“I, the fiery life of essence,
am aflame beyond the beauty of the fields,
I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon and stars . . .
I awaken everything to life”

Hildegard von Bingen ( Liber Divinorum:Book of Divine Works)





Colleen Keating  MTh (Sydney Australia)


“I awaken everything to life” says Hildegard of Bingen

These words sum up for me our pilgrimage to Germany in the Footsteps of Hildegard of Bingen .

I had been twenty-eight hours on two planes Sydney to Bangkok and Bangkok to Frankfurt , travelled on two German trains and a taxi to arrive at our pilgrimage venue. Yet as we gathered, joining hands in a circle of 35 pilgrims and five team from many parts of the world – the spirit was moving, the energy alive.

Hildegard’s cosmic energy and fiery spirit would awaken all of us individually and together. This was enlivened by our pilgrim guides Christine Valters Paintner and Betsy Beckman. Betsy with her beautiful gowns and colorful scarves embodied Hildegard for us and danced us into the heart of viriditas – Hildegard’s moist greening power of being

Over the ten days I fell easily into the Benedictine rhythm of being in the moment:

 aware of the call of dawn,

 waiting upon the day,

 listening to the letting go at dusk

 accepting the beauty of the dark.

 There was a spaciousness in our days with ruhr (silence) woven in.

Music and singing were especially important to Hildegard and so it became to us; we sang the morning in; we sang blessings on each other; we sang blessings on all who shared with us.

I will always remember having the time to sit, to listen, to feel the energy in the ruins of the ancient abbey in Disibodenberg, the place that formed Hildegard, where she lived the first forty two years of her life.

A highlight was our cruise on The Rhine River. This was Hildegard’s river. She built her first Abbey in Bingen on the Rhine. It was her main means of transport when she came to give homilies in other towns. She crossed it twice a week to support and encourage her sisters living in her second abbey. We surprised our team by singing to each of them our empowering blessing song They were touched. Our emotions flowed freely.

Hildegard lived in her time, she is with us still. She calls to us from her 12th century to our 21st century ‘awake from your slumber’ She calls for the care of the earth “The earth is our mother” she speaks of balance with the Divine Feminine . She calls on us to listen. Hildegard speaks through the poet Christopher Fry:

“Where are you making for? It takes

so many thousand years to wake,

but will you wake for pity’s sake”

As Spiritual Companions and Carers we have been graced and emboldened with the landscapes and rhythms that nourished Hildegard of Bingen. May we go forth to awaken all we meet.