that we were experiencing in most places in Australia, I did an online search which involved the words - pandemics, mental health and spirituality. At the top of the list was a reference to a book written by Matthew Fox, author of Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a time of Pandemic – and beyond.

I was very fascinated and wanted to learn more about Julian of Norwich: who was born around 1343, living in the period of the bubonic plague of the fourteenth century, and at around the age of 43 became an anchoress - that is, someone who, by definition, is literally walled up inside a small space for life.

She shared her mystical revelations through a book, Revelations of Divine Love, a book which is considered one of the first English language books written by a woman.

 

Matthew Fox beautifully articulates the wisdom of Julian of Norwich - which inspires hope, not fear. Her work is spiritually comforting and just as relevant -if not more relevant- today as it was 700 years ago as we deal with the challenges of pandemics and global warming.

Fox describes Julian of Norwich as a 'stunning thinker,' a 'profound theologian and mystic,' and a 'remarkable guide' with a mighty vision to share for twenty-first century seekers. She lived during the period known as the bubonic plague: which historians state killed between one in two and one in three persons in Europe, and like COVID-19, it was a global disease.

Fox suggests that Julian’s gift to humankind is the ability to foster a spirituality that can survive the trauma of a pandemic:

While others all about her were freaking out about nature gone awry, Julian kept her spirituality and intellectual composure, staying grounded and true to her belief in the goodness of life, creation, and humanity and in no uncertain terms, inviting others to do the same.

Fox states that Julian was a champion of the divine feminine and insisted that the feminine penetrates every aspect of our understanding of the divine. He goes on to explain that Julian was a teacher of the creation spirituality tradition which he claims forms the matrix of Celtic spirituality and was the foundation of Francis of Assis, Thomas Aquinas, Metchtild of Magdeburg and Meister Eckhart.

Fox explains creation spirituality is also a tradition honoured by indigenous peoples all around the world in which all of creation is sacred.

You may recall in the first chapter of The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy Volume III, Re-shamanising Aromatherapy, I refer to the inappropriate cultural appropriation of shamanic practices. I cite the work of David Tacey and Carl Jung who state that it is often easier to take on the spirituality and trappings of an exotic cosmology than face the poverty of our souls and begin a dialogue with the inner life.

Matthew Fox’s book on Julian of Norwich, has introduced me to a very important piece of the puzzle that was missing for many Westerners who are looking for a more balanced, holistic and compassionate view of life and spirituality that also provides hope and nurtures our resilience.

To commemorate International Women’s Day in 2022, I would like share with you the wisdom of Julian of Norwich (1342 – 1415) in a free 45 minute webinar: All will be well - The wisdom of Julian of Norwich and aromatherapy.

In this webinar we will explore why her work until recently was neglected and how we can use her wisdom to reclaim our sense of awe and wonderment for nature and the divine.

I conclude the webinar by explaining why essential oils together with the wisdom of Julian of Norwich represents a return of the divine feminine that has the potential to radically transform healing by reclaiming the loss of soul, that many claim exists within the healing profession.

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