Dayle in Limoux – Day #62September 5, 2022
Reading today about the influences of Saint-Catherine of Alexandria, beloved of the Beguines and Joan of Arc’s spiritual voice and influence. She was 22 when she was tortured and murdered because she refused to marry an Egyptian emperor. She was killed in the year 305.
Britannica: She protested the persecution of Christians under the Roman emperor Maxentius—whose wife and several soldiers she converted while imprisoned—and defeated the most eminent scholars summoned by Maxentius to oppose her. During her subsequent torture, she professed that she had consecrated her virginity to Jesus Christ, her spouse, and was sentenced to death. The spiked wheel by which she was to be killed broke when she touched it (whence the term Catherine wheel), and she was then beheaded.
The wheel was a horrific way to die a slow, excruciating death. This is why we often see Catherine depicted with a wheel.
From the book, The Wisdom of the Beguines/The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women’s Movement, by Laura Swan,
The Beguines chose four women who they felt had proclaimed the gospel for their lives: the apostle Mary Magdalene, the martyrs Saint Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Agnes, and the abbess of Andenne, Begga. You smile with delight (p. 50).
Beguines were a powerful expression of the vita apostolic, being ‘apostolic life’ or ‘the life of an apostle.’ They pooled their resources in order to serve the sick and destitute by building and operating infirmaries and almshouses (p. 17, 19). Many beguines used their sources of income to purchase homes near the chapel or parish church where they gathered together for prayer (p. 15).
Many women became beguines as a result of their newfound literacy (p. 21). Beguinages endured the ravages of war and plague, hostile politics and shifting cultural attitudes […] some managed to survive all the way into the twentieth century (67). Beguines were not nuns (p. 13). Nuns were steady supporters of the beguines (p.15).
Some of the beguines were considered ‘heretics,’ of course. When men didn’t agree with women’s motives or rhetoric, they were ‘heretics.’ One beguines, Marguerite Porete, a larned beguines preacher and writer, was sentenced by the Inquisition to be burned at the stake. She was a learned beguine preacher and writer, and was murdered on June 1, 1310. Her crime? Her work of mystical theology called, ‘The Mirror of Simple Souls,’ which she had composed in Old French and shared with others.
She loves me when I act wisely, and she loves me when I am foolish. Her love is based not on how I’ve acted but on who I am. He knows who I am, for She created me. The Beloved’s love is unconditional.
My errors do not call for God’s punishment, but for His correction. As I atone for my mistakes—willing to make amends with a repentant heart—then His merciful hand will reorder events and allow me new beginnings. Such is the miracle of a merciful, non-judgmental God, the source of all good and the reason for my unending praise.
How awesome is the Beloved, for even when I have fallen from grace – from the truth within me, from the love that is the meaning of my life – She loves me still, allowing me new life, again and again.
My gratitude is deep.
The light, pours in through the cracks.
From the Dalai Lama, a reminder this morning:
All 7 billion human beings have a common experience—we all appreciate love. We all have a seed of love and affection within us and the potential to cultivate greater love and compassion. If we want to create peace in the world it has to start with the heart, with inner peace.
Julian of Norwich called this love ‘a love without beginning.’
I came across an essay in my research today I haven’t seen in a while. It is so beautifully and intellectually written by a fellow explorer who was a part of our sacred mystery tour here in Languedoc in 2019. His name is Andrew Cowie.
My first fleeting glimpse of the near-mythical French village of Rennes-le-Chateau was suitably mysterious. Perched atop a majestic cliff in the foothills of the Pyrenees, she peeked out briefly and tantalisingly from behind a murky veil of mist before swiftly vanishing again, leaving behind only more questions and very little by way of answers. This murky first encounter seemed somehow to encapsulate everything about this magical village and the labyrinthine web of mysteries which entangles it – a place full of wonder and intrigue, its secrets forever elusive, the answers always remaining just slightly out of reach. Rennes-le-Chateau attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year, many of them treasure hunters drawn to the area’s rich history and mythology.
Legends of buried treasure abound here, with the village thought by many to be the location of the riches of the Knights Templar or the Cathars, the resting place of the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant. Some believe it to contain the tombs of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, while others claim it to be the site of a subterranean extra-terrestrial base. The area is a conspiracy theorist’s paradise and it’s easy to see why it has attracted this reputation.
[Le château de Montségur, one of the last refuges for the Cathars, who, in mass, were burnt in giant pyres in the field below in 1244.]
Everything about this place, and the wider region of Languedoc, is jaw-droppingly bizarre, from geological anomalies and precise geometric alignments to extraordinary natural phenomena and a chain of endless peculiar synchronicities which cannot simply be dismissed as chance. Indeed, the further I ventured down the veritable rabbit warren of the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery, the more I realised that the truth is much, much stranger than any fiction my writer’s imagination could ever conjure.
It’s a thoughtful and passionate piece. Andrew is a former journalist; he wrote this about a year after our return, in 2020. He lives in Scotland. It will give you a great foundation for learning more about the mysteries of Languedoc, sacred geometry, and Rennes-les-Chateau. Here’s a link to the full essay.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Ani William’s music since I’ve been back in France. Ani is a world-renowned harpist and singer, and has recorded more than two-dozen albums of original sacred music based on ancient spiritual traditions. She has done seminal work in the study of sound healing and the relationship between musical tones, the human voice and healing.
Here she is singing Aramaic Lord’s Prayer at Rennes-le-Chateau. Extraordinary.
The lyrics, the Aramaic Our Father:
You Who are everywhere
Thy Kingdom come
Your will be done
Here and ow and for evermore.
Fill us with the power of your mercy
And free us from the fetters with which we bind each other.
Lead us out of temptation: free us from ourselves.
And give us the strength to be one with You.
Teach us the true power of forgiveness.
May this holy moment be the ground
From which our future actions grow.
-The Manuscript, p. 440
From Ani’s website: The prayer knows no gender, and celebrates the Light and Sound of Creation, inviting this into our Holy of Holies within. This video was filmed in the chapel of Mary Magdalene. [https://aniwilliams.com]
L A B O R
U.S. states and activists started celebrating the labor force in the late 1800’s. New York was the first state to introduce a bill, yet Oregon was the first state to codify it into their state law. ‘Labor Day honors and recognizes the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States’ [wikipedia].
“The miracle is not that we do the work, but that we are happy to do it.”
Some captures from earlier Labor Day honors.
Roller skates and sashes. Can’t think of a better way to celebrate. Beats buying a mattress.
And a song from Woody Guthrie, about 1,200 striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado on April 20, 1914. It refers to the violent deaths of 20 people, 11 of them children, during an attack by the Colorado National Guard on a tent colony there in Ludlow. The clip features the late historian, author, and activist Howard Zinn.
🖤June 26, 2022
The New Yorker/Houston
Ezra Klein and Dahlia Lithwick, NYTimes podcast, ‘The Ezra Klein Show.’
The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just About Abortion. It’s About Power.
The legal journalist Dahlia Lithwick breaks down the Dobbs decision and considers the “raw power” of the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority.
I’m Ezra Klein. This is “The Ezra Klein Show.”
On Friday, June 24, a Supreme Court majority voted to overturn Roe v Wade. I am recording this on Saturday evening, and abortion is now banned in at least nine states. More likely to follow in the coming days. The way to understand this moment goes beyond any one case. This is a moment of legal regime change. This has made clearest in a concurring opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts. He charges — it’s really an extraordinary document. He charges the other five Republican appointees with abandoning judicial restraint. He writes quote, “If it is not necessary to decide more to dispose of a case, then it is necessary not to decide more.”
Perhaps we’re not always perfect and following that command, and certainly, there are cases that warrant an exception, but this is not one of them. There are now six Republican appointees on the Supreme Court to three Democratic appointees. That is true despite Republicans losing the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. The Supreme Court is our least Democratic branch, but it has become unbelievably undemocratic, maybe even anti-democratic.
I’m joined today by Dahlia Lithwick. She covers the Supreme Court for Slate, she hosts the legal podcast “Amicus.” she’s a person I turn to whenever I need to understand the court, and she brings her clarity and passion in spades here today. As always, my email is email@example.com.
Well, this is where we get back to that. I remember a couple of years ago, you and I chatted about this minoritarian rule problem that leaches its way not just through the filibuster, which means the WHPA, the Women’s Health Protection Act, didn’t even come to a vote that would have codified Roe or the filibuster rule, the John Lewis Act, which would have reinstated the parts of the Voting Rights Act that Shelby County gutted.
And I think that part of the thing that we need to really wrap our heads around is what do you do when Republicans currently sitting on the court were seated by presidents who, in fact, lost the popular vote but won the electoral college and the electoral college is massively weighted towards rural agrarian states and that in turn is reaffirmed by a Senate that massively, massively malapportioned in the interests of rural agrarian states. And they then, once they get on the court, become a party too exactly what you’re describing, which is shrinking the vote whether it’s Shelby County, or Brnovich last year.
Whatever it is, it feels as though this really does feel like the doom loop of minority rule right now.
Dahlia Lithwick’s three book recommendations:
- Hope in the Dark – – “Profound meditation.”
- Man’s Search for Meaning – – “A lodestar to purpose.”
- You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train – – She quotes Zinn:
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.
If we remember those times and places, and there are so many where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act in however smaller way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents. And to live now as we think human beings should live in defiance of all that is bad around us is itself a marvelous victory.” Howard Zinn, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.”
The Supreme Court dissenting opinion on Roe v. Wade
The dissent was authored by Justice Stephen Breyer.
“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
-Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan
Full text, 66 pages:
Who among the guards?May 12, 2018
‘Out of Many One’
E Pluribus Unum
13 letters-13 colonies.
This was considered the U.S. motto until the mid ‘1950’s when this nation adopted ‘In God We Trust’, right around the same time the government added, ‘One nation under God’ to the pledge of allegiance.
With the unity of the 13 colonies the country was ideally formed out of many to become one nation.
‘The philosophy of the Declaration, that government is set up by the people to secure their life, liberty, and happiness, and is to be overthrown when it no longer does that, is often traced tot he ideas of John Locke, in his  Second Treatise on Government.
It talked about government and political rights, but ignored the existing inequalities in property. And How cold people truly have equal rights, with start differences in wealth?’ (A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn, p. 73)
The preacher Theodore Parker told his congregation ‘money is this day the strongest power of the nation’ (p. 221).
‘The memory of the oppressed people cannot be taken away’ (p. 443).
Langston Hughes wrote in a 1930’s poem, ‘Lenox Avenue Mural’:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Yes, Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election, at the very least, with disinformation on the Internet—interjecting false ads, the majority of which did not necessary align with a particular candidate, but were motivated by social distruption: race.
Additionally, “900 [race-related spots] were posted after the November election through May 2017”.
In the days after the November 2016 election, an increase in racist slogans and hateful messages was reported, especially in schools. The Southern Poverty Law Center found 867 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the 10 days after the Nov. 8 election.
Two recent examples, May 2018:
Shaun King on Twitter: “That is Anthony Wall, in prom clothes, being lifted off the ground and choked by a Warsaw County police officer @WaffleHouse. He had just taken his little sister to prom. And yet again @WaffleHouse called the cops. Anthony, of course was unarmed & non-violent.
Perhaps a more direct caption: #Lynching2018
’People in time, in friendly communities might create a new, diversified, nonviolent culture, in which all forms of personal and group expression would be possible. Men and women, black and white, old and young, could then cherish their differences as positive attributes, not as reasons for domination. New values of cooperation and freedom might then show up in the relations of people, the upbringing of children.
To do all that, in the complex conditions of control in the United States, would require combining the energy of all previous movements in American history—of labor insurgents, black rebels, Native Americans, women, young people—along with the new energy of an angry middle class. People would need to begin to transform their immediate environments—the workplace, the family, the school, the community—by a series of struggles against absentee authority, to give control of these places to the people who live and work there’ (Zinn, p. 639).
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth, like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you—
Ye are many; they are few!
Small acts…can transform the world.March 16, 2016
Change in the microcosm…in community. This I believe.
Howard Zinn said:
‘Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society.
We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.
If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.’
(A Power Governments Cannot Suppress)