Tour Price: $3989 October 6th - 15th 2022
Our journey with author Cynthia James, best selling author, transformational coach, singer, speaker and Janet Pullen, author of “Secrets and Shadows”, will take us deep into a land of the ancient Celts, the heretic Cathar, the troubadour poets, the Knights Templar and those following in the footsteps of Mary Magdalene. We will experience the sacred power sites that have for centuries attracted mystics, magicians, and saints, all those who seek, le Sang Raal, the Holy Grail.
Abbreviated Tour Itinerary
Day 1: October 6th 2022 We will arrive in Paris and connect on a flight to Toulouse. In this brilliant medieval culture, literacy and the sciences and arts flourished, freedom of religion and the rights of women were cherished, one of the first democracies in the western world was established, and the mystical spirituality of love promoted by the troubadours and the Cathar thrived and took root
Toulouse has always attracted mystics, magicians and heretics. As early as the 11th century, the ancient texts, preserved by the Islamic world and translated from Arabic to Latin, had slipped over the Pyrenees from Spain and into the southern lands of Occitania. In the warm sun of the south, art, music, literature, philosophy, poetry and religious tolerance fermented and blossomed making way for the religious movement know as Catharism. The Jewish communities of Narbonne, Beziers and Carcassonne became important sites of Kabbalah study. Courtly Love and the poetry of the troubadours enhanced the Southern Noble’s courts. Accommodation Le Opera hotel.
Day 2: October 7th 2022 After our morning meeting we will walk to the Black Virgin church of Notre Dame de la Daurade, a basilica established in 410 when Emperor Honorius allowed the conversion of Pagan temples to Christianity. The original building of Notre-Dame de la Daurade was a temple dedicated to Apollo.
The ancient church is presided over by a Black Virgin. Joan of Arc was a devotee of Black Virgins as was St Bernard, the Merovingian Dynasty. “I am nature, the Universal Mother, mistress of all the elements, primordial child of time. Sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead, of the immortals, ancient mother of the corn, my true name is Isis. I am the Water Lily that rises from the mud, through the mud to the sun. Every human being is to be protected under my wing at death and lovingly restored to life. ”
Afterwards you have the day free to explore Toulouse on your own. Our favorite sites include: Basilica of Saint Sernin The site of the martyrdom of the first Bishop of Toulouse; Jacobin Cathedral Build by the Dominicans after the Crusade to educate the population against heresy. Fantastic palm tree vaulting; Capitol Building The paintings in the capital building of Henri Martin. Or you may want to take a river cruise on the Garonne river. Welcome dinner that evening Accommodation Le Opera hotel..[/p]
Day 3:October 8th 2022 This morning we will travel from from Toulouse to Rocamadour which is a famous site of a Black Madonna and was an important pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages.
This beautiful clifftop village is particularly well known for being one of the most famous pilgrimage sites on the Le Puy route of the Camino de Santiago. Rocamadour is actually the second most visited attraction in France after the Mont Saint Michel.
After lunch we can walk around the pretty medieval streets in the village and make your way up to the top where you will reach the main church, Notre-Dame. This is where you can find the Black Madonna. You will also get a beautiful view out onto the Dordogne Valley.
There are 233 steps to get to the top, so it’s highly recommended to wear comfortable shoes. If you are not up for the walk, you can go on the funicular.
The very unique thing about Rocamadour is that the houses and church were built into the stone itself! Definitely not something you get to see every day! After our visit we will return to Toulouse. Accommodation Le Opera hotel.[/p]
Day 4: October 9th 2022 After our morning Spiritual Practice in Toulouse We will have the morning free to check out of the hotel and visit any last minute sites or shopping in Toulouse. After lunch we will depart for Chateau des Ducs de Joyeuse . Château Des Ducs De Joyeuse is located in Couiza in the heart of the Cathare region. This listed 16th-century castle is located on extensive grounds on the banks of the River Aude. Originally built for the Dukes of Joyeuse in the mid-16th century, the castle is now used as a hotel. The well-preserved building, flanked by round towers, is regarded as typical of many buildings in the Languedoc region . Each room has a classic decor and is equipped with a TV and a private spacious private bathroom. Guests can enjoy a meal in the chic restaurant or out in the courtyard. Accommodation Château Des Ducs De Joyeuse
Day 5: October 10th 2022 October 10th 2022 After our morning practice we will drive to the medieval towns of Mirepoix for the Monday morning market. This market is the most colorful and beautiful in the region. Mirepoix is a fortified town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Its central square is edged with covered wooden arcades, giving protection from the rain and hot sun, supporting half-timbered residences In the early 13th century there were as many as fifty Cathar ‘houses’ in the town. The Cathar lived in egalitarian communities, called, ‘houses’ and strove to follow the examples of early Christians and those who’d come before like the Hebrew Essenes. They believed that the Catholic church had fallen far from the ideals of early Christianity. We will have our morning meeting and after lunch we will travel to Chateau Montsegue and hike up to the most famous of all the Cathar castles. (optional).
The foundations of the Chateau Montsegur go back to the 9th century and according to a well-respected historian, the castle walls reveal certain instances of technical and mathematical knowledge extremely rare at this time in Western Europe and that there certainly is nothing like it in all of Occitania.
In 1232 after the Cathar leader Guilbert de Castres had asked Raymond Pereille, the Lord of Montsegur, to convert the castle into a place of official asylum for the hunted heretics. In 1244, the Cathars who had sought refuge at the Montségur fortress were besieged by 10,000 troops, in what is now known as the siege of Montsegur
.Accommodations: Château Des Ducs De Joyeuse
Day 6:October 11th 2022 This morning after breakfast and our morning meeting we will travel to The Château de Quéribus is one of the famous ‘cathar castles’ of southern France, situated in Cucugnan in the Aude department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region. One of the most visited and most dramatically located of the cathar castles, the Chateau de Quéribus stands high on a rocky ridge at 728 metres altitude.
With its origins in the 10th or 11th century it is easy to see why this location was chosen for a castle: the position appears more or less impregnable and the views across the surrounding region allow surveillance of a very large area of land.
The Château de Quéribus was originally a possession of Barcelona before it as transferred to Aragon and then later to Narbonne at the end of the 12th century, shortly before the crusade against the cathars began. Before visiting the Castle we will enjoy a stroll around the village of Cucugnan just below the castle and we will have lunch there.
Over the last two decades a large amount of renovation has been carried out at Château de Quéruibus and there is a great deal of interest to be seen during a visit, as well as stunning views across the Languedoc countryside from the castle terrace.
As well as the three rings of defensive walls you can see various of the buildings such as the donjon, main hall and water cisterns as well as numerous military devices to allow the castle to defend itself such as arrow slits and walls angled to deflect projectiles.
Accommodations: Château Des Ducs De Joyeuse
Day 7:October 12th 2022 After our morning meeting we will check out of the hotel and proceed to Rennes le Chateau. Since prehistoric times the ancient village because of its location was a sought after location. Celts, Visigoths and Franks are known to have made it their home. Perhaps Rennes Le Chateau is most famous for its church, with its sign over the front door warning, ‘This place is terrible’ and the horrifying devil who greets visitors on its threshold. Once inside the garish colors, the black and white painted floor and the array of strange decorations win attention. Masonic symbols, alchemical designs, numerology and the many representations of Mary Magdalene cannot help but stir the imagination.
Look for the statue of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost objects, the cross in Mary Magdalen holds, with one half dead and one half alive, on the bas relief on the altar front. This was her church, dedicated as early as the eighth century and she presides over the mysteries here.
You will see many examples of the number twenty-two. In the museum you can see the Templar stone depicting the Templar seal of the two riders on a single horse. Some say the symbol is directing you to the idea that we all have an outer and an inner life. The riddles at Rennes le Chateau certainly pertain to both.
From the view at the end of the village can be seen Bugarach mountain. This is believed to have been the site of an Essene community where Mary Magdalene stayed during her time in the area.
After our visit and lunch we will travel to Carcassonne. Carcassonne is a fascinating fortified city in the Occitanie region of France that has been around since the Neolithic Period. Over time, the hilltop area was occupied by the Romans, the Visigoths, the Saracens, and the Franks. Carcassonne was of great strategic importance due to its location between trade routes connecting the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and the Massif Central to the Pyrenees. Carcassone is also known as ‘La Cité’, dominates Languedoc’s tourism map. It is huge, encompassing no less than 53 towers, strung together by two enormous concentric walls, surrounded by a moat, and punctuated here and there by heavy barbicans, portcullis and draw-bridges
Day 8:October 13th 2022 After our morning meeting we will have the day completely free to visit Carcassone on your own. On a visit, you can see the various methods of fortification — wooden ramparts, towers, barbicans, and more. The castle has a drawbridge, and you can see a section of the Roman wall, which is quite different from the medieval walls constructed later. The Cite has a ancient history : Founded during the Gallo-Roman period, the citadel derives its reputation from its 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long double surrounding walls interspersed by 52 towers. The town has about 2,500 years of history and has been occupied in different ages by Romans, Visigoths, and Crusaders. In 1208, Pope Innocent III called on the barons of the north to mount a crusade against the Cathars, beginning with the Albigensian Crusade. The Count of Toulouse, accused of heresy, and his principal vassal, the Vicomte of Trencavel, were the main target of this attack. On 1 August 1209, the Cité was besieged by the crusaders. Raimond-Roger Trencavel surrendered quickly on the 15th of August in exchange for the lives of the citizens. We love the walk around the inner walls of the city and visiting the fortress inside the Cite. Their is shopping and restaurants inside the the walled fortress.
Day 9: October 14th 2022 We will have a morning meeting and then return to Toulouse for our final afternoon and farewell dinner Accommodations: Hotel La Opera .
Day 10:October 15th 2022 This morning we will check out for our return flight to Paris or the USA.
OPTIONAL TOUR TO PARIS NOT INCLUDED
This is an opportunity to drift back in time, outside the ordinary into the deep waters of an ancient underground stream of Spirit. It is an opportunity to relax, renew and resurrect new levels of consciousness.
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