Friday, May 08, 2015
The Mystery of the Liesborn Prayer Wheel.
I do my best to address a range of topics in this blog and many of them are topical -- almost literally up to the moment. From time to time along comes something that is ancient and esoteric and is fascinating in its oddity.
The page above is a transcription from a scripture volume which dates from 980 AD, and contains the four gospels only. It appears to have been ordered up by a woman for women. An abbess in Liesborn, Germany, named Berthildis, had it made for the highborn ladies who had traded the medieval court for her convent. Within the pages is this mysterious page which looks like a game of sorts yet is religious. It has been named the Liesborn Prayer Wheel.
The wheel’s outermost circle consists of the instructions we’ve read, but in medieval Latin. The next is labeled “Seven Petitions” and contains seven quotations from the Lord’s Prayer (“Daily Bread,” “Will Be Done,” “Kingdom Come.”) In the third circle, seven “Gifts Of The Holy Spirit” (“Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel … ”) run clockwise in red, interspersed with seven events in Christ’s life (Incarnation, Baptism, Passion Day of Judgment) in black. The fourth segment contains seven groups blessed in Jesus’ Beatitudes (“Meek, Poor in Spirit, Mourn”) and — opposite each — their rewards (“Inherit the Earth,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Be Comforted”). Finally, at the center, surrounding the pinhole of the compass, is the word “DEUS,” or God.
No one who has studied it quite understands how it works or what it's purpose may have been. Was it a game of sorts, or an aid to systematic prayer? As one article puts it, the volume may be up for sale at $6.5 million but speculation is free.
Any thoughts folks? Anyone else find this intriguing?