On an adventurous day Wendy and Hans took us to the Gorges de Galamus. The country became steadily more mountainous as we travelled south from Limoux into the Pyrenees.
Two wonderful old Cathar castle are built on the craggy mountain tops, Queribus and Peyrepertuse. Queribus was thought to be the last refuge of the Cathars after the massacre at Montsegur in 1244.
We took a spectacular drive through the narrow gorge, not quite as alarming as usual as it was being controlled during the summer as a one-way system. That meant you did not meet any vehicles head to head, thank heavens! Here is lovely video of the road, with music.
The highlight was our climb down to a cleft in the cliffside, to see the Hermitage that has been used as a holy place for many hundreds of years. Early man used the caves, and a religious community has been there since the 7th century.
Inside the main cave we found a chapel, a beautiful pool of water, and light pouring in from a high opening in the rock. There was a wonderful sense of Earth energy rising, meeting the Sky energy descending, Feminine and Masculine meeting in the space of the grotto. However the sense of Feminine was strongest, the Earth Mother filling us with her energy, abundance, tenderness and strength. This is a place to absorb nurturing healing earth energy, very vital and resilient. I felt very deep and full. No wonder hermits chose to be here. Wendy and I made an essence in the cave, and I am sure it will carry some of the enormous blessing we felt there.
Although the chapel is dedicated to the patron saint of travellers, it is Mary who is venerated there, and all the imagery around the walls speaks of her. Roses, paintings, statues, inscriptions. There are mystic symbols hinting at Cathars and Knights Templar, and the cave is very womb-like. The presence of the Divine Feminine pervades all.