I dreamed a woman I knew years ago was pregnant and wearing a black dress. We were standing in our old church, the one I grew up in, in a room used for gathering after the service. I had wanted to talk to her because I knew she was undergoing a kind of spiritual transformation. She had some kind of spiritual experience she couldn’t ignore, and this woman, who had always had a certain rigid religiosity about her, was finding Spirit and Mystery in a whole different way, one that didn’t jibe with the tenants of the church we were standing in. This hadn’t happened to her by choice. It had just happened. She was on a new path she couldn’t bring herself to turn back from.

In the dream I’d felt compelled to find her out of a sense that she must be helped and supported on this new path, and it seemed there were few in her life that were willing to do this. I didn’t particularly like her, or her family. But I knew what she was doing was absolutely the right thing. We spoke at some length about how her husband was leaving, even though she was pregnant with their third child, because he felt she was so in the wrong and could not support her new vision. I asked about her father, a man I knew in waking life as one of the most blindly and unpleasantly fundamentalist people I’d ever met. He hadn’t disowned her, she said. She was still his daughter, though of course, he disagreed vehemently with her. She was exhausted, she said; she took medication just to get to sleep. She had two other children to consider in addition to the new one she was carrying.

Yesterday I was reading Monika Wikman, who writes that the word “heresy” has roots in the noun “hairesis,” the act of choosing. She says, “We might again rethink heresy and see it as in the days of old, as our ability to choose, to embody our inner visions and knowing, including the ways we must carry our dissenting sense of the nature of the microcosm and macrocosm” (From Pregnant Darkness).

I find myself wondering what new and interesting dissension this dream heretic is pregnant with, what inner vision it is that I will need to help bring forth, on the ground of what old order.

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