Author: April Bulmer
Title: And With Thy Spirit
ISBN: 978-1-927725-36-8 = 9781927725368
Trade Paperback: 110 pages – 6 X 9
Suggested Retail (Paperback): $15.95
Genre: Poetry, Canadian
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The basis of And With Thy Spirit is a belief in reincarnation. To clarify, reincarnation is the Eastern religious or philosophical concept that the soul begins a life after biological death in a new body—human, animal or spiritual. For years, I have had fleeting insights into past lives. In these visions, I am a very old and mostly female soul. I have a strong sense that I incarnated many times as a Native girl who lived in what is now Canada. I was bound by my culture and challenges of land and weather, as well as the hardships created by my body which was often subject to sickness, childbirth and abuse. The key line in this collection of poetry to explain these beliefs appears in the poem “Schizophrenia” and reads, “Lord I am born/again and again/I await the blood/of your coming.
In ‘April’ I work through experiences I’ve had in this life, particularly with my father. I believe we travel in groups, returning again and again to meet the same souls in new contexts and roles. We affect each other’s destiny as our paths cross life after life. This seemed to be the case with my father whose eccentric behaviour seemed familiar to me and yet remained a fresh and ongoing challenge until he died in 2001.
Some of my other memories revolve around symbols and archetypes like moon, mother, birth, Goddess, God and Christ. They have been grouped together under various women’s names to represent single incarnations or lives, as my memories are often as puzzling as dreams or visions.
Jesus remains a pivotal figure for me and I have written a manuscript based on the synoptic gospels, rendering them in feminist terms. In And With Thy Spirit he appears as an enigmatic messiah, subject to some of the physical and psychological challenges of women. These images are, at times, based on dreams and also my studies in contemporary feminist Biblical interpretation and theology which stress the significance of women, the body, nature and ecology over ancient Greek-based ideals of masculinity, mind and text.
I also believe in an open Biblical canon, a history of understanding that is not yet finished and includes new imagery, readings of stories, narrative and parables. Feminist theologians, artists and poets are shaping new speech about God and Jesus and growing the Church into a new movement. For if ideas of God do not keep pace with newly-enfolding experience, the deity dies and fades from collective memory.