Barbara Ehrenreich (an atheist and a journalist) recently published a book called Living with a Wild God, in which she probes and explores an experience she had that she couldn’t quite explain:
In May of 1959, Barbara Ehrenreich was taken into the mountains in Northern California by a boy looking for dynamite. They spent the night in the car, and in the morning, she wandered into town on foot. It happened then and there — an onrush of mystical visions — something she’d experienced before but never quite so brilliantly. “The world flamed into life,” she writes in her new book, “Living With a Wild God.” “Something poured into me and I poured out into it.”
When they choose to reveal themselves, the spirits have always shown a marked preference for young women — Joan of Arc, Teresa of Ávila, Hildegard, Mirabai, Rabia al Basri. When they chose 17-year-old Barbara Ehrenreich, they could never have guessed at her violent dismay. For this scientist in the making, these mystical visions were an unbearable offense, an affront to her carefully ordered mind. She went up a mountain with a boy. He was looking for dynamite, but she got blasted apart.