Mary Magdalene and St Sarah, Sacred Sites of France – Itinerary: May 14th-25th, 2014
Wed, May 14th – Arrival in Marseille
Arrive in Marseille any time during the day and transport to hotel. Marseille is a busy cosmopolitan French city on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. If you arrive early, you might enjoy some time down by the harbor, touring the city or just take time to rest.
Free time until 5:00 PM, when we will meet at the hotel lobby, introduce ourselves and go to dinner.
Overnight in Marseille where we will settle in and get grounded.
(Grounding meditation with the group.)
Thursday, May 15th – Sainte Baume, Mary Magdalene
At Sainte Baume you will connect with the energy of Mary Magdalene. We will hike to the Grotte de Sainte Baume, the sacred cave where Mary Magdalene continued the Essene teachings of Jesus. This is the place where she lived in hiding through the rest of her time on Earth.
You might consider as you climb to the grotto what sacred teachings have you kept in hiding? Do you feel safe to bring out your truth?
We will enjoy a picnic lunch and visit the small chapel to Mary Magdalene before we move on to our home base for the duration of the tour, at a beautiful country estate in Uzes. Here we will be welcomed with the southern french charm and flavors, at the fine table of our chef.
Friday, May 16th – Avignon
We will begin our day with a group discussion and exploration of the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine. Throughout the tour we will open and connect with various aspects of both, bringing both sides alive inside us as we move closer to a balanced union within.
Dating back to Neolithic times, Avignon has been held as a Sacred Center. The energies of this city combine the sacred masculine and sacred feminine with the two great rivers on either side.
This special energy has been so strong that over the ages the land was once a learning center and initiation site for the Druids and Celts. The Catholic Church later came and built a great cathedral on this land, using the druidic knowledge of the ley lines and geomantic flow of energy.
We will visit the Notre Dame des Domes, the cathedral dedicated to Sophia, the feminine wisdom of the Divine. Then we have a picnic lunch at Les Jardins Des Domes. This high spot was a natural refuge and has been a sacred site for centuries. It is now a park with beautiful views of the landscape below. You will have time to find your own connection with the land and waters here.
In the afternoon, enjoy a short ferry across the Rhone to the island of the Barthelasse, one of the largest river islands in Europe. Another part of the sacred landscape, we can walk along the paths or just take it easy in the gardens.
Saturday, May 17th – Exploring Uzes
France villages have incredible markets, abundant with fresh, locally grown produce from the surrounding countryside. Here you will discover a true taste of the southern culture. The market is fun, a place where you can shop for hand-made goods and souvenirs, as well as food.
This will be followed by free time to rest and enjoy the environs. Our home base has a nice pool, gardens and grounds for quiet time, reflection, meditating or journaling. For those who feel more active, it is an excellent place to enjoy yoga or go for a walk.
Afternoon we will visit the sacred fountain and experience it’s healing water. Here we will connect with the feminine energy of the waters that run throughout the land of France. You can sense the waters in the rivers, the underground streams, the wells and fountains that connect the country with it’s nurturing life-giving force.
Sunday, May 18th – Nimes (optional)
Sunday can be a lazy and quiet day. You can be on your own, luxuriating at our place in Uzes, swimming in the pool, enjoying the gardens, or whatever you’d like. Or you can join us for a short drive to Nimes.
Nimes is a bigger city and the highlight of the city is the Jardins de la Fontaine. Here we can explore the park and it’s beautiful waterways, bridges, and lawns. On one end of the park we find a roman temple to Diane, on the other is the Tour Magne.
Some of the other possible sites to visit here include:
- Castellum Divisorium, a part of the aqueduct
- The Menhir Standing Stone, one of the oldest stones in Nimes, from 2500 BC
- The large Roman amphitheatre
We’ll take our time and go with the flow, following the direction of where our inspiration and intuition take us for the day.
Monday, May 19th – Camargue
The Camargue is a special region in Southern France, a marshland known for it’s flocks of pink flamingos, herds of black bulls and wild white horses. It is a place of Spanish-style cowboys and nightly rodeos.
Connecting with the free spirit of the horse, you will have a choice of a carriage ride or horseback ride through the Camargue. Enjoy the wild marshes with a special tour that includes lunch.
Tuesday, May 20th – Tarascon and Beaucaire
Tarascon has a special story of the Tarasque. The Tarasque was a fearsome and legendary dragon who brought nothing but trouble to the local villages of Southern France. The king sent out knights to slay the dragon, yet none succeeded.
It was none other then Sainte Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary of Bethany (also known as Mary Magdalene) that changed all this. She charmed the dragon with her songs, leading the tamed dragon back to the city. However, the people of the city were still afraid and killed the dragon in the night.
This Beauty and the Beast story is a powerful reminder of the dragon that lives within us. The dragon is a powerful symbol of our spiritual powers, it’s the force of the kundalini. The dragon is seen throughout the world, in all cultures. It is known in the King Arthur legends, it is known in Asian cultures, and in Mesoamerica it is Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent.
We will take this time with the energy of the dragon to work with the energetic forces of the dragon within ourselves. What do we fear? What inner beasts are we trying to tame? Are we trying to slay the beast or simply love it? Can we hold those fears and inner-monsters in compassion, just as we do the parts we see as divine? As Sainte Martha showed us, it is all divine.
Crossing the Rhone River, we go from Tarascon to Beaucaire. This place has a dragon of it’s own, known as La Drac. It seems to like lavender sales ladies. But we’ve spent enough time with dragons for the day and this one hasn’t been seen for centuries, so we’ll leave it in peace.
What we will do here is visit the Beaucaire Castle. Beaucaire and it’s castle have strong connections to the Cathar people who once fought so hard to keep their way of life. Here we will begin to understand the story of these people from the 12th Century, people known simply as the “Bons Hommes” or “Good Men”. It is a sad history, as the Cathars were wiped out in the Catholic Inquisition. Yet, Beaucaire held strong in the fight and was a turning point in the career of Simon de Montfort, the crusade leader.
Our afternoon will be spent in Beaucaire, exploring the castle and what the town has to offer.
Wednesday, May 21st – Uzes
Today will be a leisurely day back in Uzes. We will have time to walk in the Valley de L’eure and connect with the water there. We will work with the energy of the waters and explore their feminine essence.
Perhaps we may also visit a lavender farm and discover the lavender sachets. There is also the possibility of touring a local lavender distillery.
Afternoon will be a time for rest and free time. It is a time for integration and being with our own sacred selves.
Thursday, May 22nd – St. Remy de Provence
St. Remy is a small old-style French village, with charming nooks and crannies, gift shops and art galleries. We will stroll through the streets of this medieval town, getting a glimpse of the beauty that Van Gogh saw here.
St. Remy is where Van Gogh painted Starry, Starry Night and about 150 other paintings, during the year he was interred at the Saint Paul Assylum. It is also the birthplace of the famous seer, Nostradamus.
After lunch we go to the nearby archeological site of Glanum. This Roman city was originally known for it’s healing waters. We will have the afternoon to explore the site, paying special attention to the sacred well.
Friday, May 23rd – Festival of Saint Sarah
One of the highlights of our journey is the Gypsy Festival of Saint Sarah in Saintes Maries de la Mer.
We will spend a festive day in the town, with parades, special events, gypsy dances and rodeos. This annual event is the largest gypsy gathering in the world. The gypsies have adopted Saint Sarah as their patron saint, seeing her as a representation of the Sacred Feminine and their goddess Kali.
Together with thousands of people we will follow in the procession where they take the statue of Saint Sarah from the church down to the sea where she first arrived on the shores of the Mediterranean. The statue is blessed in the water and then returned to the church.
Through the festivities we will feel into the energy of this Black Madonna and discover the gifts she brings. Her energy is palpable in a way that is felt even through even the energy of the crowds.
Saturday, May 24th – Quiet Day in Uzes
Today is our final day to wrap up the journey. We will have some special group sharing and close the energies of our time together.
Around midday we will journey back to Marseille. We will have the afternoon to be with ourselves and integrate all the energies of the previous days.
In the evening we gather for our final dinner and celebration of our shared adventures.
Sunday, May 25th – Departure from Marseille
You are free to book your flight any time on the 26th from Marseille. Airport transportation will be arranged from the hotel as needed.