St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), the remarkable abbess of the 12th century, was a renowned mystic, healer, scientist, writer, preacher, composer, and artist. She was born the 10th child within a noble family in the lush, green valley of the Rhineland that was burgeoning with rich soil and flourishing vineyards
As early as the age of 3, Hildegard experienced visions. Yet, it wasn’t until she was 42 years old that she began to write down her experiences. While "beaten down by many kinds of illnesses", she "decided to put her hand to writing". Once she did this, she "received the strength to rise up from (her) sick bed, and under that power (she) continued to carry out the work to the end." For the rest of her lifetime, she was a prolific writer.
One of Hildegard’s contributions that still remain important in our time is her idea of Viriditas. Translated as “greening power,” Viriditas can be described as the divine life force that lives and breathes within all living beings. This potent force is full of vitality, moisture, and fecundity, able to bring creativity and health into the world. It makes all things grow, expand, and thrive. And it is the force that returns, after being absent, when healing occurs after an illness. We experience it in the dynamic growth of plants in nature as well as our own sense of health.
“The soul is a breath of living spirit, that with excellent sensitivity, permeates the entire body to give it life. Just so, the breath of the air makes the earth fruitful. Thus the air is the soul of the earth, moistening it, greening it.”
- St. Hildegard of Bingen
For Hildegard, the Divine permeated all of life – every plant, every animal, every stone, every human being. Each was a small part or microcosm of the whole of God that was macrocosm. These physical manifestations in the world revealed to us the face of the Divine Creator.
“I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon and stars ... I awaken everything to life.” — St. Hildegard von Bingen
As human beings, filled with the fiery power of life, we have the possibility to embody this radiant flame in our own balance of health and healing in our lives, aligned with nature.
most royal greening verdancy,
rooted in the sun,
you shine with radiant light."
"Glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars.
Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings.
What delight God gives to humankind
with all these things. . . .
All nature is at the disposal of humankind.
We are to work with it. For
without we cannot survive."
- St. Hildegard of Bingen
Hildegard honored the sacred connection to nature that creates harmony and vitality. She felt that if this connection was out of balance, then there was a drying up of vitality and illness could arise. One could reconnect with this powerful divine life force once again – filled with vitality and moisture - through creating healthy balance through rest, herbal remedies, and proper nutrition. At the core, Hildegard believed natural health was achieved through balance and prevention.
In her homeland of Germany, Hildegard is well known for her contributions to holistic health and wellness, as the founder of alternative medicine. The wisdom that Hildegard shared about natural healing, nutrition, and healthy living was a seed planted that continued to flourish into the future within the field of natural medicine. It can still be found within the principles of healthy living in our current times.
Interested in learning more? Join my upcoming classes on Healing with Hildegard starting in April. Sign-up here.
I was born in London, England, educated in Switzerland, and am fluent in English, German, Spanish, and French. I hold a Doctorate in Ministry Degree and Masters Degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. Also, I am an accomplished artist and educator. I use all of this and much more when helping others heal their souls.