From the drawings of the queen to the designs of the sorcerers who practice at the gates of Cahors

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– For those who have not yet been able to visit the exhibition of the works of the Queen of Denmark at the Cahors museum, Mary Bretagnolle posted via Twitter and her personal blog the booklet she wrote on this subject. Doctoral student specializing in the illustrations of the works of JRR Tolkien, attached to the University of Paris Est Créteil, the researcher evokes in particular the correspondence between the sovereign and the writer. And reproduces the first letter (in 1970) from the queen and artist to her favorite author: “Dear Professor Tolkien, It is now more than a year since I stumbled upon your book ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and I am writing this letter to you because I wish to tell you how much I enjoyed it; it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve been reading it non-stop ever since. Very early on, I took to mentally illustrating what I was reading and shortly after, I devoted myself seriously to this project. That is why I would like to offer you these (unsatisfactory) copies of my drawings, which I composed without thinking of publication, but which nevertheless take the form of “chapter headers”. It must be something, huh, when you receive this kind of mail…

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– The Heritage Days play extensions in the Lot thanks to the National Monuments Center. But in a singular and above all united way. Here is : ” Whether you live in Oise, Aube, Lot or Dordogne, you will find a monument where you can give blood on September 21! Direction the castles of #Pierrefonds #LaMotteTilly #CastelnauBretenoux and #Puyguilhem. » Message transmitted.

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– From Quercy Blanc, and more precisely from Montcuq, Deborah Loundonof British origin, posts a superb photo of a threatening sky and wonders (I translated for you): The big question here is therefore whether it will really rain or simply continue this spectacle of dramatic sky (about two hours of rain since the beginning of June…). » Still about Montcuq, these beautiful photos and this text in the form of an invitation to travel found on the blog of TSF36 which correctly states: “It is imperative to pronounce the final consonant (…) This limestone, which the well-restored medieval houses of the village are made of, takes on warm, slightly ochreous hues when the sun caresses them. »

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– Our dive into the archives takes us this week back to November 1913. The Catholic daily newspaper La Croix publishes a kind of soap opera in several episodes devoted to “ Christian and pagan customs in the Quercy region”. the November 13, 1913a focus is dedicated to persistence, in this eve of the First World War, of cults linked to dolmens and above all of the still very frequent recourse in the Lot to all kinds of witchcraft. wants to sell cattle. When driving the animals to the market, some of them take care to cut a small fragment of a cross from the first wooden cross they find on their way, at some crossroads. An author tells that in Rocamadour there would always be a chaplain whose powers would be great, but who would be unaware of them himself, in connection with the evil eye or the spells cast particularly on animals. The chaplain in question would have the power “to destroy the effect of spells cast”. But he would keep it only insofar as he ignored it. The day when he suspected it, another chaplain would succeed him immediately in such a function. And, for that, there is obviously no need for an episcopal appointment. »

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– “The ancients placed stones, as amulets, in megalithic sepulchral monuments. The Lot has many monuments of this kind. Until recently, there were 500 dolmens there. There are still about thirty standing stones there, designated scientifically under the name of menhirs, and which are commonly called, in the people, Peïro quillado. Some of these stones are 15 meters high. Entire villages are even designated by this name, because of the presence next to them of these menhirs. With the dolmens, we also have the tumuli, which are very numerous in this department. We know that, according to some, the dolmens were altars at the same time as tombs. Beneath these dolmens, famous people were buried, preferably famous warriors. When over time we no longer knew how to move these large stones, the populations made kinds of deities. In France, dolmens are found in more than 1100 municipalities (…) We notice a very large number of them in the department. There would be up to 40 in some municipalities according to Mr. Bourrières. The tumuli served, like the dolmens, as burials; they were tombs until the 7th century of our era. Delpon, the author of the Statistics of the Lot, believes that they also served as meeting places for the Druids. »

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– “It is certain that in the old Quercy, in the 17th century, people used to go and offer flowers to these dolmens. The people even anointed them with oil on certain days. The bishop of Cahors was obliged, at that time, to destroy those of the dolmens which were thus the object of a worship from the people. In the High Middle Ages, 5th to 7th centuries, crowds made wishes to trees, fountains and stones “as if they were altars”, said a Council of Rouen in the century. The Church prohibited such worship. »

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– “Our populations are essentially conservative. They remained pastoral and agricultural as were the tribes of the time of the megalithic monuments. Some would claim that the descendants of these ancient tribes would even form the main basis of our rural populations today. Be that as it may, one can easily find traces of the superstitions and legends of the ancients there. The Chaldeans also knew the worship rendered by these ancient tribes to stones, springs and fountains. Antiquity practiced the cult of the sun. We should perhaps attach to the practice of this ancient cult the very curious habit, very widespread in our countryside, of designating the monstrance with the word “sun.” Quite often, we would have recourse in our populations to divination. When a member of the family is ill and we see his illness continuing indefinitely, we try to guess the nature of the illness that is eating away at him. Here’s how we do it. »

– “The operation is easy to perform and is well within everyone’s reach. We take several ivy leaves. One represents the evil of Saint-Louis, the other the evil of Saint-Eutrope or yet another the evil of Saint-Cloud, etc. We make, by means of scissors, a mark at each of these leaves. A plate is filled with water and the leaves thus marked are placed in this water. Before going to bed, take care to cover everything with a second plate. And we let the night pass. When he wakes up, we carefully consider each ivy leaf. Some have obviously begun to spoil, just as others have been able to survive. Curiously, it is not the best preserved leaf that should be taken into consideration, but the most damaged leaf. This one will represent the saint or the saint to whom it is necessary to resort to obtain the miraculous cure of the evil which strikes the person who is dear to you. We still resort to divination for a completely different purpose. We go so far as to try to guess whether such and such a parent is in heaven or in purgatory. One could guarantee that such a system is commonly practiced, even today, at the gates of Cahors. »

– “The same process that I have just mentioned is used almost identically in this new case. One sheet marked the day before with scissors represents the soul of the deceased grandfather or father, another the soul of the recently deceased grandmother or mother, another sheet still represents the soul of another deceased member of the family. The leaf or leaves which, the next day, are the most spoiled denote the soul or souls of the deceased for whom it is necessary to pray and who are waiting in the suffering the beneficent effect of family prayers. One easily resorts to such a process of divination when, at night, one has dreamed of the dead. A similar means is used to find out which is the deceased relative who asks for prayers. This kind of divination has the precious advantage of preventing superstitious families from having to go far away to find the sorcerer or witch, to consult them on the illness of a loved one, or on the state of happiness or suffering of such a person. or some missing person, of whom we had the vision in a dream. But, because they have greater faith in sorcerers and witches than in divination, many prefer to approach them directly, especially regarding the art of discovering the illness of loved ones. There is a fairly common belief, in a number of localities, in the operations of sorcerers. Some, sometimes the less religious, have recourse to them earlier than to doctors. Others address both simultaneously. If the sick people involved are sick because of an evil spell cast by someone, woe to whomever the sorcerer points out. He will be found guilty and he will have to suffer the worst insults from the families of these patients. »

– Indeed, the word of the sorcerer enjoys a high authority with those who will find it. He is king among the superstitious people who go to him. He is an important character, who is highly respected as well as greatly feared by those who have recourse to his good offices. We listening with religious attention. And someone who, in his parish, will be signaled not to set foot in the church, not to have people pray for his dead, will be ready, by obedience to the orders or simple advice of the sorcerer, to travel several kilometers on Sunday to go to attend mass, and to go to a foreign church to assist there at masses requested for his dead, and even to take communion there at Easter time. By alleging such facts, we are only echoing absolutely certain facts.

– “In Bas-Quercy, the station master of a station, in a locality where there is a very famous witch throughout the region, said to a good peasant who was going to find the famous witch: “You will have to do everything what she will tell you, otherwise, beware of her spells, of the spell she will cast on you in case you do not follow her advice. You didn’t have to come find her. But, since you have come, I urge you to practice what she will ask you to do. The sorcerer or witch recommends certain plants for the healing of the sick with whom they are treated. But also, and above all, they abound in the recommendations of masses, especially of services with representation in the middle of the church, to be celebrated. When the family who has consulted a sorcerer goes to ask for these masses or services, they use many periphrases when addressing the priest, so that the latter cannot suspect that these masses or services have been requested by the diviner. With masses and funeral services, the sorcerer sometimes asks for the daily recitation of often very long prayers. »

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From the drawings of the queen to the designs of the sorcerers who practice at the gates of Cahors

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