Hildegard’s Feast Day This is a Countdown . . Day 2, Care for the Earth

 

 

 

Hildegard’s Feast Day  This is a countdown  Day 2. Care for the earth

Why speak of the earth?

because we are of it,

because we are destroying it,

because we have  nowhere else.

Hildegard did not have the advantages of the 21st century, she did not  know the earth from an astronauts view as we do, she did not have the science we have today, yet she knew how precious this luminous pearl adrift in a dark ocean is.
She speaks of  oneness, unity . . .  the microcosm of the tiniest unit,  the macrocosm of the universe and how they are all one .

Here is a poem  from my new book, Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey in praise of the earth.

Listening

Amid the local gardener’s chatter
about plants and herbs
their culinary and medicinal uses,
and laughter of the young sisters
bubbling live with the world,
Hildegard listens.

She leans against her spade and listens.
Birds twitter
pecking at the scattered soil.
Hildegard gazes towards the hills
soft curved as a mother’s breast.
Is it the hills singing she hears?
Is it her heart surging with love?

Like a mantra she hears the words,
The earth is mother,
mother of all that is natural,
mother of all that is human.
mother of all,
for contained in her
are the seeds of all.

Hildegard looks about her.

The sisters at work, all is the same,
yet she is full of song
of trees and plants and flowers,
of herbs and ferns and stones.

Hildegard’s Feast day This is a Countdown . . . MUSIC

 

 

Hildegard’s Feast Day  This is a countdown  Day 3.

Three days until Hildegard’s Feast Day – 17th September.

In  this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A  poetic journey,  we see how important MUSIC and SINGING is to  HILDEGARD  and to the  LIFE OF HER ABBEY.  

 

 

 

Hildegard is is now the Magistra (meaning teacher.)   Jutta has died and Hildegard holds her sisters together.  She leads them  away from  the old monastery to begin the creation of their own Abbey. (the new Abbey in Bingen)

To lift their spirits  she composes music that carries them on the breath  heavenwards.  The year is 1151 at their new Abbey on the Rhine River.

Unearthing Heaven

Seamless fold of seasons.
Not so seamless, their daily struggle..
Life is still comfortless
harsh, rough.

Music carries them.
Singing gladdens them.

Hildegard is invigorated
by harmonies of sound
sees music in the dawn
light on the hills
in the caress of the wind
shape of the clouds
sound of the entwining rivers
the patter of rain
chatter of verdant tendrils of vine.

Music moves in her mind
fills her writing
defines her day.
She sings with her sisters.
Her sisters sing with her.

Singing softens their tired
discouraged hearts
like blossoms soften stone walls. 

In giving voice to her poetry
Hildegard bursts into song.  
Words of Divine Light, 
sounds from the heavenly spheres
echo in her,

O fleeting soul, be strong. 
Clothe yourself in the armour of light.
You are surrounded 
with the embrace of Divine mysteries.

She sees creation, a symphony of joy and jubilation,
a great chorus of the cosmos itself.

In the garden with her sisters
she draws lines with a stick on the earth
dots out the shift of sounds,
with the stick as baton and pointer
she teaches them her new music.
Their eyes shine.
Her antiphons and canticles
enrich the Divine Office.
Richardis leads, her voice ethereal,
the sisters join, words and rhythms soar,
breathless notes, higher and ever higher.

Their unfinished church
embraces their song,
a new heaven and new earth.

 

 

Photos of music scores fro around Hildegards time to show the beautiful calligralhy  and the second photo is of the author in the vicinity of where Hildegard is supposed to have lived in the anchorage at the Disibodenberg Monastery from 1112 – 1150

Hildegard’s Feast Day This is a Countdown . . . .

Hildegard’s Feast Day  This is a Countdown  Day 4

Four days until Hildegard’s feast day  – 17th September

In this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey

Hildegard is now a young woman. You may wonder how she, from a restricted beginning, could grow in learning and knowledge to became such a great influence on Western World music, medicine, ecology and environment.

 The young man is the monk Volmar. He is one of the few literate  monks and a Latin scholar. He is the scribe for the monastery.  It is 1120.

 

Getting of Knowledge 

Seasons fall one upon another.
Hildegard tends their courtyard,
a patchwork of green colour.

Pilgrims throng to Disibodenberg,
seek Jutta for blessing.
Jutta sits at her window                                                          
to the world.
Hildegard observes Jutta’s gifts
of healing and prophecy,
aware of the pilgrims, their fears,
their sense of longing.

After Divine Office
the monk Volmar taps the window,
gives them a vellum-bound manuscript.
He speaks softly,
This is my new work.

In dim afternoon light
Hildegard and Jutta sit together,
marvel at illustrated works
he has copied into German,
of the vegetation found sheltered
in woodlands and meadows,
herbs, ferns, moss and lichen

They pour over each page.
Illustrations shimmer
under Hildegard’s enquiring gaze.
They smell the hide, minerals,
ink’s oak oil, plant dye.
Hildegard’s hunger quickens.
Her hunger for the getting of knowledge.

 

 

 

PS The writing pictures are of mediaeval time but not Hildegard’s actual writing.

Hildegard’s Feast Day This is a Countdown . . . . .

This is a Countdown.

Five days until Hildegard’s feast day  – 17th September.

In this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey,

Hildegard is a girl developing into a young woman.

In the intimacy of the anchorage Hildegard’s world of the early 12th century seems closed off.

Yet during the 20 years as a walled-in anchorite, Hildegard is preparing for the greatness of her expanding future as one of the worlds first composers, writers, environmentalists and healers.

Her voice speaks to us down the centuries.  Today, 840 years later, we are reminded to be wide eyed and curious, about our planet, other species and our fellow human beings.

Take your mind back over 900 years, Jutta, her Benedictine sister and Hildegard are living and learning in the anchorage attached to a monastery with around 60 Benedictine monks in a life of prayer, work and study.  It is about 1116 AD.

Wide Eyed and Curious

Under Jutta’s tutelage,
Hildegard writes out prayers.
Wide eyed and curious
she absorbs the Divine Office.
With the tablet and stylus                                        
Latin comes alive.

The ten strings of the psaltery
zither the air
as she sings the psalms.
She and Jutta stitch gifted fine silk
for altar cloths and vestments.

Stone walls, monastic chant
by osmosis, her world of music.
Sometimes her mind drifts back to home,
smell of the Bermersheim forest
and meadows in spring.
How she loved running wildly
that last summer
in the woods with her brother Roerich.

In moments of loneliness
she gazes inwards.
Was she a tithe to God
the last of ten children?
Or despite her mother’s warning
was she betrayed
by her secret?

Photos:

1. At top: Taken in March 2017  in our stay place. At work on the writing of Hildegard.

2. Spring just peeping through on the further bank of the Rhine River in Bingen.

3.This photo shows  late Spring the grapes greening up on the far bank of the  Rhine

Book Review by Dr. Christine Cameron. Hildegard of Bingen:A Poetic Journey

AFFIRMING REVIEW        by     Dr Christine Cameron

Hildegard’s life sings and dances across the pages of this engaging harmony of her works, set out in this poetic journey that commences at the twilight of her life and then rewinds back through the lens of time. There is the separation from family to “entombment” in an anchorage with Jutta and another; words that then envelop the reader in frigid emotions of isolation and confinement – words that explore the lack of warmth amidst sanctity and penance! Nevertheless, an inner glow returns with the descriptive analysis of freedom becoming a reality, when there is a re-emergence into the light and life of the monastery – its interior and exterior – its undulating fields and its healing life-giving plants.

While engaged on the journey the foremost characters are given personalities that leap lifelike from the pages – Jutta is a living saint who projects perfection; the personality clash with the Head Abbot Kuno simmers and grows; the bond between Hildegard and her sisters is as a mother with her daughters; Hildegard’s incredible friendship with the ever faithful Volmar and her undying but questionable love for the young Richardis when there was a need to treat all equally – demonstrate a logical progression of words and ideas leading to a climax. As magistra – teacher Hildegard’s awareness of the confinement of the monastery leads her to respond to the “divine call” for change and meeting the challenges she creates new foundations with her group of nuns. 

A mystical writer, a visionary, a healer, a scientist, a writer of plays, a musician – what a woman! In this Poetic Journey Hildegard’s genius is explored with cadences and rhythms that flow from verse to verse and page to page. There is the illness that plagues her through her long life which ends in pain and sanctified silence but is expertly shown by the writer that Hildegard’s life has really only just begun for as a saint and Doctor of the Universal Church her life is immortalised in the annals of the Church. The many gifts of Hildegard – including her charisma – are expertly embedded in this “Poetic Journey” that gives voice to the “Living Voice”. A very enjoyable and fascinating read!

Dr Christine Cameron – 15 March 2019.

Christine is a seasonal lecturer with the Australian Catholic University. She has served as Principal and in administrative positions in Catholic primary schools in NSW Australia. Christine’s books are based on her successful PhD research into Women Doctors of the Catholic Church: A Study in servant Leadership.

Her first book Leadership as a Call to Service (2012)  explores the then three female Doctors.  Her second book, on the The Life and Works of Hildegard of Bingen  (2013) shows her a regarded scholar of Hildegard and 12th century  mystical writings, as she 

“seamlessly weaves the golden thread of SERVANT LEADERSHIP through the life and works of St. Hildegard

 

Book review by Abbess Christine Valters Paintner. Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey

Affirming words from the Abbess Christine Valters Paintner   PhD

who lead the enriching 3 weeks Pilgrimage

of walking in Hildegard of Bingen’s footsteps in the Benedictine Way

which I was a part of with 30 other pilgrims in Autumn 2013

Christine’s latest book  Dreaming of Stones is a very reflective selection of poetry

 

“Hildegard of Bingen was a woman of extraordinary creative expression and this book approaches her wisdom through the gift of poetry which allows us to move into a more intuitive space. It is a book to slow us down, that invites us to ponder, and calls us to follow Hildegard toward a growing greenness in our lives.”

—Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, author of 12 books on spirituality including Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics

Blessings on your project!

Warmly, Christine

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Abbey of the Arts:

Transformative Living through 

Contemplative and Expressive Arts

 

Book Review by Dr.Annette Esser. Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey

Annette Esser  in September 2013 speaking to a group of pilgrims including myself.

Annette’s Book Review of Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey

What an oeuvre! I love this work. What a superb and elaborates work!
These nine books of poems by Australian poet Colleen Keating tell Hildegard‘s life story plus the ones of her intimates, especially Jutta, Volmar and Richardis in such a stunning way that the reader feels put into the landscape and ambience of the Hildegard’s Medieval cloister world and the most intimate feelings and sensations of her time in the 12th century.
The author presents here her work of 20 years of poetic search and thoughtful reflection.
Myself, having done research on Hildegard as well, since early 1990 in Germany and America, I have never encountered elsewhere such an amazing poetry on Hildegard’s whole life story that even seems to have a grasp on the German language, culture and nature.Self-evidently, the author follows new historical insights after the late translation of the “Life of Lady Jutta“, even though some of her story-telling is still in dispute in the Hildegard research (such as the place of her birth; the site of the Disibodenberg women‘s cell;  the questions whether Hildegard also counts as the foundress of Eibingen; and the question whether the number of “four missionary journeys“ is rather a construct). Yet, as a spiritual Hildegard scholar, I wish to stress that fictional writing is sometimes not just more inspired but also more true than merely accounting historical facts.
Thus, I highly recommend reading, tasting and meditating on this poetic journey on Hildegard of Bingen. It is inspired by deep knowledge and wisdom.
In short: I wish we could translate these poems from the other side of the earth also back into Hildegard‘s own German language. They belong to this world and they belong here.
Dr. Theol. Annette Esser, Foundress and President of the Scivias Institute for Art & Spirituality in Germany, Initiator of the new Hildegard Pilgrimage Way from Idar-Oberstein to Bingen, author of „Die Kirchenlehrerin Hildegard von Bingen“ and „Pilgerbuch Hildegard von Bingen Pilgerwanderweg“ (the Hildegard Pilgrimage Book)

Colleen and Annette 4 years later in March 2017 on my third pilgrimage to Bingen.

Dr. Annette Esser Founder and President of the Scivias Institute for Arts and Spirituality , Germany  met us and invited us to spend time in the room. speaks especially of the wonderful Trinitarian Mandala of Hildegard. 

It was 27 years after Scivias her first book was began. This mandala  is from LIBER DIVINORUM OPERUM – The Book of Divine Works (1163-1170)

Hildegard heard “ . . I, the fiery life of Divine essence am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows. I gleam in the waters. I burn in the sun, moon and stars, With every breeze , as with invisible life that contains everything, I awaken everything to life “

Rupertsberg was a crag at the confluence of the Nahe and the Rhine, in Bingen am Rhein. It is named for Saint Rupert of Bingen, son of Bertha of Bingen. It is notable as the site of the first Abbey founded by Saint Hildegard of Bingen, in 1150, after leaving the monastery at Disibodenberg. 

She acquired the land from Hermann, dean of Mainz, and Count Bernhard of Hildesheim, plus various smaller gifts. The convent chapel was consecrated by Archbishop Henry of Mainz in 1152.  

Hildegard built a thriving community of women with gardens of healing plants  and an Apothecary  to prepare the herbs and plants for healing.

There is thought that she had up to 100 sisters living and studying and working there as a community

The ruins of the monastery were  rediscovered in the work done to make way for a railway track in 1857.

PRESS RELEASE: Hildegard of Bingen by Colleen Keating

It might have taken nearly 1000 years, but against all adversity
this woman claims her place in history.

 A Poetic Journey with Hildegard of Bingen . 

Marvel at her tenacity and fragility.

Feel you are present with this amazing woman’s story.

Critics acclaim:  

 ‘What an oeuvre! What a superb and elaborate work.’ 

Hildegard’s life sings and dances across the pages
of this engaging harmony of her works . . .’

The reader feels put into the landscape and ambience
of Hildegard’s medieval cloistered world’

Learn how this famous composer and musician was silenced. 

How her Abbey was forbidden to play music or sing for nearly a year.

Experience her oneness with the earth and its importance to our wellbeing

‘The earth is our mother’ she would say,
she is mother of all for in her is the seed of all’

Engage with her study of plants for health and her holistic healing.  Hear her say to you:

‘Feast your eyes on the green ,a thousands shades of green,  a healing colour,
let it heal you with its greening power, rooted in the sun. 

Encounter the  joy and pain of the deep friendships in her life. 

Capture the beauty of the Rhine Valley in all its seasons, where Hildegard lived out her 82 years.

Endure the hard times where she, as a woman of the 12th century, hits the brick walls of patriarchy, ignorance, hardship and struggles to be heard.

If you already thought you knew Hildegard you will be all the more there as she creates her life journey. 

“It is a book to slow us down, inviting us to ponder and calls us to follow Hildegard towards a growing greenness in our lives”

If you do not know Hildegard you are in for a treat.

Can be ordered through all good book stores or from the publisher 

www.ginninderrapress.com.au 

or 

Amazon Books Australia, UK, USA

Colleen Keating / Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey

Back Poetry

 

 

 

 

Hildegard of Bingen: Poetic Journey available now

Ginninderra  Press

www.ginninderrapress.com.au

Internationally on AMAZON BOOKS

Colleen Keating / Hildegard of Bingen: 

A poetic journey

Poetry

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‘Hildegard of Bingen was a woman of extraordinary creative expression and this book approaches her wisdom through the gift of poetry which allows us to move into a more intuitive space. It is a book to slow us down, that invites us to ponder, and calls us to follow Hildegard towards a growing greenness in our lives.’ – Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE, Abbey of the Arts

‘Hildegard’s life sings and dances across the pages of this engaging harmony of her works, set out in this poetic journey that commences at the twilight of her life and rewinds back through the lens of time. Hildegard’s many gifts – including her charm – are expertly embedded. A very enjoyable and fascinating read.’ – Dr Christine Cameron 

‘Colleen Keating brings to this impressive collection some very fine, positively Hildegardian qualities – a robust earthiness, an inner strength, a passion for justice and a fiery light.’ –
Dr Mary O’Connell

‘What an oeuvre! What a superb and elaborate work! These nine books of poems by Australian poet Colleen Keating tell Hildegard’s story in a stunning way. The reader feels put into the landscape and ambience of Hildegard’s medieval cloistered world. Thus I highly recommend reading, tasting and meditating on this poetic journey with Hildegard of Bingen.’ –
Dr Annette Esser, Founder and President of the Scivias Institute for Art and Spirituality, Germany.

978 1 76041 766 6, 248pp

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