Friday, May 18, 2012

"You must know the heart of hatred to gain the salvation of love"

I find myself in front of a pair of massive carved oak doors with lion knockers and fleurs de lys. Inside I meet Charles d’Orléans, the poet-prince in whose name Joan of Arc went to war. I have dreamed into his life over many years, but this is the first time I have seen him face to face. I observe him closely, recalling that no contemporary portraits of him survive.
    Charles has sharp, angular features, a beak of a nose, a strong pointed chin, dark straight hair cut above the shoulders. He is in what, for him, is informal garb: a particolored doublet (dark green and pale green or cream) and hose.
     He declares in French, Il faut connaitre le coeur de haine pour obtenir le salut d’amour. "We must know the heart of hatred to gain the salvation of love."
     The words strike deep. I ask the 15th century Duke of Orleans why I have been dreaming into his life, and his death. He tells me: Je porte le sceau des ages, inclus de l’age mussulmane que vous importe si lourde dans vos temps. "I carry the seal of the ages, including that of the Muslim age that weighs so heavy on you in your times." This is exciting, and altogether mysterious.

This encounter unfolded during a group shamanic journey I led in which I gave participants the assignment of finding a personality in another time whose life issues are relevant to their present situations. The follow-up assignment that I gave the group was to write a page from the “autobiography” of the personality they had encountered. When I took up pen and paper to write my own page, I began by reproducing Charles' extraordinary opening statement:

Il faut connaitre le coeur de haine pour obtenir le salut d’amour.

Then the words streamed from me, or through me:

We must know the heart of hatred to gain the salvation of love.

"My mother schooled me in hatred. Chief among her keepsakes, in the black-shrouded box near my right hand on the table, is the silken square on which she first embroidered the emblem of our family’s grief, and hate. It is the image of a rounded watering-can, a chantepleure, dripping fat drops of blood. My mother told me it was her heart that was bleeding, and would go on bleeding until we avenged ourselves on John of Burgundy, who had my father chopped to pieces on a Paris street like a side of beef on a butcher’s block.
    "John is long dead, and I cannot hate him now. His son became my friend. On the game-board of this world, the pieces are forever in motion.
    "My beautiful young wife Marie is waiting for me. Perhaps she is my reward for the bloody years of war and revenge, and the longer years I spent in a gilded cage, as a hostage in EnglandI am writing a new poem for her, or rather for the Lady of the Forest of Long Awaiting I worship in the pleasing slopes of her body.
    "Through the landscapes of women, and of the gentle Loire country around my chateau of Blois, I give myself reason to stay in this body, which has survived longer than any of my boyhood friends, but is beginning to fail. The Lord knows – and the Adversary even better – that I have had no difficulty leaving this body. I am a prince of France, but I am also my mother’s son.
    "There is a rustle of wings at my window, and a huge black crow tapping at the glass. The sheen on its plumage is purple in the morning light. Is it my mother’s familiar, calling me to yet one more act of family duty – or vendetta?
    "I will never leave you, she promised. She knows the ways to keep such a promise. She was a Visconti, of that great Italian house that pursued its battles by night as well as day. She was accuse of sorcery, to keep her and her accusations out of Paris after my father’s murder. In our time, it was customary to charge an unmanageable or inconvenient woman – even a woman of the highest degree – with sorcery. This was done to a Queen of England as well as to the peasant girl from Lorraine who raised an army in my name. My mother’s policy was this: If they are going to charge you with sorcery, you may as well become a sorcerer....
"I am writing in my library, here at Blois, the city I love best. Through the leaded glass, I see the lazy bend of the Loire, lemon-green in the sunshot mist. At my left hand, I have my copy of the Picatrix, lettered by a renegade monk from Germany. I never tire of reading its account of a city of magicians in North Africa. Next to the Picatrix is the jeweled box that contains the rarest of all my manuscripts. I have had five letters of Greek embossed on the lid. Θαύμα. Thauma. The contents of this box have made a long journey. By a great irony, the script was in Constantinople at the same time my family’s enemy, John of Burgundy, was there as a prisoner of the Great Turk…"

Graphic: Dutch artist's version of Charles d'Orleans, circa 1471. There are no surviving contemporary portraits.


Worldbridger said...

Wow! That is so exciting, and so evocative ... the fact that it resonates so strongly with the present day is wonderful. What an amazing insight into the personal vendettas that are likely causing much of our world turmoil.

The question is - how does the average powerless person have an impact on the raging of the prince?

Justin Patrick Moore said...

Worldbridger -you could gain power by practicing the magic in the Picatrix for one.

Jake Stratton-Kent is doing some important working in elucidating the graeco-shamanic roots of the grimoire tradition. See the two volumes of his Geosophia from Scarlet Imprint for details.

It's important because it shows it is less about "demons" in a Christian sense and more about spirits of the Greek Underworld -and many of the pre-Olympic traditions had strong chthonic Underworld connections.