It becomes clear after reading just a little of anything I write that my spirituality is rooted in a love of the natural world and a special affection for the 'thin' places of the British Isles. In some of my books I explore this in a 'Celtic Christian' spirit - although appreciating that this means different things to different people. Reclaiming the Sealskin, Wild Goose Chase and The Healer's Tree in particular draw on folklore and natural history as well as the lives of Celtic saints and holy places associated with them.I'll say more about my Celtic inclinations in future posts.
I also have an association with Franciscan spirituality, St Francis being celebrated as a lover of creation. This interest has emerged implicitly if not explicitly in my last two books, Hiding in God and especially, Rejoice with me.
In his Canticle to the Sun, Francis praises God for sun and moon, wind and water, fire and earth, for their intrinsic worth and his delight in them. Many stories tell of him addressing creatures as brother and sister, thanking them for being themselves, as God intended, and exhorting them to sing and praise God in their many voices.
|I painted this for my husband Ray in 2009|
While studying for my Theology degree, in which I immersed myself in the Bible - among other things - my eyes were opened to the way Biblical people lived so closely with the land, and the richness of language, the awe, the glorious poetry that creation inspired. I see the Bible as a treasure trove of imagery drawing on the natural world, and I see Jesus as belonging to that tradition, his teachings richly illustrated by the natural world around him, which could be harsh and difficult as well as beautiful, his preferred place of prayer, a mountain, alone, at night. As I explore especially in The Healer's Tree, care for the earth is a justice issue, it means care for humanity, our children and their children for generations to come, and care for our neighbour.
My love of the earth means I often find an affinity with people of other spiritual paths who seek to respect, cherish and understand the earth and wider universe, and that includes emerging spiritualities, some of which identify as Pagan. I see it as part of my own spiritual journey to listen to and learn from others, about how they find sanctity and spirituality in the world around them - some might call this finding 'Christ in other'.I hope I can say more about this exploration in further posts.
|Yew tree in St Brynach church graveyard, Nevern|