The Way of the Mystic

Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are coming out of a long pandemic winter and entering a new season of waxing light, hope, and growth. Yet these continue to be turbulent times. Even with the progress of the Covid vaccine, none of us truly knows when life will ever return to “normal.”

Like us today, the medieval mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, the heroines of my new novel REVELATIONS, which will be published on April 27, lived in a time of pandemic and social upheaval, yet both women bore witness to the divine promise that ultimately all shall be well.

During a near-death experience, Julian received a series of divine visions and spent the next forty years unpacking them in her luminous theology of an unconditionally loving God who is both Mother and Father. Julian offered radical counsel to Margery Kempe, a failed businesswoman and mother of fourteen, who was haunted by her own visceral mystic experience. With Julian’s blessing, Margery walked away from a soul-destroying marriage and became a globe-trotting pilgrim-preacher and rabble rouser. Though these two women might seem like polar opposites—Julian, the enclosed anchoress, and free-roving Margery experiencing her visions in the full stream of worldly life—they complement each other. Together their lives and work form a Via Feminina, a distinctly female path to the divine.

The women mystics have always fascinated me. I identify very powerfully with Hildegard of Bingen, the heroine of my previous novel ILLUMINATIONS, as well as with Margery and Julian as spiritual women facing the roadblock of an institutional, male-dominated religion that side-lined them precisely because they were women. But instead of letting this beat them down, they found within their own hearts a vision of the divine that mirrored their female experience. I believe it’s no mere coincidence that both Hildegard and Julian dared to create a theology of the Feminine Divine, of God the Mother. All three women seized their power and their voice to write about their encounters with the sacred, preserving their revelations to inspire us today.

In our modern world, when many traditional religious institutions are crumbling, we can follow in these women’s footsteps and seek the divine—however we perceive the divine—within the sanctuary of our own hearts. This is the birthright no one can take from us, our eternal refuge. This is the Way of the Mystic.

Learn more about Margery and Julian as I discuss these mystics in a series of free virtual events.

My virtual tour kicks off with a very special Literature Lover’s event, sponsored by Valley Bookseller and Excelsior Bay Books in Minnesota. You can watch the video above. I am in conversation with acclaimed author, Elissa Elliot .

For a deep dive into Julian of Norwich’s spirituality, I am teaming up with Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts to offer a Virtual Mini-Retreat on May 13, Julian’s Feast Day. You can learn more and register here.

To stretch body and mind in a creative virtual retreat that combines Yoga, women’s spirituality, and writing women back into history, please join me and Stephanie Renee dos Santos for SHEStories + Saraswati Flow on May 15 – 16.

REVELATIONS may be pre-ordered through any of the links below. As a midlist author, I am profoundly grateful for every single purchase.

PRE-ORDER HARDCOVER & EBOOK: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop.org | Indiebound | Hudson | Powell’s | Target |

PRE-ORDER AUDIOBOOK: Amazon / Audible | Kobo

Read an EXCERPT.

Mary Sharratt is on a mission to write women back into history. Her acclaimed novel Illuminations, drawn from the dramatic life of Hildegard von Bingen, is published by Mariner. Her new novel Revelationsabout the globe-trotting mystic and rabble-rouser, Margery Kempe, will be published on April 27. Visit her website.



Categories: female friendship, Female Saints, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, Fiction, Foremothers, Herstory

Tags: , , , ,

14 replies

  1. Like you women mystics have always fascinated me… perhaps because I have always been a seeker. Eco-feminism connected me to the Great Mother on so many levels…. but for me the “father” remained obscure for most of my life ( at least after I escaped christianity). Interestingly it has been my relationship with nature that has re-connected me to “father” because S/he contains BOTH – female and male aspects within one whole.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Love it–medieval rabble rouser. These women, including Hildegard, should be alive rousing the rabble today. We need such women. Well, yes, we do have some, like Greta Thunberg and the Squad, but we need lots more to keep us connected to each other, to the Goddess, and to our blessed mother planet.

    I just moved my order for Revelations out of my “later” box and actually placed the order. I sure hope it arrives at my door sooner than Amazon predicts.

    Mary, you know I love your work and have read all your books. I’m so glad you keep writing and that you’re safe in Portugal. I’ll be interested to meet your horse in this new novel, too. And I still think you should write a new book in which Alma tells Gustave to get lost. Bright blessings, my friend! Keep writing!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Pre-ordered! Can’t wait! Congratulations in advance and best of luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Mary, Thank you for your post and books! it is so refreshing to find women and communities that wanna keep exploring the divine feminine. The last couple of weeks I’ve had conversations with some conservative pentecostal friends who defend fiercely the Male God and claim that God cannot be a woman because the bible doesn’t say so. So it is wonderful that we, free spirits, critical thinkers, women challenging the status quo, can keep exploring, dreaming, writing, and understanding the divine feminine which is so real. Best regards!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love your books Mary, I first found Illuminations which I couldn’t put down. I recently finished your book Ecstasy – wow who knew Alma Mahler was a composer in her own right? But then that’s why we need writers like you – to bring historical women out of the shadows. I can’t wait to read Revelations. I am going to pre-order it now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love how you put women at the very center of the human endeavor. You did a wonderful job in Illuminations; I can’t wait to read Revelations!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Mary, I hope you get this. I have been trying to pre-order on Kindle (I like paper books best but I will be traveling when this comes out and look forward to reading it). Anyway when I try, Amazon keeps offering me a book by another author and no opportunity to buy yours. This doesn’t seem ethical to me and I imagine that you might want to get your publisher on that. Lesson: When at all possible stay away from Amazon!

    Like

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