L i m o u x ℒℴve
‘I’ve been lately thinking about my life’s timeAll the things I’ve done, how it’s beenAnd I can’t help believing in my own mindI know I’m gonna hate to see it end
For though my life’s been good to me there’s still so much to doSo many things my mind’s never known…’
“You only dance on this earth for a short while…”
Pour les bonnes femmes et les bons hommes. Les Cathares.
R O A D T R I P ❗️
French Villages, castles, and an amazing memory in Montsegur at La Maison Sous le Château. Manual Citroën is the best. Always secure the smallest car you can and practice accelerations. :)
‘Immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere of Puilaurens Castle, an impregnable fortress in Cathar Country, at the top of the sheer rock face. The walls and towers have been marked by time and are filled with history and legends. Can you find the “secret” passages leading to the giddy panoramas?’ We did!
Beginning the hike up to the castle ruins…
Annie Glenn in awe and loving Languedoc.
Michael inspired on his first journey out of the United States and ready to return.
The Square Tower dates from the time of the Crusade against the Cathars. The so- called “White Lady” Tower, where Blanche de Bourbon, granddaughter of Philip IV, was reputed to have stayed on her way south to her ill-fated marriage with the cruel Peter of Castile, has a duct through the wall that acts as a speaking tube.
Aged just fourteen in 1353, after three days of marriage, Peter abandoned her in favour of Maria de Padilla, imprisoning poor Blanche in various places in France and Spain, until the age of twenty two, when he had her murdered. Legend has it that when mists surround the castle, Blanche is wandering the walls in her misty veils.
Montségur Castle is a fortress built on the ruins of a previous Roman settlement in the Occitanie region of Southern France. In 1204, Raymond de Péreille, the Lord of Montségur, decided to rebuild the Castle which had been in ruins for 40 years. The refortified Castle immediately became the epicentre of an important Cathar community. Catharism was a Gnostic movement which deviated from the teachings of the Catholic Church and which spread like wildfire in the 12th and 13th centuries. Amongst other tenets, the Cathars believed that Jesus was not the son of God but merely an upright prophet and scholar. They believed that men and women were both essentially equal and that money and physical trappings were not important in life. Even though they lived lives of poverty, it is believed that the Cathars amassed great riches, since many members, who were people of ‘substance’, donated their property on joining and many well-wishers and patrons donated money to help the cause as well. On the other hand, at the time Pope Innocent III, as well as the Kings of England and France, were struggling with financial difficulties caused by investments in the Crusades in the Holy Land. A theory states that this was one of the main reasons why the Cathars, a peaceful Order, were branded as heretics and hounded to their deaths with such cruelty, even prompting the setting up of a special Inquisition for such a purpose. At the time, all their assets and lands were seized and divided between the Pope and the King of France during what became known as the Cathar Crusade or the Albigensian Crusade. Whole cities and villages were destroyed by the Inquisition, which targeted both nobles and peasants alike. Ironically, the supposed ‘treasure’ of the Cathars was never found, or at least, no one has reported its acquisition.
The hike up…
…and reverence for the bon hommes and bonne femmes who were murdered in the pyre because of their beliefs, and the greed and evil of Pope Innocence III.
From the book, The Manuscript. ☉
The Cathars considered themselves to be the true Christians. Part of their learning rested on primitive Christian, Gnostic, Jewish and Islamic ideas, which at all decisive points different from the Roman Church.
The daily bread was for the Cathars the spiritual bread, and both women and men could become priests, perfect, in their community. The Cathar movement had wide support amon the Languedoc population and when this support tended to spread to all of France the Pope, Innocence III, sent a monk, Bernard of Clairveaux, to preach against the heretics. He saw, however, that their services and morals were far more Christian than those of his own corrupt Church. He also admitted that he could find no fault with the parfaits of the Cathars. They only practiced what they preached. This was not to the liking of the Pope and thus he implemented the crusade resulting in the massacre of Montsegur.
‘A common legend which had been retold for generations by the descendants of the Cathars, was told by a shepherd from Montsegur as late as 1929:
“When the walls of Montsegur were still intact, the Cathars, the pure ones, guarded the Holy Grail there. Montsegur was in danger. The armies of Lucifer lay in a circle around the walls. They wanted the Grail, so that they could mount it in the emperor’s tiara, from where it had fallen to the ground when the angels were banned from Heaven. When peril was at its highest a white dove descendde from Heaven and split the mountain in two with its beak. Esclarmonde, the female guardian of the Grail, threw the precious, holy treasure into the mountain. It then closed again. In this way the Grail was saved. When the devils forced their way into the fortress, they were too late. Filled with anger they burned all the pure ones at the foot of the cliffs under the fortress on the camp des cremate, on the field where where the state was built.”
More than 200 hundred Cathars, men, women and children, chose by their own free will to be burned at the stake. According to an oral tradition, they had promised to return after seven hundred years [pp. 39-40].’
In memoriam at Montsegur.
Ani Williams is world-renowned harpist and singer, and has recorded more than two-dozen albums of original sacred music based on ancient spiritual traditions.
The back side of the castle ruins where remnants of the Cathars living quarters and community gathering sites for work and living.
Folks honoring the Cathars at Montsegur with dance and song.
Then in the chill of fall and winds, it was time to head back down, imagining…trying…the 200 + Cathars holding hands and singing their hymns as the fires from the pyre burned below them and their wicked fate to a tortuous death.
R E X M U N D I
Evil forces always swirling about.
And then it was a short drive down narrow lanes to the Village de Montsegur to stay the night at La Maison Sous le Château. Sadness. The museum was closed. Next time. So wanted to visit.
J’adore the village of Montsegur, almost as much as Alet-les-Bains and Limoux.
Cathar crosses everywhere and history whispered in the winds.
Up the stairs to our private room and bath and a warm meal with local vegetables, soup, pain, and vin…
…at the foot of the Pyrenees.
You must stay with Fred and basque in his warmth and hospitality, his cooking (!), as well as his knowledge of the Occitanie region, the Cathars…and Mariam.
I wanted to linger longer in this ancient village in Southern France.
Can’t wait to return. Thanks be to Gaia.
You must read this book!
Car returned and ready for a very hot bath. Fall has landed in Languedoc.
Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used in order to exist at all. -William Faulkner
My great-grandma’s name, Alma. Alma Evalo Latta. Who gave me a mother’s love when mine was incapable of giving.
The grand parent is able to relinquish center stage and to stand on the sidelines, and thus be in solidarity with those who need their support. Children can feel secure in the presence of their grandparents because, while their parents are still rushing to find their way through life’s journey, grandpa and grandma have hopefully become spacious. They can contain problems, inconsistencies, inconveniences, and contradictions—after a lifetime of practicing and learning.
Grand parents can trust life because they have seen more of it than younger people have, and they can trust death because they are closer to it. Something has told them along the way that who they are now is never the final stage, and this one isn’t either. We need to be close enough to our own death to see it coming and to recognize that death and life are united in an eternal embrace, and one is not the end of the other. Death is what it is. I am a grand father when I am ready to let go. To the grand mother, death is no longer an enemy, but as Saint Francis called it, a “welcome sister.” -Father Richard Rohr
I chose this place to stay in Collioure, on the Mediterranean, because of my grandma who I miss everyday and talk with in my prayers and meditations. When we arrived after a day of back road DRIVING IN FRANCE (WHAT?!),
[A Citroën in France. Bien sûr.]
[Thank G A I A for co-pilots.]
it was not what was advertised, not so much structures on a beach connected by private platforms,
but na extremely dirty once white tent on rocks with no windows and a bathroom quite far away. We didn’t have what we needed for a cold night of rain and thunderstorms…in a tent. <sigh> Alma is camping, not ‘glamping.’ So we left and went searching for a new place, on a Saturday. Pas bon. Looked at a Templar hotel, with a window opened to access pigeons in a dark, damp, alley. No merci. Finally, we landed, Grand Hotel Du Golfe, on the Gulf of Lion. Tres bon.
The colours of Collioure, a small village, home to about 2,800 people, in the south of France. It’s just over 2 hours to Barcelona.
Matisse, Soutine, Gauguin, Picasso, Miró. All artists who made pilgrimage to Colloure for the colours…
A perfect good morning in Collioure. ☀️
Qu’est-ce tu as fait aujourd’hui?
What did I do today? I explored Southern France with two of my most favorite people on the planet, Annie Glenn and Michael Gillette. Radical Grace. Thanks be to you, dear Gaia. (I miss you William Henry.)
Exploring the ruins of Puilaurens and Montsegur, traveling the back ancient roads of Landguedoc/Occitanie. ღ
Father Richard Rohr reminds us today,
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897) called a simple, childlike path her “little way.” It is a spirituality of imperfection. In a letter to priest Adolphe Roulland (1870–1934), she writes: “Perfection seems simple to me, I see it is sufficient to recognize one’s nothingness and to abandon oneself as a child into G A I A ‘s arms.” Perfection is, in fact, our ability to include, forgive, and accept our imperfection. As I’ve often said, we grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. That might just be the central lesson of how spiritual growth happens, yet nothing in us wants to believe it.
If there is such a thing as human perfection, it seems to emerge precisely from how we handle the imperfection that is everywhere, especially in ourselves. A “perfect” person ends up being one who can consciously forgive and include imperfection rather than the ones who think they are totally above and beyond imperfection. It becomes rather obvious once we say it out loud.
Our greatest gift to give. jai
Finding light’s colour.
When your girl needs to find a signal to connect for a virtual work meeting while exploring ancient ruins in a little hamlet in France called St. Salvayre.
Cue the sheep. :) “Wait. Annie, are those cow bells???”
One year ago today, Annie Glenn was notified of her new job offer to a new company! And today, a massive promotion announced.
She came down to my room to share the news! No one…no one…has worked harder. 4.0 through high school, all four years of undergrad at DePauw University, Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious honor roll society, graduating summa cum laude. Same for her master’s degree from Georgia Tech…4.0. Her diligence, her discipline, her sense of self. No one could deserve this more. Her maman’s le coeur is bursting with happiness for her success. Thank you, Coronado School District in California, Blaine County School District in Sun Valley, Idaho, and DPU, and Grace Hopper, and Honeywell Aerospace, and now, KSG.
Très bon, sweet girl. Très bon. Not too shabby for 26❗️
And, in F R A N C E!
Celebrate good times, gratitude, and g r a c e.
Annie Glenn and her maman, Sun Valley, Idaho.
Inhaling grace, exhaling gratitude, dear Gaia, Mariam, Sophia, Joan and Catherine, Bobby D, Alma Evalo Latta, and Darrell Lee. Thanks be to y o u. jai
How is Septembre almost compléter.
‘The days they pass so quickly now…’
The light is changing in Limoux, lower on the horizon, the days shorter, the air at night cooler. Yet, the tiger mosquitos still leaving their mark. Pas bon. 🦟
New Moon ~ Equinox Update
The Equinox is September 22nd and the New Moon is September 25th.
In this month of crises and retrogrades, we have had an opportunity to go within and find resilience, stamina, wisdom, and inner strength through reflection and exploration of our inner self rather than focusing on the outer. The Equinox brings an invitation for endings and beginnings, and the new moon in Libra (Sunday the 25th) opens the field of simplicity, balance and greater intuition. There is lots of support during this new moon for seeing the bigger picture of your life with more clarity and vision.
Since the Equinox is a point of change, reflect on what you can leave behind that is not serving you in where you need to put your energy. Make some choices with your well being in mind and be willing to receive what that choice may bring you that is new and different.
The New Moon is an excellent time to strive for balance and to reset your intentions to align with an aspect of your life that is expanding. Think of your intentions as forms of thought and energy that will draw what you need towards you. Leave room for flexibility, creativity and some surprising gifts you never would have dreamed of. ~Lena
Always. Now. Especially. Register.
Thank you, Valerie Kaur.
“All our votes together? A R e v o l u t i o n.”
There’s my girl (!) back in Limoux doing her virtual work and exploring Languedoc with her maman. ღ
The bridge into Limoux with her guy.
Lunch in Alet-les-Bains!
Michael and Annie in Alet-les-Bains at L’Eviche for lunch under the trees and the abbey.
Waiting for the bus. Always. :)
A peek at the bridge and some random ancient stairs, most likely to connect to an old rampart. So want to know their story…
Found another old barn in Alet.
And another great find in Limoux. An old church from about 780 C.E. Beautiful.
I miss you William Henry.
The new roof is going in…
The hole in the roof is gone…indoor ambient light is also gone now, so it’s difficult to peek in. A skylight would have been amazing. France apparently has many rules and regulations about exterior renovations.
From Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer.
Of all the true and wonderful things that were said about Her Majesty the Queen, this, for me, rang truest, and will stay with me for the longest.
“In the midst of our rapidly changing and frequently troubled world, her calm and dignified presence has given us confidence to face the future, as she did with courage and with hope.”
Tens of thousands viewed the Queen’s coffin while lying in state. More than 1,000,000 lined the streets for the Queen’s various processions on Monday. Viewing numbers via streaming and television have not been confirmed, yet hundred of millions viewed the pageantry from distant places.
The ‘long walk’ to Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II’s final resting place, in St. Charles Chapel.
[Sidenote, Charles Spencer is also a bestselling non-fiction author: The White Ship; Killers of the King; To Catch a King; Blenheim. His family’s home is Althorp (built in 1508), Diana’s final resting place.
“In loving and devoted memory.”
The Queen’s Wreath
Flowers and foliage cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House. It sat in a nest of English moss and oak branches.
The foliage was selected for its symbolism — rosemary (for remembrance), myrtle (an ancient symbol of a happy marriage), and English oak (symbolic of the strength of love). The myrtle was cut from a plant grown from a sprig of myrtle that featured in the Queen’s wedding bouquet when she married Prince Philip in 1947.
Beautiful, and poignant, and reverent BBC live 9-hour coverage for Elizabeth II’s funeral today. Well done. Thank you for the history lessons, too.
by Suleika Jaouad
‘…but I’m still yearning. It’s different now, in that it’s not specific things, just the word: more. That’s the bittersweetness of being granted your wishes, then facing the prospect of losing them. I love my life—my family, my husband, my sweet new dog, my friends, my home, my garden, my work, and this beloved community—and I want to be able to enjoy that life, today and tomorrow and for many years to come.
But with this illness and all the treatment side effects, I can’t rely on my body from hour to hour, much less day to day or week to week, which makes planning or making commitments so difficult. It’s strange to have a sense of urgency to make and do and see, but to also have a body that often just can’t. It’s a particular kind of entrapment.
So here at the beginning of fall, instead of embarking on some grand adventure, I’m rejoicing in the moments where I can enjoy a small one. One day last week, while out at my farmhouse, I woke up feeling… well, feeling like I hadn’t just consumed a dose of rat poison. I have two electric bikes, and that afternoon, my friend Kristen and I hopped on and started speeding down the winding country roads, past babbling brooks, under covered bridges, up into the hills. After awhile, we stopped at a plant nursery with a little outdoor bar and lounge and had cocktails—something I hadn’t done in a very long time. By the time we left, the sun was setting, and I felt almost giddy. That afternoon, I’d had more.
[Alet-les-Bains in Languedoc, France.]
From Fr Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation.
Old age, as such, is almost a complete changing of gears and engines from the first half of our lives, and does not happen without many slow realizations, inner calmings, lots of inner resistance and denials, and eventual surrenders. All of them by God’s grace work with our ever-deepening sense of what we really desire and who we really are.
Reality, fate, destiny, providence, and tragedy are slow but insistent teachers. The horizon of old age seems to be a plan that God has prepared as inevitable and part of the necessary school of life. What is gratuitously given is also gratuitously taken away, just as Job slowly came to accept.
If we are to speak of a spirituality of ripening, we need to recognize that it is always characterized by an increasing tolerance for ambiguity, a growing sense of subtlety, an ever-larger ability to include and allow, and a capacity to live with contradictions and even to love them! I cannot imagine any other way of coming to those broad horizons except through many trials, unsolvable paradoxes, and errors in trying to resolve them.
The ripening of mind and heart is most basically a capacity for nondual consciousness and contemplation. So my guidance is a simple reminder to recall what we will be forced to learn by necessity and under pressure anyway—the open-ended way of allowing and the deep meaning that some call faith. To live in trustful faith is to ripen; it is almost that simple.
There she is. Johanne. Joan of Arc.
At Église Saint André in Alet-les-Bains.
It finds us.
Saturday Soirée !
Felt like I landed on a French film set. ℒℴve! The best…Blanquette de Limoux, vin, bière, moules (no, merci), frites, the best folks, music, laughter, and a birthday. Bon anniversaire! Happy to be meeting so many wonderful folks in Limoux. J’adore France.
And look…a bluebird of happiness. :)
Happy Birthday, Margot. And thank you Fred for inviting so many of us to be together, share, and sing for Margot’s special day.
A day of living, loving, and learning in Limoux.
Cooler days, finally, some light rain this morning, while reading and researching…writing. Loving Limoux.
“This is a new day. I haven’t seen this one before.”
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
“I’m so tired of waiting, aren’t you? For the world to become good and beautiful and kind. Let us take a knife and cut the world in two and see what worms are eating at the rind.”
‘The career of James Langston Hughes (1902-1967), a central figure during the Harlem Renaissance, spanned five decades. He wrote poetry, short stories, plays, newspaper columns, children’s books, and pictorial histories. He also edited several volumes of prose and fiction by African-American and African writers. Through his writing and through his extensive travels and lecture tours he came into direct contact with an amazing array of writers, artists, activists, and performers of the twentieth century. The Langston Hughes Papers span the years 1862-1980.’
G R A S S
‘Starting at the top seems like great advice. Deal with the people with power and authority.
Power and authority aren’t often in the same place.
The real power is usually foundational. What happens when humans interact. The way things are around here. Often, the people who are ostensibly in charge are simply choosing from a few culturally acceptable choices, and those choices are dictated by the foundation.
It might seem like a detour, but it’s actually the cause of change.’
The way to know life is to love many things.
“Someday, death will take us to another star.”
“The idea of landing is too finite for my imagination and sense of song.”
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
“Perhaps the best we can do: to help when we can, to witness each other with kindness to other presence, to show the trust we have in life. Spiritual life is not about knowing much but about loving much.”
“And yet, if our earth needed to she could weave us together like roses and make of us a garland.” ✿´¯`*•.¸¸✿ ✿´¯`*•.¸¸✿ ✿´¯`*•.¸¸✿
(Are we worthy of garlands? ✿ G A I A is waiting, and we don’t have too much longer to choose.)
“From a biblical perspective, we were given–the lord gave us dominion over the planet and the creatures thereof.”
-Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Louisiana
“The original transition of ‘dominion’ means to care for and nurture. So from a biblical perspective, I am an environmentalist. I love my planet and the people and the creatures thereof. Do you?”
-Raya Salter, a lawyer and clean energy advocate
“The effects of your actions may unfold in ways you cannot foresee or even imagine. They may unfold long after your death. That is when the words of so many writers often resonate most.”
“Sometimes, cause and effect are centuries apart”
For pilgrims, walking is work.”
Limoux’s waning moon.
By asking “Whom does my soul serve?” we learn to turn our attention to the deeper purposes of what we do. We enlarge our vision of what’s possible and gradually learn to root our actions in soul.
Could it be that this earthly realm, not in spite of but because of its very density and jagged edges, offers precisely the conditions for the expression of certain aspects of divine love that could become real in no other way? This world does indeed show forth what love is like in a particularly intense and costly way. But when we look at this process more deeply, we can see that those sharp edges we experience as constriction at the same time call forth some of the most exquisite dimensions of love . . . qualities such as steadfastness, tenderness, commitment, forbearance, fidelity, and forgiveness. These mature and subtle flavors of love have no real context in a realm where there are no edges and boundaries, where all just flows. But when you run up against the hard edge and have to stand true to love anyway, what emerges is a most precious taste of pure divine love.
Cynthia Bourgeault, author, ‘The Meaning of Mary Magdalene’
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
From author and scholar Jean Houston:
Once you answer the call to a larger life, there is no turning back. Indeed, each of us might usefully consider where we find ourselves right now on the cycle of our own particular journeys. Have you heard a call to the larger life? Have you refused it, and if so, why? Have you accepted the call but then met with monsters of recalcitrance who refused to let you pass across the threshold to your own deeper capacities and possible life? Did you finally outwit these monsters and get across? Are you caught in the belly of the whale through despair, depression, or just plain sloth? Have unusual allies or helpers shown up? A telephone call at the right time? A book falling open at an important passage? Do you find yourself in the midst of the road of trials, and if so, do you experience it as full of adventures or as just one damn crisis after another? Is there awaiting you a sacred marriage or a transformational friendship? Do you feel the yearning for the inner beloved of the soul? Are you seeking atonement or attunement with your father or mother . . .? Are you finding a boon, an insight, a project that may bring some healthy solution to your own and the world’s problems? . . . Or perhaps you find yourself, like the rest of us, in several different stages of the journey at the same time.
From the Center for Action & Contemplation, ‘experience a version of this practice through video and sound.’ Turn it up so you can hear the birds. :)
Being in a different country, immersed in a second language and culture, the grail journey is seemingly more acute…magnified. Yet, these journeys are available to us anywhere…time or place. The calling is profound. Listening, imperative. And then, time seemingly elongates…expands…where the stories we once carried seem so much quieter, smaller. Maybe it isn’t that life is short, but that we live it fast…choices and consequences and ‘next.’ As Cynthia shares, it’s the ‘density and hard edges’ of this iteration in time that gives us the grace and possibility…mercy?…to examine the most exquisite dimensions of love within the constructs we create with fear, rage, and violence, the dimensions of
As Cynthia reminds us, “That’s our business down here. That’s what we’re here for.”
Saint-Martin’s in Limoux, for Ukraine.
Barns in France
I saw this barn earlier, in August, in Alet-les-Bains.
So much potential. Just need some input from Chip and Jo.
And then, I noticed another barn, not far from where I’m living in Limoux. After seeing the structure in Alet-les-Bains, I recognized it as a barn, too.
It must be ancient, in that other buildings are for residents in Limoux. There’s an address over the archaic door, thinking, again, about the potential for renovation.
When I returned from Rouen, look!
This is going to be so fun to watch being renovated.
A peek inside…
A loft and skylights, right?
This is a photo I’ve saved for, gosh, I don’t know, I think three years now.
Same basic structure as the barns in Alet-les-Bains and in Limoux.
Oui s’il vous plaît. ღ
From Queen Elizabeth II’s cortege today in London.
[Image from the BBC.]
7 Reasons The Queen Loved France
(and why France will always remember her)
The Queen was very much the “friend of France” that French President Emmanuel Macron referred to in his tribute.
by Zoë Smith
From choosing Paris for her very first overseas trip to visiting the Elysée more times than any other foreign sovereign in history, The Queen was very much the “friend of France” that French President Emmanuel Macron referred to in his tribute.
Here are seven special reasons why The Queen loved France and why France will always remember her.
1. Queen Elizabeth’s first ever trip overseas was to France
2. Her Majesty made six state visits to France during her reign
3. The Queen is also the Duke of Normandy
4. The Queen and Prince Philip vacationed in France
5. The Queen inaugurated the Channel Tunnel
6. France gifted The Queen a horse for her Platinum Jubilee
7. French was The Queen’s second language
[Full piece: https://francetoday.com/culture/7-reasons-the-queen-loved-france-and-why-france-will-always-remember-her/?utm_source=France+Today&utm_campaign=c898565112-LPJ_10_02_2016_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_48663ae590-c898565112-295618390&mc_cid=c898565112&mc_eid=5280d28ccc ]
Forget Me Nots
Center for Action & Contemplation
‘I am sorry. Forgive me’
The English ‘I am sorry’ wraps the plea in the logic of individuality and the English ‘Forgive me’underlines the same. What I have done was done only by me and thus is only my responsibility. This ‘I am sorry. Forgive me’ is all about me.
‘Ndicela uxolo’ means ‘I ask for peace.’ It is an ubuntu apology and it is about we. ‘I ask for peace’ sees our interconnectivity.
Ubuntu peace is peace between us and peace within each of us. Ubuntu forgiveness is peace that heals.
‘Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.’ -Kahlil Gibran
Travel day full of trains and bus back two Limoux from Rouen.
First leg a little over five hours, to Marseilles. Much easier this time, maneuvering platforms and screens in the Marseilles terminal. Then, a three hour plus train ride to Carcassonne. It’s so interesting to me how I only have to say, “Bonjour,” and the first typical response is, ‘Oh, English.’ Almost feel like I should apologize. How do they know? Yes, I think it’s because my French pronunciation is really quite that bad. Not giving up. I so want to speak this beautiful language. I try. In the Rouen museum, I think I was pronouncing the painter Poussin, as ‘poisson,’ which is ‘fish’ in French. So the musée attendant was seemingly perplexed when I asked for directions to the Poussin exhibit and thought I said, “Where is the fish exhibit?” We finally figured it out together, both were laughing.
Leaving Hotel Cardinal early in the morning, the quiet of the cathedral square, the majesty of The Rouen Cathedral.
The cathedral a religious monument constructed in two phases with two distinct styles: starting in 1030 for its Roman-inspired section and in 1145 for its Gothic-inspired one. It was completed in 1506. It houses the remains of King Richard the Lionheart lie in the Cathedral.
I was asked if I was English (I guess so?) on the second train by a young man sitting next to me. He is from Ft. Collins, Colorado–my son’s age. One of my most favorite things traveling is meeting someone and talking with them as if we’ve known one another for a long while. His name is Hopper and we talked about everything from absolute truth, to ashrams in India, to the transgender movement–for three solid hours until the train stopped in Carcassonne. He wants to leave the United States, too. He’s going to work on a farm in France for a while, and then move to the Czech Republic, before finally landing in India. It was a lovely conversation. I haven’t spoken that much English in a long while.
I met with two women this morning, one who had been living in Portugal, now in Limoux and originally from Boston. The other women I had met earlier after I arrived. Learning so much about life in Limoux, their experiences, and future plans. La crème à café on the Place de la Republique. The best. l o v e
Place du Vieux-Marche’, Old Market Square, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Apparently, Joan’s body was burned three different times, and her burning was prolonged by the sadistic executioners to lengthen her pain and torture.
From The Guardian:
‘What is generally agreed is that Joan’s body was burnt three times by the English and ashes from the foot of the pyre were supposedly discovered in 1867, lurking in the Paris loft of an apothecary .
French scientists, who have been studying those ashes, confirmed (in 2006) that a piece of cloth found among the remains may have been a fragment of Joan of Arc’s gown. A new series of DNA tests of bones and tissue found among the ashes is expected to confirm that they belong to a female.
The most exciting discovery by his 18-strong team at the Hôpital Raymond Poincare near Paris was in the carbon-dating of the piece of cloth. ‘It is linen of high quality and we can confirm that it dates from the 15th century. It could have been a robe or a bag.’
According to historians, Joan of Arc was 19 when she was burnt at the stake in Rouen by the English on 30 May, 1431. She died of smoke inhalation. The Cardinal of Winchester is recorded as having ordered her to be burnt a second time. Her organs still survived this fire, so a third burning was ordered to destroy the body completely. Her cinders and debris were to be thrown into the Seine.
However, in 1867 ashes that were said to include remains of Joan of Arc were found in the Paris loft of an apothecary. These were transferred to a museum in Chinon where they are still kept.
I spent the entire morning at this sacred spot in the Old Market Square. I started at the Rouen Cafe, and then settled closer to where she was burned.
A massive crucifix is placed in the exact spot where Joan was burned alive. Reportedly, Joan asked to be able to see the cross as she was being executed. The last word she screamed was, “JESUS!”
(The bells of the cathedral are ringing now. Sometimes, not knowing the reason, they just ring and ring in these magnificent harmonies. So incredibly beautiful. Those deep, melodic, bellowing tones. Many bells surround the square. Inspiring. And to wake up with them in the morning, ethereal. This is first light today from my window…
Back to Joan. :)
This is the base of the giant crucifix, with the Joan of Arc church and her statue just behind.
And these are ancient stones from Joan of Arc’s time that were left in place at the Old Market Square.
Here’s the tree where I sat under for prayers and meditations this morning…I could see the crucifix through the branches.
So peaceful. Tranquil. It’s Monday, and after the many tourists left from the weekend, the locals were out and about on their bikes; on Mondays, many establishments are closed, I learned brokenheartedly. Still, able to see and explore so much.
When I finally pulled myself away from the Old Market Square, I trekked to find a historical monument where Johanne was tried and convicted, imprisoned, after being betrayed by her country and king, Charles the VII. Supposedly there’s this interactive virtual thing we can take part in, not typically my thing, yet, rave reviews. I found it! Sadly, one of the establishments that are closed on Mondays. Next time. I was able to linger awhile and take in the historic splendor, knowing Joan was there, her energy, her eloquence, your loyalty, and her truth. History shows her arguments were pure in logic, and forthright, often beleaguering the m e n trying to convict her. Their minds were made up, if not, she would have walked free.
Look at these ancient standing stones! Made up for the fact the historical establishment was closed. :) They are placed on each side of the door.
This is the courtyard right next to the historical site. Legal hearings? Council? Not sure.
And these are the two ancient plaques, explaining what transpired with Joan. After her execution, it is here Charles VII said, whoops, our bad. She was declared innocent. Sorry about the burning thing. And in 1920, of course centuries later, not unlike Mary Magdalene, her virtues and faith and historical contribution were recognized, and she was canonized as a saint.
From here, knocked out to learn that at the art museum in Rouen, there are three original paintings by Nicolas Poussin!
Poussin was actually from Normandy, and Rouen is the capitol of Normandy. There’s a statue of him outside the museum…
If you’re following the Dayle in Limoux posts, you know he painted ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ which is based on the sacred geometry in Languedoc and Renne-les-Chateau…the Cathars.
This is a capture from 2019, visiting the site of the ‘tomb,’ no longer there because the owner of the property was tired of the visitors. He destroyed it. Tragically. This photo was taken in Languedoc, aligning with the sacred geometry.
Everything Sir Henry Lincoln wrote about with his co-authors in the book that started the intrigue all over again.
Here’s a couple of YouTube reviews.
Pousinn’s French Baroque style was also considered French Classical tradition. He was a major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Paul Cézanne.
This later version of Et in Arcadia Ego has a far more (sacred!) geometric composition, and the figures are much more contemplative. The mask-like face of the shepherdess echos the Classical “Greek profile”. And! It’s in the Louvre. Someday, when I get back to Paris. Can’t wait. If I lived in Paris, I would go the Louvre every weekend. I would!
Joan of Arc claimed to have communicated spiritually with saints at a rural location some two kilometres from her home. She identified them as Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch. The last two saints were virgin martyrs who had refused to take orders from men and, when leading the French army into battle, Joan dressed as a man to avoid prejudice. The spot is well marked. An extremely grand and prominent Basilica was built at the location as late as 1881. Masses are held there every Sunday and great mural artworks portraying her military capacity surround the walls. In the grounds around it, visitors will find impressive sculptures and statues of Joan, the saints that communicated with her and her pious father Jacques, who shaped her childhood. The Basilica is impressive, features a vast spire and can be seen from miles around amongst the local countryside.
Joan of Arc was captured in the city of Compiegne, Picardy at the start of May, 1430. She was held by the conspiring Burgundians who sold her to the English for 10,000 Francs.
Her trial took place in Rouen, the capital city of Normandy. She was convicted of witchcraft and heresy by the English and Burgundian authorities and sentenced to death by burning at the stake in the centre of Rouen on May 30th, 1431. The English executioners apparently went to much trouble to ensure that her death was as slow and distressing as possible. She was just nineteen years old. Twenty years later, a retrial took place in the same courtroom and found her innocent of all charges.
Her exact place of execution is marked by a vast concrete cross. Right next door rests a contemporary church to commemorate her. Digital son et lumiere dramatically presents features of Joan’s life on the face of the city’s Notre Dame Cathedral. The vast Excel walk round cinema on the banks of the Seine River flowing through Rouen, features a similar, stunning feature. The courtroom where she was tried twice, houses an ultra-modern, active digital museum that almost brings her back to life.
Joan of Arc was canonised in 1920 and is the patron saint of France. More than 20,000 books have been written about her. Her persuasion, untaught military skills and undoubted faith in her religious beliefs were extraordinary achievements by one who lived such a short life.
I was able to research and study the Poussin paintings for awhile with the complimentary WiFi in the museum; beautiful structure.
They have a hall dedicated to ‘Heroines,’ too. Many sculpture’s and paintings of Johanne. I’d like to have one of these, please.
And then, from here it was back to the Cathedral to sit in front of Joan of Arc’s chapel. I lit two candles, one each for my two children, William Henry, and Annie Glenn, to keep Joan’s fierce protection surrounding them, and her compassion guiding them.
Look at the light from the stained glass panel.
Some photos from today…captures…and the Cathedral…Rouen is beautiful, ancient medieval architecture with splashes of contemporary color.
Here comes the sun…see it right at the top? 🌞
The clock! From the 1300’s. It still rings at 9:00 at night to signify what was once, ‘curfew.’
And, at night. Tres jolie.
And then, preparation for the light and music show with the cathedral as the giant canvas…on the tallest cathedral in France…✧ * . * ✧ . * . *
. * . * . for the magic. . ✧ .
✧ ✧ * . * . . *. .
✧ * . . ✧ . * . *
This is the Rouen Cathedral of Notre Dame. This year the light and music show runs June 3rd to September 17th. It’s spectacular. Folks say it’s a ‘must-see summer event.’ No doubt. It shares the story of Joan of Arc and the Viking history.
Here’s about 13 minutes someone posted on youtube from this summer. The presentation is about 50 minutes in total. I wish everyone could see it. Incredibly inspirational. We need lots of inspiration on our planet right now. Tell the stories, share the history. Feel what is possible. Thanks be to those who create these beautiful messages when we need them most. Love watching the younger spirits, enthralled, wondering how they will be inspired, what they too will create, sowing those tiny seeds of promise and possibility.
J’adore Rouen. Find the light.
I’ll share my explorations about Joan and Rouen tomorrow. Today is the 9/11 anniversary. Every moment of that day, indelible. Coronado, California.
From former CBS news anchor and author Dan Rather.
‘We tend to mark major anniversaries. But why should this year be less important?
And yet I wonder: Is this still a day that stops us in our tracks?
We will never forget where we were when we heard, when we saw, when we cried.
But so much has passed between then and now.
9/11 changed our nation forever.
But so too have events that followed.
History marches in only one direction — forward — in lockstep with our lives.
Still, I am drawn back. I know that it will be so for as long as I am here.
That bright, sunny morning — a postcard of a New York day that turned hopelessly dark.
I smell the smoke.
I hear the screams.
I see the faces of the perpetually missing in walls of photographs.
I touch the void.
I think of the mistakes that preceded 9/11.
And the mistakes that followed.
I think of our national goodwill
and how it was squandered.
I wonder at a unity
that has dissipated to acrimony.
I mourn for those who died that day.
And those who perished in the wars that followed.
One of which was a misguided war of choice. The folly of Iraq still haunts us.
The questions accumulate. We ask despite knowing there are no answers.
Fate can be cruel. And on that day the cruelty left us all altered.
I think especially of those who lost friends and loved ones.
The personal emptiness they have had to face is greater than our collective grief.
Let us never forget that.
For the rest of us, we lost a sense of invulnerability.
How could our mighty nation be thus attacked?
Today the vulnerability of terrorism remains.
But it is crowded with a long list of others.
Our country is precarious.
We feel exposed.
And it is not only for us as individuals.
Our national freedoms,
Our constitutional rights,
Our public health,
and the very mechanisms of democratic governance are under threat.
We yearn for stability
knowing it will be ever elusive.
But strength and resilience are possible.
We saw that then.
And we can see it now.
For those of us who were lucky enough to emerge from the tragedy, steady we must be.
To carry on the memory of those who perished
into the challenges ahead.’
From Father Richard Rohr:
‘When all is said and done, the gospel comes down to forgiveness. I’d say it’s the whole gospel. It’s the beginning, the middle, and the end. People who know how to forgive have known how good it feels to be forgiven, not when they deserved it, but precisely when they didn’t deserve it.’
Attack on America Radio Mix from 2001–Remembering 9/11
We played this on KyXy radio in San Diego.
F R A N C E
Early train from Limoux to Carcassonne to make the connection to Marseilles and then on to Rouen, France, where Joan of Arc was tried and convicted, betrayed by her king and her country, and burned at the stake for being a heretic, that is, a w i t c h. The guys also didn’t like the fact that she wore armor and men’s clothing, which she donned, especially when in prison, to protect herself against sexual assault. (There’s a new play in London called ‘I, Joan’ about a gender non-conforming hero who uses them/they pronouns. It’s playing at Shakespeare’s Globe. Hard pass. I revere her history, and this isn’t it. She is sacred. Leave her be.)
Very long day of train travel to get to Rouen, which I loved. Train travel is the best; and it’s so doable in this country. And not very expensive. Taking the bus is basically a euro in the region of Languedoc.
Waiting for the train in Limoux.
Waiting for the train in Carcassonne.
And the bread of life.
Pain au chocolate. ღ
The Mediterranean heading into Marseilles, where Mary Magdalene landed in Gaul (France) to begin her apostleship to the villagers in the region. (Read, ‘The Manuscript!’)
Marseilles found my stress threshold. B i g station. Had no idea what I was doing; our train was delayed in Carcassonne which put us late into the station. I couldn’t find the right platform, or a screen to tell me which platform it should be. I had 15 minutes to figure it out. A woman with a child was asking people for €’s, as I was hurrying past I gave her the 4 €’s I had in my pocket. Then she started following me. She wanted 10. Impressive. I finally found the platform with minutes to spare…and lots of perspiration.
Another great thing about France, they even grow trees inside.
🌳 🌳 🌳 💚
The first thing I saw when I disembarked from the train…
I have no idea what it is, no markings…I just love it. So old. And the air smelled like flowers. Seriously! It really did. So fresh. Maybe because I was finally able to remove my mask after five hours. :)
[Train station in Rouen.]
When the taxi dropped me at my hotel, I thought I was in a fever dream.
WHAT. IS. HAPPENING.
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen was awash in bright colors and pulsating music. It was incredible. My hotel is right across from the Cathedral. So when it was over, I grabbed my bag to go check in. Door locked with a note in English. I think for me. Finally the proprietor comes downstairs to inform me the hotel is overbooked…staff error…and found me another hotel. Drag. So tired. So, I trekked to find it. Got lost. A sweet young Norwegian couple who spoke English (!), helped me find it. It’s a trip. I can only possibly explain it by suggesting you think 60’s, Batman, Pop Tarts, and Bowling.
Oh, and fluorescent orange and blue lighting. The whole night feels like a fever dream. Toto, we’re not in Limoux anymore. Only have to stay one night and then I can return back to the Hotel Cardinal for the rest of my stay.
On the way to find the other hotel found this tower/obelisk structure…ancient…no markings…and not really cared for. It almost looks like it was burnt at one time.
And the full la lune in Rouen. Here’s what Power Path has to say about this month’s full corn/harvest moon.
This is a good window to focus on spiritual and emotional wellness, what that means to you, and how you can better support it in your life. Any spiritual searching and intention in this area will bring good results. This is also a time for gratitude for what is ending or changing in your life. Completions can be powerful catalysts for driving much needed resets. If a recent crisis has opened up the field of flexibility and creative problem solving, see it as a gift instead of an obstacle.
Almost full before I left Limoux.
I traveled to Rouen to be with Joan. I had thought about this journey so much while still in the states. I so wanted to be here, and here I am! I had hoped to visit the town where she was born and where she first heard the voices instructing her what she needed to do for France; she was only 13/14. The town is called Domrémy-la-Pucelleyet, it’s another five hours and about five transfers. Very remote. I think another time. Folks can visit the church where she worshiped, as well as the home where she lived.
She was only 19 when tried, convicted, and burnt at the stake as a heretic, or as the men liked to call women they didn’t like (and still do), a witch.
I read Mark Twain’s book about Joan of Arc while deep in our COVID isolation, so surprised to learn he had written about her.
It’s excellent. Deep research and reverence for her passion and loyalty for France and her king. Johanne listened to the guidance of her angel spirits, Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria. (St. Catherine of favorite of mine, too.)
“It furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing.”
More on witches about an original text:
The Malleus Maleficarum, first published in 1486–7, is the standard medieval text on witchcraft and it remained in print throughout the early modern period. Its descriptions of the evil acts of witches and the ways to exterminate them continue to contribute to our knowledge of early modern law, religion and society. Mackay’s highly acclaimed translation, based on his extensive research and detailed analysis of the Latin text, is the only complete English version available, and the most reliable. Now available in a single volume, this key text is at last accessible to students and scholars of medieval history and literature. With detailed explanatory notes and a guide to further reading, this volume offers a unique insight into the fifteenth-century mind and its sense of sin, punishment and retribution.
Found a great short podcast about the thousands of women who were persecuted, tortured and killed after being accused of witchcraft. The Scottish Parliament is set to clear their names. The host, Annette Young, meets the two women who are behind the campaign to get Scottish authorities to pardon the accused.
“At a time when women were not even allowed to speak as witnesses in a courtroom, they were accused and killed because they were poor, different, vulnerable, or in many cases just because they were women … I extend a formal, posthumour apology to all those accused, convicted, vilified or executed under the Witchcraft Act of 1563.”
On the 9th of March 2022, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon formally apologised for the persecution of people accused of witchcraft in Scotland, calling it an “injustice on a collosal scale.” The persecution started in the 1500s and lasted over two centuries, during which nearly 4,000 – the vast majority of whom were women – were accused of witchcraft. And this same brutality caused tens of thousands to be persecuted and murdered in Languedoc in the 11th and 12 centuries.
Exorcising the ills of the past: Scotland set to vote on pardoning ‘witches.’
Plus demain! (More tomorrow.) 🗡 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Elton John gave tribute to Queen Elizabeth at his concert in Toronto in last night.
“I’m 75, and she’s been with me all my life, and I feel very sad that she won’t be with me anymore, but I’m glad she’s at peace, and I’m glad she’s at rest, and she deserves it. She worked bloody hard. I send my love to her family and her loved ones, and she will be missed. But her spirit lives on. And we’ll celebrate her life tonight with music.”
And from the government of France today, a remarkably eloquent and gracefully written statement historically honoring the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
in Limoux. And it was 74 degrees! J’adore 74.
The Grand Cafe Oui, s’il vous plaît.
“Those who dance are often condemned by those who cannot hear the music.”
Love every single page, all 721 of them. It’s been an education and beautiful guide book for the history and contemporary journeys into the sacred mysteries of our beloved Languedoc.
There is only one way, and I repeat one way only, in which to understand the word forgiveness. By practicing it. And while practicing it, it is important to be aware that another judgment is not hiding within this forgiveness of the person or thing that is forgiven. For example, are you able to forgive yourself?
Be not afraid. There is nothing to be feared. But be aware that every thought, every word and every action has an impact in the cosmos. Remember that a wrong word said on one side of the globe is all it takes to creat a tidal wave on the there. Step outside fear.
May the eye rest only on that which is new.
May the hand no longer take, but give.
May thought in the future be free in the service of the Exalted.
The heart is the mirror of the universe.
The heart is the true Grail.
All this week Father Richard Rohr, the Center for Action and Contemplation, has been writing about the Grail. Juxtaposed with ‘The Manuscript,’ powerful and confirming.
“After our own Grail experience, our lives are characterized by some measure of perpetual dissatisfaction. Nothing lives up to our standards: not the church, not ourselves, not our country. There is a radical, aching longing: Ordinary life will never again be good enough, yet it is not meaningless either.
After the Grail experience, the ordinary forever becomes extraordinary. God is both perfectly hidden and perfectly revealed in everything.
A peak experience can be disconcerting. Sometimes we might even be ungrateful for it. We don’t fit in anymore. We live the rest of our lives at a tilt, wandering like Parsifal. We might feel a bit off-center. We can’t get excited about things most people get excited about. We just don’t believe they’re important anymore.
We get wounded in the hip, like Jacob (Genesis 32:26), and we limp the rest of our lives, but we’re not worried about the wound. We’re utterly confused, but we’re not confused by our confusion. We can live with our confusion now because, behind it all, we know.
Does that sound like double-talk? When one gets into Grail language, it’s all paradox. Everyone wants to pull us back to the first language of logic, law, and ego-tower building. But we can’t go anywhere with that. We have jumped off the ego tower. Once Parsifal has seen the Grail—even though he returns to the world—he is radically different ever after.”