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Blog

Susan Marek's blog about angels, chakras, spiritual living, and more.

Filtering by Category: "Cathar"

Montsegur

Susan Marek

Montsegur, or safe mountain, sits a top a strangely shaped mountain.  It was the last hold out in the Albigensian Crusades, with the Cathars being burned at the foot of the mountain in March of 1244. 
Montsegur from parking lot

Montsegur from monument

Most of the group took on the challenge of hiking to the top.  It is a very steep climb through a small forest which then opened to a rocky path to the summit.  We stopped first at  monument to the Cathars who were murdered at the base.
Cathar Monument, Montsegur

Half way there...
Half way there

The fortress at the top of the mountain is not the Cathar stronghold.  It is a fortress build after the Cathars were driven out.  The king must of thought it was a great place to set up shop after the Cathars held out for so long. 

fortress at Montsegur

The original building was made from stone and wood.  The outline of some of the small rooms the Cathars used can be seen below. 
Cathar rooms at Montsegur

I got a strong sense of peace here and had visions of laughing children running through these rooms while adults worked and taught.  The view was spectacular.  Except for a few cow bells in the distance, we experienced a silence that was blessed and magical.  Besides a sense of accomplishment from making it up and down the mountain without dying, I felt overwhelmed by the love and peace of this place.  It is so interesting how many of the sites we visited had such atrocities committed in their midst, yet the energy is peaceful and loving.  It is truly a testament to how love conquers all and the way in which these beautiful Cathar people lived. 

I left southern France the next day and drove up north to visit Chartres and Paris.  First stop on the way, Vezelay!

Mas Cabardes' Weaver's Cross

Susan Marek

Mas Cabardes is a tiny town nestled in the mountains north of Carcassonne.  This sleepy hamlet is home to one of my favorite pieces of heretical art. Unassuming on the corner of two narrow streets sits a lovely cross.  At first glance, it looks like a normal cross, with Jesus, angels, and Mother Mary.  The addition of John the Baptist and Father God are different, but not unusual.  It takes the name 'Weaver's Cross' from the carving of the shuttle under Jesus' feet.  Cathars were shepherds, so this is said to be a nod to one of their professions.
Weaver's Cross, front

Where it gets really interesting is when you view the back of it.  The back tells the heretical side of the story.  Mary Magdalene, holding a baby (who is now decapitated) is crowned Queen of Heaven by the angels while God looks on.  On her left is Archangel Michael, protector of the Divine Feminine, and the other is unidentified, but has pen and book in hand, ready to tell her story.

Weaver's Cross, back
The church in this town is small, but mighty, having special symbolism of its own and some fabulous energy as well.  Again, we saw symbols of the divine masculine and feminine, as well as dedication to Mary Magdalene.

Nearby, on some small mountian peaks, sits the site of Lastours.  It is the site of three separate Cathar chateaux and a fourth castle built as a prize to the victors after the Cathar chateauxs were conquered.
Lastours

The view was breathtaking and the hike up to one of the towers was worth the effort on that particularly warm day. Most of the group chose to hike to Cabaret, the chateau originally owned by Etiennette du Pennautier, patroness of the troubadours and defender of the Cathars.
Cabaret (left)

There is one remaining tower that you can climb up from which to enjoy the spectacular vistas.  Many of us spent about an hour up there, singing and dancing, a fitting tribute to the woman who celebrated the arts, music and courtly love!
Me in the Cabaret Tower
Another busy day full of beauty, mystery, and the Divine.  Oh...and wine.  :)

Minerve - Still a Working Town

Susan Marek

Despite being the site of a Cathar massacre in 1210, Minerve is unexpectedly peaceful.

It's narrow streets wind up and down the diminutive hill on which it sits, overlooking a beautiful gorge.  It is hard to believe that is was the place that 140 Cathar "parfaits" were burned for heresy.  Energetically, Minerve had a blanket of loving energy over it, almost like a dome, protecting it and maintaining the feeling of love that so penetrated the Cathar society here once.  It felt physically soft and calm.  The group spent time walking to the Cathar memorial

and then journeyed down into the gorge, following the path of the martyrs.  While walking, I had a vision of a line of parfaits walking down into the gorge, two by two, men and women.  One pair were helping each other down when the woman slipped and the man gently caught her before she tumbled down the steep slope.  It was such a gentle, loving gesture juxtapositioned against the harsh reality that awaited them at the bottom.  There was an overwhelming feeling of sadness, which you would think wouldn't be unusual except that the sadness was not for themselves.  The Cathars were grieving the fact that their conquerors were so misguided.  The Parfaits were genuinely concerned for their persecutors!  At first, it took me by surprise, but knowing the little I know about their ways and beliefs, I should have expected nothing less.  It was actually quite lovely and a true "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do" moment.  At the site of the burning in the gorge, the group said a prayer for them and spent some time in silence.

One member of our group began to sing a song, inspired and divinely guided in that moment.  We were all moved to tears.  On our way back up to the town from the gorge, I 'saw'  that Minerve was not just a place of memories, but in actuality is still a "working" enclave of the Cathars.  There is a funnel of energy that exists over the town, that channels the Way of Love into the energy of this world. These people are still here etherically, holding a space for love to remain.  Demori!

On to Rennes-le-Chateau...

Sacred France - wine, churches, and cassoulet - Oh my!

Susan Marek

I just got back from France a few days ago and thought I had better make an attempt to put words to the amazing experiences I have had over the past two weeks.  Please be patient with me as I tell you all about my adventures. There is so much to say (and not say) about what happened that I will have have to give it to you in bits and pieces. To say that I had a great time is an understatement.  It doesn't do the experience justice to even state that it was life changing.  I am altered in a way that cannot be adequately described.  My adventure started in Toulouse, France, where I was introduced to an incredible group of people, who would become my close friends by the end of the trip.  We were whisked away to a beautiful retreat center in the Languedoc region, which is marked by fields of sunflowers and miles of grape vines.  After being welcomed with a wine tasting of a stunning array of local wines, we had a delicious dinner and went to bed.

We woke up to fresh croissants, gluten-free bread, meats, eggs, and fruit.  Ah, to be this spoiled every day...  The first stop for the day was the walled city of Carcassonne.  You may have seen it in Kevin Costner's Robin Hood movie. 





Carcassonne was energetically very interesting.  When I first walk through the gates and along the city wall, I felt nauseous.  It shifted energetically as we walked into the city to the cathedral.  As you walk into the church, you are greeted with this sign:



I love the "Roman Catholic Cult" part!  Ha! The church itself is energetically interesting.  There were both "good" and "bad" pockets of energy throughout the church.  One area in particular affected me tremendously.  It was a small chapel with a lovely statue of St. Anne teaching Mary, and there is a red book under her foot.


On the floor in front of her was the burial site of a cardinal who was sympathetic to the plight of the Cathars.  I had a very strong emotional reaction when I approached the chapel and had a vision of a young woman sprawled out over the tomb, wailing with grief.  I was overcome with the desire to shoo people off his grave marker on the floor.  The woman's relationship with this man is unknown, but she was definitely distraught over his passing.  I didn't take any pictures of the marker because it felt disrespectful and wrong to do so.  She wanted his resting place to remain sacred, I think. 

There was also excellent shopping in Carcassonne, as well as delicious duck cassoulet for lunch.  After lunch, we headed to Minerve, the site of one of the Cathar massacres in 1210 during the Albegensian Crusades.  More about Minerve tomorrow...