This is perhaps the most well known of St. Hildegard’s Illuminations.
Here are the words from her Scivius that describe what she saw and heard:
“I saw a very bright light, and inside it there was a person who was the color of a sapphire. This person and bright light were completely surrounded by a very pleasant fire of reddish color. The very bright light completely surrounded this fire of reddish color, and at the same time this fire completely surrounded the light. Both the fire and the light surrounded the person, existing as one light with one force of potentiality. And then I heard the Living Light speak to me.”
‘The bright light signifies God who is without any blemish of illusion, defect, and falsehood.’
‘The person signifies the Word who is without blemish of hard-heartedness, ill will and unfairness.’
‘The fire signifies the Holy Spirit who is without any blemish of dryness, death and darkness.’
What would it be like to be this person in sapphire blue, surrounded by the fire and the light?!
What would it feel like to let this force of potentiality… a force that is about truth, love, compassion, fairness, juiciness, life and light, in?
As I posted on Feb. 15th, Part I, Hildegard’s Illumination Egg of the Universe depicts the Universe as an EGG. Part II explores this further.
“Another implication in picturing our universe as an egg is the idea of its being organic, alive, incipient. An egg is the beginning of something wonderful, a new being, a new creation. Hildegard is celebrating the potential of our cosmos – its hidden mysteries of delight and gradeur, of beauty and healing, as yet unrevealed. These are the “invisible and eternal things” that have yet to unfold. We humans in Hildegard’s estimation are to be instruments of that unfolding, “co-creators with God in everything we do.” We are the species that can reflect on the universe’s laws and beauty and history to celebrate it and tell about itself.
An egg is organic. The universe is in Hildegard’s view an egg. Therefore the universe is organic: living, breathing, growing, surprising, renewing, loving, embracing, creating. “God gave to humankind the talent to create all the world,” she observes. Hildegard calls humanity the “consumation” of the work of creation. “With nature’s help, humankind can set into creation all that is necessary and life sustaining. Everything in nature, the sum total of heaven and earth, becomes a temple and an altar for the service of God.” “
– Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, Rev. Matthew Fox
“The Egg of the Universe Illumination is the foundation for my Germany pilgrimage retreat. In this illumination Hildegard gifts us with a surprising and wonderful mandala of the universe – the universe as an EGG. “By this supreme instrument in the figure of an egg, and which is the universe,” she writes, “invisible and eternal things are manifested.”
What is implied in Hildegard’s rich image of the universe as an egg? First, an egg is unity, a whole. This is a basic truth of the universe that Hildegard insists on time and again. She writes: “God has arranged all things in the world in consideration of everything else.” Just as in an egg all things are interconnected for the sake of the whole, so, too, in the universe. She writes: “O Holy Spirit, you are the mighty way in which every thing that is in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, is penetrated by connectedness, penetrated with relatedness.” Hildegard sees interconnectivity and interdependence as the very stuff of the universe.”
– Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen by Rev. Matthew Fox.
As we begin the New Year, I want to share my favorite quote of Hildegard along with her
Illumination called “The Six Days of Creation Renewed.”
Here is the quote:
“As the Creator loves Creation, so Creation loves the Creator.
Creation, of course, was fashioned to be adorned,
to be showered, to be gifted with the love of the Creator.
The entire world has been embraced by this KISS.
God has gifted Creation with everything that is necessary.”
– Hildegard von Bingen
Here is some of what Matthew Fox writes about this Illumination from his book Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen:
“At the top of the picture is a mandala which Hildegard describes as fiery, cosmic
ropes from the “living fire” of the Creator God. “That brightest fire which you see stands for the omnipotent and living God.” Hildegard writes about God: “I remain hidden in every kind of reality as a fiery power. Everything burns because of me in such a way as our breath constantly moves us, like the wind-tossed flame in a fire. All this lives in its essence, and there is no death in it. For I am life.” This divine fire is both “incomprehensible and inextinguishable” – it lives and no one can put it out. This fire has “never been blackened by any evil.” It is “wholly alive” and vivifies all things.”
“The picture also appears to be an eye, and Hildegard refers in this meditation to the creation happening in a “blink of an eye” by the Creator. The eye truly feeds the sacred fire of the human spirit – elsewhere Hildegard refers to it as “the living eye.” She says: “In the living eye everything appears in physical form.” Hildegard calls the Holy Spirit “a fire that penetrates everything”; she calls God the Creator “a brightness that shines”; and she calls the Christ the “flashing forth that radiates” divine fire. Of course her images of light and fire correspond to her image of a living eye, since an eye is not an eye without light.”
In 2013, may we never forget that we are eternally embraced by the Creator’s KISS and may we actually feel the life-giving fire of this KISS.