Julian of Norwich - I saw the bodily sight lasting of the plenteous bleeding of the Head
Type of Spiritual Experience
This time she was shown a bleeding head, to have her prayers answered, but she didn’t actually experience the pain, she just watched it.
This was all symbolic.
Although spiritual input is most frequently portrayed as water, it can also be symbolically represented as blood and wine. Thus in visions, poems, and in ritual ceremonies we see these three – water, blood and wine being used time and again to represent spiritual input – whether it be healing, intuition, blessings, wisdom, imagination and inspiration or simply help!
Again an experience in which a homely comforting figure is provided by her composer and no, it wasn’t for her fellow Christians, but for her to fill her, as she says, with ‘secureness in soul – peace and the removal of the fear of death'.
A description of the experience
I saw the bodily sight lasting of the plenteous bleeding of the Head. The great drops of blood fell down from under the Garland like pellots, seeming as it had come out of the veins; and in the coming out they were brown-red, for the blood was full thick; and in the spreading-abroad they were bright-red; and when they came to the brows, then they vanished; notwithstanding, the bleeding continued till many things were seen and understood. The fairness and the lifelikeness is like nothing but the same; the plenteousness is like to the drops of water that fall off the eaves after a great shower of rain, that fall so thick that no man may number them with bodily wit; and for the roundness, they were like to the scale of herring, in the spreading on the forehead. These three came to my mind in the time: pellots, for roundness, in the coming out of the blood; the scale of herring, in the spreading in the forehead, for roundness; the drops off eaves, for the plenteousness innumerable. This Shewing was quick and life-like, and horrifying and dreadful, sweet and lovely. And of all the sight it was most comfort to me that our God and Lord that is so reverend and dreadful, is so homely and courteous: and this most fulfilled me with comfort and assuredness of soul.
Julian of Norwich – Revelations of Divine Love -
And all these our Lord showed me in the First Sight and gave me time and space to behold it. And the bodily sight ceased, and the ghostly sight dwelled in my understanding.
And I stayed with reverent dread joying in what I saw. And I desired, as I dared, to see more, if it were his will, or else the same sight a longer time.
In all this I was much stirred in charity to my fellow-Christians, that they might see and know the same that I saw. For I would it were comfort to them, for all as it is to me. For this sight was showed in general, and nothing in particular. Of all that I saw this was the most comfort to me that our Lord is so homely and so courteous. And this most filled me with delight and secureness in soul.
Then said I to them the folk who were about me, 'It is Doomsday today with me'. And this I said for I believed I was dying. ….. For in all this time I thought to have died.