Creative Labyrinths and Our Notre Dame of Paris

It has been twelve years since I last stepped in to the beauty and sacred geometry of Notre Dame, Our Lady, of Paris. That Fall day, I made a quick trip inside to catch some of the glory of the stained glass windows in the afternoon sun…

I did not linger that afternoon as I had in times past. I never imagined that it might be my last time to walk through those doors. It never occurred to me that something so large and iconic could be gone or damaged in such a way that it could be decades before it was rebuilt.

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The fire at Notre Dame on April 15, 2019 stunned and touched the entire world. This is a place of pilgrimage for many, no matter their religion or beliefs. The beauty and symbology of this place is breathtaking. Mesmerizing. Shadow and light dance together on these grounds and it is glorious. The Gothic Cathedrals of Europe personify the history of the French and are an example of a period of time when our ability to create beauty from stone and glass shone through some of the darkest times in our human evolution. For me they are the personification of the masculine and feminine honoring each other. Formlessness into form and beauty is the result.

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I will be thinking on this all as I return to Paris in early June to join Veridtas as a small group leader for their pilgrimage week in Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France: Beyond the Boundaries of Loss and Grief: Love and Friendship as A Transformative Path: A Walking a Sacred Path Pilgrimage in Chartres, France with Dr. Kayleen Asbo.

Sometimes… I forget that I believe that certain things will last forever. I hold onto objects and people as a constant , thinking that they will always be there for me, especially when I need a touchstone to remember who I am. And the truth is… that the only constant we have, is that everything in us and around us is in constant change, just like the seasons of this jewel of a planet that we live upon.

That trip to Paris in 2007 was with my late husband, who has been gone for nine-years now. After my short visit to the cathedral that day, we lazily walked around its right side and across the bridge to the Ile Saint-Louis with its famous ice-cream cafés. In the afternoon sun we people-watched with the spire and arches of the Notre Dame just behind my soon to be eaten ice-cream cone.

And then when you think something is lost forever, it is sometimes found or transformed in such a way that it brings great joy in the midst of great sorrow. A recent article from Atlas Obscura told of how there are large bee hives in the rooftops of not only the Notre Dame, but the Musée d’Orsey and the Opéra Garnier in Paris. The hives in the Notre Dame somehow survived the recent fires. But it was days before the Cathedral Bee Keeper was to know if those bees had survived. And it was with great joy that he learned that the bees have been sighted in their return swarm back and around the now open to the sky roof top of the Notre Dame Cathedral. He is calling it a “miracle.”

For honey bees do the impossible,
they fly
and have so far…
survived.

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