Swimming in the Psychic River_ research question: article for Honours Degree in English, UOVS

Card 0-2 of The Grail Tarot

Card 0-2 of The Grail Tarot

Swimming in the Psychic River

an exploration of the psychology, ecology and myth behind the writings of the Medieval Mystics

Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe

Chapter 1 – an introduction

Introduction: Flavours of Frost and the River of Creative Inspiration

Research question:

The ‘river beneath the river’ which runs through the psychic ‘Otherworld’ is defined in ecofeminist discourses and Estes’ writings as the Divine Feminine, the “Wild Woman archetype…The One Who Knows” (1998: 26) and from whom all instinct and deep knowing emanates. Was the realm Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich visited during their mystical experiences the collective subconscious, the “land between the worlds” from which all our “yearning for the mysteries, and all the sacred instincts” emanate (1998: 26)? Could it be possible that all human beings have in their possession the potential keys to this hidden place?

Thesis Statement:

It is my belief that a large number of medieval (and modern) mystics, amongst whom both Julian and Margery might by ranked, may be distinguished as individuals who are ‘thin-boundaried’ (Bachrach, B., Carey, K. & Kroll, J. 2002: 93), whose mystical experiences may be defined as Pure Conscious Experiences (Forman, R. C. K. 1990: 8) and whose mystical experiences included quasi-stereotypical spiritual figures whose nature and behaviour may have been informed partly by their religious backgrounds and partly by subconscious archetypes as defined by Jung (in Estes, 1998: 255-296).