1.Hildegard of Bingen with her tablet to write while listening to the Divine Light
Colleen Keating at Disibodenberg where Hildegard lived for 38 years. (1112 -1150)
A Healing Colour
The none bell fills the air
for afternoon prayer.
Richardis runs ahead with the sisters.
Hildegard in the new garden
adjacent to the monks gardens,
lingers a moment, cherishing the freedom.
Her basket filled.
She gazes around her
sighs with joy.
Her smile can hardly be contained.
How she relishes these moments
to be lost in the loving, living Light.
Dappled, the sun textures
trees and grasses,
with crunch of heaping leaves underfoot,
a riot of russet and gold.
Affirmation comes on the breeze,
God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms
of the mystery of God.
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.
This moment is my miracle
as she hastens back to the convent.
Photo of Veriditas taken by Elizabeth Keating-Jones
I watched an aerial view of the destruction of forests and bush in Queensland recently, yes in 2018, we are still destroying forests here in Australia. I thought of the natural habitats, animals loosing their homes and the birds’ nests falling and the wildflowers and moss and tiny orchids now gone and the bare vulnerable earth left to be washed into erosion gullies and then the droughts, because the forest canopy has been destroyed and the earth no longer sustaining the people. And I thought how relevant are Hildegard of Bingen’s words from the 12th century across the ages to us today in this age of climate change and greed and with the loss of so much wilderness and natural habitats.
Hildegard has a word veriditas that was a touchstone of her spirituality. It is said to be coined from two words green and truth.
For Hildegard this was the greening power, the animating life force manifest in the natural world that infuses all creation with moisture and vitality.
She talks of the “exquisite greening of grass and trees, of earth’s lush greening.
She says all of creation and humanity is “showered with greening refreshment, the vitality to bear fruit”
Clearly for Hildegard creativity and greening power are intimately connected.
To her, the divine was manifest in every leaf and blade of grass. Hildegard saw the manifestation of the Creator in every flower, every stone. For her creation revealed the face of the creator.
Hildegard celebrates the sacred in nature.
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green,
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
I am the rain coming from the dew
that causes the grasses to laugh
with joy of life
For all of us who know and love Hildegard of Bingen,
let us be aware, awake and alert to bring lush greenness to the shrivelled and dried and wilted, to our earth and all its people. It only needs one more to sway the scales to change the critical mass of people who say, leave our trees, our rivers, our forests, our air alone. This tiny blue sphere we live on is our home . . protect and love it.
Hildegard says, we are here to cultivate the earthly and thereby create the heavenly. We do this in all of our creating . . . music, art, poetry, sculpture, bush walking, hobbies and culture.
The tragedy of drying up and ignoring the greening power is that nothing is created.
Colleen and Michael at Disibodenberg at Hildegard’s Kapelle