(Essay 2) Blossoms in Dark Times – Triads of Women Saints in Catholic tradition by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

Virga sapientiae floruit, facies Matris apparuit.

Virga sapientiae floruit, facies Matris apparuit.

The Three Holy Maidens Barbara, Margareta and Katharina are by no means the only triads of holy virgins or women who can be found in the popular Catholic belief.

We also know of three virgins who came in the train of Saint Ursula from Rome to Strasbourg and tended the dying Saint Aurelia. They are called Einbeth, Earbeth and Wilbeth, or sometimes Aubert, Cubert and Quere. They are believed to protect against the plague. They are known in Southern Germany, in Austria, in Southern Tirol. In some places like Schildthurn in Niederbayern pilgrimages are still held in their honor. Although the tradition locates the story in the early fourth century, the tradition of Einbeth flowered in the 12th century, and 13th century she has been associated with two other virgin saints like Wilbeth and Worbeth, or Wilbeth and Earbeth.

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(Essay 1) Blossoms in Dark Times – Triads of Women Saints in Catholic tradition by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

Virga sapientiae floruit, facies Matris apparuit.

Virga sapientiae floruit, facies Matris apparuit.

When I was a little girl I used to look forward to one special day soon after the first candle on the green Advent wreath had been burning. One of my grandmothers or my great-grandmother went out into our little orchard in the garden and cut a branch from the plum tree covered with hoar-frost, brought it into the house and put it into a bowl of water.

I knew the branch would blossom on Christmas Eve. I knew that it was cut in honor of a virgin, in whose dress wintry branches caught ere she was led to prison to suffer for her faith, but the branches blossomed. I had learned that she had been jealously guarded by her father and had been closed up into a tower. But she had three windows made in the wall through which light fell into her dark prison.

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(Poem) The Calling by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

P1040127for G. N. & R. E. J.


Such sweetness in Your voice

You are the Honey of Wild Bees

Your gentle touch

Soft branches of the yew tree

Brushing past my face

when finding the blue flower in the shade

next to the spring-root, an opener of ways

and foxglove-fairyglove

the guardian of wild strawberries

fruit of the other land

Your kiss of promise and enchantment.

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(Poem) Dear Sister by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

[Poet's Note: A reflection on women’s solidarity inspired by an essay on a historical subject.]

Dear sister, calling my solidarity
Because I am a woman,
Tell me, dear sister,
Where have you been
on that dark day they cast me out
because I am of other faith than you ?
Tell me, my dear beloved sister,
Where have you been,
When sly averted faces ,
Passive hostility and hissed insults,
Secretly circled slander
Made every step of me a trail of torment?
Dear sister,
Why were you not ashamed
to show a false and lying face to me
filled with faked friendliness,
yet would not speak a word for me
when I was accused falsely?
Was it not you, dear sister,
Who would call me mad,
because I would not love,
as they had bidden me?
and do I not remember
your gleaming face,
your cheering mouth
when fire-flames
licked on my bridal bed
the stake of wood?
Oh, sister, what’s the secret of your inner heart?
Why do you call my solidarity?
Hexenschlaf (Sleep of the Witches) by Albert v. Keller  When the women were burned the extreme high concentrations of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide made them pass out "fall asleep" ( and die), even before they felt the pain of burning.  Superstitious people believed this was a "last favour" the Evil one did for his "brides."
Hexenschlaf (Sleep of the Witches) by Albert v. Keller
When the women were burned the extreme high concentrations of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide made them pass out “fall asleep” ( and die), even before they felt the pain of burning. Superstitious people believed this was a “last favour” the Evil one did for his “brides.”
The poem was inspired by some musings on the fact that very often in societies where the rights of women are suppressed or in situations when the freedom of opinion of a woman is put to the test, other women actually degrade themselves to be the "long arm" of the patriarchal culture, for just a little gain of social standing by adjusting themselves to the role model of an obedient woman. Sadly, this does not only apply for societies in which the women are suppressed, but also applies to the group dynamics in our society - women subduing other women in competition for male favour.

Read Meet Mago Contributor, Angelika Heike Rüdiger.

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(Poem) Show me your face by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

For G.N.

Show me Your face

Show me a face

So that I may carry You into my night

A treasure making  my dreams dear

A guiding star on the twilight path

Leading to the everlasting now

Where all things end

But Love.

Show me your face

Read Meet Mago Contributor, Angelika Heike Rüdiger.

Light over Waters by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

Sunlight is singing

Over opalescent waters

A high and ephemeral tune

Heart-breaking, longing, loving.

I see the salmon jumping

Sheer silver essence of the deep

Both sweet and savoury.

I see healing herbs swaying

The verdant power of the deep,

The sap rising to the sun.

I see white mist rising

The hiding place of rainbows

The birth place of the dew.

I see Your face

Holding the wisdom of all three,

And with me there is heart-break,

And longing and love and light.

Light over waters

(Essay) Hildegard of Bingen by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

On 17 September the Catholic Church commemorates Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) who was one of the outstanding women of the Middle Ages. She was a researcher in nature, healer, mystic, poet and composer. She was Jutta of Sponheim’s pupil and lived with the nun Jutta in closure next to the Benedictine abbey on the Disibodenberg. After Jutta’s death she became magistra, head of the enclosed women. In the years 1147-1150 Hildegard founded her own convent on the Rupertsberg near Bingen, later another one at Eibingen near Rüdesheim.

Hildegard had visions since her childhood which came to her when she was awake. In one of those visions she was told by God to write down what she saw. Although she was of weak health, she travelled far to Cologne, Trier and to southern Germany. There she preached mainly about the willingness to do penance and to lead an upright life following Christ. Many persons of different social rank asked for her advice in personal communication or via correspondence

A main theme in all her writings is certainly the importance of the wholeness and unity of all. All things are referring to each other and are related in God.

O virtus sapientie*
que circuiens circuisti,
comprehendendo omnia
in una via, que habet vitam
tres alas habens,
quarum una in altum volat
et altera de terra sudat
et tercia undique volat.
laus tibi sit,
sicut te decet,
o sapientia.

O power of Wisdom
Who has surrounded surrounding
All comprising
In one way, which has life
Having three wings,
Of which one flies to the high
And the other toils on earth
And the third flies everywhere.
Praise to you,
As it is becoming,
O wisdom.

(*sapientia is a female noun in Latin)

Her thoughts about the role of women were courageous and gave important impulses. Today her teachings about healing have become important again. Hildegard was already in her lifetime honoured like a saint.  She was added to the Roman marytrologium, the list of the saints, and thus de facto canonized without an officially closed canonization process. Most recently she was entered into the list of saints by Pope Benedict XVI, thus extending her veneration to the whole church. Benedict XVI also declared her a Doctor of the church in October 2012.

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Meet Mago Contributor, Angelika Heike Rüdiger

Angelika RudigerHaving grown up close to nature in the countryside under the care of my grandmothers and my great-grandmother, my love for poetry, myth and legend was wakened and became firmly rooted. Later I studied physics and chemistry, obtained a degree in chemistry in 1991, and was awarded the title of Dr. rer. nat in 1996. A mother of three wonderful daughters, I moved into teaching in 2006. Finally I took up studies of Welsh in 2010, and at the same time I started to present my poetry to the public (at first under the pen name of “Nelferch Merchcoed”). In 2012 I was awarded the title of “Master of Arts” in Welsh language and literature, and currently I continue my part-time postgraduate studies for a PhD. My main source of inspiration flows from European folklore and mythology as well as from nature, but also from everyday life. An essay summarizing the major part of my work on Welsh folklore up to now has been published in Gramarye- The Journal of the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy tales and Fantasy Issue 2 (2012), p.29-48 entitled “Gwyn ap Nudd: Transfigurations of a character on the way from medieval literature to neo-pagan beliefs.”

I have published poetry under my pen-name, “Nelferch Merchcoed,” in the following pages and journals:




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(Poem) The House of the Sidhe by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

The House of the Sidhe

for G.N.

Others bring peerless stones of shining white
And precious shells
To the green-covered homestead of the Sidhe,
but I bring nothing more than my own tresses,
a sweet song and a kiss
while gold is showered onto greenness
and hidden chambers fill with sound
a resonance beyond all reason
embracing the unknown
while the white moon
walks on in silver slippers
over the purple mountains of the sky,
while the deep blue is whispering of love.

Anglika's picture for The House of the Sidhe

Photograph by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

(Poem) Herecura by Angelika Heike Rüdiger


The heat is lying on the land.
Sun rays are pouring down.
On yonder fields they cut the corn
And make the hay chasing the butterflies
From grass and flowers doomed
Falling beneath the iron sickle of the harvester.

Soon they will sit in orchards, celebrate
And sing and dance with the sun setting,
Bleeding last light.
I will be watching from the woodland-
a little while at least.

I am not one of them.

Deep in the wood is Herecura’s shrine
The long forgotten stone
Of the dark Lady of Abundance
and secret ways.
A dream You have become now to the people,
A long lost memory,
The unknown queen
sharing the throne with Dis, the Father.

Does Your moss-covered image feel my footfall
The rhythm of my pulses
My heart-beat on old ways,
the sacrifice of harvest
dripping from my fingers:
The blood-red juice of berries,
The salty water of my tears
When I brush past Your shrine
Into the arms and the embrace of my beloved?

Herecura in Silvis photograph by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

Herecura in Silvis
photograph by Angelika Heike Rüdiger
Herecura is a Gallo-Roman deity of the “underworld” and of fertility and abundance…deep in a wood I found what is left of her image. It is a poetic coincidence that her image is close to triple cross-road still and this recalled Hecate. This place inspired me greatly.

(Poem) The Secret Ways by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

inspired by, and written for, B.A. and our musings about the powers of prayers synchronized and how to synchronize them if it cannot be done in the realm of mundane time…

Blessings I speak
in blissful hours
under green branches.
My humble prayers
drop like dew
upon the verdant ground,
soak in the moss,
meander through the tiny leaves
dive deep into the unknown
to find purification
and enrichment
by healing powers
-herbal gifts-
to join the hidden flow
beneath the fern,
to vanish all from mundane sight;
and finally they break the doors
at the appointed hour:
a springing fountain
reaching for the light,
dissolving  in a thousand droplets
each apt to bear a rainbow.

 Photograph by Angelika Heike Rüdiger

Photograph by Angelika Heike Rüdiger