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
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.