By Karen Jarldane and Dominique Susani
Let’s go visit Rocamadour, Dominique proposed to me.
I have no idea it was close to us so, of course I said yes! I love to travel and am always up for adventures. I knew Rocamadour had a black Madonna and I have wanted to see an actual one for years, and here was my chance! Dominique and I had no big expectations about our planned visit there, for me there was some curiosity about if there were any energetic points the Black Madonna was associated with. Through the years I have learned a lot about the Art of the Master Builders and how to decode sacred sites, so it would be fun to see what was there. All Dominique knew was that some Knights were associated with the place along with Black Madonna.
Rocamadour is small walled medieval town built on a cliff overlooking the river Alzou. It is a beautiful place with amazing views of the valley and surrounding Causses plateau. It has been a major pilgrimage site in France for the last 1000 years. It is second only to Mont St. Michel and today around 1 million people visit it. But the first time we visited was in February and the place was deserted, with only a few pilgrims wandering around and only one shop open selling trinkets.
Rocamadour first became famous when a body was found in a rock shelter that wasn’t decomposed. During the middle ages, anytime this sort of thing happened they automatically considered the body to be a saint. A story was needed to explain how such an amazing thing happened, because we all know bodies usually decompose. One story was told about a hermit named St Amadour who lived and died there, and was found years, perhaps centuries after his death. This story also explained how Rocamadour received its name; since he was found in the rocks, the place eventually became called Roc amadour. There are other stories, of course, connecting the place to people associated with Jesus and to top it off and the carving of the famous Madonna was found in the arms of our mysterious hermit, So voilà miracles starting happening and this good news was spread near and far.
As we stepped inside the Chapel of the Black Madonna, we saw a few people were communing with her, perhaps asking for a miracle or her blessings for their lives. She sits on the altar high above us at the far end of the chapel. We took some photos and tried to feel the energies near her.
Next, we walked into Saint Sauveur Basilica. It has an interesting setup with 2 big columns dominating the center that strangely line up with the main altar. As we walked around, Dominique noticed a stone cross on the floor in front of the altar and stood in the middle of it to feel if there was any interesting energy there.
Part of how we decode sacred sites in the Master Builder tradition is to feel in our bodies what kind of energy is revealed at key locations. Once you are trained to feel these energies, it is easier to figure out what the builders were doing when they built their church, temple, etc.
I went over to feel the spot and the connection between the cosmos and earth was very strong. It opened up all my energy centers and Dominique said, if I had stood there long enough, my sixth chakra and my intuitive sight would have opened up even more. It was a very unexpected place for us to find at Rocamadour, because of the dominance of the Black Madonna here.
We decided to return to Rocamadour, because rarely on the first visit, do you figure everything out. We needed to find the church plan, take measurements, dowse for the underground energies, and draw the mandala of the place to see what energies were used to build there and we weren’t prepared to do this during our first visit.
Some of our discoveries involve the Templars and how they left their mark at Rocamadour. They built some of the structures of Rocamadour and we will dive into the solar geometry and the mandala of the place that left us clues in the Chapel of our Lady and the St Sauveur Basilica. One of their characteristic design elements was the octagon and in the next couple blogs we will show you how they employed it in their buildings! The Templars also had a strong relationship with the Black Madonna based on this story of winning the Battle of Navas de Tolosa in Spain in 1212.
The Templars brought the power and the presence of the Black Madonna of Rocamadour herself into battle and to help the Christians led by Alfonso VIII beat the Saracen troops of Muhammad an-Nasir. At the end of the battle the crusaders gathered with Archbishop of Toledo who began a Te Deum in thanksgiving to God and Our Lady of Rocamadour for the miraculous intervention that was needed for the success and victory of the battle. This important ceremony sealed the Black Madonna’s reputation and ability to perform miracles and gives us a clue to the close relationship between the Templar Knights and the Virgin of Rocamadour.
Before we get into Dominique’s analysis of the geometry of the basilica and the chapel, there is an important thing to note about the Templar Master Builders. They loved to work with the octagon and it was their characteristic design signature for their churches and other structures. During the crusades, the Templars learned many things from the Muslims in Palestine including advanced building techniques, mathematics, astronomy, and more. But for us it is interesting to note they learned how employ the octagon in building and other designs. The historical irony of this was it was also one of the major polygons used by the Muslims and much of the Templar’s time was spent fighting them!
Octagons in the Master Builder tradition are connected to the mother and father squares in the mandala and when used together, are balanced masculine and feminine energy. Rocamadour was built using this energy of harmony and balance. Another element was used to bring this element of harmony into the buildings. it is a simple orientation and you can see that in the Chapel of Our Lady and the Basilica, both oriented to the east and are in alignment with the equinox energy. Equinoxes hold the energy of balance in designs because it is the time of year when we have both equal day and night.
Sacred sites are designed with a combination of powerful earth energies that are consciously connected to the pattern or mandala of the cosmos. This gives power and healing energy to all the structures and distinguishes them from the profane.
The Templar builders were masters of using this form of sacred geometry and their design of the Basilica is unique, perhaps because of the space limitations of the cliff they had to deal with. They followed the traditional pattern of a basilica, first designed by the Romans, but using instead of having the side chapels on either side of the altar on the outside of the basilica, the builders placed them inside, making the interior fit perfectly with the solar rectangle (solsticial quadrilateral) of Rocamadour.
This rectangular shape is the basic shape used by all Master Builders around the world because it connects to the solstice sunrises and sunsets throughout the year. It is specific to each place on earth because the sun is in a different position in the sky at different latitudes. It was common to use this shape because it connects the sacred site to the energies of the cosmos giving more power and healing energy to the structures.
Combining rhythms marked by the solar and lunar rectangles we establish the connection between the earth and sky and we create a sacred space. Sacred because it is the only space where the rhythm of the cosmos is manifested on earth. This creates a harmonious structure for the development of all life and spirituality.
Next week, we will explore how Rocamadour is connected to a famous Goddess site and latitude and how underground energies power the chapel and the basilica! Be sure to sign up on the right to receive the blog in your inbox so you don’t miss any of the fascinating details!!
We would love to hear of your experiences at Rocamadour. Please leave us comments below!
Karen and Dominique
Hungry for more? Join us in France this October! We are exploring the power of sacred sites and experiencing lots of energetic places and Rocamadour is on our list of places to visit!!!
During our classes, intensives and workshops, we create different solsticial quadrilaterals on the earth, so our students can feel these energies. Different latitudes have different qualities of energies and you can learn to feel these differences, which are an important part of decoding sacred sites and learning the Art of the Master Builders.
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