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.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.