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everybody has a different interpretation of emily dickinson's poetry. feminists see her as an early hero, lesbians see her as a closet lesbian, and people with no light see her as a gothic mistress of death and darkness. i think she was a saint of the highest order.

emily grew up in a strong puritan culture and she opined that the established churches only had icons of a god dimly remembered. once as a teenager at a church service, the preacher was working the crowd, and asked "everyone that yadda yadda yadda, come to the front for prayer".... , and emily found herself sitting alone.. she refused to bow to manipulation. i think she was enlightened even as a teenager.

one day, i was reading emily, and i noticed that she had attitudes very much like john of the cross. especially with respect to the dark night of the soul. my guess is that if you reassembled her poetry in the order that she wrote it, you would get a day by day diary of her spiritual journey. a lot of her poetry seem to be rememberance of visions; and the line between the physical thing and the vision are blurred. sometimes she speaks of the thing, and sometimes she speaks of spiritual form behind the thing.

the doctrine of signatures is a philosophy spread by the writings of Jakob Böhme in his book 'the signature of all things" The short story is, that everything is the shadow of the spiritual pattern in heaven. and of course plato spoke of forms.