My final full day at La Sainte Baume I awoke with excitement. However, the night had not been kind to me; I had been kept up by the loud talking and banging of doors by private school teenagers staying at the Hostellerie for an extended school field trip. After 9 PM class ended, the teens liked to play loud American music and laugh and play. Because the Monastery had a policy of quiet hours after 10 PM, which the kids clearly didn’t observe, it made me question why the school found it necessary to bring the kids to the Monastery when most did not care to be there. When, clearly, there were serious spiritual seekers longing to have a peaceful and connected experience. 🙂
That aside, I had a job to do. I gathered my crystals and stones and picked a single poppy for Mary, gently setting it in the folds of my scarf. As I looked up toward the Monastery on the side of the mountain, a heavy mist hung in the air rendering it invisible, and I wondered what Mary had in store for me.
The climb was challenging, I thought maybe it because I had made the trek twice the day before. Either way, I made it to the top and again went directly to my Mary. I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I allowed my intuition to lead the way. I lit a candle and set it before the statue. I took my stones – both from my home in NY and the few granted me from the ancient forest – and ran them over the flame and then touched them to Mary, and finally myself.
I found some paper and wrote a note of gratitude to Our Lady Mary and left it curled up with the poppy beside the statue, comfortably next to the many other notes of respect.
I then sat and prayed and cried feeling filled with love.
Mary spoke to my heart and I knew in that moment my job was done at La Ste Baume. I stood up and reached over to gently touch the statue one last time, when at the exact moment my hand touched her, a drop of water fell from the cavern and landed directly on my Third Eye. “I’ve been ANOINTED!” I nearly screamed out loud. Laughing, I knew Mary had given me this gift.
As I prepared to descend the mountain, I had a feeling of accomplishment and thought had this been the only site I visited in France, my pilgrimage would have been fulfilled.
As fate had it, I was not quite done with La Sainte Baume. At several communal meals I had sat near a luminous woman with bright blonde hair and one blue feather dangling from her ear. Chris was her name and she was an Reiki practitioner and Shaman. As I was walking out the main gate leading to the cave, I saw Chris, walking-stick in hand, wrapped in a deep purple robe. We smiled and finally began a conversation. Chris spoke absolutely no English, but due to our shared passion we were able to communicate deep truths about Mary and the workings of the universe. I left Chris to have her moment with Mary knowing in my soul I had connected with my Kindred Spirit!
Later that afternoon I decided to make the hike to the cave once more, in case there was anything I missed. The atmosphere from the lingering mist gave the cave and it’s surroundings an other-worldly feel. I sat just outside the cave, happy for those last few moments.
The following morning, it was time for me to depart. I brought my books on Mary Magdalene to breakfast in order to show them to Chris and her companion. She and I discussed our personal cosmology and healing modalities. I told her I was able to understand her because she spoke with passion from her heart.
Jean, mother of Marie, had strongly urged me to speak to the Freres about Mary, saying it would give me Grace. Curious to follow her advice, I knew I needed to find a way to do this beyond the way of confession; because I have nothing to confess. I am not a believer in organized guilt.
So, at the end of my stay, my new friend Axel and I asked a Frere about a mysterious pillar at the entrance of the forest, (that appears to be of Free Masonry origin). He explained that they don’t know where the pillar came from but that many people come to Sainte Baume for several reasons: to pray to Mother Earth, to pray to a Feminine Sacre, to leave gratitude for the woman closest to Christ. I told him I thought that it was beautiful that they accept all people and all beliefs at the Hostellerie. And above all, I felt, that the driving principle behind Mary Magdalene is Love. And he countered, “But what is love?” Without thought, I responded, “God. God is love.” And he told me that it is a point of research for people, to meditate and pray on the meaning of Love.
With that, I packed up and left the Hostellerie. Excited to reacquaint myself with my English-accented GPS guide, I set the route for St Maximin-de-la-St Baume to set eyes upon the supposed relics of Mary Magdalene.
END NOTE: Of course there were MANY others along this path to La Ste Baume that went unmentioned in my blog. Like Sapine, the Austrian energy worker and spiritual seeker, or the three older fellows who invited me for a drink and insisted on shooting the shit with me “en Franglais.” Or the two women who taught me how to say, “Je veux une chambre au calme.” Or the two reiki practitioners who taught me how “practical France has become, to even consider using Reiki in a hospital setting is unthinkable.” Or Axel, the German physicist with an interest in the Magdalene legends. And the countless others whose very presence made Mary come alive at that quiet outpost of La Ste Baume.