As the sun warms up the earth in the spring, the animals come to life – the birds sing and the squirrels chase each other. The snowdrops and hyacinths poke their heads out of the soil sharing their beautiful colors and sweet fragrances.
New life begins to spring joyfully all around us!
This picture can help us ponder what St. Hildegard called greening power in the 12th century. St. Hildegard was born then, as the 10th child within a noble family, in the lush, green valley of the Rhineland, burgeoning with rich soil and flourishing vineyards.
Surrounded by this damp, green valley, St. Hildegard was inspired to see the “power of the living light” in all of creation and named it viriditas (in Latin).
She described it, not only as the force that we see that comes forth in the spring, but as the divine life force that lives and breathes within all living beings. This powerful force is full of vitality and vigor, bringing health into the world.
Viriditas makes all things grow, expand, and thrive. And it’s the force that returns, after being absent, when healing occurs after an illness. We experience viriditas in the dynamic growth of plants in nature as well as our own sense of health.
For St. Hildegard, this divine force pulsed throughout all of life – every plant, every animal, every stone, every human being – in the world. 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.
St. Hildegard shared, “Viriditas is the natural driving force toward healing and wholeness, the vital power that sustains all life’s greenness.”
She expanded on this idea describing our interconnectedness, “The earth is at the same time mother…She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all.”
We can see here, St. Hildegard as a pioneer in speaking about the concept of the Divine Feminine and Mother Earth in the 12th century. Her teaching reminds us of our deep connection with the life force which sustains the cosmos and every living being within it:
“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
As the earth starts to green this spring, I invite you to take a walk outside in nature. Take a deep breath of fresh air and be present with all the sensations you experience. Become aware of the power of the living light that St. Hildegard called viriditas and express your gratitude for it today.
Interested in exploring viriditas more with spiritual creatives in a community? Join the private Live Your Dreams FaceBook Community which I run with my husband Reverend Doctor David Sharp. Click here to join!