Last year in 2017, I visited France twice. If you’ve read the first two parts of this series, you’ll remember that I thought I was through with France and the story of Magdalene etc. so it was a bit surprising to me to now have such an insistent pull and strong connection starting up again. I’d gone once in early summer and stayed a week with my friend Peter who lives to the south of Paris and then again for the road trip in September visiting the astrological oracles of Druidic initiation. It’s mainly the experiences leading up and including the September road trip that I’m writing about here. I hope that you will forgive the long and self-indulgent nature of it. Let me start by telling you about how and when I met Peter…
Peter and I met on Deborah (Taj) Anapol’s Pelvic Heart Integration training course in England in the summer of 2014 where we had an opportunity to work together during the week. Peter then came and visited me in Cork after my marriage broke up; his gentle presence and support were truly appreciated and it’s been that way ever since. Over time we’ve discussed many things and found a very nice meeting of minds which was growth inducing, we explore metaphysics and physics, health and body, touch, pleasure, Tantra, Taoism, sexuality, spirituality, good food, freedom and truth. We have enough similarities and enough differences to make it interesting. Peter is a physicist, and despite thinking I hated physics (old school stuff) until a few years ago, I have found that much of my mystical insights and experiences come through in a way that begs for clarity through physics. Running things past Peter has been an incredible gift to make sense of some of the more way out concepts that I access. I no longer hate physics though I still struggle to understand.
For some years now Peter has been practising a remarkable tantric type massage and has more recently been developing a method of yoni touch known as yoni mapping and is receiving incredible feedback and results with the women he is working with. The underlying principle of Peter’s work that of pleasure: pleasure in giving and pleasure in receiving. He helps his clients revise any conditionality they carry that pleasure is bad and this creates an opportunity to let go of trauma held in the body and mind. When we open the door to accepting pleasure in the body as a fundamental right of being alive, not only may we rewrite our story and rewire our brain and body, we may also open the door to self-sovereignty too. He has developed effective blends of essential oils to assist with his work along with utilising crystal yoni eggs. I tell you this because massage, mapping and yoni forms a great deal of the experience I had in France when I returned there in September. Peter also joined Taj and I for our Initiation Retreat in 2014 and the three of us spent a good deal of time together. He was also in our intrepid Cathar Caves of Initiation outing group. It seems perfect that the cycle of the France Initiation retreat continues with the two of us and I’ll be sharing more about Peter’s work, our collaboration and our invitation to participate soon.
I think it was in March 2017 when I got an inspiration to return to Rennes Les Bains and the South of France. It came at the same time I was at Bracklinn Falls (a phenomenal high energy place and waterfall in Central Scotland) when I was receiving inspiration from the nature and oak tree spirits to bring a small group to visit waterfalls and trees in the area. The France thing was almost like an afterthought, as in, yes, and go back to the south of France and take a group there. Visit the salty river. Salt is important. I also knew it was to be in the beginning of September*. Because the inspiration for France came through at the same time as NatureMyTemple I see them as both separate and entwined. A twin birth you might say. I felt more ready to launch NatureMyTemple and this took a lot of work (see blog) – the France trip felt out of my reach for a group – I just couldn’t see how I could take a group when I didn’t even know what I was taking them for. Despite feeling a new way of ‘doing’ groups which was basically not doing with having little or no structure. I just wasn’t able to move forward with it for France yet – it was all too soon for me to put a feeling into practise and I would require more experience to trust this new way.
*It wasn’t until 2 days ago that I realised why it was that September was when I knew I must go to the South of France, not only in 2017 but also in 2014 with Taj and when I look back over the deepest experiences I’ve had in France, they have always been in early September. Astrologically speaking, 23 August and 22 September is the sign of Virgo, the Virgin.
Here’s the symbol for Virgo. An M, for Maiden, or Mary, or Mother? Also looking very much like church architecture/arches. The additional bit on the right is supposed to represent a sheaf of wheat, but is also similar to the sign of a fish, as in the ichthys, Christos. Wherever you look, the same story is there.
THE PLANNING, WHAT PLANNING?
I’d left Paris after my week at Peter’s in June with some ideas about the trip but there was nothing all fixed. I didn’t even know at that stage whether I would go alone, with Peter and with a group. I was extremely confused over the resurrection of the Magdalene presence and couldn’t get away from it. I knew I must pay attention to it precisely because it did keep on coming up. On 22 July I attended a Magdalene’s Feast day meditation at a friend’s invitation. Later that night I messaged Peter about how confused I was with the push/pull I was experiencing – up till then I hadn’t thought about it for some time, nor talked to anyone about it since 2014:
“So stream of consciousness… Taj was very keen on all the goddesses; it was to be part of the subject of our teleseminar series and France retreat until I cancelled it. I cancelled it due to a meeting I had with someone who told me that Magdalene/Jesus was in fact a huge ‘Spirit program’ which was basically the Saviour/Martyr program. This was a huge shock to me as though the saviour martyr thing was an obvious program I had explored for years, I had not thought of Magdalene as being part of the problem as such – this is not a great way to describe things but never mind – I had always had some suspicions about Isis – had never felt that comfortable with her, and Egypt in general actually. Anyway, a day after my visit was the day Taj and I had set to record our first tele-seminar. I felt such a fraud but Taj convinced me that it was actually authentic to continue. I don’t know where I’m going with this now! It’s very, very hard to gather this together. Since then I have distance, or cut off from the Magdalene stuff, yet more recently have got back involved with it again and old memories are being re-visited. I went to a Magdalene feast meditation last night with a dear friend who I was friends with before moving to Ireland, and who met us (Isaac and I) through our mutual interest in Archangel Ariel, Cathars, Magdalene etc. She and I seem to be on a close path and helping each other right now. She has also been looking at Cathar stuff again, and wants to do a pilgrimage/road trip down to the south through the cathedrals that the Cathars route was –it’s almost identical stuff she is wanting to do that I am wanting to do. I’ve not told her or anyone recently of my Magdalene doubts – it’s not a secret it’s just it never came up really until right now. There is so much information, synchronicities and connections that I feel sure a break through on a quantum level is happening. Maybe even a singularity experience and a jump into seeing everything through the lens of resonance. My writing on yew trees is about how they showed me about the secrets the earth holds – child pornography, pedophilia rings, Magdalene mother and baby homes etc. Though I know tantra is the pattern of the union/separation/union I also know that there is more truth to it than that! Something now is new and available that tantra cannot reach. I think that tantra was able to take people to the highest potential at that time but that now there is more to be explored, more to be embodied. I cannot say much more than that, it’s deep – it’s the deepest knowing in me that tells me this.
Connected with this is that back in 2004, after I returned from my first trip to visit a new lover (now my ex) I thought I was pregnant. I had the signs: my period was late, my nipples were very sore and I had morning sickness. I did a reiki share with two friends, she channelled a message from Mary Magdalene, it was her first ever channelling. She said I was not physically pregnant, though I could change that to be so if I wished, I was pregnant with a spiritual foetus and birthing a new way of being human. That came up again yesterday on the MM Feast Day, something is shifting in the cosmos, on earth. I know this birth is underway, just not sure what stage it’s at! I am also convinced pleasure (and in particular sexual pleasure) is a huge part of this. That could be so simple as it being that pleasure is the result of removing shame/guilt. And the saviour/martyr spirit programme – could it be that this programme teaches us to take pleasure from pain and pain from pleasure? This would be yet another confirmation that our ideas are really back to front, cart before the horse etc.”
Peter gave an immediate response:
“My quick reaction to your words now is that Mary Magdalene, if taken out if the jesus/biblical context, can ne* a different energy.”
* this is a typo which should have said ‘be’ but I’ve left it as it is because ‘ne’ in French is born, and this not only fits, it also aligns with what Magdalene intimated. NO matter where you look, the same story is there.
Peter’s words were the kind of response that works away quietly, like a gentle yet persistent trickle of water that acts upon stone. Every word and every interplay of words reveals so much! We would learn so much about ourselves if we would only just take the time to stop and allow some space in which to softly contemplate, to behold things instead of trying to figure things out immediately. Patience is required for the story to develop in its own time and we may guard against the hungry mind which failing an immediate definitive answer tends to go and fill up with junk food instead of being patient and waiting for a finely prepared meal!
A map came to me via a friend who had also had a resurgence of Cathar, Magdalene, France stuff pop back onto her radar too.
She felt inspired to one day do the pilgrimage and this immediately resonated. Then I noticed that the oracles/cathedrals were almost exactly in line with the road down from Paris to the Languedoc! It was beginning to turn into a magical mystery tour! I sent it to Peter with some wishful thinking remark. We had no firm plans at this stage; I was still much unfixed in my ideas of travel and whether it would just be us two or to take a group. I was confused and vacillated a lot over some months – it was somewhat frustrating. How Peter remained patient is remarkable to me – and quite the miracle. I actually think it was the map that helped me make up my mind to do this journey without a group as it already seemed so difficult to get my head around the logistics and practicalities of the road trip never mind organising a group. Looking back now I can see my struggle with the practical stuff was because I was very ‘out there’ energetically on a pre-physical trip gathering information from the ethers and this mixes well with earthy practical planning only as far as when the practical stuff is attended to by someone else.
I was surprised and excited when Peter emailed back with an outline of how we could easily incorporate the sites into our road trip – and so the ‘pilgrimage’ was born. That the book described the journey in the other direction didn’t seem important, it was enough that so many pieces were fitting into place already and the north south direction was the obvious way to go given the circumstances. It was also clear that we wouldn’t go down into Spain for this journey, and again it didn’t concern me – I have learned over many years that easy flow is graceful and there’s no need to try to make things fit exactly. Having said that, it was our intention to do the sites in order from top to bottom starting with Rosslyn Chapel which I would plan to visit before flying over to Paris. I should also say at this point that my ideas of a pilgrimage were not of any deprivations or hardship, nor surprisingly was I concerned with any deep mystical meaning of the oracles or astrological alignment either. I suspect my Druid self is turning in the grave at my cavalier attitude which is happy with convenient but as I have been learning, the soul works in different ways to that which our mind can think up.
Peter looked up more information on the map and saw the oracles were in fact known by the druids and it were they who recognised the astrological and affiliation to the human body chakras. This promptly went out of my mind. I also lost the map several times. My plan was to visit in a spirit of curiosity and openness, and trust if anything was to happen, it would do so organically and naturally just by being in the places. I’d visited numerous cathedrals over many years since my 20’s and indeed earlier than that I have memories of school trips or noticing cathedrals in UK and Europe on family holidays. I’d not felt attracted to visiting many in recent years though so I didn’t actually have much excitement at the idea of visiting them in particular. I simply felt a strong calling to do the journey and was content to allow things to take shape and to let go into the flow as ideas emerged from either me or from Peter. I began to see the dynamics of co-creating at work and relaxed more into it, trusting. I was nevertheless relieved as a rough plan emerged:
A road trip from Paris down through Orleans, visiting a couple of chateaus in the Loire Valley, visiting Toulouse cathedral at some point, perhaps Bordeaux, Lourdes, and reaching Rennes-Les-Bains from where we’d have a few days to visit the salty river, maybe caves, a guided day and some chilling. From there we would head west where we had a friend to visit and a few other ideas such as Cathar castles and villages etc. and then from there wind our way back up north via Avignon, and then another stop or two before returning to Paris – thus completing a large circular trip. I’d visit Rosslyn Chapel (7th Oracle, Saturn) in Scotland before flying to Paris to Peter’s.
ROSSLYN CHAPEL – THE SATURN and 7th ORACLE – CROWN CENTRE
It turned out that the visit to Rosslyn was taken care of during a Yew Mysteries weekend in Ormiston as we took a visit to the grounds of Rosslyn where there are some beautiful yews. I also visited the Chapel the next day (28 August, also within Virgo) on my way back to the west and as usual, I didn’t feel much energy or resonance with the chapel itself, and much prefer being in the glen with the trees, water and rocks. Having visited Rosslyn on a regular basis many times over a period in my life over 10 years ago, I had long ago let go of any disappointment I had about not getting the buzz that so many people talk of in connection with Rosslyn Chapel. On the druid map Rosslyn stands upon the Saturn Oracle, 7th and crown centre. Rosslyn is the only druid oracle on the map that is a small chapel as opposed to a giant cathedral and the only one located in nature incredibly lush and high vibrational nature). I’m interested to see next time I go there if I feel differently about it now the trip is done.
By the time I got to Paris on Day 1, we still had a lot of undecideds, gaps, no accommodation booked and some other unknowns but few concerns. I trusted the process and I trusted my relationship with Peter – I am so happy that just like Taj, he does not get upset with frequent changes of mind and new suggestions. I find Peter exceeding easy to be around, very relaxing, which is not how I experienced Taj who left me frequently feeling quite exhausted due to her highly driven nature and eagerness to see and do everything!
Each time I got anxious, I would remind myself, this is a magical mystery tour de force! This is in fact active receiving or non-directed participation. Looking for something stops you seeing it as you are only able to see what you are looking for which is a known or imagined thing and this blocks seeing something unknown. The skill therefore is in the allowing, the non-direction and the taking of opportunity and the following of intuition combined with practical organisation and an open heart coupled with a beginners mind.
PARIS NOTRE-DAME – THE MARS and 5th ORACLE – THROAT CENTRE
Paris, City of Light yet a dark and heavy feeling for both Peter and I at the Mars Oracle. I was interested to see how I felt about Notre Dame; I’d never visited it before and on my previous trip I’d felt no desire to see it though there was that feeling of ‘should’ visit as it’s famous. Weather had changed by the time we got to the area and we were hungry and getting wet so we decided to go for some tea and cake. We passed through a little park opposite the huge cathedral, which was imposing and heavy-looking in the dark rainy skies. The weather was very stormy, lashing with rain at times. Very formidable (interesting that formidable in French translates to ‘wonderful’). In the past few months I’ve been doing research and discovered that Paris was the choice of Isis for her cult. In fact, any place with ‘is’ on the end is likely to be associated with Isis. The Black Madonna = Isis = The Eternal Feminine, The Great Mother. Much more methinks to be unveiled in Paris…
AMIENS – THE JUPITER and 6th ORACLE – THIRD EYE CENTRE
We visited out of planned sequence – we’d set off the first day very late after taking a delightful long breakfast on the terrace and ended up hitting road jams, diversions, a temperamental sat nav and so turned back and did Paris instead. We agreed about Amiens – a delightful cathedral and lovely small city. The cathedral has a small labyrinth which is uncovered. Adding to the visit was a medieval reenactment troupe which traipsed through the cathedral and entertained the crowd outside in the square with singing, dancing and playacting. Certainly in keeping with it being the Jupiter Oracle, our time there was Jovial, expansion, light and entertaining with a larger than life feel to it. The theme of mapping and navigation was evident from our travel to and from Amiens, also evident from walking and trying to find our way around. Once again I was seeing how the same story and themes are repeated in our experiences on a multi-dimensional manner, like the patterns of nature.
CHARTRES – THE SUN and 5th ORACLE – HEART CENTRE
Another day, another labyrinth, this time the most famous of them. We visited Chartres Cathedral on a Sunday, appropriately. A mass was on and the feeling inside was not attractive so we headed out after a short time. I went back in after the mass emptied, took advantage of the lack of visitors and firmly planted myself on the centre point of the labyrinth. The feeling was exquisite; there was a fantastic upwelling of energy from below me. I was charged with light and joyfulness and stayed there on the centre spot for a good five minutes enjoying the energy – and ignoring the earnest people trying to tell their friends about the labyrinth. The atmosphere in the cathedral was light and sparkly now that the mass had gone so I had a good prance around -except I was so high that I didn’t even go and see the Black Madonna, probably because I was too busy taking over 30 photos inside the cathedral, and not one of the Lady of the Pillar, nor the Black Madonna. Hilarious. I’ll have to go back.
As we left the square after lunch, Peter noticed the Green Man reliefs on some buildings nearby. According to Cassandra Eason who writes on such things, above the South door at Chartres Cathedral are sculpted oak twigs and tree spirits. Oak leaves are also entwined around the Black Virgin of the Pillar. How come so many ‘Pagan’ symbols are seen in Christian churches? This is a mystery that many have attempted to reveal, and for me it was yet another step on the journey of unveiling it for myself as the theme of oak and tree spirits was twinned with France.
ORLÉANS – THE VENUS and 3rd ORACLE – SOLAR PLEXUS CENTRE
On the road now! Leaving Paris on our road trip, Orléans was the first port of call. We loved our time in Orléans dining in front of the cathedral – what a setting! Albeit it felt a bit strange to have a road and tram tracks running in between. We had a very long lunch because food service takes time in France, especially in busy periods – there’s no rushing possible. So we didn’t actually spend much time inside the cathedral and this was also partly due to me feeling extremely tired and couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm for the cathedral after such a long lunch. Also, after the high heart energy of Chartres I could feel the difference with the energies in the solar plexus centre; it’s the centre I feel most ‘activation’ in as a rule. The solar plexus is connected with feelings of self-worth, self-esteem, confidence, personal will and power etc. which is the major theme in my life as it is for many. It was also very appropriate that our time in Orléans was more focused on the stomach which is ruled by the solar plexus. The cathedral is of course associated with Joan of Arc. Orléans centre is designed as a grid system, like Glasgow, making it very easy to navigate.
In another surreal episode of maps and navigations, from Orleans, we picked the village of Blois to navigate to and I jest not, we must have sat in the car for 30 minutes trying to get that bloody sat nav to go the route we wanted it to go. Did I forget to mention that the sat nav is an English version and not up to date? SO funny. If we hadn’t been so focused on getting to Blois (nearest village to Chambord) I probably wouldn’t have remembered the name of it months later when reading The Cult of The Black Virgin by Ean Begg (highly recommended) which specifically mentions Blois as being the place of special veneration of a Black Madonna by the Priory of Sion (Prieuré de Sion) and from what sparse research I’ve done, together with my sense of the energies around these chateaus and a sense of familiarity, I can quite confidently say that this area holds intriguing mysteries still to be explored and revealed.
Château de Chambord – Loire Valley
The Château de Chambord is one of the famous 4 of the Loire Valley. It’s spectacular, yet for me it felt rather forlorn, melancholy somehow, it could be that I was already tuning into the deepening of our journey, away from cities and into the French countryside. There was a beautiful grove of yew trees and I felt the replenishment of nature – how it feeds me and how I miss it after even a few days in cities. We were there quite late in the afternoon and it was quiet, except when the rave party started that is. A photographers dream. We stayed overnight in a budget Airbnb in Tours which worked out very nicely.
Château de Chenonceau – Loire Valley
Peter and I were feeling the call of a long leisurely breakfast; it has to be one of my favourite activities and it is particularly well suited to long conversations. That took care of the morning and then we spent an incredible afternoon at Château de Chenonceau, after Versailles the most visited Chateau in France. It’s also very close to Blois where I have since discovered since there is a Black Madonna venerated by the Priory de Sion, a subject very connected to this topic yet beyond the scope of this part of the story to go into. The Chateau in every way is stunning gorgeous inside and outside. Beautiful old trees, gardens, vegetable garden, village, tea room, water… incredible place, go there! And a garden maze. It feels like this place was made to create a world away from the world, a special place.
We had to examine the flowers and vegetables; they were so beautiful and extravagant we thought they must be false. They say they are all grown in the château gardens. The vegetable garden also supplies the Orangerie restaurant. I get ridiculously excited by gardens like this.
After another night in Tours, we travelled to Souillac, Dordogne for overnight stay. Another time I’d love to explore this area more. I was here many years ago and remembered the exquisitely lovely villages and castles. Yet another reason to return.
By now I was more deeply aware of the holistic/multi-dimensional nature of our trip. Things were mirrored, echoed and ‘as above, so below’ was evident. Themes were repeated , patterns were at play. Mapping and navigation (and naves) was a key theme which appeared right from the start and continued to play out throughout the entire trip. I couldn’t help but be amused as I witnessed Peter and me as we got into the car and plotted our route to the next stops. At times the sat nav was temperamental, Peter was determined to set it straight. We tried all sorts of tricks and workarounds to get it to go the way we wanted it to go. We’d also be using Google maps on my phone at the same time. It could have driven another to distraction yet being able to see the patterns at play and how our consciousness was at work it all became an extremely interesting activity to observe ourselves doing. Internally we were mapping and exploring pathways through consciousness too, and in our massage, more mapping, exploring through massage the body meridians, the doorways, the portals and the places in between. What I was seeing is that the story is always repeated wherever we look, and whatever our particular focus is one may reveal itself in everything that we see, do or say.
ROCAMADOUR – clifftop village of long standing pilgrimage to Black Madonna.
A friend of Peter’s in Paris suggested Rocamadour and I am so utterly glad we went. I’d not even heard of the village, nor did I know there was a Black Madonna there until I saw her. I spent some time in the chapel of the Black Madonna and the energy was extremely intense – in fact it was so ‘buzzy’ that it was hard to sit completely comfortably. I felt like I was plugged into the mains electricity. I’d not come to France thinking of the Black Madonna – if you’ve read the earlier two parts you’ll see how though deeply connected this story is with her, yet I had also let go and had removed my focus from both the BM and Mary Magdalene. However, She came back into my awareness in Rocamadour. Funnily, not in Chartres and I’d removed my focus so much from the Black Madonna that I’d not even remembered there was a Black Madonna in the Chartres Cathedral and did not see Her there. It was at Rocamadour that I got my first awareness with Her on this trip. It was a very deep experience for me, not possible to put it into words as it’s simply not speakable. I am looking forward to being here with a group, yet it is not necessary to come with a group. Sometimes alone or with one or two others is already enough. Sometimes planning detracts from experience, sometimes not. Ultimately it is all done according not to personal choice but to the dictate of our own inner Divine Mother.
I was beginning now to get more of sense of direct knowing of why the Black Virgin is so associated with the underworld, underground. I could sense I was dropping down deeper through the layers, of Matter itself. The Black Virgins are very often kept in crypts, dark corners, caves or shrines. Rocamadour itself is like a blend of church and cave, built as it is, looking like it is carved from the very rock itself.
Rocamadour is astounding, indeed an incredible highlight of the trip for me. The village is a visual delight and straight from a fairytale and fills all the senses up. After a walk around and more time with the Black Madonna we had a leisurely late lunch in a cafe looking over the valley from the cliff – it has to be one of the most outstanding views when dining. This is a place to return to again and again.
We’d been planning to visit Toulouse cathedral (2nd, Mercury Oracle, sacral centre) afterwards en route to the Languedoc but after such a deep experience at Rocamadour with the Black Madonna it was enough for one day and indeed it became obvious to me that visiting Toulouse was not in alignment now. There is also a famous Black Virgin at the cathedral there. This was the first conscious realisation I had about the three stages or segments of our physical journey; I could not go back to cathedrals once we had visited Rocamadour which was the second stage, I could only go deeper now and that meant leaving any ideas of cathedrals and buildings aside and instead go into nature, to Rennes-les-Bains, and Ussat-les-Bains. That was the third stage. We set off southbound for a long drive, I felt completely wiped and was so grateful that Peter was happy to drive. I’d slept so badly the night before too – sometimes though I’ve found that a bad night’s sleep can leave me less entrenched in ego, and more open to spiritual experiences such as the one I’d just had at Rocamadour. The drive down from there to Rennes-les-Bains is beautiful and I felt places calling out to me as I tracked our journey, matching up what I saw from the window to the map. This country is in my heart; it could even be my heart – I don’t really understand my relationship with her and why it is France where I connect most readily with Her, my Divine Mother.
I will finish part III of the story here – I have written more than I’d planned to about the places we visited and am feeling my writing experience is following my physical journey too; I’ve gone deeper now and the next part is not ready to emerge yet.
Until next time, many blessings,