I’ve been taking a Western Civilization course this semester which has turned out to be one of the more challenging classes. I am finally starting to enjoy it, though, now that we’re learning about the Dark Ages.
It’s also re-acquainting me with a favorite from history: Hildegard von Bingen. I first learned about her from a class called Art and the Sacred that I took at Evergreen State University. As a multidisciplinary course we learned several subjects in one, in this case: history, religion, and art.
Hildegard von Bingen was know for her visions, philosophy, feminism, music, art, and examination of nature. A German Benedictine abbess circa 1000AD, she was remarkable not only for her mysticism, but for her position of respect in the church as a woman. From a secular perspective her music and knowledge of medicinal herbs carry on to modern day.
I think she’s fascinating–she had a lot going on! Clearly she was talented in a lot of areas, but I think she’s also one of the true synthesizers of things–all of her talents had a unifying factor. There’s some magical thread that runs through her music compositions, knowledge of herbal remedies, and rich works of art.