Connecticut's School of Herbal & Energetic Studies
An Herbal Journey through Sacred France
Come join us on our magical tour to the Languedoc in southwest France where we combine the magic of local herbs with the divine feminine teachings that are so present in this sacred corner of France. Here we will be well off the beaten tourist-path, tucked away in the foothills of the Pyrenees and where the local esoteric history reaches back thousands of years. It is the land of the Cathars, Knights Templar, Mary Magdalene and Black Madonnas which all seem to have their part in the great Holy Grail mystery. It’s a part of our world that, until recently, has seemingly been left untouched. But don’t let that fool you. Traveling the small, winding roads of the Languedoc, you will marvel at the beauty and mystery of this sacred land. Our home base will be in Rennes les Bains which is a famous spa village that dates back over 2000 years to when Roman nobility would “summer” here. It is a village of less than 200 inhabitants, located on the River Salz with its own natural thermal baths. Every day you will have the opportunity to bathe in the thermal waters that so many have come to for healing for thousands of years. Local lore says that Mary Magdalene baptised in this river. It is against this backdrop where we will meet, interact and study many of Europe’s native plants and trusted herbal allies. Surrounded by nature in this powerful energetic landscape, we will create ceremony, follow with the eyes of history and take part in daily herbal and energetic healing classes. Community Herbalist and Flower Essence Practitioner Lupo Passero will lead the group on plant walks, talks and botanical lessons throughout the region. Under her guidance we will make herbal remedies and flower essences and experience plant spirit healing. This trip is perfect for all levels of herbal experience; whether you are a beginner, the “budding” herbalist or if you’re an experienced herbalist and would like a deeper understanding of sacred plant medicine. Each day will include time with our herbal allies and time for exploring the rich history of this sacred land. At the end of this tour, each participant will be awarded a Certificate of Completion to commemorate what we have discovered and learned on this trip!
Twin Star specializes in empowering the Divine Feminine in all of us by leading people to sacred, off-the-beaten path sites, rich in botanical lore. Our trips encourage individuals to deepen their plant-soul connection. By gently walking the Earth in these special places, our alliance to Spirit is strengthened. And through this unification, we come back to our lives and shine the light that we are.
- Transfer to/from Toulouse (TLS) airport at designated time/s
- Single room accommodations - we will do our best to facilitate single rooms for all travelers. In the event that rooms need to be shared, a discount of US $150 will be applied to your final payment
- All breakfasts, most lunches and dinners as specified in the itinerary
- All entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary
- Airport pickup/drop off and all ground transportation as per the itinerary
- Herb classes taught by Lupo Passero (Community Herbalist, Flower Essence Practitioner); Local Guides and their tips
- Supplies for medicine making
- Airfare; please do not finalize/purchase any airfare until we have confirmed that this departure will go. If it does not go due to lack of participants, all funds will be refunded. We are keeping watch on airfare trends and are happy to help coordinate air travel if so desired.
- travel insurance (we very strongly recommend this, see registration form for more info)
- personal expenses/spending
- alcohol/drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
- any transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- paper/notebooks and whatever you like to have for note-taking
- Intimate group size, not to exceed 9 people
- Daily herb classes, workshops & ceremonies
- Thermal baths (in the river)
- Local Guide/s
- Certificate of Completion from Twin Star
- Completely escorted
- Travel documents - A valid passport is needed.
- Weather - It is much like the weather in the Northeast. For a better feel, you can check the weather online for Couiza, France to get an idea of what to expect.
- Money (Euros) - Our personal experience has been to use the local ATMs to get Euros. There is, of course, a fee. Check with your bank. Consider the convenience, security and ease of having access to your money most anywhere you go and the fee suddenly seems reasonable. We do NOT recommend using Traveler’s Checks. Please also keep in mind that credit cards are not as widely accepted as in the US, especially in this corner of France.
- Baggage - we ask that you pack as lightly as possible. Our transportation has limited baggage stowage. Please, NO LARGE BAGS. If it helps, think of it on an energetic level: “Pack Light, Travel Light, BE Light”.
- Backpacks, water bottles - are recommended and are very useful for our daily outings. We will stop through Alet-les-Bains whenever convenient so we can refill our water bottles with the local healing waters.
- Notebooks - consider what kind of notebook is most comfortable for you as we will not always be in a “classroom” setting.
- Comfortable shoes and layered clothing - highly recommended for our daily outings. Evenings are cool. Meal times will be casual. There will be no “formal” occasions where one would need to “dress”. Please remember, pack simply and lightly!
- Hiking - there will be a lot of walking and hiking. Most of it is considered easy, but there are a few places where the hike is more strenuous. There will always be a place where you can sit out if so desired.
- Swimwear - if you plan to “take the waters” (enjoy the thermal baths) swimwear is recommended, especially if you plan to use the public bath house, they will only allow swimsuits, no street clothing (spandex shorts, etc).
Every effort will be made to follow the itinerary as noted. We reserve the right to make adjustments as necessitated by weather, safety and unforeseen variables.
A LITTLE ABOUT US:
Lupo Passero is a Community Herbalist and Flower Essence Practitioner from the hills of Northwest Connecticut. She is the founder and director of Twin Star School of Herbal & Energetic Studies located in New Milford, CT. Lupo has been studying plant medicine her entire adult life and has been teaching herbalism extensively for over 15 years. She has joyfully created and offers a myriad of classes, workshops and herbal intensives as well as international trips and travels to Central American and Europe. Covering a variety of topics including traditional and modern herbalism, flower essence therapy, energy healing, women’s apprenticeships & moon circles, ceremony and rituals and herbal justice programs.
Tina Hartzell has traveled extensively around the world and has escorted groups to China, Israel, Egypt and Europe. She took her first trip to southern France in 2013 and was immediately smitten. She has since become devoted to bringing people to these sacred lands to experience the Magdalene energy. In addition to arranging and leading tours to France, Tina is a certified reflexologist, considers herself a “budding” herbalist and helps manage Twin Star Herbal Education. She lives with her husband and three children in the magical northwest corner of Connecticut.
The group will be meeting at the Toulouse (“TLS”) airport. You will be picked up at 1:00pm on Friday, July 22nd. If your landing options are later, consider flying in the night before and staying at one of the nearby airport hotels. We suggest the Holiday Inn Express at the airport because they provide a free airport shuttle, breakfast is included, rooms are nice & clean and the price is very competitive.
A note from Tina: Having been to this corner of France several times in the last two years, the biggest lesson I have learned is that despite thorough planning and forethought, the spiritual legacy of the land often has it’s own agenda. We will make every effort to follow this itinerary but, from experience, I know that as our group bonds and connects with each other, the Land will present its own agenda for us. We encourage you to be flexible and embrace this; the magic that unfolds will amaze you!
All breakfasts and most evening meals will be at our B&B.
Classes/workshops/ceremonies we will be offering:
- Spiritual Bathing with Healing Plants & Water
- Daily Herbal Walks & Talks
- Botanical Signs & Signatures
- Sacred/Divine Femininity with Anaiya Sophia
- The Sacred Herbs of France.
- Connecting to Your Plant Spirits with Guided Journey.
- Making Flower Essences in the Field Despacho ceremony
Day 1: Friday, July 22 (Feast of Mary Magdalene)
We are going hit the ground running today! Toulouse is located in the region called “Mid-Pyrenees” - your first sight of the Pyrenees will leave you breathless! Group pick up at Toulouse (TLS) airport is at 1:00pm (this could be flexible). From here we will make our way to our hotel in Rennes-les-Bains. En route we’ll stop off for a visit to the local springs. With our feet in the local healing spring, we’ll hold our opening ceremony. Then check in at our B&B where we will also have our dinner. After dinner, we will find our way to the thermal baths in the river (Breakfast & Lunch on your own, dinner included)
Day 2: Saturday, July 23
~Sacred Herbs of France with Lupo~Day Trip to Puilaurens Castle, Gorges de Galamus Mountain Pass and Bugarach Mountain~After our morning workshop with Lupo, we’ll set out on a breathtaking drive through the countryside to make our way to Puilaurens castle. At this local “Cathar” stronghold we will introduce you to some of the fantastic history of this corner of France. Our drive back will take us through the spectacular Gorges de Galamus where we’ll stop in at the Hermitage of St. Anthony. Our final stop of the day will be at the infamous Bugarach Mountain, known locally and worldwide as a hotspot for ET activity. It is said that it was this legendary mountain that inspired Jules Verne to write Journey to the Center of the Earth. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included today)
Day 3: Sunday, July 24
~Local Market with Lupo & Tina~Sacred Femininity Workshop~Fairy Forest~We will spend the morning at the local Sunday market in Esperaza. You will find everything from herbs to crystals to local vegetables to everyday clothing. It’s is a great place to find gifts and you’ll get a first hand taste of how the locals shop! You will have time to find a local tid-bit for your lunch and after lunch we will take a magnificent drive through the countryside and make our way to Puivert where we’ll spend the afternoon with local goddess Anaiya Sophia.
In an afternoon workshop, Anaiya will introduce the Feminine expression of Christ Consciousness as it comes through to us from the spiritual tradition of Mary Magdalene. On our way back to our B&B, we’ll plan to stop in at the magical fairy forest known locally as a labyrinth named Nebias. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included today)
Day 4: Monday, July 25
~Connecting to Your Plant Spirits including a Plant-Spirit Journey~Guided tour to local villages~After our morning workshop with Lupo, our local guide will come greet us and we will spend much of the day with her. We will learn some of the legends and stories that surround these local mountain villages; we’ll learn just why people are drawn to this corner of the world! We will visit Alet-les-Bains where we’ll walk among beautiful abbey ruins and explore the town square where it is said that Nostradamus spent summers at a family home and then we’ll make our way up to the mysterious village of Rennes le Chateau (of DaVinci Code fame). (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included today)
Day 5: Tuesday, July 26
~Botanical Signs & Signatures and Plant Walk with Lupo at Montsegur~
After breakfast we will make our way through the beautiful countryside to the legendary Montségur. This fortress is known as the last stand of the Cathars before they disappeared from history. With Lupo, we’ll take a plant walk you will never forget! As we make the hike together to the top of Château de Montségur you will be immediately drawn to the plants along the way. Think about meeting Yarrow in a place where it was truly used by villagers and soldiers alike to save lives. This can be a rigorous hike, but we’ll be stopping often along the way to greet the local herbs. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included today)
Day 6: Wednesday, July 27~Niaux Cave~Fire of the Earth Goddess Ceremony in the Cathar Initiation Caves~
After breakfast, we’ll travel to the Ariege region, known for it’s many cave complexes. We will do a morning tour of the famous Niaux cave. Prepare to transport back in time 15,000 years to when the indigenous peoples of the land left their profound cave art. Who did these drawings and why?
We may never know, but know that you will not leave Niaux an unchanged person. Nearby in the same area are the Cathar Initiation Caves which continue to beckon spiritual travellers. This three-part cave complex offered the Cathars a safe and peaceful dwelling place a thousand years ago. We know where to park and the trails to follow to find these hidden caves. It is here where we will hold our own Fire of the Earth Goddess ceremony.
Day 7: Thursday, July 28~Making Flower Essences with Lupo~Carcassonne~Closing Despacho Ceremony~
This morning Lupo will teach us about the power of flower essences and you will have the opportunity to make your own from the flowers you are called to. After lunch we’ll drive up to Carcassonne. No visit to the Languedoc is complete without visiting Le Cite Carcassonne, a Unesco World Heritage sight. You’ll be transported back to medieval France, but don’t worry, the shops take modern currency! This is a fantastic place for shopping and eating! In the evening, after we arrive back at our B&B, we will hold our closing despacho ceremony. During our despacho ceremony, an intention or prayer bundle is created that holds both the intentions of the ceremony participants and offerings of gratitude to the land.Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included today
Day 8: Friday, July 29
Be prepared for an early morning departure. You will be dropped off at TLS airport no later than 9:00am. Depending on how this tour shapes up, we can move that time up/back. Again, please make no airline reservations until we confirm this departure will go. We look forward to having you join us on this once in a lifetime adventure. Please contact Tina at [email protected] with any questions.