Monday, March 22, 2010

Underwater


A long-time  resident Shubunkin  of the Aquarium; sadly recently gone.

The city of Norwich has historically the distinction of association with two Christian mystics. Both Dame Julian and Sir Thomas Browne's writings includes imagery of the submarine, that is, life at the bottom of the sea, perhaps because of the close proximity of the North Sea.

Julian’s spiritual meditations in her Revelations of Divine Love lead her to the seabed-

On another occasion I was led in imagination down on to the sea-bed, and there I saw green hills and valleys looking as though they were moss-covered, with sea-weed and sand.

Browne’s underwater image occurs in his inventory of lost and imaginary books, pictures and objects Museum Clausum (c.1675) which includes-

9. A Sub Marine Herbal, describing the several Vegetables found on the Rocks, Hills, Valleys, Meadows at the bottom of the Sea, with many sorts of Algae, Fucus, Quercus, Polyonum, Gramens and others not yet described.

Such matching pieces of imagery could excite a student of comparative religious literature. However, this coincidence of imagery may simply be the result of both Julian and Sir Thomas having a complete knowledge of the Bible.

Julian’s seabed image, which is only in the Long Text, is probably inspired from Scripture; submarine imagery occurs in the Book of Jonah when Jonah is on the seabed, wrapped in seaweed, and in the Psalm which he cites while there; even at the bottom of the seabed God is with Jonah.
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