Hildegard of Bingen was a 12th century mystic, activist, musician, poet, dramatist, physicist, doctor, teacher, prophet, painter, leader, lover of the earth and all creation.
Writer Gloria Durka explains – “At a time when few women wrote she produced major works of theology and visionary writing. When few women were accorded respect she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes and kings. She used the curative powers of nature for healing and describes music as the means to recapturing the original joy and beauty of paradise.
Hildegards legacy for today includes :
- An ecological perspective – a profound sense of being related to the earth
- An emphasis on the beauty of a life of justice and compassion
- An invitation to a holistic use of our intelligence, encouraging development of imagination and intuition
- A mystical theology based in the integrity of creation. In one of her visions, God declared “I am the breeze that nurtures all things green…I am the rain coming from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with joy of life…I am the yearning for good.”
- A powerful role model for women to be true to their own experience. She challenges women to affirm their talents and skills, and to transform the world in authentic partnership with men.”
In 2009 I journeyed to St Hildegard’s abbey in the gorgeous Rhine Valley in Germany. When I arrived in the local village of Rudesheim amusingly there was a national Harley Davidson rally in full swing with hundreds of partying bikers – not quite the serene, devotional atmosphere I had been anticipating! Later I sat in the church where Hildegard’s golden shrine lays and walked around the grounds and vineyards listening to the nuns singing vespers in another beautiful chapel…..
I have had a long love of and concern for sea turtles since witnessing their slaughter by the hundreds in Indonesia in 1989. Since that time I have drawn much inspiration from this ancient species, and have worked voluntarily on some sea turtle research projects.
Turtles might remind us to slow down and heighten our sensibilities. There seems to be an instinctual wisdom that is an important lesson to be learned from sea turtles for me. How can we become more aware of the rhythms of nature and remove the barriers between ourselves and the Earth, so that there is union, connection and flow…
Turtles are the basis of various creation myths across different cultures. To some Native Americans, turtles are associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of the female energies. In parts of Chinese culture turtles are regarded as particularly divine creatures and worshiped in temples. We can admire their navigation skills and ability to travel huge distances to reach home, understanding the nuances of long cycles, and their longevity – it is thought that sea turtles can live over 100 years.