Tuesday, 2 February 2010

A wonderful taste of Hildegard von Bingen's visions at feminist theology

I have just got back from another great evening at our feminist theology group where Barbara Robra led us to look at paintings of Hildegard of Bingen's visions as one way into the life and work of this extraordinary female polymath, religious thinker and leader from the 12th century.
As we try to go further into finding our way finding our voice, Barabara encouraged us to learn more about Hildegarde and other female mystics who manage to hold together deep learning and understanding with non-linear ways of perceiving the link between God humanity and the cosmos. The image pictured here particularly intrigued me - in each circle of understanding a different wind blows. I love the fact that the outer wind, which blows into the whole framework of this vision, is the joyful, warm southern wind. At last I've seen in visual terms some of the aspects of female medieaval mystics that Grace Jantzen tries to bring out in her feminist philosophy of religion.
There is something extraordinarily powerful in Hildegard's insistence on joy and beauty, on the way she holds together and seeks to make sense of good and evil in her cosmic vision.
Read more about Hildegard including the likelihood that her visions may have been a result of suffering from migraine. More about her soon.
In the car coming home I liked very much that we were talkign about the new book by a modern Genevan female mystic, Francine Carillo - more about that when I've had a chance to buy and raed it.