Andrew Harvey has been one of our favorite spiritual teachers for many decades and is featured in our Living Spiritual Teachers Project. His friend Matthew Fox (another great spiritual teacher) explains in a foreword what anyone familiar with Andrew’s work will readily understand: “This book is not for the faint of heart but for lovers who are warriors willing to 'engage in combat passionately.' ”

The subject is love, and the author is Hadewijch of Antwerp, a thirteenth century Beguine who wrote in medieval Dutch. Arranged for each day of a calendar year, the book offers more than 400 pages of selections from her writings and teachings. Poetically and beautifully, Hadewijch reveals the Divine speaking to the human heart, such as “I, Love, am in everything.”

Before these selections begin, a helpful preface by Andrew Harvey reveals Hadewijch as “one of the most incandescent and inspired of all Christian mystics” and “a universal mystic pioneer and prophet of divinization, of transfiguration-through-Love.”

The worldview of the writings, laid out poetically, is Christian, including three persons to the Godhead, language of Christ and Holy Spirit, and occasional quotations from the New Testament. Nevertheless, the appeal of these words moves far beyond a Christian audience, speaking in tones and with inflections that convey the widest possible reach for divinity. The closest comparison with another Christian mystic would probably be Meister Eckhart. Eckhart, for instance, may have gleaned from Hadewijch his concept of the birth of Christ as God’s desire to be born inside of every human being.

The first selection, for January 1, is written as if from the Godhead to the soul:

“O wise loving soul,
Who can satisfy you?
You are the noblest of creatures
Chosen by Love, called to know her
And to savor her gifts:
New creation, joy,
Continual flowering.
All that is graced you
By the power of Love!”

Other selections are also short, while some completely fill two pages. Some are written as the spiritual pilgrim looking to the Divine, such as this short one for July 21:

“What a life, O Beloved
You have given me —
Life and death together, horror
Nothing describes, amazement
There are no words for
Except 'You are All! You are All!' ”