Sunday, May 15, 2011

Readings: Emily as Oracle

Sometime last week I read something, somewhere, that gave me what turned out to be the erroneous idea that today was going to be Emily Dickinson’s birthday. It is not—she was born in December. Nonetheless, I had already removed my copy of her collected works from the shelf in preparation for my decision that I would (on what I thought was her birthday) try to communicate with her, by using her poetry as an oracle.

I should probably mention that this plan was devised – almost certainly not coincidentally – with my having begun (under the influence of Facebook friend, Janette Tingle) to read A Course in Miracles. This I had to borrow from the public library, as it is apparently not the kind of book that a university library feels it necessary to acquire. (Well – as Steve Martin might say – Pardonnez-moi!) Having read the first two chapters, and the first section of the third, I find the book to be a repository of truth. It seems to support, among other things, my notion of the nature of Jesus’ mission.

Most people, in my experience, who are not able to understand Jesus as divine, consider him to have been a gifted moral philosopher. He was that, of course. But it has been my long-held understanding that strictly considered in his human aspect, and within the context of his earthly mission, Jesus was, above all, a psychologist. I believe that in our era he would have been at home in the school of existential psychology. But, perhaps more of that later.

Getting back to my plan to use Emily as oracle, this morning I opened her collected works at random to page 451, which contains at the top the following poem:


“Unto me?” I do not know you –
Where may be your House?

“I am Jesus – Late of Judea –
Now – of Paradise” –

Wagons – have you – to convey me?
This is far from Thence –

“Arms of Mine – sufficient Phaeton –
Trust Omnipotence” –

I am spotted – “I am Pardon” –
I am small – “The Least

Is esteemed in Heaven the Chiefest –
Occupy my House” –

The oracle, you see, delivered. Yes, it did.

UPDATE: It turns out that Emily Dickinson died on this date. Of course, she never really died, did she?