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.
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 Revelations, about the globe-trotting mystic and rabble-rouser, Margery Kempe, will be published on April 27. Visit her website.