✧ * . * ✧ . * . *
. * . * . m y s t e r y . ✧ .
✧ ✧ * . * . . *. m a g i c .
✧ * .m a g d e l a . ✧ . * . * .
The last time I visited Saint-Salvayre was before times, in the fall of 2019. I’ve been contemplating this day for so long, yearning to be here, pulled to being here. And as Sir Henry Lincoln (‘Holy Blood Holy Grail’) said to me that day inside the church as he was sitting quietly next to the ancient standing stone, “This is a very special place.” I captured Henry as he was leaving the church in the small hamlet of Saint-Salvayre near Alet-les-Bains.
Sir Henry died this year on February 24th. He was 92. How I wish I could meet up with him where he lived at Rennes-les-Bains and talk all things Mariam of Magdala and her journeys with Yeshua in the Languedoc region of France. I have so many more questions and perspectives to share. More than that, just to listen to him speak of this history, where ever he chooses to take the listener. “Don’t look, see.”
When I visited this tiny, ancient church/Roman resting place on my first visit, we were in a small van. I had no recollection how vertical! the journey was. I remember reading recently about Roman garrisons lighting fires in St. Salvayre to alert chateaus in the surrounding area thinking, how could they see it, it is not very high. And when I heard people drive up to the hamlet to watch the Bastille Day fireworks being displayed in Carcassonne, I thought, but isn’t that high, so maybe the open space? Now I know. The views of the Pyrenees are spectacular; just the general splendor of the entire region is on display on the long hike up. The path is six kilometers from Alet-les-Bains and it’s all vertical. I read recently where someone had shared it was a ‘comfortable hike.’ My take? A little different. Some thought processes today in the 95 degree heat…going up.
Starting point: If I lived here, I could climb this every morning for prayers and meditations.
1/4 way up: maybe once a week.
1/2 way up: maybe twice a month.
3/4 way up: maybe just once a month.
Almost there: definitely need a Vespa.
Seeing the sign…f i n a l l y. So happy.
And then, there it is.
Pausing, reflecting, and centering before entering.
Gratitude and grace for surviving the plague and being given the gift of returning to this sacred and magical place, Saint-Salvayre. Indeed, as Sir Henry shared, a very special place, from the shrines to Mary Magdalene, to the painting of Yeshua, still living, being helped from the cross by St. Francis. The messages, the meaning, and the mystery. It’s all of it: the history, the sacred geometry, and the ancient standing stone, where it seems the structure was actually built around.
The stones, the shapes, their placement, all speak to ancient Roman times. Where this structure is placed could once have been a pagan place of worship. Then, in later centuries, a new structure built in the shape of St. Andrew’s cross. The Templars were reportedly here (Baphomet), and it was a place of refuge for Cathars.
And here, a shell. Was this left by a pilgrim on their way to the Camino de Santiago de Compostella?
A small ancient water basin outside the door of the church discovered behind thick foliage.
A marker outside of the church, just up to the left. The markings look Greek, or Egyptian. I haven’t been able to locate any information about this stone piece.
I tried to locate the twin trees and other standing stone about 1.5 kilometers away, but couldn’t find it this time. It’s been three years and there’s so much undergrowth and with COVID, very few visitors. I really tried.
I don’t remember the barrier there; climbed over.
By then, my feet were hurting so badly from the climb…blisters.
So after one more repose inside Saint-Salvayre, I started the climb down, grateful to use a different set of leg muscles, although my poor pieds, pas bon.
I stopped at one point on a hill of natural limestone to find Rennes-les-Chateau in the distance…sacred geometry.
Light. It’s everywhere. We just have to see.
I loved today.
If liberation is collective, we need way more work…and awareness.
Image: The Camino de Santiago de Compostela…along the Way.
Those of us who live in privilege due to wealth or ethnicity may not understand interdependence with the collective, with all species, and other. Listen.
Compassion refers to the arising in the heart of the desire to relieve the suffering of all beings. […] It arises from a desire created by the collective suffering of all beings.
Where we have withheld love, we have had to learn to extend love. But if this doesn’t not carry over into the rest of our relationships, nothing of any lasting value will have been gained.
Should you be mistaken, then slowly and with time the natural growth of your inner life will bring you to fuller awareness.
This call to love our neighbor is the foundation for reestablishing and reclaiming the common good, which has fallen into cultural and political—and even religious—neglect.
The zeitgeist of this moment is not so much about the brilliance of any one individual, though certainly our times do not lack for geniuses. It’s more about the strength and power of the group and the genius that emerges from our collective wisdom. This isn’t an age of the soloist but an age of the choir. Soloists have their part to play, yes, but the song belongs to the choir itself.
And we will endure, rise up and triumph too. Somehow we will find a way to make the world a better place. We will repair the earth and learn how to tend to it lovingly. We will put down our arms and find a way to make peace. We will heal ourselves, and heal the earth, and heal each other. We will learn how to live in another kind of way.
May the Beloved use me today.
Love will save the world, but only if we express it. May everything I do today be an expression of God‘s love.
May I be a channel for love today, co-creating with God a more perfect world. With every thought of love, I create a miracle. And every time I withhold love, I deflect one. Today may I only love.
Use my hands and feet,
My words and actions today.
Use who I am and what I do
To help You heal the world.
May our Beloved use me today.
So that one day you realized, that what you wanted
had actually already happened, and long ago,
and in the dwelling place in which you lived before you began,
and that every step along the way, you had carried
the heart and the mind and the promise,
that first set you off and then drew you on, and that,
you were more marvelous in your simple wish to find a way
than the gilded roofs of any destination you could reach…
Excerpt from ‘Santiago’
From PILGRIM: Poems by David Whyt