From the private journal of Scarlett Amaris - Montsegur - 21 June 2010
Storm clouds rolled across the horizon in an endless sea of grey and the bonfire built the night before still stood forlorn and unkindled on the 'camp de cremat'. The first rays of so-called sunlight were all but invisible, diffused through the relentless cloud cover. In the donjon tower room, people gathered from Chile, England, Norway, Germany and other places unknown, praying that the clouds would part and allow a beam or two through. People looked cold and some a little sleepy, but suprisingly no one looked upset or disappointed by the weather. There was a general sense of good feeling all around, of happiness to be in that place for the solstice no matter what happened - a sense that just making the journey there had been enough. Finally, the light did break and for a minute the sun shone through, affording those assembled a brief glimpse of the phenomena that they had come from all four corners of the earth to witness. For a moment those familiar, eerie red beams flickered across the tower walls. Then it was gone as fast as it came, but it was enough to set a collective gasp and murmur rolling through the onlookers.
As above: Solstice light - Approx. 6.00 am (photograph courtesy of Ivan de Castries)
So below: Ivan, Richard and Ivan's brother - June 21 2010
Extracts from Richard Stanley's weblog - Montsegur - June 21 2010
As usual we were the last to leave. None of us really wanted to go back to the world but the weather showed no sign of breaking and Ivan and his bro' were facing a long drive back to Barcelona. We talked of many things as we hit the downward trail, of Otto Rahn and absent friends and of Belibaste, the 'last parfait' who perished at the stake in 1321. Ivan was optimistic that Belibaste's prophecy, that the 'laurel will turn green again' after 700 years would be borne out, that the forces of evil and obscurantism would fail and that there would be a revival of interest in the history of the castle and its all but vanished faith before the anniversary in 2021.
As above: The memorial on the 'Camp de Cremat' commemorating the martyrs who were burned here in 1244
So below: The 'Camp de Cremat' or 'field of the Stake' - still ready for bonfire!!!
Montsegur - 22 June 2010
And this time it happened in style...
As the sun climbs higher its rays intensify and the fiery colours visible within the West-facing slit deepen...
After reaching their apogee at approximately 6.20 the lights in the keep began to fade until by 6.30 no trace remained. As the sun climbed higher and the day warmed we started to believe that maybe summer would return ...
It was a glorious morning. The air was warm and still, almost balmy. At approximately 5.45 we heard a curious metallic sound, a low reverberation that seemed to emanate from the Western wall of the donjon-keep. At first we thought we were alone on the pog and that we truly were the 'last of the faithful', but just as the first rays began to pour through the East-facing arrow slits a wizened old man with a grey beard appeared in the doorway of the tower room. He did not return our greeting and watched in silence from the rear of the chamber as the ' solstice effect' began to manifest once more...
6.13 am - June 23 2010
As above: Plate showing diagram of a camera obscura from Kircher's 'Big Book of Light and Shadows'
As we made our way from the tower room we felt a hot gust of wind against our faces.
And, just like that, summer began...
We wish to thank long term Shadow Theatre Irregular 'Marcoshark' for his welcome donation of a new Lumix and an accompanying Velbon tripod to the Terra Umbra cause, without which this documentation would not have been possible.
To be continued...