It’s been a day!
On this day, August 5th, in 1163, four Cathar men and a girl were burned for refusing to ‘repent’ after it was discovered they were living in a barn in Cologne and had not gone to church that Sunday. They were called out for heresy and would not deny their Cathar, or Good Christian, faith. So they were thrown into the fire. The story goes that some of the villagers were holding the girl back, trying to protect her, but she would not leave her Cathar brethren. She tore herself away from them and threw her body onto the pyre.
Burnings, you may be surprised to learn, had been very uncommon up to that point, and in the past had sometimes taken place at the request of noblemen for potlical, rather than religious reasons. After 1163, everything changed.
I’ll update soon! My phone went completely dead and it’s taking forever to charge, so I can’t grab my photos. I’ll be back…
(Did you know the first dinosaur eggs to be found anywhere on the planet were discovered in this region of Southern France? One of the many discoveries today.)
Well, an update to the update. I just lost all of my edits…photos…text…two hours just 💨. Poof. Gone. Trying to recover, no luck. Not sure I have the energy to do this all again.
I think, without trying to re-create all my writing, I’ll post photos and give you an idea of the day’s exploration. My phone wouldn’t re-charge, tried outlets and cleaning portals…nothing. Knew I needed a new chord…travel with two or three! I only brought one. So I set out on a reconnaissance mission for a virtual life-line and with the help of a new acquaintance found the store without a sign or a street name. New chord, a charged iPhone, and now access to photos!
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
—John Steinbeck, East of Eden
I’m finding myself drawn to mess, to darkness, to things that are loved to the point of shabbiness, or just wildly imperfect in their own gorgeous way.
Present is living with your feet firmly grounded in reality, pale and uncertain as it may seem. Present is choosing to believe that your own life is worth investing deeply in, instead of waiting for some rare miracle or fairy tale. Present means we understand that the here and now is sacred, sacramental, threaded through with divinity even in its plainness. Especially in its plainness.
Wildly imperfect. My new mantra.
The day started at Saint Martin’s for some time with Mary Magdalene.
Then the marche with wildly imperfect sites and sounds and aromas and people. The Friday markets are the best…blocks of vendors and local foods. Although I reject fish and seafood as nourishment, I had to capture a photo of this sweet man’s Paella. He was so proud to share his creation. It looked amazing!
Found some more incense and then it was time to head for the bus with my €1…public transportation here is the best…and journey to Esperaza. There’s a church there I really wanted to see, dedicated to Mary Magdalene.
I was dropped at the stop and started walking. Finally found the city center, or place [pronounced ‘ploss’] in this sweet little village.
And then, the church!
So much history. I tried to open the door. Locked. Shoot. So I walked around the church and starting taking pictures…
When I walked back around I saw a woman who looked like she just left. What the heck. Tried the door. Still locked. But! The door next to it that looked like a storage closet was open! I was in. As my eyes started to adjust, that’s when I saw it. Mary Magdalene’s grotto. What. My Gaia. So so beautiful.
Mary is revered in Languedoc. For good reason. Will share more later. The history of the church in Esperaza is that it was built in the 1200’s, and one of the old pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela passesd this way, through the mountains and on into Spain. The town lies in the very heart of Cathar country and intersects the sacred geometry in the region. I spent awhile inside.
The flooring! A want for my future French home.
Then it was time to find a taxi and head back to the sacred space of Rennes-les-Chateau.
Found a dinosaur museum!
In this sweet tiny village a dinosaur museum. Pourquoi pas? I mean, who knew the first dinosaur eggs on the P L A N E T were found in this region in Southern France? Crazy.
And this region at one time was more hot and humid than now…tropical, actually. Climate only a dinosaur could love. Also learned that the Ginkgo Biloba trees have been evolving for some 290 million years.
When I went back outside to remove my mask and breathe a bit, somebody sent in this pre-historic bug.
‘To the eternal happiness of all species.’
Found a new number for a taxi service and with the help from the attendants at the museum desk, went out to the road and wait.
Had about a 30 minute wait, so grabbed some Perrier and nuts out of my backpack, grateful for the shade of a beautiful village tree. And a sign. A sign that reminded me it’s my day. :)
Perrier, Blanquette de Limoux, and crème brûlée in the Jardin de Marie at Rennes-les-Chateau. For my birthday! Yep. I celebrated a birthday while in France.
Joyeux anniversaire à moi!
Look closely and you’ll spot another ancient chateau. My heck. They’re everywhere here! The vibrations from Gaia pulsating with history and mystery.
I was able to join a special meditation located in the ancient Visigoth structures, from about 500 CE.
We had live music accompaniment, too. Beautiful. And transcendent. Talk about vibrations…
Then back to Mary Magdalene’s church.
‘She rests at last beneath the starry skies.’
There it is. Mary’s rose cross. l o v e. 🌸
Then it was back to the book store for more books. The young book shop clerk there is so kind and helpful. His name is Adrian. Wonderful softly-spoken sense of humor. It would be so fun to hang with the workers there, discover their stories and lives. I made a discovery through the books I purchased…more music dedicated to the Magdala. Quite lovely. From Ani Williams. Prolific catalogue of music.
Then it was time to call for a taxi and leave the Chateau.
Back in Limoux I had my new books and found a nice little table at the Grand Cafe there on the square, the Place du la Republique, with one of my favorite servers and had myself a yummy little birthday dinner.
Thanks to Hulu, DePauw University, my dentist in Coronado, a pharmacy on the San Juan Islands, and Delta Airlines for all of the birthday messages. :)
August 5, 1163. Will always remember now the young girl in Cologne. The day she was violenty forced to leave the earth, on the date I was welcomed in. jai