Hildegard of Bingen, medieval abbess, physician, philosopher, naturalist, composer, poet, author and linguist, describes a vision she had about the Divine Feminine.
“I heard a voice speaking to me: ‘The young woman whom you see is Love. She has her tent in eternity… It was love which was the source of this creation in the beginning when God said: ‘Let it be!’ And it was. As though in the blinking of an eye, the whole creation was formed through love. The young woman is radiant in such a clear, lightning-like brilliance of countenance that you can’t fully look at her… She holds the sun and moon in her right hand and embraces them tenderly… The whole of creation calls this maiden ‘Lady.’ For it was from her that all of creation proceeded, since Love was the first. She made everything… Love was in eternity and brought forth, in the beginning of all holiness, all creatures without any admixture of evil. Adam and Eve, as well were produced by love from the pure nature of the Earth.”
Hildegard is only the fourth woman in history to be declared a Doctor of the Church, joining the names of Catherine of Sienna, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Therese of Lisieux.
In our time the Divine Feminine is returning in the awakening of women the world over to their rights and their proper role in leadership as well as in telling their stories of common suffering and abuse. Many believers and non-believers alike are undergoing experiences and even visitations from the Black Madonna, for example. Sophia, Wisdom, the Brown Madonna–Our Lady of Guadalupe–and other archetypes of the Divine Feminine are coming alive in appeals to defend Gaia, our Earth Mother, after centuries of rape and plunder.
Hildegard recognized that when women come into their own, there will be an end to the power-over dynamics that have blighted the planet. Instead of the reigning powers of Patriarchy, only the integration of a healthy Sacred Masculine and a resurrected Divine Feminine can save us from our destructive ways.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Hildegard of Bingen: A Saint For Our Times, pp. xiii, xiv, xvi
For more on Hildegard see: Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen.
For Deeper Insight…
In prayerful meditation, sit with Hildegard’s art work or music: what are the insights that they open within you?
Recommended Reading and Listening
An introduction to the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen, Illuminations reveals the life and teachings of one of the greatest female artists and intellectuals of the Western Mystical Tradition. At the age of 42, she began to have visions; these were captured as 36 illuminations–24 of which are recorded in this book along with her commentaries on them. “If one person deserves credit for the great Hildegard renaissance in our time, it is Matthew Fox.” – Dr Mary Ford-Grabowsky, author of Sacred Voices.
Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century
Author Matthew Fox writes in Hildegard of Bingen about this amazing woman and what we can learn from her.
In an era when women were marginalized, Hildegard was an outspoken, controversial figure. Yet so visionary was her insight that she was sought out by kings, popes, abbots, and bishops for advice.
This is the record that started the Hildegard craze back in 1982–and you need only listen to Emma Kirkby glide and soar through Columba aspexit (the opening hymn) to understand why. ~ Matthew Westphal