The Vision of the Five Beasts

St. Hildegard von Bingen was an extraordinary woman and her writings enlighten and mystify us even today. In an earlier post or two, I have spoken of her prophecies which became somewhat famous when Pope Benedict raised her to sainthood and quoted from her writings in his address to the Curia in December, 2010.

Recently, Reid Turner has written a book about a particular prophecy of St. Hildegard’s, one which has so far baffled me. When he contacted me about his book, I purchased it in the kindle edition, but have not yet completed it. The book is “The Five Beasts of St. Hildegard, Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society”. Mr. Turner has graciously granted permission for us to post a chapter from his book here, but before we do so, it seems appropriate to provide one post on the vision itself.

From Vision Eleven, Scivias
From Vision Eleven, Scivias

I have experienced a rather steep learning curve with St. Hildegard’s visions. They are very vivid and just somehow, so alien that I find them difficult. I hope you don’t find them so and that you will benefit from them. And so, today we provide St. Hildegard’s Vision of the Five Beasts. It is from Vision Eleven of Book Three in Scivias. Please share your insights, we would love to hear them!

And I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me:

All things that are on earth hasten to their temporal end, and the world droops toward its end, oppressed by the weakening of its forces and its many tribulations and calamities. But the Bride of My Son, very troubled for her children both by the forerunners of the son of perdittion and by the destroyer himself, will never be crushed, no matter how much they attack her. But at the end of time she will rise up stronger than ever, and become more beautiful and more glorious; and so she will move sweetly and delightfully to the embraces of her Beloved. And this is mystically signified by the vision you are seeing. For you look to the North and behold! Five beasts stand there. These are the five ferocious epochs of temporal rule, brought about by the desires of the flesh from which the taint of sin is never absent, and they savagely rage against each other.

Behold! Five beasts stand there.
Behold! Five beasts stand there.

The Fiery Dog
One is like a dog, fiery but not burning; for that era will produce people with a biting temperament, who seem fiery in their own estimation, but do not burn with the justice of God.

The Yellow Lion
Another is like a yellow lion; for this era will endure martial people, who instigate many wars but do not think of the righteousness of God in them; for those kingdoms will begin to weaken and tire, as the yellow color shows.

The Pale Horse
Another is like a Pale Horse; for those times will produce people who drown themselves in sin and in their licentiousness and swift-moving pleasures neglect all viruous activities. And then these kingdoms will lose their ruddy strength and grow pale with the fear of ruin, and their hearts will be broken.

The Black Pig
And another is like a black pig; for this epoch will have leaders who blacken themselves with misery and wallow in the mud of impurity. They will infringe the divine law by fornication and other like evils, and will plot to diverge from the holiness of God’s commands.

The Grey Wolf
And this last is like a grey wolf. For those times will have people who plunder each other, robbing the powerful and the fortunate; and in these conflicts they will show themselves to be neither black nor white, but grey in their cunning. And they will divide and conquer the rulers of those realms; and then the time will come when many will be ensnared, and the error of errors will rise from Hell to Heaven. And the children of light will be pressed in the winepress of martyrdom; and they will not deny the Son of god, but will reject the son of perdition who tries to do his will with the devil’s arts.

And these beasts are facing the West; for these fleeting times will vanish with the setting sun. For people rise and set like the sun, and some are born, and some die.

And in the West, before those beasts, a hill with five peaks appears. For in those peaks is symbolised the power of carnal desire. And from the mouth of each beast one rope stretches to one of the peaks of each hill, for each of those powers will extend throughout the period in question. All of the ropes are black except the one that comes from the mouth of the wolf, which is partly black and partly white. For the length of the ropes indicates how far people are willing to go in their stubborn pleasures. But though the one that symbolises greed is partly black and puts forth many evils, yet some will come from that direction who are white with justice. And these latter will hasten to resist the son of perdition by ardent wonders, as my servant Job indicates about the righteous odor of justice. (St. Hildegard von Bingen, Scivias, Paulist Press). 

Next post will be from Mr. Turner’s blog, The Five Beasts, St. Hildegard’s vision of the last days. After that, I hope to post a few thoughts on the prophesy and potential interpretations, if time allows.

For an explanation of the figure of a woman in the woodcut above, please refer to the post, The Figure of a Woman.

Remember, pray the Rosary and confound satan.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!