- wisdom of life: Learn to Live and Learn to Die:
Spiritual “Greenness”or “Viridity” for our times
“Isn’t it time that, loving,
we freed ourselves from the beloved, and, trembling, endured
as the arrow endures the bow, so as to be, in its flight,
something more than itself? For staying is nowhere”. –
-Rainer Maria Rilke ( Duino Elegies)
“Just as it would harm the stomach if it were always full or empty, it does the soul harm when the body lives in constant pleasure.” – Hildegard of Bingen
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.” Quran (4:59)
Hildegard of Bingen thought of fasting as a panacea for good health. She considered the fasting exercise an opportunity to create new space, slow down, purify the body, lift ballast from the soul, detoxify the body and spirit, and come to terms with our inner-selves. At its core, fasting opens new doors to rediscovering our essential nature.
For Hildegard, and those of us believers, fasting represents much more than a temporary change of diet. Rather, it provides a window for inward reflection.
In our modern culture we satisfy virtually all of our needs at any time. We draw effortlessly from the inexhaustible resources available to us. As a consequence, we become weary of our abundance, eventually compromising our own vitality. Paradoxically, the fullness of our existence leads to emptiness in experience.
In the midst of all of our human progress, certain basic, natural rhythms get lost. The rhythms of sleeping and waking, working and resting, eating and fasting may fall out of the appropriate balance.
With all of its advantages, our modern society demands that we work too much, eat too much, and neglect the balance of our origin. Ultimately, our bodies force rest upon us, either through illness or exhaustion.
- Discretio: The Golden Mean It’s up to us to find our “golden mean”. Hildegard of Bingen would have each of us face the challenge of finding our unique “Discretio”. It’s not a one size fits all, but rather an independent balance that works for each of us, individually.
Each person carries the responsibility to find an accurate measure for him or herself. It requires first knowing thyself, and then managing thyself to identify the unique measure to apply.
According to Hildegard, we discover long-term health and well-being not through exaggerated severity or asceticism. Hildegard believed healthy discipline leads to overall improved quality of life.
“Moderation is the mother of all virtues for everything heavenly and earthly. For it is through moderation that the body is nourished with the proper discipline.” – Hildegard of Bingen, Book of Divine Works
Periodic Deconstruction The demands of daily life in a modern society have affected our compass in arriving at the right balance in life. We’ve insulated our true nature, and thereby made it harder to get to the core of ourselves. The exercise of deconstruction serves the worthwhile purpose of peeling away layers to find what lies beneath.
A fasting regimen following Hildegard of Bingen’s teachings helps correct our internal compass to arrive at our own personal “golden mean.”
Fasting is not starvation. Fasting is a manner of exploring our individual boundaries.
The term fasting derives from the Gothic, which means “holding on,” “watching over,” or “guarding.” The term hunger, on the other hand, describes a state of “burning desire,” “pain,” or “injury,” and is compelled by external circumstances. Fasting is a voluntary, selfprescribed refusal of food.
Know Thyself Fasting has long traditions in virtually every culture and religion. The practice serves as a means of accessing new perspectives and introspection. The point isn’t to agonize over physical obstacles, but rather to carefully observe yourself, get to know yourself, and discover new facets of your personality. Through this process, we expand our horizons, revealing new opportunities and pathways for living.
Habits & Dependencies During a fasting period, the body, mind and soul become particularly sensitive. It makes sense to honestly assess and recognize those habits that have tacitly formed in your life as dependencies. Use this as an opportunity to release yourself from anchors such as smoking, drinking coffee, and alcohol. Also consider pervasive habits like television, internet, social media or other technologies.
By recognizing and limiting external habits, we reduce potentially harmful influences, and lay a solid foundation for the desired cleanse. Ideally, a deliberate evaluation of our habits helps to shake the grip of certain behaviors that may not serve our highest cause.
Hildegard of Bingen described fasting as a panacea, which in addition to improving physical health, helps overcome conditions related to anxiety, worry, conflict, stress, and external pressures. At the end of the day, it’s up to each participant to take responsibility for understanding her own needs and what she wishes to accomplish with a fasting regimen.
Detoxifying Your Body Fasting creates the space for our bodies to perform their own natural cleansing process, eliminating longstanding waste and toxins. Through the fasting process, our contamination is formally ‘burned’ and excreted. As an added benefit, the body taps its fat reserves, resulting in weight reduction. A successful fast immediately produces greater agility and resilience in body and spirit.
A fast helps you feel healthier, happier, and more radiant. Even starting with a single fasting day per week can significantly reduce susceptibility to illness and disease. Fasting according to Hildegard of Bingen does not involve counting calories. Rather, Hildegard places emphasis on a basic holistic approach to diet and nutrition.
‘Since death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relations with this best and truest friend of mankind that his image is not only no longer terrifying to me but actually soothing and consoling.
I thank God for allowing me to understand that the fact of death is the key, which unlocks the door to true happiness.
I never lie down at night without reflecting that, young as I am, I may not live to see another day. Yet not one among my acquaintances could say that I am disgruntled or morose, and for this blessing I thank my Creator daily, and wish with all my heart that all my fellow-creatures could enjoy the same.’
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 4th April 1787, in a letter to his father (he was 31 year old) .
- Between two Nothingness
Mawlana says that by desiring to exist we pass into nonexistence. He speaks on the meaning of “Die before you die.”
Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil Al-Haqqani Sultanul Awliya
Here the Sohba/Discourse – Lefke Cyprus
Recorded: unknown, 1990’s
- Rediscovering the Sacred in our Lives and in our Times.
At the conference of 2006 – The Recovery of the Sacred—Tradition and Perennialism in the Contemporary World – A survey was presented concerning the influences of modernism and scientism in the contemporary world, and of the vital need for contemporary man to avail of the timely message of the timeless truths of Tradition by recovering the sacred, the true, the good and the beautiful, and to restore harmony to the inner and outer environment.
Prince Charles summarized it so:
“.. the subject of this Conference is indeed, a critique of the false premises of Modernity – a critique set out in one of the seminal texts of the traditionalists, René Guénon’s The Reign of Quantity. Many find this teaching difficult, not least because it asks us to question our very mode of being; and perhaps because it asks us to question an ideology, in the form of Modernism, that has become so set in our minds that any other way of being seems in some sense fanciful and “unrealistic”.
However, the teachings of the traditionalists should not, in any sense, be taken to mean that they seek, as it were, to repeat the past – or, indeed, simply to draw a distinction between the present and the past. Their’s is not a nostalgia for the past, but a yearning for the sacred and, if they defend the past, it is because in the pre-modern world all civilizations were marked by the presence of the sacred. As I understand it, in referring to Tradition they refer to a metaphysical reality and to underlying principles that are timeless – as true now as they have ever been and will be. And, by way of contrast, in referring to Modernism they refer to a particular (though false) definition of reality; a particular (though false) manner of seeing and engaging with the world that, likewise, is distinguished not by time, but by its ideology.”
For many years, I have been trying – often in the face of relentless criticism and ridicule – to draw attention to some of the elements of this crisis and to the ways in which they are linked to conventional values. At times, when in optimistic mood, I am encouraged to believe that we can come to our senses in time and change our ways of being before we are obliged to do so by catastrophic circumstances. But I am afraid that I do not always take this view. Often, I find myself convinced of the warnings given not only by Sir Martin Rees but also, of course, by sages and mystics of all faiths and of all time; warnings of the coming of a Dark Age, an age in which our ignorance and arrogance – a dangerous combination, surely – will lead us, indeed may already have led us, towards catastrophe. The present examples of pestilence, flood, famine, storm and climatic disruption are surely evidence enough. At the very least, they seem to foretell of conditions of chronic imbalance and disharmony – no doubt as much a part of our inner as our outer condition.
In all of this, the practice of modern science more or less ignores the question of what the ultimate goal and purpose of intelligence and knowledge is. Materialist science, it seems, more or less assumes that a continuous and progressive exploratory expansion of knowledge of the physical world will inevitably lead to a desirable end where all but a few of our problems will be solved. I note, however, that it does this in the face of very considerable evidence – evidence that science itself provides – that it will not.
Indeed, our ignorance in these matters seems to me to be in direct proportion to our obsession with information. More than ever before, we have information from everywhere and about everything – and it is available to us literally at the press of a button. But information, often it would seem for its own sake, is not knowledge; and knowledge is not wisdom. We have no lack of information but, with the loss of the values and principles of which Tradition speaks, we lose touch with that perennial wisdom to which this Conference is dedicated. In this, I am reminded of those prophetic lines from T. S. Eliot:
Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust. 3
The traditionalist perspective is that we are living at the end of an historical cycle. At the beginning of this cycle all and every possibility is latent. However, as the cycle evolves or unfolds, these possibilities begin to manifest themselves in the world of time and space, beginning with the highest and gradually moving towards the lower. At the end of the cycle, the very lowest possibilities manifest themselves. The traditionalists tell us that at the cosmic level this process cannot be withheld or interrupted. It must take place. The cycle, they say, must exhaust itself before a new one can replace it.
I know that this might seem to suggest that we are entirely the passive victims of this cosmic unfolding. However, as I understand it, the traditionalists would go on to say that if this were the only reality then all attempts to pursue and align ourselves with spiritual realities and experience would be in vain. And that cannot possibly be. Indeed, it is precisely on the individual plane and through our understanding of and attachment to traditional norms of metaphysical doctrine and spiritual practice that we can, in a measure, transcend the baleful influence of the descent that is the eventual exhaustion and end of our cycle of history and prepare ourselves and the world for the beginning of the next. It is in this way, and perhaps only in this way, that we can overcome the mind-numbing despair of Modernism – not by false optimism, but by an understanding of and an attachment to the truly Real.
- Why are they not teaching Real Belief?
Shayṭān and its servants are under attack in the Heavens. Shayṭān is weak but when made welcome, harms. Scientists who cannot fathom the Heavens, theorize. They acknowledge only what their senses perceive, the material aspect of things. Who is the Creator and Controller of this planet? The existence of That One is beyond their imagination. First, there must be Belief. Reality, not nonsense theory, must be taught. Everything with a beginning comes to an end. We are weak servants. We must ask for heavenly protection. We must come to Real Belief. Why are they not teaching Real Belief?
- A Disclosure of Wisdom
An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apocálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω meaning ‘un-covering‘), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation, although this sense did not enter English until the 14th century. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden. In the Book of Revelation (Greek Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου, Apocalypsis Ioannou), the last book of the New Testament, the revelation which John receives is that of the ultimate victory of good over evil and the end of the present age. Today, it is commonly used in reference to any prophetic revelation or so-called End Time scenario, or to the end of the world in general.
An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective.
Maieutic concepts historically have their origin in Plato’s dialogues of Socrates. In The Symposium, Socrates repeats the words of the priestess or wise woman Diotima of Mantinea who suggested that the soul is pregnant and wants to give birth, but the delivery requires assistance. Thus according to Plato, the role of the philosopher is to assist in this delivery, as would a midwife. From this dialogue comes the word “maieutics”, the “spiritual midwife.” to give birth to wisdom.
In Theaetetus, Socrates is presented as a “spiritual midwife” and in Meno, by posing questions to a slave who never learned geometry, Socrates leads him to “remember” how a square is doubled.
The human crisis of our time is immense. To meet this crisis, we need real thinkers and doers. We need people who are able to be persistent in asking good questions and willing to do the work needed to follow through, with great persistence, in seeking answers.
We do not want everyone to merely be robots who only know how to memorize and regurgitate the popular talk of the day. We cannot afford to have millions of citizens who are too uninspired, unable or unaware to continue working persistently for the sake of their own understanding. We need to cultivate sapient beings capable of leading their lives with excellent and original thoughtfulness.
Here The Relevation of John: A Disclosure of Wisdom
What is time and pre-eternity?
There is much to be learn about Eternity by living in Time
There is much to be learn about time by living in Eternerty
What is our Destiny:
Tthe sacred Tradition as Sufism an Islam explains the most important cause for misunderstanding the issue of qadar (destiny) is confusion about the concepts of “time” and “pre-eternity” and misinterpreting them.
People live in time and place and so they evaluate every event according to time and they make a mistake by assuming “pre-eternity” as the beginning of “time”. Misunderstanding qadar is the result of this wrong comparison.
Time is an abstract concept. It starts with the creation of the universe and many events happen in it. Time is divided into three parts: Past, present and future. This division is for creatures. Namely, the concepts such as century, year, month, day, yesterday, today, tomorrow are in question for creatures.
Pre-eternity does not mean before the beginning of the time. In pre-eternity, there is no past, present and future. Pre-eternity is a station where all times are seen and known at the same moment. Now, we will try to understand God’s attribute of pre-eternity through some examples from Sufism and Islam:
(Think of a straight line; let us call it the timeline.)
Suppose that this line is the timeline. The middle of the line is the present, that is, the time we are living in. The left point of the line is the past. At this point, the universe was created and then the first man, Adam, was created. And everything that was created from that time to the present existed between these two points which symbolize the past and the present.
The point at the right side of the line is the future. This point is the eternal life that include life in Paradise and Hell beyond the Day of Judgment. Between the present point and the future point, there are our grandchildren, their grandchildren and everything that will be created until the Day of Judgment; and even are revival after death, reckoning, the weighing of the deeds and passing the Sirat bridge.
Eternity is not the left side of the point of past in the timeline. The main cause of not being able to understand qadar is thinking that pre-eternity is at this point and placing pre-eternity in a place on the timeline. For, when we assume pre-eternity to be at this point, Allah will know tomorrow only when tomorrow comes according to this assumption. This assumption and misunderstanding the concept of pre-eternity will cause us to ask this question: “If Allah wrote that I was going to be a sinner in my qadar, what is my fault?”
When we show the concept of pre-eternity on our timeline, it will be understood how nonsensical this question is. Here is pre-eternity.
Therefore, Allah sees and knows today. Likewise, Allah sees tomorrow, the other day and everything until eternal life that includes Paradise and Hell along with today.
For Allah, there are no concepts such as present, past and future. These concepts are for people as they are dependent on time. Now, we will examine this issue through another example:
Suppose that this picture is our timeline. The middle is the present, that is, now; the left side is the past and the right side is the future. Now, we are holding a mirror on the time scheme. The mirror is close to the floor; so, only the present time is reflected on the mirror. The past and the future are not included. Now, we will lift the mirror a bit and in this position, the present time and a part of the past and the future are reflected on the mirror. When we lift the mirror a little more, the remaining part of the past and the future that are not seen in the previous position are also reflected on the mirror. That is, as we lift the mirror, the time period which appears on the mirror expands. Now, we will lift the mirror to the highest point.
At this point, the mirror encompasses the present, past and future as a whole. This point is called the point of pre-eternity, which sees all of the three times as a whole at the same moment. When we say, “Allah is pre-eternal”, we mean that Allah sees and knows all times and places at the same moment and that He is timeless.
Now, we will see the concept of pre-eternity in another example: We assume that three vehicles set out from Erzurum toward Istanbul. The first one is in Bursa. The second one is behind the first one in Eskisehir and the third one is behind them in Ankara.
Now, when we pay attention to these three vehicles, we see these: The vehicle which is in Bursa is at the front when it is compared to other vehicles. Namely, it is in the future because it passed the roads that other ones did not reach yet.
The vehicle in Eskisehir is in the past when it is compared to the vehicle in Bursa because the vehicle in Bursa already passed Eskisehir. However, it is in the future when it is compared to the vehicle in Ankara because this vehicle did not reach the other vehicle’s place yet.
The vehicle in Ankara is in the past when it is compared to the other two vehicles because these two vehicles already passed Ankara.
The words such as the past and the future are used about the vehicles, but these words that express time are not used for the sun which is on the top of them and enlightens three vehicles at the same moment. That is, we cannot say that the sun is in the past compared to this vehicle, or the sun is in the future compared to that vehicle because the sun enlightens these three vehicles and encompasses all of them with its light at the same moment. This state of the sun, that is, being independent of time, which is valid for the vehicles on the earth, and encompassing the three time periods at the same moment is an example of pre-eternity.
Likewise, we are in a point of the timeline that started with the creation of the universe. Everything that passed before us is in the past compared to the present time. The times after today and this moment and the creatures that will be created at those times are in the future compared to the present time. Now, our grandfathers became a thing of the past. However, before that, their grandfathers were also waiting for their grandchildren who would come in the future. Our grandfathers, who were in the future compared to their grandfathers’ time, came to this world, lived here and became a thing of the past. Similarly, we are in the future compared to our grandfathers’ time and we will also become a thing of the past. And our grandchildren, who are in the future compared to our time, will be in their present day.
As it can be seen, the concepts such as the past, the future and the present are used for us. However, there are no such concepts for Allah, who creates everything and time. Allah encompasses all these times at the same moment like the sun in the example with the light of His knowledge.
Then, we cannot say, “Allah wrote it; so we are doing it” because Allah encompasses all times at the same moment with His pre-eternity; so, Allah knows all our deeds that we will do with our free will and so Allah wrote whatever we will do during our life time in our qadar( destiny) book. We do not do deeds because Allah wrote them. On the contrary, Allah wrote them because Allah knows that we are going to do them.
To be able to understand this issue better, we will give a final example because understanding pre-eternity is a key to understanding the issue of qadar.
The first cause of misunderstanding the issue of qadar is being unable to understand Allah’s attribute of pre-eternity of and supposing that Allah is dependent on time.
If you know a poem as a whole, the relation of your knowledge to all lines of the poem is same. That is, as we have mentioned before, the sun encompasses the three vehicles at the same moment. Likewise, your knowledge about the poem encompasses all lines at the same moment. However, sequence is important for the lines of the poem. For example, the sixth line is after the fourth line and before the tenth line. When you finish writing the fifth line and start to write the sixth line, the fifth line becomes a thing of the past. The sixth line is at the present time. The tenth line is in the future. Namely, it has not come into being yet and it has not been written yet. However, this tenth line, which has not come to being yet, is available in your knowledge. Then, sequence is not in question for your knowledge.
Likewise, the nineteenth century and the people living in this century are in the future compared to the eighteenth century and the people living in this century and they are in the past compared to the twentieth century. However, for the pre-eternal knowledge of Allah, who is independent of time, all these centuries, the past, the present, the future are within the scope of His observation at the same moment.
That is, qadar, which we name as “pre-eternal knowledge of Allah”, is not a plan made in the past; it is a time out of plan. It is knowledge encompassing all past and future times at the same moment.
Then, saying, “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means” is an extremely wrong statement because Allah did not write in the book of qadar without knowing what we were going to do; and He did not force us to act according to this writing. On the contrary, Allah knows with His pre-eternal knowledge what we will choose with our partial free will and what deed we will do; so, Allah wrote them in the book of qadar.
The saying, “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means”, which is uttered as an excuse is basically wrong because the book of qadar is a manifestation of the knowledge of Allah. His knowledge is not an attribute of forcing. The writing is only a declaration. For example, if I write a sentence like this, “You are going to turn off your television in fifteen minutes.” And if you turn off your television in fifteen minutes, can you say, “If there had not been that sentence, I would have not turned off my television”? You definitely cannot say that because it is only a sentence. It is a message. It is not enforcement.
Likewise, “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means ” is extremely wrong. Our acts are not created by the knowledge of Allah; so, we cannot blame the book of qadar, which is the title of the knowledge of Allah.
Our acts are created by the power of Allah. The knowledge has no effect on this creation. Then, how can we hold the book of qadar, which has no effect on the creation of our acts, responsible? The person who asks such a wrong question only cheats himself.
For, if you say to this person, “Why are you going to school? You cannot change your qadar. If being a doctor is in your qadar, you will be a doctor in any case. You cannot prevent it. Even if you do not study, you will be a doctor. If it is not in your qadar, you can never be a doctor even if you study.” Or, if you say, “Why are you opening your shop? If earning much money today is in your destiny, you will earn in any case so there is no a necessity to open the shop. Earning much money today is not in your destiny; you will not earn even if you open your shop. You can never change your destiny.” If we say these sayings, if we say that he can never change his destiny so there is no a necessity for him to go to school, to open his shop, this person defends himself and says: “You will work so that Allah will give you something.” However, when the issue becomes related to doing religious duties and avoiding sins, this person uses destiny as an excuse, becomes submissive and blames qadar. This is nothing but cheating oneself.
However, as we have covered in the pre-eternity issue, Allah does not force us to commit any sin. Allah knows what we are going to do with His knowledge that encompasses all times and places and Allah wrote them in the book of qadar. Is the reason why we blame qadar due to our sins and the reason why we say, “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means” the pre-eternal knowledge of Allah what we are going to do?
That is, if Allah had not known what we were going to do, we would have become responsible. Then, will we not become responsible because of He knows them? The person who blames qadar due to his or her sins must check what he wants and he or she must feel ashamed.
With the examples given above, we tried to understand the pre-eternity of Allah. However, it must not be forgotten that all these examples are only small binoculars to zoom in on the fact that minds are too weak to understand. The minds are too weak to understand the greatness of the power and the majesty of Allah fully. Likewise, the minds cannot fully understand the pre-eternity of Allah and the knowledge of Allah, which encompasses all times and places at the same time. However, even these weak binoculars declare that the statement “Allah wrote my qadar; I cannot change it by any means” is an extremely wrong saying and they clarify the issue is completely.
Along with the pre-eternity of Allah, when the rule, “knowledge is dependent on the known” is understood, you will see that all questions about qadar that are assumed to be unanswered will be answered suddenly.
- From Pre- eternity to Post eternity
The Sufi Master Sheikh Nazim al Haqqani said:
O my beloved followers! You must know that “Bismillahi ‘r-Rahmaani ‘r-Raheem” is the beginning of Creation, and it continues from pre-Eternal up to the Eternal! I am a weak servant, and therefore I am asking for you to be honored with servanthood of our Creator. You must know that we are not created to look at or to work for this world. Everyone is working, yet the clock of this world is ticking! Our lives are going on, but one day they will stop. We will leave everything and will be taken to the graveyard.
Allah Almighty sent 124,000 prophets to teach people that they are created for the Lord of Heavens. When we come to this planet, our most important wazeefa, practice, throughout our lives should be to be servants for our Creator, nothing else! And He will be happy when we try to fulfill our responsibility as a servant. To be the servant for the Lord of Heavens gives us honor. To be servants for this planet does not give us anything!
All the prophets came to remind people that they have been created and sent to this planet for His obedience. Try to be obedient servants and your life will be happy here and Hereafter. Now we can see that this world is falling into a dark, black hole. They are falling in it and they do not know how they will be saved. They are ghafil, heedless people, because the Lord of Heavens sent thousands of prophets to give an understanding to people.
According to our beliefs, we know that two angels will come and ask us, “What did you understand throughout your life?” Yes, there will be an examination or a test. They will ask everyone, “What did you understand in these 50, 60, 80, 90 or 100 years? What did you understand during your life?” What shall our answer be? What will we say? Will we say, “I understood how I may cheat people and become richer in the stock market? I went there every day to look that one day we lost, the second day we went up!” Will you be thinking that, “Oh! I forgot to bring my credit card here (in the grave)! How did I come here? How am I sleeping here?” The angels will ask, “What have you brought?” Will you say, “This credit card! Take it and take my money from there!” There is no result of all this!
If we do not understand, and if our understanding reaches only to the point of material aspects, then we have lost! But above material aspects, we have spirituality and heavenly aspects. Try to reach heavenly aspects as that will continue up to Eternity. Therefore, I like this word, “Eternity!” I feel so happy to say, “Eternity!” It sounds so beautiful and hopeful. It gives me so much joy, satisfaction and pleasure to say, “Eternity!”
O our Lord! We are asking for Your Eternity! What is this? Homes, gardens, big buildings, what do they give to you? They give you trouble, not satisfaction. O People! Try to be for your Lord’s servanthood. Try to understand the meaning of coming here, what did the Lord of Heavens create us for? May Allah forgive us….
From Pre-eternity to post Eternity
Inni Ja’ilun Fil Ardi Khalifatan (2:30) I am placing on the earth a caliph.
Khalifa (caliph, deputy) is a Sultan from the angelic realm. It’s astonishing! And that’s why, by his very nature, there is roughness and hardness in human beings. This is the generation of Adam (as). In spite of the fact that this means that he is going to shed blood and commit corruption (Yasfiku AdDimà’a), He Who created them knows the reason why He chose the family of Adam to be His khalifas on earth. The khalifa of whom? – the khalifa of Allah Almighty. La ilaha il Allah. Huu…
Something may appear in the generation of Adam (as) from the realm of Al Jabarut – jabbar (power, might). That is why it is said about mankind that they are jabbarin; that is, they must be dressed with the attribute of might. Then (thumma) Rabbul ‘Izza, from salif ul qidam (pre-eternity) chose the children of Adam (as) as His khalifas on earth.
What is salif ul qidam (pre-eternity)? From when? – salif ul qidam is from antiquity, time immemorial. Allah (swt) is Qadim (eternal) and Azeli (beginningless). Qidam is an attribute of Al Haqq (jwa). Qadim is Allah, Hu Allah …
And His Divine Will wished from salif ul qidam (pre-eternity) to have a deputy on earth. This deputy was a creation that did not resemble any prior creation. “Allah knows what you do not know”; that is, He knows the attributes of His creation Adam (as) [because] He is the Creator (jwa).
We are servants for Allah Almighty, and we have been ordered to know something about our reality. It becomes obligatory on human beings to learn about the reality of the aggressiveness in mankind that is related to the Divine Realm of Jabarut. This reality manifests through mankind in the realm of this world, in the realm of dunya, in the realm of fanà (annihilation).
Allah (swt) Al Qahhar (the Destroyer) annihilates this attribute that is present in the children of Adam – the hardness, the aggressiveness. Heavenly commands (Shariah) were sent through all the Prophets that came on earth, to soften mankind and to make them more lenient. Training softens the person until Allah our Lord (jwa) will dress the human being with the reality of ‘caliphate’. Man then becomes His khalifa in this world.
Here, in this world, whatever happens from aggression is for the training of human beings, to prepare them to occupy the station/maqam that was made by the Lord (jwa) for mankind – His khalifa. Which earth? Which khalifa? Everything for Allah Almighty is eternal, not preceded by nothingness. Therefore, we are also included in these seas and oceans, between ever living (pre-eternal) and never ending (post-eternal). The family of Adam will be granted sermedi (eternity). If they are not granted that eternity, they cannot be khalifa. Sermedi …
And whatever happens now in this world, He sees and knows, and His Prophet (saws) knows and is aware. Then slowly, slowly the realities will appear according to the Divine Wisdom of Allah (swt), as He likes it to manifest in his khalifa. Subhuanallah!
At this time, there is a word, a Hadith, [that says] “If the servant obeys his Lord completely …” There is a saying: “I will be his hearing. So through Me he hears, through Me he sees, through Me he acts”.
“When My servant comes closer to Me through voluntary actions, I [will] love him and I become his hearing from which he hears, his seeing from which he sees.”
This honor has been granted to the family of Adam, this khilafat (caliphate), to be representative of Allah (swt). Finish! He brought mankind’s being into the Unity Oceans with, “My servant comes closer to Me through voluntary worship until I love him; and when I love him, I become his hearing with which he hears and his seeing with which he sees…”
“I become the hearing from which he hears, the seeing from which he sees, and the tongue with which he speaks, and his hand with which he may hit …”
[Mevlana raises his fist with power.] Then he can throw the whole world up side down!
“… and the leg by which he walks until he becomes Rabbani. He orders the thing to be and it is.”
… until he becomes Rabbani, Rabbani. These are Rabbaniyin. That is why I was in previous association (sohbats) I was saying, “Don’t say or claim that ‘I am wahabi, or salafi, or sufi’. Don’t say this. But say Rabbani (Divinely).”
This is the target we aim to reach. At that point, you cannot say that there is a maqam/station – to be Rabbani! There is no servant remaining anymore. It is annihilation in Allah – Bakibillah – to be in existence through Allah. Finished! This is the reality of Tawheed – Unity.
And now we are in this world. We exist for a short time; and Allah does with us what He Wills. All our activity and all our rest are according to His Knowledge and Will. We have reached close to the Day of Judgment, and things will appear that never appeared before from mankind’s aggression, according to the Will of Allah (jwa). This is happening to construct a new building that will be strong enough to carry what Allah (jwa) dressed mankind with from the Malekut when He appointed them as His khalifas on earth.
Everything is now prepared and ready. It has to happen. Judgment belongs only to Allah (swt). In our days… In these days things have appeared that the Prophets (as) have foretold about human aggressiveness and about the Divine Wisdom [regarding it]. They told us about the behavior that should be followed when the aggression happens at the end of times. How we should behave and react. First of all, Prophet (saws) … Subhuanallah! Oh Sayidinna…!
On the day of opening Makka Al Mukarrama, he (saws) went up on the mimbar and said, “Whoever enters Haram Al Sharif is safe. Whoever enters this person’s house, that person’s house, the other person’s house, is safe. He is in safety and security.” Therefore the ones who enter their homes and close their doors, are also safe; they have safety. Whoever enters his house and closes his door is safe and secure. Subhuanallah!
An ant advised mankind:
… Qalat Namlatun Ya ‘Ayyuha An-Namlu Adkhulu Masakinakum La Yahtimannakum Sulaymanu Wa Junuduhu... (An-Naml 27:18) ..
…an ant exclaimed: Oh ants! Enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies crush you …
We are now, in the days of fitna. Whoever wishes to be in a safe situation should avoid demonstrations. It is not in accordance with the Islamic Shariat to protest in the streets. No! Stay in your homes. In your homes there is safety and security.
Adkhulu Masakinakum (27:18) Enter your homes.
The servant may show that he is not accepting the present government by going home and closing his door. What can the government do at that time? It will have to change its politics and its laws. Subhuanallah. Allah Hu Akbar! Allah Hu Akbar!
Whoever enters [their home] is in safety and security. This Allah (swt) made it applicable for everybody’s home that it is a safe haven for them. The Divine Order with which He addressed His Prophet (saws) [reads]:
Inna Allaha La Yughayiru Ma Biqawmin Hatta Yughayiru Ma Bi’anfusihim (Ar-Ra’d 13:11)
Allah does not change what is in a nation unless they change what is in themselves.
People are sent rulers like themselves, the ones they deserve. Correct yourselves and whoever is in the position to rule you will be a righteous one. Otherwise we will follow the ways and methods that are followed by unbelievers. No! If there is something going on in the streets, you should not go out and scream, “Leave! Leave!…” No! Are there no mosques? Enter into the mosques for Friday prayer. Pray and call, “Oh our Lord, Who can change everything, change our situation for the best!” The hearts of the servants are between the fingers of The All Merciful – ar Rahman. Finished!
Otherwise anyone who disobeys the Divine Shariah will be punished. This is an important matter. Regarding going out to the streets, the Prophet (saws) informed us that at the end of times the nations will be going out on the streets like beastly animals, shouting, screaming, crying and swearing. This is not acceptable in Islam. Islam came with adab/good manners.
There is another point. Astaizzu Billah …
Wa A`iddu Lahum Ma Astata`tum Min Quwatin (al-Anfal 8:60)
Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force …
You have no power! Why do you go out to the streets? The government has the power. Why are you going out unarmed and shouting? The [government] will not leave until the order of Allah comes down. You should say,
“We repent and return to You our Lord. Forgive us. Send mercy on us and correct our ways; and correct those who are in power, who are ruling us. The hearts of Your servants are in Your hands, Oh our Lord! Have mercy on our weaknesses and forgive us; and appoint on us those who are the best of us.”
And success is with Allah. Fatiha.
- The Spiritual “greenness” or “Viridity”of the wisdom of Life
The Color Heaven Loves
“Be in love with green. I’m telling you to love green, haji Mehmed, my son. Make it green. Make it green. In everything green there is dhikr, there is tasbih. That’s why I am telling you to use it. The favourite color of the heavens is green. There can’t be a more beautiful color. It is green. Our Allah. It is good news for our life.
Wear green, your illnesses will be gone, your troubles will be gone, your sadness will be gone. You will open. Green is the good news of heavens. Green is the good news of heavens to those on earth. Use it. Even if a handkerchief, I’m telling you to use green. Green is the reflection of heavens on earth. Who looks at green understands the green of heavens. Green gives comfort to the servants of Allah. It’s a sign of life. It becomes green, when spring comes, life comes. We ask that the angels of Janab-ul Mawla dress us in it too. They dress the dear nation of the Habib. Green.
If necessary, plant straw. Let it become green, let it open. Don’t leave the world dark. No. Let it appear green, the whole world. Let it be green. It is the good news of heavens; it is a sign, good news. Allahu Akbar. The color of heavens is green. Prophets wear green too. Saints wear green too. A chosen color is a green color. Yes, how beautiful. How beautiful. Green, the most beautiful of all colors. Allahu Akbar. May we be given too, may we wear it. Green color is the color of health, the color of life, the color of honor, the color of heavens. Allahu Akbar.”
- Divine Healing Power of Green
During her lifetime, Hildegard of Bingen was famous for her visions that she had published in her mystical & theological works, Liber Scivias, Liber Vitae Meritorum and Liber Divinorum Operum. – Known as the German Prophetess (Prophetissa Teutonica), she perceived herself as the Trumpet of God called to denounce the social and political state of her time. Thus, she did not merely admonish nun and monks but also pope and emperor. – Hildegard was a seeing listener and a listening seeress. Her visions were at once auditions in which she perceived the voice of God, heard the music of the angels and gained insight into the secret of God (Vision of Trinity), the position of the human being in the cosmos and the history / herstory of God with humankind – from creation to incarnation up to the Last Judgement. ( Hildegard von Bingen 1098-1179)
Viriditas is one of the most recognizable contributions of Hildegard of Bingen.
For Hildegard, viriditas encapsulated the divine force of nature, the depth and breadth of which is reflected in the various translations. These words within the word are laden with meaning; with lively, powerful connotations that capture the essence Hildegard had conceptualized so long ago.
The origin of Viriditas,” Viridity” may be the union of two Latin words: Green and Truth. (Latin viridis (source of Spanish, Italian verde), related to virere “be green, and Old English triewð (West Saxon), treowð (Mercian) “faith, faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty; veracity, quality of being true; pledge, covenant,” from Germanic abstract noun *treuwitho, from Proto-Germanic treuwaz “having or characterized by good faith,” from PIE *drew-o-, a suffixed form of the root *deru- “be firm, solid, steadfast.also *dreu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning “be firm, solid, steadfast,
But like most Latin words, Viriditas does not easily translate into convenient, straightforward English. While being difficult to translate may be frustrating to some, there is beauty in this complexity.
The Basic Definition and Origin
The definition is both literal, as in “green”, “greenness”, and “growth”, yet also metaphorical, as in “vigor”, “verdure”, “freshness” and “vitality.” For Hildegard, the spiritual aspects were just as essential as the physical meaning. In much of her work, viriditas was “the greening power of God.” It was in everything, including humans.
This “greenness” was an expression of heaven, the creative power of life, which can be witnessed in the gardens, forests, and farmland all around us. And like those lands, she saw viriditas as something to be cultivated in both our bodies and our souls.
What is it? Hildegard says it is God’s freshness that we receive as spiritual and physical life‐forces. This is vivid imagery that probably came to her simply as she looked around the countryside. The Rhine valley is lush and green and as we know today, a wonderful place, flourishing in fruit and vineyards. This greening power mysteriously is inherent in animals and fishes and birds, in all plants and flowers and trees, in all the beautiful things of this world.
Human flesh is green she says and our blood possesses this special greening power. The “life force of the body” (the soul) was green. Whenever sex was involved—she said there was a particular brightness in the green. This greening power was at the heart of salvation and the reality of the Word was verdant life. This greenness connects us all together as humanity and shines forth giving us common purpose. It is the strength within us that manifests as a strong and healthy life. This greenness originates in the four elements: earth and fire, water and air. It is sustained by the four qualities: by dry and moist, by cold and hot; not only the body—but greenness of soul as well.
Hildegard contrasts greening power or wetness with the sin of drying up (one of her visions.) A dried‐up person or a dried‐up culture loses the ability to create. Hildegard saw this as a grave sin and a tragedy. It also describes how she felt about herself during those years when she was refusing to write down her visions and voices. Her awakening did not occur until she embraced her own viriditas. From then on Hildegard was constantly creating.
‘O most honored Greening Force, You who roots in the Sun;
You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel
that earthly excellence fails to comprehend.
You are enfolded
in the weaving of divine mysteries.
You redden like the dawn
and you burn: flame of the Sun.”
– Hildegard von Bingen, Causae et Curae
Hildegard gives an interesting image about greenness stating that it drenches all things in this world and then gives the tree as an example. The function of the tree’s sap [its life blood that we know as its essential oil] falls to the soul in the human body. Its powers or abilities enable us to unfold or develop form just as it does in the tree. In other words, the tree’s essential oil gives life and nourishment— moistness to humans. She goes on to make comparisons between the tree’s branches, leaves, blossoms, and fruit with various stages within human life. For Hildegard, viriditas is that natural driving force, the life force that is always directed toward healing and wholeness. Love, too, is the breath of the same vital green power that sustains all life’s greenness. She sees the Holy Spirit as that power that gives human beings the green and open space where they are capable of responding to the Word and joining in all of creation. The Spirit purifies the world, scours away all guilt, and heals all wounds and sadness. So, green is not a mere color for Hildegard—it is an attitude and purposeful intent. It is the permanent inflowing and outflowing of viriditas. Ultimately—we are talking about physical health from the inexhaustible fountain of life’s living light. It is the very joy of being alive.
Hildegard’s philosophy of healing centered around her view of the body‐soul relationship. She identified 35 vices and 35 virtues to offset the vices (see Appendix for a complete list ). The vices are like risk factors that can destroy humanity and life on earth while the virtues are healing forces counteracting this possible catastrophe. A virtue like love, compassion, trust, or hope positively affects wound healing, lowers blood pressure by decreasing the adrenaline blood level, calms the heart rate, and decreases life‐ hreatening abnormalities like poor digestion and migraine.
According to Hildegard’s writings, these Christian/ traditional virtues are the greatest healing powers when negative forces—depression, madness, anxiety, fear, rage, bitterness, arrogance, desperation—are blocking the healing light (energy). Negative thoughts, emotions, and feeling are health destroying.
Strehlow (Hildegard of Bingen’s Spiritual Remedies by Dr. Wighard Strehlow), lists these vices and virtues in an easy format for us—they can be used as a practical guide for meditation, fasting, and prayer. Hildegard even wrote a morality play—and presented it as an opera with her nuns taking the parts of the virtues and her monk secretary Volmar, playing the part of the devil. Strehlow asks why are there so many illnesses considered incurable today when Hildegard only considered two diseases to be incurable—migraine and asthma? Medical practice as we know it in the West treats disease on the organic level—neglecting to look at the psychosomatic [emotional] causes. He observes that diseases are a malfunction of the body and neither drugs nor surgery, nor radiation can restore the body’s deficiencies. We know that it is impossible to solve an emotional problem with concrete remedies. Not even cancer can escape the problems of a disturbed soul. It will just keep coming back until the negative psychic factors that caused the illness in the first place are eliminated. See more of Dr. Wighard Strehlow Here
According to Hildegard, behind every negative force stands a positive spiritual healing force, and each weakness can be balanced by a spiritual strength. Some interesting observations have been made about Hildegard’s beliefs about the head and the spine. We know that the skull and vertebrae hold the nervous system together and provide the location for nerve outlets.
These nerves follow the body segments to activate and stimulate the entire body and all its organs. According to anatomy—there are 34 vertebrae plus the skull makes 35.These vertebrae with their thirty five spinal nerves communicate with the thirty five virtues and vices in our soul. Strehlow says that this discovery of the soul‐nerve interplay in Hildegard’s psychotherapy is one of the most important findings in the field and enables us to detect the underlying risk factors for the soul‐causing sicknesses. What we call the autonomic nervous system was for Hildegard the language between the body and the soul. Hildegard revealed a thousand years ago that lifestyle affects this communication. Negative feelings like hate, anger, and fear as well as positive emotions like love, compassion, hope and joy exert a strong influence on the autonomic nervous system, causing either health or disease. Hildegard already knew this—she observed that health and well‐being of our bodies depends entirely on the energy status of our souls. In order to heal the body—we have to heal the soul. Healing of the soul requires activating the power of the divine energy represented by the thirty‐five virtues, or healing forces. All of the virtues are uplifting and energizing and lead us into an atmosphere of relaxation, peace, and healing. The corresponding vices are life‐destroying, bringing low energy, fatigue, and a loss of immune strength. Fasting (which I will address in the next chapter) is the universal remedy for twenty‐eight of these spiritual problems (vices). The other seven require spiritual healing exercises like prayer, living in isolation, and physical training.
We see in this cosmic wheel, humans cultivating the earth through the seasons of the year and the seasons of their lives. The tree stands for inexhaustible life. Hildegard celebrates in this vision the fertility of the earth. “I saw how moisture from the gentle layer of air flowed over the earth. This air revived the earth’s greening power and caused all fruits to put forth seeds and become fertile… From the gentle layer of air, moisture effervesces over the earth. This awakens the earth’s greenness and causes all fruits to appear through germination.” You can see from this why staying wet and moist are such important virtues to Hildegard— without the moisture there is no creativity, no fertility.
Living a Healed and Whole (Holistic) Life
Our health and well‐being of our bodies depends entirely on the energy status of our souls, writes Hildegard. In order to heal the body—we have to consider the health of both body and soul.
How does she suggest we heal our souls? By activating the power of the divine energy in the 35 virtues or healing forces. She’s basically saying that you cannot just look at a physical problem without seeing the connection with the emotional and spiritual issues that contributed to the physical one. The plants Hildegard used were generally those which she might have collected from the nearby woods and fields or grown in the monastery garden. She does use some more exotic ingredients, like ginger, pepper, frankincense, and sugar that would have been bought. The most important fact for Hildegard is whether a plant is considered “hot” or “cold” which follows ancient Greek thought. Every herb was either warm or cold. The warmth of herbs signifies the soul and the cold of herbs signifies the body. Certain herbs have the virtue of very strong aromas, others the harshness of the most pungent aromas. They can curb many evils, since evil spirits do not like them. [This actually was a very common belief and can be explained through vibrational frequencies. Plants carry a certain vibrational frequency whereas evil spirits manifest as a low frequency. Hence living plants can drive out evil spirits.]
Hildegard offers concrete, exact directions for gathering, processing, storing, and using medicinal herbs. She tells you where these herbs grow and the proper time of day and season to gather them. She shows how to prepare these herbs as soups, beverages, purgatives, little cakes, powders and salves; and she describes how to use them as poultices, compresses, applications, and inhalants. For Hildegard, life from God was transmitted into the plants, animals, and precious gems. People in turn ate the plants and animals and acquired some of the gems— thereby obtaining viriditas. People then gave out viriditas through the virtues. According to Hildegard, human beings were originally created to be healthy and whole. These are basic characteristics to which we are entitled. In her theology, after the fall, man and woman discovered that everything had to be carefully and expertly cultivated. Life needed to be ordered with a fixed set of rules in everyday life—part of a sensible lifestyle, she writes. For Hildegard, discretion (which includes the capacity of discrimination) is the mother of all the virtues, which can help you maintain the balance necessary for a healthy lifestyle. When balance is missing, illness and disease take over. She realized that healing and holiness are involved in planning even the most mundane and practical aspects of everyday living.
All things in moderation (discretion). This is the vital juice, as it were, the very breath of all training and education. She observes that discretion touches on a vast range of thoughts and actions. She advises to guard your viriditas with the utmost care through proper diet, proper lifestyle, that is one free from excess indulgences and cravings, and attention to spiritual matters. This is a very natural health regime that is very practical and it’s one based on classic Benedictine/ traditionas principle of moderation in life. Lifestyle should be sustained and supported by our choices in nutrition, food and drink, even our clothing and the houses we live in. Everything should be a reflection of God. But as we look at our lifestyles todayweI see that 80 percent of the population suffers and dies because of a stressful lifestyle and harmful nutrition. Only 10 percent of our illnesses are caused by environment or genes.
We have let technology manipulate our food, water, clothing, and our houses. We have sick house and sick building syndromes, food allergies, chemicals in everything we touch and smell.
Finding Harmony from Excess
Hildegard permitted no excuses for greed and excess. She spurned all matters of excess and pretention. She argued that the purpose for man’s reason was not just to distinguish between right and wrong, but also to discern between overabundance and deficiency.
The Lush Greenness of Nature
Viriditas was a guiding image for Hildegard, appearing regularly in her work. The translations of her work vary in their interpretations, but there is unity in how she viewed this greening power of nature as a metaphor for physical and spiritual health. Viriditas was, in part, the visible aspect of the lush, greenness of the divine in nature.
Many believe that her damp, green surroundings at Disibodenberg inspired her association of this greenness to the vitality of spirit mind body. She lived in the valley around the Rhine River in Germany her entire life. The greenness of this region likely had a significant impact on her, leading to much of her work on life energy, abundance, and the sustaining power of nature being rooted in the notions of lush, green, and moist.
Healing Power of Green
Viriditas was meant to reflect nature’s divine healing power, a constant force, but also a momentary condition in which God heals through the greening power of a living plant. When one consumes a healing plant, this divine power is transferred from the plant to the humans and it becomes a moment of viriditas. This experience is meant to be a daily occurrence as you eat, a means to stay vital with the greening power but also a reminder of our eternal interconnectedness with nature.
Modern Variations of Greening Power in Medicine
A modern medical practitioner, Dr. Victoria Sweet was inspired by Hildegard’s ancient wisdom, and her concept of viriditas in healing patients. After obtaining her MD, Dr. Sweet went back to get a PhD in history; both her masters and doctoral theses were on the subject of Hildegard medicine.
In Dr. Sweet’s TEDx talk at Middlebury College, (The Efficiency of Inefficieny) she describes Hildegard’s belief that human healing resembles the greening power and regenerating capabilities of plant life. In 2014, Dr. Sweet published a book on the subject called God’s Hotel. More recently, Dr. Sweet published a related book, Slow Medicine, also featuring viriditas as a central theme.
Within our Control and Within Reach
Hildegard believed viriditas was to not just be witnessed, but sought out. Hildegard spoke of this pursuit of viriditas through her metaphors of moistness, fruitfulness, and vigor of the soul. These attributes were how she saw life, signs of being alive, and of engaging in this living force of the creator.
Similar to her use of the humoral in her medicine, she saw viriditas as the living part of the duality with ariditas, the “dryness”, “drought”, “aridity”, and “infection” that can arise when the flow of viriditas is blocked.
She saw the tension between the life affirming and balance seeking attributes of viriditas and the barrenness and dryness of ariditas as motivation for constant inquiry into how to encourage the flow of greening power. Physical disease and spiritual decay were evidence of this lacking flow, a flow of greenness that penetrated every aspect of all life, and was a reflection of the Divine on Earth.
Oneness of the Universe
Living well required vigilance against this dryness overtaking our viriditas. The pursuit of greening power instructed much of Hildegard’s work on herbal healing and nutrition and was foundational in how she constructed her beliefs of the interconnectedness of the natural world, humanity, and the divine.
Regardless of how viriditas is translated, the word is full of life. It is entwined with Hildegard’s teachings and beliefs, in her music, art, writing, and her study of the natural world. Whether you are tilling your Hildegard healing medieval garden, or taking a walk in the woods, or just learning ways to invite health and wellness into your life, viriditas is a powerful reminder of the importance of our connectivity with nature and of acknowledging the life and beauty all around us.
The four bodily humors derive from the bodily fluids of blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Like the theory of homeostasis, bodily humors seek balance. When bodily humors fall out of balance, our health and temperament suffer.
The four bodily humors represent the foundation of humoral theory (or, humorism), a medical doctrine practiced by ancient Greek and Roman physicians. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is credited with first applying this theory to the practice of medicine.
Hildegard and Bodily Juices
Humoral medicine was a holistic and highly individualist approach to health and wellness. It represented holistic healing because bodily humors were believed to influence both physical and mental (or, spiritual) disposition. The practice of humoral medicine required an individual approach, since the ideal state – or balance, of the four bodily humors may vary for each individual.
Hildegard of Bingen believed the spirit determines the health of our body and mind. When the spirit, mind, and body possess equal strength, the four bodily juices arrive in balance, resulting in good health. Just as the four elements of air, fire, water, and earth interrelate in a balance seeking cycle, our bodies mirror this relationship.
Balancing Bodily Humors
Hildegard applied the humoral theory of ancient medicine in her beliefs and practices. In Causes and Curae, Hildegard discusses a relationship of the body’s significant fluids (bodily juices) that correspond with the four qualities of hot, cold, wet, and dry. She associated the bodily humors of the traditional four fluids of blood, phlegm, bile, and melancholia with those qualities.
Hildegard also believed that the essence or “juice” of anything, especially the medicinal juice of plants, followed a similar relationship based on the qualities of bodily humors as dry, wet, tepid, and foamy. She believed that disease emerged from the wrong proportion of the bodily juices.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) created characters that are among the richest and most humanly recognizable in all of literature. Yet Shakespeare understood human personality in the terms available to his age—that of the now-discarded theory of the four bodily humors—blood, bile, melancholy, and phlegm. These four humors were thought to define peoples‘ physical and mental health, and determined their personalities, as well. Read more here
Humors Bring Harmony
Hildegard’s understanding of the bodily juices was a unifying perspective in which the four humors existed within the body, but also within the natural world. She saw the four bodily humors as a microcosm of the fundamental organizing system of the universe. In her view, each juice existed to temper the other – just as the universe is made of the four elements and four seasons operating in harmony.
When harmony exists in us, we are in accord with all that exists. Because of our connectivity with the universe, Hildegard believed the soul to be the source of everything and thus essential in achieving harmony. She held four basic rules in the pursuit of harmony.
Rule 1: Strengthen the spirit
Hildegard believed that all problems and ailments in the body are ultimately rooted in our spirit. She believed that by strengthening and healing the soul, the body and its systems would then follow. Hildegard’s path to harmony flows from the spirit, to the mind, and the body. The power of health and wellness is within us. It is our duty to strengthen our soul such that this power will manifest. How?
We strengthen our soul through meditation, encouraging and practicing talents and virtues, and working against vices and weakness. The key is to identify and prioritize your values and determine whether or not you are practicing your values in your day-to-day life.
The Sufi Master, Sultan ul Awliya Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil Al Haqqani Q.S explains The HEALING OF THE HEART WITH THE MEDICINE OF DHIKR ( meditation on the Holy Names of Allah: “Each and very human being has two hearts. One is a physical lump of flesh the size of a fist and the other is the spiritual heart of immeasurable size and depth, more immense than the universe!” Read more…
Rule 2: Cleanse the Body
Hildegard was a proponent of regular detoxification and spiritual fasting. Cleansing through fasting, wormwood wine cures, and herbal treatments and elixirs. Hildegard’s fasting guidelines show that fasting needn’t be suffering or absolute deprivation. Fasting can merely be a dedicated period of time to allow your body to purge toxins, rest, and rejuvenate.
The spiritual fast is known from antiquity ,and the best known and most observed is in Islam :
Muslims believe that fasting is more than abstaining from food and drink. Fasting also includes abstaining from any falsehood in speech and action, abstaining from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing, fighting, and having lustful thoughts. Therefore, fasting strengthens control of impulses and helps develop good behavior. During the sacred month of Ramadan, believers strive to purify body and soul and increase their taqwa (good deeds and God-consciousness). This purification of body and soul harmonizes the inner and outer spheres of an individual. Muslims aim to improve their body by reducing food intake and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Overindulgence in food is discouraged and eating only enough to silence the pain of hunger is encouraged. Muslims believe they should be active, tending to all their commitments and never falling short of any duty. On a moral level, believers strive to attain the most virtuous characteristics and apply them to their daily situations. They try to show compassion, generosity and mercy to others, exercise patience, and control their anger. In essence, Muslims are trying to improve what they believe to be good moral character and habits.
Rule 3: Moderation
Moderation was a central theme of Hildegard’s beliefs and teachings. Hildegard believed that we should strive to bring moderation into our behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Her notion of moderation was about more than just eating and drinking nutritious foods. For Hildegard, moderation was closely tied to her beliefs that balance in spirit, mind, and body was essential in living a healthy life.
Modern living often seems designed to keep us off-balance. The flow of our daily lives presents seemingly limitless opportunity to step out of balance in order to accomplish our goals. An awareness of balance and placing our desire for balance into practice helps lead to a healthier state of being.
Avoiding processed foods, awareness of what we eat and drink, while limiting our indulgences helps keep us on the right path.
Hildegard’s Medieval Diet, based on natural foods enjoyed in moderation and balance, serves as a reference for some specific tips.
Rule 4: Sharpen the Senses
Live your life on purpose; set healthy goals; don’t allow life to “happen to you”. Maintaining contentment means cultivating a positive demeanor; it’s a choice we make many times, every day. Live your values with optimism and personal responsibility. Love your life. If you can’t love your life in its current form, identify the shortcomings and work on changes. Some of the most profound developments begin with the smallest turns of the dial.
O men of sight—what a sight!
Through mysteries you’ve passed
with gaze of spirit’s eyes,
in shining shadow
a living, piercing light
that buds upon that single branch
that flourished at
the entrance of deep-rooted light:
You saints of old!
You have foretold salvation
of souls in exile plunged,
in death immersed.
You circled, spun like wheels
as wondrously proclaimed
the mountain’s mysteries
whose top the heavens touched
and passed through many waters
yet still among you
arose a shining lamp
that raced ahead, that mountain
Scivias III.4: The Pillar of the Word of God.
Rupertsberg MS, fol. 145v
The four humours and their corresponding qualities.
Humoral theory, also known as humorism or the theory of the four humours, was a model for the workings of the human body. It was systemised in Ancient Greece, although its origins may go back further still. The theory was central to the teachings of Hippocrates and Galen and it became the dominant theory in Europe for many centuries. It remained a major influence on medical practice and teaching until well into the 1800s.
In this theory, humours existed as liquids within the body and were identified as blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. These were in turn associated with the fundamental elements of air, water, earth and fire. It was further proposed that each of the humours was associated with a particular season of the year, during which too much of the corresponding humour could exist in the body – blood, for example, was associated with spring. A good balance between the four humours was essential to retain a healthy body and mind, as imbalance could result in disease. Such notions of internal balance have parallels in other medical traditions, notably Ayurveda, Unani Tibb and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The treatments for disease within humoral theory were concerned with restoring balance. These could be relatively benign and focused on changes in dietary habits, exercise and herbal medicines. But other treatments could involve more aggressive attempts to re-establish balance. As well as having the body purged with laxatives and emetics, or the skin blistered with hot iron, individuals already weakened by disease might be subjected to bloodletting because practitioners mistakenly believed that their bodies contained an excess of blood.
Hildegard’s Bodily Juices
Hildegard’s work in Causae et Curae, on the origin and treatment of diseases, offers a fascinating glimpse into Hildegard’s world view, and the theological underpinnings of her thinking around natural healing, naturopathy, and bodily juices. Even today, Hildegard’s descriptions provide a thought-provoking look at the causes of certain maladies and diseases.
The Rule of Fours in Hildegard Medicine
According to Hildegard, the Earth is composed of four primary elements and was given to man by God. In her book, Rooted in the Earth, Rooted in the Air, Victoria Sweet discusses the 4 elements as earth, fire, air and water. According to Hildegard, Fire strengthens, Earth provides life force, Air supports flexibility, and Water moisturizes and nourishes. Everything flows together, and no element can exist without the other elements.
Ideally, all creatures coexist and contribute to the interplay of the four elements, with every creature in relationship to one another. The elements benefit man; they nourish him, and provide him with a home. The basis of this orderly structure depends on the coexistence of man and elements, where everything has its place, meaning, and purpose. Driven by actions and faith, man occupies the center of this interrelationship.
Paradise Lost May be Found or Out of paradise every day
In Biblical lore, it was the fall of Adam and Eve that first compromised the intended structure of the universe, bringing disorder to all creation. When viewed through the lens of Hildegard’s microcosm-macrocosm, the fall from the Garden of Eden disrupted our relationship with nature, which lead to physical and spiritual changes in man, physical fragility, suffering and modern diseases.
As a result, the integrity of man’s original constitution (constitutio) was altered. Not all is lost, however, as the Creator has preserved a means for us to restore our unadulterated state. According to Hildegard, diligent work leads to a virtuous life, and thereby we may regain divine salvation (restitutio).
The Four Elements and Bodily Juices
According to Hildegard’s descriptions, the four elements interact in the human body as well as in nature to form the body and mind. Of the four basic elements, two possess heavenly qualities (air and fire), and the other two (earth and water) have earthly qualities. The two higher elements form the spirit, which is intangible in nature, whereas the body forms from the lower elements.
The four elements remain equally interconnected as much in people as they are on Earth. These elements moderate, support, and balance one-another. The resulting interplay forms our bodies and spirits, culminating in the human being to give him life.
Fire gives sight, the air gives hearing, water contributes motion and Earth creates the body and its gait. The soul is sent by God is further characterized by the deeds of men.
The Four Bodily Juices or Humours
Diseases arise from the imbalance of phlegmata or juices in the body; these are often referred to as bodily humours. These bodily juices, as Hildegard described them, formed after the fall of man, and they determine health and sickness, as well as character and temperament in the people.
Hildegard’s views on bodily juices or phlegmata were consistent with the common medical wisdom of premodern times. She incorporates several aspects of humoral pathology into her methodology, while also incorporating her own unique elements. One such element was in how Hildegard further subdivides her system of four bodily juice into two dominant and two secondary juices.
The nature of Hildegard’s four bodily juices relates to the composition of the four basic elements in the following manner: fire produces dry phlegm, whereas air produces moist phlegm; water produces frothy phlegm and earth produces a lukewarm condition. As with the element, our bodily juices attain their natural state through balance and harmony. Any disruption results in disease.
Man’s Character and Bodily Juices
These juices can occur in different combinations and thereby determine the character of the human being, as well as his physical condition.
“The man with the lukewarm phlegm is a sad and anxious. With him, the black bile is present in excess and compromises the brain and heart. This man is God-fearing and can also live quite long because his phlegm neither excessively harms him, nor makes him completely healthy.” – Hildegard of Bingen
In her writings about bodily juices, Hildegard describes people with certain characteristics. She identifies the dominant bodily juice, influencing the prevalent characteristic or behavior. In her analysis of these qualities and the corresponding bodily juice, Hildegard projects the life expectancy of those individuals.
In this way, Hildegard deals with most juices and the corresponding character such that the predominant phlegm and the arrangement of all other juices determine a person’s character.
Causae et Curae
In Causae et Curae, Hildegard describes a total of 16 possible character types. She describes why a person acts in a certain way and what juice causes that behavior. She also speculates on the influence such behavior has on a person’s life. Through this process, Hildegard attempts to explain why people act differently and how their lifestyle and temperament impact their lives and their life-expectancies.
The balance of juices determines our character and life span, and the composition (qualities) of those juices further defines our respective character.
Hildegard always traces disease to an imbalance of our juices. According to her understanding, a life of measure and Godliness is the best path toward maintaining a balance of the juices, and thus health and wellness of body and spirit.
Spirit Mind Body: Strength as a Skill
A skill must be learned, practiced, and tested. It is something one acquires through work, discipline, direction, and fortitude. Once acquired, it cannot be taken away, but it can atrophy if left idle. Consider the strength of our spirit mind body.
We hear a lot about a strong body, about how to build strength, what it takes to become “strong.” But these things are often limited by their own definitions, constrained by their transitory nature; fabricated solutions borne with expiration dates. And in a practical sense, most lack the simplicity and adaptability to accommodate the depth and breadth of a life being lived as a body, a mind, and spirit.
Spirit Mind Body: The Practice of Strength as a Skill
At Healthy Hildegard, we consider a holistic approach, evaluating strength as a skill that may occupy many different vectors of life. It is something that we build through our actions, something to be practiced, not a singular metric to be achieved.
There are countless books, blogs, web sites and gyms telling us how to live a healthy and fruitful life. Hildegard offered simple advice on bodily humors and strength of spirit mind body that have stood the test of time. Many suggestions can be incorporated into your life today, without joining a gym, buying a book, trying a new supplement, medication, or therapy.
The practice of building strength needn’t be heavy lifting. Skills can also come through small moves, through repetition of effort, through the accumulation of these practices tested against the challenges of everyday life.
It all starts with the spirit; the first of Hildegard’s four juices or bodily humors. Once we’ve committed to strengthening our souls through meditation, and faith in our inner wisdom, everything else can follow.
Begin your strength building practice with the wisdom of Hildegard and her simple ways to maintain the awareness of all that is you. Consider Hildegard’s Medieval Diet as a way to explore strength of spirit mind body.
- Points of Intersection: Viriditas and Veritas
Hildegard’s understanding of viriditas is multi-dimensional. It straddles the boundaries of the physical, the moral and the spiritual. Viriditas is fecundity. It is fruitfulness. It is greening power. A key facet of viriditas is its absence, ariditas. Dryness. The current state of the earth is an example of ariditas while the preferred situation of the earth within the universe is seen in viriditas. Obviously, at a purely physical level, this is the case. The earth is drying up and the seas are warming up. MacGillis’ discussion of the oceans, their composition, and the effects of lethal waste upon marine and human life leave no one in doubt. At a deeper level the crisis of unenlightened consciousness exemplifies another form of ariditas. It is a type of sinful mindset caused by deluded thinking based on rationalist and materialist philosophies. It is a type of sinful mindset that sees mankind [sic] at the top of the ladder of creation devouring natural resources and exploiting peoples. It is the type of sinful mindset that has created the current credit crunch—irresponsible, self-aggrandizing behaviour indicative of profound ariditas, of profound need for conversion. Where there is no ethical understanding, scientific knowledge leads to a diseased consciousness, to ultimate dryness and death. Says MacGillis: If the planet dies the only cause of it will have been consciousness, because without consciousness, the whole thing [earth’s cycles] was coded toward life…there are dynamics happening at the most profound level 7which are altering the capacity of the earth to do what the universe has mandated it to do. This is to continue to live and to continue to heal and nourish and regenerate itself. Consciousness is violating this mandate. And that’s us. Hildegard’s recognition of the interconnection between ariditas and sin is significant as is her conviction that viriditas is the way of justice and “fountain-fullness.” Is not viriditas also a heightened consciousness of connection, of consequences, of inter-relatedness, Is it not an embracing of creaturehood accompanied by a large dose of humility? The Earth, indeed the universe, is not a collection of objects, as Berry states, but a communion of subjects. Human beings are only one, lately emerged development in this communion. Understanding the principles of the new cosmology means imagining another kind of earth, perhaps like Hildegard’s, with viriditas at its core, an earth in full fruit. And in another kind of consciousness, veritas and reverence will enable people to see that the Earth is our body and God’s—something that Hildegard herself saw in her vision of the earth, embraced by the Cosmic Christ and resting in the womb of God (1998:41) read more
- RIDE YOUR EGO to REACH TO THE DIVINE PRESENCE
“All people are so friendly with their egos. They ask of it, “What are you ordering”? “O my ego, O my sultan,” “Whatever you want, Whatever you wish, I must prepare it for you” “I am your slave and you are my Sultan.” Finally, they will die, and their bodies will have a bad smell. The ego is a fully foolish one, but he is introducing himself as a mighty one. It says, “You must obey me,” “I don’t like any partner.” “I am the first and I am the last for you.” “All respect and praise that you give must be for me.” People are mostly lazy, and they are following their ego. (which is the laziest one amongst creatures.)
Your physical being cannot reach to the vastness of the world. But your spiritual being, that is something else. As much as we grant it more, from heavenly worlds, our spiritual being may reach to this vastness. In the beginning, when Allah Almighty created our nafs, He said, “Go forward,” and the nafs went back. That is its nature, never to accept its Lords commands. Allah Almighty honoured man to be His servants, and his nafs always comes in the way, to prevent him from obeying his Lord.
Every Prophet, brought methods from Allah Almighty, for training our ego so that we can say, “O my Lord, I surrender to you.” But your ego says to Allah, “No, I will not surrender.” When Allah asked our ego, “Who are you?”, the ego answered, “I am myself, and you are yourself.” “You are You, and I am myself.” So Allah Almighty ordered for the ego to be put in fire for one thousand years. He then took the ego out and asked it the same question. The ego replied, :”You are You and I am that me.” So he was ordered to be put into the cold hell for one thousand years, after which he was asked, “Who are you?” and it answered in the same way as before. Then it was ordered to be put into the valley of hunger for one thousand years, after which he was again called and asked again this same question, and this time it replied, “You are my Lord, and I am your servant.” – From discourses of Sheikh Nazim-
- Modern times: Out of paradise every day
On Henrich von Kleist’s short story On The Puppet Theatre. In the introduction to the translation in the Southern Cross Review, Parry writes:
Kleist shares with Kafka the insight that it is only our concept of time which makes us think of the Fall of Man as a historical event in the distant past. It is happening all the time. The biblical story is a mythical representation of constant human awareness of self and therefore of separation.
In this understanding, awareness of sense of separate self (eating of the Tree of Knowledge) = separation from God = The Fall. After eating from the tree, man hides himself from God.
Genesis names this tree The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In other words, the original “evil” act is to see oneself as separate from God. Here we can begin to play by substituting freely the words evil, sin and separation. What if I say, when I see myself as separate(d) from God, separation comes into the world? Or, Jesus died for our separation? (As Cynthia Bourgeault points out, Christ died for our collective sins. The idea that Christ died for my individual sins is just a guilt trip).
The story also contains von Kleist’s prescription for this malady. According to Kleist, there are two states of innocence: the state of ignorance, and the state of complete knowledge and wisdom. However, since there is no way back, only the second of these can save us:
Does that mean, I said in some bewilderment, that we must eat again of the tree of knowledge in order to return to the state of innocence? Of course, he said, but that’s the final chapter in the history of the world.
- Modern times: Crucifying Christ every day
A lifelong pilgrimage. The Mirror of Jheronimus bosch for our times:
The figure of the wayfarer – both on the outside panels of the two versions of the Haywain Triptych and the now octagonal panel in Rotterdam – shows an image of allegorical texts in which the whole of human existence is conceived as a pilgrimage. This stems from a powerful Middle Ages tradition that can be seen, for example, in the Middle Netherlands publication entitled Boeck van den pelgherym (Book of the Pilgrim),by Jacob Bellaert which appeared in Haarlem in 1486.
This book explicitly laid down the notion that all people are pilgrims on their way to a heavenly Jerusalem. Bosch, however, did not portray his wayfarer as a stereotypical pilgrim, with all the well-known attributes that would characterize him as such.
Indeed, Bosch did refer to plodding, and thus to the idea of humanity making a pilgrimage. Every person as a devoted believer must find his or her own way with God’s help. For this purpose the traveller is equipped with a number ofpractical attributes, such as a strong staff, which is at the same time symbolic. The painter did not portray this staff as the typical long pilgrim’s staff, but as club-like stick with which the marching traveller wards off the threatening dog.
Bosch seems literally to have painted a passage from the Middle Netherlands adaptation of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis (The mirror of human salvation): in many places the pilgrim must journey along back roads and needs a stick to ward off threatening dogs. The staff symbolizes the belief that humanity offers a footing not to stray from the righteous way, and serves him as a weapon.
Bosch’s travelling man has packed his belongings in the big basket on his back and carries this earthly burden along the path of life. He must lead his life in imitation of Christ; he must bear His burdens, contemplating His example from hour to hour and from day to day. Bosch’s interpretation of the toiling wayfarer is established by the title page of an early printed edition of Thomas van Kempen’s famous book De Navolging van Christus (The Imitation of Christ), Antwerp 1505.
If we are not doing that we are then Crucifying Christ every day of our modern times. See polishing your Heart
Christ Carrying the Cross (Bosch, Ghent)
The work depicts Jesus carrying the cross above a dark background, surrounded by numerous heads, most of which are characterized with grotesque faces. There are a total of eighteen portraits, plus one on Veronica’s veil. Jesus has a woeful expression, his eyes are closed and the head is reclinating.
In the bottom right corner is the impenitent thief, who sneers against three men who are mocking him. The penitent thief is at top right: he is portrayed with very pale skin, while being confessed by a horribly ugly monk.
While surrounded by the mob in caricature Christ is accompanied by Simon of Cyrene, St. Veronica and the Good and Bad Thieves. Veronica holds the imprinted face of Christ on her veil. The two faces of Jesus contrast sharply with the horrible faces around them. Bosch imbues the mob with faces of sin. Here humanity is ugly and full of evil. They externally bear the marks of their inner torment, as contrasted with the serene faces of Jesus and Veronica. José de Sigüenza, a 16th-century Spanish author, wrote: “The difference between the work of Bosch and that of other painters lies in the fact that the others depict man as he appears on the outside. Only Bosch dared to paint him the way he is on the inside.”
This dramatic panel is “one of the most hallucinatory creations of the history of Western art”, in the words of Bosch expert Paul van den Broeck.
A reminder, most of the paintings by Bosch are religious, but at the same time, they are a critical analysis of the world and its human inhabitants. Bosch often does that in a highly ingenious way. This Christ Carrying the Cross demonstrates how deeply Bosch felt and identified with the suffering of Christ. This empathy fits in with the teachings of the late-medieval devotional movements from Bosch’s time, which saw Jesus as a lonely and resigned man who conquered the sins of the ugly and even bestial world all on his own. For Bosch Christ is the one to follow because He alone can forgive our ugliness (sin) and call us to a new beauty (grace.) . This is the message Bosch wanted to convey here.
Bosch places the head of Christ at the crossing of two diagonal composition lines. One diagonal follows the beam of the Cross, from the head of Simon of Cyrene, the man who helped to carry Christ’s Cross, to the “bad thief” at the bottom right, who was crucified beside Christ. The second diagonal runs from the bottom left, with Veronica’s sudarium, to the pallid face of the “good thief” in the upper-right corner. He has the dubious pleasure of the company of a physician – or is it a Pharisee? – and a monk.
Drawing on our walk with Christ in the Ghent Christ Carrying the Cross, it may be good to paraphrase the ancient prayer to Santiago de Compostela:
Be for us our companion on our daily walks,
Our guide at the crossroads,
Our breath in our weariness,
Our protection in danger,
Our shelter on the way,
Our shade in the heat,
Our light in the darkness,
Our consolation in our discouragements,
And our strength in our intentions.
The iconography of the Passion scenes which Bosch painted during his middle and later years are simpler than that of his earlier paintings, their imagery more easily grasped by the viewer. One such work is the Christ Carrying the Cross in the Palacio Real, Madrid. Christ dominates the foreground, almost crushed beneath the heavy Cross which the elderly Simon of Cyrene struggles to lift from his back. The ugly heads of his executioners rise steeply in a mass towards the left;
in the distance, the sorrowing Virgin collapses into the arms of John the Evangelist. Whereas Bosch’s earlier composition of this subject in Vienna had been diffuse and primarily narrative, the Madrid version is concentrated, and the way that Christ ignores his captors to look directly at the spectator gives it the quality of a timeless devotional image.
Walter S. Gibson in his work on Bosch states that some critics claim that Bosch equated the historical tormenters of Christ with humankind at large whose daily wickedness continues to torture Christ after his Resurrection. This concept of ‘Perpetual Passion’ was not uncommon in Bosch’s day. But is this what the face of Jesus is saying? Could it not be less an accusation and more an appeal to the viewer found within Matthew 16:24: ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”?
Look here for A lifelong pilgrimage: The Mirrors of Jheronimus bosch
- Jesus (as) and Why You Should Not Idolize All People
By Shaykh Rami Al Rifai.
Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem, Assalamu Alaikum
The following is our Tafsir from a translation to the Gospel of Thomas (as) who Jesus (as) said to us are His (as) words. The Gospel of Thomas is a sayings gospel, it was discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945 among a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library. This is why it was not included in the bible as canon, it was lost to time, these are Jesus’s (as) last words on earth before His (as) ascension, what you will find is that the sum of its advice is the same as the advice the Angels gave to John (q) in the book of revelations regarding the empires that would arise at the end of time some 2000 years later, our time.
Muslims and Christians should study this because Jesus (saws) began it by saying:
“Whoever finds the meaning of these words will not taste (spiritual) death.”
Thomas (as) said to Jesus (as), “Therefore I beg you to tell me what I ask you before your ascension, and when I hear from you about the hidden things (Ghayb, the Unseen), then I can speak about them. And it is obvious to me that the truth is difficult to perform (explain) before men.”
Jesus (saws) answered regarding the unseen and sainthood, saying, “If the things that are visible to you are obscure to you (your mind), how can you hear about the things that are not visible? If the deeds of the truth that are visible in the world are difficult for you to perform, how indeed, then, shall you perform those that pertain to the exalted height (those who act on what they witness from the unseen, like Sayyidinah Khidr) and to the pleroma (the totality of divine powers) which are not visible? And how shall you be called ‘laborers’? (saintly, those who do this work) In this respect you are apprentices, and have not yet received the height of perfection (Ihsan).” (The Book of Thomas)
Jesus (saws) said, “Brother Thomas while you have time in the world, listen to me, and I will reveal to you the things you have pondered in your mind.”
“Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself, and learn who you are, in what way you exist, and how you will come to be (your nature and the reason you developed this way). Since you will be called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself. And I know that you have understood, because you had already understood that I am the knowledge of the truth. So while you accompany me, although you are uncomprehending (of spiritual things and their technical nature), you have (in fact) already come to know (experience, gain Maa’rifah), and you will be called ‘the one who knows himself’. For he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself (his nature and why he does things) has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all (that is the source of all inspiration and you have connected to it so it guides you). So then, you, my brother Thomas, have beheld what is obscure to men, that is, what they ignorantly stumble against (chasing the world looking for answers there while it is only within them that answers exist).” (The Book of Thomas)
Don’t change the world in hopes of changing yourself, change yourself so the world changes because of you. Read more
- About the Substitution of Christ on the Cross: Or the “Imitatio Christi”
- HILDEGARD AND THE HUMAN PERSON
Most significantly, Hildegard states that Adam and Eve share a common flesh. This seemingly innocuous clarification is in fact highly important as it counters the narrative set down by the Church regarding the relationship between the sexes and the blame for Adam’s Fall. Many of Hildegard’s predecessors asserted that as Eve was made of Adam, her flesh was innately weaker, and more susceptible to influence and sin. Hildegard rejects this and insists that although Eve contributed to Adam’s Fall, he was also partially responsible, and so Eve’s flesh was only as weak as Adam’s, and equally as holy. Therefore Mary, Hildegard argues, being descendent of Eve, created Christ with a body made of Eve’s flesh. By placing such importance on the role of the female body with relation to Christ, Hildegard rejects some patristic narratives that women represented the flesh inasmuch as they were physical creatures prone to base instincts of the flesh, whereas men represented the spirit in that they were rational and superior in mind and temperament.94 Without Mary, Hildegard argues, there would be no Christ, and in fact no ‘humanity’ at all. It was Mary who bestowed Christ with his humanity, just as Eve was bestowed life from Adam’s flesh. To dismiss the one would mean to dismiss the other. Hildegard distances herself from interpreting the flesh and body as innately sinful, and instead elevates them to a holy level. Her investment in the human body is strengthened in her medico-religious writing by her incorporation of various feminine images, such as Lady Wisdom and Synagogue. Hildegard’s fascination with the human body extends to the female body, particularly when she argues that the results of Adam’s Fall are most apparent in the womb of Eve and that the duty of restoring the cosmic imbalance caused by the Fall resided with all women. Hildegard takes the contemporary discourse of her time surrounding the female body and its faults and reinterprets them to argue the case of female responsibility, and therefore, power in restoring the faults of their bodies and of the world around them. Hildegard’s body of work, and indeed, her medico-religious works, are a natural result of this sense of innate responsibility. Causae et curae and Physica are a method by which Hildegard could aid her immediate community, and indeed, supply the world around her with viriditas. Through the healing of others Hildegard saw her actions inadvertently as a response to Adam’s Fall, and as an expression of spiritual and physical authority. Read more here
- The Green Man
“The Green Man is the threshold of the imagination between our outer natures and our deepest selves and, as he is so closely connected with the Great Goddess, we must also ask, ‘What is the Great Goddess in ourselves?’ In ancient teachings she is Sophia or Wisdom, the wisdom we sorely need and which the Green Man is waiting to transmit to us.” Anderson
“One of the most important archetypal figures in Sufism is Khidr, ‘the green one.’ Khidr represents direct revelation, the direct inner connection with God that is central to the mystical experience… Khidr is not an abstract mystical figure, but an archetype of something essential within us. ‘The Green One’ images a natural aspect of our divinity, something so ordinary that we overlook it. To follow the way of Khidr is to awaken to our own natural state of being with God and with life. In this natural state of being we know how to respond to the real need of the moment.” Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
“Three things of this world delight the heart: water, green things, and a beautiful face.” ( Prophet Mohammed)
The most common and perhaps obvious interpretation of the Green Man is that of a pagan nature spirit, a symbol of man’s reliance on and union with nature, a symbol of the underlying life-force, and of the renewed cycle of growth each spring. In this respect, it seems likely that he has evolved from older nature deities such as the Celtic Cernunnos and the Greek Pan and Dionysus.
Some have gone so far as to make the argument that the Green Man represents a male counterpart – or son or lover or guardian – to Gaia (or the Earth Mother, or Great Goddess), a figure which has appeared throughout history in almost all cultures. In the 16th Century Cathedral at St-Bertrand de Comminges in southern France, there is even an example of a representation of a winged Earth Mother apparently giving birth to a smiling Green Man.
Because by far the most common occurrences of the Green Man are stone and wood carvings in churches, chapels, abbeys and cathedrals in Europe (particularly in Britain and France), some have seen this as evidence of the vitality of pre-Christian traditions surviving alongside, and even within, the dominant Christian mainstream. Much has been made of the boldness with which the Green Man was exhibited in early Christian churches, often appearing over main doorways, and surprisingly often in close proximity to representations of the Christ figure.
Incorporating a Green Man into the design of a medieval church or cathedral may therefore be seen as a kind of small act of faith on the part of the carver that life and fresh crops will return to the soil each spring and that the harvest will be plentiful. Pre-Christian pagan traditions and superstitions, particularly those related to nature and trees, were still a significant influence in early medieval times, as exemplified by the planting of yew trees (a prominent pagan symbol) in churchyards, and the maintenance of ancient “sacred groves” of trees.Tree worship goes back into the prehistory of many of the cultures that directly influenced the people of Western Europe, not least the Greco-Roman and the Celtic, which is no great surprise when one considers that much of the continent of Europe was covered with vast forests in antiquity. It is perhaps also understandable that there are concentrations of Green Men in the churches of regions where there were large stretches of relict forests in ancient times, such as in Devon and Somerset, Yorkshire and the Midlands in England. The human-like attributes of trees (trunk-body, branches-arms, twigs-fingers, sap-blood), as well as their strength, beauty and longevity, make them an obvious subject for ancient worship. The Green Man can be seen as a continuing symbol of such beliefs, in much the same way as the later May Day pageants of the Early Modern period, many of which were led by the related figure of Jack-in-the-Green.
- The Green Man in Britain (towns A – B) (44 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns C – E) (55 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns F – L) (55 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns M – O) (33 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns P – S) (48 photos)
- The Green Man in Britain (towns T – Z) (41 photos)
- The Green Man in France (towns A – L) (45 photos)
- The Green Man in France (towns M – Z) (35 photos)
- The Green Man in Germany (towns A – L) (40 photos)
- The Green Man in Germany (towns M – Z) (31 photos)
- The Green Man in Spain (17 photos)
- The Green Man in Italy (28 photos)
- The Green Man in Other Countries (36 photos)
- Similar Figures from Antiquity (10 photos)
The coat of arms,Den Bosch (Holland)
The origin of the city’s name ‘the Duke’s forest’ is clearly illustrated in the coat of arms. To explain the entire history of this colourful emblem you’d need an entire book, but here’s the short answer. The first mention of the existence of the coat of arms dates to a document from 1242. The main feature on the coat of arms, the tree, is a telling symbol of the Duke’s forest. The tree, accompanied by two smaller ones, was already implemented on the oldest known city seal. The eagle is the German Reich’s eagle with the Austrian shield on its chest. The gold crown and the two wild men were added in 1670 when the coat of arms was placed on the new city hall. Why the wild men appeared on the coat of arms of ‘s-Hertogenbosch is unclear. One explanation could be that they made the forest dwellers who were associated with the founding of the city into guards.
The wild man likewise served to counterpoise the accepted standards of conduct of society in general. If the average man could not articulate what he meant by “civilized” in positive terms, he could readily do so in negative terms by pointing to the wild man. As the dialectical antithesis of all man should strive for, the wild man was the abstract concept of “noncivilization” rendered as a fearful physical reality. This myth exemplifies man’s tendency to dignify or credit his own mode of life by contrasting it to that of others who are considered not merely different but lesser. Such figures, whether real or mythic, embody the essential qualities of the society that identifies them.bs As medieval man became progressively obsessed with a highly ordered social structure, a rational disposition to direct it, and a committed•faith in God to sustain it, the wild man came to represent the opposite. Sublimated in the wild man were the preeminent phobias of medieval society—chaos, insanity, and ungodliness.
The myth of the medieval wild man was adopted to preserve the values and order of a declin-ing feudal society. As this society began to dissolve so did the myth that was designed to rein-force it. But with the rise of a new social order, the myth, turning to an individual rasher than a collective level, was revived, only to become diffused once more through fictionalization. The varied symbolic functions performed by the wild man throughout the transformations of his mythic nature reveal then not only the changing patterns of society, but the current attitudes toward it as well. As Northrup Frye has observed, myths are designed to challenge the ex-tremes of human possibility, the ideals of freedom or redemption on one hand, and the threat of oppression and damnation on the other other.46 The wild man in his varied iconographical contexts reflected points of man’s response to the inherent tensions between good and evil. More than a literary oddity, a folkloric superstitution, or a symbolic hybrid, the wild man is a remarkable mirror of the age in which he flourished. Read more here
- Saint George and the dragon. Cult, culture and foundation of the city.
“Sacrifice is the City” St. Augustine, The City of God
The figure of St. George fighting the dragon is an icon in the Eastern and Western world: the topos of the glorious and sacred image, the Saint on horseback with shield and spear, opposite to the winged monster comes from ancient times and places, subject to devotion and dedication.
From Palestine to England, from the Balkans – the sources agree that George was born in Cappadocia – to Catalonia (San Jordi), the figure of the saint also defines morphologically one of the most important martyrological cults in Mediterranean area.
Following the insights of René Girard, which describes the violent origins of human culture, I propose to analyze through the traditional image of St. George, the foundation of the “enclosed city”, model of the Mediterranean city during the Middle Ages, with particular reference sacrificial origins of living space. Read more here
- Khidr – the Green One – is very important in Sufism : St George and Al kidhr
The present master of the Golden Chain, the Sultan al-Awliya Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani (may Allah sanctify his secret), has confirmed that Saint George is Sayyidina Al-Khidr, peace be upon him. The word “confirmed” is appropriate, since this identification has been widely made for a long time. According to HRH Prince Charles, for example: “We forget too easily that the veneration of the Virgin is shared in the Middle East to this day by Christians and Muslims alike; that the mysterious prophet of the Muslims, Al-Khidir, was identified with…the Christian St George…” Perhaps most obviously, St. George’s Day in the Ottoman Empire was better known as Hidrellez, a name deriving in part from the title al-Khidr or “the Green.” If it is objected that Hidrellez falls on the 6th of May rather than the 23rd of April, that is, St. George’s Day in those regions of Western Europe still holding to this tradition, let it not be forgotten that the 6th of May is simply St. George’s Day in the Eastern liturgical calendar. Read more here
- Khidr Al-Khadir (Kh-D-R) – an Arabic term meaning “green” and “verdant” – is the etymological root for a Middle-Eastern character known as al-Khidr: the Green One.
Khidr, Khizr, Khezr or Hizir – all point to a legendary figure who is said to have discovered the “Water-of-Life” (i.e. Spirit / Pure Consciousness) and is considered an eternal prophet. Coleman Barks informs us:
Khidr is connected philologically with Elijah and with Utnapishtim of the Gilgamesh epic. He may be partial source, along with Druidic lore, for the enigmatic Green Knight in the Middle English poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. Read more here