The Oral Record

Born Again Cathars

bookstore-at-rennes During visits to Occitan I had many discussions about the Cathar faith; with librarians, born again Cathars, but mostly with those promoting “Catharism”  or “Les Pays Cathares” as a tourist attraction.

The conversations were informal in the extreme and everyone I spoke to had different opinions. I made notes only of opinions which were commonly held.

There seems to be general agreement that the Cathars internally referred to themselves as “Les Bonnes Gens”, the good people.

I found much enthusiasm for a return to Catharism, with the occasional suggestion that it was still the underlying faith in Occitan.  This enthusiasm was not supported by any consideration, regard for, or analysis of, what the implications of a return to Catharism might be.

The Name

I encountered an innocent view of the faith as a different and possibly better formula for governing human relationships.I was guided to fragments of documents which supported the beliefs which flowed so readily in casual conversation.  Across dozens of references and discussions which there were recurring themes but little of this oral tradition has made it into into mainstream print.

As an example the people I talked to were happy to accept the term “Cathars” as the name of the religion. They gave me the source:-

Greek katharsis, from kathairein ‘cleanse,’ from katharos ‘pure.’

Catharsis,  the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

Mainstream history insists however that the name is invented by enemies and is derived from the medieval german word for cat. It is said to be a reference to the belief that during Cathar ceremonies attendees kissed the backside of a cat.

The Good Man

The Cathar Enigma And yet, the worst demon she faces is that she is not sure she believes implicitly in what she is being asked to fight, perhaps give her life, for. she forces herself to re-examine and re-evaluate her beliefs. She has been taught that the reason Jesus attracted notice was because he was not a carpenters son, as the Church of Rome would have us believe, but the conjoin of many important blood lines. If he had chosen a different path he could have been ruler of the whole world.Jesus was not god but a good man.

In view of the tile of choice as “les bonnes hommes” the description of Jesus as a good man may simply mean therefore that he shared their faith. In any case Jesus was not here to save us but to give us a message.

The reason Jesus message was highly regarded was because he was not a carpenter but a famous person. Why he was famous is more elusive but the conclusion is that whatever he preached was from the very beginning promoted by the Roman state.

The illusion

Jesus' True Message Jesus true message was that mankind must celebrate diversity not discriminate because of it. He taught that there is only one Good God, though that God has been called many different names. The creation of nations, sanctioned by the Roman Church is, like marriage, an attempt to manipulate possession of material possessions. To achieve reunion with that God it is essential to abandon all preoccupation with the material world. One nation, one God, one way of worshipping that God,a worship which has no need of priests, churches, elaborate ceremonials or rich vestments.Cathars believed that the message propagated by Jesus was One God , one State. Note that this can be interpreted as “no nations and no religion” It was specifically intended to undermine the Jewish Messianic faith and it’s vision of Jewish domination of the whole world. The Church of Rome claimed that Jesus was the Jewish messiah in order to pervert the memory of what Jesus stood for and to propagate their own dogma.

Cathars believed Jesus’ death and cruxifiction was “an illusion” though once again the definition of what “illusion” is imprecise.  One interpretion of illusion is that Jesus survived the cruxifiction but another is that the whole story of Jesus is a fabrication, a story told to convey the message and bears no relation to the real man.

Earlier faiths

Cathar faith/ 10/ The Bad God/212 The Church of Rome is an agent of the devil. It must be because their God is the God of the old testament, the God of the Jews the God of creation. Their God is actually Set, the Egyptian god of conflict and chaos. The Jews started to worship Set when they were in Egypt and continued to worship him when they left. The prayer to Set called "Our Father' is an unacceptable chant of praise for the wickedness of the material world.The Cathars totally rejected the old testament and used knowledge of the new testament only to refute the teaching of the Church of Rome, which claimed to be Catholic (universal) but in fact was not.

There was however the bad god to contend with and the bad god was the Egyptian God, Set  who was one and the same as the Jewish god YHWH( Jehovah)

jesus message/32/The images of god - Isis/61 Jesus message was based on earlier teachings, possibly an amalgamation of several different faiths such as the Egyptian worship of Isis.


jesus message/32/God is God- Mazda/206 There are also strong parallels with the teachings of Zarathrustra and both the pentacle The sacred flame have places of reverence in both faiths.

The sacraments

the-mass The " mass" was not part of the functioning of the early church. It was six hundred years before attendance was made compulsory. This was the first attempt by the church to "know it's own" And to collect money from everyone who attended.The Cathars were opposed to the ceremonial practices of the Roman church.
This included the sacraments themselves, the building of expensive churches the wearing of expensive vestments and jewellery and the hedonistic lifestyle of the clergy.

The Gift

Cathar faith/ 10/ The Pleasure of Sex/83 She has given us sexual pleasure as a small sample of what reunion will be like. Sexual pleasure is purely spiritual and is not part of the material world. The worst distraction of all is to fall in love with material possessions,land, property,jewels and precious metals. All this is far less important than spiritual life.The pleasure of sex was a gift from god to show what the eventual union with him might be like.

Therefore there was no sin in sexual pleasure however it might be obtained. This was readily championed by the men and women I met but under mild questioning most admitted it was “perhaps not for me”


the-court-of-lovel Both men and women were free to have multiple relationships but if a couple chose to be monogamous then that too was acceptable, as long it was the free will of both parties. Social life was organised to make it possible for women to meet other potential partners and for men to express their admiration for other women. The decision on wether a new relationship would be entered into was entirely the woman’s. The aristocratic version of this social activity is what has become known as the courts of love, but similar events took place at all levels of society.

These relationships are entirely honourable but are usually conducted in a discreet manner.  However within a single household there could be multiple relationships.

There were huge differences in interpretation of sexual morality amongst the people I talked to, ranging from the Cathars  believing that all sexual content was evil to a belief that the pleasure of sex was a gift from god to show what the eventual union with him might be like and that therefore there was no sin in sexual pleasure,howeverit might be obtained. I have mede this latter issue an evolving problem for Ximene.


st-felix-de-lauragais-sm Inheritance (the possession of worldly goods) was also simple. Women and men could and did both have private possessions. A husband did not automatically acquire possessions from his wife. Nor did a woman automatically control her husbands possessions. All wealth of each individual was uniformly distributed to all children.

Thus a child would inherit quite independently from mother and father. A woman would know without doubt who her children were but a man had to claim children, at birth. An unclaimed child inherited only from the mother. As the number of children was small this created few problems even where landholdings were concerned.


These sources of information can hardly be regarded as reliable.  I am aware that, in terms of normal scholarship, this information is virtually worthless. It is all opinion, often emotionally charged opinion but nothing more. It is fair to say however the same criticsm could be levelled at many champions of mainstream christianity.

However the notes above were taken before 2008 and it interesting to note that this oral tradition stands up very well in the face of much research I have carried out since then.

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.