Wednesday, July 22, 2015

St. Mary Magdalene Feast Day~ July 22nd

One month ago, I made my first pilgrimage.
I traveled to the South of France and while there,
 made the trek to La Sainte Baume,
the cave about 40 kilometers from Aix-en-Provence
where Mary Magdalene is said to have lived the remaining 30 years of her life.

And while there will be a more in-depth post with photos about the cave
and how she arrived there,
I thought it appropriate to at least post one photo on this day,
Mary Magdalene's Feast Day. 

We had hoped to do the Camino to 
Santiago de Compostela in Spain this spring/summer
which takes about 45 days.
Instead, being unable to make the trip this year,
 I was thrilled to make the 45 minute walk up the mountain to MM's cave, alone. 

The cave is also said to hold the relics of Mary Magdalene,
a piece of the tibia and a lock of hair
and on this day, the relics are carried through the town. 

And while these relics have made their own pilgrimages
to be greeted by thousands of followers,
they are mostly kept inside the cave
in this gorgeous reliquary
adorned with angels.

My own trek to this amazing place
has been not only about research for the novel
but my own spiritual journey,
bringing light and awareness,
honoring the sacred value of the feminine within ourselves,
our culture, our spirits, our psyches.
It is about the Divine Feminine,
about balance and wholeness,
about recognizing and acknowledging the power,
the sacredness and the necessity of the feminine as equal
and in balance with masculine energy in the world.

So in honor of Feast Day,
go out this week and do something,
create a ceremony of any kind
that symbolizes the return of feminine energy
and its balance with the masculine.

If nothing else,
go to that healing place within,
that place you know you have but have barely begun to explore,
and nurture it
in yourself...
or someone else.

(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Giverny Village

One of the first things my sister and I did when I hit Paris
was to venture out of town to Giverny.

I've been to Monet's garden and house before
so we packed a picnic and walked the village
looking for the perfect spot for our blanket. 

We had intended to go to the gardens after our picnic
but we'd gotten a late start, hit nasty traffic jams
and got lost in our picnic so missed the last ticket time by 15 minutes.

Oh well, we still had fun wandering the little village...

sipping cidre in the shade...

and perusing shops.

It was quite warm 
(as you can see from these sad little flowers)

but our picnic was perfect. 

And I still got some very Giverny-esque photos! 

Giverny is open daily from 
from March 28th-Nov.1st, 2015.

(All photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Chateauneuf du Pape

I'm back!! 
Another long break from the blog
but this time back with LOTS of photos. 

I was gone for nearly a month
mostly in France
two weeks of which were spent in Provence. 

This first blog/set of photos 
are from the charmingly sweet town of Chateauneuf du Pape
which means New Castle of the Pope. 

You've no doubt heard of it 
because it's famous for its red wines. 

It sits about 12 kilometers from Avignon
and its castle was begun in the 14th century for one of the popes
who lived in Avignon. 

But the very first mention of it 
is in the 11th century
so lots of medieval remnants. 

Flowers everywhere

and a medieval street that leads to the castle ruin at the top. 

Lots of eateries and tasting rooms

And as with most of these little medieval towns,
the view at the top is spectacular. 

There was construction going on at the top
so didn't get photos of the castle ruins. 

After lunch in town, 
we visited a chocolaterie just outside of town
where we paired a few red wines with chocolate. 

And visited the Musee du Vin
which will be included in another post. 

But the biggest news about my trip
was my visit to the cave of Mary Magdalene
(said to have spent the last 30 years of her life 
in a cave in Provence.) 

That will be a big post of its own as well. 
Some of you know that I've included Mary Magdalene in my novel
so to visit her cave was a remarkable research trip for me
as well as my own personal pilgrimage
(both to honor the Divine Feminine.) 

Needless to say,
I'm very excited to have been there
and am still processing my experience.
But I'll be sharing more France and Greece photos
before that blog post arrives. 
Till then, happy summer! 

(All photos copyright Kirsten Steen)