Arts Creative Worship Forest Church Theology Thought of the Day

Hildegard Von Bingen

German visionary, theologian, composer and naturalist. Remembered on Saturday the 17th of September, walked this earth till 1179AD.

Many people will be aware of the date ‘1066’ and the battle of Hastings. It probably feels like a distant, far off and alien place. But in that year, people were born, they harvested crops, baked bread and went about the general business of being human. Some of everyday life would have been very different. The same sun shone on everyone though, and the forces of tide, time and environment that shape life on earth work on a scale which should encourage mystic respect.

It may have been almost a thousand years since Hildegard walked this earth, but she walked the same earth as us. So some of the imagery described in her visions is very easy to relate to today.

Because the beauty of woman radiated and blazed forth in the primordial root, and in her was formed that chamber in which every creature lies hidden. Why is she so resplendent? For two reasons: on the one hand, because she was created by the finger of God and, on the other, because she was endowed with wondrous beauty. O woman, what a splendid being you are! For you have set your foundation in the sun, and have conquered the world.


Commentary: Themes and Theology
by Nathaniel M. Campbell

Dr Eldridge is reported as saying “Viriditas means literally ‘green truth’, or greening power, which was one of Hildegard’s key philosophical or cosmological ideas,” … “In simple terms, for humans to be healthy and happy, then the natural world needs to be happy and healthy too.”

She explored this in a festival of music, visual arts and readings in 2019 and the article describes how an initial encounter with the music introduced her to Hildegard and led her to explore the life of the abbess much further.

This time of year is also known by some as ‘Mabon’. As such is it one of eight festivals which mark the changing seasons in the “Sacred Wheel of the Year”. These are rooted in an attempt by people to explore connections with the ancient past, and current reality. Some of these festivals have been well researched, and abound with practices supported by a long tradition of practice. Others are perhaps more inspired by romance and a reaction against the grinding brutality of industrialisation, with less concern for factual historical accuracy.

The quote from Hildegard I have used above was written in response to a query about the properness of her dressing her nuns in flowing white, silk veils, their hair bound only by a golden coronet.

John 2:12-22

What if at this time of harvest instead of wondering what is “proper” we could really seek out that which is “True”? Instead of letting ourselves become the judges of other peoples behaviour, can we loose grip of ourselves enough to become the light which helps people see?

This time of year holds many festivals which all wear different clothes. Some of us will be meeting for Forest Church at 1pm outside the Crichton chapel on September the 16th. Some of us will also be heading out to Allanton peace sanctuary to meet with others and pray for peace.

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