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St. Hildegard Von Bingen

What didn't this badass Mother Superior do?  Hildegard von Bingen was a polymath (her knowledge spanned a substantial number of subjects) active as a writer, composer, mystic visionary, and as a medical writer and practitioner during the 12th century.

Hildegard was born in 1098 to a noble family in the county of Sponheim, about 100km west of present-day Frankfurt. As a child she experienced visions of God, which she described as “living light.” She was given over to the care of a nun at the age of eight, who taught her to read and write, and by 14, she was a nun herself. When her mentor passed away in 1136, Hildegard was unanimously chosen to lead her Benedictine monastery.

In addition to running the monastery, Hildegard also devoted her time to writing musical compositions (which are still used today), poems and plays, as well as theological texts, medical books and scientific essays. She founded two monasteries, and extensively traveled around Germany on numerous speaking tours. She lived into her 80s, and she pretty much never stopped working.

She was a philosopher and a scientist, as well as a Christian visionary. Her most well-known work, the Scivias, details her many visions of God, and made her somewhat of a celebrity in her day.

Hildegard believed that all things put on this earth were for the use of humans and became well known for her healing powers involving the practical application of tinctures, herbs and precious stones. 

Her distinctive feature of her work is to emphasize the vital connection between the "green" health of the natural worlds and the holistic health of the human person. "Viriditas" is one of Hildegard von Bingen's guiding images used constantly in all her works. In Latin, it literally means "greeness" and it means vitality, fecundity, lushness, verdure or growth.  Hildegard used it to refer to or symbolize spiritual and physical health.  She uses the word in the broader sense of the power of the plants to put forth leaves and fruit as well as in the sense of the intrinsic power of humans to grow and heal. 

Hildegaard's story has inspired us to take that concept of Viriditas and use it in the formulation of our daily face oil by infusing it with the flora of the season. We use an alcohol extraction process to infuse our seasonal haul from our gardens and property into nourishing sweet almond oil. Our harvested and wildcrafted face oil would make Hildegard proud!

“O most honored Greening Force,
You who roots in the Sun;
You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel
that earthly excellence fails to comprehend.
You are enfolded
in the weaving of divine mysteries.
You redden like the dawn
and you burn: flame of the Sun.”
–  Hildegard von Bingen, Causae et Curae


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