Lemurian City of Ladies

A Lemurian City Built in Memory of Christine de Pizan

Archive for the ‘Catacombs’ Category

Hall of Remembrances: Divided Identities

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She found herself walking back to the entrance to the catacombs, taking a torch, going past the statues of Jesus, the angels and the gargoyles, wondering if she would be able to find her way back to the Hall of Remembrances.  Walking down one tunnel, Thalia came across a statue of a regal-looking cat on a tombstone. 



Oh, oh.  I didn’t come this way before.  Must have taken the wrong tunnel.  I would have remembered seeing this sleek cat.  What does it say?






No date.  Wonder when this is from?  Wonder about the name—seems like an obvious combining of Bast and Sekhmet, both goddesses in Egyptian mythology, but is it?  Was Bast the name in itself or short for Bastet?  That would say a lot about the date right there.  And both gentle and fierce—how intriguing.  Well, the solid black statue doesn’t tell me why this cat was named a composite name of two Egyptian goddesses generally depicted as lionesses.


A faint noise coming from behind the tombstone caught her attention.  She listened, heard it again, and cautiously moved around in that direction.  She almost didn’t spot the kitten curled up on the floor, pressed against the tombstone. 


“Oh, how sweet.  How did you get in here?  Are you okay?”  Thalia squatted down and extended out her hand to stroke the kitten… and her hand passed tight through.  The kitten looked up at her and edged closer, obviously wanting contact.  “Why are you still here?  Did you know the cat…Bast-met?”


The kitten’s thoughts came through.  That is me.  I’m Bast-Met.  I’m actually the kitten who became Bast-Met.  But I’m still confused.


Why are you confused?  You were obviously loved by your owner.


Yes, I was.  But people don’t realize how important a name is.  I was confused because I was named after two different aspects of goddesses, even though both were lionesses at one time—Best and Sekhmet.


Lions?  I thought they were cats.


No.  Bast was the ancient Lower Egypt solar and war goddess and protector.  She was depicted as a fierce lioness while also associated with the sunlight so was called ‘Goddess of Fire’ or ‘Lady of the Flame.’  Later she became Bastet, her role diminishing as Sekhmet , a similar deity in Upper Egypt when Lower Egypt lost dominance in the unification of the Upper and Lower sections.  The feminine suffix of ‘et’ is the diminutive name that applies as she receded and Sekhmet rose to power.  Her gentler aspect as protector of the home and pregnant women changed as her appearance changed to a domestic cat.  Then during the times when the Greek occupied Egypt, she changed again to a goddess of the moon.


So Bast become Bastet and took the appearance of a domestic cat.  Why would a cat still be important?


Cats were revered highly because they could catch and kill threats to the fragile food supply like rats and mice and snakes.  So much so they were mummified before burial.  More than 300,000 mummified cats were discovered when Basts’ temple at Per-Bast was excavated.


What about Sekhmet?  Was she also a lion who changed to a cat?


Sekhmet was a warrior lioness goddess of Upper Egypt, the lioness being the fiercest hunter the Egyptians knew.  They thought her breath created the desert and so she was a protector of the pharaohs.  She was also a solar deity and became more powerful than Bast, so was seen as ‘The Avenger of Wrongs.’  Sekhmet was also seen as a bringer of disease as well as a healer of those diseases, with her worship centered in Memphis.  ‘She Who Is Powerful’ was depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness.  Pyramid texts themselves say the Pharaoh was conceived by Sekhmet who was the wife of Ptah, ‘The Creator.’ Other myths say she was created by the fire of Ra’s eye to use her as a weapon of vengeance to destroy men because of their wicked ways.  Sekhmet is the Goddess of the West and Bastet is the Goddess of the East.  Both are shown with heads of lionesses with Bastet wearing green and Sekhmet wearing red. 


So that’s why this statue has a jeweled collar of red and green gems.  A while back I even saw a refrigerator magnet with a picture like this statue on it.  Quite a contrast between being considered goddesses and being on a fridge magnet.  But why are you still here?


I was always confused as to who I really was and my mistress expected two different behaviors—sometimes I should be like a lioness, the aggressive war goddess, and other times I should be gentle like a healer and docile protector of pregnant women.  Mistress would encourage me to be ‘Avenger of Wrongs’ and ‘Lady of Slaughter,’ both titles of my suffix namesake.  But then would be upset when I caught a rat and brought it home to her to show I was the ‘Lady of Slaughter.’  No, now she preferred for me to be tame like the mummified cats.   


And all I wanted was to be me—a kitten needing to be petted and loved and let to develop naturally, not forced into predetermined roles.


Would you mind if I write your story down?  Because this also applies to modern day parents and children.


It does?  How?  I thought it was because I couldn’t talk to my mistress.


No.  Even when children are all grown up and can discuss issues like this with their parents, it usually doesn’t help.  Because parents who try to force children into a mold they want usually aren’t able to truly listen and understand what is being said.  Parents who listen and understand from the beginning usually tend not to force anything on anyone.  They realize each has their own way to grow into their adult selves. 



By this time the kitten was curled up in Thalia’s lap, purring as she was stroked.  She stretched out, putting her front paws on Thalia’s shoulders.  Thank you for listening and helping me to understand I was not alone in dealing with the expectations of others.  I would be verrrrry happppy for you to wrrrrite my storrrry.  I just wwwwanted to be mmmmme and not torrrrn in two diffferrrrent dirrrrections.  Can you call mmmmme Kitty?


 “My pleasure, Kitty.  You’re such a sweet kitten.  And your fur is so silky, Kitty.”


The purring increased in volume as Kitty’s substance solidified and matured.  Thalia and Kitty rubbed noses.  Then both Kitty’s purring and her body faded and disappeared as Thalia continued to stroke the empty air while thinking of an anonymous quote she had seen: “Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.  Cats have never forgotten this.”  One more contrast.  Treated as goddesses and important enough to be preserved as mummies but now the likeness is on refrigerator magnets.  She said ‘NO’ to both aspects—she just wanted to be Kitty.

Written by thalia

August 2, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Her Eyes Are Wrong

with 12 comments

Here’s a strange little item


a strange little tale

that you can find in one of the many Curiosity Shops

lost in the backstreets of the

Lumerian City of Ladies


The picture is in a gold frame and

and it is hanging in a basement in a little room with a coal shoot door that won’t stay nailed shut where I used to play as a child.

One year I pulled the picture down, turned it over and saw written on the back in dark red ink:

“Her eyes are wrong- and it’s to late to change them now “

I turned the picture so that it faced the wall.

But the words scared me more then the photograph itself

so I turned it back around

and I never looked into the eyes in that picture again.

But it didn’t matter.

Because those eyes, those wrong eyes, saw me.

I know it.

And I know that they still do.


by a.m. moscoso

Written by Anita Marie

June 30, 2008 at 2:57 pm


with 4 comments

by a.m. moscoso

This is Sylvester.

Guess what we talk about.


I’ll tell you.

I’ve been visiting Sylvester at Ye Olde Curiousity Shop in Seattle on Alaska Way  since I was about five years old ( I’m almost 44 now ).

Sylvester knows all about me:

When I decided to become a magician at age 8, I told Sylvester. When I started to write a year later I told him about that too, when I got my license to drive guess who I visited first…

and when I become a Mortician guess who heard all about it.

Now asI write my short stories, as I work on my book it has not gone unnoticed that I visit Sylvester a lot more then I ever have before.

And we still talk.

I do it because I still think he listens.

I know I do.


Sylvester at the Shop HERE

Science and Sylvester HERE

Visit Ye Olde Curiosity Shop HERE

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop Ghost Tours HERE

Written by Anita Marie

June 28, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Closed for Lunch

with 10 comments

The sign said “Closed for Lunch”,

and stopping at the iron grilled gate leading

down to the Catacombs in the City of Ladies,

brought a sigh.

There was another sigh from the shadows…

“Why are you here again?  Your mother has been

looking for you.”

The shadow near the gate rippled with a gesture of


“I don’t know.  I am listening to the stories, on my walking

tour with the other travellers…”

“We have your itinerary, and it all checks out.  We’re closed for

lunch, and there’s no need to go back in.”

The sun beamed off the white buildings of the City

and I stepped out of the shadows of the gate which

led downward.

A raven flew down and squawked, with a note in its beak

for me.  It read:

“Seven black seeds and a pomegranate.  Paid in full.”

I looked up from the note to the shadow, which

had gone quiet in reserve.

This sense of reserve seemed to translate into the

solution to a puzzle, as if a final word in a crossword

or similar mind game, within.

It was like a settling, something had settled.

“You know all you need to know,” said the shadow.

“I admit I have been coming here for months, in one way or

another.  It’s good to see the pomegranate…”

My mother was calling me, wanting me to

go to the Mouseion, to gather more wisdom and

apply it, it was right to suppose.

Surrendering the dark cloak, now dusty and dry

with age, I walked away from the Catacombs,

following the map to the Mouseion.

The shadow by the gate receded.

(copyright Imogen Crest 2008.)


Written by imogen88

June 25, 2008 at 1:39 pm

The Hall of Remembrances

with 5 comments

Come, m’lady.  The child took a step, pulling on Thalia’s hand as the others started moving further within the catacombs.  Thalia stood up, grasped the torch and followed, being led by the child who pulled ahead yet glanced back at her shyly.


She sent out her thought to the child.  What is your name?  A mumbled something touched her awareness.  The woman’s thought was clearer:  Later.  Just come.  We’ve waited a long time.


They walked in physical and mental silence, turning down one tunnel after another.  After a while, as the darkness deepened, she couldn’t help but wonder how she would return to the entrance, but figured it would happen naturally.  She thought of the stories she encouraged from hospice patients, volunteers and staff.  Of how patient memoirs were so treasured by their loved ones after the patient died, sometimes even revealing stories the loved ones didn’t know about.  She thought of how her own memoir process unearthed the web of patterns that helped clear misconceptions and resentments she had carried. 


Yes, we saw that in you, that which Is what we need done for us.  The man’s thought broke through her own.  Some of us have been waiting a long time to understand what happened in our lives and sometimes even in our dying.


Thalia felt momentarily confused.  But I record their stories before they die, not after. 


The woman stopped and turned around.  But you told the stories of your ancestors after they were dead.  And you’ve written poems and stories about when your loved ones appeared in a so-called “dream” and shared with you.  What is so different? 


Nothing, I guess.  I just never thought of this aspect until now that you mentioned it.  And never thought a walking tour in the City of Ladies would lead to this deep part of the catacombs.   I remember being intrigued by Orson Scott Card’s book Speaker for the Dead.  What a great book.


The woman resumed walking forward.  Just come.  You’ll see.


After a few more twists and turns they entered a large cavern with many, mostly marble, sarcophagus’ and statues along the walls and throughout the room.  Marble benches were scattered around.  No one else was in the place.  The trio escorted her to a bench in front of a large, ornate statue of a weeping angel. 



The little girl’s hand started trembling.  Thalia looked from the statue to the child still clinging to her hand.  Looking back at the engraving, she read: 

                                       MARIA ESTAL…   (part was missing) 

                                            9 YEARS OLD  

                                 MUCH BELOVED DAUGHTER


Is this your tombstone?


The child bobbed her head.  She seemed small for her age.  Thalia sat down on the bench and drew Maria close.  What would you like to share with me?


With tears running down her face, Maria’s thoughts gushed forth.  It says my papa loved me but how could that be?  When he did those things to me?  The priest said it was wrong and papa was bad.  He couldn’t have loved me.  Her weeping escalated into sobbing, so holding her and waiting was appropriate.  Finally the sobs subsided.  Then the sickness came for mamma and me.  They all said it was because papa was bad but he cried when we were sick on the bed.  Then mamma died of fever and I got worse.  Papa said he loved me but the priest said he was bad and didn’t love me.  Was I bad?  Is that why papa did bad things to me?  Is that why I died?


No, you were good.  Your papa did things he shouldn’t have but you were good.  It wasn’t your fault he did those things to you or that you and your mama died.  Tell me more about your papa.


Maria wiped her sleeve across her nose and continued.  Mama said papa had been in a war, fighting far away.  When he came home he was different.  Then there was another baby coming and papa started touching me.  Mama was busy with the baby and didn’t see.  They argued about things that happened during the war, but I didn’t understand.  There was a long pause.  Are you sure I am good and not bad?


Yes, I am sure.  And even though your father did some bad things doesn’t make him all bad.  His actions were bad but he could have also loved you.  And sometimes war changes people and makes them act bad.  After being away in a war you might have looked so clean and fresh that he just was glad to be home, and he wanted to be part of your innocence and freshness.  What he did was very bad, but he could still love you.  Maybe he was sorry about what he did.  Look at the weeping angel—maybe he picked it out because  it represents him weeping for what he had done.  Can you understand that?  Thalia thought of all the adults who could only see the world in black or white, and couldn’t understand shades of gray in people or allow for forgiveness.  Their anger festered for years, or even for their whole lifetime, and made their lives bitter and the lives of the people around them miserable.  They couldn’t separate the action from the person.  If adults couldn’t understand, how could a child?


I think so… maybe.  I’ll try.  I always thought the angel was weeping because I was so bad. 


No, that’s not why the angel is weeping.  We grow when we can learn to forgive.  It’s hard, but important.  Forgiveness heals us and is more important for us than for the person we forgive, but both are important.


Maria moved to gently touch the weeping angel and the engraving of her name and where it said she was the beloved daughter.  As she sighed, she smiled.  Thank you, m’lady.


No, I am not a “m’lady.”  I am just a woman on a walking tour of the City of Ladies.  Now I am not sure where I am.


A new-energy thought chimed in.  We will call this place the Hall of Remembrances.  Will you come back and help us tell our stories?  There are many stories here needing to be told.


She looked up to see many other pale figures emerging from the walls and statues, clustering around this latest thought-speaker.   He appeared to be the one with authority.  In his outstretched hand was a coin that seemed to have real substance.   Remember us! 


The coin was suddenly in her hand, solid and heavy.   A male head on one side and a woman standing on the other side. 



She looked at him, as he stood there with more physical essence than the others.  That’s Apollo on the one side; the muse Thaleia, as I know her, on the other.  Take this coin and remember us.  We await your return.  Others like yourself are welcome, also.       


I will return now and again, and perhaps others will also come to help you.  Thank you all for sharing with me and inviting me.  For now I need to return and continue the tour.  But I will be back to the Hall of Remembrances for more of your stories. 


And suddenly she was back at the entrance to the catacombs, coin in hand, ready for the next adventure, even as she wondered why Apollo and Thalia were on the same coin.

Written by thalia

June 25, 2008 at 1:27 am

Posted in Catacombs, Walking Tour

Tagged with ,

In The Mind Of The Beholder

with 9 comments

by a.m. moscoso

When I was a kid I was fasinated by stories about Head Hunters.

My favorite was one about an Island where the trees were so thick that the sunlight never reached the ground and the people that lived there were so firece that Soldiers and Pirates to this day leave the Island off their maps and if they sail by it for any reason they make sure everyone is awake when they do.

Now in this particular story I learned the important part in taking your head was the Hunt- it was very important that you never see the Hunter coming, that you never see your body falling away from you, it was important you never realize you were dead.

After a month of prepartions ( you never do realize you’re dead ) the Head Hunter would  take your shrunken head and hang it from a tree that is grown especially for this sort of thing.

For a little while if anyone walked under your freshly shrunken head they would be abe able to see hear your nightmare or dream people walking around under the trees lost and calling for their dreamer so they could go home again.

Eventually the person who took your head could wake you up and your dream people when they wanted to- it was like turning a radio off and on.

The Head Hunter, when he or she got bored with you, could use your dreams to find other heads.

And it was bad news for you if one of those Head Hunters found you because it was only a matter of time before you ended up on that Island under those trees where the sun never reached the ground.

Like I said, it’s just a story that I learned when I was about six years old from my Grandfather.

” What did the Head Hunters want from those heads? ” I asked once.

” They wanted what was inside of them. ” he said.

” Their brains? ” I asked.

” No, what was inside their brains…their stories. “

I considered this and then asked, ” so if you have lots of stories? ” I asked with my hand up near my neck.

My Grandfather looked very serious and said, ” the Head Hunters have lots of stories too- if you are brave enough to go and take them. “

In case you’re curious

I am


Written by Anita Marie

June 23, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Catacombs

The Subway Station

with 13 comments

Natalie zigzagged her way down Figueroa, dodging the pedestrians as she hurried to the Seventh Street station. She had spent far too much time doing research in the basement of the Central Library and had completely lost track of time. Natalie picked up the step a bit. She needed to get home in time to initiate a phone interview with the subject of her latest article. It had taken her weeks to pin down an interview with the reclusive science fiction writer and futurist Rutherford Abbington to discuss his controversial theories on alternate realities and multiple timelines. She was not looking forward to the interview. She had no idea what to ask him. Why she was given this assignment, she did not know, but, she reasoned, if she missed him, this would put her behind schedule again, and her editor would chew her out. That was enough reason to get on with the assignment.

Natalie reached the corner of Fig and Seventh and hopped onto the escalator that descended into the station’s cavernous entrance. She skipped every other step, excusing herself as she wove her way past a young mother with three small children in tow and around a suited man with the wireless device pulsing blue in his ear. As she hit the bottom and exited the escalator she noticed a dozen or more homeless people squatting or leaning against the walls on both sides. This was unusual since the transit authority ordinarily discouraged this type of loitering at the station. The men, and a few women, with their tattered plastic bags of possessions pulled close to their feet, vacantly stared, their minds seemingly oblivious to the world passing before them. For a brief moment, Natalie’s mind went to the catacombs in Palermo. She had read about the mummified bodies of this Capuchin monastery and how its priests lined its corridors with the remains of centuries-old townsfolk. The bodies were enshrined there— silent and watching—just like these people standing here.

Natalie shook this disturbing thought from her mind and focused her attention on finding the blue car towards Long Beach. She had a good sense of direction above ground, but here, underneath the city streets, she always lost that sense and got turned around each time. Following the signs, she descended one more level to the Blue Line tracks.

The platform was relatively empty. Odd, she thought, for the middle of a week day. There was an old man reading the racing section of the paper, a teen-aged boy plugged into an mp3 device, and a matronly woman clutching a plastic bag from a local discount store. Natalie took a seat on an empty bench. She fiddled in her backpack and pulled out her notebook. She might as well start organizing her morning’s research and preparing her questions for Dr. Abbington. A movement caught the corner of her eye and she glanced up. The three people on the platform rose simultaneously and headed in sync to the escalator to the upper levels. Natalie was taken aback. She looked around. She was alone.

It was then she heard an odd sound. Squeak, scrape, squeak, scrape. The sound was coming from around the corner from the restroom area. Squeak, scrape. It was getting louder. Natalie began to squirm on the bench and wrapped her arms tightly around her pack. SQUEAK, SCRAP. A figure lumbered around the corner, a woman hauling a luggage cart that had seen better days. The sound was from the turning of a misaligned wheel on the cart.

Natalie could not tell the age of the woman. Her face with creased with lines and deeply tanned, a sure give-away that this woman lived outdoors much of the time. She had on a torn pair of sweat-pants and sloppy purple sweatshirt with the faded Lakers logo on it. Over this she had on a ratty pink sweater. Gray frizzy hair poked out from under a baseball cap. Her cart held several black trash bags, a couple of cracked vinyl totes and a red and white plastic ice chest. In her hand she gripped a bag with the words “Botanica Guadalupe” on it. She was mumbling something that Natalie could not hear. She passed a half dozen empty benches and headed towards Natalie’s bench.

Do not sit here, do not sit here, no, no, no…great. The woman plopped herself next to Natalie with a grunt. Natalie sighed and slid as far as she could on the bench. She felt a little guilty about not wanting to be so close to this woman, but her aversion to the woman was mostly due to fear that the woman was unstable and therefore unpredictable in behavior.

The smell of her unwashed body was partially masked by the pall of a lavender scent.

“Do you like my perfume?” She stuck her wrist under Natalie’s nose. “Here, smell.”

Natalie pulled away as much as she could. She feigned a sniff and said. “That’s real nice.”

“Yeah… I help out Lupe at the shop sometimes with sweeping and such and she gives me some of her overstock.” The woman fumbled in one of the tote bags and took out a small blue can. She pried off the plastic lid. She started to reach into the can with her grimy fingers but then glanced at Natalie.


“Excuse me?” Natalie was not sure if this was a question or a statement of fact. ”What did you say?”

“Nuts. Would you like some? I almost forgot my manners.” She held the can out to Natalie.

“Uh, no… I’m good. Thanks.”

The woman shrugged and settled back into the bench. She was not particularly tall and her legs did not touch the floor. She began swinging her legs and continued munching from her can of nuts. Natalie returned to her notes.

“Whatcha doing?”

“Working.” Natalie frowned and sighed.

“Working at what?”

“I’m writing an article.”

“Ooooo, you’re a writer? Do you write for the National Scandal?”

“No, I do not. I write for the Sentinel.”

“I read the Sentinel, though it’s usually a few days old by the time I get it.”

The woman was silent for a moment and then craned her head to look at the books poking out of Natalie’s bag.

Into the Blue…by Rutherford Abbington. Hey! I’ve read his stuff!.”

Natalie looked up from her papers. “C’mon, YOU have?”

“Don’t act so surprised, sweetie. I spend a lot of time in the library. Probably more than you do.”


“You writing about him?”


“About his theories of alternative realities?”


“So you believe that stuff? You believe that multiple realities exist all at once and each one exists based upon each choice we make.”

Natalie turned on the bench and faced the woman. “You really HAVE read his stuff.”

“Yup. He’s got some squirrelly ideas. Like, according to him let’s say you choose to get on the next train and that train has a wreck on the tracks and you die. That’s one reality and you chose it by getting on the train. Or you can choose to get on a bus instead of a train and make it home just fine—and create another timeline leading to another reality. Both these realities exist at the same time. I couldn’t figure out his math. I think the whole thing is garbage..”

“Well, you’re entitled to your opinion.”

“But do YOU get it? Do you believe it?”

“I don’t know. I just report on this stuff. It’s not my job to believe it.”

“C’mon, haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like if you chose to be…let’s say… a stripper instead of a writer? What you life would be like then?”

Natalie chuckled. “A stripper? Yeah, right, that really would be science fiction for sure.”

“But the thing is, according to Abbington, there would be TWO…um, what’s your name?”

Natalie surprised herself by telling the woman.

“….according to Abbington, there would be TWO Natalies, living two realities, each defined by a free choice.”

“Yeah, I guess I can see what he’s saying. I have free will to choose. I create my own reality. Or in this case, reali-TIES.”

“Ah, then, that being the case, then you don’t believe in predestination… that all things are part of a big plan… sorta makes things a little uncertain and chaotic, don’t you think?”

“Well, I guess that’s the price we have to pay to be free.”

“So you see a dichotomy here…. Free will or fate.”

“Well, how can it be any other way?”

“It could be both—we are preordained to freely choose certain realities.”

“That’s absurd—you can’t have it both ways.”

“Why not?”

“Why not? Because free-will and fate are mutually exclusive.”

“Okay, then it’s neither one.”

“You can’t do that either.”

“Says who? Abbington? You? Look, sweetie, here’s what I’m getting at: we live in a world that has been sorted, analyzed, dissected and explained away in every possible way. We live in a world where there is no place for the Unknowable—there is no place for Mystery. If we can’t explain it, then it doesn’t exist. Mr. Abbington cannot accept predestination so he overcompensates by taking free-will to an extreme. He cannot accept any other premise because he has lost his sense of Mystery. He has no imagination.”

Natalie stared at the woman.

“So, Natalie, I ask you: Are you going to ascribe only to what you can see and hear and analyze and parse away? Or are you going to have faith in the Mystery and believe that which you cannot explain away? Do you have the imagination to do that?”

Suddenly, a loud roar emanated from the train tunnel and the wind of the approaching car rushed from the opening. The sound and the wind were stronger than usual and Natalie shielded her face from the breeze.

When the sound stopped, she looked up. The platform was full of people—the woman with the small children, the suited man, the old man and his newspaper— all of them were there. Everything seemed normal except, and Natalie swung around to be certain, the old woman was gone. Vanished. She scanned the array of homeless men leaning against the wall. They were no longer staring into space. They were alert and engaged.

Natalie did not have time to consider what had just happened here. The Mystery of it seemed normal in a way. She gathered up her notes and shoved them into her bag. The train was waiting and she had to get to her interview. She now knew what she would ask Rutherford Abbington.

She glanced back once more to the bench. Sitting there was a blue can of peanuts.

Yes, she had many questions to ask Abbington.


L.Gloyd © 2008

Written by Pelican1

June 23, 2008 at 5:27 am

Posted in Catacombs, Walking Tour

Voices from the Past

with 8 comments

Feeling cleansed of both physical and emotional “stuff” from Dame Washalot’s Bath House, she followed the walking tour map to the Catacombs.  Most of her knowledge about catacombs was derived from movies of the 1950’s like The Robe, Quo Vadis, and Ben Hur which all portrayed early Christians hiding out and having services there.  Later, she was surprised to learn catacombs were actually pre-Christian and even pre-Roman, and were used for burials and as hiding places from persecution.  The Sumerians, Egyptians and Greeks all utilized catacombs.


More recently she read Internet articles about supposed inner-Earth races living underground in catacombs, caverns and tunnels.  And a Hope Indian legend speaks of a very ancient complex beneath the surface occupied by a lizard-race 5000 years ago. 


It didn’t help her to recall these interesting but potentially frightening ideas as she moved further into the catacombs.  Even holding the torch she had been given at the entrance near the statue of Jesus at Gethsemane didn’t help—it just cast odd shadows.    At first the walls were smooth so it wasn’t bad, but now there were cubby-holes and recesses with statues or sculptures within, to which the flickering light added a macabre element.  As she approached each item, she thought they were moving.  As she peered closer, she could then discern they were just statues of angels and people. 


I guess there are people buried here or maybe just their ashes are buried here.  Reminds me of that Reader’s Digest article speaking of how the carbon can be extracted from the cremated remains of a loved one, and with heat and pressure, can be made into a real diamond.   What an odd line from the CEO of that company: ‘It isn’t in memory of a loved one, it is the loved one.’ 


Oh, what’s that?  Looks like it’s moving.  She crept closer.  It’s a gargoyle, and here’s another.  Why would they be in here?  Maybe to protect the remains, as they usually are supposed to be ugly to scare anyone unwanted away.


Something flew at her out of the dark; she ducked as another something flew past.  Bats! Ugh! They must be roosting further within since I haven’t seen any guano so far.   



Now it was totally dark, except for the sputtering torch.  She approached a marble bench in front of a sarcophagus within a recessed part of the wall.  Tired, she placed the torch into a holder and sat down.  I can’t walk all day the way I used to.  Probably not too many years before my ashes will be placed somewhere.  Would like for them to be scattered in various places but what if they were in a place like this?  Maybe I’m passing or looking at my own burial from another time—the circle of time.


She felt very much at peace here, surrounded by the remains of many people, deep within the earth—no noises of cars, power tools, construction, cell phones going off annoyingly or people having to talk all the time.  Silence—stillness…  She closed her eyes and meditated, sinking further into her center.  First the pinprick of light in the darkness, then the starburst.  She drifted out of her body, moved through the packed earth, into the air, above the city.  She could see-sense for miles.


peaceful… but not the time to continue…time to return


With that thought she moved back into her body, but aware her physical body was now surrounded by other bodies.  Keeping her eyes closed, she reached out her awareness to assess who was there.  Feels fine.  Good energy.


She opened her eyes.  A child was standing in front of her, looking at her.  A woman on one side, an elderly man on the other.  She nodded in respect to each translucent person—each smiled in return.  She knew words were unnecessary.


Hello.  Who are you?  How can I help?


The woman’s thoughts were clear: Please, help us.  We stay here now, close to what had been our bodies.   But we need to have our stories told.


The elderly man nodded as the little girl stroked her hand.  He then thought: There are others, too, needing to find the meaning in the lives they lived.  By telling their stories you will discover the underlying pattern and meaning, and reveal it to each of us.  We can sense you’ve done it for others, could you do it for us?


I would be honored to tell your stories.  I’m sure each one would be as interesting and meaningful as each person is unique, no matter how boring they think their life is.  I’m Thalia.  Glad to meet you…


Written by thalia

June 22, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Lady in a Red Shawl

with 11 comments

“The most unique thing about the catacombs is that these were real people. Not just dead bodies, but people that had lives, families, and careers just like we do. Their bodies remain with us, but their souls have departed to God, and to a better world. In this place you can actually feel that.”

King Capuchin’s Catacombs website

Grandmother, where is your beauty
That was spoken of once
In hushed tones? How your passage
Along the street would cause men to stare
As if a light
Had shone in their eyes?

They still speak of it, though none now live
Who saw you pass by. They say you
Loved to dress in a style
Not befitting a poor woman.

They say, too, you refused a Lord,
Who offered you gold and silks
To be his concubine. You were too proud,
They said, to use your beauty for mortal gain.
Instead, you scrubbed floors for a scholar,
Who taught you to read, which you passed on
To your children. You laundered men’s clothes
To pay for books.

Your children buried you in your bright red shawl, to remind them
How brightly blazed your beauty, and how much more brightly
Blazed your heart.

Written by Gail Kavanagh

June 21, 2008 at 1:06 am

Posted in Catacombs, Walking Tour

Catacombs – Not For The Faint Hearted

with 6 comments


Not for the faint hearted
Are the Lemurian Catacombs
But the brave,
Those who walk these corridors
Find richness
The elixir of living.

Heather Blakey June 2008

Written by Heather Blakey

June 20, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Catacombs, Walking Tour