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Women, Consumption and Popular Culture (Vol. 4 No. 1); Life, Community, and Ethics (Vol. 4. No. 2)

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Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations, 1776 to the Present (Vol. 11 No. 2). 


Jane Lead, a prominent visionary known for her feminist theosophy in the Philadelphian Society, illustrates in A Fountain of Gardens her visions that explicate divine knowledge to secure individuals’ enlightenment and universal salvation. This present research aims to scrutinize the figurative visions in the series of spiritual journals to examine how Sophia Wisdom initiated Lead into a profound understanding of her relationship with God and the celestial kingdom. Writing about her visionary experiences, Lead extensively employs metaphors to render the divine revelations more accessible to her readers. Her visions present a clear view about the connection between humanity and divinity, the means to achieve spiritual perfection, as well as the mystical union between one’s soul and Heavenly Wisdom. Depicting a propitious world under the governance of divine wisdom, Lead conflates Virgin Wisdom with Christ into an androgynous celestial being that can restore humans to a prelapsarian state to endorse women’s spiritual identity—receptive to divine inspiration and qualified for the ministry. Such a depiction conforms to some early modern female mystics’ pursuit of gender equality in the Christian belief.


KEYWORDS: Jane Lead, A Fountain of Gardens, Virgin Wisdom, metaphor, visionary, androgyny, feminist theology

DOI: 10.30395/WSR.202112_15(2).0002