Tag Archives: Biddy Early


Dear Sor Juana,

As the sun set on 2014 I glimpsed kangaroos in the prayer paddock of a Buddhist Monastery, brown steers with stealth like qualities slowing moved closer to our New Year’s Eve bubbles and oyster infused soiree. The year closed in good company where all of creation celebrated and as night wore on in the distance fireworks heralded new beginnings.  Just as each morning offers a new beginning, this day dawned, opening into a new year.

An opening is what happens when what was hidden or inaccessible now becomes visible and unites with the surroundings. Opening a jar of homemade pickles releases smells, love and tastes from across the nation, no longer locked up ready to be consumed by other members of the family.  Opening a bottle of wine frees gifts of the earth, the grapes and the winemaker. Opening a new year liberates incubated dreams and brings the promise of fulfilment over the months ahead.

So I open up to you Sor Juana and find that when I loosen the lid on your life, poetry and scholarship, I am treated to old ideas and new, as this is the first blog post for the year, I wanted to share an extract from your first published poem – First Dream. The first dreams of a new year are wrapped in the promise of resolutions and resolve, often quickly abandoned when distracted by old habits or a lack of discipline.  I will write to you each week Sor Juana as I have written to Hildegard and Biddy Early before you, trusting this practice is a never ending series of openings that keep me awake, uniting the visible and invisible.

(extract) Primer Sueño (First Dream)

Finally, Dusk could see, at last
a vision of the fugitive pass,
and — with her zeal on the mend
from ruin forces a second wind–
and she, in that half globe where the Sun
withdrew the sheltering garrison
rebelling again, makes up her mind
to sieze the crown a second time,
while in our hemisphere a skein
of golden Sunlight shines again,
and with its fair judicious light
distributes equally and shares
with all things visible their hues,
and with this restoration makes
the exterior senses operate
more certainly, as daylight breaks
on the illumined World and I – awake.

translated by Elwin Wirkala

NYE 2014 Songlines Station, Sellicks, Sth Australia

NYE 2014 Songlines Station, Sellicks, Sth Australia

Coming up in 2015

Thank you readers and followers of Letters to Hildegard. In 2014 I have been writing to Biddy Early each week and my blog to her can be found at Letters to Biddy.

I took some time this year also to get feedback from readers and have decided to go back to using the blog platform I used in 2013 for my weekly letter to Hildegard of Bingen.  I have spent some time reflecting on who I would like to write to in 2015 and have decided on Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz.    Like Hildegard she was a learner, a disrupter, an innovator, musician, writer and more.   I first met her in an instagram post from a family member where she was in a multimedia street art piece and my eye was immediately drawn to her.  I am looking forward to getting to know her and share my everyday pilgrimage with her.





2014: Letters to Biddy Early



Thank you to readers who are reading all the 2013 Letters to Hildegard for me and selecting their top 10 or 12.  If you have been a regular reader and want to let me know your favourite entries as well, I will be delighted to hear from you.

2014 my letters will be to Biddy Early and you can follow here.

Thank you for all your support and interest in 2013 and I hope you will come follow again in 2014.


My blue suede shoes

My blue suede shoes

Thank You and 2014

Dear Hildegard,

Thank you for your companionship in 2013.

Yesterday I put out an invitation to friends on Facebook to see if I there were a group of people from a range of ages and backgrounds who would volunteer to read by letters to you over this past year.  Their mission is to choose 10 -12 posts that they find inspiring, helpful, worthy of being read by others and to let me know why they have made those choices.  I was delighted at the range of people who accepted the invitation.  People from Australia, Canada, Indonesia, from a wide range of faith traditions and personal journeys – all pilgrims in their own way.

Once I have their feedback I am going to make a final choice of posts and re-work them a little and see if there is a publisher out there interested! Why not?  It will be a kind of epistolary.

It has been a wonderful journey with you in 2013.  I am deeply grateful for your friendship, inspiration and challenges I have encountered in writing to you each week.  Your songs have often floated past as I have written to you, your images have evoked memories and led me to new thoughts.  Thank you.

As 2013 draws to a close I want to maintain the discipline of a weekly reflection and begin with a new woman to write to.

I have been ‘shortlisting” who I will write to in 2014 and on that list are some amazing women:

Biddy Early who I met in County Clare in Ireland this year – an early 19th Century woman who was also known for her healing powers like you Hildegard, and who was not afraid of relationships and love – she had three husbands in her life.

Juana Ines de la Cruz a 17th Century Mexican, a nun like you Hildegard. I was introduced to this year by one of my children – a musician, poet and scholar.

Mirabai a 16th Century Hindu mystic whose spirituality became famous around all the lands just as you too Hildegard was famous in your region.

I have been finding it hard to make a decision, each would give me wonderful companionship, challenge my thinking and take me to a new place in my reflective pilgrimage.  I have seen the land of Biddy Early, as I had seen your homeland Hildegard, and so that element has helped me make a final decision. In 2014 my letters will be to Biddy.  And a thank you to Jane O’Brien for introducing me to Biddy this year while I was walking the streets of Ennis.

I hope you will follow Biddy and I in 2014.