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NewsA week with Hildegard von Bingen

A week with Hildegard von Bingen

RHEIN-MAIN – No coffee. No cigarettes. No Friday evening after-work beer. Those who deal with the topic of “fasting” often hear a lot “this not – that not”. I wanted to see the whole thing positively: out of everyday life, into a new lifestyle of giving up – at least temporarily. Hoping to take something out of it in the long term. So much for the plan. But I was immediately faced with the next task: Ok, I want to fast – but how?

As a Binger girl, I grew up with the stories about Hildegard von Bingen: Rudesheim, Rupertsberg, Eibingen, visions, medicinal herbs. I knew that there was also a fasting method according to Hildegard von Bingen. Exactly what that means, but not.

How does therapeutic fasting work?

Sister Hiltrud Gutjahr could help me there. We had an appointment in the pilgrimage church in Rudesheim. The nun is the fasting expert of the Benedictines in St. Hildegard Abbey, Eibingen. If anyone needs to know how to fast properly – then they!


Fasting according to Hildegard von Bingen was a self-experiment by the reporter. All the experiences she describes here are purely subjective.

In the video, Sister Hiltrud Gutjahr explains how fasting works – and what therapeutic fasting means for her:

If this method of fasting has been carried on for so many centuries – then I want to try it out. Here we go! For six days – Hildegard von Bingen and me.

Day 1: bye, coffee …

The fasting plan according to Hildegard von Bingen is not about starving, but about giving up. So three meals a day are planned – these are based on the spelled. The whole thing seems relatively monotonous, but you keep eating.

Day 2: Hello, headache …

No coffee, that should quickly turn out to be the biggest challenge. Of course, I didn’t listen to Sister Hiltrud Gutjahr’s tip and cut down on caffeine consumption before fasting. I should regret that.

In addition to the meal plan, Hildegard’s therapeutic fasting is also primarily about mental work, dealing with yourself. Since I did not take a vacation for my therapeutic fasting but was still working, I could not allow myself to be 100 percent involved in the experience: This includes resting for about an hour after lunch, walking in the afternoon, talking, praying, meditating for a long time.

Instead, I tried to integrate therapeutic fasting into my everyday life: I always went for an hour after work, I meditated in the evening, which is also part of Hildegard von Bingen’s therapeutic fasting plan. I slept between eight and nine hours every night.

Day 3: Right done

I wasn’t feeling well on the third day. I had an enormous headache, slight body aches and was physically just finished. Unfortunately, no juniper berries helped, which – chewed – should have a stimulating and healing effect according to Hiltrud Gutjahr. In the evening I was just very grateful to be able to go to sleep.

Day 4: Now it’s going!

I woke up in front of my alarm clock. I slept well, I got up very motivated and awake. Fast for another two days – and I was very well. Slightly confused that my physical mood changed so quickly, I was initially skeptical: But yes, I was looking forward to the spelled coffee. I’ll never get used to the dark psyllium. But I knew in the morning that this was going to be a good day.

Day 5: what – already Friday?

According to Hildegard von Bingen’s therapeutic fasting, the point is that people deal with their problems, because they should do without, meditate a lot, pray and generally have a lot of time with themselves. That was not the case with me. Through my work, I continued to have contact with colleagues and spoke to my roommates at home. I had this “time for me” mainly through meditation. Negative feelings, suppressed problems did not come up during the week (luckily?).

On the contrary: I got used to the soup and happily jumped through the kitchen on Friday evening when I prepared my baked apple. Baked apple! It’s sweet, it’s delicious – it’s not spelled! And initiates tomorrow’s fasting break as a dessert on Friday evening according to the fasting plan.

Day 6: break the fast!

Fennel seeds, psyllium, spelled coffee, spelled bread and then this spring sun! Pretty soon after breakfast, I started to prepare lunch. It was said: breaking the fast. Spelled noodles and half a bulb of fennel, which I steamed in a little butter, looked like a feast. Hiltrud Gutjahr was right: it was delicious – and I didn’t manage to eat the plate …

One week of therapeutic fasting: In the video, I recorded how therapeutic fasting worked for me:

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