White Ladies in Cathar Country
Published 7th May 2015
Front and back covers
Have you ever had the feeling; "I can feel her but she's nowhere in sight?" (That's a quote from the song "Witchy Woman.") That is what Val feels when she visits so many places in the Corbières and Ariège regions. She was here, she was here!
Who were the White Ladies of legend in the remote mountain strongholds of the Corbières and Ariège? We sometimes have glimpses of them, when we find for example, echos of a matriarchal past, or ancient folk legends of ladies dressed in white, or ghosts on castle ramparts, howling into the wild wind.
Were these stories just pagan nonsense of an illiterate people? Or was there something else, deeper and more mysterious, going on?
Val decided to find out, which meant two years of research and exploration, all very "off-the-beaten-track." Those distant valleys behind the mountains truly hide the secrets of a spiritual past little dreamed of. It's an area where women were rarely downtrodden by a patriarchal society and where goddess worship reigned supreme. It was a time when religion was not a thing apart from everyday life, but a time when all was one and there was no difference between the world of the visible and the world of the invisible . . .
The White Ladies live near water, the energy and spirit of water being feminine or, less frequently, underground, for the caves and grottos represent the eternally safe mother's womb. Water and earth, both deep, both profound, both the basis of a fascinating countryside where mysticism is only a step away.
"La dame blanche" they say, the white lady, or "Notre Dame" which means Our Lady. The old legend had changed into a new one . . . and so Val explored the Our Lady churches of Languedoc. Many people have seen "Our Lady" and many have sensed her presence. Mary Magdalene, especially at Rennes-les-Bains, was a white lady.
The White Lady is a concept hard to describe in words. During her research, Val made films, just to hint at her emerging ideas of the goddess, the White Lady. For a 3-minute film of somewhere near Val's home as in the pictures ("I'm trying to communicate my feelings about white ladies," Val says) then click and enjoy here.
The concept of the White Lady, now the book is published, is capturing the imagination of many. Here's another of Gino's pictures; so peaceful!
About the book
It's 220 pages, beautifully illustrated, size 16cm by 23 cm. Most of the chapters are about places to visit with detailed directions. Then there's the "fairies" so real we feel we know them, not quite good but not quite bad . . .
The price in the shops at Rennes-le-Château is 14€95. Of course you can buy directly from us but please wait and check this page again, for we have sold out! and are working on a second edition.