France - My First Pilgrimage

 At Montsegur, a Cathar stronghold.

At Montsegur, a Cathar stronghold.

It was the beginning of summer in 2010 when I heard about a trip that was to be a sacred pilgrimage to the south of France. I knew in my heart of hearts that I needed to be there. I had been introduced to the region through a movie called Bloodline. I met the producer, Rene Barnett, in LA at the movie premiere and just felt drawn to that area of France. I had to go. So when I found out that Rene and her friend, Gloria Amendola, were organizing a trip, I was on board.

I didn't know how I was going to swing it being a mom of a seven-year-old and working part-time at a University. But I got it all together and got the childcare aspect covered and my husband was on board with me going. This was the first time in a long time I actually did something just for me. It started me on a path of self-care that has become more and more important as time has gone by. 

 Temple of Isis

Temple of Isis

I flew by myself to Toulouse, France and we got picked up the next day by Gloria and Rene. We made our way through the lavender fields all the way to Alet-les-Bains where we had rooms along the Aude River. We were a small, spiritual group of women who were open and curious. We traveled to many sacred sites in the area including this church dedicated to Isis where I felt the depths of spirit on a very personal level. It felt really old.

 

 Spirits?

Spirits?

 

In this Temple of Isis, I felt centuries of prayer and honoring and ritual in this space. When I got home, I noticed that my pictures captured various entities in the space and I was not surprised. We participated in a small ceremony there and meditated for awhile. It was quite powerful and was situated in this tiny village above Alet-les-Bains where we were staying. It was nondescript and next to a large field. There were farmers with their sheep nearby. No one even paid us much notice. We didn't need tickets to get in. Gloria just needed to make sure it was open. Amazing.

 Church of Mary Magdalene in Rennes-le-Chateau.

Church of Mary Magdalene in Rennes-le-Chateau.

We went to a church in Rennes-Le-Chateau that was dedicated to Mary Magdalene. We went to Templar Churches. We went to Cathar sacred sites including Puivert Castle and Montsegur. We did an autumnal equinox ceremony at the base of Montsegur. It was beautiful. We visited natural sites in the countryside full of energy and vibrant life. We sang to Mother Earth. We meditated. We ate glorious French food and drank wine and shared stories about our lives. I felt so alive and vibrant. 

 

 After my climb to the top of Montsegur...

After my climb to the top of Montsegur...

In retrospect after much meditation and thinking about the trip, I realized that several deep spiritual things happened on that trip. The energy of the area woke up my kundalini energy. Some of you may know what I mean by that. It was as if someone plugged me into an electrical socket up and down my spine in a good way. I was AWAKE in my body for what might have been the first time in my life. I was much more aware of my body and felt like I was going to embark on a journey to come into better alignment with my body after the trip. 

The other thing that happened on that trip was truly miraculous. I think I found a piece of my soul and collected it and brought it home with me. This was nothing physical but rather a piece of who I was. And that showed up as me suddenly being able to cook amazing meals for our family. I only wanted to shop for organic fruits, meats, and vegetables and I could put things together in no time using Spanish recipes. I was suddenly a great cook. Mind you, there were no cooking classes on this trip. I could just cook upon coming home. I could heat up stuff and bake cookies prior to the trip. That was about it. When I got home, I was buying new cookbooks and trying new recipes for complicated and tasty food. 

 Some say this is Jesus laying down on top of the mountain, Peche Cardou near Rennes-le-Chateau.

Some say this is Jesus laying down on top of the mountain, Peche Cardou near Rennes-le-Chateau.

But the most life changing thing was when I met this mountain, Peche Cardou. That's really the only way I can describe it to you. It was a meeting. We did a ceremony on this bridge from Serres over to the base of this small mountain. Gloria Amendola, a powerful psychic, drew us to this place because of its incredible energy. She said that there were many who believed that the Temple of Solomon was inside and that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were rumored to be buried there. I didn't know if that was true but I did know in my bones that this was the most holy of places I had ever felt. I was on my knees in reverence to the energy here. That's how powerful it was.

Many of us were deeply and profoundly touched by the ceremony and the energy of this mountain. So before Gloria was done with the ceremony, as each person took their turn, half of us had started to hike up the mountain. We were that drawn to it. I felt like I had to get to the top. I didn't want to leave but Gloria was calling us back to the van. The tour had to continue. We had lunch plans but I didn't want to leave. I vowed I would have to come back.

 My friend, Cammi, in the crevice with the lone rose bush at Peche Cardou. Jeanne is in the background. Check out the red soil.

My friend, Cammi, in the crevice with the lone rose bush at Peche Cardou. Jeanne is in the background. Check out the red soil.

A few days later, we had a morning to ourselves so some of us who felt called to the mountain went back and took a small hike to the back of it. It was magical. The mountain and every thing on it felt so verdant and alive. There is something about the soil there--there is red soil and white soil. And the base of the mountain is near where two rivers cross--one is spring water and one is a salt water river. There were leylines that crossed there and ran through the area. I could feel it all so intently. I knew the mountain was a she. I don't know how but when we got to the trail behind the mountain, I knew we were to the most feminine and intimate part of her. The soil had turned a deep shade of red and there was a large crevice which I felt was important. So we climbed a short way into the crevice and there was a rose bush. One singular rose bush. We had not seen one rose anywhere else on the entire trail. The rose was the symbol of Mary Magdalene and the Divine Feminine. So it made perfect sense to come across a rose there at what felt like the womb of the mountain. It started to rain then and we knew we had to get back and join the rest of the tour. We took a few pictures, took in the energy of the moment and the place, and headed back down the trail. But I knew I had to come back and climb to the top. It was as if I still had work left to do there.

The next day we went to Carcassonne which is a fabulous walled city. We ate great food and shopped for gifts and on the way home, we were treated to rainbow after rainbow. That was my sign that I was supposed to be there and that there was something magical going on. I wasn't sure what all of it meant at that point but now I see. I went there to pick up a piece of myself and bring it back home and to awaken my connection with my body. It was an amazing pilgrimage to explore not only Mary Magdalene and Isis but to experience the rise in my own feminine consciousness. I am still feeling the effects of that trip to this day.


 Rennes-Le-Château--there is certainly a mystery here but that's for another blog post.

Rennes-Le-Château--there is certainly a mystery here but that's for another blog post.

Gloria Amendola still takes groups to France if you are interested. Check our her web site as well as her research and books on Mary Magdalene. She has accumulated a vast wealth of wisdom on the subject and she truly is the real deal.