Gaye Mack’s Blog

THE MYTH OF THE CATHAR TREASURE

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Ancient Legends of Great Britain, Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Writer's Work 2 Comments

 

History, especially ancient desert and medieval history, abounds with myths and legends such as Hermes and the Philosopher’s Stone, Glastonbury Abbey, the Holy Grail, Merlin, King Arthur and the treasure of the Templars, just to name a few…and then there is the legend of the Cathar Treasure. 

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’?  

According to author and Cathar historian, Zoe Oldenburg, 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,’ 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 of  two hundred-plus Parfaits on March, 1244 at Montseguer. 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.

cave

 Caves with Secrets

 Photography©Gaye F. Mack, Inc.

 

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PLUTO AND BACH FLOWER REMEDIES: SHIFTING OUR PERCEPTION WITH THE HELP OF THESE UNLIKELY BEDFELLOWS

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology, Writer's Work 2 Comments

Sometimes during a reading, an astrologer will make a mildly humorous reference to an approaching (or current) Pluto ‘transit’ in the client’s chart as a way to lighten up the atmosphere.  The quip, “life happens while you were making other plans,” or, “Pluto; the cosmic 2×4,” are good examples.  Regardless, the real purpose of such energy is to get our attention and shove us out of complacency… of course, always for our ‘own good.’  

Astrologically speaking, when Pluto comes calling in your life you can count on the fact that ‘change’ is in the air often accompanied by what feels like Chaos.  Even in non-astrological terms, it goes without saying that Chaos can enter our lives without the help of Plutonian energy.  Either way, we’re getting a message that change in how we are living or our perceptions, need to change in order for us to move forward in our evolution.  This is a tough assignment; human nature doesn’t like change.  Change is scary to most of us because forging into unknown territory can be like playing ‘blind man’s bluff.’  

This said, a significant action of any of the Bach flower remedies is that they support and assist us in the ability to shift our perceptions.  This is particularly true of Bach’s Walnut.’  Dr. Bach spoke of our Soul holding the innate wisdom for each of us…and when we are in a disharmonious emotional state, its as if a ‘fog’ drops over this wisdom. When we’re emotionally distressed our perceptions are ‘off’; we aren’t ‘seeing’ clearly…it’s like trying to see clearly through a dirty window.  The remedies help us to ‘shift’ our perceptions, clean the window so that our vision is cleared.  When this happens, we then have the ability to interpret our external and internal landscapes more realistically.

Like everyone else, I’m experiencing the effects of the on-going Pluto/Uranus square which I’ve written about in previous postings.  While I’m emotionally aware of the impact in my life, I’m also getting the ‘point’ in a very mundane way; its as if the Universe is wanting to make sure that I ‘get it.’  Currently, we’re having a lot of repainting done in our home which has necessitated taking down all of our pictures, moving furniture.  If you’ve ever had painters take over your house you know that the atmosphere is nothing less than ‘chaotic.’  This morning as I was looking at the bare walls in my office, climbing over drop cloths draped over furniture, the light bulb suddenly went on.  Once the walls are finished, there’s nothing that says I have to arrange all of the pictures or furniture exactly as they were before the arrival of the painters.  Instead, I now have an opportunity to make changes in how these things are placed which in turn will give an entirely different feeling to each of the rooms.  Nevertheless, I am hedging my bet so that I ‘stay the course’…I’ve just pulled a bottle of Walnut out of my cabinet!

 

walnut-300x215

 

Dr. Bach’s ‘Walnut’

Photography©Dr. Edward Bach Foundation

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EDWARD BACH’S WATER VIOLET FOR JUNE’S WATERY GRAND TRINE

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

As I write, we’ve just experienced the energetic embrace of Sunday’s incredible ‘SuperMoon’ in Capricorn, illuminated by the watery Cancer Sun.  As with all astrological events and configurations, they symbolize a range of expressions and possibilities, not unlike those a Bach practitioner considers with each of Bach’s 38 flower remedies!  While the powerful ‘shadow’ energy of this full moon reminded us that we must learn to return in favor for acquired status (Capricorn) as well as receive nurturing that’s been denied, (Cancer), there’s more to come.  Today, June 26th, the Sun forms a ‘watery’ Grand Trine with Saturn in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces.

 35 years ago, the famous and well-known Chicago astrologer, Katherine DeJersey explained to me why astrologers ‘jump up and down with great glee’ when they see a ‘Grand Trine’ in a birth chart.  “Traditionally,” she said, “Grand Trines indicate an ‘ease’ in the flow of energy between the three planets and their sign placement- people who have these configurations in their charts seem to always land on their feet.” However, the highly respected astrologer, Noel Tyl cautions us… ‘not so fast.’  Tyl maintains that Grand Trines are a ‘defensive function in the personality;’ but what does this really mean?  As a chart is really about the flow (or not) of energy, in consideration of Grand Trines as a defensive mechanism, Tyl maintains that we’re looking at a form of emotional self-imposed isolation within the Trine’s planetary and elemental framework; ie., fire, earth, air or water.

 If we apply this interpretation to the forthcoming Grand Trine in water, then we’re looking at a self-imposed defense against emotional hurt that basically says, “I don’t need, want your emotional comfort and I certainly am not extending any.”  Thus, with this approaching trine we’re considering the watery energetic symbolism of Saturn in Scorpio (internal retreating to the depths), Sun in Cancer (retreating into the shell) and Neptune in Pisces(escaping into the cosmos)… all wrapped up in the concept of emotional defense.  Such reactions are what bring me to think of Dr. Bach’s Water Violet flower remedy.

 As I wrote in my book, Igniting Soul Fire, Spiritual Dimensions of the Bach Flower Remedies,

“…for the water-violet soul, a facet of their sorrow or grief stems from repeated experiences of betrayal. In their silent grief, the contracted Water Violet comes off as keeping ‘a stiff upper lip’, while appearing detached, prideful, and aloof. The reality is that this behavior is a means of emotional protection. Even in simple friendship, intimacy is a hardship for them. Even more of a challenge is finding a level of comfort in the intimacy of a romantic relationship.  Physically, the contracted emotional state of this soul-type makes its subjects appear rigid and apart from others, as they exude an air of superiority and entitlement.  Water-violet souls have the lesson this lifetime of learning the virtue of joy by sharing their wisdom of experience through participation in the environment that surrounds them. In working through emotional excavation using Water Violet as a remedy, the resulting connection to their feelings brings awareness that detachment is the source of their grief and, what was once good for them—an old defense mechanism that worked—is no longer good for them.”

Thus, with this different perspective on the meaning of the Grand Trine configuration in the heavens, if you’re feeling particularly sensitive to this watery energy and withdrawn, perhaps Dr. Bach’s Water Violet might be just the remedy for you!

SFPage

GRAND TRINE BETWEEN SATURN(SCORPIO), SUN(CANCER) & NEPTUNE(PISCES)

 

water violet

 

DR. BACH’S ‘WATER VIOLET’

Photography ©Dr. Edward Bach Foundation

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EMBRACING THE WISDOM OF OPPOSITIONS IN YOUR BIRTH CHART & IN LIFE WITH DR. BACH’S ‘IMPATIENS’

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

In astrology, birth charts almost always reflect at least one if not several ‘mathematical oppositions‘ between the planets; in other words,they’re placed 180 degrees apart.  Thus the energies between two planets (or sometimes several planets if they are ‘sitting next to each other’) are at first glance, at ‘odds’.   These placements in a birth chart remain constant throughout this lifetime, as do other mathematical relationships between planetary energies such as squares, conjunctions or trines, just to name a few.  What they have in common is that in these relationships, they reflect particular evolutionary challenges or support that we’re meant to work with.  And as with all configurations in our chart, these placements are the Soul’s messengers delivering the syllabus for this lifetime’s Soul agenda.

When seeing one or more oppositions in a chart some traditional astrologers  might sigh and mutter “oh, dear…dear…”  But in evolutionary astrology, we look for the higher expression of the placements; in other words, what are the symbols trying to tell us and how can we best use their energies for our Soul growth? While you might not think so, even with oppositions there’s a ray of sunshine…there is a point of common ground to be had that’s mutually beneficial.  We just have to see it.

Case in point: Sagittarius is on the eternal quest:  what’s the ‘meaning of life’?  Why are we here?  That’s a pretty big question and because Sag is ruled by expansive Jupiter, details are not terribly important…just give the broad stroke of the brush and get to the point… which is why Sagittarians ( or those with significant Sagittarius in their birth chart), can suss out underlying principles faster than a speeding bullet!  

Enter Gemini, the sign opposite Sagittarius in the zodiac.  Gemini is the epitome of ‘curious’… “inquiring minds want toKNOW HOW AND WHY…that’s Gemini.  Gemini ruled by Mercury, is a ‘mind sign’…those Geminis are always thinking and despite their fast minds, they can get mired in ‘wool gathering minutiae’ in trying to decide which train is better to board.  Sagittarius on the other hand says, ‘to hell with that, I’m out of here, I’m just getting on a train and will figure it out later’….So where is the common ground here?  Actually it’s in the middle…both signs have a desire to explore and learn, it’s just that each uses a different methodology.  However in their desire, each is prone to ‘impatience‘ in their search.  

The energy of every opposition in a chart is unique because it depends on the planets and signs involved. Nevertheless, within the nature of oppositions there will be some facet of impatience or agitation involved.  Finding the common ground emotionally is the key to pacifying the energy so that the best of both can be utilized and in this effort, we can call upon Dr. Bach’s ‘impatiens’ flower remedy to help support this process.  

Impatiens was one of Edward Bach’s original ‘Twelve Healers’ and is the one remedy in his 38 flower remedies whose name exactly describes the emotion meant to be addressed; impatience!  The positive action of impatiens (which by the way, is one of the five flower remedies Bach put in his famous ‘Rescue Remedy’) is that it brings about a shift within our perception of calming down and embracing TOLERANCE within ourselves and for others.  

So, when we’re feeling particularly agitated or intolerant within ourselves or with others(!), it’s most likely because one or more oppositions in our natal chart have been activated by a current planetary transit to these  points in our chart.  Nevertheless, Bach’s Impatiens or Rescue Remedy are there for you, you just have to reach out for them!

 

 DR. EDWARD BACH’S IMPATIENS
Impatiens-300x267
Photography©Gaye F. Mack, Inc.

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THE MEDIEVAL CATHARS-ROME’S RATIONALE FOR ITS BRUTAL INQUISITION

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Worth the Read, Writer's Work 4 Comments

The scene is the medieval castle at Montségur in the Languedoc region of southern France.  Here in the spring of 1244, one of the most diabolical massacres was carried out against the Gnostic religious sect known as the Cathars.  History reports that on March 16th after suffering a nine month siege by the Seneschal of Carcassone and the Archbishop of Narbonne, some 200  Cathar men and women were marched out of the castle stronghold  to the field below where they were systematically burned to death as heretics.  Such a scene is nearly unfathomable and begs the question for those unfamiliar with this event, what precipitated such unspeakable brutality by Rome on this peace-loving community?

The Cathar history is a complex one that begins in the late 1100′s with esoteric threads that have spilled into the 21st century.  This is a story that recounts relentless persecution by the Catholic Church, but also it’s  one that is deep, complex and fascinating  with many facets worthy of exploration, including legends surrounding the Holy Grail and an illusive‘Cathar Treasure.’   While the movement is believed to have originated in the Balkans, it spread to other parts of Europe, appearing  in the Languedoc region at  the beginning of the twelfth century…and there it multiplied like wildfire.  

The Cathar philosophy was fairly simple, but clearly heretical.  It was a religion of duality that believed God did not create the mundane world, Christ was never embodied, therefore did not suffer on the cross and certainly baptism with water would not bring salvation.  Furthermore, Catharism believed in reincarnation and honored women equally!  Their only sacrament was the Consolamentuma ritual of baptism by the holy spirit.  There was very little hierarchy in  Cathar clergy  of men and women who were  known as Perfects or Perfecti.  Once a Prefect was ordained with the Consolamentum, he or she then abstained from meat and sexual intercourse.  They did not have a high regard for the temporal world believing it to be a creation of evil but nevertheless, they were known for their skills in the arts of medicine, botany and astrology.  At the end of the day the underlying foundation of their doctrine was one of simplicity and peace and in this spirit, lay Cathars were required to receive the Consolamentum in order to reach salvationoften as they hovered on the brink of death, .

Considering these basic facts, it’s apparent why the Cathars were such a thorn in the side of Rome with their blatant disregard for Rome’s dictatorial belief that its priests were the only means to commune with God, the Church’s trappings, money and control.  Going back as far as 1208, once Rome realized  the Cathars were gaining sympathy amongst the powerful  Languedoc lords, the initial crusade against them was launched and led by Simon de Montfortit was a crusade carried out with overwhelming violence and lack of mercy.  Following de Montfort’s death in 1218,  Pope Honorious III then embarked on a second crusade led by King Louis VIII.  The rest is history, as it’s said.  With the final assault on Montségur in 1244, the Cathar heresy was snuffed out and Rome’s Inquisition launched to bring the surviving believers to heel.

While I’ve read about the Cathars for years, early this fall I’ll be traveling to Cathar country in the Languedoc to take in more of the history as a backdrop for my next historical fiction book, Flight of Doves.  In the meantime, I plan  from time to time, to blog more on this intriguing aspect of esoteric history!

Suggested Readings

There is a great deal of information and books written about the Cathars, ironically much owing to the meticulous records kept by the Inquisition!  However, here are a few of my favorites:

The Great Heresy-Arthur Guirdham, MD

We Are All One-Arthur Guirdham, MD

The Cathar View-The Mysterious Legacy of Montsegur-David Patrick, Ed.

Massacre at Montsegur: A History of the Albigensian Crusade-Zoe Oldenburg

 

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