Six weeks ago I undertook a pilgrimage to France. My main focus was the festival of Sante Sara, the gypsy saint and the annual gathering of the gypsies in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer and from there to Lourdes. I am a pilgrim whom does not belong to a religion, one who follows the religion of the soul (in the words of Thomas Moore) and my pilgrimages have taken me across the globe. Each stay has always further dissolved my sense of a separate self and has taken me deeper into Unity Consciousness. I am always happy to see that hidden pockets of the separate self is revealed and that the transcendent and radiant Presence in these sacred places, replaces all discordant notes within. A pilgrimage has a wonderful way of revealing the Love Within. Ultimately, it seems to me that our biggest obstacle as human beings are that of Trust! Trusting ourselves, trusting our feelings and our vulnerabilities with others, trusting the goodness of Life, trusting that everything that is happening to us is meant to be and ultimately trusting God. This is not a 'bad' thing - most probably a very effective protective device - and merely part of our journey as human beings back to Unity Consciousness - the complete Knowledge that we are not separate from Divine Will.
I was blessed with many wonderful and powerful visions along the way (some which I will share with you in this blog and others to follow) and messages repeated reinforcing the understanding that Forgiveness is the salve that makes us (w)holy. Forgiveness in the largest sense of the word. And as we forgive ourselves, we realise that we have to forgive God and that the God that man created, truly does not exist. 'God' is complete and total Forgiveness, or Prema (unconditional love) and therefore forgiveness is not necessary. But it is a long journey to integrate these incredible paradoxes and to see that the marriage between spirit and body truly does exist and that that is our journey here - to make sacred the mundane self.
One of the beautiful visions that I had was how each human being is on the symbolic cross, suspended between heaven and earth and stretched across the heart. On the one side is the seemingly 'positive' inner voice and on the other side is the seemingly 'negative' inner voice - both waging war on the person hanging from the cross. This is true suffering which takes on many layers and dimensions. And trying to judge positive from negative becomes a never-ending quagmire of psychology, biology, personality traits and so on. Salvation comes from the flowering of the heart, the sacred heart within, which radiates the light of the living Christ.
These Divine archetypes seemingly transcend our human lives, but in the sacred marriage the soul meets Spirit and a new way of living and understanding is born - a deep peace within which surpasses all understanding - the inner voices are dissolved and Love is the world.
Our first stop was St Maximin la St Baume where we stayed in the old cloisters of the Basilica. The adjacent Basilica houses the relics of Mary Magdalene. As with all sacred places, saints, myths and legends, there is always controversy and dispute about the truth of the legends as well as the relics. As we know, religion is a powerful political tool. Personally, I choose to see the entire spectrum of religion, myth and legend as an archetypal journey. We, ourselves, embody these archetypes and these inspirational lives and stories of these almost superhuman beings, is to me a cross road where the archetype and the physical meet and cross.
One cannot ignore the power of the names given to these characters - the names in themselves are archetypal. Also, if you pay attention to the ley lines where the sacred places are established and where the waters run from the sacred springs and well, you can see the presence of the Divine, marrying our world with the Spiritual world.
Staying in the old cloisters was a very humbling experience.
This was the view from my room in the convent which has now been turned into a hotel.
Right next door, as part of the complex, stands the massive St Maximin Basilica of Mary Magdalene.
We visited the Basilica more than once. We also visited the chapel at the grotto where Mary Magdalene spend the last thirty three years of her life at La Sainte Baume. I experienced the same divine Presence at both these sites. The Presence of the Divine Feminine known as Mary Magdelene. I can only describe it as a very very gentle, loving and forgiving energy. It felt as though the energy was vibrating in gentle, yet powerful waves of nurturing and embracing : an energy with a very specific vibration and colour which I will now recognize immediately again. Each time we visited the Basilica and its many shrines, we were reluctant to leave Her absolute Beauty.
This is the statue of Mary Magdalene placed just outside the crypt where her relics are kept.
Here is picture taken during the Mary Magdalene feast day. Her skull is behind this mask which is taken out for the procession.
The Basilica contained many statues and a shrine dedicated to Mother Mary, the Mary Magdelene crypt and more. The most beautiful Mother Mary statue graced this church. The picture does not really do justice to the presence that radiates from this beautiful image.
Here is a picture of the Lourdes shrine in the Basilica : a small taste of what was still to come.
From here we made some excursions into the countryside and stumbled across the most beautiful cathedrals and the Sacred Heart Shrine!! More about this in my next blog.
blessings to you