The narrations presented by Julian of Norwich and Michael Harner disclose the author’s quests of the truth and revelation. While describing their experiences, both narrators refer to their inner feelings, callings, and emotions. They are guided by the strong aspiration to cognize the God’s love through compassion, pain, and suffering. More importantly, both readings are inflated with mysticism, images, and pictures enriching their texts and description of particular actions and phenomena.
Harner’s Discovering the Way depicts his experience of being in the state of almost dying was minutely described and all his sensations were saturated with fear, curiosity, and mysticism. At the same time, Julian’s Showings provide a vivid picture of the author’s mystical experience as well. In her reading, one can see passages describing a wide range of feelings, from desire and longing to love and praying.
The author also constructs many terms and deduces meaning from her active experience. For instance, Julian’s reading is overwhelmed with suggestions, questions, and doubts as if underscoring her searching for the universal truth. Her revelation is always insufficient and her visions and sights serve as incentives for understanding the surrounding world. With regard to the above description of the narrators’ experiences, it can be stated that Julian and Harner are obsessed with discovering the origins of religion and reflecting their existential views on the power of faith and compassion. While describing their experience, they are striving to conceive the limits of ordinary and extraordinary, supernatural and earthy things. In particular, Harner’s attempts to conceive Conibo Indians’ shamanic religion and culture whereas Julian strives to express her love for God through her experiences.
According to Julian’s readings, learning can be reached through sufferings that were inflicted by God as the common understanding. Suffering derived from sins should be considered as the reminders of the Christ’s passion. This is why people suffer as the Jesus did and, in this way, they will become closer to God. Julian also believes that people sin just because they are naive or ignorant, but not because they affected by evil. Therefore, Julian sees no evil in the God’s punishments as she believes in God’s love being beyond the reality of Hell, which is the greater mystery of Julian’s universal outlooks on religion. In order the cognize the mystery of shamanic culture, Harner ingests the drink called the “soul vine” permitting him to enter the world of supernatural.
While drinking this vine, the author experiences strange visions, sounds, and feelings that are far from ordinary. Later on, Harner hears the sound of water growing louder and sees figures dancing in an enormous house resembling a carnival of demons. The creatures are gigantic, which their cavernous jaws gushing floods of water. All these visions are horrifying and remind Harner of being dead and finding himself in Hell.
According to Indians’ interpretation of Harner’s visions, the creatures he saw were reminiscent of the Bible “dragon”, or “Satan”. The inhabitants of the Conibo village explained that the images he managed to see recreated the Bible scene depicting the war in Heaven when the angels were struggling with the Devil. The drink helped Harner to unveil the hidden states of sub-consciousness enabling him to see supernatural and mystical things. More importantly, Harner’s Discovering the Way depicts psychological and physical states of the narrator’s soul and mind being under the influence of sacred drink “soul vine”.