Viriditas and Hildegard of Bingen



1.Hildegard of Bingen with her  tablet to write while listening to the Divine Light  



Colleen Keating at Disibodenberg where Hildegard lived for 42 years. (1112 -1150)




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


Fire on Water: a sneak preview



A sneak preview of my latest Poetry Collection,
                      Fire on Water
published by Ginninderra Press, South Australia.

Thank you to Stephen Matthews for such a professional presentation,
and my daughter Elizabeth Keating-Jones for the creative cover.
As a first step I took a few copies to the Society of Women Writers, July luncheon
and they sold like hot cakes. I am appreciative of such encouragement.

The poems in Fire on Water are divided into 7 sections .
Poems are as diverse as ‘visissitudes of a blue butterfly’
and ‘counting dead women.’





One of the poems included is  ‘ in search of Hildegard of Bingen’  which was short-listed for the Society of Women Writers Poetry Competition 2016 and which has recently been translated into German by Annette Esser  (Theologian, Scholar, Art Therapist and Teacher) to be included in a journal in Germany published September 2017 to celebrate the opening of a Pilgrimage Way that has been planned and worked on by Annette for many years now.  It will be opened on 17th September 2017. Hildegard’s feast day.

It is called Hildegardweg.  Attraktion fur Pilger und Wanderer.

The logo for the Hildegardweg is below. If you ever go to the Rhineland look for this sign and put your walking boots on.

Michael and I plan to do it when the International version opens in September 2019. Hmmm that means we will have to get into training!



The logo for the Hildegardweg in the Rhineland Germany

Fire on Water is my second collection of poetry and follows A Call to Listen . (2014).

Date for launch of Fire on Water  is to be announced.
The launch date is TBA

zen moments

Zen is a way of being and can be seen as  a state of mind.  I think for Blake it is seeing ‘the world in a grain of sand,  and a heaven in a wildflower’.  For Eliot it could be ‘at the still point of a  turning world.’   For Frost’s ‘Two Roads’   it is taking the one less travelled’  For Michael  he suggests it is the moment at the bottom of the driveway when he is out and  on  his morning walk.

My zen moment  this day was watching a single tawny leaf on its journey.  And all I could do was breathe out slowly . I felt a sense of everything and nothing.  It could be like my heart and gut just connected very satisfyingly. And so I wrote. . .





zen moment

a tawny leaf

the tree

lived its time
served its purpose

takes its leave


how gently
its fluttered spin
air-cushioned down

by the earth

Colleen Keating



Photo taken by Elizabeth Keating-Jones