Another 37 C day in Limoux! 98 Fahrenheit. The heat is cumulative and defeating. Makes it difficult for hiking and exploring…depleting. Some days it feels as though there just isn’t enough
Bored male leaders massaging their EGO’s and need for greed contemplating annihilation for the win.
‘UN Chief Antonio Guterres has called for the end of military operation around Europe’s largest nuclear plant, hit with a series of bombardments since last Friday, with both Russian and Ukrainian forces blaming one another for the attacks. “Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing,” the UN’s secretary-general told reporters in Tokyo. “I hope that the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] will be able to access the power plant.” Nuclear risks to humanity are only “a misunderstanindng” way from nuclear annihilation.’
History is an endless argument.
Tipping points go both ways.
From Marianne Williamson,
‘May my eyes be open, that I might see more beauty; may my ears be open, that I might hear more truth; may my spirit be open that I might feel the tender touch of [Gaia].’
There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on, and it makes me wonder.’
The 7th Generation Principle is based on an ancient Iroquois philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future.
‘Oxford philosopher William MacAskill offers one such outlook, zooming out on the timeline of human civilization to put this moment into context. The story of humanity, Oxford philosopher William MacAskill argues, is just beginning. In fact, if history were a novel, we’d still be in the prologue.
This is encouraging. It means that we have both the power and the responsibility to aim the trajectory of civilization in a positive direction, the idea that positively influencing the long-term future is a key moral priority of our time.’
-Cornelia Channing, Editorial Assistant, NYTimes Sunday Opinion
“Here in Japan, paper cranes symbolize the hope for a future without nuclear weapons. There is only one solution to the nuclear threat: not to have nuclear weapons at all.”
-António Guterres, Security-General of the U.N.
Let’s make more paper cranes, and use old telephones, and refrigerate without Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), compounds released into the atmosphere since the 1930s through air-conditioning, refrigeration, blowing agents in foams, insulations and packing materials, propellants in aerosol cans, and as solvents.
‘How to Relive the Pleasures of a Landline’
Art work from Getty.
From The New Yorker’s Rachel Syme.
“If you call me and I am at home, chances are you are going to reach me on an actual, old-fashioned, dial-’em-up telephone. The one that currently sits on my desk is a putty-colored rotary model circa the nineteen-sixties, with a weighted handset and a long, sproingy, yellowing cord that scrunches pleasantly between the fingers like al dente fusilli. I purchased this particular phone last fall, on eBay, for $19.99. You can find far pricier vintage telephones on that site, of course—retro phones in Instagram-friendly colors such as avocado green and Barbie pink.”
“It makes me feel glamorous and put together to grab my vintage receiver, even if I am still in my pajamas.”
Most of what we encounter is driven by emotions, and our emotions are always relative. When we’re shopping for a car or an avocado, we’re buying the way it makes us feel, not how it would make someone else feel. -Seth Godin
Emotion, perhaps why grace and forgiveness, although the Universe’s natural default, or so difficult for humans to feel, and choose.
Dualism…non-dualism. Reading and researching on the tenets of the Cathar philosophy, their way of living and belief, versus, the Nicene Council Christianity begat in the 4th century anno domini by then Roman Emperor Constantine.
Fr Richard Rohr, whom I adore, gets in the weeds, I think when he promotes non-dualism in religion.
“The body is rightly reasserting its goodness and importance. Can we somehow honor both body and spirit together? When Christianity is in any way anti-body, it is not authentic (?) Christianity. The incarnation tells us that body and spirit must fully operate and be respected as one.”
He then tries to forward his argument with behavioral psychology.
“Many Christians falsely assumed that if they could “die” to their body, their spirit would for some reason miraculously arise. Often the opposite was the case. After centuries of body rejection, and the lack of any positive body theology, the West is now trapped in substance addiction, obesity, anorexia, bulimia, plastic surgery, and an obsession with appearance and preserving these bodies. Our poor bodies, which Jesus affirmed, have become the receptacles of so much negativity and obsession.”
Juxtapose this with the Cathar belief, and the reason they were massacred, often burned at the stake, by the hundreds of thousands, most likely a million murdered. The writing offered by Nick Lambert, from the book, ‘The Cathar View.’
“The eternal battle of good and evil deities is at the centre of the Cathar worldview and although this belief came in a variety of forms, they were very similar to the dualistic faiths were specifically prohibited by orthodox Christianity (Constantine): the Gnostics, the Manichaeans, the Paulicians and the Bogomils of the Balkans. It is upon the issue of dualism that much of the excitement and controversy around the Cathars rests. Absolute dualism is the position adopted in the Book of Two Principles:
‘The good God is not the creator of the base and tangible elements of this world; another creator is responsible for them. God is alright but not in the sense that He can create evil; what He does not desire He cannot do. He is omnipotent over all good things, but there must be another creator form whom all evils flow, who in no way derives from the good God. The evil one is eternal, as are his works.’
The key word being ‘works.’ Works, in humanity, through the body, choices and behaviors, are from the material world, and the material world is the ‘body.’ Pretty sure when the body dies, the body and soul are separated. Otherwise, yikes. Christians, beginning in the 4th century, start dancing around this and never stop. For the Cathars, it wasn’t that confusing. And most were absolute.
“The dualist explanation of good and evil gods was less equivocal than this compromise, and the spread of the Cathars show how compelling it for many people. It was silly more consistent, given the state of the world, to attribute equal powers to the contending gods. Another factor was the ‘jealous god’ of Moses and the Israelites, and the peaceful philosophy of Jesus and his Apostles. […] Strong echoes of this cosmology are found centuries later in William Blake’s radical interpretations of the Bible, (like the) Old Testament’s Jehovah, and Blake cast him as an implacable figure, conveying something of his antithetical and flawed creative powers as the Cathars one saw them.”
“Dualism, then, was the fulcrum about which the rest of Cathar beliefs turned, informing their eschatology (they did not, it seems, subscribe to an apocalyptic Day of Judgment because they did not believe in the resurrection of the body). This belief in reincarnation likely derived from Neo-platonism and the ancient Greek philosophy of metempsychosis. The transmigration of souls was specifically opposed in Christianity but became a central tenet of Catharsis, and the ascension that they aimed for was a liberation from the constant cycle of death and rebirth, rather similar to Buddhist beliefs. and Manichaeism.”
Dualism, the reason Bérenger Saunière included the ruler of earthly evil, Rex Mundi, in his church dedicated to Mary Magdalene after he made his parchment discoveries hidden away for centuries on the grounds of Rennes-les-Chateau.
[Rex Mundi now behind protective plexiglass because someone tried to destroy it once. If you don’t agree, then annihilate. Your thoughts, Pope (not so) Innocent III.]
When you V O T E in the U.S. midterms, remember these faces and names. These are the senators, men, who cow-tailed to their dark money lobbyists. This is who they show allegiance, not their constituents, who are in need and in diabetic health crisis.
‘The past is past; nothing can change it. But the future depends on the present; we still have the opportunity to shape it. This is not a matter of employing technology or spending more money, it’s a question of developing a sense of concern for others’ well-being.’
To be a projection of higher value. As I begin this day, I am open to receive. May my mind stay open and may I not deviate from things that are pure (Cathar) and true. Beyond the illusions of this worldly plane. I surrender to you my doings this day.
From Fr Richard Rohr, The Center for Action & Contemplation
‘In his book Coming to Our Senses, historian Morris Berman makes the point that our first experience of being alive is not through the visual or auditory experience of knowing ourselves through other people’s responses; it is primarily felt in the body. He calls this kinesthetic knowing. We know ourselves in the security of those who hold us, skin to skin. This early encounter is not so much heard, seen, or thought. It’s felt. That’s the original knowing.
Hopefully, our caregivers’ early gaze told us we were foundationally beloved. But when we inevitably begin to see ourselves through eyes that compare, judge, and dismiss, then we need spirituality to help heal the brokenness of our identity and our world.
It parts the veil and tells us that our primal experience was trustworthy. It tells us that we are beloved, whether we received that mirroring gaze or not. It reassures us that we live in a benevolent universe, and it is on our side.
The universe, it assures us, is radical grace.’
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
How do you dream?
‘In Bhutan, they dream of rainbows.
In countries throughout the world, even in countries where there are no snakes, the most common dream is one based on our (it must be) genetic fear of snakes.
But in Bhutan, they dream of rainbows.
The dreams might be consistent, but the way we talk about them clearly isn’t. Perhaps the dreams we remember and talk about have something to do with culture.
Conversations are contagious.’
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
‘It is fashionable to be pessimistic about humankind — look at the assorted messes we’ve got ourselves into, and the undoubted evil that pervades the whole earth: war, poverty, child abuse, slavery, drugs, corruption of various sorts, racism and sexism, bigotry, hypocrisy — the list is depressingly long. Finding it impossible to comprehend that a good God would be concerned with such a hell, the Gnostic developed the idea that there were two Gods, the evil one who ruled the Earth, and the good God who lived in Heaven. Undoubtedly almost every individual who has ever lived has had some experience of this life as living hell, but without necessarily adding to it him, or herself.
Free of priests, gurus and dogma, the progress of our spirit is, perhaps terrifyingly, nothing more or less than our own responsibility.’ [Shades of Emerson.]
-Lynn Picknett, ‘Mary Magdalene’
‘The imaginal realm is real, and through it you will never be separated from anyone or anything you have ever loved, for love is the ground in which you live and move and have your being. This is the message that Mary Magdlane has perennials to bring. This is the message we most need to hear.’
‘It is clear that Mary Magdalene knew a good deal about that realm. At that spiritual tipping point where “no longer the object of my affection, he has become the subject of my truth,” a new energy emerges: pure (Cathar) creativity and effortless action. This is the “spiritual procreativity” described by both the Gospel of Philip and the poet Rilke.’
‘The Cathars left behind no magnificent church architecture, for they believed that the essence of Christ’s teaching was humility and an indifference to material possessions. The temple of God lay within us for He was approached through the heart.’
-Margaret Long, author
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
Went to a wonderful concert tonight for the community at Saint-Martin’s. The organist and the alto soprano were beautifully in tandem. And the acoustics! Those 12th century builders…they knew. :)
At one point in history, Saint-Martin’s was actually a cathedral. In 1316, after the Albigensian Crusade, Pope John XXII created a small diocese, centered here in Limoux.
Reading in France tonight about the U.S. Senate vote today:
Senate Democrats pass $740 billion tax, climate and health care bill. [Axios]
Jeff Stein, White House economics reporter for The Washington Post, writing:
Biggest-ever climate bill: Massive industry clean energy money; $80B for EVs, heat pumps, home solar installation
Up to $7,500 to buy an EV — Up to $2K for heat pump — 30% off home rooftop solar — $840 for electric cooktop — Up to $9K for electric panel/home insulation
The planet continues to burn, and climate breakdown is painfully and frighteningly real.
The Senate just passed one of the biggest bills to fight climate change, ever.
What’s in the “game changer” climate bill nobody saw coming.
by, Rebecca Leber
Aug 7, 2022
‘After nearly 18 months of haggling and 15-straight hours of weekend votes, Senate Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act on a strict party-line vote on Sunday.
The bill contains $369 billion in funding for clean energy and electric vehicle tax breaks, domestic manufacturing of batteries and solar panels, and pollution reduction. It is the single most important step the US has ever taken to combat the climate crisis. And arguably, it’s one of the single biggest investments ever made on climate in the world.
If the bill’s policies work as intended, it would push American consumers and industry away from reliance on fossil fuels, penalize fossil fuel companies for excess emissions of methane, and inject needed funds into pollution cleanup.
The bill uses tax credits to incentivize consumers to buy electric cars, electric HVAC systems, and other forms of cleaner technology, leading to less emissions from cars and electricity generation, and includes incentives for companies to manufacture that technology in the United States. It also includes money for a host of other climate priorities, like investing in forest and coastal restoration and in resilient agriculture.
These investments, spread out over the next decade, are likely to cut pollution by around 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, according to three separate analyses by economic modelers at Rhodium Group, Energy Innovation, and Princeton University. The legislation helps move the US a little closer to its stated goal of cutting pollution in half within the decade.’
And we can all do our part to contribute to the shift to save and heal our Gaia. We must.
“Earth repair is a participatory sport: a grassroots response to evolving global crises.”
While mainstream environmentalism has historically pursued either preservation or conservation, Schwartz’s new book, The Reindeer Chronicles (Chelsea Green 2020) explores a third option: regeneration.
She looks at community efforts to restore ecosystems the world over. “We’ve been trained to believe that finding solutions is a job for the experts,” she writes, but “Earth repair is a participatory sport: a grassroots response to evolving global crises.”
We may not know what the future climate is going to look like, and she acknowledges that not knowing is really hard. “But we’ve got to try,” she says matter of factly. “We’re here now … Just start.”
“There is no natural law that says profit must supersede other types of reward,” she writes. “The truth is, we are what we measure—or at least our actions are largely determined by how we gauge success. What if environmental healing, social engagement, and a commitment to the future governed our companies and institutions, and therefore our work lives?”
“We’ve all got places,” she says. “Places have their own ecological logic. Let’s do what we can where we are and learn from each other.” That idea of connecting with place and community is central to her worldview. “The ‘we’ who can address climate change is everybody,” she says.
“There is no one size fits all for climate action.” Schwartz says we need to protest oil companies and make art and grow healthy food and feed one another and, in her case, write—all using our respective skills to imagine a more resilient world.’
Photograph: SbytovaMN/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Clever use of water in the garden saves untold time and effort
You’d be amazed at how much time some gardeners spend watering
- Plant in the ground, not pots
- Use Mulch
- Water in the cool of the evening
“At first there’s no path…and then someone bravely makes a step, and others join…just start.”
As I prepare my next exploration, I found a great website in my research today written by Val Wineyard. https://marymagdalenebooks.blog4ever.com She lives in the Languedoc region and studies the history of all things Occitanie, including the Visigoths. She writes,
My previous life was of Visigothic descent. I decided to find out more about the Visigoths here in our region of Languedoc, the old Visigothic kingdom of Septimanie. I was so fascinated by this I wrote a book called ‘The Visigothic Inheritance’ and am now working on another, ‘Barbarian Gold.’ Recently I started a blog all about the Visigoths, these little known and badly judged people.
I had long been interested in Rennes-le-Château, deep in the hills to the south of Carcassonne, because it was founded by the Visigoths. As a mysterious centre it is endless – one mystery leads onto another; especially when you enter the church and see for yourself how the unusual priest loved Mary Magdalene. The whole village is devoted to her.
My conviction that the priest of Rennes-le-Chateau knew something that we didn’t about Mary Magdalene inspired me to write ‘Mary, Jesus and the Charismatic Priest’ and since then I just haven’t stopped writing about her, there is so much out there to know and learn and be fascinated and intrigued by. It has all snowballed. I do not, by the way, believe that she lived at Rennes-le-Château but at nearby Rennes-les-Bains.
Oui! These lands and villages hold particular intrigue for me, too. Deep mystery shrouded in tales of Templars, secret treasure, Roman Catholic Church popes and massacres, and the Good Christians, the Cathars. I am pulled to the places the author continuously writes about and researches. Recent inquiries have led me to a particularly harrowing historic event from 1163. More on that tomorrow.
To learn more about the sacred geometry I often reference, I’ve posted a short video from Sir Henry Lincoln, author of many books and investigations. The book you might be most familiar is The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. It is this book that inspired Dan Brown’s The da Vinci Code. And Leonardo da Vinci lands prominently in the Cathar and Templar history. Sir Henry started his research in the ’70’s after finding an obscure little book he bought at a book shop for his French vacation.
This is a tale of the ancient treasures of the Visigoths. The late nineteenth century priest of Rennes-le-Chateau, Berenger Sauniere, supposedly uncovered this secret. According to the book he wants us to follow the clues he built into his domain as a legacy for the future. [Rennes-les-Chateau books]
It changed Sir Henry’s life. And mine.
Sir Henry Lincoln died on February 24th this year. Being back in this region, I think of him so much and wish deeply he was still with us. I have so many questions. He was made an honorary Knights Templar. I remember the day sitting around a table in Rennes-les-Bains when he reverently displayed his treasure.
I miss him. All I keep thinking is, ‘he knows.’
[You can find Sir Henry’s older BBC documentaries on his youtube channel, ‘Henry Speaks.’]
Fascinating find. Had no idea this book existed.
Crux Ansata, subtitled ‘An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church’ by H.G. Wells, is a 96-page wartime book first published in 1943. Wells lived in London under the regular German Luftwaffe bombings from across the English Channel. He attacks Pope Pius XII and calls for the bombing of the city of Rome. And it’s also a hostile history of the Roman Catholic Church. Apparently Wells was an atheist and had a long history of anti-Catholic writings across many years.
Another spectacularly brilliant capture from the James Webb telescope.
“A dramatic blade made of red gaseous wisps comes down top-to-bottom in the center of the image as smaller green wisps feather out in horizontal directions. A bright star shrouded in blue light is near the center of the bow-like blade. Blue dots in different sizes dot the background of the image, signifying neighboring stars.”
As Alex spews his hates and lies in a U.S. courtroom, reminded today we can draw a straight line from a moment in history to his deceptions and deep ugliness. Today is the anniversary of Reagan’s repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, the corner stone of my academic writing. Thank you for the reminder, Jon Meacham. It was on August 4th 1987 a decision was made that altered the trajectory of our news and information platforms, and landed the U.S. amidst false prophets, conspiracies, lies and polarization. January 6th doesn’t happen if Reagan left it alone. It’s how we got Rush and the state propaganda known as FOX. (Not news, just FOX.) Think of it like this using the medium of radio as an example. Radio stations no longer had to show both sides of a topic and conservatives quickly outpaced liberals. Cue Newt Gingrich, too, and his ‘Contract with America.’ After that, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, and the FOX brotherhood. Devastating decision, Ronnie.
‘The stone with the Dove is to be found at Minerve, in Southern France at the site of an ancient Cathafortress near the region Rennes Le Chateau. It was carved by Jean-Luc Severac in commemoration of the 140 Cathars who were buried alive there in 1210 as a result of persecution by the Church of Rome. Elizabeth Van Buren writes about the Cathars in her book, THE SIGN OF THE DOVE:
“These people called themselves the Pure. They said that they were waiting the return of the Paraclete, the reign of the Holy Spirit. They were known as Cathari or Albigensians and were respected by the local clergy and the nobility, although they were considered unrealistic in their ideals.”‘
And when their numbers grew, and Catholic villagers started agreeing with their principles and apostolic living, the pope [Innocent III] had them brutally slaughtered.
The first image above depicts Cathars being forced to leave with nothing, not even fully clothed. The year was 1209. Word had reached many villages about the massive massacre in Béziers, so surrendered without a fight. The villagers in Carcassonne were trying to hold out in their heavily fortified castle (still gloriously standing today), yet their water supply was cut off from them, and they had to give in to the Inquisition.
The dove, in the second image, is a symbol of the Cathars, which is translated from Greek as ‘pure,’ which is how they lived their lives.
Maybe it’s the dove that had me thinking about Noah, and other Biblical stories about the Dove. I thought about the film Noah with Russell Crowe. I’ve only seen it once, in 2014, and thought it was brilliantly created by Darren Aronofsky who directed and co-wrote. Some powerful lines in the film speak to our issues today, like climate breakdown, viruses, and violence. Noah assures his grandfather that the end will come by water (purification), the grandfather was sure it was fire. Round II…fire. Grandfather got it right, Gaia is burning.
[Noah can be see on Netflix until August 31st.]
Other notable and timely declarations from Noah and his grandfather:
‘Men are going to be punished for what they’ve done to the world.’
‘The wickedness is in all of us.’
‘Everything that was beautiful, everything that was good, we shattered.’
I think I know why I was pulled to revisit the film again.
First day back out after a 10-day isolation. Hot. Very hot. Another heat wave is descending, like the fourth this summer. Everyone is talking about how unusual it is to be this hot for this long. The two women there were so kind and helpful, we communicated!, and they gave me some ideas since I hike everywhere I explore. I think I can make it to a sacred space that I visited once before, St. Salvayre.
Powerful, magical energy in this tiny hamlet with three houses and two farms. I was there a long while. The history is ancient with a Roman-type standing stone not far from the entry in this ancient church, again, party of the sacred geometry in the area. The church was built around the stone, still protruding from the earth. I hope to be there again in the next couple of days.
Not tons of energy yet out and about, and with the heat, pas bon. 98 today. Had to stock up on my water supplies, too. I drank a ton of liquids over the last 10 days; very little appetite.
No one is masking.
Infections are way up all over France. The woman who owns my building may be finally able to leave the hospital tomorrow after 11/12 days. Her sister and daughter are here now to assist her. She had to be put on a respirator at one point, and she has underlying medical conditions, too. My hope is that she’ll start masking…and her family. Long covid is causing major health problems now. In Italy, one of the heaviest hit areas for Covid back in 2020, now reporting massive numbers of diabetes along with heavy reports of neurological ailments. And…Monkey Pox. Those numbers are going up, too.
‘Everything that was beautiful, everything that was good, we shattered.’
We’re going to need a lot of doves.
The devastation, as many all over the planet are learning, is awful. It will take weeks, months, and years to salvage and re-build in Kentucky from historic flooding there; some will not be able to afford that privilege, having lost everything, and having so little to begin. My source from France has been following Appalshop. I have been connecting with them for years after discovering their work through research I was doing for my inquiry, being instantly connected to their purpose to not only archive and document life in Appalachia, but to teach and connect and serve. They do this lovingly through film and music, radio, video and other media. Their’s is an idea I deeply wanted to see emulated in many communities across the United States. I remember talking to one reporter specifically about it in Sun Valley, Idaho. Today, a note from them…
‘Dear Appalshop Community,
To say the past few days has been overwhelming would be an understatement. We have felt immense grief and sorrow, pain and fear, and a bone-deep dread of discovering the true toll of these floods on our building and our archive. But we have also felt incredible gratitude for all the love and support that has poured out on our behalf and on the behalf of our community.
Our recovery begins, and it will take weeks, months, even years in some cases. When the floodwaters first receded, we discovered that our apple tree that’s planted on the grounds beside our beloved shop was still standing with its young roots intact. Despite record floodwaters of over twenty feet, our little apple tree still stands, bearing fruit and hope.
Thank you all for your kindness and your willingness to come together for us and for the Appalachian community. There are no words to express how deeply we love and appreciate all of you.
“In the essential prose
of things, the apple tree
stands up, emphatic
among the accidents
of the afternoon, solvent,
not to be denied.”
– excerpt from “The Apple Tree” by Wendell Berry
They have also organized a flood support link:
‘Please continue to share our resources page at appalshop.org/floodsupport. We’ve managed to raise thousands in direct aid and get immediate help to so many folks in need thanks to our community, and the needs will continue in the days and weeks ahead.’
Before the flood.
‘Appalshop started as a film workshop in 1969, and 50 years later we’re still documenting and revitalizing the traditions and creativity of Appalachia.
We tell stories that commercial industries don’t tell. We challenge stereotypes with Appalachian voices. And we do it all with artists who are from and committed to this region.’
Two sweet rescue photos…wearing their little rain boots.
Sgt. Maj. Tim Lewis of the Kentucky National Guard escorts three boys to a helicopter for evacuation from an area inundated by floodwater.
Reportedly, crews have made more than 1,200 rescues from helicopters and boats.
I am testing again tomorrow. Hopeful for just one of those little lines. Still coughing and a sore throat, but the congestion is way better. I haven’t had an appetite, just drinking tons of fluids. If I could get money back on all my recyclables, I might be able to purchase a small Citroën. And today, the kindness of new acquaintances from Limoux who sent me a message saying they have some food for me they made, this cold tomato soup (vitamin C!), and an incredible Chile relleno casserole. Are you kidding me?! Yes! Please. Unpacking their goodies after they left them for me downstairs, the aroma, just looking at it (!) encouraged hunger pains. :) Margot and Fred, you are the best French friends une fille Americaine could ever dream! It must have been mana because I thought I died and gone to heaven. It’s been a lot of days of pain (break, not pain) & fromage. This was welcomed and incroyable! Angels on our path.
Bonne appétit to me! ♡
The woman who owns my building who is in the hospital with Covid is now conscious and out of her coma. Her sister will be with her in Carcassonne on Tuesday and her daughter will be joining next week. Promising developments. She has been so ill. She was vaccinated, but not boosted.
Reading & researching lots about Languedoc…langue d’oc, the language of Occitan…John the Baptist…😳…and Lazarus, Cathars, Inquisitions, Gospel of John, more Cathars, Mary Magdaline, the Waldensians and Albigensians, pelicans and wisdom, consolamentum, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeans, Bogomils, sacred geometry, Gnosticism, D U A L I S M (a fan…big time), Descartes, Pope Innocent III, Evil, Rex Mundi. This: “Think how many turns the line of development of forces must have taken to come from the Gospel preaching of love to the Inquisition.” Indeed. And hasn’t stopped.
Reading about Pope Francis’ apology this week, begging forgiveness from the Indigenous People in Canada for the “evil committed by so many Christians.” He cited the cultural destruction and physical, verbal, psychological, and spiritual abuse of children in residential schools run by the Catholic church. Awful, awful history. All I kept thinking in context of this region I’m now living and the medieval history, is that his plea needs to go way back. Waaaaaaay back. Yeah, thinking of you Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory the (not so) Great. How different history could have unfolded without the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, and basically Roman Catholics. (The Pope is looking ahead to the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, as a “source of unity between Christians.” Nope. Hard no. Christians and unity, kinda not a thing (especially at Nicaea).
So many places to explore and map as Covid explodes and triple digits return. (Have you heard about the new variant beyond BA.5? They named this one ‘BA.2.75,’ nicknamed ‘Centaurus.’ Invades even more rapidly than BA.5. Yay.) We’re supposed to have a booster mid-September that battles the variants a little bit better than the initial boosters and vaccines. With so many people choosing not to vaccinate, as well as not mitigating behaviors, the variants are growing. I saw a clip of people getting on a plane in Amsterdam after seeing Pearl Jam, singing an Eddie Vedder tune…very cute…packed!…sitting on the tarmac, no ventilation…and all I kept seeing was 🦠 🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠. And no masks.
Some books to find after researching today:
Stalked by the plague, ‘The Maiden of All Our Desires’ follows a medieval abbey at a time when monastic life was a refuge for women, “Revolutionary women thinkers like Hildegard Von Bingen, Julian of Norwich & Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz.” Just published in February:
And this book from two researchers who made a discovery viewing a painting and decided to dive in on the backstory of enslaved people during Louis XIV’s reign,
I was able to sit in on a virtual presentation with art history professor Meredith Martin and historian Gillian Weiss as they ‘unveiled an uncommon picture of art and power in the dawn of modern France through a look at the depiction of slavery, in ship and artillery design, militaria, paintings, and prints.’ What’s fascinating is there is little known about maritime enslavement during this time. Love these finds. One of my most cherished research discoveries was made combing through the Archives at DePauw University in Indiana a few years ago, literally stumbling upon something I had no idea existed. Huge. Saving it for my book. :)
I have an idea…
Let’s meet for breakfast in Montmartre.
Think Emily in Paris, but without the clothes. And youth. When an almost two decade dream becomes a reality, it kinda feels like a simulation, an alternate reality I created in my mind because I thought about it so much.
July 3rd and 4th were travel days. To celebrate the 4th of July, I left the country. And on July 4th, another senseless gun massacre at a parade. Nothing will be done because the United States values guns more than life. Too many people own too many guns in the U.S., high powered military weapons. And the killing continues. I know I don’t want to go back to the cesspool that it has become, an experiment that is dissolving because of greed, power, dark money, systemic patriarchy and leaders who should not be leaders. So many brilliant, young people and minds in the United States, and this is who we get. So, yeah, I don’t want to go back. Yet, without a residency visa, I can only stay three months. I met a woman from England at the marche [market] today who has lived here five years. She shared her visa experience was one of ease and permission. Yet her driver’s license experience? Ooh la la.
It took two months to compile the needed paperwork and requirements for the visa application. I flew to Los Angeles in March to meet with the visa consulate in person. I was in their office for 4.5 hours. A week later I was denied. Their reason is that my reason for wanting to research and write in the ancient region of Languedoc wasn’t a good enough one. I will try again. Until then, I am here. Researching ruins, studying the Cathars and connecting with Mary Magdalene.
After two years of COVID French Duolingo, I’m not ready. At all. People speak French here. A lot of French. Only French. :) Phrases and words, reading and comprehension coming along, yet speaking? Pas bon. (Not good.) But, you know, Emily didn’t speak French when she took the job at that AD AGENCY in Paris. I’ll learn. I wish I had a mind for language. I took Russian in college…and a little French. Tons of Spanish in high school, and still, to this day, my first foreign language default is Spanish, which worked nicely on the Camino in Spain. Not so much in France.
Bonus. Massive bonus. I happened to choose to be here during the Tour de France. Big Fan. Yet I had no idea the tour was actually going through Limoux. What?! Yep. I think stage 16, after the rest day, on July 19th. From Carcassonne (about 30 minutes north from Limoux) to Foix as the riders approach the Pyrenees. So passing through! I’ll be there! I brought my polka dot pin from the 2004 Tour when I was on the Champs-Elysees and watched Lance win his 6th in his gold helmet. Indelible. Thank you, Theodore.
I slept 11 hours after I arrived. From San Diego to Salt Lake City to Paris to Toulouse. Delayed in Paris, but my bags made it! Even with all the flying warnings and chaos stories. Whew. I opted to pay more for a taxi instead of trying to maneuver the train with a backpack and three large bags. A taxi service I pre-ordered through booking.com (don’t) bailed on me, so I had to search for someone to drive for me. It was an hour and 30 minute drive through fields of sunflowers and grapes for their brilliant Blanquette de Limoux. Jean-Michele, my driver, was so kind. And he played Cat Stevens the entire way. Glad Cedric decided not to stay. Yeah, pretty great. It’s a sign. :)
Nicolette, who owns the flat where I’m staying, is from Scotland, her dad lives in Spain. English! She’s helping me acclimate in a language I understand. So grateful. She has put so much thought and care into her flats at La Maison 22. Her French country decor and comfort are simply perfect. My place has a small balcony and overlooks the river Aude, where I can listen to the bells from the Church of Saint-Martin, built in the 1100’s. I’ll be back. When I get that visa!
Last evening I took a stroll around the village, many establishments are closed on Mondays. It was a quiet. A young man walked close by to me and said, “Stone. Stone.” I must have looked as perplexed as I felt. And then he made the universal gesture for getting stoned. Although a lovely idea after two days of travel, weed is highly illegal in France. So, thanks, really, but no. And a smile.
Today was organizing and unpacking, streaming the Tour, French Press coffee on the balcony, happy birds, frantic ducks, and a happy heart being so far removed from the United States both physically and mentally.
Nicolette emailed me about the marche, the first of the season, every Tuesday evening through July and August in the village. Happy people, music, and dining al fresco on the historic centre around the Place de la Republique.
Tomorrow, more exploring and picking up train schedules.
Deep sorrow for what is happening in, to, the United States. So much promise. So much devastation and harm. For now, my focus is on possibility, potential, and purpose as I ease into life’s chapter 4. It took a lot to get here. To be here. It isn’t a simulation, its providence, and grace.
Thanks be to Gaia. And my ancestors, particularly, my great-grandma, Alma Evalo Latta (who gave me a mother’s love), my brother, Darrell Lee Ohlau, and my dad, Robert Dale Ohlau. Mitakuye Oyasin.
Languedoc is a centre of the distinctive civilization of the south of France. Its name is derived from the traditional language of southern France, in which the word oc means “yes,” in contrast to oïl, or oui, in northern French. From the 13th century the name applied to the entire area in which the Languedoc, or Occitan, language was spoken and came to apply specifically to the territory of the feudal county of Toulouse.
From 121 BC the territory that constituted Languedoc was part of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis, which connected Italy to Spain, and was strongly influenced by Roman culture. With the breakdown of the Roman Empire, the region was controlled by the Visigoths in the 5th century and was partially conquered by the Franks in the 6th century.
From the mid-12th century, the Cathari, a Manichaean sect, won wide support from the people and the nobles of Languedoc; the Cathari were sometimes called Albigensesbecause of their strength around the town of Albi. They were branded as heretics by the Roman Catholic church, and Pope Innocent III preached a crusade against them, precipitating an invasion of Languedoc by a northern French army in 1209. The ensuing wars, which lasted until the mid-13th century, ended the political independence of Languedoc. [britannica.com]
“Lo Boier” is a mysterious Chant left for us by the Gnostic Cathars, when they were killed and annhiliated by religious powers in the 13th/14th century. It is highly symbolical and contains a hidden message for spiritual seekers. Singer: Patrick Lenk.
a, e, i, o, u
Along with Se Canta, it is possibly the most known old Occitan song. It was studied by Gérard de Sède and performed by artists like Corou de Berra, Jean-Bernard Plantevin, André Ricros and Gacha Empega. It was also utilized by Radio Toulouse during World War I as a resistance song.
‘If you are not listening breathe slowly and begin the vow to listen.’ -Mark Nepo
‘Most people who reach out for let are really asking for us to listen.’ -Heidi Green
‘He has told you, O mortal, what is good, and what does the lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’
‘We are all just walking each other home.’