The five symbolic beasts in St. Hildegard’s vision represent unique and brief historical ages which occur in a specific sequence. They also represent a particular evil evident in the social context of each period. This affliction of evil is engineered by Satan and intended to progressively damage the Church in preparation of the coming of the Antichrist.
In my book, The Five Beasts of St. Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society, I demonstrate that the first three eras have already passed and that we are currently in the latter half of the fourth era, that of the Black Pig. Four signs will clearly manifest to us that the present era is ending and the final era, the Grey Wolf, is emerging:
1. A change in the world’s geopolitical composition.
The five periods represent first and foremost separate historical eras. Dividing the 20th century into separate eras is very easy for historians to accomplish (it is not always so simple); the years 1914, 1945, and 1991 were natural divisions based on a change in the map of Europe, as well as its power structure. Western Europe since 1945 has been protected by America through the NATO alliance and the presence of American bases. Since 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Empire, America’s been the sole hegemon in the region. America will soon lose that privilege; the writing is on the wall. I explain why in an earlier post, The End of American Hegemony.
2. Political turmoil in Western Europe.
In Hildegard’s description of the era she refers to revolutions but does not describe them in any detail. She makes no mention here of wars between countries, but perhaps hints at them in a later chapter in Scivias. Some Europeans can be expected to violently turn on their governments as the era of the Grey Wolf begins.
3. Violent uprisings against the wealthy and powerful.
This is probably connected to the previous sign. Hildegard explains that the motive here is economic, not political; class warfare will break out in many cities. She says the reason, and the particular evil of this era, is greed. People will turn on the rich and plunder. This will be evident from the very beginning of the era to its end (see my earlier post: The Symbolism of the Ropes).
In the U.S., the last time the top 10% had such a large share of the nations income was in the years leading up to the 1929 market crash and Great Depression. Today, the prices of art, jewelry, classic cars, and other stores of value are all breaking records. This is evident in Europe as well, where, in a number of countries austerity measures have been forced on their populations by authorities from the European Monetary Union. Just follow what’s happening in Greece; it’s not hard to see how that situation could lead to a major outbreak of violence.
4. Persecution of Christians.
This may or may not occur at the beginning of the era; Hildegard does not say. But she describes clearly a time of Christian persecution that is distinct from the later persecution by the Antichrist. The rapid radicalization of Muslims in Europe together with their rapidly growing population should be a warning that persecution may be coming (see my earlier post: The Era of the Grey Wolf and Islam).