A book to jolt you
And With Thy Spirit – A book to jolt you from the comfortable edges and spiritual inertia of this hugely selfish and somewhat shallow generation into the deep and heady seas of vision. A welcome philosophy for the famished soul to make sense of pain, life, death and rapture. This book by April Bulmer is a landmark of literature to cherish and reference as we evolve from static views into a discovery of our own divinity and purpose.
Sections of this work approach multi-layered vision: in ‘April, Fathers,’ we catch glimpses of the father who dies, returns, companions…
In ‘Bernadette: Mothers’ the hot immediacy of the body compels with its fullness, desire and pain, fleshing out its command over all. Women receive men, birth children, fashion the grit earth and the fiery universe of us. Native visions are palpably real in April’s work, as though keenly there, lush with longing. Her character, Johnny Nanticoke, an ever-mate.
Blue, the sacred colour of Mary’s mantle and the sky goddess, occurs as a theme of cleansing: “that blue soap.”…
The vital gnosis here is that rock, tree, animal, all peoples intertwine with us in the passionate cycle, the shape-shifting, “the scent of my shadow.” There is fierce passion in manifestation, from root to galaxy. One begins to discard preconceptions as this work unfolds.
Mary and Jesus remain symbols of our long conflict with history: “an apple broken open,” “before the legend of hurts.” Here is spirit experience as profound as the Nirvana of meditation, like the rapture of the ancients into the presence of god: “My spirit grazes on flowers.” Not for the timid to open the stars. A whole new assessment of the Jesus vision as fellow sufferer, prophet and partner, who can also be interpreted as a feminine aspect of ourselves.
Menses blood, as poetisized here is also a force for renewal. Rudolph Steiner once wrote that “blood is the bridge between spirit and matter.” April makes this continuum observation as well as the link to sacrifice in “The Scar,” a hint of blood-offering to leap into the ecstasy of spirit union. Vision becomes fusion. Jesus, the Moon, gods and goddesses, coalesce into spirit personified through many incarnations to permeate and celebrate.
April’s contemplations of the Moon remind one of the ancient figurines of Neolithic women, emphasis on hips and breasts, the life-force of humanity.
The constant interplay between light and dark, the blossom and the snake, as in “May, Healer,” emphasizes the need to recognize both forces as necessary to our existence. We hold the quality of each: “something howls/ it is my heart/ all that whimper and growl.”
Perhaps April has glimpsed the true meaning of our gods, the need for ever-changing perception, the ringing role of the feminine, the rapture caught in earth, blood, pain and bone and the re-creating.
The language of this book can be like nails in soft flesh, even in the beauty of her spare lines, an invitation to the Serpent to “nest in my petals,” “rise in the morning/ with original sin” or when “God swells and contracts/ like the waist of the moon.” Flashes of vision we need to confront and re-learn.
Clues in the Introduction and After Word are an insight into April Bulmer’s current work. And With Thy Spirit will infuse and excite all the longings to understand oneself, part of the evolving perspective of every culture.