Rennes les Bains is a tiny village on the banks of the Sals river, about 20 km from Limoux. I first met the Sals where another tributary joins, a red stream, joining the salty white stream. Wendy and I made an essence in the water that swirled around at the confluence, salt and fresh, red and white, masculine and feminine energies blending to create a strong, clear calm energy, centered and settled. Trout hung in the stream, scarcely moving, water flowing around them in vortices. Where my bottle rested tiny leaves hugged the edge of the stones, bubbles and leaves circling as the waters mixed, and a water strider stood confidently, two legs on a leaf, the other two on the water surface.
We drove on to the village, tall hotels and spas clinging to the banks, a new thermal baths, and the old roman baths now closed. People still come today for the warm healing waters.
Nearby a path winds up the hillside into a patch of vibrant forest. The sign says “Devil’s Armchair” and I have to laugh.
The old pre-Christian sacred places have all been renamed to cast them in a bad light. We know it is somewhere worth visiting if it is now named after the Devil! It is not far, and we take care to enter thoughtfully, respectfully. Long ago people cared enough about this place to carve seats into two large granite boulders, and to honour a spring flowing from the hillside. It would have been a place for ceremony, for celebration, for acknowledging nature. There are three seats, the first over a small pool. A spring drips into a round rock basin, then trickles in a narrow channel through an opening into the pool. We see the whole, the male and the female here. I placed two quartz crystals in the water, and sat quietly.
We took turns, moving from seat to seat, our own process unfolding and continuing in each place. The village bell rang at intervals, and thunder growled and rumbled overhead. Coming down again we felt refreshed and revitalized.
To complete the day we drove to the free hot baths, stripping off by the river, clambering across the stoney causeway, to rest in a pool filled with ever-flowing hot water. In our turn we climbed up under the spout, a torrent of hot water massaging and pummeling our skin. Three of us together created a lot of splashing and laughter, even amongst the few others waiting their turn. The water was so good that I still have not showered, my skin and hair feel terrific!