For some years I have been very interested and fascinated about Hildegard of Bingen. I live in the Saarland, Germany, and have an hours drive from my house to Disibodenberg where Hildegard lived for almost 30 years. I started visiting the place 7 years ago and when I moved closer to the area I always dreamed of doing yoga in the old ruins of Disibodenberg. This summer I have been doing the yoga there, from April to August every week - except on the days where the weather was really bad.
Disibodenberg is the second strongest centre of energy in Europe; the most powerful is placed under the vast Hagia Sophia in Bulgaria. In German they say: "Ort der Kraft", Kraftort, Kraftplatz, magischer Ort - a place where powerful energies flow because of the spirituality and intentions and magic has happened. Love that expression!
I really connected with Hildegard this summer, read about her, understood her and the contemporary time. I also worked with some of the books she was writing and her visions to get to know her even more. On one occasion I was alone for the yoga session and I really enjoyed it!
A little history about Hildegard: she was born 1098, one of 10 siblings, and when she fell seriously ill her parents promised her to God. In 1112 she arrived at Disibodenberg with a slightly older girl, Jutta, and started her training to become a nun. She learned how to write and read, sing, all about herbs and healing - and spirituality, of course! She became very learned woman and throughout history many a powerful man, abbot, king and emperor sought her advice. When Jutta died in 1136 Hildegard was elected Magistra by the other women at the monastery. Then her real path surfaced and manifested itself in a very interesting way.
When she was 42 years old, things changed. In that time she was considered OLD! I mean, around 1100 it wasn't expected to live to be much more than 50! She describes The Calling herself in Liber Scivias (her masterpiece, that - by the way - took 10 years to write with visions and all!) like this:
"But I, though I saw and heard these things, refused to write for a long time through doubt and bad opinion and the diversity of human words, not with stubbornness but in the exercise of humility, until, laid low by the scourge of God, I fell upon a bed of sickness; then, compelled at last by many illnesses, and by the witness of a certain noble maiden of good conduct [the nun Richardis von Stade] and of that man whom I had secretly sought and found, as mentioned above, I set my hand to the writing. While I was doing it, I sensed, as I mentioned before, the deep profundity of scriptural exposition; and, raising myself from illness by the strength I received, I brought this work to a close – though just barely – in ten years. (...) And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God I heard and received them in the heavenly places. And again I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, 'Cry out therefore, and write thus!' (from Wikipedia)
What I found very interesting was that she really tried NOT to become a celebrity. She just wanted to serve God and help others. She was OLD when she had her calling! And she tried, really tried, to avoid her path! But she couldn't avoid it because she got physically sick! She got sick if she did not follow her path, and STILL she tried to avoid it!! Interesting! When she stepped into it it wasn't easy; she was a woman with strong beliefs, power and people called her the Sibyl from the Rhine, also at that time a lot of people traveled to consult her on all kinds of matters. Life was not easy for her, she was often sick for longer periods and she was hard on herself trying to be A Good Person and living up to what God had put on her! She died 17 September 1179 (aged 81) and she and her visions and work was canonized 10 May 2012.
When I look back, I got to know of her through literature, her work and beliefs, and visiting Disibodenberg when I was 39 years old. At that point in my life I had chosen to leave my marriage of many years, had realised I wouldn't have any children, and I was looking into what my path should be. I worked with my self, how I could be happy, spirituality, settling in myself and the work though my new found foundation. And it took time!
When I finally did fulfill my wish about yoga at Disibodenberg I do believe that the energy and power of the place helped me to find my path. I have an image of being pushed into finding my true path! I had no idea I was to become a yoga teacher at the beginning of this year, and then after 3 months in a new job I realized I didn't WANT that as a new job! I wanted TO CREATE my new job!
Did I feel the magic of the place? Oh yes. Not just once have I felt that shadows were around me, welcoming me. Most evenings there were butterflies on the grass in the ruins, landing on me and my yoga clients, once even directly in the palm of my hand that I reached out; and I even saw a mole dig op dirt less than 2 feet way from me during the last Shavasana. So, truly a magic and lovely place.
For more information regarding this post:
About pilgrimage Via Hildegardis