Hadewijch II and the Blessing of the Written Word

Hadewijch II and the Blessing of the Written Word

 

I recently discovered the writings of Hadewijch II, a 13th century poet and mystic, and proceeded to order every book possible about this fascinating woman. History says little about her save the belief that she was from a wealthy family but chose to join the beguines, a group of evangelical women existing outside the traditional monastic system. These women took vows of poverty, chastity and service but remained in the world rather than hidden away in a monastery.

 

A strong believer in the synchronicity of the universe, Hadewijch could not have come to my attention at a better time. I have been feeling exceptionally isolated in regards to my ideas and life. I have a persistent thought there is so much more to life than my routine,  job, family and assembled reality. Frustrated by this nagging feeling, I have been more contemplative than usual, which is saying a lot. It is easy for me to get lost in my thoughts; it is much harder to pull myself back into the world. It would be disingenuous if I said I had never considered hiding away, off the grid and away from people.

 

Hadewijch wrote so expressively about her expansive knowing, the depth and wonder of feeling the infinite beyond what is seen. I read her poem and connected immediately; she understood what I have been feeling.  It spoke to me so directly that I got deeply emotional knowing that others felt as I do. I closed my eyes and experienced this energy wanting to expand beyond my skin, these walls and this world. It is this infinite and divine energy that stirs me up and can make me anxious while at the same time serenely peaceful. I implicitly understand that what I am searching for is within and not in some other place; we are all Divine beings and as much a part of the universe as the stars and the moon. No amount of geographic relocation will solve this persistent longing; it will surely follow me wherever I go. Hadewijch felt this very same thing yet managed to navigate the world without allowing this feeling to suffocate her. For that I admire her strength and courage.

 

All things

are too small

to hold me,

I am so vast

 

In the Infinite

I reach

for the Uncreated

I have

touched it,

it undoes me

wider than wide

Everything else

is too narrow

You know this well,

you who are also there

-Hadewijch II

 

Even so, I am confident that I can manage the restrictive feeling of this world. If you have read my work, you have heard me speak to this before. I have no doubts and have always known that I am not from this place. Some will judge me simply by reading that last statement, I am not concerned nor ever have been with their judgment. I know, and that is all that matters. The frustration comes from not being able to completely own this other while I am here. I can look inward and do all of the “mirror” work that Hadewijch speaks to, but even that will not be enough. It is a longing as if for a loved one with a constant desire to be with them. I hate this world at times; it is not anything like this beautiful other. No, I am not sad, nor am I being reticent. All I know is that I am here now for reasons that must be important for my soul.

 

You who want

knowledge,

seek the Oneness

within.

 

There you

will find

the clear mirror

already waiting.

-Hadewijch II

 

I do not find many others that see this as I do; in fact I rarely speak aloud about these things. It most certainly sounds crazy to those that do not have the same sensibility. So what am I to do? How do I live while feeling this constant pull to what I cannot fully embrace? I suppose that answer is as always held in my heart. I must persist in this word and continue day after day waiting for the moment when I am free of this shell and can shed my false self to be…infinite. It is in works by Hadewijch that I find respite, a brief moment of serenity.  This woman, who graced the planet so many years ago, is still able to share her love and belief through her words. I will continue to read her writing every time I feel lost, isolated and alone. It will be a tremendous comfort to me as I am sure it has been to others.

 

3 thoughts on “Hadewijch II and the Blessing of the Written Word

  1. Hadewijch. Before I couldn’t make myself cry on demand now I can with just that one word. Although beyond personal they strangely imply a web of souls to be spun to unknown effects but trusting in it. The 1st century Odes of Solomon said the same a cycle earlier. Their reappearance today must be as seeds for another try since the need of it is as great as the first time! Just some ideas anyway your nice post gave excuse for

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