VOLUME 7 ISSUE 2 FALL 2021

S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 5 7 Rastislav Nemec 4.3 Speculatio as an Allegory of Seeing in English Affective Mysticism The root of this word also indicates another relation, thanks to the word spicere – Lat. to “see” or “observe”. It reveals that we encountered something distant, something mediated, something that is not directly present. But on the other hand, it means to touch something, to expect something with de- sire. This word contains both distance and closeness – as two opposing sides known from mystic. Speculatio means passive and seemingly static viewing that, however, also contains the dynamics of pilgrimage. The impossibility to influence things in an active way versus the ability to change them through the prism of our active view. To change ourselves may only require us to see better, which will lead to our transforma- tion. According to Bonaventure, the mystic expression to “see God” means that man must “die”, undertake transition (Lat. transitus ) and assimilate (Lat. assimilatio ) to Christ. Continuity to Bonaventurian allegory can be seen, for in- stance, in the spirituality of English eremite mysticism of the 14 th century. This is a widely represented stream of authors, such as Richard Rolle of Hampole (†1349), Walter Hilton (†1396), or some representatives of feminine mysticism, such as Margery Kempe (†1438) or Julian of Norwich (†1416). Al - though there are various authors of affective mysticism, the English eremite mysticism of the 14 th century overall contains a very strong idea of sensual experience and imagination rooted in this experience, which is understood as a tool for further mystical vision. Affective mysticism covers a broad scale of physical and emotional conditions, which include sight and hearing, scent and sensual expressions of taste or touch. Richard Rolle is a typical representative of Bonaventurian al - legory, and not only because he wrote a work with the same title. It offers a divarication of the topic of mystical vision and ascent towards light through senses and emotions. It is very unusual compared to previous traditions of spirituality. From linguistic and thematic point of view, the spirituality of affective mysticism leans on the important allegory of seeing (Lat. speculatio ), a journey (Lat. via ) and renewal of an image within our soul (Lat. renovatio ). Similarly, the motive of tran- sition (Lat. transitus ) is understood by Rolle mainly as a mo - ment of the “ abandonment of the sensual face to a face with the reality of the divine ” (Rathouzska 2021, 92). He believes in the importance of sensual visions; however, when it comes to actual contemplation of the divine, they are put aside. They become overpowered when the soul stands face to face with the light. Light, blaze, fire and brightness are the symbols of contemplation. Rolle supplements his descriptions of contemplation with metaphors of warmth, sweetness, and heavenly music (Ra- thouzska 2021, 95). Warmth and a blaze are associated mainly with the beginning of mystical journey when the soul is burning with love. The metaphor of singing and music represents a later stage of contemplation when the soul is closely linked to its object. And finally, the soul is attracted and uplifted by love, which can liken it to God. Deeper parallels of this spirituality can also be found in the works of other eremites. The Journey to Jerusalem represents the narrative basis of the work of Walter Hilton (McIlroy, 20). He arrives to the city as a pilgrim in the night to find a place to sleep – representing an allegory of knowledge. This ex - perience is an experience of transformation and renewal of emotions (Rathouzska 2021, 93–94); it is a renewal of sight and enables him to contemplate the essence of God. Jeru- salem as a city of peace is also the great theme for Margery Kempe and her Book . It is a symbol of “ the journey towards perfection ” defined as compassio – walking with the crucified Christ through suffering (Lavinsky 2013, 340–341).

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