I was scrolling through my WordPress Reader when I came across Sue Vincent’s latest #writephotoimage.
When I saw it I did a double take for I spent hours yesterday making this collage –
What a strange imaginative connection links Sue’s photo and my collage. I have no idea what motivated Sue to post that particular image but the inspiration for my collage came from thinking about the life and work of the 11th century Christian nun, Hildegarde of Bingen.
I find Hildegarde inspirational for she was an accomplished writer, herbalist, mystic, composer, artist and environmentalist back in an age where women were too often voiceless and powerless.
The brilliant colours of her manuscript art inspired my own collage –
Her music is hauntingly beautiful.
One of Hildegarde’s most enduring ideas is the concept of Viriditas, a Latin word which loosely translates as vitality, freshness, lushness,greening, or growth. In Hildegarde’s philosophical writings the word is used as a metaphor for spiritual and physical health. She celebrates the sacred energetic force that animates all life and actively sought to connect with the natural world for she saw it as a source of creative and healing power.
“O most honored Greening Force,
You who roots in the Sun;
You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel
that earthly excellence fails to comprehend.
You are enfolded in the weaving of divine mysteries.
You redden like the dawn
and you burn: flame of the Sun.”
– Hildegard von Bingen, Viriditas
Hildegarde experienced visions from an early age but it wasn’t until she was 42 that she felt compelled to share her visions with the world despite the disapproval of patriarchal church authorities. Later on in life she undertook four preaching tours where she told her male superiors that they would fall from grace if they didn’t change their attitudes. Huffington Post – why Hildegarde matters Her words have relevance today as the male clergy that control many Christian churches are being held to account for their role in covering up child sexual abuses.
There is so much to learn from Hildegarde’s life and work. What came through for me yesterday while I was working on my collage was an understanding of the energy and inspiration found in having a sense of purpose that is greater than personal self interest.
Hildegarde’s voice speaks loud and clear down through the centuries. I hear it in the calm pure notes of her music and in her writings. I see its imprint in her art. “Take your time,” she says to me. “Celebrate life. Create with clear intention. Discipline the will and seek to serve the greater good. Speak your truth.”