The Cosmos & Chaos collection honours Hypatia of Alexandria one of history's forgotten heroines, whose work and mission greatly impacted the world. Choosing her story as inspiration for this collection is due to its relevance to our current social climate. Hypatia was famous as the leading philosopher of her age. She was a pioneering woman and scientist who succeeded in a man's world through her brilliance, advocating for tolerance and equality in a time when rigid rules were being put in place by dominant powers, a situation that parallels our lives today. Her legacy, discoveries, and heroic struggle is infused into this bold collection. Hypatia is someone that you can draw upon for inspiration to follow your passions even when the world around you seems to be lost in the chaos. Hypatia of Alexandria’s story will empower you to continue your passions even during difficult times.
Who Was Hypatia of Alexandria?
Hypatia of Alexandria is the first known female mathematician of the western world. She was a great philosopher of her time and her students would become some of the most powerful men in Alexandria. Her contributions greatly impacted the society of Alexandria and beyond, and she is a great example of an empowered woman. Unfortunately, Alexandria was going through internal turmoil as groups of different religious beliefs began to fight for power. As Alexandria shifted from a majority pagan society to a growing Christian society, her powerful status as a woman became the topic of unrest. She was killed in 415 by a fanatical sect, but the mark she made through her teaching and inventions offers inspiration to thrive and become a leader in a still very much male-dominated world.
In books and testimonies from the day Hypatia was murdered it is written that she knew a mob was coming, but that she did not escape. Her belief in what she stood for and the need for tolerance was so strong that she did not feel the need to run. Hypatia's story is an empowering reminder to stay true to your passions even in the face of fear because beyond our fear lies something new and needed in the world. There will always be obstacles on our journey, but by remembering the women such as Hypatia who boldly stood by their beliefs, you’ll find the inspiration you need to keep moving forward in following those beliefs you hold dear to you.
During this trying time in our society, we need to find ways to strive to share our passions with the world while advocating for unity, empathy, and tolerance. Hypatia of Alexandria continued to believe that we are all part of the same source and continued her mathematical and astronomical works till the very end, even when the world around her was in turmoil. While the troubles we face today are different from those in the past, there are many parallels we can draw upon to empower us to create a different version of tomorrow instead of the one pressed upon us. Let’s head back in time now to learn about Hypatia of Alexandria and how she became a martyr for tolerance, the power of the feminine, and unity.
Hypatia of Alexandria’s Early Years
Hypatia of Alexandria was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria, a well-respected mathematician, and philosopher. It is believed that she started her studies with his mentorship, like you may have also been empowered to find your passion at a young age by your mentors. In about 400 AD, Hypatia of Alexandria became the head of the Platonist school in Alexandria, which was a remarkable feat for her age and also her gender. She taught both mathematics and philosophy, basing her philosophy lessons on Neoplatonism. Her belief in unity also came from what Plotinus taught in that there is a supreme, totally transcendent "One", containing no division, multiplicity, or distinction; beyond all categories of being and non-being. She used these principles to teach her students the importance of unity and tolerance and that there was a level of reality corresponding to every thought in our minds.
As a teacher, Hypatia of Alexandria was described as a charismatic individual, showcasing her love of the subject in each lesson that she taught. Her story is a reminder to follow your unique talents and interests in life as this is your purpose. After many of her students became powerful leaders in society, they still turned to Hypatia for her wisdom when they struggled with important decisions. This gave Hypatia a powerful status and a great influence on the future decisions of Alexandria. For a woman to have this kind of power became a problem with the fights for power growing within the community. You may find that you have challenges in your life where your status is not accepted by those around you. Rest assured knowing that every bold move you make has a rippling effect on the women around you and the generations of women that come after you. Difficult times strengthen and empower us to keep moving forward and keep pursuing our passions.
The Challenges Hypatia of Alexandria Faced While Teaching
Hypatia of Alexandria was a popular teacher with her students, however, her style of teaching was identified by early Christians as paganism. Many of her students were prominent Christians, including Synesius of Cyrene. While he was someone who admired her learning and the wisdom she shared with the world, others did not feel the same way about what she had to offer.
After Cyril became the patriarch of Alexandria in 412, there was intense political rivalry between the state and church. Hypatia was close with Orestes who was also her past student, the Roman prefect of Alexandria. She soon found herself in the spotlight of the riots between the non-Christians and Christians at the time, because they found her influence to be threatening to Christianity, especially as a woman. Hypatia was so deeply passionate about her teachings that she did compromise on her beliefs to fit into how society was changing to be more intolerant and aggressive, which is a lesson that can empower every one of us.
Hypatia of Alexandria’s Tragic Death
During these turbulent times, Hypatia of Alexandria was murdered by the Nitrian monks. They were strict Christians who supported Cyril, but there are also other stories about her death that suggest she was killed by a mob under the reader Peter’s leadership. Whichever story is true, it’s clear that her powerful status, knowledge, and intelligence threatened the male-dominated society around her. Following her murder Alexandria, soon began to decline as an important center of learning. This story proves once more the importance of the balance of feminine and masculine energy in the world. There is no major difference between this story of Hypatia in 400AD and our world today. There is no balance between these two energies and when that happens chaos can be seen all over the world. Let this story be your empowering reminder of this important status and boldly illuminate your power, passion, art, light, and energy in the world.
Overcoming Sexism in Society
As women, we know the challenges that we face daily to find equality in the world around us. While equality is something that women have been fighting for decades we can still see the many parallels to draw upon with the challenges Hypatia faced all those years ago. Feminine energy is being stifled in the world as women leaders are far and few between. World leaders are mostly men making decisions about all of our future and we barely have a seat at the table. Taking inspiration from the bravery of the many great women before us it is our time to grab hold of more of those seats now in the present. No one is going to willingly give us back the place we rightfully own.
Hypatia of Alexandria was a symbol of feminism and a martyr for acceptance of others' beliefs. Even though our world has changed significantly since this time, there’s no denying that the number of women in science and mathematical fields is still much lower than the number of men. If you are passionate about these topics, Hypatia is a wonderful role model for you to continue following your passions in these fields. Be reminded of the strength she showed and feel empowered to follow your dreams in your chosen path, even if your peers are mostly men. You should never feel that you aren’t able to achieve something you are passionate about just because of the limits others give you, and that’s something we can all learn from Hypatia of Alexandria's story.
Hypatia of Alexandria's story encourages us to keep strong and follow our dreams and passions, even when the world around us is in turmoil. No matter the time that has passed we are still facing these same challenges in society today, and there are many lessons we can learn from the past to help empower us to stay strong during our journey. We encourage you to check out the pieces in our collection inspired by Hypatia of Alexandria, as they will be your empowering reminder to take hold of what you desire. We are proud to play our part in passing her story on to you and hope you can draw upon her strength to follow your dreams and illuminate your powerful energy to the world.