Updated: Dec 30, 2007






14  or  21~days 
Quality   Escorted   Experiential  Tours

From  04 October  to 18 or 24 October, 2008











 Nyima Dzong Stupa (Soleil)




St- Thyrs - Robion


St Thyrs - Robion


St Andre - Comps


St Thyrs - Altar



St Anne - Crypt de Bagarry




RWL - Valcros Fortress













































Morgane Le Fay, 
Caer Sidi in Brittany (Abbalach Bries)







Aix en Provence











Whom Serves the Grail  ? 

Joseph of Arimathea 
Glastonbury Altar









William  R. Leon 
Cairn  Webmaster©2001-06







Sacred Journey  to the  Island of Crystal

- Detailed  Itinerary -





*        – Day 1 - Saturday  Oct 04  - Arrival flight to Nice Airport (flexible arrival, depending on flights) - Transfer to Hotel/Gite***, Rest and Welcome Dinner, including  detailed debriefing...



*        – Day 2- Sunday  Oct 05  - First Tour in the wonderful City of Nice, with a  later minivan Riviera sightseeing, including: Monaco, St- Jean Cap Ferrat 's Madonna. This second Day will be ending at the Black Madonna (Hospitalier')  Chapel at St- Jean Cap Ferrat, where we will perform the Quest Opening Ceremony, with a meditation by the Dragon's Tail, and a first cleansing and opening of Chakras,  as well as a scanning of energy. 


Mary Magdalene - Ste Beaume

St- Victor Monastery - Marseille


*        - Day 3 -  Monday Oct 06  - Early  morning drive from the city of Nice / Riviera to the Ste Beaume  Mary Magdalene historical cave and nearby St Maximum Basilica Magdalene relics, then in the evening, after the pilgrimage, we will drive further to the South border of the Verdon Sacred Mandala, to the “Hotel Bain”, situated in Comps sur Artudy , which will be our base-camp centrally located in the Verdon studied area.

*        - Day 4 - Tuesday Oct  07 - Morning introduction to the selected sacred sites and related practices, being chosen as per the specificities of both the sacred site itself. The Verdon Mandala is a 25km wide area in itself. We will first do a visit of Comps Chapels, then we will focus upon the Mandala West side practices and do a detailed visit in and around Comps (Conis), Trigance (Trigania) and further  Valcros. Possible introduction to the Tibetan Monastery: Nyima Dzong.


Hotel Bain - Comps sur Artuby

St- Andre  - Comps Village


*       -- Day 5 -Wednesday Oct  08 - Wesdnesday morning will be the continuation, in a flexible manner, of yesterday's first introduction to the selected sacred sites, so linking selective inputs to the Quest of the group members. There will be further visits and meetings held in Comps, St- Mayne, Rougon, Soleils, Valcros and possibly the start of a programme of rituals or ceremonies in Nyima Dzong.

*        - Day 6 - Thursday Oct 09: Thursday morning drive from Comps to the East side of the Mandala : Ste Anne, St Thyrs, St Trophime. Possible trek to the Robion Valcros Keltic Solar Fortress (Droma, Camelot) and/or to St Trophime Cave for prayers, meditation, energy scanning and embodiment praxis, then possibly go down to the Valcros Castle, and further promenade down to the Paul Amoros Bakery for tea. On the way, we see La Doux, Blanchefort, and possibly be back at Nyima Dzong Tibetan Monastery for the Guru Rimpoche (Thursday) evening rituals.


Group Practices at St Thyrs

Valcros Droma - Solar Fortress


*     Day 7  - Friday Oct 10 : indepth practices at Valcros (Aconcha) and Solar Fortress, plus optional trek in/around Verdon Canyon and/or Free Day in Castellane... Possible drive to Castellane (Salinas) old Roman/Keltic/Wisigoths Healing Waters, depending upon the length and depth of practices being chosen by participants. It may also be that the group or some individuals may want to remain in quiet surrounding sacred sites already visited, in order to approach praxis more indepth. This is fully flexible.

*      - Day 8 - Saturday Oct 11 - Continuation of the Black Madonna , Mary Magdalene and Grail legend pilgrimages sites. Sunday morning, we will leave Comps for a visit and stay in the beautiful city of Aix-en-Provence. Visit of the Early Christendom Black Madonna Crypt at the Abbaye St Victor in Marseille. We will stay overnight at a selected hotel(s)*** in Aix or at St Remy de Provence, nearby.



Mary Magdalene Altarpiece




*        Day 9 - Sunday Oct 12 – Next morning drive to the Cathares region in the Aude Pyrennees, going first through Carcassone and then arriving in the evening at the old Alet Benedictine Abbaye (Nostradamus house), thus begining accordingly our intimate relations with the Cathares Grail Quest, the related Troubadours Lore (Wolfram Von Eschenbach <+>) and more recent Holy Blood / Holy Grail Rennes-le-Chateau (Razes Wisigoths) .


Hotel Eveche - Alet sur Aude

Cathares Fortress - Montsegur


*        Day 10- Monday Oct 13 -  We will start our Cathares Pilgrimage from the enchanting  confines of the Hostellerie L' Evéche, in the old Abbaye of Alet, an old Benedictin  monastery being now a restored Guesthouse*** (Gites de France) nested along the river Aude , in the village  where Nostradamus once lived.  Reflecting upon the river Aude and its quiet  surroundings, we will prepare our meditation  in the ancient monasteries, ruins and castles,  as a first historical acquaintance with the  Cathares spiritual heritage and the remaining   traces of the Inquisition.  We will then drive and visit Rennes le Chateau and Rennes les Bains, the renowned Wisigoth Treasure of the Abbe Boudet and the Ark of Alliance stolen by Alaric during his sacking of Rome.  (Holy Blood / Holy Grail).  Following the path of the Troubadours, we will evoke the symbolic joust and tournaments which were celebrated in the romantic Puivert castle. We will also examine the Knights Templars  traces at Bézu,  Rennes-le-Chateau, Blanchefort and surrounding areas. 



Not far away from Couiza lies a little village  called Rennes-le-Chateau, which has 
became renown in recent years for its strange history and magical mysteries. Occupied since the Neolithic ages , being at the same time an ancient Gallic powerplace,  the capital of the Wisigoths tribe and Rhedae, the city of  Merovingian Kings, many  suggest that it may still hide today the Arch of Alliance, somewhere in the  surrounding Razès. The Magdala tower, build by Béranger Saunière is said by several Tibetan Lamas (Nyingma and Karguydpa, 1985) to be one of the local entry to the Celtic Annwn (the land of ancestors), or in other names the Tibetan / Mongolian: Shambala.


Magdala Tower - Rennes

Transepts - Alet Abbaye


      The Order of the Hospitalliers de St. Jean de Jerusalem (Lavaldieu) and the Knights Templars,  both had several properties in the region, and the intricated role they both played during two centuries of  Roman Inquisition against the Cathars will be discussed.

      Another enigma being approached in this  study are the megalithic Cairns, Dolmens  and Menhirs standing around Rennes-les-Bains, as described in the book of the " abbé Henri  Boudet :  La Vraie Langue Celtique et le Cromlech de Rennes-les-Bains ", as well as in other areas being visited, such as the Dolmen  of  Saint Michel de Grandmont,  Dolmen des Fados, the Pic de Bougarach, le Fauteuil-du- Diable / Rennes-les-Bains and its surrounding rocks and Cairns. Visit of the hot springs (Roman Empire period)  in Rennes-les-Bains may be included.

      From Couiza and Quillan, not far from Chateau Queribus, we will reach the ruins of the Bézu. From there,  on the left we can see the Pique de Levaldieu, Rennes-le-Chateau and part of the natural Cromlech of  Rennes-les-Bains.  The ruins of the Chateau du Bezu (actually those of the Chateau Sermon d'Albedun) lead to an ancient  Celtic Altar, with a splendid view on the Pic de Bugarach, Pique de Lavaldieu and surrounding Cathars Land. 

      A Seminar held in Alet will focus on the history of the Cathars faith, the controversial relations between Cathars, Templars and the Inquisition Crusaders, as well as on the common roots it may have or have had with the Celtic, Arianist (Wisigoth) and Dualistic faiths (Bogomiles, Nestorians) during the early Christendom period.  We will discuss the common archetypal roots which may be found alive and practices in the Indo-European Rig-Veda,  Central European or Asian Shamanic Traditions, as they were  historically linked with the Cathars and Knights Templars own dramatic history. This itinerary will be escorted with experienced speakers and guides, most being academically  entitled to provide a small group with phenomenological guidance and historical depth.


Montsegur - Grail Montsalvat

Asmodee, Gardian  of  the Arch of  Alliance


*    - Day 11 - Tuesday Oct 14 - Drive to Puivert, Montsegur, Foix ... (flexible itinerary). This journey will include guided visit of the medieval cities of  Foix and Carcassonne,  the Castles of  Arques, Peyrepertuse,  Termes, Latour, Minerve and Quéribus,   as well as other renown archeological  and spiritual places in the region Aude/Ariège, Pyrennees. Evoquing the dramatic history of  Simon  de Montfort 's Crusade against the Cathares,  we will discuss  how in more recent times  the Montségur Pog had become the symbol of a Solar Cult and the Montsalvat of the  Holy Grail Quest. 

      Our references  include a selected review of the Cathars and Knights Templars history in South of France, as well as a narration of the first century exile to South of France  of Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimathea  (James) and other apostles of Christ, who landed in Provence, before moving  to Septimania , Brittany (Armoric), then to Glastonbury and Wales.  The myth of Mary Magdalene and of Joseph of Arimathea (James) will be studied in places such as Rennes-le-Chateau, La Val Dieu (Center of Mary Magdalena cult), les  Ste Beaume, Saintes Maries de la Mer and St Victor in Marseille (the ritual space at the basilica of the  golden goddess, Notre Dame le la Garde and the Crypt of the Abbey of St. Victor ). 

      French legends recorded in the 4th Century say that Mary Magdalene (along with Lazarus and Martha)  fled to the South of France (via Egypt) bearing "the earthen vessel that held the blood of Christ."  While legends of the Holy Grail took on a life of their own centuries later, merging with other legends,  many believe that Mary Magdalene was herself the earthen vessel bearing Christ's child, the sacred bloodline of David.  This is said to be indeed what many early Christians, including the Cathars, believed. 

      The Cult of the Magdalene, forced underground, is linked to the Cult of the Black Madonna, which  thrived in France and elsewhere in Europe. There has been much speculation as to the origin  of the Madonna's blackness.  One link is to Sarah "The Black Queen,"  believed to be the child of Mary Magdalene, brought out of Egypt.  The town of Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, in southern France, still celebrates her festival. Other links are scriptural, such as to the bride in the Song of Songs: "I am black,  but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem" (Song of Solomon 1:5, B,C *), or to the deposed Davidic princes of Jerusalem: "now their appearance is blacker than  soot, they are unrecognized in the streets" (Lamentations 4:8, B).

      One of Mary Magdalene's most prominent shrines, at Chartres, centered around a statue named  "Our Lady Under The Earth" . This also emphasizes her hidden aspect in the South of France, where the Cult of the Magdalen flourished until it was all but wiped out in the Albigensian campaigns.  St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Founder of the Templars, was born at Fontaines on the outskirts of Dijon,  a place said to have had its own Black Virgin. He is said to have received three drops of milk taken from the breast of the Black Virgin of Chatillon while still a boy. He later went on to help the  Templar order expand quickly and to preach the Second Crusade - from Vezelay, a centre of the cult of the Magdalene and a Black Virgin site.


      In Southern Provençal tradition, the Black Madonna is associated with St. Sara, the patron saint  of the Gypsies. She was said to be the black assistant who accompanied the three Marys to France when they fled from the Holy Land after the Crucifixion.  In local gypsy tradition, she is said to have been a gypsy (some say 'Egyptian') woman who  helped them to land safely.

      A cult of St. Sara persists today at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer,  one of the earliest Magdalene sites in France. From the Abbaye of Alet (Aude) to the Verdon, we will have accordingly been to most the Sacred Altars of the Magdalene, being first week in Aix-en-Provence and Ste. Baume, where Mary lived  in retreat and died. We will have prayed in the Grotto of St. Mary Magdalena and after a picnic, we will go to the village where the bones of St. Mary Magdalena are housed, and pray in the Basilica of St. Maxim. That will have given us ample time to wonder and reflect during this Grail Quest on the Wonders herein cited. 


Limoux - Black Madonna 

The castle of Puilaure


      This programme will allow all participants to link their meditation and catharsis with the striking  natural beauty of the target-sites being visited. Most of these powerplaces have kept their outstanding spiritual attraction, the strong cosmo-telluric energies and resurgence of some mythological entities being amongst the reasons for their current exceptional harmony and powers.

      The fortresses of Montségur, Quéribus and Peyrepertuse, surrounded by the magnificent scenery of the Land of Cathars,  remain living testimonies of the beauty and spiritual  forces of  the Cathars Knowledge, Light and Love,  against those of dark violence and hatred.   Slowly climbing the steps leading to Montségur Pog (refuge), we will pay Hommage to the  Parfaits and other Cathars who gave they lives to preserve their tradition. 


*        Day 12 - Wednesday Oct 15 - Drive back to Aix and Nice, arrival in Nice late afternoon, free time. This last day depends upon the participants flights connections and departure from Nice... (idem)

*        Day 13 - Thursday Oct 16 -  Free day in Nice.  Ceremony at St- Jean - Farewell Dinner ...

*        Day 14 - Friday Oct 17 - Drive to Airport , departure from Nice and/or continuation programme...


St- Jean - Black Madonna

St- Victor - Black Madonna





*        Day 15 - Oct 18 - Back to Verdon Mandala Valcros for 5 Days Practices Retreat (flexible, idem)

*        Day 19 - Oct 22 - Drive back to Nice (idem)

*        Day 20 - Oct 24 - Free day in Nice  or  Departure (idem)...


Trigance Village near the Verdon







Copyright©  and  Footnote 

Copyright © 1997-2008 by William R. LEON c/o Keltic Trilogy / CAIRN Consortium
- All rights reserved - Advanced Integrated Field-studies cum Training -