Author’s Pilgrimage Discovering Sacred Sites in France
Based in the United States, author Raylene Abbott’s work surrounds spiritual training with mentors from Native American and other sacred backgrounds. Her studies of the Black Madonna began in 1992 and eventually led to a lengthy stay in France where she traced religious pilgrimage routes. In 2014, she discovered her father’s bloodline led to the Rose Line and the Merovingian Kings of France. Despite the challenge of severe dyslexia, Raylene is an international author with six (6) published books. Read more about her intriguing background and connection to Mother Nature here.
Can you tell us a bit about where you lived in France for 4 1/2 years?
I lived outside of Paris in St Cloud, a short walk from Parc du St Cloud and for 2 1/2 years, I lived in Menton, known as the “Pearl of France.”
When you arrived in France, were you planning to write a book on the Black Madonna and Mary Magdalene?
No, I was not planning to write a book on the Black Madonna. My story began as a trail guide in Mont Shasta, California, and at the time, many French people were vacationing in the area. In 2006, I had just finished writing a book about the Divine Feminine, and I gave a copy to one of my French friends. He took it back to a publisher in Paris, and in a short three (3) months, I was signing a contract to publish L’émergence de La Femme Divine.
Thus, I began my journey.
My interest in Mary Magdalene and the Black Madonnas began in 1992. Elizabeth Kelley, who was researching the bloodline legends of Mary Magdalene and the Black Madonnas of France, introduced me to an alternative story. It was a turning point, and I began looking at the heresy symbols hidden in France’s art, architecture, and legends. I found myself studying the symbols of Sacred Flora of the 12th-15th century dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These older legends were woven from the original threads of the ancient goddesses of the land before Christianity arrived in Gaul.
Additional Reading: Sacred Sainte Baume Grotto a Pilgrims’ Walk in Provence.
Sacred Sites in France
Can you describe the pilgrimage route and where you visited in France?
My pilgrimage experience was a self-arising event. It happened when I was travelling to promote my book. I did not follow a traditional route. Before I left for France, I found an old paperback of Ean Begg’s The Cult of the Black Madonna (1983). This book became my bible. Armed with my trusty yellow highlighter, I marked the places we would pass along the route and asked my interpreter to stop so I could pray at these sites.
When I visited a location, I allowed myself to experience the place directly without any external influences. At each sacred shrine, I prayed and read the symbols that I found hidden in the landscape and the church. It was only after my experiences that I researched the site and combined my research with my personal experience.
The Right Frame of Mind
I want to share how to approach a sacred site because one needs to have their experience. Every holy place has its history and vibration. If you can understand the power of a particular location, you can begin to know how to align yourself with the site. There is not only the vibration but also the ley lines, which are essential to understand the land’s power near a sacred place.
Often, I have found that a particular issue that needs healing will arise the night before the pilgrimage. Because of this, I usually pray or meditate the evening before I go to a shrine. I am very watchful for outer symbols along the way when I approach a site. When you arrive at your destination, take your time to meditate and pray. Frequently I see tourists enter cathedrals without even sitting down, feeling and seeing what is before them.
France is rich in history and hidden symbols in the church, and it was a field day for someone like me.
Let me tell you about my experience with the Black Virgin of Pézenas. My journey began in the Medieval City of Montpellier, where the Black Madonna – Notre Dame des Tables – shrine used to be. Her feast day, at the time, was celebrated on January 20th. Our Lady of the Tables was one of the many churches that pilgrims visited along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Notre Dame des Tables was a black wooden Madonna associated with a series of miracles in 1198. She stood upon a Byzantine style table with the title “The Arm of the City.” A church was built, in 1230, to house her statue, but during the Protestant Reformation, it was stolen and never recovered. The icon was replaced and destroyed during the French Revolution.
Although I had the pleasure of visiting her shrine in Montpellier, my more profound experience with Our Lady of the Tables’ presence was via the land and food of the South of France. One day during a visit to the Black Virgin of Pézenas, a small village near Montpellier, I had the following experience. I knelt before the Dark Virgin holding Baby Jesus when poetic inspiration rose out of my prayers:
My breast are the French Alps,
My hair is the grains of wheat that are ground and baked in the finest French Bakeries.
My womb is the Mediterranean Sea.
My perfume are the lavender fields
While the vineyards are my bloodlines.
The olive groves are my Peace.
My body is the Light that has taken form in all of Nature.
I am the Blessing of Notre Dame des Tables.
My Reflections on the Black Madonna
The fires of human experiences blacken the Black Madonna’s face: birth, death, love, sex, betrayal, joy and pain. She has walked through the lessons of human experiences and realized the essence of herself. She walks through the fire and comes out smiling, for she has fully digested life’s lessons.
The Black Madonna is a metamorphosis of different ancient goddesses: Isis, Cybele, Persephone, Ceres, Artemis of the Trees, the Mother Earth, Aphrodite, Bona Dea, known as the Good Goddess in Europe, Bridget and Vestia, the keeper of the sacred fires. Many Black Virgin sites are found on ancient goddess temples.
Where did these Madonna statues come from?
Some of them have been brought back from the East during the Crusades. Other statues had mysteriously appeared in a plowed field or the hollow of a tree. Some figures have arrived in abandoned boats.
Holy Sites in France
Each holy site has a story and often seems connected to the ley lines, wells or fresh springs, high mountains or dark, fertile forests. Through the ages, saints used these sites to gather power and vision for their work. Joan of Arc of Orleans went to mass daily and prayed before a Black Madonna to gather strength before going into battle. Saint Bernard had visions of drinking the milk from a Black Madonna’s breast. He was also known to be a great mystic who understood the secrets of nature.
There are over three hundred Black Madonna sites in France alone, and the Knights Templar were often the keepers of these figures. Black Madonnas are associated with the cult of Mary Magdalene, who was the “Most Beloved” of Christ, applying the balm before his death and witnessed his resurrection. She also has been associated with the Merovingian Kings of ancient France. By going on sacred pilgrimages, found the keys to understanding my life, they can bring wisdom, healing and revelation.
Royal Family Ties
Can you tell us about your father’s bloodline?
Having returned from France to the United States, it was January 19, 2014. My mother died a few days before, and my family gathered at my father’s house. My eldest son Joshua brought me a great gift; the ancestral family tree traced back to France’s Merovingian Kings. I had never seen the family tree and had little knowledge of my ancestors. But when I saw the lineage, I understood I was looking at the Merovingian bloodline. When I had lived in France, I had visited the Merovingian gravesite and wrote about these same Kings. But what blew me away was that I followed the Rose Line, which is also called the Sang Réal or Royal Blood. The Rose Line secrets are encoded into many of the shrines and cathedrals of France.
In Paris, I had profound experiences at Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés the resting place of Dagobert I, King of the Franks (reigned 628 to 637). When visiting Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a woman burst out singing Ave Maria in an empty cathedral, in that very moment, I felt a silence, then an inner voice said, “Welcome Home! My daughter.” This church was the burial place of Clovis I and Childebert I, my Merovingian ancestors.
At that time, I had no understanding of my family’s lineage, but somewhere in the DNA memory, I knew my ancestors. My path of living in France led me to the trail of the Black Madonna. King Dagobert I, died on January 19, the last King of the Merovingians. The same day I received my lineage from my son.
What is the Tarot of Marseille?
Believed to have originated in Northern Italy around 1430-1450, the Tarot of Marseille (Tarot de Marseille), these card decks were exquisitely hand-painted. The Romanies, also known as the “Wandering Gypsies,” introduced the tarot card game to the Royal Courts of Europe. Centuries after the Knights Templars purges, the tarot cards became a popular Court game. However, only a few could identify the image of the Magdalene heresy. Understood in the Courts of the Troubadours in the Province of Languedoc, a coded language – the Language of Birds – using multiple puns, double entendre in their songs, poetry and verse. The Tarot of Marseille uses this “pun” language.
Swiss clergyman, Antoine Court de Gébelin, wrote that the Tarot of Marseille represented the wisdom mysteries. Other notable commentaries accurately point out that the tarot symbols were used by the Knights Templars in the Holy Land, in the time of the Crusades, and then were later used in the Tarot of Marseille. It’s possible to validate these theories by comparing symbols in the Tarot of Marseille with the artwork of wood and stone carvings of the Knights Templars’ cathedrals.
There are many conflicting stories about the origin of the Marseille tarot cards and their symbology. I believe that the cards serve to convey the Magdalene heresy – Mary Magdalene’s real relationship to Christ. At the time, it was dangerous to hold perspectives contrary to the Church’s teachings, and the cards held the secrets.
Books by Raylene Abbott
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There are over 350 Black Madonnas in France. Beyond the esoteric secrets, the Sacred Sites of France still hold ancient power to answer prayers and bring healing to any sincere pilgrim. The proper approach to a sacred site is the key that can decode the secrets. Every Sacred Site has its history and vibration. This book will help understand both the vibrations and the ley lines of the lands.
This book provides both the reader with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the Tarot of Marseille. Discover the Tarot’s history and the rich symbolic significance of the Magdalene heresy embedded into its images. This secret heresy relates to the recognition of Mary Magdalene as the wife of Jesus Christ. The book sheds light on the need for the balance of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine in our world.