medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
 
Deat Listmembers,
 
Nicholas of Clairvaux and his Cistercian brethren have just had their customary bloodletting performed (c. 1149, Nicholas, ep. 49). One consequence of this, says Nicholas, is that they have had to lie still for 2 days, "gazing at dry things" (sicca intuentes) in the refectory. Also, having previously shut the very chinks of the walls against the sun and rejoiced at darkness, they now offer their heads to the sun and the air. Quote follows from St Paul on man being the image of God, so shouldn't cover his head.   
 
Please, can you tell me what is going on here? Do you get put on a special dry diet after bloodletting? No soup? And what is this about sun-bathing?  My sources have a lot to say about the correct times for bloodletting, and bloodletting as a form of skiving, or a means of getting nicer food, but nothing that seems to throw any light on this.
 
Grateful for any suggestions,
 
Lena Wahlgren-Smith
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