Hildegard Healing a ‘Fundamental Defect’ in Western Consciousness

Everywhere one looks into Hildegard’s consciousness, whether in her music or her poetry or her opera or her paintings and visions or her books, we can recognize in her a deep grounding in the Divine Feminine. Accordingly, Hildegard writes about Mary as the “ground of all being.” Sometimes we talk about “God as ground of all being”, but she addresses Mary as ground of all being. This is Goddess talk, the language of the Divine Feminine. It is strong.

Icon of the Theotokos (God-Bearer) originally posted to Flickr by Ted.

Why are we in such need today to wake up to the Divine Feminine?  Maybe it is because Patriarchy has ruled with its philosophy of power-over rather than power-with for thousands of years.  The results have been an empire consciousness, militarism (humanity today is spending over $56,000 per second on war and armaments), abuse of women, girls, mother earth and all her creatures, and education directed exclusively toward knowledge and oblivious of wisdom.  For starters.

The late and great Christian monk Father Bede Griffiths, who directed an ashram in southern India that honored both Hindu and Christian ways for over fifty years, wrote that “the disastrous effects of Western industrialism, physical, social and psychological, polluting the world and threatening to destroy it are only too evident.” But the cause is “due to a fundamental defect in Western man,” which is the excessive rationalism and masculine “dominating power of the mind” that needs to be balanced by the feminine, intuitive, receptive power of the mind.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Hildegard of Bingen, a Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century, pp. xvii, 111.

adapted also from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, p. 246

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Sunrise meditation, Joshua Tree, United States. Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree with Bede Griffiths that the West suffers from a “fundamental defect” and that this concerns the absence of the divine feminine?  Are we making progress in correcting that imbalance in men, women, and cultural institutions?

Recommended Reading

Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century

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 book gives strong, sterling, and unvarnished evidence that everything – everything – we ourselves become will affect what women after us may also become….This is a truly marvelous, useful, profound, and creative book.” ~~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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14 thoughts on “Hildegard Healing a ‘Fundamental Defect’ in Western Consciousness”

  1. Avatar

    Dear Matthew,
    We met when I took a leap of faith and came to ICCS in 1990. Your teachings were a balm for my soul which desperately searched for truth. The Dances of Universal Peace began our week, singing and moving meditations of love for ourselves, the planet, each other and the Divine. Watching you and Brian Swimme share how theology and science meet and converge in beauty and grace was a mystical experience each time. Learning from Joanna Macy, Louisa Teish, Saadi Neil Douglas Klotz and so many more who showed me the many aspects of celebrating nature and protecting her. Jeremy Taylor enriched my dream world and therefore my life. And Mary (her last name eludes me) bringing mysticism to science. I only recently parted with the text book from that class, The Seven Mysteries of Life.
    And you are still teaching, writing and showing the world how to create a balanced experience of life. I am grateful beyond measure. Much love, Janet Lawrence Heartson

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Janet, Thank you sooo much for your comment! I’m sure that Matthew will be happy to hear from you! I just have to add that I know exactly what your talking about when it comes to ICCS. I came along a little latter, but experienced what you speak of at UCS (University of Creation
      Spirituality)–I will ever be grateful for the spiritual and educational experience I had there–I had many of the same amazing teachers, and then they was Matthew, and as you say, he is “still teaching, writing and showing the world how to create a balanced experience of life.” And I too am “grateful beyond measure!” Thank you again for your comment!

  2. Avatar

    Dear Matthew, your video meditations have been a literal godsend. My husband has always been an agnostic-leaning-towards-atheist; he co-founded an agnostic branch of AA – just to get away from references to a “higher power.”
    But then two years ago he had a major stroke which left him unable to read and write – pretty tough for someone who was a writer. It did leave him with plenty of time to think.
    I started playing your meditations when he was also in the room. He started listening and now asks to hear you. Your spoken meditations are balm for his spirit-hungry soul.
    More thanks than you can imagine,
    Jo Anne

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jo Anne, that you for letting us know how helpful Matthew’s videos are for you and your husband. May God bless you both!

  3. Avatar

    The imbalance within the human consciousness of humanity is a global suffering, due to the undervaluing, disrespect, unacknowledgement, and unresponsiveness to the inherent goodness, beauty and power of the Divine Feminine’s gifts of contemplation, deep intuitive reflective listening, and the receptivity to the wisdom She so freely offers of Herself, to all.

    Ignorance and fear of the Divine Feminine has perpetuated the illusions and delusions found within the patriarchal consciousness of humanity, which misuses and abuses its power and authority, in attempts to oppress, suppress the Divine Feminine, and Her many gifts, wisdom being but one of them, which She desires to give of Herself. However, despite these attempts, century after century, down through the ages, She keeps resurrecting Herself, through those whom are a part of Her spiritual lineage… those whom continue to learn to deeply listen and intuitively respond to not only Her wisdom offered, but Her comfort and consolation as well.

    This truth, this reality, that has withstood the test of time, despite and in the midst of all that She, and we have suffered throughout the centuries, in all honesty, gives me faith, hope and trust in whom the Divine Feminine is. She is not absent, but rather remains ever present and accessible in Her essence and presence to all those whom desire to know Her for themselves. Her welcoming invitation is offered to all.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Unfortunately, because of length, I had to post the “Reader’s Digest” version of your comment, but what I wanted to do was present what I felt were the main points you had to offer. First, there is an imbalance within human consciousness which is between patriarchal consciousness (which is knowledge based), and the consciousness of the Divine Feminine (which is wisdom based). Second, despite patriarchal consciousness, the Divine Feminine has “century after century, down through the ages, She keeps resurrecting Herself, through those whom are a part of Her spiritual lineage”–more than this, you end in saying that the Divine Feminine remains ever present and accessible; with an open invitation offered to all.

      1. Avatar

        Richard. I’ll try in the future, to be more concise and less verbose in my comments posted. It’s hard to do so sometimes when your in the receptive creative zone of listening and writing at the same time. I really do appreciate the opportunity to post comments and to share with others as they do so as well, regarding the daily DM and the queries for contemplation. Thanks for helping me to learn to be a better communicator and listener.

        1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
          Richard Reich-Kuykendall

          Jeanette, You are a very good writer and I always enjoy reading your comments–sometimes I just have to do some snipping for the sake of space. Thanks for understanding !!!

  4. Avatar

    Patriarchy feeds on an unlimited intent to concentrate power, resources, to ground thinking as coming from knowledge rather than blending wisdom as well. The church as an institution has as well, at least in the Catholic version, developed its intent to administer rather than also believe that truth is not to be attained unless spirituality is part of it. Am I right in this approach?

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Yes, Enrique, I believe that you are right in this approach! Patriarchy IS about power and is based on knowledge WITHOUT wisdom. And you are right in saying, “truth is not to be attained unless spirituality is part of it.”

  5. Avatar

    Thank you, Matthew Fox, for your devotion to the recovery of wisdom. I first read Original Blessing in 1993 and was profoundly moved. In your book I found reasons for hope and trust. You were able to beautifully articulate and support with deep study a cosmic perception that I had only seen vague and partial glimpses of through intuition. The sense of validation of the disregarded was powerful! Your boldness and passion really inspired me and planted seeds in my mind that grew and had a beneficial influence. Almost 30 years later, I have now discovered the Daily Meditations and I’m so grateful for your patient continued teaching. I think teaching may well be the purest form of love. Thank you!
    Regarding today’s topic, I think that we may have made progress including more females higher up in the patriarchal system, but we seem to be moving farther and farther away from including the mystical ways of the Divine Feminine.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Claudia, First of all, you are very welcome! ORIGINAL BLESSING has had a similar affect on others like yours–including me. Second, I am so glad that you have reconnected with Matthew through his Daily Meditations. And, Claudia, I think one of the things I will remember for a long time to come is your statement: “teaching may well be the purest form of love.” Thank you!

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