Tag Archive: Hildegarde of Bingen


During the past several years, I became hard-pressed to make some very difficult choices in my very familiar and somewhat predictable life: choices like letting go of a house/home of many years, leaving behind a plot of land that was the garden canvas upon which a colorful array of flowers, herbs and vegetables nourished me physically, spiritually and mentally, choices that challenged the way I earned my living as a humble means of security and choices that initially did not allow me to see a clear path into a grounded and stable future.

My life had been filled with color, music, dance and creativity. It was juicy and plump with knowing that I was fulfilling my destiny and blooming in rightness for me.

But then there were gradually some serious challenges in going it alone in a very changing and unstable environment around me and  those circumstances pressing in on me, pressed me as well, sucking a lot of the juice and energy out of my calmness and..well…flattening me and the fullness of familiarity for a while.

I am happily back now in a new and stable phase..gloriously so I think…. but I have learned something important having survived pressing circumstances and being “flattened” for a while myself.

So let me talk about Rose Geranium first as an example. For the year between my “old life” and my “new life” I lived with dear friends, who also had large and bountiful gardens which were a comfort to my loss in the interim. Outside of their front door was a lovely rose geranium plant in bloom all summer and fall, its rounded and scalloped leaves when stroked, exuded a sweet and musky perfume that evoked a sense of sensuality, earthiness, and LOVE. This plant beckoned to me every time I came and went about my tasks such as I was trying to live them out.

 

In the ensuing fall…last October…and before I knew I would be moving finally to a delightful new apartment in totally new circumstances I asked the plant permission and started to harvest some of her finest leaves pressing them between the pages of my books about Hildegard of Bingen which were references for a course I was going to be teaching at the local University.

When in time, I arrived in my new and delightful sanctuary,  my now apartment, and settled in beginng to prepare for the course, I opened the books and again met those leaves…. those now pressed and flattened leaves and I was stunned by their beauty…a NEW kind of beauty… as they emerged from having been nestled and pressed safely between those pages and  lying surrounded by all those beautiful words of wisdom front and back.

In their now pressed and flattened state, their strength and structure and divine and exquisite order…their master plan and destiny… was clearly revealed altho the physicality of their leaves are now seemingly…some might say “thin-skinned”.  But no, I would say instead “delicate, vulnerable and refined” and  with the color and beginning translucence of maturity. There is dance and frivolity and movement in the frilly-ness and happiness of their edges and I see that being pressed has not taken that away…in fact, it has made it the happiness more pronounced and visible as the essence of who and what it really is,  is clearly seen.

Rose Geranium 1

It has gloriously survived being pressed and has evolved into a new phase of being.

What I have learned from being pressed is like all that I see in this rose geranium leaf and  which has been revealed in the still- beauty, sensuality and love that is available when surviving pressing situations that seem to flatten us. If we can be surrounded by good words and the friendly, caring protection of friends/family and community, the “stuff” of which we are made is never lost..just perhaps transformed into what is truly important. Our essence.

And most importantly, is the awesome revelation and knowing of the Divine Order and Guidance of our lives and in that leaf, never fully appreciated until we are squeezed, challenged, or pressed to claim and reveal our deepest selves.

I have been promised a cutting of that plant to bring here in my new apartment. Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Capitatum) A special flowerpot is all ready and waiting! I believe this plant has more to teach me…..

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Please check my foodie blog too : http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

UU2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monk Endrts (2)

The “world” seems quite crazy right now, populated in the media by some very bizzare personalities, stories and situations presented and talked about all day long 24/7 . If one has the tv habit of watching, which I do NOT voluntarily have, the world presented to us is so disturbing, divisive and dangerous that one has limited choices for dealing with it ie  joining the fray with words and verbal combat, insuring a fractured angry heart, or the duck and cover response, insuring disaster and despair when it all goes down and one is left un-prepared to deal with new realities. A third choice is to be very very picky about information coming in from the outside, choosing wisely what informants we listen to, and taking time away from it all to listen from the inside-out.. listen to our own heart and intuition speaking the truth of sanity, peace, balance and love. It also is so important and healing to bring that inner-knowing of virtue back out in some form of creativity and self expression ( (writing, painting, poetry, music, gardening, cooking, STOYTELLING etc)  thus becoming an “Artist”..an Artist of Life, bringing beauty and mindful care to a chaotic world. YOUR world. 

A gem of a book recently came into my life by serendipity while I was deeply pondering these things. A timely toss from my Library Angel, ACE, this treasure “The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom” by Christine Valters Paintner came into my possession as one of the many “winks” from the Universe when I am on the right track in my personal unfolding into who I am meant to be or what I am supposed to be doing.

In this beautifully written book, much of which sounds like it is out of my own journals, the author ties together the similarities of spirit of the archetypes and practices of both the Monk and the Artist. Following her lovely suggestions for both the practice of the the Lectio Divina and especially the Praying/Presence of the Hours of the Day, I started to incorporate the markings of time s during the day to re-collect myself back into a state of peace, awareness of “the NOW” and gratitude and blessing for exact place and moment I was in. 

Often in my life…VERY often..when committing myself to this inner state of  stillness, peace, presence and LISTENING I receive surprise messages from the Ethers, from “The Universe” that cheerlead me  on, often making me laugh out loud in the playful way my direction is validated. And this experimentation with the archetypes of Monk/Artist was no exception.

With book in hand, I drove as I often do to a special retreat center on a little island off of the coast of Connecticut, where I photograph the gardens, walk by the sea, and enjoy the peace and music of wind and water, and the solidness of earth for several hours. I parked the car, and found a big rock upon which to perch reading through the section about the “Inner Monastery” accessed through silence, solitude and nature. When, who should appear right in front of me, strolling with a friend across the vast lawn toward’s the sea, but a MONK himself, in grey habit, rosary beads hooked on the knotted corded belt around his waist, and sandals on his feet.

This retreat center’s grounds are open to the public like a park, and I am there so often during the week when there are few people there and I almost have the place to myself. I can tell you that in all that time, though I have sometimes shared the gardens with couples, people walking their dogs, friends sitting on lawn chairs by the ocean quietly having lunch, or pray-ers on retreat walking slowly in meditation, I have NEVER had a MONK cross my path.

But it did happen that very day as I held the book about the Monk and Artist open on my lap and for sure I recognized that manifesting that monk at that very moment was a very merry communicaton from that who watches and guides my own journey..a “wink” from God, from my angels and/or chorus of ancestor guides.

Enders Sept 4

Lest you think that these validated moments into the Inner Monastery shelter us totally from dealing with the chaotic life-times we live in , I must admit the inconvenient truth that the Monk/Artist steps back to center and remember the assignment he/she was “given” when coming here, and is  then required to go back out and engage the “world” in truth-telling, vision and beauty..making an artful life and bringing hope and healing. In the monastic Rule of St. Benedict centuries ago, he writes of the backbone of this task.

     “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way”.

I like that. And it frees me, gets me off the hook trying to explain the personal path that seems to wander in a different direction than the dominant culture and its consumeristic, militaristic, competitive prescriptions for “happiness” and fulfillment.

I feel okay if not delighted with this, and the “winks” that so playfully manifest all sorts of affirmations to keep on with it….

update Feb 2016 (2)From Christine, the Greening Spirit

***** DON”T BE SHY….SAY HI! *****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Balm, Lady's Mantle, Nettles

Lemon Balm, Lady’s Mantle, Nettles

It is curious how in our lives we spiral in and out of our preferred or beloved ways of being, swept away by pressing concerns or responsibilities requiring our immediate attention. When we are able to “clear the clutter” of outer complications and return to our authentic path, it always feels like coming home to ourselves, to our Soul, our personal destiny.

Herbal traditions…gardening, making medicine or magic, photographing our wondrous green kin allies.. have been a treasured part of my life..both studying and teaching the ways of relationship between ourselves and the plants. The past several years of personal challenges in the mainstream world of work, finances and the relinquishing of home ownership demanded a different focus and expenditure of time and energy. Still in the process of re-orientation, I have been blessed to return to the garden, so to speak…although for the time being, the garden is not mine, but a friend’s and I am so full of gratitude to be able to wander where she has so lovingly planted and nurtured the lovely and magical herbal allies so dear to us both.

As spring has enticed our herbal friends up from their hidden winter lairs and into sunshine, I have been newly enchanted as if seeing them all for the very first time… an emotional reaction of delight that happens every April into June! My way of making relationship with them is first to capture their beauty in photographs, then to gather and make a “simple” tea or a blend, drinking their essence into me…and then writing about them! This is for me the essence of relationship…and it feels so grand to re-connect.

This week, I was drawn to Lady’s Mantle, Nettles and Lemon Balm…and gathered the three of them to make “Lady’s Tea #1“.. a blend for three cherished valuable qualities for a Lady of good character: Lemon Balm “to maketh one merry” (Hildegarde of Bingen)..a sense of humor, a most irresitible charm, Nettles for the necessary-at-times prickly inner Bitch to stand up for oneself, and Lady’s Mantle, to evoke the blessings of our Holy Mother Mary, the gentle nurturer and protector of body and soul.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

 

 

 

 

Lady's Mantle

Lady’s Mantle

 

Nettles (ouch!)

Nettles (ouch!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are, of course, scientific and medicinal intentions for creating this blend to specifically nurture the body or heal an imbalance. But on this particular day, the creation of this blend was for the metaphysical properties that are always present when interacting with the herbal KINdom.

Welcome home, ME!

Boots on the Ground

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

Visit my other blogs!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

Brambles (2)

Well, in Part 3  (Order and Chaos) of this series, I revealed  to all the wild un-mowed backyard which has now been christened “The Meadow”.  All of my attention this year has been out front growing vegetables in boxes in full view of anyone passing by and the picture of that mower in the tall grass is it only on its way back to the shed after the front lawn has been spruced up.

Yarden mow (2)

The back has been untended for three years for several good reasons and for sure I have felt a bit guilty about it each year. But just a bit, because in fact, each time I go out there, I am captivated by the spirit of the wild, the untamed, the unplanned. There are TREASURES in that meadow…. varieties of ferns under which faeries hide, teasing waving grasses that keep the black kitty who wanders through the green in hunting mode early morning and at dusk, and for sure, herbs for healing that appear on their own without any assist from me.

Ferns

Treasures for sure!  My herbalist colleagues know these to be just that although  those who are into perfect presentations of turf and balanced landscsaping ie immaculate carpets of green untainted by…argghhh! A WEED! …. would be “tsk tsking” at my supposed irresponsibility.

Not so.

Burdock! – burrs and healing seeds in the making. The root, if I were to dig it up, which I am not planning to do, is powerful cleansing and nutritive medicine.

Burdock closeup

Mugwort- The herb of dreamers, visionaries, opening the third-eye of deep-see-ers and wise-women. A smudging herb and the herb used as moxa in acupuncture. It is also an herb for regulating the menstrual cycles of young women.

Mugwort

Lemon Balm- According to Hildegard of Bingen ( ) “it maketh one merry” and indeed its delicate lemon scent and flavor tempers sadness and stress in the moment,  especially sweetened with a little honey. A delightful happy herb, it is nonetheless considered one of the premier nervine herbs to calm distressed spirits. My large patch of meadow lemon balm grows amidst a stand of ferns whose interesting shapes amuse the eye.

Lemon Balm

The Brambles: where the blackberries grow all tangled up with milkweed, mugwort, and in some places, treasured nettles. Invasive but colorful bittersweet grows in there too, and thank goodness for some friends who are compulsively compelled to rip it out on sight while passing through the yard. At the moment, the berries are still red, but I watch them turn darker each day in the competetive game of one-upmanship with the birds who will try to get to them first before I do.

Brambles (2)

ELDER- Oh what a precious and magical shrub… every part of the plant having a use, especially the flower (used in gypsy cold care tea) and the berry (used in elderberry syrup as medicine for the flu).  The elder was the magical herb that played a prominent role in the movie, ” Sorceress”  about a medieval herbalist, her craft and the danger it put her in. 

Elder

When I was a little girl, I was enchanted by fairy tales and faeries and I always knew that the best place to find them would be in the meadow, hedgerows or fields. I am in love with the vegetables and flowers and the magic of their unfolding  in my orderly garden but where the wildness Nature has the upper hand is the best magic of all.

I will add a less poetic paragraph here that is a reality where I live, needing precautions for safe foraging and gathering in the meadow here and in the real wilds. Ticks and their four or five tick-borne diseases are endemic where I live in New England, so although lovely dream-like pictures of young women in white flowy gossamer dresses dancing through the fields are on-line,that is NOT what I look like when out there. Covered up with socks, boots, and layers of long-sleeved denim…all sprayed with permethrin has become an un-fun and certainly un-glamorous necessary costume for avoiding the ticks and the very serious diseases they carry. Clinging to tall grasses, or nesting under dried leaves and shrubbery, they love hitching a ride on YOU, to bury underneath your skin and transfer their nastiness.

Yarden mow   back

But still, go forth in the proper way, to discover the Treasures of the Meadow forgotten or unknown in today’s techno society. The real magic is out there.

(all pictures credit: Christine Phoenix-Green)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

My other blogs have magic as well!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

Radiance Melissa

“There is no creation that does not have a radiance, be it greenness or seed, blossom, (leaf) or beauty. It could not be creation without it.” ~ Hildegarde of Bingen  (1098-1179 c.e.)

It is true than everything has its own shimmer and radiant sparkling, but it is not always perceived except with the eyes of the Mystic or Dreamer. How lovely are those graced and gifted moments when Light opens and illumines for us the life force of the greening spirit that is of science, earth and heaven all dancing together.

Radiance 10

The delicious woods and gardens walk with one of my daughters in honor of Mother’s Day was filled with the radiance of life and love … in the land, the vegetation and air itself. It is no wonder that painters have often painted “halos” of light around who and what is holy and beautiful.

May the eyes of our Souls be ever open and perceiving of the Radiance existing all around us… 

(top picture, my daughter M…who is full of radiance herself)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

ALSO: Yellow 3                                                      http://sensuousoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

Innermost Kiss

The SOUL is kissed by God in its innermost regions.  With interior yearning, grace and blessing are bestowed. ~ Hildegard of Bingen

I have always loved Hildegarde of Bingen  (1098-11790).  Benedictine Abbess, mystic, herbalist, musician, writer, Visionary, and risk-taker,  it was also her vibrant spirituality so radiantly full of earthliness, grounded-ness and sensuality that named and nominated her centuries later as a woman far ahead of her time.  I have also always been amazed that she was not burned at the stake for her feminine expressions of the sacred in words, phrases and sentences not taken from ecclesiastical writings or scripture, but rather out of the lived experience of nature, earthly life and her personal depths of soul.

How lovely to be “known” so intimately by the Source of Life, which in the language and times of her experience is the name “God”  and aslo as  the Greening Power, Veriditas,  that moistens us spiritually and physically in our incarnation here transforming everything into exquisite beauty.

And how blessed are we to have a friend, lover or companion with whom we are safe enough to unfurl our petals and skirts, emotionally, psychologically and physically to be known, cherished and kissed in the secret heart of our being, allowing for the complete revelation of our own personal blossoming.

We ALL have a secret Center, often hidden from a harsh world. It can be dangerous to be vulnerable for there are those who do not see Beauty, who move at a rapid pace by with eyes focused on other less exquisite things, who trample and violate sacred space on the earth and in the hearts and minds of people.

I think of the wars all around the globe right now, and the violence, bombs, guns, weapons, artillery  and the weapons of mind, thoughts and words that ravage rather than kiss everything in their path. Hildegarde wrote plays complete with music and script for her monastery of nuns to perform, keeping art alive as spiritual expression and nourishment. She once said of the assigned characters in her play that the role of the devil was spoken, not sung because “The Devil is the only one who does not/cannot sing”  For Hildegarde,  beauty, art and music were like the “Kiss of God in our innermost regions” eliciting and calling forth Beauty and Wholeness in all things.

Those who kill, maim, and move forth in political, fundamentalist or sectarian violence in the wars everywhere with “toys” of destruction have NO MUSIC in them, cannot sing or dance and have no opening within themselves to the innermost region of Beauty where they may be kissed and moistened into connectedness and the preservation of precious Life. It is sad for us, and it is sad for them to be so devoid of true openness to the exquisite Sacred known by the mystics and poets.

These are challenging times. We choose to allow ourselves to be kissed in our innermost regions by Beauty which requires vulnerability and the moist Greening Power of Possibilities. As Hildegarde suggests, the YEARNING for Beauty and Harmony is necessary for the blessings of Peace to be restored and renewed.

May it be so.  (Originally published 9/9/2014)

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

*** This site is Food for the Soul.

For Food for the Body and Cooking Memoirs you are invited to visit my cooking blog  http://sensuoussoupsandsupper.wordpress.com

For reflections on the importance of and Memoirs on teaching music please check my blog  http://pianomistress.wordpress.com


                                                      

 

 

Fukushima

Fukushima

“Now in the people that were mean to be green, there is no more life of kind. There is only shrivelled barrenness.

The winds are burdened by the utterly awful stink of evil, selfish goings on.

Thunderstorms menace.

The air belches out the filthy uncleanliness of the peoples.

There pours forth and unnatural loathesome darkness that withers the green and wizens the fruit that was to serve as food for the people.

Sometimes this layer of air is full… full of a fog that is the source of many destructive and barren creatures that destroy and damage the earth, rendering it incapable of sustaining humanity.

God desires that the world be pure in his sight.

The Earth should not be injured!   The Earth should not be destroyed!

As often as the elements of the world are violated by ill-treatment, they will be cleansed. They will be cleansed thru the sufferings, thru the hardships of humankind,

THE HIGH, THE LOW, ALL OF CREATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO HUMANKIND TO USE FOR WELL-BEING.

IF THIS PRIVILEGE IS MISUSED, GOD’S JUSTICE PERMITS CREATION TO PUNISH HUMANITY! .”      ~  Hildegarde of Bingen   (1098-1179)

 

Fukashima4It is not possible to write a blog whose intention is to present Beauty and uplifting thoughts, without periodically addressing the serious and devastating situations we find ourselves in on the planet today that threaten that focus. Issues of environmental pollution and abuse, war and weaponry, out of control power structures and self-serving greed sucking the life out of everything that is blessing and gift to us is running rampant on a scale unprecedented in human history.. unprecedented in fact in the natural ancient history of the earth itself.

Hildegarde of Bingen lived during what is referred to as “The Dark Ages” when myth, superstition, ignorance and power structures had no place for intelligent science. Things were indeed dark back then. There have been many Dark Ages in the earth’s natural evolutionary history, and in the history of human civilizations. Only HUBRIS and denial keep us from acknowledging that WE are in The Dark Ages now despite the assumed sophistication of modern technology and supposed higher intelligence.

People Many are waking up however to this truth of  our times of devastation and suffering, and finding the inspiration and courage to give Voice, like Hildegarde,  to their outrage, their prophetic visions and warnings about what is happening and calls for Justice….not just for people but for Earth itself as the source of our being.

Going online daily to social media sites such as Facebook, despite its irritations and glitches, connects us to those researchers amongst us who are reading and ferreting out true intelligent sources of news or reporting  the inspiring actions of heroic people who are standing up for aspects of Justice and Compassion that are personally important to them.

One of us alone can NOT take ALL of it on by ourselves, getting sick with grief and frustration. Going down with it in its weighty darkness does nothing to fix anything.. Awareness is urgently needed, choosing some area to focus on and speak for is necessary BUT while doing that, also speak and act in the name of Beauty, Art, Creativity, Imagination, and Love right where we are in our own community. Now. Today. This week.  Stand UP for something important and of Beauty.  (Part 2 in the next day or so)

 

***I am deeply and imaginatively inspired by music when I am writing. Jarrod Radnich’s  stunning arrangement of The Lord of the Rings Themes… powerfully dark, foreboding and finally moving towards hope.. accompanied  me as backround music during this writing of this essay. Listening with headphones is the way to appreciate this awesome performance.

LINK:     http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/13963410-lord-rings-virtuosic-piano-solo

****Please note! This is MY imagination upon listening to this music..and not necessarily the intention of Maestro Radnich as arranger/composer. 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Hilde

 

 

 

 

Hildegarde’s World View:

Mandala

My other blogs:

cooking and food memoirs       http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

piano and music teaching         http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

law of attraction/seminars   http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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