I’m excited to watch this full presentation by friend and fellow InDiana blogger, Ann Kreilkamp, filmed in Seattle by my sweet and amazingly talented friend, Mitch Mattraw. Unbeknownst to both of them, I’ve been tapped into Hildegard since 1999, as a result of my three-week, post-brain-injury attempt to get my Ph.D. in English Literature as planned at Northwestern University — while not being able to read, reason, remember, or tolerate fluorescent lights at all! Fun times.
Actually, they were fun, rich times, though far from what I had planned or anticipated. My two years in Evanston, IL and very short stint at Northwestern, proved utterly synchronous and deeply transformative, with several of the professors befriending me even after I needed to drop out due to uncontrollable migraines, no short term memory, and having the flicker of the day’s fluorescent lights replay all night long like an aggressive strobe light.
One of my professors, the Medievalist Dr. Barbara Newman, happened to be researching the role of migraine headaches in Hildegard von Bingen’s “Visions,” when she first learned I needed to defer my Ph.D. studies by a year and then forever. She was Department Chair at that time, so I needed to meet with her to discuss options and how not to tie up a scholarship and fellowship for yet another year if it looked like I would never recover enough to attend graduate school.
At one point I confessed that I believed I would recover ONLY if I gave up on graduate school, as I felt an overwhelming and clear calling in other directions. She became particularly intrigued by my TBI, migraines, and subsequent escalation of medical intuitive gifts and herbal awareness, because they shed bizarre light on her Hildegard project, as well as her research into other Medieval mystics.
We met many times in her office (with the lights off!), and I continued to visit her for tea at The Unicorn Cafe for another decade whenever I taught classes in Chicago. She’s actually the person who used to call me “Lily” — as in “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these“ — since I seemed to be on various people’s super-cool-hand-me-down-clothes radar, even at times when I had no extra money to spend on fashion. She also loved hearing how other things would appear just when I needed them, often altogether bypassing the traditional monetary system. Right place, right time and all that! [UPDATE: here is a link to Professor Barbara Newman’s book on Hildegard.]
Those synchronicities and others eventually led me to return to Seattle in 2001 to study herbalism with the holistic optometrist/herbalist/craniosacral therapist who managed to heal me enough to at least try grad school for those three weeks, while I followed signs and synchronicities for the two years back to Seattle. He also insisted I was a “healer” and provided the testing ground for me to gain confidence in the accuracy of medical intuitive gifts. Once I moved to Seattle, I developed a special and daily relationship with an ancient oak tree in Discovery Park, which in our very first conversation (over a decade later) Mitch and I realized was also “his” tree!
Gotta love those trees … and Medieval mystics … and herbalists … and sync winks galore. Anyway, since those visits with Barbara Newman, I’ve run into Hildegard in many unexpected places, including David’s expansive music collection. (This link takes you to a YouTube video with the music, but it’s really worth getting “Music and Visions” for yourself.)