Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Hearing Hildegard's Orzchis Ecclesia

I first heard Hildegard's music. In one of her antiphon's called "O Orzchis Ecclesia" she incorporates five of her "unknown words," and then I learned about her Lingua ignota: "unknown language." So I spent two years researching that, translating it, and publishing it as a book under my "real" name. She fascinates me. She sublimates everything that I know and understand as creative endeavor under the rubric of "vision" (a marvelous film, by the way, directed by von Trotta and starring Barbara Sukowa):


Music came to her divinely. Language came to her from the Living Light. Intellect, which she claimed not to have, came to her from God's command. Her visions that she saw day and night were from on high. For her to claim that her unknown language was a product of her imagination would be to suggest that the Devil gave it to her. We live in a different era now where we can imagine and not be possessed. To be possessed and not be evil. To be a woman and not have to reference one's fragility and submission in order to be heard.

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