Limoux has very grand churches. St Martin’s church already existed in 982, and in 1263 the nuns of Prouilhe undertook to have it enlarged. When the fortified bridge was built in XIVth century new areas of the church were built, and it was renovated at the end of the XIXth century. The windows are most remarkable, and of course the brochure about the church makes no mention of them at all.
High on each side wall of the nave (which is 75m long) there are seven Star of David windows, perhaps reminiscent of a Jewish community in the south of France long ago. You can walk along the aisle stepping from one sunshine star to another when the light is right….. balancing your chakras?
The most intriguing windows are at the end of the nave, where one set of three tall windows tell a story about women.
The middle window shows Jesus and Mary Magdalene crowned and dressed identically, sitting on thrones. Beneath them there are many women with halos, gathering together. The side windows are also populated by women with halos, spiritually advanced women, initiates, wise women. The only men who appear are huddled together whispering, attacking the women, either with spear or with fire. Could this be a story about women being demoted from the equal position in which Jesus recognised them? A story about the repression of the Divine feminine? It ties in well with one legend, of Mary Magdalene and her friends coming to the south of France from Jerusalem, and teaching the same teachings as Jesus. These were not acceptable to the male hierarchy of the church, so over the centuries the heresies that have arisen in this region were fiercely eliminated … for example the Cathars. The Inquisition helped to eliminate any wrong thinking amongst the population. However today many people here in the Languedoc still identify themselves as Cathars. And these curious and hopeful signs and symbols still exist in their churches. When women and femininity are accepted and honoured equally with men and masculinity our world will have more chance of peace, health and restoration.