We finally arrive at Hildegard von Bingen (mentioned her in a few posts)! She was an utterly brilliant, influential Christian woman. Constructing mandalas in the 12th century, she’s the earliest Christian Mandala creator I know of.
Hildegard was a German Benedictine Abbess. Like Herrad von Landsberg, Hildegard was a female superior for a community of nuns. Hildegard and her community belonged to the Catholic religious order of Saint Benedict. She was a philosopher, visionary, writer, composer, and naturalist. This woman is also considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.
Hildegard actually had visions from God, and she recorded everything she saw and heard. From this, she produced three volumes of visionary theology. Hildegard’s were illustrated. Some of these illustrations used mandalas.
The mandala shown at the top of this post is from her first major manuscript: Rupertsberg. The image depicts her vision of a hierarchy of angels. This hierarchy is made up of nine concentric rings of angels, with a circle of light in the center. Breaking down the nine celestial orders of angels, we have: Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Throne, Cherubim, and Seraphim.
Hildegard’s vision of angels is consistent with Pope Gregory I’s writing that the order of angels is nine in number.
Coincidence? Or divine inspiration? Personally, I’m guessing the latter
We’re getting down to the end of the list!