Candlemass in Marseilles


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From the Book “A Mystic’s Journey to the Sacred Sites Of France”

By Raylene Abbott

I would like to add to my stories the events of our visit to Marseilles last year. We and I were on the train to Cannes in Southern France. We had a few hours stop over in Marseilles and this allowed us a little time for  sightseeing.
This was my first trip to Southern France and I had no guidebooks to know where I was going. Olivier went to the tourist information center and we found a pamphlet about the churches in the area. The main church was the Basilica of Notre-Dame. It was of Roman-Byzantine style. It had been built on another smaller chapel from the 13th century. The work on the bigger basilica was completed in 1899.This church could be seen towering above Marseilles. It was built on the highest point of the city.

But it was not this church that caught my eye, as I was reviewing the tourist pamphlet. There was another church that celebrated Candlemas with a ceremony of green candles and the baking of bread. The bread offerings were called Navettes. It went on to explain that every February 2 the church of St. Victor’s did a procession from the crypt of the church with green candles along the pilgrimage trail to the Basilica up the hill. The ancient bread making was made in the memory of the saints of the Provence arriving in the land of Gaul. The Navettes were baked in the shape of little boats. This was all that the pamphlet said.

Well, I put two and two together: the green candles at Candle mass were used as an ancient pagan fertility celebration, welcoming the first signs of spring and the greening of plants. The Provence saints that were not mentioned by name were Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome, Mary the mother of James, and Saint Sara the black Egyptian. Mary Magdalene was always an embarrassment to the church and I noticed it is rare to even find a holy card of her when I was visiting the Cathedrals even though they have many other saints.

I made my mind up right then and there: this was where we were going and I pulled Olivier and Andreas along with me. It was the beginning of summer and it was very hot. We found our way as we walked through the streets.

We came to St. Victors where a class was taught to a group of children. They were charging people a few euros to go down into the crypt. So I paid the price and went through the heavy wooden door. The crypt was under reconstruction, but as I walked around a large pillar there was the Black Madonna of Marseilles. We sat there in her silence. This church was built in 416 and was the tomb of different martyrs including St. Maurice.
What seemed to draw me was an archway to my right side. I got up from where I was sitting and made my way through the womb-shaped doorway. There I found a powerful stone-relief on the wall before me. It was Mary Magdalene. But it was even more interesting to find that green algae was alive and growing from the floor of the crypt all around her image. The algae took the shape of a green dragon that covered the Magdalene’s back and her hair. The greening fertility power of the Earth was alive and had merged with the cool stone through the Magdalene’s image.
Green is one of the colors of Isis in her form of the Fertility Goddess, who brings fertility to the River Nile. The little boats of bread, called Navettes, were an even older tradition than the Saints of Provence. They dated back to ancient Egypt where they were used as bread offerings of the Boat of Isis.

I sat down on a large rock that looked older than time, and marveled at what I was experiencing. The earth power was surging beneath me. I needed to look at what I was sitting on. It was a rock shaped like the head of a dragon! He even had teeth and was grinning at me with his stone smile. This was a natural rock, not carved or shaped by the hands of man.
So here I was sitting on the head of the dragon, deep in the womb of the crypt. I was looking at the Magdalene with a green little green dragon dancing up her back. Now that represents what I call Kundalini awakening, Mother Earth style. This place was older then Christianity. This was a pagan site that saw the continuation of its ancient rituals in Christian disguise.

We came out of the crypt and entered the light of day. We started to walk through the winding streets, following a Pilgrimage trail to the main Cathedral to Our Lady. As we got closer to the town’s main path it became steeper and very rocky. I started to see dragon shapes in the rocks along the path as we climbed up to the Cathedral. I looked down the hill in the direction of Saint Victor and I realized the Ley-Lines started in the crypt within the Magdalene shrine, and wound through the streets of the city and hit its peak on the highest point of the city, where the basilica was built.

The belfry rose up 60 meters above the church itself and was crowned by a golden statue of Mary. We had walked the dragon Ley-Lines from the womb to the crown chakra. The view from this church was breathtaking! You could see why Marseilles was a favorite port and trading center for sailors. The mountains were on both sides and in the back. The seaport was in front. It was a protected port. I looked deeper into the mountain ridges before me and I realized there were dragon ridges surrounding the city on three sides. They spiraled through the city to the central high point where I was standing. This was Feng Shui at its best.
This was my introduction to the many dragons that are in the Provence. Dragon Energy equals Fertility Energy. Discovering that Southern France is filled with dragon power did not come as a surprise to me.
Here we have the world’s best lavender fields, olive groves, citrus, herbs and foods that have a flavor that cannot compare to any other in the world. In France the best perfumed essential oils are grown and made. Why? Because the Earth has power here and the minerals bring that quality into both food and scents.

The city of ancient Marseilles had incorporated the Ley-Lines into their Sacred Architecture. I looked from at panoramic view with awe.
If you would like to try your hand at making Navettes here is a website with the recipe.

http://www.theworldwidegourmet.com/recipes/navettes-de-saint-victor/

Directions: St. Victor’s is located 3 Rue de l’Abbaye
Marseille 13007 France

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Categories: Divine Feminine, Sacred PlacesTags: , , ,

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