Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cathar Country

Readers of The Night's Dark Shade have commented favorably on the book's descriptions of the beauty of the countryside in the south of France. Although there is an entire tourist industry surrounding the "Cathar castles" of "Cathar country" it should be made clear that most of the castles were not built by Cathars but merely occupied by them at one time or another. As for the countryside itself, the Cathars may have lived there but they were always a minority; the countryside did not by any means belong to them. Nevertheless, as I try to demonstrate in the novel, the effects of the heresy were widespread, influencing even those who were not members of the sect. To this day, the Cathars seem to be the main tourist attraction of the region.

Here is a picture of a re-creation of a Cathar ritual, the consolamentum or baptism of light, similar in some ways to the "laying on of hands" of many modern charismatic groups. Although the Cathars shunned the traditional rituals of the Roman Church, they had plenty of rituals of their own. (Notice that the Perfecti do not touch the woman directly but through another object, since the men who were Perfecti were not allowed to touch women.)

The Night's Dark Shade is available HERE. Share


Georgette said...

I finished the book some time last week. IT is marvelous! Wow!

I think it is the Catholic answer to all the "Twilight" hullabaloo! I can see a series, honestly.

The thing that struck me were all the similarities between the heresy of the Cathars and today's novelties in the Mass--the raised hands of the congregation during the "Our Father", prayed in teh vernacular, for instance, among other things. The rampant sexual immorality (no different for clergy than laity), homosexuality, abortion, infanticide and murder of the sick and crippled, for "their own welfare" all echoes too clearly in our own society. "History repeats," most certainly IT is a story well told, compelling to read -- and the creepy priestess makes a most excellent villain!

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you so much for your appreciation, Gette. I am so glad you enjoyed the book, and saw the links with contemporary liturgical abuses.

Julygirl said...

I, too, see links to other psuedo religious cult practices such as Nazism. Non-Christians do not realize that Christianity actually releases the soul to be free to love as Christ loved as opposed to binding it to corrupting power over others.

Julygirl said...

I also meant to put in my two cents about the book....I was kept enthralled by the action and kept in suspense by what could or would happen next, as well as learning more about an historical era when the Church was fighting for prominence amidst other forces.

Brantigny said...

There are no new heresies, just repackaged ones. Todays vampire movies and TV show that there is still a belief in a good god/bad god idea. It has just been remade to seem like a new idea.


Lynda @ Elegance Reclaimed said...

Hello Elena,

You have been nominated for the "Kreative Blogger Award". Please see my recent post for more details.
Lynda @ Elegance Reclaimed :-)