The Sainte-Baume and Its Many Layers

Anna Fedele

in Looking for Mary Magdalene

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199898404
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980130 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ritual Studies Series

The Sainte-Baume and Its Many Layers

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This chapter analyses the multiple meanings the pilgrims ascribe to the mountain, shrine and the cave of the Sainte-Baume. This was the most important pilgrimage site associated with Mary Magdalene. Following Jungian theories the pilgrims considered it a place to commune with Mary Magdalene and Mother Earth. The pilgrims learn from their leaders a kind of sacred geography whereby the mountain is a power place rich in healing energy where important ley lines intersect. The pilgrims believe that as other power places the Sainte-Baume was used in pre-Christian times to venerate the Goddess, until it was appropriated and monopolized by the patriarchal Catholic Church. The chapter details the pilgrims’ comments about their perceptions as they visit the cave of the Sainte-Baume and the chapel of Saint-Pilon; it focuses upon their strategies for bypassing Christian strata of these places and connecting with what they hold to be more ancient, pre-Christian and pre-patriarchal layers. Individual pilgrims attribute different meanings associated with Mary Magdalene and have different nuances of attraction and repulsion towards Christianity.

Keywords: Sainte-Baume; Mary Magdalene; Mother Earth; sacred geography; energy; ley lines; patriarchal Church; Jung; shrine; pre-Christian

Chapter.  17559 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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