As early as the age of 3, Hildegard experienced visions. Yet, it wasn’t until she was 42 years old that she began to write down her experiences. While “beaten down by many kinds of illnesses”, she “decided to put her hand to writing”. Once she did this, she “received the strength to rise up from (her) sick bed, and under that power (she) continued to carry out the work to the end.” For the rest of her lifetime, she was a prolific writer.
One of Hildegard’s contributions that still remain important in our time is her idea of Viriditas. Translated as “greening power,” Viriditas can be described as the divine life force that lives and breathes within all living beings. This potent force is full of vitality, moisture, and fecundity, able to bring creativity and health into the world. It makes all things grow, expand, and thrive. And it is the force that returns, after being absent, when healing occurs after an illness. We experience it in the dynamic growth of plants in nature as well as our own sense of health.
“The soul is a breath of living spirit, that with excellent sensitivity, permeates the entire body to give it life. Just so, the breath of the air makes the earth fruitful. Thus the air is the soul of the earth, moistening it, greening it.”
– St. Hildegard of Bingen
For Hildegard, the Divine permeated all of life – every plant, every animal, every stone, every human being. 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.
“I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon and stars … I awaken everything to life.” — St. Hildegard von Bingen
most royal greening verdancy,
rooted in the sun,
you shine with radiant light.”
“Glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars.
Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings.
What delight God gives to humankind
with all these things. . . .
All nature is at the disposal of humankind.
We are to work with it. For
without we cannot survive.”
In her homeland of Germany, Hildegard is well known for her contributions to holistic health and wellness, as the founder of alternative medicine. The wisdom that Hildegard shared about natural healing, nutrition, and healthy living was a seed planted that continued to flourish into the future within the field of natural medicine. It can still be found within the principles of healthy living in our current times.
Interested in learning more? Join my upcoming classes on Healing with Hildegard starting in April. Sign-up here.