So I searched all over the world to find a simple, graphic image of the Trinity. And find it, I did.
It came to us from 11th century Germany (via the Google search engine). And I was introduced to Hildegard of Bingen. This is her drawing of the Trinity from a book she authored, the Scivias. This is the drawing that led me to learn about this long ago Hildy.
Hildegard, born in 1098, was the tenth child of a family of minor German nobility. And she had visions. Visions of God and all His creations. Her parents sent her to live with nuns who educated her. Besides becoming a nun she was a philosopher, visionary, theologian, botanist, pharmacist, artist and writer. She was so full of God’s imagery and her immense faith that she wrote books and composed music for God, for Christianity. My goodness! She is considered a polymath or Renaissance woman. Her first book was Scivias or “Know the Way.” Her prolific body of work is astounding, incredible; I was awed by what she did and how well regarded she was. But I didn’t relate to her until I read this bit.
“…Charles Singer and Oliver Sacks have interpreted these physical symptoms as migraine attacks. One of her visions was of falling stars turning black as they plunge into the ocean. Hildegard interpreted this as the rebel angels falling from heaven. Singer reads it as showers of phosphenes across the visual field, followed by a negative blind spot. Her concentric mandalas and her light with the light are seen as another visual symptom of migraine. But this interpretation, whether accurate or not, takes nothing away from the meaning she or we attribute to her visions.” (from http://www.pantheism.net/paul/history/hildegard.htm)
Migraines. Migraines – that became her source of inspiration. Migraines. Migraines have been a source of consternation for me for many years. She began creating works of art from her migraines when she was well past 40. Well, I’m also well past 40 (by 11 years). Perhaps I should think differently about my migraine visions, too. (We’ll see.)
What I want is for you to learn more about this fascinating person. Google gave me more than 2,000,000 locations on the web (in only .34 seconds ta’boot). But here’s a couple of places that were helpful:
First, the endlessly fascinating Wikipeidia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_von_Bingen
And, as referenced above, a website called World Pantheism “Revering the Universe, Caring for Nature, Celebrating Life” Well, they have a nice introduction to Hildegard and her music at http://www.pantheism.net/paul/history/hildegard.htm
PBS’ Frontline did a series on the Scivias http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/primary/scivias.html
This website, Women in Theology, refers to Hildy’s date of death, or dies natalis http://womenintheology.org/2011/09/17/dies-natalis-of-hildegard-of-bingen/
And this spot http://www.oxfordgirlschoir.co.uk/hildegard/scivias1synopsis.html has a synopsis of that work.
But my favorite version of the story of her life is from a children’s book. The Secret World of Hildegard written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by his mother Jeanette Winter. From the book jacket: It is a lyrical biography that celebrates the courage it took for a singular woman to let her light shine in the Dark Ages.
In a time when few women dared ….
Hildegard was a scientist. She studied plants and made medicines.
Hildegard was a musician. She wrote hymns and sang harmonies.
Hildegard was a writer. She spoke to priests and popes and the people.
But before all that …
Hildegard was a girl with a secret world.
God said, “Write what you see.”
And she could only become all she was when she let her light shine.
See it at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Secret-World-Of-Hildegard/dp/0439507391
Here I sit at my computer telling you all this ten centuries after her dies natalis. What an amazing, wonderful, convoluted, incomprehensible world God has given us. Thank you, God, for Hildegard.