Hildegard of Bingen
If I told you that I spent the good part of the past week cooking with spelt, listening to chants in Latin, reading ancient translations and sewing a blue nun habit, would you be surprised?
I assure you that this is not a sudden infatuation. I am totally enchanted by Hildegard of Bingen, a Benedictine abbess who lived in 12th Century Germany. I have been in love with this little medieval nun for many years. A blog post about my connection to Hildegard written in 2008 titled “Grace, EFT and the Mystics” http://theindigoconnection.com/blog/?p=44 will give you some sense of how this all started.
Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was no ordinary nun. Undeniably one of the most astonishing female leaders who ever graced this earth, she was a mystic, naturalist, healer, visionary, poet, author, composer and artist. Through visions she received directly from God, she shared a wider vision of the world and helped humans to live in it more joyfully. Life in her abbey was FUN. Although she challenged the corruption of the church and was excommunicated during her lifetime, in October 2012 she was finally recognized as a Saint AND Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict. Better late than never!
My passion for Hildegard re-ignited when I learned of Matthew Fox’s new book HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: A Saint for Our Times (Oct. 2012). Going on Amazon led me to more fascinating resources – 2 films available on DVD, a cookbook based on foods Hildegard recommended for physical and emotional health, music recordings, ornate mandalas and wisdom on a variety of topics. I watched the films, listened to the music, read the books and cooked a few of her recipes.
As I marinated in all things Hildegard, some bold thoughts began to take shape. What if I could embody her as a character and share her wisdom with modern audiences? Her messages of mystical spirituality, faith, sustainability, peace and environmental stewardship are relevant today. A voice from the depths of my soul whispered “Finish the outfit” and I shuddered. I’m not even Catholic and here I am, considering taking on the role of a nun. Would this offend someone? What would I be getting into?
In spite of my hesitation, I set out to JoAnn Fabrics on a frigid Saturday in March. Once inside, I easily found a pattern, as well as a beautiful blue fabric that matched my blue purse. I was armed to create my first nun habit. (Note: you can refer to the previous blog post for the purse story, which involved faith and a few coupons.)
Now home, my first challenge was dusting off the sewing machine, which had been hibernating for over a decade in my basement. Pressing the pedal resulted in a muffled grinding noise, but no movement. Being a woman of faith, I said a prayer then scurried off to find some lubricant. Sure enough, a few sprays of WD-40 in strategic crannies got that baby moving. Praise God!
Now it was time to cut and sew the habit. Expecting that would be a piece of cake, I discovered that my trusty pincushion was nowhere to be found. I suspect my daughter stole it off to college, but lacked proof at the moment. What would McGuiver do now? I boldly scotch-taped the pattern to my fabric and used a few safety pins to hold things together. Not pretty, but thanks to this being a garment where fit was hardly critical, we would get by.
Once seated at the machine, the act of sewing became pure joy. Not many people know that I sewed most of my clothes back in high school. I could spend hours without food or breaks once involved in a fabric creation. The sounds, sensations and the delicious smell of pattern, fabric and sewing machine oil had collided to delivered pure bliss. Thank you Hildegard for returning me to a wonderful hobby ignored far too long.
Each piece of the costume came into being: first the dress, then the contrasting white head piece with collar, and finally the veil. I finished pressing the final seam with deep satisfaction thinking, “It doesn’t matter if I ever wear this habit”. The simple experience of sewing had already been enough.
I see Hildegard looking back at me from the mirror and can only thank her for allowing me to see that we are kindred spirits, travelers from different times. Sewing the habit gave me the courage and full vision for sharing her message more widely. I quickly jotted down the ideas and sent an invitation for a day retreat called How to Thrive as a Modern Mystic – Energy Makeover® Lessons from Saint Hildegard of Bingen to my email list. Within just a few minutes, 8 women had enrolled and paid in full. Given that the event wasn’t even happening until May 17, I was impressed at how the message of Hildegard had resonated with my friends and colleagues. More importantly, I know today’s Hildegard will bring a new spark of fun to her mystical message. I bet Hildegard would have adored email and social media if it were available in her day.
Not a single soul (besides me) has seen Betsy as a blue nun. Not even my husband, although he knew I was working on it and texted a simple “oooh baby”, then suggestively requested I sew him a Pope outfit. We’ll see about that later. Perhaps that will be our plan for Halloween.
Could YOU benefit from more stamina, courage and intuition? Here’s what Hildegard has promised for the May 17 group:
• Sample Hildegard’s “Foods of Joy”- Find out how they are also slimming and take home recipes to fuel joy
to your life.
• Experience mystical visions through meditation facilitated by Hildegard’s music and mandalas.
• Play in the Garden – Explore healing herbs, get grounded and quiet your soul through a planting activity.
• Capture your insights through journaling.
• Go deeper into understanding your unique gifts as a healer, mystic and leader.
• Experiment with your intuition among supportive friends.
• Develop an action plan for living as a mystic in YOUR life, home and business
You can go to the link below for details to join us on May 17. Four spots remain, however if you miss this event, I am happy to deliver this program to your group at a later time. I suspect Hildegard will enjoy meeting many people in her new outfit. Good thing she has a matching purse and shoes!
Here’s the link: http://modernmystic.eventbrite.com/#