Hildegard of Bingen and Professor Pitt on the Spiritual Warrior

We are continuing our meditations on the spiritual warrior that were initiated both by the four policemen who were present and active in resisting the insurrectionist attackers on January 6 and by listening to Howard Thurman speak to the deeper meaning of spirituality as inner and outer strength. 

“Peaceful Warrior.” Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran. Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

Yesterday, I introduced “Professor Pitt” who talks often about the “the warrior fight.”  What is that? 

For me the warrior fight first begins with overcoming yourself and your own demons, your own stuff which is the hardest, to keep going in training which is fighting yourself.

This sounds a lot like the prophet Muhammad talking about the primary meaning of jihad as the inner fight with oneself. 

Pitt speaks to an outer fight as well—and the need to resist that when possible. 

And then externally the true warrior’s fight is not to fight physically or to engage in any kind of fight unless it is the last resort. 

North Miami, FL: anonymous witness’ photo of mental health therapist Charles Kinsey on the ground with arms raised beside his autistic patient, just before Kinsey was shot by police. Wikimedia Commons.

This comes up often in his experience. 

Me being African American, you run into many situations where people are pushing you to come out physically and for me that’s one of the fights—to not come out physically because once we come out physically everything is already designed to destroy us and we’ve given them a reason to do what they love doing—locking us up and giving us charges, labeling me in spite of what I do for humanity and the community. The minute I jump into that warrior character all the good stuff I do gets wasted and they just look and say: “There’s that animal again.” So that is a big fight with me. 

He recognizes warrior energy as being applicable to all our relationships—

…warrior being a good man to my wife cause that’s always a struggle, the man and woman thing, how to be graceful in how the stuff comes out, to be as graceful as possible.

“Strengthening the Soul for the Journey.” Illumination by Hildegard of Bingen, in Scivias.

Hildegard of Bingen speaks frequently about “being strong like a tree.”  She is a woman pioneer who had to fight many battles both within herself and with her patriarchal culture.  She tells us we are subjected to many trials in this life and often “God hurls tempests on humans” who are “fragile in flesh” and we cry out: “I have such great and heavy things weighing my flesh down.  I am not strong enough to overcome myself.”  Strength is called for. 

When you oppose the devil like a strong warrior opposes his enemy, then God is delighted with your struggle and wishes you to call upon him constantly in all hours in your distress.

The soul “resists strongly.”  She urges us to “become strong, therefore, and be comforted because this is necessary for you.”   

Furthermore, Christ is “a very strong warrior” who will “break the head of injustice.”  And this is what prophets do—they “carry the banner of justice.”   

It is clear that for Hildegard both women and men are called to spiritual warriorhood and to working and fighting for justice.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, p. 79.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, pp. 118f., 125f.

Banner Image: “Shift away from the love of power to the power of love.” Photo by Alice Popkorn on Flickr.

Do you undergo the “warrior fight” within yourself?  And do you recognize in Christ and others you admire and call on a “very strong warrior” who nurtures your own strength?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen

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.


Join us for a Virtual Teach-in with Isa Gucciardi and Matthew Fox, hosted by Rev. Cameron Trimble.
August 13-14, 2021 (Fri-Sat)
Shamanism in Buddhism and Christianity
Session 1: Friday, August 13 at 4pm-6pm PT
Session 2: Saturday, August 14 at 9am-12pm PT
Session 3: Saturday, August 14 at 12:30pm-2:30pm PT
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4 thoughts on “Hildegard of Bingen and Professor Pitt on the Spiritual Warrior”

  1. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    The key words that are really jumping out at me, with regards to todays DM, are the words, ” the soul resists”. In my experience, in order for the soul to resist and not be futile in it’s efforts… it must first recognize, accept, acknowledge, and respond, to the necessity of one’s soul being united with and what the Spirit of Divine love, compassion, mercy and justice resists… along with the wisdom ways in which the Spirit directs this movement of resistence. One way is through that which I spoke of a couple of days ago, which is through truth-seeking, truth-finding and truth-telling. The other neccessary component of this resistence is the reconciliation of right relationship with… with the different aspects of self, with the different aspects of self within others, with the different expressions of the Great Mystery, the Great Spirit and with the different manifestations of the all and the everything of creation. This Oneness of soul is a spiritual stance of non-violent resistence; which holds the potential possibility of healing, connectivity, creativity and the awakening of the reality of our true interdependence, our true interconnectedness and our true interreliance… along with all of life’s unique and diverse expressions and manifestations… which is the mystery of all existence. All that exists is soulfully bonded together in the beauty and goodness of this mystery. This Oneness of soul resists anything and everything that attempts to distort, divide, separate, alienate, oppress, suppress, or fragment, the reality of these eternal truths.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, you say that the words “the soul resists” jumps out at you in this Daily Meditation. Last week my step-son got me a book to read entitled, SPIRITUAL DEFIANCE. It is by Robin Meyers and is the transcript of his talks for the Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale. Why I think it relates to what has been said today is that his lecture concerns churches being centers of resistance against injustice in society. The subtitle of the book is BUILDING A BELOVED COMMUNITY OF RESISTANCE. And so we have the soul resists and then together we have communities that resist…

  2. Avatar

    Nonviolent resistance is scary but required if we are to be fully human in Divine LOVE. Perennial Truth and Wisdom teach us this, but the heart must hear and see. }:- a.m. “en Christo”

  3. Avatar

    Those suicides just break my heart. I am so grateful to Matthew for honoring the brave men who testified before Congress and received negative responses for their honesty and integrity. I am grateful to him also for honoring the man who blew the whistle on the previous occupant of the White House. Truth telling takes inner strength and courage and the support of a beloved community because there is always a strong and often violent reaction to it. I hope that an upcoming DM will also speak to the recent arrests of the Poor People’s Campaign protesters in Washington DC .

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