While we’re still in January, and I still continue to work on my intentions for the year 2022, I remembered a wish I had last year: to balance my feminine energy.
Although the renewal of my vows from my Solo Wedding in Santorini had already brought me a lot, I was looking to find out more.
And precisely during a very specific course on this topic, I had the opportunity to discover the incredible story of Mary Magdalene.
And after telling you about Paris, where I'm having an incredible stay (follow me on Instagram), I'm taking you to the South of France, to discover the Sainte-Baume cave.
Mary Magdalene also called Mary of Magdala or the Madeleine is an important character of Christianity, she’s also the most present woman in the New Testament.
Disciple of Jesus, she’s the witness of the Passion of Christ and attends his resurrection. In charge of informing the apostles, she became the Apostle of the apostles.
Theories diverge as to whether Mary Magdalene was also Mary of Bethany - the one who poured perfume on Jesus - but also the sinful woman - delivered from 7 demons and converted by Christ.
According to legend, during the persecutions against Christians after the Ascension, she’d have left Galilee (Palestine then) with other disciples, to land at Saintes-Maries de la Mer, in the south of France.
She settled in Marseille for a while, and evangelised the region then, following the divine call, she walked to the cave of Sainte-Baume to live the last 30 years of her life.
And just like her, to be able to access the cave, you have to cross the forest of Sainte-Baume.
Called relic forest because it has remained identical to that present at the end of the Tertiary, it has never been touched by man.
In addition, it’s home to very different plant species from what is usually found in Provence: oaks, beeches, Aleppo pines, yew, holly, maple, lime, mountain ash, fir trees, cedars...
But also, incredible flowers: orchids, narcissus of the poets, violet, broom, Martagon lily, ferns...
A set of 138ha at an average altitude of 2,460ft (750m) rich in very varied fauna and flora.
Crossing it while it wears its fall colours is a delight, and being able to reconnect with Mother Nature in such a setting is a great opportunity.
Of course, I couldn't resist hugging a tree!
On the side of the cliff, the sanctuary appears to us in the middle of the foliage...
Since the 2000s, 8 Dominican friars live there and welcome the 500,000 annual visitors.
But since the 5th century, monks have been guardians of this place, Kings, Queens and Popes coming to worship and pray.
Although looted during the Wars of Religion and destroyed during the French Revolution, the sanctuary was rebuilt in the 19th century and expanded.
Today it’s also a place of pilgrimage for parents who have lost a child.
The view is breathtaking, no wonder why Mary Magdalene found this place perfect for prayer and devotion.
With some emotion, I enter this natural cave which has been dug by erosion.
Much larger than I expected, it extends over 2 levels, the lower level being devoted to the prayer of deceased children.
A platform behind the altar contains the relics of Mary Magdalene.
You feel protected by this rock but in no way confined thanks to the serenity of the place.
And to finish this journey, we climbed to an altitude of 3,600ft (1,100m) to enjoy the incredible view at the top of this 12km long rocky bar, which appeared during the secondary era.
I thank my friend Magali and her aunt for accompanying me on this pilgrimage. It’ll remain an unforgettable memory.
No article next week, I planned lots of visits in Paris to satisfy your curiosity and mine.
Have a brilliant week!
Love & Joy,