Dear Melania, who I met in Costa Rica, had asked me to come to see her if I ever visited Europe. When it came time to make my plans, however, she told me that she and her family were being forced to leave their home because the owner had decided to take it over, so if I came it would have to be for a short and restricted period of time. I arrived at the Munich aeroport therefore expecting a short visit with Melania and her family, and hoping I was not going to be too much in the way of their packing and moving. Instead, she met me with roses, chocolate (the most delicious I have ever tasted in my life – seriously…), and the announcement that not only did they no longer have to move out of their home, but that there was a long list of her friends and clients waiting for individual sessions. I was graciously offered the use of her workspace next to their home in the country about an hour outside of Munich, and for 2 ½ days had the honour of connecting with one beautiful being after another…. I left with a heart full of gratitude and the promise to return….
In the Munich and Berlin airports, serious, detached grey and black suits sat with prudent alertness until called to form neat lines and board the plane in an orderly manner. Paris Orly was another planet; emotional and material chaos held free reign….Would that taxi driver actually end up hitting the man standing an inch from his nose? Was that couple really arguing or was that just the way they always spoke to each other? The atmosphere seemed that of volatile, violent passion….
Sophie had reserved me a room within spitting distance of the Arche de Triomphe, in a European-style hotel that advertised its charm and kept its word. When I extended my stay because I had more work than anticipated, I was moved to a “sister” hotel (actually run by the woman of the couple that owns both hotels) that gave me the creeps the minute I walked in. None of the electrical appliances worked, the décor was aggressively modern – I mean aggressive to the extent of there being a painting over the bed of the jagged black outline of a woman’s body with a red “X”…. I was later told (by an exiled Iranian professor driving a cab) that the building next to the hotel was widely known to have been a Nazi torture centre where “experiments” were done… I did my best to clear what I could of this violent imprint, and slept better for my efforts.
I didn’t see a lot of Paris – as with most places I have been for the first time, I mostly see the four walls of the rooms I am working in. I did get a walk one evening around Montmartre, an evening meal (they eat SO late!) at the restaurant on the roof of the Centre Georges Pompidou, lunch and a quick glimpse of the Lanvin boutique near the Louvre, and a really lovely meal in a small restaurant across from the first hotel – La Cave Lanrezac. I must say that, contrary to Parisians’ reputation for surliness, I met mostly kind and helpful people behind counters of all kinds…
It is true that I mostly worked with people in the fashion and entertainment industries – I am tempted to say “trapped” in this work – but the whole of Paris seemed to vibrate with a seething energy of sexuality and desperation. Image, appearance, connections – women being consumed and spit out by a machine well aware that more fodder is panting and ready; men with pride of power, especially the power of their approval and desire…..
Yes, it can be sweet to hear “Que vous êtes magnifique!” as you walk down the street, but this was somehow counterbalanced for me by the fact that 95% of the people I worked with had had plastic surgery of some kind. Men and women alike were obsessed with their weight. It was during my time here that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, or DSK, as he is called in France, was arrested in New York. No one could talk of anything else but this very public unraveling of a man of power for his sexual addiction, as it seemed to be diagnosed in France. “The poor man should be treated as any other ill person” seemed to be the consensus – I heard no mention of his being a natural extension of the culture and society I saw around me. I found myself wondering what would have happened had JFK (interesting…) been alive today with his peccadilloes intact….
In the midst of the extended stay in Paris, I took the EuroStar train through the Chunnel to visit Niven Sinclair, wanting to see with my own eyes that he was indeed well (my friend is a very young 87), and to recount our “Sinclair adventures” to him face to face. A serendipitous encounter with softly shining Charlotte on the train to Haselmere resulted in my being invited to their family farm – the former hunting lodge of Charles II – to see what I could feel there…. More beautiful people, serving the Land and the spirit of Oneness, struggling to keep their vision and intentions clear. Almost unbelievably, to my N.American frame of reference, the Lord (I forget – maybe he’s a Duke or a Count or something like that) of that particular area still owns the land – Charlotte’s family has a 3-generation lease on it. Her father renewed the derelict buildings and made a thriving dairy farm out of virtually nothing – and then the Lord’s management team decided that the property was looking juicy enough to take back! They can still DO that ! Aristocratic hierarchy is still archaically present in the English society and mentality – not like the N. American capitalistic hierarchy, where it’s the height of your pile of possessions that determines your status, but resonating more with the Hindu bloodline caste system…. There are obvious sidetracks to follow here, but I shall resist the temptation….
Passing for a day through Paris once again, I then took the TGV (“very fast train”) from Paris to Nice. The train was packed and a-buzz with the Cannes Film Festival, which somehow I had not known was taking place at the time! I stayed once again with my friend Tim Wallace-Murphy in the little community of the Nall Art Association in Vence (classic, photogenic Provence: fines herbes et beaux arts) and doing a few sessions in Nice at the haute couture spa of the beautiful Léa, right across from the Chanel boutique at 7, rue Paradis ! Though my intention had been to stay put and catch up on some writing, I was called back north after but a short visit to the Côte d’Azur….
After a few more days in Paris, I flew to Pisa then took the train to Orbetello, where I was picked up by Selma. I had been introduced to my guide and host for the next bit of my journey by Ton van de Kroon, who I met as he was preparing for the 7th annual Peace Conference in Jericho. When he told me that he believed that I had to go to this area of Italy and meet his friend Selma Sevenhuijsen, I felt a huge piece of a puzzle settle into place – a missing link was somehow being revealed….
The part of Tuscany around Pitigliano, Sorano and Lake Bolsena is still largely undiscovered by the tourist trade. The landscape is such that large-scale farming is impossible; family farms and other small businesses are still the foundation of the society. The red earth here is accumulated in the valleys and flat tops of rock formations made of tuff – a porous volcanic rock that has been easily carved by river flows and humans over the centuries. Pitigliano is built on a base of the (s)tuff – a labyrinth of tunnels connects the basements of all the buildings. Toning in the basement of the esoteric bookstore in town, I could feel the entire immense piece of rock resonating – an experience that was repeated at many sacred sites – temples, stone circles and places of ancient ritual – in the area. I felt the ancestral spirits come to greet me as I toned, and then “saw” a waterfall. The young man running the shop was wide-eyed when I told him this – it seems a friend of his had lost his cat the week before, and in looking for him in the tunnels under Pitigliano had discovered that the town is built over a lake with a waterfall….It’s so nice to get confirmations like this! Toning again under the city that night in dreamtime, I helped dissolve a barrier that had somehow kept the ancestral spirits from nourishing the land and its inhabitants.
Selma lives just outside the village of Elmo, in a small community that was established as a commune in the 70’s in a cluster of fairy-tale pretty, 1000-year-old stone buildings. A few of the original inhabitants are still there, guarding the ancient trees on the property from the clutches of the next generation who look at the forest and only see euros…. Three beautifully furnished apartments are rented out at extremely reasonable rates…. Does anyone want to come back there with me?
We covered a lot of countryside during my too-short stay. Selma was first brought to the area in her study and teaching on the subject of labyrinths, but she was pulled back by dreams and portents that guided her to connect with Giovanni Feo, who escaped Rome a few decades ago and has been walking this region around Lake Bolsena, researching and hypothesising on his numerous archaeological finds, for 30 years now. (I am finding this phenomena all over the world – those of us who survived the 60’s are often now in service of the Earth.) Selma’s research has now expanded – she is going to the festivals in all the little villages of the area that masquerade as Christian but are really much more ancient in origin and purpose, originating, she and Giovanni feel, from Etruscan and pre-Etruscan Goddess-worship and ceremonies celebrating the Sacred Marriage. How beautifully serendipitous, my landing in the middle of all this!
I won’t go into detail here – maybe I’ll write about the other-dimensional experiences I had in each place on this journey in another blog for those who are interested and have the stomach for it! Suffice it to say that they were what I have since called “intuitive archaeology”, or maybe “shamanic archaeology”, although I dislike using that current buzz-word – surprising, vivid and potent memories of some sort resulting from a connection to the land and its energies. This feels like an extension to the Earth of the sort of detective work that I’ve been doing with individual bodies and lives….it seems a logical progression….
I tore myself away from this land to travel northward by train to Milano (It was so exciting to be on the kind of trains one sees in all the movies about Italy..!) where a group of us were picked up and brought to the intentional community of Damanhur for an International Symposium on Birth (“Lo Espiritu della Nascita” – The Spirit of Birth)….
(to be continued…)