Mary Magdalene, Cathars & Knights Templar:
Journey to Southern France
“In the stillness, the unknown awaits
A void wanting to be filled.
Step into it with courage and strength
Like a budding rose reaching for the light”
-The Magdalene Oracle Guidebook
June 3-12, 2024
10 Days/9 Nights
Single + £450
We invite you to join us on a modern day magical Quest, a Journey of the Soul in the Langeudoc region of Southern France, also known as Occitania. Surrounded by the natural beauty of mountain peaks, tree-clad valleys, rivers and hot springs, we will connect with the ancestors of this historic land. Immersed in the Spirit of Place we are effortlessly transformed as we fall into the natural state of balance with the divine feminine and masculine aspects of our souls. Reaching for the light we will come closer to our truest nature based in love…
As we spend time on this land we will open to the mysteries long held here. We will be inspired by local stories and learn from the ancestors who walked before us. Mary Magdalene, the Knights Templar, the Wise Women, the Cathars and Black Madonnas will speak to us if we listen. The spiritual search that was central to the Arthurian Grail Quest is still alive today as whispers inside our hearts and it will empower us on our journey from here through life.
On our quest, we’ll be visiting many powerful sacred sites set within the natural beauty of this land and learn of its turbulent history. This journey with our knowledgable and sought-after local guide will take us to Notre Dame de Marceille, Alet-les-Bains, Rennes-le-Chateau, Montségur, Belesta, Cité de Carcassonne, Puilaurens Castle, Galamus, the Canallettes Caves, an ancient outdoor Celtic Temple and of course the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, delving deeply into the history, legends, myths and mysteries of this region.
Your quest will be a synthesis of how the past and future lives on in us now, with time for both inner connection and with the extraordinary places we will visit. Be prepared for adventure and for deep nourishment.
Tour price includes
Collection from & return to Toulouse Airport
All land transportation
Accommodation in a medieval chateau
ALL breakfasts, ALL lunches (except one) & ALL evening meals
All normal admission charges to sacred sites
All tour guide fees
Gratuities & taxes on accommodation & included meals
Third party liability insurance
All rooms have ensuite bathroom facilities and tour prices are based on sharing a twin/double room. A limited number of single rooms are available for which there will be a single supplement (SS) charge as specified on the Prices & Booking page.
Please note - Breakfasts, lunches (except 1 lunch) and dinners are included in the tour price
Day 1 – Mon, June 3rd
Your guides, Cameron & Glenn Broughton and journey co-ordinator, Peter Van Deursen, will meet you at Toulouse-Blagnac International Airport and drive you to our beautiful medieval chateau hotel in Couiza. Whether you’ve just arrived or have joined us following your own travel in Europe, we will have the afternoon to rest or relax by the pool before we gather for orientation, introductions and welcome dinner.
Day 2 – Tues, June 4th
This morning we will meet our Cathar-country guide, Aletheia. After introductions our pilgrimage starts as we drive through the beautiful Aude Valley towards the old market town of Limoux, known for producing the predecessor of Champagne. Just over the hill on the far side of town is a mysterious, large basilica called the Notre Dame de Marceille. As our journey commences we will join in ceremony connecting to the Spirit of Place, the Ancestors and the Magdalene Energy, asking for a blessing both individually and collectively for our Pilgrimage.
Here we learn of local legends hidden in its gorgeous artwork. Among the statues are a very beautiful and unique Mary Magdalene and a Black Madonna. Historians believe the basilica stands on the location of an old Roman temple dedicated to Mars but the presence of two wells may indicate that it was actually dedicated to the Mother Goddess, like the very popular Roman goddess Diana or even Isis, the Egyptian goddess who became popular throughout the Roman empire in the 1st century AD. The basilica has many tales to tell...
Alet-les-Bains, known as ‘the Chosen Place’ in Roman times, is one of the pearls on the Aude river. This beautiful town with its half-timbered houses is as old as the hills. Its protected location hides a true gem; the most beautiful ruined cathedral of southern France! We will also find out why there is a Star of David (Solomon’s Seal) in the windows of the village church, and whether Nostradamus truly lived in this village in the 16th century.
Day 3 – Wed, June 5th
Today we are going on a journey through time, because to understand the enigma of Rennes-le-Chateau we must first understand the history of the region. This tiny little hilltop village hides many secrets including those of the Knights Templar and some not yet discovered. We will hear from our local guide the history, the legends and the fiction so that we are able to comprehend the elements that inspired authors (Holy Blood & Holy Grail) and film makers (‘The Da Vinci Code’). We will visit the museum, the Church dedicated to Mary Magdalene that is at the heart of the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery, the Magdala Tower and we’ll also see the medieval castle that still stands at the heart of the village. Taking time to meditate in Mary Magdeline’s church we reach for deeper understanding of the mysteries that surround Rennes-le-Chateau.
Day 4 – Thurs, June 6th
From the top of the world to the Mary beneath the Earth! This day will take your breath away! For those willing and able to make the hike to the top of the Cathar castle of Montségur you will be rewarded with panoramic views, and for those who choose not to make the hike you will instead discover the charms of the village that was created after the famous siege of 1244. Today you will hear the story of the Gnostic Christian 'Bon Hommes and Bonne Dames' - the Cathars. This is a story of political and religious conflict in the 13th century. Stories of heroes and of betrayal the outcome of which is still affecting us today, all set against the backdrop of beautiful mountain ranges and volcano peaks. Which archetypes are playing out in your life and in our world? We send out healing prayers for all those who suffer and are in conflict, that resolution and peace might be woven into the fabric of a new reality…
In the ‘Valley of Love’ we find Belesta, with the Black Madonna who rests in the belly of the Earth, in a crypt beneath the chapel. Chapels like these are normally closed to the public, but every effort will be made to find the keeper of the keys and if we succeed we will behold one of the most ancient Black Madonnas in France and Spain! Let’s all think positive for a successful outcome…
Day 5 – Fri, June 7th
This morning we will discover the deep mysticism of the ancient order of the early Benedictines when we visit the Abbey of St Michel de Cuxa, at the foot of the Holy Canigou Mountain in the Pyrénées. We will be able to visit a very special crypt, where an ancient Notre Dame de Sous Terra (Our lady Beneath the Earth) sits. There are several items in this church that are rare and a must see for those on The Path. It was considered to be a place of pilgrimage.
Following lunch in the fortified town of Villefranche de Conflent, we will visit the stunning 'Underground Versaille', the Canallettes Caves just outside of Villefranche de Conflent. Having the opportunity to enter a sacred cave gives us the opportunity to experience a connection with Gaia in a meaningful way.
Day 6 – Sat, June 8th
A visit to Southern France will not be complete without seeing the azure-blue Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, today we will be driving to the most picturesque town of the entire Vermeille coast: Collioure. This ancient town already existed in the 6th century BCE as an important merchant harbour, famous for its arts and crafts, modern paintings and huge Templar Fortress. We will visit its ancient and massive Templar Castle, built in 1207 and expanded over several centuries. We'll visit the castle in the morning and then have free time to have lunch at a cafe by the Mediterranean Sea, explore this beautiful town and shop in the fun French boutiques.
Today is the only day that lunch is not included.
Day 7 – Sun, June 9th
To dive into the origin of the Grail Quest we climb Puilaurens Castle in the morning. Built on the ruins of an old Roman Castrum, this castle is a perfect example of the strategic architecture that was also used at Montségur. The views from the top are breath taking and at the early Gothic tower of Queen Blanche.
At Galamus we will visit a tiny hermit’s cave that has a wonderful surprise hidden inside. Not only is this an incredibly beautiful place, hanging on the edge of a cliff halfway up a gorge, its cave chapel also holds important messages if you have eyes to see them. This place is connected to the Franciscan monks who rebelled against the Roman Catholic Church’s persecution of the Cathars. In the 14th century they were the last to hide scrolls that had been branded as heresy, but contained original texts and perhaps even the unedited original gospel of John and the original Lord’s Prayer. In honour of these brave Franciscan monks, Cameron will read the Abwoon (original Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic) in the medieval Franciscan version, the oldest version known. In this special place of the Hermit and Monks we will take time to meditate connecting with their unwavering faith and bravery.
Day 8 – Mon, June 10th
We will spend today in nature and not just in any random spot. We will visit an ancient outdoor Celtic Temple, a truly holy place. We’ll hike to the Isis Chair, an old carved seat near a holy well, where Celtic priestesses or the wise women of the woods meditated. These women were asked for advice on many occasions, even by kings. The ancient trail we walk is unchanged except for the natural erosion.
"As we walk on this holy ground it will allow us to integrate all the lessons we’ve learned on this journey, empowered by the Earth energy currents beneath our feet. Balancing and cleansing our systems, we breathe in the land to be forever part of our bodies and minds, while we leave our footsteps behind in what the Jews, early Christians and Knights Templar called the New Holy Land. We are grateful for the opportunity to connect with our life questions as we ask the spirits of the Celtic Priestesses for clarity. Together we’ll have the final ceremony of our journey giving thanks for our Pilgrimage, for healing, for the spirits of the land & our ancestors, and for all that we’ve learned on our journey to Occitania."
Day 9 Tues, June 11th
Today we are traveling back 2000 years, while stepping forward into the present, to see the majestic medieval Cité de Carcassonne, where many movies have been shot. The Roman citadel Carcasso is still visible inside the medieval additions and repairs, forming stone layers like pages in a thick stone book. If only stones could speak… This strategic fortified city with its 52 towers is the largest walled medieval city in Europe and is a World Heritage Site. We will browse through the stone book and discover the tales of brave knights, see the famous Siege Stone inside the Basilica St. Nazaire, discover hidden clues in glass windows and enjoy picture postcard views from the Porte d’Aude. There is also time for shopping to pick up a souvenir of this unique historical site.
Day 10 Wed, June 12th
To Toulouse-Blagnac Airport for flight home or further destination… Bon Voyage!
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