Over the past few months we have gathered together the writings of several medieval mystics from the low countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany) and woven their words into a working document, all while adding our own elements. Beatrice of Nazareth, Hadewijch, Marguerite de Porete, and Hildegard von Bingen are our sources, and their writings are important for a multitude of reasons.

Firstly, they are women writing -- secondly, they are concerned with Divine Love more than penance, punishment, and sin --, and thirdly, they seek to have a direct experience and communion with divinity. This was extremely uncommon at the time as lay people were expected to only commune with God (Love) through the institution of the Church. The mystical emerges in this direct, one to one relationship.

Additionally, in their writing there is a heavy emphasis on wildness, animals, plants, the elements, mystery, and ‘nature’ as a whole, which stands at odds with the ever sharpening image during the 1100’s - 1400’s of a sky-dwelling Father God who is divorced from Earth. One could say they engaged in a kind of queer positioning regarding the religion and spirituality that was mandated at the time, and that they held on to some of the pagan ethos that was being so viciously stamped out.

The writings were not intended to be read quietly at home, but to be collectively read aloud, so that they activate and animate the space in a kind of togetherness, a being-in-dialogue-with the ever thriving more than human world. Today, we speak their words together in a former Dominican monastery, which has layers of resonance given that this Order was among those that denounced, and in some cases burned at the stake, these women for their writings and worldview. Beatrice, Hadewijch, Marguerite, and Hildegard, while each unique in lived experience and soul, all held a common belief in the wild power of love -- that in seeking the kind of ego-annihilation that emerges from loving ________ , there comes a recognition of being ultimately just a part of the larger world body.

Morpho & Extra City Kunsthal monastic Garden
July 2021 - Antwerp, Belgium