Hadewijch's Vision 9: Queen Reason

It was at Matins on the Feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and after the Third Lesson something wonderful was shown to me in the Spirit. My heart ha been moved beforehand by the words of love that were read there from the Song of Songs, by which I was led to think of a perfect kiss. Shortly afterward, during the Second Nocturn, I saw in the spirit a queen come in, garbed in a gold dress, and her dress was all full of eyes, and all the eyes were completely transparent, like fiery flames, and nevertheless like crystal. And the crown she wore on her head had as many crowns one above the other as there were eyes on her dress . . . Before the queen walked three maidens. One had on a red cloak of state and carried two trumpets in her hand; and she blew on one of them and said: "Whoever does not listen to my Lady will be eternally deaf to happiness and nevermore hear or see the highest melody and the wonder of powerful Love (Minne)." And the other trumpet sang and said: "Whoever flies and goes the ways my Lady loves will be powerful in the kingdom of Love."

The second maiden had on a green cloak of state and had in her hand two palm branches, each of which was sealed with a book. With these she fanned from her Lady the dust of her days and nights, and of the moon and the sun, for from none of these did she wish to be dusty. The third maiden had on a black cloak of state and in her hand something like a lantern full of days, by which her Lady saw the profundity of the depths, and the height of the highest ascent.

The queen approached me dreadfully fast and set her foot on my throat, and cried with a more terrible voice: "Do you know who I am?"

And I said: "Yes, indeed! Long enough have you caused me woe and pain! You are my soul's faculty of Reason, and these are the officials of my own household with whom you walk abroad in such fine style! The trumpeter is my Holy Fear, who has examined my perfection in all that belongs to the life of Love. The second maiden is Discernment between you and Love, and she had tried to distinguish Love's will and pleasure from yours. The third maiden is Wisdom, through whom I have acknowledged your power and your works when you let yourself be led by Love, and through whom I have learned to know God alone as God, and all things as God in God's knowledge, and each thing as godlike when in the spirit I am united with God. What news do you bring me?"

And she said: "It is true with this eye-covered dress you yourself are adorned, and you have clothed me with heavenly glory. The number of these eyes is one thousand, and the full number of every virtue. The fieriness of the eyes comes from each eye's knowledge of Love. The crystallinity of the eyes is past and quenched in painful mystical knowledge. And every eye of knowledge, either of love or of pain, had the crown of Love, formed according to its significance. Thus every eye had a mighty crown."

When Reason had thus spoken to me, she ordered me to acknowledge the whole number of my company; and I did. Then Reason became subject to me, and I left her. But Love came and embraced me, and I came out of the spirit and remained till late in the day drunk with unspeakable wonders.