Unforgettable journeys to the ancient sites of
England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France
 
 
The Sacred Feminine in the South of France:
The Grail of the Heart
June 1 – June 9, 2017

PROGRAMME OF EVENTS


Day One
We meet at Toulouse Bagnac International Airport and drive to our peaceful hotel in the Aude Valley, stopping en route to make offerings to the ancestors and spirits of the land at a sacred spring. Tonight we’ll gather for an opening circle and meditation.

Day Two
We begin our exploration of the sacred feminine by going back to her ancient roots in the prehistoric world. First we'll take a walk in the Prehistory Park of the Pyrenees, situated in the magnificent mountain setting of Tarascon-sur-Ariège. Then we'll enter the womb of the Earth Mother herself by visiting a cave filled with extraordinary paintings, engravings and models of animals and female images dating back 100,000 years. We also have time to visit a beautiful Black Madonna in a nearby Chapel.

Day Three
This morning we enter the magnificent walled Cité of Carcassonne, a famous Cathar stronghold, named for the redoubtable Dame Carcas. Here we take a journey back to mediaeval times as we walk through winding cobblestone streets, castle ramparts, and visit the 11th century Basilica of St Nazaire, a holy sanctuary illumined with glorious rose windows. This afternoon we visit Alet-les-Bains, a mediaeval village where there are houses decorated with intriguing esoteric symbolism. The town was founded by the Romans, who discovered its healing thermal waters and built a temple to the goddess Diana where the ruined abbey, dedicated to Mary, stands today.

Day Four
We visit the hilltop village of Rennes-le-Château, where our guide, Anneke, will shed much light on its history and mysteries. We’ll enter the extraordinary church dedicated to Mary Magdalene, its enigmatic artwork adding to the charged atmosphere in which we will spend time in meditation. Then a visit to the Tour Magdala, the Magdalene Tower, also replete with esoteric symbolism, which has glorious views over the countryside to the snow-covered High Pyrenees. Your experience in this fascinating place will be topped off by a music concert in the Visigoth hall of the castle.
Puylaurens Castle
Day Five
This morning we visit an authentic traditional French market in the picturesque mediaeval town of Mirepoix. As well as strolling through the colourful stalls and pavement cafes, you may also want to visit the 13th century cathedral which dominates the town square. Inside you’ll find luminous stained glass windows and a finger labyrinth for meditation. Afterwards we’ll take a trip to Puivert Castle, which hosted gatherings of the troubadours in the 12th century: their joyful presence can still be sensed there today. Here we will celebrate their spirit – and our own lives – with song and dance!

Day Six
We pay a visit to the spectacular castle of Puilaurens, which stands on the peak of a quartz crystal-lined mountain. Here we’ll learn about Dame Blanche, the White Lady said to haunt its walls at night. Later we’ll make a pilgrimage to the spectacular Gorge de Galamus, a portal into a sacred mountain, frequented by hermits and visited by pilgrims for many centuries. We’ll explore its esoteric mysteries, including an enigmatic magic square carved in stone, and spend time in the hermitage at the lovely shrine dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

Day Seven
We journey to the iconic mountain of Montsegur, the last refuge of the Cathars – a place of numinous power and initiation. Wreathed about with the legendary aura of the Grail, many believe it to be none other than Montsalvasche where the Knights Templar guarded this precious treasure in the stories of Parzival. We will also pay a visit to the nearby Fontaine de Fontestorbes, which has a part to play in the Grail legends as well, and spend time in the lovely little village below the mountain, where a Black Madonna resides in the church.

Day Eight
In contrast to yesterday’s journey to the heights, we spend the day in some gentle places of healing waters, starting with the enchanting Fontaine des Amours: the Lovers’ Spring, where nature spirits can be sensed among the tumbling cascades. Then on to the little town of Rennes les Bains, where both hot and cold springs bubble up from the River Sals. We also take a walk through the forest to visit the Source du Cercle, the Circle Spring, and the mysterious rock called the “Seat of Isis,” in what may have been a Druid grove in Celtic times.

Day Nine
We bid farewell to this magical land, carrying with us the Grail within the heart, as we return to Toulouse for flights home.

Please note: While we make every effort to keep to the above itinerary, it may be subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen conditions.
 
 
 
 
 
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