The Spiritual Imaginary Issue 1: Reflections on Julian of Norwich

The Purpose of ‘The Spiritual Imaginary’

SICover_webThis Graduate Magazine covers topics that fall within the broad discipline of Christian Spirituality. In particular it sets out to explore the intersections between heart and mind that stands at the centre of the study of Christian Spirituality. Although the magazine strives to be academic, the very nature of the discipline demands that we explore how such thinking relates to practice, devotion, and/or action. Indeed furthering this interface is a key to this magazine’s purpose.

It is not easy to write in this ‘gap’. There is always a danger that it will not resonate with either those involved in the academic community and/or the life of faith. However, we believe that the inverse is true, and that the essays included in this magazine manage in small ways to show how we can bridge any sense of a divide. At the very least they strive to do so, thinking through in their orchestration what writing like this means methodologically.

In scope, the magazine encourages pieces that reflect the breadth of Christian Spirituality, which as an academic discipline intersects with and explores the whole gamut of human experience. Christian Spirituality demands responses that are concerned with historical readings, contemporary repercussions, artistic and literary outworkings, scientific discoveries, theological and religious responses, and imaginative insights, to name but a few approaches that we hope will be covered in subsequent volumes.

Its main purpose is to provide a forum for graduate students in Christian Spirituality to publish their work. To this end, all pieces are anonymously reviewed before inclusion. However, we welcome pieces from others who also have an interest in this area. If you would like to submit a piece please contact one of the editors.

Contributors retain all rights to their work.

The magazine is a joint venture of Sarum College, Salisbury, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Heythrop College, University of London and The Institute of Spirituality, KU Leuven.

About the Contributors

Stephen Batty is currently Vicar of St. Aldhelm’s Church, Branksome, Poole, Dorset and a non-residentary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral. Formation as an art student/graphic artist continues to inform his ministerial practice and preaching and teaching. Stephen is a contibutor to the ‘Benedict’s Ark’ website run by retired priest and former Salisbury Diocesan post-ordination and spirituality co-ordinator Darrell Weyman. Their work can be seen at The article here originally featured in ‘Benedict’s Ark.’

Natalie King is a recent graduate of English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford. She currently works as a copywriter for a London marketing agency. Vanessa Lawrence is a mental health chaplain with a secret passion for medieval studies and a student on the MA in Christian Spirituality at Sarum College. Hilde Raastad is a theologian, activist and writer. She has a MAR from Iliff School of Theology and a advanced degree in theology from the University of Oslo, Norway. She also studied spirituality at Sarum. She is a former co-president for European Forum for LGBT Christian Groups.

Emma Pennington is vicar of Garsington, Horspath and Cuddesdon. She has tutored and lectured extensively on Christian Spirituality, especially at Oxford University, where she completed her doctoral research on Julian of Norwich – a project she began when she was Chaplain of Worcester College. Emma has a passion for spirituality, has led retreats and Quiet Days both in the UK and abroad, and welcomes the opportunity to encourage others to explore the richness of medieval contemplative literature. Emma also organises, along with the Bible Reading Fellowship, the immensely popular Festival of Prayer held at Cuddesdon, which is now into its fifth year.

Lydia Shahan will receive her BA in History from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, in May 2015. In the spring of 2014, she studied Theology and History at Hertford College, Oxford. Her academic interests are the spirituality and religious practices of medieval women, and she is preparing an honors thesis on female anchorites and Marian devotion in thirteenth-century England and the medieval Low Countries.

Regine Slavin studied English at Berne University and after moving to England taught Modern Languages for over thirty years. She finds the Mysticism and Medieval Spirituality most fascinating and rewarding. At present she is following an MA course in Christian Spirituality at Sarum College, Salisbury and finds mysticism and medieval spirituality the most fascinating and rewarding topics.

About the Editors

Rob Faesen is the Director of the Institute of Spirituality, and member of the theology faculty at KU Leuven. He is also a member of the Ruusbroec Institute at the faculty of arts of the university of Antwerp. Email:

Edward Howells is Senior Lecturer in Christian Spirituality at Heythrop College and responsible for the MA in Christian Spirituality. Email:

Louise Nelstrop is Director of Spiritual Programmes at Sarum College and responsible for the MA in Christian Spirituality. She is also a College Lecturer at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford. Email:

Peter Tyler is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Spirituality at St Mary’s University, Twickenham and teaches on the MA in Theology. Email:

How to Make a Submission

To make a submission please send the piece that you would like considered to any of the editors by email. Please email the piece in Word format. All pieces will be subject to anonymous review. You will receive an acknowledgement of your submission by email and reviewers comments. Reviews normally take a couple of months.


Part I: Julian on Christ and the Body

Part II: Insights for Today

  • 4. Love as Delight – Love as Unknowing by Hilde Raastad
  • 5. From Anchorhold to Household by Stephen Batty
  • 6. ‘All Shall be Well’ by Vanessa Lawrence