Sing in the Garden ~ Chants and Plants of Hildegard

Are you fascinated by Hildegard of Bingen, 12th century visionary, abbess, composer, and physician? Please join medieval chant specialist Erin Durrett and myself for a day of exploration of Hildegard’s music and her herbal medicine ways. Step here for more info. I hope to sing with you in the garden!

Cosmos in the Earth, Cosmos in our Bodies: Hildegard of Bingen’s Medicine

Hildegard's Vision of the Cosmos - Illumination

An illumination of Hildegard of Bingen’s visions — the Cosmos. From her book of visions, Scivias. The third vision of part 1 of this manuscript.

What does 12th century German magistra, mystic, composer, counselor, and physician, Hildegard of Bingen’s perception of the Cosmos (as presented here in her illustration) have to do with nitty-gritty daily practice of healing ways and herbal medicine in her monasteries? What is the connection of the abstract as depicted in the illustration with the qualities and uses of the plants? How do the elements of the cosmos as she understood and spoke of them “show up” in the garden that her nuns tended, the bodies of the people who came for healing, the plants and healing ways for helping restore good health and balance?

Hildegard of Bingen’s medicine was an expression of an amazing woman in a particular place and time, drawing on understandings of the ancients yet also expressing her own personal — spiritual and physical — experience of her world. Hers is a framework that links to creation in a poetic and spiritual way and yet is fundamentally practical, grounded on embodied experience of the literal earth beneath her feet and the turning seasons, and how that is mirrored in the body.

Come join me at my upcoming workshop, Hildegard of Bingen’s Medicine, where we will begin to experience her world — her past and her sensibilities, nature, and viriditas — Hildegard’s term for the greening power of God, the force of life. We’ll apply these experiences to getting to know some of her plants and healing ways, bringing them home to our own 21st century lives.

Saturday, March 2, 2019. 9 am to 3 pm. St. Placid Priory, Lacey, WA. Cost is only $65!
For more information and to register.

You may be interested in reading: Gratitude, Sip by Sip – a blog post by me about viriditis, gratitude, and engaging with plants and their viriditas.

Weaving Beauty: Discovering Grace In Times Of Despair

Trillium In Bloom

Trillium In Bloom

When we are in extended suffering, due to our own crisis or a loved one’s, it can seem that blessing and inner peace are words with no meaning. Such a state of clarity and nourishment seems entirely out of reach, an impossibility in the face of our internal storm.

In other places and times cultures crafted entire practices and ceremonies to help restore an individual to a sense of harmony within his or herself, to a sense of grace with all of creation. And in that restoration to harmony with self, community, nature, the cosmos, and God/Spirit — with all that is — the sufferer gained a sense of wholeness and peace — an understanding and felt knowing that she is part of a great weaving that truly cares for and loves her.

The reasons for the despair and suffering may still continue, but the ability of the individual to weather the winds of Mystery shifts as a result. She finds that she has a place of rest and connection that fuels her spirit, and gives her the strength to continue. She finds herself able to discover gifts hidden in this painful yet exquisite experience of the preciousness of life.

In my healing arts practice I strive to offer my clients an experience of the blessing and beauty woven around each of us in every moment. I use my harp, love of the natural world, song, and offering of healing energy (Reiki) to ‘make visible’ the music and coherent harmony I experience of you. All of us are amazing expressions of life. Our bodies perform innumerable miraculous functions in any moment without our even having to think about it. Our minds pull ideas together, or follow paths of dream. Our emotions speak a language that responds and reacts, creates entire Universes and release them. We are far more grounded in the earth of ourselves than we think.

When I offer music and healing, or point out the magic of birdsong in the moment, a flower opening, or recognize a kindness offered to you or by you to others, I am really offering a reminder of something your body, heart, and soul already knows: the poetry of you. You are an astounding gift to Creation, to each person around you, to the nature that exists outside your door.

Being on this good earth is an astonishing blessing indeed, and though times may be messy and chaotic and wrenchingly painful and sad, pathways exist to uncovering the wholeness that lies within these tumultuous layers. We can find our way, or even just ‘a way’. And in that discovery, shifts happen throughout our minds and cells. Stress, tension, and confusion may ease, griefs lighten or at least become bearable. Our minds may clear and we may come to breathe more easily, our organs begin to function in a restored rhythm. Any experience of blessing reminds our bodies, minds, hearts, emotions — our whole self — of the harmony that exists in every level of we are.

Where does beauty and blessing exist in your life today, right now, where you are? Take a moment to breathe in the fragrance of the Universe, to hear the sweet song of life that is you. Can you hear a bird singing outside your window? And what of the wonder of our minds that has created the house around us, the furniture, the technology that serves us? Where have you experienced a kindness, a warm hand, a thoughtful word?

And if it is too much to attempt to identify blessings, just surrender to the possibility that blessing exists and is here, right now, surrounding you, enfolding you.

Anything that we can truly experience with wonder can weave beauty around us that makes all the difference in how we — how any of us — face each day.


Jane Valencia helps spirit-centered men and women who feel disheartened and depleted to receive replenishment of soul, a renewed perspective of their situation, pain relief, and an experience of grace. For more information contact Jane here.


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