The St Michael-Apollo Axis
While I searched if the pilgrims that went to Skellig Michael visited also Mont St. Michel and Sacra di San Michele, I found an amazing information about a book. I quote the presentation of this book.
The St Michael-Apollo Axis, a Study in Sacred Geography, by Lucien Richer, translated by Francesca Greene.
The Apollo line is so named because the solar deity, in its active form, was Apollo in Greece. Richer's brother Jean had discovered that Greece was geographically many overlays of zodiacal patterns, with angles of 30 degrees spreading from oracular centres. After a dream involving Apollo, Jean could understand that the birthplace of Apollo, Delos, Athens, and Delphi were aligned at 30 degrees north of west. It fell to Lusien to extend this alignment out in both directions, to north west Europe and to Jerusalem.
The Michael-Apollo Line passes from northeast to southwest through :
St. Michael's chapel on Carn Brea in Cornwall,
St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall,
Mont St. Michel in Brittany,
Sacra di San Michele in Piedmont,
San Michele at Castiglione di Garfagna,
Monte Sant' Angelo, Monte Gargano, the site of the first recorded appearance of the Archangel Michael.
Mount Carmel in the Holy Land.
The history and geodetic character of the line are explored in this terse and pithy piece of writing. Important subjects such as the Gargan giant motif for the earth energy, the significance of islands and peaks and brief exploration of the "itinerary" of the line make this an essential complement to a rare corpus including Dance of the Dragon.
Amazing, isn’t it?
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Other sites dedicated to Saint Michael that I have
I have visited two other sanctuaries dedicated to Saint Michael. Both stand on very impressive locations that more or less are looking like Mont-Saint-Michel.
Skellig Michael stands on the main island of Skellig archipelago, a small island in front of Saint Finian’s bay, approximately ten miles off the coast of Kerry, Ireland.
Sacra di San Michele overhangs the Susa valley, near Turin and is the. Sacra di San Michele stands on top of Monte Pirchiriano (962 m) which stands for the latin “porcharianus” (pigs mount), neighboring Monte Caprasio (goats mount) and Monte musiné (donkeys mount).
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
Find some secrets:
1/ The prison
The Mont resisted all the English assaults during the hundred years war but was, as many religious monuments, seriously and irreparably damaged during the French revolution.
It served as prison after the revolution and until 1863 and the cells are still visible.
2/ Play the hamster in a human winch
A gigantic winch, men-powered, allowed to forward the voluminous objects up to the abbeye.
3/ Find the root rock inside the architecture
It is still visible ...
- Arts and Culture
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More *off to the side* rather than OTBP
As you begin your meandering walk up the twisty lane and stairways which lead to the abbey itself, you might do yourself a favor and pay a visit to the tourism office. Just at the top of these little steps here, the office is staffed by knowledgeable people who if nothing else will set you straight about the crazy bus schedule! And imagine that during the really high tides, the waters lap up those steps and even reach the office door! That's what they say, anyway.
Look At the Statue of St.-Michel
You cannot climb up the central tower at the crossing of the churchb(just imagine the view!). But remeber to look up at it from a vantage point that will alow you to see the statue of St. Mike (after all it is his Abbet). The gilded statue is on top of a spire set over the two story square "Romanesque " base. He is thrusting his lance at a dragon under his feet (sculptor Fremiet, 1895). This is one of the reasons that experienced tourists alway carry a pair of binoculars. (We used a camera lens). There are other statues of him around the Abbey but we have lost our notes on their locations, just retaining the pictures.
- Family Travel
Enter the Parish Church
There is only one path up to the Abbey. Later you may descend and follow the Ramparts to East and South with their views up and out over the sands or bay (at the right time). In either case, just before the Grand Degre and to the West of the Grande Rue is the Parish Church. (In our picture it is to the right of a house that belonged to Du Guesclin (see Dinan) and a nearby museum complex. Beyond is the Boucle (Loop) Tower on the Ramparts. Inside in chapel at the south aisle is a coated (silver?) statue of St. Michel and the altar has a 15C statue of the Virgin. We call this note"Off the Beaten Path".
Take a walk around or to Tombelaine
When the tide is low, one easily can walk around the island, making it possible to see everything of the island from a distance. It makes Le Mont even more beautiful then it already is, as from every angle the shapes and images look different. Another option is for the hikers among us. In the distance a small island is visible: Tombelaine. This island was centuries ago a place where the monchs and pilgrims seeked rest and peace, inspiration and isolation. Now-a-days it will be no different, as only few make the crossing over the wetlands towards the island that at high tide indeed becomes completely isolated from the rest of the world.
The original Chapel Saint Michel
It's hard to find, it's hard to reach. The original chaple devoted to Saint Michel is still there. The very small building lays at the bay side behind the enormous abbey, but with a little climbing along the rocks. can be reached for those who want to see where it all started out.
The village church in the shadow of the abbey
In the village there is another church, the parish church of the village, devoted to Saint Pierre. It can easily be missed, as it is so overwhelmed by the enormous abbey. That would be a mistake, as the small Notre Dame of Le Mont Saint Michel is a delightful lplace where rest and peace can be found in a touristic mass. It was here that the common citizens of Le Mont prayed and shared their Sunday together. On the cemetery around the church some stones date back centuries. Also a remarkable place to roam around in for a while.
Ending our tour of abbaye Mont St Michel as the bells were tolling for vespers we backtracked to the cathedral and were able to join in evening services. The beautiful old stones reverbrated with harmony as the participants offered up prayer in song, chant and word. There were only about 10 of us sitting on the benches. It was ultimately one of the highlights of our trip. A moment in time when we left behind the present and were caught up in the glory of many years of tradition and worship. It was quite sublime.
Detail of the low tide sea
What you see on the picture is not water, but mud, or sand, or muddy sand.
At places it even seemed quicksands, my feet going down on each step.
A useful tip: when walking on that ground, take off your shoes, sandals, sneackers. Barefeet is the best.
A sanctuary for prison
Did you know that Le Mont Saint Michel also served as a state prison? The worst years for this monumental rock in the sea, started after the French Revolution and lasted until after the Napoleontic times. With it's island status and large buildings, the new leaders desecrated this beautiful place, by turning it into a prison for state enemies. Few things are recalling these dreadful days, in which the buildings and structures on the island saw little maintenance, but were damaged for all time. During the guided tour you will pass by the giant wooden wheel, used for the lift that transported food, material and other necessary items to the abbey turned into a prison.
Explore the waterless land
When the tide is at it's lowest level, quite a lot of people venture onto the waterless grounds of the sea.
Some even reach an island at a respectable distance inside. That adventure can be dangerous when the tide starts to it's climb up, and we were said some unconscious tourists were caught by surprise, some even died!
Well, I started that walk. On soft sands, until I had a great and different view of the Mont Saint Michel. That's what I caught from there.
The picture seems to be taken from over the sea, but all wet soil you can see is only wet, there is no water at all!
The "Grand Stairs" (a stairway to heaven?)
Between the village and the abbey's entrance, the only connection is the "Grand Stairs". This enormous staircase winding up against the Northeastern walls of the abbey, indeed are of a certain grandeur. It was here that for a thousand years the pilgrims lined up to finaly receive their blessings in the abbey. It was here that many returned releaved from sorrow and guilt. Now the tourists line up to get tickets for a guided tour in the abbey and return bedazzled with the rich historic beauty the abbey still holds.
Attention for the village gateway
Nowhere else the fortifications and defensive systems of Le Mont Saint Michel are so clear then at the gateway. Strong doors, a falling fence, a drawbridge, two thick walled towers and various small shooting holes, show that Le Mont Saint Michel is not only a sanctuary, but also a castle well defended for unwished visitors. For touristic show, the gateway square holds a set of canons, but of course these items only appeared when the abbey and village were already a few hundred years old.
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