The Life Of Julian Of Norwich

All Shall Be Well

In the blog post All Shall Be Well, we were introduced to Julian of Norwich, a Christian mystic and writer from 14th century England.

Intrigued by her story, that she was likely the first woman to write in English, we launched a search into this remarkable woman. Various books about Julian are available, especially books that present her writings, but to delve into the person behind the mystic, here’s a book of historical fiction:

 Julian's Cell - An earthy story of Juiian of Norwich

Julian's Cell

Like a master weaver, author Joseph Milton spins fiction with the threads of factual events to create a colorful tapestry of story-telling.

Set in the late 1300s of England, Milton brings together the smells, sights and emotions of medieval life such as the pungent stench of urine from the tannery shop and the heavy smell of wet wool in the woolen shop.

The author presents the daily struggle to stay alive in a time far-removed from our own. War, pestilence, famine and plague weighed heavy in the air and people breathed it in with every step they took.

Milton displays a kaleidoscope of colors of medieval life in the 1300s. He conveys powerful emotions of that era and makes medieval situations recognizable and understandable. Although daily life details vary from today, our human fears, tears and joy remain quite the same.

Without access to formal education as a child, Julian was considered to be an unlettered laywoman. Milton offers an idea of how she taught herself to read and write: a painstaking, letter-by-letter process pouring over books in both Latin and English. 

Finding God’s Love

Death took no holidays in medieval life. The specter of death lurked around every corner and strolled with calm insolence in the village square. Infant and child mortality ravaged everyone, from the lowest peasant to the highest monarch. The plague wiped out entire families. (Forty to 50% of the European population died.) No one was left untouched by mortal suffering. 

People of that era looked around and believed the world was coming to an end. 600 years later, we marvel at Julian's writings of mysticism and wonder that she had the realization that love is at the center of all that is.

In spite of all she witnessed in the world, Julian would go on to write her brave words:

All shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
— Julian of Norwich

For Julian to find God's universal love in such a harsh and violent world is indeed remarkable. Julian shared an insight she had from a humble hazelnut:

God showed me something small, round and frail, like this hazelnut. And I wondered why I was seeing this. Then an answer came. There weren’t words, but I understood why I was looking at such a tiny thing.

It is all that is made. Everything is there in this tiny creation that could crumble into nothing so easily. But I knew it would last, because God loves it. It has its life, its being through the love of God.

God made it. God loves it. And God keeps it.

You and I are part of that creation. Just like this hazelnut, God is our maker, our lover, our keeper. But we can never really know what that means until we are united with God the way this hazelnut is part of God.

That is why we are created. To be one with God.
— Julian's Cell

Milton captures Julian's journey from humble peasant to anchoress, from human to saint, while remaining in touch with the humanity that housed her soul.

Touching Lives In History

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), we can get in touch with people of history through use of TRT®.

Students of The First Degree and The Second Degree of TRT® can apply TRT® hands-on while reading her writings, or a book about her, and experience her story with more light. They can also have a meditation focusing on Julian of Norwich herself, or a specific passage from her writings.

Students of The Second Degree of TRT® can direct radiant energy to Julian, or the time period she lived in. It helps us to expand our awareness and understanding.

If you like historical fiction, Julian's Cell will educate and delight.