Friday, August 14, 2015

Hildegard of Bingen - Man in Sapphire Blue or The Trinity: A Study in Compassion.

In a very general, cultural (patriarchal) sense, male and female consciousness express themselves respectively as active and receptive, yang and yin, objective/logic and subjective/relational. While these biases commonly express in social roles along gender lines, it is important to note that all men and all women have BOTH styles of consciousness and they compliment each other. 

The mystical or contemplative perspective is essentially nondual in its expression of active and receptive consciousness, but with a culturally heavy emphasis on active rational consciousness, the mystical-contemplative is characterized by substantial development of receptive consciousness; that is, intuitive-empathic perceiving and judging capabilities; and again, these compliment and deepen more active sensing and thinking. 

This mystical-intuitive perspective is found in the writings and visions of Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, visionary, healer, administrator and, as of October 2012, Dr of the Roman Catholic Church.

In Hildegard's time, it was traditional in women’s religious orders, to describe Divinity as a circle or a circle in motion, as a spiral. Hildegard writes: “A wheel was shown to me, wonderful to behold…Divinity is in its omniscience and omnipotence like a wheel, a circle, a whole that can neither be understood, nor divided, no begun, nor ended”  She continues, “Just as a circle embraces all that is within it, so does the Godhead embrace all.” The circular imagery is deeply maternal. “Godhead” is feminine in both German and Latin, and is an all-embracing name for divinity.

Man in Sapphire Blue or The Trinity: A Study in Compassion. 
The Man in Sapphire Blue is from the book Scivias (1151)
Hildegard was 42 years old in 1142, when this, her first 
book of illuminations, was started.

Hildegard describes: “A most quiet light and in it burning with flashing fire the form of a man in sapphire blue.”  The blue colors and the manner in which the man holds out his hands, extended toward the world, denote compassion and healing. Hildegard describes the Trinity as “One light, three persons, One God. The Father is brightness and the brightness has a flashing forth and in the flashing forth is fire and these three are one.” The Father is a living light, the Son, a flash of light and the Spirit is fire.. The fire of the Holy spirit binds all things together, illustrated as an energy field surrounding the man. Symbolized as the golden cord of the universe, the Holy Spirit streams through eternity creating a web of interconnectivity of all being and of divinity with creation and humanity (reminiscent of an East Indian cosmology using cord and thread imagery).

Hildegard’s theology of Trinity is about divine compassion entering the world. Jesus the Christ is the revelation of the compassion of God, the incarnation of divine compassion. The Hebrew word for Womb is compassion. But we do not merely look at a mandala (ancient circular image of the universe) – we are transformed by it. This mandala draws us into the energy of divine compassion, it connects us with the Christ, the Blue Man, such that we realize our own identity in Him who is the compassion for the universe.  If we don't hold our healing capacity in unity, the entire rope (universe) unravels. The aperture on the man's head is likened to the 7th Chakra, the crown chakra, that connects individual awareness with universal awareness.

May the words and visions of Hildegard speak to your sense of divine receptivity. And may you wonder with reverence at the precious gift of this amazing, sacred cosmos and our Oneness with all of Life.

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, Bear and Co. Rochester VT, 1985, 2002.
Renate Craine, Hildegard, Prophet of the Cosmic Christ.  Crossroad Publishing, NY, 1997.

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