Gaye Mack’s Blog

THE CATHAR TREASURE: CRUSADING FOR GOD, SEARCHING FOR ILLUMINATION OR MINING FOR GOLD?

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Writer's Work Leave a comment

Even though it’s been nearly 800 years since the massive fire at Montsegur when over 200 Cathars were exterminated at the hands of the Catholic Church,  legends surrounding the Cathar Treasure remain.  Through the years treasure seekers and speculators have included the holy crusaders who put siege to Montsegur’s fortress for nine months prior to the fire, the 1930’s amateur archaeologist, Otto Rahn (speculated to have provided the inspiration for Spielberg’s Indiana Jones), literary illuminati, esoteric explorers and even historical fiction writers.  Many have searched; all have wondered. 

In my previous post wherein I introduced the subject of this medieval religious sect, I noted their propensity for eschewing trappings of the mundane world.  This rejection was based on their belief that the physical world and their incarnation in it was not a creation of God but rather a creation of Satan. In adopting this belief, the dedicated Cathars, known as Parfaits, not only rejected the idea of procreation, but they also did not partake in the consumption of any food which was a result of procreation.  As material acquisitions for their own needs were kept to a bare minimum, it begs the question, ‘how did the legend of a Cathar Treasure arise’?  

Among the various authoritative resources on the Cathars, author Zoe Oldenburg, tells us that by the end of the twelfth century, the Cathar movement of the Languedoc had amassed a considerable fortune.  To begin with, the majority of Parfaits were men of substance who turned over their property to the church.  In addition, there were also credentes, ‘rank and file’ members, who left legacies of their entire fortunes to the church. And, while living, many credentes made generous donations of cash, land, houses and even chateaux.  While the Parfaits never broke their vow of poverty according to Oldenburg, they accepted all donations which were then put to the best use in the interests of the church.

 As a Community, the Cathars were known for providing support to the poor and those in need in the cities and surrounding countryside.  They maintained communes which incorporated schools, monasteries and hospitals.  Furthermore they founded working craft guilds, particularly in the art of weaving which not only provided product but also functioned as an educational training ground for the young and ‘novitiates.’ 

While such amassing of property and goods certainly would be considered a ‘treasure,’ and references to ‘The Cathar Treasure’ often imply that it was something of far more importance and legend such as the Holy Grail… which of course has never been found.  Speculative circumstances surrounding the Treasure’s disappearance often tell of it having been hidden some two months prior to the fiery execution. Possessing the secret of the Treasure’s hiding place, three Parfaits and another man, possibly a mountain guide, escaped the flames on the night of March 16 by repelling down the side of Montsegur’s pog.   The men then hid in caves protecting the secret and were never discovered.

 Oldenburg surmises that the Cathar cache consisted of goods for trading as well as gold and silver coins; this certainly makes sense given the atmosphere of persecution and brutality of the times.  However, perhaps even more precious to the Cathars was that for them, the Treasure consisted of their most sacred books and writings which were critical in helping maintain allegiance to their dogma and tradition.  This possibility makes even more sense as literature in the early middle ages onward, was considered as precious as gold in many cases.  Whatever the truth is, to this day the location and substance of the Cathars’ Treasure remains a mystery.  However, legends and myths die hard and certainly this one has much life left in it.

Montsegur-3,400 ft up from parking lot

THE CURRENT REMAINS OF MONTSEGUR

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RENDERING OF MONTSEGUR IN 1244 AT TIME OF THE FIRE

PHOTOGRAPHY©GAYE F. MACK, INC.

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WHAT OR WHO WAS BEHIND GLASTONBURY ABBEY’S GREAT FIRE OF 1184?

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Ancient Legends of Great Britain, Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Writer's Work Leave a comment

The Great Fire of 1184, which all but destroyed Britain’s oldest site of Christianity,Glastonbury Abbey,  is legendary.  For 900 years, myth and speculation have flourished as to the cause of this catastrophic event.  The majority speculation put forth by historians is that unusual winds on the morning of May 25, 1184 were responsible, causing an entry curtain to the ‘Holy of Holies’ in the ‘Ecclesia Vestuta’ (old church) to catch fire from burning candles.  Regardless of the cause, the initial sparks of flame combined with the high winds took the famous abbey to the ground in a matter of hours; it’s precious documents destroyed along with its treasures melted by heat and countless graves of monks, abbots and saints.

 However, when I was researching this event for my historical mystery, ‘A Conspiracy of Ravens’, I discovered Adam of Damerham.  Adam was a 12th century monk who wrote a history of the abbey and where the Glastonbury fire is concerned, Adam had an entirely different theory as to its cause.   Following the death of the beloved Abbot Robert in 1178, King Henry II assigned the position of ‘Custodian’ to Peter D’Marcya Cluniac monk who had some kind of relationship to Henry.  Despite the desires of the Glastonbury monks for Henry to name a proper abbot, the king stalled.  With no abbot in place it gave the wily monarch direct access to Glastonbury’s wealthy treasury, a resource which Henry needed to finance his wars with the French. Thus, as a compromise, he named D’Marcy to oversee the Glastonbury community.

 Unfortunately Peter proved to be very unpopular for a variety of reasons.  He nearly drove the abbey into the ground financially, was relentlessly diabolical in his scheming to manipulate his way to the abbot’s chair, not to mention suspicions that Peter  ‘compressed’ (as in eliminated) certain monks who were obstacles to achieving this goal. As an interim solution and effort to appease the monks, Henry then appointed Hugh of Avalon(who would later become Hugh of Lincoln, the most revered saint after Becket) to ‘supervise’ D’Marcy.  Things did not go well with this arrangement either.

 By December of 1183, the hatred of D’Marcy was beyond rampant. Further to his other machinations, Peter lusted after the secret behind the zodiacal floor in the abbey’s ‘Holy of Holies, believed to contain Christianity’s deepest mystical mysteries.  In one final scheme to endear the monks to his cause of obtaining the ‘abbot’s chair’, D’Marcy, his mental state now suspect, planned a ‘faux mass’ on Christmas Eve in the ‘Ecclesia Vestuta.’  This blasphemous act was the last straw with the Glastonbury community and one can only imagine how the monks reacted.   Adam of Damerham speculates that in retaliation,  D’Marcy set fire to the abbey.  Interestingly, historians note that while he survived the fire, shortly afterwards D’Marcy died from ‘unknown causes.’

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REMAINS OF THE GREAT ABBEY AT GLASTONBURY

Photograpy©Gaye F. Mack, Inc.

A Conspiracy of Ravens is the second book in my trilogy, ‘Flight Through Time’, represented by Peter Miller, Global Lion Literary Management. ‘A Flight of Doves’ is now in production 

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AS MERCURY GOES DIRECT, WARRIOR MARS RETREATS-RIDE THE WAVE WITH DR. BACH’S CERATO AND HOLLY

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology Leave a comment

Astrologically speaking, 2014 is starting off with a bang, so much so that it’s hard to keep one’s bearings.  Among the more recent events, the brief but nevertheless intense square, mid January between Venus and Mars reappears again just as Mars retrogrades in Libra, March 1st on the heels of Mercury going direct in Aquarius.  

As with all things in the Universe, there are multiple layers of meanings expressed through outward events such as these astrological configurations.  But in order to take full advantage of these planetary energies and their metaphorical meanings through the evolutionary lens, we need to dive deeper within ourselves.  As I’ve written in previous posts, any time a planet ‘appears’ to be moving backwards in the sky, there’s the expressed opportunity for us to go within, examine and consider where and how we need to move forward for our own growth.  

EVERYONE jokes about Mercury going retrograde as it does three times a year, portending computer failures, messages being garbled or lost, the sudden appearance of foot in mouth disease along with a host of other communication malfunctions.  Some of our experiences are funny wherein we can only laugh, others not so much, like when you’re directed to the wrong gate and miss your flight! When Mercury backs up, the Universe is suggesting that we closely examine our ways of thinking, listening and expressing…it’s as if the pause button has been hit in order for us to revisit our ways of and interactions with, communication.  Where we need to switch to a different channel that supports us moving forward?  Fortunately we still have time here, as Mercury remains in retrograde mode until the end of this month when it slowly changes course and begins to move forward.  

Mars, the god of war, can be a nasty guy when he shows up in his guise as ‘a trickster.’  Aggressive, even vindictive with an intensity of having to be right; that’s the moderate portrait…no need here to detail what the escalating profile looks like; we witness it daily on the news.  But what about when Mars is a teacher for us, especially when he starts moving backwards?  It’s in this mode that Mars’ agenda is to help us develop courage so that we may manifest our greatest potential on our evolutionary path.  Growth takes courage because it demands that we move out of our comfort zone, take the leap of faith, go into territories that are totally unfamiliar.  In this mode we all become Captain Kirks at the helm of the Star Ship Enterprise.  In order to navigate these arenas of communication and courage we need supportive tools and of course within easy reach are two of Dr. Bach’s famous flower remedies, Cerato and Holly.

Like all of Bach’s remedies, Cerato can re-balance temporary or situational mood states but also as with all of the remedies, Cerato has deeper applications.  Cerato is particularly paired to communication and therefore Mercury in this sense.   When Mercury behaves as a trickster, we distrust our innate wisdom, which totally defeats the purpose of the ‘pause to go within.’  As a result, we question what our intuition is trying to tell us, we ask everyone what we ‘should do’, rather than trusting our own knowingDuring Mercury’s retrograde motion where the message is really to quiet the mind and mouth, Dr. Bach’s Cerato can act as a catalyst, shifting our perspective from the external to the internal.  So if we are prone to distrusting our own Divine wisdom, Cerato’s energy will support us in our effort to embrace the wisdom that’s ours and learn to trust it.

In the broad sense, Holly is about dealing with aggression, jealousy, envy,  greed and rage.  Such emotions are very much in the spirit of Mars as a trickster driven by fear at the core.  As a remedy, Holly’s life force, prana, Qi, vibration,  softens this perception by helping us to step back where we can reinterpret the reality around us and at the same time support us with a feeling of safety.  When this happens we develop the courage to open our heart center, step out of the box and move forward in our evolution!

 Cerato
DR. BACH’S CERATO

HollyDR. BACH’S HOLLY

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THE SECOND SATURN RETURN-TIME TO TAKE STOCK OF WHAT HAS BEEN, WHAT CAN BE

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology, Uncategorized, Writer's Work Leave a comment

It’s my great pleasure to welcome back Dr. Judy Tsafrir, holistic psychiatrist and Evolutionary Astrologer.  Judy’s thoughts on the second Saturn return within the cycle of life offers a wonderful perspective on the importance of  this energy through the years of what is life’s final trimester for most of us. In traditional astrology, Saturn has always been viewed as a ‘malefic’–the harbinger of dire and dark times ahead or for some, depending on where he sits in the natal chart, a deep hole you might just never get out of.  However in  Evolutionary Astrology we can look at Saturn’s psychological energy as an important teacher; an influence meant to assist us in manifesting our greatest good.  Sometimes the lessons come hard, sometimes Saturn trips us up;  but at the end of the day there is always the intentional goal of pushing us along on our Soul’s evolutionary path. Much like Pluto’s transits in some ways, Saturn’s transits across our chart will not be ignored; one way or the other he makes his presence known.   The key is for us to be aware of when, where and how best we can navigate these cycles.   So for further insights on this subject, I bow to Dr. Tsafrir’s excellent perspective! 

Cycles are at the heart of the human experience. In New England the seasons change dramatically and rapidly, yet seamlessly blend into one another. Similarly seasons define the developmental process of our lives; infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, the middle years, the elder years, culminating in death of the physical body. Each epoch unfolds predictably, sequentially and inexorably unless interrupted prematurely. And each is characterized by certain stage specific maturational tasks and experiences. The Sun, Moon and planets all have their cycles too. We are familiar with the Moon’s orbit around the Earth; 29 days or a month. The Earth’s orbit around the Sun; 365 days or a year. But all the other planets have their own periodicity as well. Saturn takes approximately 29 years to travel around the Sun and arrive back at the exact point it was when you were born. The average human life span can be divided by the Saturn cycle into three stages, birth to 29, 29 to 58 and 58 until 87 or death.

All of the planets are linked with particular archetypal aspects of human experience. Saturn is thematically linked with time and maturation, credibility, experience and the wisdom of the elders, responsibility, duty, authority and alignment with universal laws. Many patients appear in my practice when they are 28 or 29 years old, at the time of their first Saturn Return. It’s a time when many young people feel an urgent need to figure something out about their lives. In our culture there is acceptance that a 24 or 25 year old may still be searching, perhaps feeling a bit lost, still experimenting. But when they reach 28 or 29, it is no longer as appropriate to feel so uncertain and undecided about partnership, children, career or direction. There is a developmental pressure at that time to finally leave childhood behind and become a responsible adult and contributing member of society. Similarly at the Second Saturn return the developmental pressure is felt again. This time it is linked with an awareness of mortality. Saturn slows you down and forces you to take a long hard look at reality. How much time do you have left? How do you want to spend it? There really is no time left for procrastinating, otherwise time will be up and those books will never be written or paintings painted. Ironically as time the remaining time diminishes, subjectively it passes with ever increasing speed.

The Second Saturn Return is a time of life review and soul searching. How did you get here? Is this really where you want to be? Often it represents a cross roads of sorts, and an opportunity to deal at last with unfinished business. Sometimes this means getting rid of people, jobs and situations that no longer fit who you are or want to be. There is a taking stock that can culminate in a kind of purging and reordering of your life. This death of the old way of doing things can be painful, but subsequently there is often a feeling of relief and gratitude that you are no longer stuck in circumstances that no longer served you. Saturn is also known as the Lord of Karma or Lord of the Harvest. You will reap what you sowed. It is a time when hard work will be rewarded, but if there has been neglect or carelessness, the natural consequences will not be able to be avoided. Saturn asks you to claim your authority, to step up to the plate. It is inappropriate to wait for someone else to do it.

In my own case, I am 57 years old and just on the cusp of my Second Saturn Return. I am thinking about letting my hair go grey. There is less of an investment in vanity and more in spiritual wisdom. I am accepting invitations to do public speaking, even though it makes me want to cry and throw up. It feels more important to share my thoughts and make my contribution, than to give into shyness at this late date. I am writing about Astrology, even though there are few subjects in our culture more generally viewed with contempt. But Saturn is asking me to make a contribution and give voice to what I believe is true, and to write about what is important to me and on my mind. I have no idea how Astrology works, but empirically I observe that it does, and it provides an invaluable context for making sense of our experience, guidance for making choices that are most meaningful and a perspective on ourselves and others that promotes compassion and understanding. The Second Saturn return is often not an easy passage, but it is rich with opportunity to re-create our lives in order to have the most meaningful and vibrant remaining years, so that when we are on our death beds looking back, we can sigh and say, “Ah, that was a life well lived.”

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SATURN, YOU OLD DEVIL

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PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE~ EVOLUTIONARY ASTROLOGY’S VALUE & YOUR SOUL GROWTH IN 2014

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology, Uncategorized Leave a comment

 As I’ve discussed in previous posts, the science of Evolutionary Astrology is about transformation. When we study a client’s birth chart through the evolutionary lens  we’re presented with a powerful tool that metaphorically offers a map and compass that reveals our Soul’s unique agenda and pathway for this lifetime. On one hand, this process presents each of us with the opportunity to confront psychological karmic energy using metaphorical scenarios from a distant past that’s in our bones, haunting us at an unconscious level.  In essence this elusive energy is holding us back from personal growth.  Understanding these dynamics in the present offers us the opportunity to create or fashion a future path which supports our intended evolution at the Soul level.  

 Thus, the mission of the Evolutionary Astrologer is to counsel the client as to what went wrong in the distant past, help them understand how they were affected in that lifetime and to discuss possibilities of choice in how to change their script going forward so that they can manifest their ‘Soul’s greatest good.’ True, not all of us are meant to find the cure for catastrophic diseases, eradicate poverty, be on the cover of Time or win a Nobel Prize, but to quote Dr. Edward Bach, “everyone has a job to do,” and more often than not, we can never know how we have affected someone’s life, positively or negatively.

Astrology is ancient, vast and complex.  Used appropriately, it combines the hard science of mathematics with interpretive subjectivity often integrated with skillful intuition. Never about pre-destination it’s grounded in the belief of free will of choice.   This said,  Mary Plum, an editor for The Mountain Astrologer magazine has beautifully stated the scope of Astrology and its practice in her recent blog:

“Sometimes, I become very aware of the complexity and subtlety in the ways we astrologers inhabit this world. This can happen when a non-astrologer friend makes a comment or asks a simple question that somehow requires an intricate response — or, at least, evokes in me a chain of thinking about how to begin to talk about the way I see the planets’ movements and geometries at any particular moment or about any particular subject.

There is, of course, immense variability in how astrologers practice: the methods and techniques we use, the personal philosophies and beliefs that inform our approach, and how we apply our art — that is, to what end are we working? But essentially, we astrologers are living in a shared world of watching and listening to the motions in the celestial sphere, in that charming and olden-times phrase, the vault of the heavens. We know that something is being conveyed or signified by the motions of the planets.” 

Now as we welcome in a new year, we’re given the opportunity to pause and reflect on what has gone before, how it’s affected us and choices we can make going forward.  Wishing all of my readers and clients,  astrological and those who work with the Bach Flower Remedies, a healthy, abundant and fulfilling 2014!

 

 

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          JANUARY 1, 2014~0:01~CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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