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HILDEGARD VON BINGEN

March 21, 2018

HILDEGARD VON BINGEN: 

The Medieval Nun who explained the Female Orgasm and the Women’s Realms of Pleasure.

 

In a medieval world dominated by insecurity, clergy, and feudal lords, Hildegard von Bingen did not allow herself to be overlooked. With great skill and hard work, she built and managed two convents, wrote books on theology, medicine, and natural sciences, composed sacred music and excel being a woman beyond her time. Her most significant battle, however, was not to be silenced.

 

Hildegard von Bingen or the Sibyl of the Rhine was an abbess, a writer, poet, a polymath, scientist, doctor, composer, philosopher, visionary. She was also considered a precursor of Opera, of Ecological studies and perspectives and she even invented her own language, that may as well be the first artificial language in History of Mankind. Hildegard is also a founder of natural history in Germany, a nun and a Christian mystic. Her life, as could have expected, was controversial and complicated; She was a multidimensional woman. In fact, she was the only woman of her days who not only dared to talk about the role of female pleasure but also to make a series of medical recommendations in favor of women's sexual health. Maybe, because of her exceptional abilities and her vision, she was never canonized as a saint, in fact, her canonization process was archived during the 13th century. She was too telluric to be holy.

She spoke fearlessly about her ideas, beliefs, and predictions, while the twelfth-century court learned to listen to it.

 

Hildegard came from a noble family in the Alzey region of southern Germany. By the age of three, the future abbess had visionary abilities. But it was only at the age of fifteen, as an inmate of the convent next to the Benedictine monastery of Disibodenberg, that she realized how unique her skills really were.

 

Hildegard von Bingen was born in the year 1098, and she became a “human” tithe. As the tenth daughter of her family, her parents gave her to the Church as their contribution. They left her in the monastery of monks of Disivodemberg, which housed a cell for women led by Jutta von Spannheim, who would become mother and instructor of the little Hildegard. She was eight years old and had begun to have visions at three, but it was not until she was forty that she started to hear a voice telling her to write and draw everything that her eyes and ears could reach.

 

Throughout his medicinal, botanical, theological and liturgical texts, as well as her songs, poems and drawings, Hildegard made it clear that "the sexual act was something beautiful, sublime and ardent."

 

She spoke to us from medieval science with an intellectual stance, and thanks to this, she even received the approval of Pope Eugene III to open her own monastery of women in Rupertsberg and to preach both in cities and in towns her interpretation of the Bible. That was - quite frankly surprising, for the time, this activity was exclusively reserved for men. But Hildegard was no ordinary woman, she was an adviser to kings, nobles, and popes.

 

Hildegard spoke about sex without fear: brightly and passionately. She was the first to dare to assure that pleasure was a matter of two and that women could feel it too. The first historically registered description of the female orgasm from a woman's point of view was done by her. But she had a very peculiar idea of ​​sexuality, considering that she was a nun and that she lived in the 12th century. For her, the sexual act was something beautiful, sublime and ardent. In his medical books, he addressed sexuality and, especially, in Causa et curae, where she gave more details. We would not be exaggerating calling her the first proto-feminist.

 

 

Ana Martos Rubio writes in her book  'Medieval History of Sex and Eroticism' "Just as for Augustine of Hippo concupiscence is the punishment of God, for Hildegarde, who did not dare to contradict him and admitted the idea that original sin it was derived from lust, the fault was exclusive of Satan. According to Hildegard, Satan was who blew poison on the apple before delivering it to Eve, envious of her motherhood. That poison was, precisely, the pleasure and, its flavor was the sexual desire “. She continues: "Sexual desire is the taste of the apple De Gustu Pomi, also the title of the work of Hildegarde von Bingen in which it describes the taste of the human condition, the delicious flavor that gives way to the vice of vice, the pleasant and intoxicating taste of sin, "writes the author Ana Martos.

 

Many of Hildegard’s visions are found in her chef-d'oeuvres Scivias, Causa et curae, Liber vitae meritorum (1150-63) and Liber Divinorum operum (1163), where the first written description of the female orgasm is found. She exposed her theology on the microcosm and the macrocosm in which man is a mirror by which reflects the splendor of the macrocosm, and finally, rescued the feeling between the two sexes:

 

“When the woman joins the male, the heat of her brain, which has pleasure in her, makes him savor the pleasure in the union and ejaculate his semen. And when the semen has fallen into its place, this very strong heat of the brain attracts it and holds it with itself, and immediately the woman's bundle is contracted. All the limbs closed during menstruation are ready to open, in the same way, that a strong man holds a thing in his hand.”

 

Hildegard brings out, with eloquent ease, the naturalness of sexuality, filling us with descriptions and analyzes both biological and psychological aspects of it. In fact, from these texts, she developed a sexual theology based on the human understanding, recovering the diversity around the physiological determinism, the astrological implications and the character of the people. Her sexual theology made it clear that not only was the strength of semen would determine the sex of the child, but also that the amount of love and passion would determine the health of in which the baby would arrive. She also believed that at worst, when the seed was weak, and the parents did not feel mutual love, the result was a bitter daughter.

 

Also, she adds the idea that a man possesses three capacities in his generative power: "sexual desire, sexual power-fortitude, and sexual act-stadium," where "the libido first turns on power, so that sexual activity of the couple is produced by an intimate mutual desire."

 

In short, this is the case of a woman who helped to clarify from different points of view the essence of the human being, giving her gender a more equitable position than that which her contemporary natural philosophers used to give to any women. This is the case of a woman from the Middle Ages, who lived to the age of 80 and extolled the arts, theology, medicine, and hope in humanity.

Her unique works in the hospital, and in the convent garden lead to two other famous written works by the abbess, the natural science book Physica and the natural medicine Cause et al., Written between 1151 and 1158. Hildegard's work on medicinal plants written in 1158 is, until today, a reference to natural medicine. Like her contemporary friend, St Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegard does not believe in finding God in reason.

 

She learned to look at the lilies of the fields and to see in them the divine presence that would also lead to the cure of diseases. For her, the healthy man was in tune with God. Hildegard allied the ancient medicine of the Greeks, propagated by Galen, to the Christian faith. For her, micro and macrocosm interact side by side in their perception of man and God.

 

 

Hildegard von Bingen had become a myth among the LGTBI collective for its supposed homosexuality and also in an accessible and inspiring icon for various artists. Devendra Banhart dedicated the song 'Für Hildegard von Bingen.' Ken Follet began his documentary 'The Journey of Ken Follet to the Middle Ages' with his story and acknowledged that Hildegard inspired Caris, the protagonist of his book 'A world without end.' Hildegard has been attributed disciplines that did not even exist in the twelfth century, such as anthropology, ecology and Natural History.

 

 

To speak of Hildegard von Bingen is to talk of chilling apocalyptic visions, of natural remedies for absolutely everything (a type of German alternative medicine part of her writings) and of the first woman who managed to access the sins of others through confession. She invented a language, the Lingua Ignota, with its own alphabet, which is considered the first artificial language and a possible precursor of Esperanto. She is regarded as the pioneer of opera, and there are even those who, going too far, have dared to think her the first Rock star in history.

 

She rubbed shoulders with kings and popes, denounced the ravings of the clergy, and his voice was as valuable as the rest of the men when the women lived in silence, in the house or in the convent. To say that she was ahead of his time is, slightly falling into a commonplace, just not doing justice to her character. She went much further than was even imagined for women in the twelfth century.

 

The twelfth century brought many changes to the Middle Ages, which shrank from the idea of ​​an absolute God. Hildegard was Aristotelian avant la lettre. Only in the following century, St. Thomas Aquinas, the wisest of the saints, would theologically rescue Aristotelianism in Christian doctrine.

 

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