Wrapped in mystery, Rocamadour has been a place of legends and miracles for eons.
Our first knowledge began over 50,000 to 70,000 years ago in the Paleolithic times. Archeologists discovered a Neanderthal camp in the area, and nearby the Grotte de Merveilles or Grotto of Wonders was found. Inside cave paintings were found with hands and animals. The Celtic tribe of Cadourque lived here too. They were the last Celtic tribe standing up against Caesar’s Roman invasion and genocide.
The cliffs were places where hermits in the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries would find a small cave to make their home.
It was the fashion of the times. Sometimes these hermits became saints in later legends and were endowed with miracle-making skills. One such hermit’s body was discovered sometime after the Christians built a small chapel in the cliffs dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the 11th century at Rocamadour.
One story told is that while digging a grave in 1166, an incorrupt (undecomposed) body was discovered. Finding such a body was miraculous. Even more astonishing was that this mysterious person was cradling a carved virgin, who became known as the Black Madonna of Rocamadour. The mysterious person was identified as none other than Saint Amadour, a hermit who had lived and died there years or perhaps centuries before. His name inspired Rocamadour because he was found in the rocks; Roc means rock, plus Amadour. A church in the cliffs was soon built in honor of Saint Amadour, and pilgrimages to Rocamadour began.
There is another name associated with this hermit as well.
In the 15th century, because it was important to connect saints and places of pilgrimage to Christ, Zaccheus of Jericho became associated with Rocamadour. During his life, Zaccheus knew and conversed with Jesus. His wife, Veronica, even gave Jesus a cloth to wipe his face during his journey to Calvary. According to the updated legends, Zaccheus supposedly ended up in France to escape persecution and died in AD 70 as a hermit in the rocks of Rocamadour.
Pilgrimages were big business for the church, and Rocamadour became famous for all the miracles and healings that the Black Madonna performed.
She cured illnesses and was the patron saint of sailors, saving many of them during shipwrecks at sea. The 6th-century bell in the Chapel of Our Lady miraculously rings to warn sailors of storms and foretells miracles. The Black Madonna has a book of miracles, and entries are still entered in it today! Rocamadour has the distinction of being one of the most significant pilgrimage destinations in Europe for the last 1000 years, second only to Mont St Michel, with 1 ½ million visitors per year.
Both the Templars and the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, also called the Hospitallers, are associated with Rocamadour. The sects were devoted to the Black Virgin. In one decisive battle against the Saracen troops of Muhummand an-Nasir in Spain, the Templars carried the Black Madonna of Rocamadour into the Navas de Tolosa battle in 1212 and, despite overwhelming odds in favor of the Arabs, were victorious because of her. Afterward, the Archbishop of Toledo began a Te Deum in thanksgiving to God and Our Lady of Rocamadour for the miraculous intervention needed for the battle’s success. This vital ceremony healed to seal the Black Madonna’s reputation ability to perform miracles.
There is not much else is said about the Templars and Rocamadour. Still, you can find their mark in the construction of the Basilica. There are numerous Templar type crosses carved on columns and one extraordinary one on the floor before the altar in the Basilica of St Sauveur.
In the surrounding countryside, many buildings and churches once belonged to St John’s knights, who had enlarged their holdings after the abolition of the Templars in the 14th century. Jean de Vallon was the Head Master of St John of Jerusalem Knights in the 15th century who were active at Rocamadour. His family was from Quercy, and he was buried in St John the Baptist chapel.
The Basilica of St Sauveur is a classic Templar structure.
The rectangular shape is called in the Master Builder tradition, a solsticial quadrilateral or solar rectangle. This particular shape is special and is used worldwide to construct sacred places. The rectangle points connect to the solstices. Each one marks either a solstice sunrise or sunset shown in the drawing.
This shape is important because it connects the structure to the sun’s rhythm and the cosmos.
The rectangle of the sun is also connected to the earth’s pattern. When builders use the solsticial quadrilateral, they connect heaven and earth, endowing the space with spiritual qualities. The natural energies of the place are refined, calibrated, and strengthened. Read more about a solsticial quadrilateral’s characteristics and read our blog called Real Sacred Geometry. The link is below.
When a master builder, such as the Templars, decides to build a sacred place, one of the first considerations is what type of earth energies can be employed in the space. Sacred structures are built for several reasons, and one of them is to heal. Earth energies are vital because they give healing energies to the church or temple. These earth energies are water veins and geological faults found below the earth’s surface.
The Basilica and the Chapel of Our Lady have excellent earth energies that the builders took advantage of during their construction. As you can see in the drawing, there is a big network of earth energies under the Basilica and Chapel. The blue lines are water veins, the red and yellow lines are different types of faults. At many intersections, there are vortexes of energy, depicted as concentric circles of different colors. These vortexes relate to our chakra system and can be felt with our bodies and seen by sensitive people. You can read more about these vortexes in this blog called Secret Energies of Sacred Places in the link below.
One other thing to keep in mind about Templar constructions is that they use the octagon.
During the Crusades, During the crusades, the Templars learned many things from the Muslims in Palestine, including advanced building techniques, mathematics, astronomy, and more. It is interesting to note they learned how to employ the octagon in construction and other designs. Some of their churches are even octagonal shaped, such as the Chapel of Ste Claire in Le Puy en Velay, France, and Eunate and Torres del Rio in Spain. Of course, the Templar cross is created using an octagon, but we will discover it is much more than a simple octagon later in this blog.
The analysis of the Basilica and the Chapel plan shows that the builders used the solar rectangle of Rocamadour as the foundation of the design. They also employed another vital element, Ephesus’s solar rectangle, in Turkey. Builders frequently used this technique to connect churches to Ephesus, the Great Mother Goddess place.
Ephesus was connected to many of the great goddesses in ancient times.
Such as Cybele of the Phyrigians, Astarte of the Phoenicians, Ishtar of the Assyrians and Babylonians, etc. It is known to Master Builders as the Goddess latitude. The temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Wonders of the World, was built there. She reigned as the Queen of Heaven and as the Mother, Healer, and Savior. Reverence for her was so deep that in AD 431, Constantine declared the Virgin Mary to be the Mother of God, and she took over the role as the Queen of Heaven. It is generally accepted that Mary lived out her final days in Ephesus in a tiny stone cottage at the top of Mount Koressos, overlooking Ephesus.
In this drawing, you can see how Ephesus’s solar rectangle was employed in both structures by the blue rectangles.
You can also notice how the Master Builders, the Templars connected important earth energy points (the vortexes) into their structure. For example, the two columns in the Basilica are placed on vortexes of energy, strengthening their effects. The golden yellow fault is used for the cross by the altar. Also, it shows up at the center of the solsticial quadrilateral of the Basilica. The Black Madonna is placed above the golden yellow fault. A mosaic star on the floor of her chapel with its giant crystalline vortex is also connected.
What makes this golden-yellow fault so unique?
Because it joins all of the major energetic points of these two structures. As we touched on earlier, water was employed in all sacred places because of its healing qualities. It can also be miraculous. On the other hand, golden yellow faults were used because of their particular characteristic of bubbling up energy. They can work with the stomach, liver, and pancreas. When there is a configuration of a golden fault beneath a water vein, energetic steam is produced, opening the chakras of the feet and the body’s meridians, resulting in cleaning the body’s channels.
Because these earth energies are remarkable, the Master Builders took advantage of them.
The cross before the altar is fascinating. The geometry connected with the solar mandala of Rocamadour calibrates the vortex’s energy. Octagons are the best transmitters of information because they relate to the lymph and water circulation throughout the body. The solar geometry in the cross features water, air, and ether elements and the sun and moon’s energies. The inner-circle is called primordial water and has the unique ability to circulate the water in our body, clean the central channel, and open all the important centers of the body. Jean de Vallon, the headmaster of the Knights of St John, could have been the designer. The design is not a classic Templar design, nor is it a Malta Cross. The design falls somewhere between the two. The Knights probably used the cross for initiations because of its exceptional energetic qualities. It can open the body’s energetic systems and connect people to a higher spiritual vibration.
The striking mosaic found in Our Lady’s Chapel also has some special energetic solar geometry characteristics.
Our analysis shows that this star octagon was designed using the earth circle as the base. In the Master Builder tradition, the earth circle is the boundary between organized space and chaos. The 8 points touch the solar mandala’s outer limit or the earth circle. The different measurements used to design this star opens the root chakra first and then all the other chakras and finally connecting you to heaven and earth. This star is powered by a water vein and the golden yellow fault. Crystalline vortexes are very healing, and this is a beautiful example of one.
Finally, the Black Madonna herself is positioned between the two solar rectangles. She is connected with the energy of Rocamadour and the Divine Mother goddess energy of Ephesus. The violet vortex she has been placed over opens the crown chakra, and the crown she wears emphasizes this energy.
We hope next time you visit and ask the Black Madonna for a blessing, try standing on her star on the floor; what happens next may surprise you!
By Karen Crowley-Susani and Dominique Susani