The term marmite is a French word for a cooking pot, so what could be more appropriate to describe my first impressions of Le Havre than a British food of the same name that creates such strong reactions from all who try it?
In Britain Marmite is a famous yeast extract that is spread on toast and the manufacturers like to boast that due to your individual DNA genetics, you either love it or you hate it! It seems to me that one’s first impressions of Le Havre are a little bit like Marmite.
I arrived at the train station to be serendipitously greeted by my birthday being writ large on a huge monument. Just confirming that I was most certainly meant to be visiting this massive modern sea port and that I was also being welcomed by Spirit.
So I settled into my apartment on the fourth floor with views across the sea and after watching the sun set I went to bed to allow my energies to settle after the train ride. I know I say this a lot in tarot readings but we need to travel at a slower pace so that we can remain at one with the energies of the world. I’ll be here for an entire month and trying to walk everywhere as much as possible to allow time and dimensions to wrap around me.
Waking on my first morning I grabbed and coffee and my cards and gave them a shuffle to see how they felt in this new energy as I’m trying to explore the Genius Loki or Spirit of Place everywhere I travel. The cards that fell out were so extremely profound that even I was a little surprised and daunted by the message coming out as it was heavy with the currents of the old distorted energies, still strongly prevailing everywhere in the ether.
It began with two cards from the Mystical Shaman deck. Fire 19 and Sacrifice 44 and spirit was shouting 1944 very loudly in my head so I googled the date and Le Havre. What a shocking moment in the history of the Genius Loki of this place.
The Bombardment of Le Havre
Between 5th and 11th September 1944 the British and Allied Forces decimated the entire, then German occupied, town. 1800 tons of bombs and 30000 incendiary devices were showered across the entire city. 2053 people died and countless others injured. It’s very uncomfortable how words like carpet-bombed are used to make it sound somehow cozy and familiar. There is nothing cozy or ordinary about destroying an entire historic sea port from the 16th century. It’s just insane. I understand that this was a war and it was created from the energies of its own particular time in history but that massive destructive energy is still present everywhere in the town. The distortions of that relentless 6 night bombardment are still very present everywhere I walk.
I continued to pull cards and then was told by Spirit to take those very cards to the War Memorial and record the message I was channelling. This was a very strange and uncomfortable moment. I sat alone, extremely exposed in the vast open space where the magnificent monument stood with passers-by staring at me cross-legged on the pavement.
The monument was erected in 1924 to commemorate the ‘fallen’ during the First world War. It was created by Pierre-Marie Poisson. It’s amazing that this huge monument survived the Allied bombardment of 1944.
It’s weird too how in these memorials to war that it is the female spirit of Victory that stands tall leading the march. She is of course an echo of Rome’s most popular pagan house alter goddess, Victoria. Victoria was so difficult to remove from the hearts of the citizens of Rome at the birth of Catholicism that the church had to elevate the status of the Virgin Mary just to accelerate the acceptance of this new Christian religion, which until then had no female deity just the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here’s the reading I posted from the Monument aux Morts.
So what to do after an essential port is laid flat? Well call in the best modernist architect from Belgium and get started on rebuilding. That way the port can get back to work and serving the economy right? But to do this you need to build accommodation really quickly. This is where the Spirit of Marmite starts to spread itself rather thinly throughout the city. Many post war people had been living in impoverished slum-like conditions with outside toilets and no bathrooms sharing single rooms with entire families before the devastation of Le Havre. These modern apartments were therefore seen as entirely futuristic as well as a tonic to the misery of the war and occupation.
Much of the centre of Le Havre was redesigned by Belgian architect Auguste Perret and features many landmark examples of reinforced concrete architecture. This amused me somewhat as this is also true on Hastings and St. Leonards where the “Concrete King” Syd Little redesigned the entire seafront 20 years earlier. Salt water and sea air are not best buddies with concrete as it eats its way into the structures corroding the metal skeletons. Even today with modern scientific knowledge they can’t seem to work out how Roman concrete was created and still survives even under the sea. Amazing. Everything in the new city was rising like a Phoenix fabricated from concrete.
The Church of St. Joseph has a tower designed to be so high so it would help guide sailors to the port and to god. Not sure how successful that latter idea was thinking about most sailors and their bawdy global behaviour. The breeze block looking stripes in taupe and sand coloured tones reveal a resplendence inside that is bereft from the exterior.
On 15th July 2005 Perret’s work was awarded World Heritage status. I have to admit to being curious as to whether this was truly about the design or the need to encourage tourism and boost the economy which was experiencing at slump at the time? I came across this statue of Marianne, the spirit of the huge, Republique de France shaking hands in gratitude for the help received from her little brother Belgium. I tittered a tad thinking of Perret. Nice to see a woman towering over a man even if it is a little politically patronising.
The Brazilian Volcano
Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer was commissioned to build the House of Culture in the centre of the city where the Theatre de Ville once stood. His iconic rolling curved building and their spiralling walkways are such a sensual contrast to the straight lines of Perret’s entire townscape as to make it seem a little like an industrial gas tanks but quickly became known as Le Volcan, volcano.
Work began in 1972 and was completed in 1983. It was recently refurbished entirely as it seems it wasn’t holding up well.
Full Moon in Aquarius
On Monday 3rd of August at 15:58 GMT or UTC there is a full moon in the house of Aquarius. This moon is all about the energy of the collective. Since I’m here primarily working with the Cosmic frequencies of the Universe I set up a space in the apartment for reading my cards and recording messages. I need a comfy space to catch up with all the personal readings too that so many of you wonderful people out there have booked with me. Thank-you. This first spot I chose was in fact not the best place at all as my legs went dead haha. The reading however was great fun, when Spirit eventually decided to join in. Don’t forget to create a full moon ritual of things you wish to let go of. My suggestion is to try and let go of everything. Empty that emotional bag you are carrying and chuck it away. I’ve done just that last night with a series of dreams that had my entire history crammed into them. It was so uplifting and so calming. Go on, give it a try. You’ll feel a lot lighter and years younger.
I always get so much joy and pleasure watching and following Cindy – Awakening to Spirit. This week she posted a wonderful reading with the fairies which ended in her mentioning me and this journey we are on together, after her final card was all about going on a journey and needing to pack your passport.
Just earlier that very morning I had passed by a sign that seemed to be pointing to a church, St. Vincent the Goblins. It’s actually a district but I so wanted it to be a teeny tiny church for the little folk.
After chatting online with the fabulous Rob of Rob’s Tarot and promising I was definitely going to take the entire day off to rest, I immediately ignored that promise and climbed a very long and steep hill with all my tarotphernalia, in the searing, sweltering, sweat inducing heat of the day to visit the Hanging Gardens of Le Havre and do a reading for you all with the Goblins. Why can’t I just agree to take a day off? Because Spirit is cracking a very loud whip behind me.
I entered the high gardens through an elegant pair of gateways almost reminiscent of the Gateway of Ishtar and sat down in the area of plants from North America, rolling with sweat and parched as hell to ask the Goblins to step forward and they didn’t shy away. In fact they were rather bold and raw in their honesty.
Oh dearie me, them saucy Goblins are just hysterical. After everyone watching spat out coffee from their mouths and noses they all started to leave naughty and cheeky comments in response on my channel. I love how the Goblins weave their magic. You’re all a very naughty bunch of people haha.
So I’ll just leave you with a little French architectural joke about living the high life without a proper garden or balcony.
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