Viriditas Newsletter, February

Dear Viriditas Community,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How I love Valentine’s Day and the celebration of love. I thought I would start out this month’s newsletter with a description of the legend of St. Valentine. I didn’t know anything about the legend until I stumbled upon this reading from “A Deep Breath Of Life” by Alan Cohen. Here is what he writes:

“The legend of St. Valentine goes back to the early days of Christianity when Christians were being persecuted by the Romans. One Christian, Valentinus, was tried as a heretic and sentenced to death. In prison, Valentinus befriended a guard who respected his wisdom, and soon the guard brought his seven-year-old blind daughter, Julia, to Valentinus for lessons. Daily, the two talked of important things, and Julia developed a deep love and respect for her mentor. One day Julia asked him, ‘Valentinus, do you think I will ever be able to see?’

Valentinus thought for a moment and answered, ‘With love in your heart and belief in God, anything is possible, Julia.’

At that moment, Julia was overtaken with a flash of light, and suddenly her eyesight was restored. ‘Valentinus, I can see!’ The child shouted.

‘Praise be to God,’ he humbly answered.

The next day when Julia came to visit Valentinus, he was gone. He had been taken to his execution. Julia found this note:

“My Dear Julia,

Although we shall never see each other again, know that I will always love you. You are very dear to me. I will stay unseen by your side, and I will live in your heart. I believe in you.

Your Valentine”


It is love in my heart and belief in God that has enabled me to get up early each morning these past weeks to work on my lessons as part of the Yogic Mystery School. These day I begin my morning meditation (accompanied by dear husband David!) with Sahana Vavatu, one of the key chants of the curriculum. The chant says:

“Together may we be protected.

Together may we be nourished.

Together may we learn vigorously.

May the divine fruits of our learning shine equally upon each of us.

May there be only harmony between us.”

Another labor of love is the new blog series: “A three-fold journey with St. Hildegard of Bingen.” On my blog you will see that there are now three posts in this series. Each post is written in both German and English… such a joy! I am immersed these days in the translating of “The Life of Saint Hildegard of Bingen: A report from the 12th century written by the Monks Gottfried and Theodorich.” How I appreciate my deep connection to the German language. Mastering it has given me such inner strength and organizational skills. This little book I am translating has been one of the key pieces of my connection to St. Hildegard. I read it for the first time when I was writing the script for “Feathers On The Breath Of God”. Diving into the pages of this little golden book was like diving into the heart of Hildegard and having her hold my hand. The love that the two monks had for this magnificent lady is palpable in the pages of this biography. It is also a great joy to be able to use the photographs that David took during last year’s pilgrimage to St. Hildegard’s homeland. Here is the photo we used in the most recent post. Blog #1, part #3 image
The sun’s rays shining upon the current Disibodenberg.
Check out the blog and FEEL THE LOVE!

David and I felt the love flow in our last Tap Into Transformation on February 7th. Our theme was Appreciation, and David and I created a group dance to a song we wrote and recorded specifically for this event called: “We appreciate”. The highlight of the dance was the opportunity for the group to dance our appreciation for each one of the guests who attended the event. How delightful and heart-warming to experience the group come together with such joy. After a scrumptious vegetarian feast, we continued our journey with the Sharpettes. Each one of us pulled the name of another participant from a bowl. We then each wrote a Sharpette of appreciation for that person. Here are some examples of the stunning Sharpettes that were created that night:

Willing, loving; kind, heartfelt.
Like a radiant, jubilant nightingale.

Sparkling priestess, joy incarnate.
Like a ray of sunshine warming my soul.

Master of dance; teaches us All
Like a performer his presence is Now.

As the group dispersed out into the starry night, I basked in the knowing that each one of the people that had come together that night had been blessed with an immersion into Appreciation. And as Voltaire says:

And if you really want to feel good come to the upcoming workshop David and I are hosting on March 21-23. The workshop, Tap Into Power For Life will begin on Friday night with a special performance by David and me. We are going to show the highlights of our journeys with tap dancing! Dinner and group tap dancing will follow the performance. The Friday evening performance and dinner costs $25 and is free for those who have registered for the workshop. David and I are going to reveal how tap dancing has been an amazing source of happiness and healing in our lives. During the weekend we will show you how the myriad of human emotions can all be expressed through tap dance and how to use tap dance to transform pain into joy and joy into fits of laughter. No previous tap dancing experience is necessary!

Tap Shoe Spread

And when it comes to joy, I wish you could have been a fly on the wall last week when David and I created a one-minute tap dance that is going to be on the radio! Yes, you got that right…ON THE RADIO… We submitted a piece we are calling “Heaven and Earth” as part of the Radio Dances Project which is being created at Colorado Public Radio. For now, here is the description of the dance as well as the photo we submitted to CPR:

“Our dance is called ‘Heaven and Earth.’ It is about what it feels like when you are grounded and can fly at the same time. The dance begins with the steady beat of the Earth. Heaven’s soaring rhythms then connect with the Earth’s solidity. You can experience the union of Heaven and Earth in the final seconds of the dance. ‘Heaven and Earth’ allows the listener and dancer to move up and out into the world with power and joy.”

david and jeannine

Finally, to end with a fun note… it is time to tell you which African country the piece of music I shared in January’s newsletter is from. Yes, it is Egypt!!! Bravo to those of you who guessed Egypt (and yes Larry, that includes you!!!). Now… here is the next piece of music. See if you can guess which country this is from!


May the love of the divine flow in you today and every day.

Love to each and every one of you!

In Viriditas,


St. Hildegard’s description of her visionary experience. / Wie die heilige Hildegard ihre Visionen erlebt.

Both English and German versions.
Auf English und auf Deutsch

Read St. Hildegard’s own words as she describes the sudden access of understanding by which she felt able to penetrate to the inner meaning of the texts of her religion.

Lesen Sie die eigene Worte der heiligen Hildegard. Sie beschreibt wie sie plötzlich Zugang findet zu den tieferen Bedeutungen der Texte ihrer Religion.

St. Hildegard’s description of her visionary experience.
It will be good, to describe this clearly with St. Hildegard’s own words. She talks about it specifically in her book Scivius (Know the Ways). “When I was forty-two years and seven months old, the heavens were opened and I saw a fiery light of exceptional brilliance. It flowed through my whole brain, heart and breast like a flame, not burning but warming, as the sun warms anything on which its rays fall. And suddenly I grasped the underlying meanings of the books – of the Psalter, the Gospels and the other catholic books of the Old and New Testament – not, however, that I understood how to construe the words of the text or their division into syllables or their cases and tenses.”

Wie die heilige Hildegard ihre Visionen erlebt.
Es wird gut sein, dies deutlich mit ihren eigenen Worten darzulegen. Sie spricht nämlich davon in ihrem Buch Scivias (Wisse die Wege): „ Als ich zweiundvierzig Jahre und sieben Monate alt war, sah ich ein überaus stark funkelndes, feuriges Licht aus dem geöffneten Himmel kommen. Es durchströmte mein Gehirn, mein Herz und meine Brust ganz und gar, gleich einer Flamme, die jedoch nicht brennt, sondern erwärmt. Es erglühte mich so, wie die Sonne einen Gegenstand erwärmt, auf den sie ihre Strahlen ergieβt. Und plötzlich hatte ich die Einsicht in den Sinn und die Auslegung des Psalters, des Evangeliums und der anderen katholischen Schriften des Alten wie des Neuen Testamentes, nicht aber in die Bedeutung der Wortgefüge und Silbentrennung; auch hatte ich keine Kenntnis von den Fällen und Zeiten.״

Blog #1, part #3 image 

The sun’s rays shining upon the current Disibodenberg
Die Strahlen der Sonne scheinen auf dem heutigen Disibodenberg

In Viriditas,

St. Hildegard’s early years at St. Disibod.

Both English and German versions.
Auf English und auf Deutsch

After learning about St. Hildegard’s beginning years we now move on to the most significant event of her childhood: her move to Mount St. Disibod, a Benedictine Monastery not far from her parents’ home.

Nach dem Lernen über die Anfangsjahren der heiligen Hildegard, gehen wir jetzt weiter zu dem wichtigsten Punkt ihrer frühen Kindheit: ihr Umzug nach dem Berg des hl. Disibod, ein Benediktiner-Kloster nicht weit weg von ihrem Elternhaus.

St. Hildegard’s early years at St. Disibod

When St. Hildegard was eight years old, she let herself be enclosed on the mountain of Saint Disibod, in order to be buried with Christ and to be resurrected with him for the glory of immortality. The pious lady Jutta, who was already dedicated to God, was with St. Hildegard. Jutta raised St. Hildegard carefully under the cloak of humility and innocence.

She instructed her only in the songs of David and taught her to sing the psalms. With the exception of this simple knowledge of the psalms, St Hildegard did not receive any further lessons from anyone, neither in reading nor in music. And yet she left us many important writings.

Die frühen Jahre der heiligen Hildegard auf dem Disibodenberg

Im Alter von acht Jahren lieβ sie sich auf dem Berg des hl. Disibod einschlieβen, um mit Christus begraben zu werden und mit ihm zur Glorie der Unsterblichkeit aufzuerstehen. Bei ihr war die fromme gottgeweihte Frau Jutta. Diese erzog sie sorgfältig im Gewande der Demut und Unschuld, unterwies sie einzig in den Gesängen Davids und lehrte sie das Singen der Psalmen. Auβer dieser einfachen Kenntnis der Psalmen empfing sie von
keinem Unterricht, weder im Lesen noch in der Musik. Und doch hat sie nicht wenige, und zwar bedeutende Schriften hinterlassen.

Disibodeberg ruin for blog 2
Disibodenberg today / Disibodenberg heute

In Viriditas,

St. Hildegard’s birth and early childhood.

Both English and German versions.
Auf English und auf Deutsch

Dear Viriditas Community,

And so our three-fold journey with St. Hildegard of Bingen begins. We will start with excerpts from “The Life of Saint HIldegard of Bingen: A Report from the 12th century written by the Monks Gottfried and Theodorich”. This little book has been instrumental in my journey with St. Hildegard, and I look forward to sharing both the German and the English translations with you.

The biography has three sections or “books”. We will begin with the first book which is a summary of St. Hildegard’s life. Enjoy the journey!

In Viriditas,

Die Geburt and die frühe Kindheit der heiligen Hildegard von Bingen

Liebe Viriditas Gemeinschaft,

Und so beginnt unsere dreiteilige Reise mit der heiligen Hildegard von Bingen. Wir werden anfangen mit Auszüge aus dem Buch “Das Leben der heiligen Hildegard von Bingen: Ein Bericht aus dem 12. Jahrhundert verfaßt von den Mönchen Gottfried und Theoderich”. Dieses kleine Buch ist sehr wichtig falls man eine Beziehung mit der heiligen Hildegard sucht. Ich freue mich sehr darauf, sowohl die Deutschen als auch die Englischen Übersetzungen mit Ihnen zu teilen.

Die Biographie hat drei Teile oder “Bücher”. Wir werden mit dem ersten Buch anfangen: “Die Lebensbeschreibung der heiligen Jungfrau Hildegard”. Genießen Sie die Reise!

In Viriditas,

First Book
Chapter One

About the holy virgin’s birth, her being giving by her parents when she was a child to monastic life as well as her education and how she was lead to write through a sudden mystical experience. When Henry IV was king in the Roman Empire, there lived on this side of Gaul (in Rheinfranken) a virgin, who was notable because of her nobility as well as her saintliness. Her name was Hildegard. Her father’s name was Hildebart and her mother’s name was Mechthild. Even though Hildegard’s parents were wrapped up in the concerns of the world and were greatly blessed with worldly goods, they showed themselves to be grateful for the gifts of their Creator and dedicated their daughter Hildegard to the service of God. Already in her young years, Hildegard showed an innocence which found all the pleasures of the flesh foreign. She was hardly able to mutter her first words, when she let the world around her through words and signs know, that she had secret faces that she perceived in an extraordinary visionary gift. Others were not able to see what Hildegard saw.

Erstes Buch
1.    Kapitel

Von der Geburt, Oblation und Erziehung der heiligen Jungfrau und wie sie durch göttliche Erleuchtung zum Schrieben veranlaβt wurde. Als Heinrich IV.  König im Römischen Reiche war, lebte im diessseitigen Gallien (Rheinfranken) eine Jungfrau, erlaucht durch den Adel des Geschlechtes wie ihrer Heiligkeit.  Ihr Name war Hildegard. Der Vater hieβ Hildebert, die Mutter Mechtild.  Obwohl sie in die Sorgen der Welt verwickelt und mit äuβeren Gütern reich gesegnet waren, erwiesen sie sich doch nicht undankbar gegen die Gaben ihres Schöpfers und weihten ihre Tochter dem Dienste Gottes.  Denn schon in jungen Jahren zeigte sie eine frühe Unberührtheit, mit der sie allen fleischlichen Gelüsten fremd zu sein schien.  Kaum war sie imstande, die ersten Worte zu stammeln, da gab sie ihrer Umgebung durch Worte und Zeichen zu verstehen, daβ sie geheime Gesichte hatte, die sie in einer auβergewöhnlichen Gabe des Schauens wahrnahm, ohne daβ andere den Anblick teilten.

german map for blog