My Sojourn to Southern France-September 2009
After reading Peter Mayle’s book A Year in Provence, listening to other spiritual seekers about their France pilgrimages and learning through my astrological chart that this region was in my top 3 on the planet I was envisioning at the very least an experience of utopia and was hopeful for even more. In my mind I tasted the exquisite food, saw the beautiful nature and felt a palpable sense of serenity and union with the divine. I was primed for an experience of a lifetime. Have you ever had a clear vision of how something will go and then once it actually happens be completely surprised by the difference between the imagined experience and the actual one? Well welcome to my sojourn in France. The blue sky living of the Provence lived up to its beauty and radiance the nature was lush and nurturing. The food was out of this world (sometimes literally-I had no idea what I was eating) yet my naive idea of instant utopia was soon replaced with deep, transformative inner work.
Each day my beloved Friedemann and I would go for a run, then a hike (we quickly renamed our sojourn-Southern France butt camp) and top off the day with a 3-course meal. Each steep step up the mountain seemed to be tapping into a cellular memory of feeling like I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t safe and that I had done something ‘wrong’. My initial reaction to the overwhelming sense of shame was I have already done this work, why is this coming up now…yet on a deeper level I could feel the art of pilgrimage, the process of unwinding that happens from sacred travel. Each step got me more in tune with myself, the energy of the land and the truth that I had come to this sacred land at this time to complete patterns that had come to their expiration date.
The nature was healing and I could sense those that had walked these lands before. I remembered the history of the persecution that happened on this sacred land. I read about the Cathars who were killed for their faith, visited churches that had secret messages left by the Knights Templar (because it wasn’t safe to share them openly) and thought about the inquisition. On a deep level the land and this part of its history was bringing up within me dormant fears around being a spiritual leader, being visible and seen. Unconsciously I felt like I needed to hide, to blend in to go underground.
Yet in the midst of this emotional transformation I was blessed with an incredible amount of physical vitality and strength. I was like an ox, with an endless amount of stamina and energy. I knew that the walking was the magical catalyst for transforming the energy of fear and shame into safety and visibility. I began to think about all the people I know who have bumped up against a similar pattern, a fear of being in danger for sharing their spiritual truths, their healing gifts and their essence. I became even more determined to complete this pattern within me, not only for my inner journey of peace and expansion, but also for all those I hold dear.
Our journey continued from Provence to the Languedoc region, the area where Mary Magdalene and Isis were thought to travel to when they left Egypt. During my time here I had a reprieve from the deep inner work and was surrounded by others on a similar path. We spent time with new friends including Ani Williams (magical harpist), Henry Lincoln (bestselling author of Holy Blood, Holy Grail) and a handful of modern day Templars. We followed the itinerary from spiritual tours through this region. Going to the sacred sites to connect with the power of this sacred land was the part of our journey I was most looking forward to. We manifested many magical experiences including a lovely walk through a druid forest and natural labyrinth, receiving a divine transmission at Montsegur (means safe mountain) and meditating in many churches that were built on earlier sacred sights. Yet the energy of these places was shrouded in mystery, subtle, illusive. Very pleasant yet we left with more questions then answers.
Even though I wasn’t getting a whole lot on the conscious level I trusted that I was awakening what I needed to on the soul level. Our journey continued with more hiking, sacred site visiting, yummy food and deep connection and as soon as we got back to the Provence I was back in the alchemical fire. By the end of the trip I felt as if I had an entirely new root chakra that was unplugged from the individual and collective consciousness of persecution and the need for tribal acceptance. It was intense, profound and deep and although not my original definition of utopia I am elated (now that I am on the other side of it) with the spiritual and personal growth I experienced and ultimately with the freedom I feel within. I feel solid in my body in a whole new way. I gained deeper clarity about the importance and value of my path. As a result of this trip I am standing more firmly in my commitment to do what is mine to do. I know that the jewels of this mysterious treasure hunt will continue to be found as I unpack the energies of the trip and that the power and freedom from my inner journey ripples out into the universe as in invitation for others to be themselves unapologetically and unbridled. As always I am a strong believer in the power of sacred travel and am grateful for the benefits of this most recent sojourn.
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