Ever since 2004, I have been using The Akashic Records to write my novels. They are a form of psychic time travel where someone with the skills to tune in can access people, places and events from the past. My good friend Alison King has this ability. You can find out more at her website and mine - see the sidebar of the blog with more detailed explanations. This blog is soley for extracts of research from my work in progress.
I am currently engaged in writing about Eleanor of Aquitaine. The first novel, THE SUMMER QUEEN is well underway, and the extracts I am posting come from the Akashic Records research data so far conducted.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Part 13 Henry II's thoughts on marrying Eleanor

I was fascinated when we came to begin working on this aspect of Eleanor's story.  So many times secondary sources and novels have portrayed Henry and Eleanor as having a white-hot attraction from the outset, but I have always thought that it ain't necessarily so.  and that politics played a large part.  Nevertheless, when I asked Alison to go and take a look at the then 18 year old Henry's attitude to Eleanor in the run-up to their marriage I didn't know what was going to emerge and I was prepared for anything.  The overall answer came as no great surprise, but it was so interesting to see how Henry's thoughts played out.  Again, this makes sense with the historical record, but disagrees with certain secondary source biographers who have, of course, put their own slant on the matter.  It was interesting to see how much say in the proceedings Geoffrey of Anjou had, but it makes big sense.

First of all to Geoffrey of Anjou and his son the future Henry II when they were discussing a marriage between Henry and Eleanor
Alison: There's quite a strange sort of feeling. Geoffrey's eyes are almost closed and his cheeks are pushing up very hard. It feels like stress. It feels like he is trying to make his point. They are quite vigorous spoken words, powerful. ‘You will do as I say and do it quick. There is no time to be lost; I am warning you. You will regret this for the rest of your life if you do not go ahead with it. You will see what you have lost and what other men have gained. I cannot abjure you enough. You must see the sense in what I say. There will not come another opportunity like this in either of our lifetimes. Fulfil your promise and be forceful in this. (forceful has the meaning of truthful as well) and honest. And you shall go forward.' I'm getting the vision now rather than words of him heading out from Aquitaine round the side and over to England. It's as if Aquitaine will fund the takeover of England and he will have massive power. Geoffrey seems really frustrated here. He's run out of words but he still chuntering and tapping his feet. He wants a reaction that is the right reaction.
 I'll go over to Henry now.  Henry's feeling sick. Oh it's just so distasteful to have a woman to bed who is all old and wrinkly. It's repulsive. It's as if phlegm is coming up into his mouth. Not only that, but the leavings of some other man. Eeeuw. He is showing it in his face. This bright young face so full of promise is being forced to contort itself into a marriage with some has-been bedraggled thing. It wasn't the future he was seeing for himself at all. But Henry being the political animal he was, surely he would see the advantage of a marriage like this? That's right we've seen him being in that situation before, but I'm sure that now he is coming to it, there are different feelings involved as well. There are the emotional feelings as well as the mental side of it. He can't ignore the fact that he feels sick. He is almost retching. I am not getting any more but I'm just thinking this explains the enigmatic silence when he met her (which we saw several years ago). So Henry is not very communicative. Geoffrey is getting more and more frustrated. It reminds me of a parent talking through a bedroom door at an uncommunicative teenager. I think Geoffrey is assuming the opposition rather than it being expressed and that's why he's becoming really wound up because he's getting no response.
Go forward to when Henry actually meets Eleanor - his impressions then. 
 He is listening to his father who is giving him a pep talk and telling him what and what not to do. Geoffrey is really imposing on him the secrecy. ‘Remember if anyone should ask you, you are just by chance discussing family matters. And you are to make no commitments, agreements or offers without my say-so.’ He doesn't want him to spoil the negotiations. He says with a really fixed look ‘Are you understanding me?’ Henry doesn't answer and turns on his heel and walks to the window. Then Eleanor comes in and they do the courtesies. Geoffrey introduces her to his son. It seems as though Eleanor doesn't look at him for very long before returning her attention to Geoffrey. I suppose it's because really that's who she is making the agreement with.
Go into Henry's viewpoint see how he is feeling. He likes the smell of her as she comes into the room. He likes the richness of her clothes, they are gorgeous. But then he has this kind of distaste as well because he thinks what's that going to cost me? He is quite taken by the sight of her foot underneath her dress as she walks. I don't know if it's the shoes or the shape of her foot, but he quite likes it. And he is eyeing up her body. She seems quite slender. He is eyeing up her back just above her bottom. He is thinking about how it would feel to have his hands around there. And also the back of her shoulders. He is thinking how it would be to be having sex with her. At least he thinks she will know the ropes. He is doing it with the eye of someone looking over a horse. He is trying to ignore the face. Because he would have to accept her as a person then? Because she is old. Because he thinks she looks older or because he has already come to that conclusion?  He is prejudiced, but obviously she looks like a 28-year-old not an 18-year-old, or 13-year-old, which is what he would really prefer. I think that is the main problem. She is a full-grown woman and he wants more of a child bride. It's going in completely the opposite direction to his taste. I have just realised -you know how he always thinks of himself as a mature man? How can he be when this older woman is around him? He is always going to be the little boy. With a child bride he would be constantly the older man no matter what age she was. That must really cut deep. That's it!  He's admiring her hair and her headdress. Yes he can enjoy that. And when her hair is down, it can cover her face. He is eyeing her with real detachment and a hard silent appraisal. His eyes are quite steely. What I mean by that is that they are hard, they are still, but they have a bit of a glint. They are inscrutable. He really can't trust himself to say anything because it has to be at the moment for political reasons. He still thinks that it may not go the whole way, because at the moment it's not completely agreed. He is indifferent to her, but he hates the situation. He can see her gentility, the charisma, her abilities, social and diplomatic, but they are not things that are attractive to him at all, he dislikes them. Doesn't he think they will be useful in a wife then? What I mean by that is that he doesn't want them in a wife at this stage. He wants those abilities himself and to have a wife who is a little bit less good at it. He doesn't want a wife outwitting him. Any thoughts about her as breeding stock being a she's only had two daughters? No, because it's all about the land. He feels that once he's got the marriage then that's enough to secure him the land.
I'm thinking of a contrast with his father who, when faced with a similar situation and being told he had to marry the Empress Matilda, was of the opinion that he would bonk her until he got her with child and hope that she died in childbirth.  No Henry hasn't got that attitude at all. He hasn't thought about children so far, but maybe he is just taking it for granted. Perhaps he is so confident in himself that he doesn't think about it. Perhaps he's got bastard children already.  Yes, it wouldn't be a problem for him.
After the meeting he is smiling. I can see that his dad is a little bit worried and a little bit relieved as well. He is saying ‘Well that wasn't so bad after all was it? She is a person who will make up her own mind and do what she wants to do. We don't have a lot of advisers to deal with, so we have a good chance.’
Henry has got a bit of a smile, albeit a rueful straight across one. Because quite frankly she isn't as bad as he thought she was going to be. He's a bit relieved about that, especially the smell. That seems to have made a big impression on him, because she smelt fresh, and he had thought she was going to be this old, decaying baggage. Then father and son are standing together looking out of the window...

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Part 12 Eleanor and the future Henry II

Alison and I have recently been looking at the first meeting between Henry II and Eleanor.   Many of Eleanor's biographers and many who have written novels about her have gone down the line of it being lust and passion the moment their eyes met across a crowded room.  As I continued to research down the years, I begin to wonder and to feel that this scenario was not entirely a good fit.  What Alison has accessed for me has been amazing, and is, I feel, the real deal.
We began looking at this meeting a few years ago at the RNA Conference in Leicester, where Alison accessed Eleanor and Henry when I asked her to go to that first meeting. What came across in July 2007, was not exactly that of lust at first sight, or even of great dynamism on Henry's behalf.

Here's the first meeting session from 2007:
I asked Alison to go to Eleanor of Aquitaine in Paris in 1151 when she was queen of France. The Count of Anjou, Geoffrey le Bel would have been visiting, together with his son, Henry, then 18 years old.
Alison: She has a shape and make up rather like one of the Sitwells, that kind of long-limbed elegance but not such a long face. She has her hair done in a sort of net. The net is made of – looks like metal, but it’s flexible and the mesh is really wide and the strings of metal are quite wide as well and every so often there are little jewels in that.
What colour is her hair? Can you see her hair? It’s a sort of golden colour. I would say a sort of burnished colour, quite fair.It’s difficult to put an absolute word on it, but fair. I’ll just go back from the detail and more into her character now.
She’s a very composed, centred sort of person. In this context she is very composed.
Now to her meeting with Geoffrey Count of Anjou and his son, Henry Duke of Normandy, the future Henry II. I am getting her reaction to Geoffrey Count of Anjou. I get the sense she is not at ease with him. She’s not keen on him. He’s a man she needs to deal with, but it’s not a source of pleasure for her. And his son? There’s not such a strong reaction to his son. She doesn’t seem to mind Henry so much. I think I need to go deeper into the meeting to get any more out of this.
She’s swallowed down her initial reaction. She’s re-centred herself to deal with the situation, so she can put on this very powerful front in the sense that it’s difficult to see through it. It seems very solid. In this I’d say she’s very much the diplomat. She’s looking at Geoffrey with her head slightly down with a fairly fixed smile but she’s thinking inside ‘What do you want?’ She’s weighing him up, she’s very shrewd. I feel as if the meeting is on Geoffrey’s instigation rather than hers. I don’t feel as if she has an agenda here so much as wondering what his agenda is. To find that out I need to focus on him. Go over to Geoffrey? Yes, or I can watch him through her. Yes, do that.
Geoffrey is diffusing what he wants by going from one to the other.He’s chit-chatting, he’s digressing. He’s not coming to the point at all. He’s got what he thinks are very shrewd eyes but to Eleanor they look kind of weasely. It’s like he’s fooling himself into thinking he’s shrewd and he’s thinking that this chit-chatting is doing its job as if he’s fooling her, but he’s not. Now they’re coming to the part that he’s really interested in and it’s to do with his son. So he has just brought it casually (so he thinks) into the conversation. He says ‘And this is my son. This is the jewel in the crown.'
He’s saying ‘Look at him, isn’t he fine? Wouldn’t he make anyone a good husband? Where would you ever do better? And he’s got my eyes…’ Eleanor has a little bit of a giggle herself. ‘Mmm, yes.’ She’s not committing herself or being drawn into anything. She’s not going to show her hand here. She is offering them hospitality. She’s offering them very nice food, very richly presented. She’s talking about what’s going to be going on later. There’ll be dancing later and more entertainment. There’s going to be musicians and poetry. A bard is coming and there’ll be interesting news.
An interesting thing is that she has this urge to stroke Henry’s hair.I don’t know if she’s actually going to do it but there’s a pulse of affection that comes into her. It’s a sort of mildly, motherly sort of feeling, but a pulse of affection definitely. I get the feeling that she’s taller than him as well. She wants to separate him off from his father so that they can talk on a more sensible level. So does she do that? I can feel the impulse and I don’t want to create that. I just want to watch to see what happens. Yes, she takes him to a different part of the room to look out of the window. They’re not saying much. She’s getting a bit of a feel for him. I think her information comes less from words and more from how she feels about people and the subtle things she gets about them – their body language. She sees him almost as a child. Let’s see what they say. There’s not much being said at all. She’s asking him about where he’s been recently. He seems not very forceful somehow – quite introverted. I think I’m running out of information here. So end here:

 2007 was when I began to think seriously about writing about Eleanor, even though I kept the project on the back burner.  There was a lot of food for thought in the above.  I remember shaking my head and thinking that this wasn't at all like the personality of Henry II, but then I thought it might be because he was only 18.   But then, he'd taken himself to England at 14 and wasn't exactly backwards in coming forwards.  I was intrigued, because Alison is very seldom wrong.

Now cut to the present time, and now, writing my novel about Eleanor in depth, I return to this situation.  What really happened at the first meeting of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the 18 year old future King of England? 
Go to the summer of 1151 when the future Henry II and Geoffrey of Anjou came to court for political negotiations.  Wwere there any political meetings between Henry and Eleanor?
Alison: I don’t quite understand this.  At first I saw that scene I saw at the RNA conference with Eleanor at that latticed window and looking at Henry.  Then I backed off from that and saw this very medieval looking figure.  Usually I see real figures but this one was much more stylised and looked like some carved figure, but it was leaning slightly forward.  It had a crown on and was very medieval looking and in colours of gold and red and blue.  It wasn’t a young man, so not Henry.  
Me: Perhaps it’s Henry’s tomb?  Eleanor designed his tomb.
Alison:  She says it is a glossary, I suppose  like skipping to the end and getting the essence out of the meaning of things.  Glossing over the period intervening.  I feel that she is a bit reluctanct about this.  I think she wants to come through. Yes.  She says You don’t know what this means for me and you probably will never truly understand.  This was an escape for me.  An escape from the clutch of a hand that left nothing but bruises and into a world of freedom and light as I saw it then.  Little did I know.  Beware. Beware all men, save for the few – those you give birth to, and even then be aware that they are men still.  
 It is enough for a woman to preserve her dignity in those circumstances, but it was not of my choosing.
Alison Why do you say it was not of your choosing Eleanor?
It was not my choosing to be in that position.  I chose a life of light and honour and goodness.  And I got instead a life of dishonour, cruelty, crudeness and disfavour for my honour. 
Alison: I think we are starting to get an idea of why she feels as she does. It’s very different to the tales we know.
Me: These tales are only one facet and not necessarily true. (perhaps not even likely to be true it has to be said). 
To Resume
I’m back at that room.  It is the first meeting and it’s significant.  There is an atmosphere of wariness and sizing each other up.  There’s distance between them.  It’s very political.  Again she is talking more to Geoffrey than to Henry. Occasionally she is giving Henry a good look.  Henry is very quiet.
Why is she giving Henry a good look?  She is trying to assess him.  Why?  Because this is the turkey that they are cooking! Ah, so if they are cooking the turkey, then they’ve had to go out and catch the turkey first?  Yes, but Henry hasn’t been involved in it, or involved in the meetings.
Okay, so I need to find out about the meetings between Eleanor and Geoffrey before Henry became involved.   Eleanor has just been insulted by Louis.  Geoffrey is sitting next to her at the table.  He puts his hand across near to Eleanor’s and says ‘You don’t have to put up with this.  You can come and stay with me. You will be made very welcome.’  Eleanor doesn’t find this invitation attractive because there is no honour in it, no future in it.  It’s just not of benefit to her.  It doesn’t improve the situation that she’s in and it doesn’t offer longterm benefits.  It could work to her disadvantage.
I can see that they have both got up to dance.  Whenever they meet he gives significant facial indications. He says in the end (this is little by little) ‘If you feel uncomfortable about coming, my son is of very marriageable stock.’ He is giving an indication that this could be a way out for her from the Paris court.  A clean break, a fresh start with a young man who is like a blank page.  A very young man who is going to be whatever Eleanor wants him to be.  I think this is part of the advantage of Henry.  He can still be viewed as a child to be educated and formed and that therefore Eleanor will be safe.
Alison: Oh my God, little did she know! 
Me. Henry hadn’t viewed himself as a child since he was five! 
Alison: This is like  standing on the side of a precipice and jumping off.  Total misjudgement.  I am just stunned.  This takes place over several conversations, not all in one.
How was she responding to this?  She was starting to be interested – calculating but very much non-committal.    She is assessing Henry and looking him over.
  Impressions?  She thinks him a well made, well presented young man with a capacity for nobility.  She is assessing him with her knowledge of the squires who have worked for her and seeing how they have turned out. 
If that was the first significant moment – go to another time and any conversation between her and Henry.  I can see Henry saying ‘My Lady’ and kneeling to her.  He is saying ‘My father bids you welcome.’  That’s strange.  Perhaps she has gone to Geoffrey’s room or tent.  It’s in a garden.  He has turned and he is leading her through the garden and up some outside steps onto a walkway.  It’s a really massive walkway and there are crenellations either side of it.  I don’t know where it is.
Perhaps his father was lodging somewhere and having a ‘house party’ or some such.   I have tried the words again and it is definitely ‘bids you welcome.’   Just go with it and see what happenes.
I am seeing male legs, sitting, with a tunic almost to the knee.  The legs are steeped in a bath or something.  I am feeling that Geoffrey is not able to go out and do the greetings himself because he has his feet in this tub.    To me he doesn’t feel well enough to get up.  Something is going on with his feet.  It would take a better doctor than me to suss out what it is.  It looks kind of blackish round his feet.  So that’s why Henry is doing the welcome, because Geoffrey can’t go and do that himself.  Geoffrey raises his hand and says ‘As you see I am quite weak and cannot rise to greet you.’  It is really sad for Eleanor to see the difference in his appearance.  But Eleanor keeps a really strong exterior with real fortitude and acts as if nothing is amiss, but underneath she feels really sorry for Geoffrey.  And there is real sadness that this is something that comes to all.  She is looking at Henry with sympathy and empathy.  She believes that Henry is sharing her feelings. About his father? It might be, but I held back from that because I couldn't feel his feelings and I didn't get the instinct that they were what she was expecting. They weren’t quite in tune. I'll check. Henry is impatient. Henry is really frustrated at being held back, are being held down because his dad can't move. Henry wants to go off on his own. He is frustrated that he is being left to care for his father like a nurse - although he's not.  It’s his feeling. He doesn't sense the seriousness of it.
 I think perhaps at 18 you don't; you think your parents are fairly immortal. And Geoffrey was only 19 when Henry was born, so it's more of a big brother mate sort of thing. So it's more like Oh dear he can't come out boozing tonight. Yes that's exactly it, and also the attitude that a real man gets over this kind of thing. So Henry’s brightness isn't a brave brightness, it's a not understanding brightness.
Now that the three of them are together, is there any more discussion about the relationship? Not from Geoffrey, Geoffrey is feeling pretty weak. And actually, strangely, a bit reluctant to hand Eleanor over. He is enjoying her attention for himself. There's a bit of rivalry between Henry and Geoffrey.
One of the chroniclers who was out to make mischief said that Geoffrey told Henry that he wasn't to trust Eleanor because he Geoffrey had slept with her.  I don't know how true the remark was - whether it was actually said. Could we find out? Geoffrey really wants to have it known, he tries to lay it on thick that this is a flirtation at the very least, because it does his reputation no harm whatsoever.
 Did Geoffrey ever say to Henry at any time, don't trust Eleanor because I have slept with her? I am with Geoffrey and I'm feeling pretty ill and pretty sick. Quite bilious. His sight is not good. I feel that he wants to give the benefit of his experience to his son. It's like leaving final instructions for looking after the castle, looking after the keys. He is thinking of his own experience and he is saying ‘Always my son be on top of your wife, be she ever so royal - he is definitely thinking of Matilda here. 'Because she will undoubtedly want to ride you as she will all men. Believe me, I know this from experience. So don't trust her an inch.’ Really he is talking about Matilda but he is saying it in Henry's terms so that Henry is applying it to Eleanor. Always make sure she is fruitful and bears sons, otherwise she is no wife. Do not allow her to deceive you, for yours is the realm and the kingdom, not hers. It is for you to rule and for her to provide what you rule. This is the way of God and do not forget it my son, for I leave this in trust to you as it was left in trust to me by my father alone. Ah, there's a recipe for misogyny! Obviously it could be taken whichever way you want. Yes, Gerald of Wales could turn this into something really nasty
Henry is really emotional. He has finally come to realise that his father is not going to last. He is ready to agree to any pearls of wisdom his father passes on to him, because these will be the last ones. He will no longer have that standard in his life, that solidity that his father provided. He does feel such love for his father. It's not turned to grief yet but it's kind of a blossoming love. It's slightly nostalgic, slightly painful, and for that reason taking all his focus and attention. Because of that focus he's paying a lot of attention to what's being said. You know how Henry is with learning. When he is intent about learning he learns very well. It certainly explains Henry's mindset later on
 Was there any interaction between Henry and Eleanor at all? No. It's all done properly, when it comes to negotiations it’s all done by messenger.  That's interesting, because some writers have suggested that Henry and Eleanor indulged in a lustful bonk-fest at the Parisian court at that time. 
Do you know, I think that is the last thing Eleanor would ever want.
She says you are so right.
That is cruel. 
The passionate sexual mindset at first sight promulgated on small evidence makes me very uneasy.
 Henry was very much of the opinion that we've seen before. That the marriage is very political and that if you want an emotional relationship you look elsewhere. He is quite clear about that.

There was a lot more to cover than in this session, including more of Henry's response to that first meeting and why he was so quiet,  but I'll post that next time around. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Part 11. The church and an heir

Eleanor and Louis were married in the summer of 1137, but apart from a miscarriage early in the relationship, there was no sign of an heir.  It has been suggested by historians that Eleanor and Louis gave the famous 'Eleanor' vase to St Denis at its consecration in 1144 not just as a gift for the church, but also as an offering in the hopes that a child would be granted to Eleanor's womb.  Eleanor also, apparently, appealed to the 'saintly' Bernard of Clairvaux for advice.  I asked Alison to go and take a look at aspects of this situation.  I have seen suggestions by other historians and some novelists that Louis' giving of the vase to Suger, greatly upset Eleanor.  I wanted to observe her mindset here.

Alison: She feels quite tight across the heart area.  This is an Alienor who is quite worked up.  Tight heart, tight cheeks, tight eyes.  Emotional in an anxious way.  I am getting the words ‘Please God, this has got to work.’  She is angry and not that bothered about the vase.  This is about God.  Her anger is connected to her relationship with God, so this is a direct communication with God.  Suger is just a periphery.  I think this is to do with wanting a boy child.  It doesn’t seem fair.  Why can’t she have what she wants?  She will give anything, it doesn’t matter what, in order to have what she wants.  So the actual item isn’t as relevant as what she wants.  Suger to her is just someone who is doing what’s needed in the circumstances.  Not quite a servant, but a functionary. It’s not up to him, it’s up to God.  That’s how she sees it, although she wouldn’t say it outright.  It wouldn’t be necessary.  She can find Suger a bit annoying but he’s got a job to do.  She’ll let him get on with his job, but this isn’t to do with him really.  It’s to do with God. He’s just a functionary of God. 
So this vase is to be given to God as a plea for her fertility?  It’s more of a demand actually!  She hardly even looks at the vase.  It’s only in her side vision and the main part of her vision is to God. Why the vase and not a different gift?  Well she could give anything.  She doesn’t mind what it is, and it isn’t the only thing she’s given.  She’s given loads of things.  She’s given bags of gems.  She’s given gold coverings to things.  I am seeing one of those gold engraved domes that you put over tombs.  She would rake around and give whatever it took.
Going off on a slight sidetrack: I wonder how Louis feels about Alienor’s childlessness.  He feels he must have done something wrong to displease God in such a way and he is starting to distrust Alienor because just maybe she has done something wrong that he doesn’t know about, or there is something wrong in their relationship.  His mind is working on those old fashioned things like consanguinity and something that’s displeasing to God about them being together.  That’s one part of it.  The other part is someone who is holding back sobs and just wants to cling on to Alienor for comfort in their mutual sadness.  She’s the one who comforts him.  I can see his head on her chest and she is stroking his back and head.
So is this not for want of trying?  Because when she married Henry II, she was having children one after the other.  So let’s take a look, without being salacious,  at the reason for non conception.  I think he’s having difficulties in sustaining the act.  He still wants that closeness in being with her, but the actual finishing off – he’s not sustaining.  To get into the emotions of that… His heart is hurting.  It’s breaking.  He feels he doesn’t deserve so much in terms of Alienor.  Such beauty, such love.  He’s finding it hard to accept.  He keeps going there because outwardly there seems no reason why he shouldn’t have these things, but there’s something inside that’s not opening to accept them.  He does actually cry about it. He’s really upset.
So to the Alienor Vase.  Why did Louis decide to give it to Suger.
Louis loves this man and there seems to be a flowering of this love as Louis gets older.  It seems to be something that sustains him.  He has been able to rely on Suger right from childhood as someone that sustains him.  He just wants to show his appreciation for everything that Suger has done for him and his family in everything that he upholds.  The way that he’s treated in the family.  The way that Suger has dedicated his whole being and life to upholding the family.  What more loyal member of state could you wish for?  It almost brings tears to his eyes.  So how can he show what he feels without bringing something that is very precious, fragile and more than that, luminous, to give to Suger.  It’s something which appears transparent but in certain…ah this is interesting…but in certain lights gives off other colours like a prismatic effect.  That’s why it would be so precious wouldn’t it?  It would be like a real light show. It would complement the windows that Suger had put in his church – like a reflection.  I can feel that Louis feels the emotional preciousness of it in the connection that he has with Alienor.  So it has that emotional resonance as well as the other resonances.  And to give that, all his love, all this beauty, all his connection with Alienor is an enormous gift.  No wonder it brings tears to his eyes.
What does Suger think of this gift?  He is taking it into his stomach, taking it into his treasury. Mmm, yum, nice. 
But then he tarted it up, didn’t he?  That’s to make it his.  It can’t go back; it’s his now.
Yes, he made an inscription to that effect.  So the tarting wasn’t because he felt it needed extra bling?  No, he was putting his own graffiti on it.  So he thinks it’s a worthy gift?  Oh indeed, yes. Has he coveted it before?  Yes, he has!  Has he ever made mention before that it’s a nice piece?  I’ve lost it now, but I just got the feeling he has commented on it before and seen it before, but said things like ‘If only it was a little bit here and a little bit there, it would be perfect, or it would be gorgeous.  He certainly does like it.

Now to April 1144 Alienor at St Denis and any conversation  Eleanor had with Bernard of Clairvaux about her infertility.
Alienor is upset. This is a different Alienor. She is crying. She says ‘I don't mean to burden you with this but I cannot understand it. Why is God punishing me so when I do everything in my power to please him?  By ’him’ she means Louis. ‘And he just rejects me. I cannot see why, I cannot tell why. He says he loves me. He also tells her that she is - I can't quite get the words - the apple of his eye staple of his life, the thing that runs through the centre of his life like lettering on a stick of rock. And yet, he does not find me attractive enough to want to procreate. Please give me the means, whatever the means are to reawaken his interests and the love that I have to give him so that we can do God's work and produce a child for this world and an heir to the throne. I cannot imagine how I have failed him. Therefore I must ask you to throw some light on the situation. Tell me how God sees it, that I may rectify my ways and be more of a wife to him. I do love him dearly and I have no one else. I need to please him in the eyes of God.’ All the time she is saying this, it's very internal. It's as if she's not talking to Bernard. He doesn't feel to be there. She's atlking to herself and generally perhaps to God, yes to God. She's in such a situation that she can't make that connection for herself. She's asking it to be done from the outside.
When I see Bernard of Clairvaux, I see sharks in the water, a very bad sign. I got him, just as the sharks went under the water. He's got a thin bony face and thin lips, and he's smiling with satisfaction, not with the compassion that you'd expect in this situation. He's got her where he wants her.  He says ‘Very well my dear. You have done well to recognise the error of your ways. God has a way of bringing his flock back to him. Now you have accepted what you've done, he will welcome you back into his fold. Leave off all those fripperies, those wicked ways that have come to be so important to you, and forsaking them hold tight to Christ your saviour.’ I've got a sense of holding onto a relic of a cross and I think he might even have put that in her hand at that point. ‘Just as Christ died on the cross to the physical world and rose again, so let your soul die to the physical world and rise stronger and greater than ever before and God will admonish you and test you again and again until he is sure that you are one of his. You may carry his cross and be worthy of it, for this is no easy task to bear the burden of a country upon one's back, and one must be ready for it and worthy of it. Therefore I say, scourge your life and make it as he would wish and you shall be fruitful as you would wish in the ways of the spirit. Gird your loins and prepare for the journey that he has prepared for you, for this is what I tell you: In order to make new life, you must leave behind the old life. You must go forward in sanctity and be at peace with the whole world, which is God's world, and you must do God's work fervently. Do you understand me in this?’
And she looks up with serious eyes and she nods.
He says again, just in case she hasn't got it ‘You must change your ways.’
She swallows and nods again. She can only think if it will bring her closer to Louis, then she will have to do it. She decides to make prayer a very important part of her life, and alms, and fraternising with the clergy. I think this means the female clergy. He says’Good my child.’ He is writing something down.  He says ‘Here take this and give it to the Abbess, and they will purge you of any deleterious spirits. You must stay there for three days on bread and water. Do not ask for the 40 days that Christ endured, but only what your small frame can muster. Hold yourself in that knowledge and place in the scale of things, and you will come to a better understanding of your place in the world.’
Alienor feels quite humbled, but also kind of real. It's as if this has brought her down to the ground. She's breathing in a different way.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Part 10 The first year of marriage

Louis and Alienor's marriage seems to have started off with promise - if a few caveats and pointers to later bones of contention - but on the whole to have been workable. But as conventional history tells us, that changed over the years until there was much bitterness and hostility between them. The Akashics is an unparelleled aid in getting at the mindsets and feelings of the personalities involved. 
Here are Eleanor and Louis in the early days of their marriage.

Now to 1138 and Alienor and her relationship with Louis a year into their marriage.
 I am getting Alienor very still, looking down.  There’s a feeling of a spiritual journey.  I feel that she’s meditating.  I feel that Louis is close by.   It feels as if they are joined as well.  For Alienor it feels as if they are sharing a spiritual moment.
Is it a spiritual moment for Louis?  I’m going to the bit after it (they’ve been making love). Louis  just loses himself in her.  It’s like liquid gold.  He loses the sense of himself as an individual being. It’s like his boundaries are all gone.  His body feels as if he’s not there; it’s just everything.  And afterwards he just feels so peaceful and still.  He’s kind of lost in space.  It’s a meditative state. 
How does this make him feel about her in non sexual circumstances?  It makes him a little bit confused because it makes him feel as if he is the same person as her, and when they pass, he feels as if it’s right because he’s becoming who he is with her, and when she goes past it’s strange and he gets a bit confused.  It’s as if he’s more himself when he’s with her, than he is when he’s not with her.  I’ll try and find a time in normal circumstances when they’ve not been close together.  There’s a level where they can intellectually beat each other.  It’s a bit like playing a board game where they can chatter and disagree with each other and be competitors, but only in that little context, so I suppose that would be like talking policy or planning things. Most of the time she just sucks in his senses.  If you imagine you’re taking a plateful of the most delicious meat to the table and your dog’s in the room.  You know how he follows his nose and his whole body follows afterwards, well that’s how Louis is with Alienor.  He feels her go past and – Alison inhales deeply -  He might not show it on the outside but it’s as if his aura is being sucked into her.
That is really fascinating that it has developed like this in the year since their marriage.  When they first married, it was just like 'driving a new car' as far as he was concerned.  So I think we need to go back and find out how this happened.  But  before we go, let’s find out how she feels about him in their ordinary life a year later.  She has an emotional attachment to him from the heart.  It is sometimes disappointed because it feels frustrated and unfulfilled as if something is not there. It’s like someone not being able to meet you intellectually in a conversation.  For her the emotions are not being met on the same level.  There's the sense that she sometimes thinks he’s a bit of a fool.  He doesn’t see the obvious and he’s stubborn in his stupidity sometimes.  He will stick to something for no real, obvious reason and he can’t really argue his case and it seems the most stupid thing for him to stick to and he won’t be moved, but then she can’t really do anything about it. But she’s happy enough with her sphere and to be honest she has quite a lot of influence in his sphere as well. She feels superior to him.  She feels as if he is servicing her needs in all ways – in her life and in her bed. It’s not the full thing, but it’s an aspect of what she’s sensing. So now she is driving the car.  Yes. She’s now in control.  Yes, powerful lady.  It’s not instinctual.  She is totally consciously making her own directions.
So go to snapshots of their marriage between the wedding and now a year later and find out how she got the control. Go to next time they came together after he had to leave her shortly after the marriage and go to Alienor’s POV. She’s very pleased to see him.  She kneels at his feet and kisses his hand.  I can see them dancing together and it makes them both enlivened and relaxed.  They’re breathing faster.  They are chatting in a very relaxed manner about their time apart and what they’ve been doing.   They’re still in the public arena where they’ve been chatting to each other rather than to anyone else.  The feeling in Alienor is of excitement.  She has got something powerful and interesting here, a new toy, and a new maturity.  There’s a feeling that she has entered the adult world and wants to be a proper part of it.  It’s like she’s been given permission and accepted into the adult world, and that has made her more open to her own feelings.    She is finding out about herself.  She feels very secure in her relationship.  It’s very solid, so she can be as free as open as she likes.  She can do just what she wants within that relationship and no one can say ‘You can’t do that’ or ‘that’s wrong, it shouldn’t have happened.’  Because it’s there for everyone to see and it has been accepted.
 So another snapshot.  What has changed that a year later Alienor is in charge?  When Louis comes home, he is not relaxed.  He’s feeling anxious and tight, like a band across his solar plexus area.  There’s distaste for a great deal that’s going on in the court. He finds that there are only a few people to trust. Issues of trust are very close to the forefront to his thinking, and distrust for the ways of the court.  When I say this, the double dealing, the lack of true integrity, so people are doing this for the wrong reasons and not in line with God.  Things are really heavy to move, to get things done, and to get changes made.  Everybody’s got their own vested interest.  Alienor pushes herself forward into his awareness and her whole being becomes more solid and detailed because of that.  She stands out from the others and she can make him feel like a human being.  So when they’re dancing and relaxing, he can react like a human being instead of like a king.  This is very different for him.  I think coming back to Paris as the King is a real awakening for him.  It’s a very different experience to what he had before or whatever he imagined.  So that in itself has knocked him off the pedestal he used to be on where everything was set along definite tramlines.  That surety has gone.  The tramlines have gone.  Very different.  It’s like he has now to make the tramlines for other people.  He wasn’t expecting that.  With her she doesn’t expect tramlines.
Another snapshot.  Alienor is sitting on a dais at the end of the room.  He’s walking round the room.  He’s working the room as they say, and every so often he’s looking at her and she is giving him a smile and a nod.  She is giving him confidence. Because of what’s been happening between them at a personal level, there’s a connection there and it helps him and she feels it’s perfectly how it should be and her mind is already in intellectual mode, planning.  I’m just trying to see what she’s planning, but it’s everything.  It involves people, projects, buildings, how things should look, everything. 
She’s world building then?  Yes, exactly, and he’s part of the plan.
So how is Louis feeling?  He is feeling so warm and full in the solar plexus.  It goes up to his heart and makes him feel warm and loved, as if his whole world is perfectly full.  What he is doing in the room is just the peripheries.  The real world is his heart.  It’s like a warm sun. This is the nitty gritty.  No one has ever understood him, supported him, known him and accepted him as he is ever before, without recriminations or criticism, just as he is.  And given him love.  He has never had an experience like this before.  All his previous relationships, where there should have been love, there has been an element of cruelty there as well, or indifference at the very least.  He’s never known acceptance love.  It’s been correction love that he’s had before.

Alison said something very pertinent to me during these sessions - something that I knew, but it was good to hear her mention it.  People alter.  They don't stay the same, even if certain traits are ingrained. Life experience and the physical metamorphosis from child to youth,  to adult, to old person, all have their part in changing the sculpture from moment to moment.  So when I write my work, I have to factor in those changes.  That's why, for example, Roger Bigod in The Time of Singing, is slightly different to the Roger Bigod in To Defy A King.  One is a young man, flexible and optimistic.  The other is a seasoned politician with the weight and responsibility of an earldom on his shoulders.
Alison said - having observed Louis and Alienor:
It’s amazing how relationships go through different dynamics.  I’ve seen this time and again in my job.  You think ‘Oh, that’s a marriage made in heaven’ and about 20 years later, it’s all turned to horror.  Or it can go the other way.  Sometimes a significant event comes along and sets in. It’s as if you’ve put a coloured lens in front of everything, and everything then is a different colour.  You can never see that person the same again. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Part 9 Eleanor and Geoffrey of Anjou

 Eleanor was the victim of certain rumours declaring that she had supposedly indulged in an affair with Geoffrey Count of Anjou.  Chronicler Walter Map, a inveterate tittle tattler and inventor of court gossip is at the root of these rumours - written circa 1181. Gerald of Wales, another of the same ilk, repeats them, although he is writing in 1216.  Both sources are highly dubious, although they can't be entirely discounted.  However, exactly when Geoffrey was supposed to have slept with Eleanor and got away with it, isn't told.  Gerald of Wales says it was when Geoffrey was 'seneschal of France.' Which he never was.  I would have thought Geoffrey too busy fighting for his own wife's heritage to have time to conduct an affair with the Queen of France, and Eleanor herself would have been closely guarded in her teen years (married at 13) and herself would not have had opportunity to whisk herself off for a quickie with her husband's neighbour and vassal, devastatingly handsome though he was.   However, they may well have met up at court and flirtations  (and more) may possibly have occurred.  This sort of 'we'll never know' scenario is absolutely perfect for Akashic exploration.  Here are mine and Alison's findings on the matter:  If you believe it, then here is the truth, and if you don't, it's just as close to the truth as anything else that's been written over the last 800 years!

To look at Eleanor between 1137 and 1150, and any significant interaction between her and Geoffrey of Anjou.
 Eleanor's heart is warm and she is sitting down, and she's looking down, but I can feel a quivering there, which is a little bit of excitement. It's the excitement of being close to someone she fancies. (Geoffrey).  She is very, very embarrassed by his attention.  He has these luminous eyes and he fixes them on her, and when he does that, she can't meet them. He keeps his face completely straight and serious and gives her this intense look. From the outside it could not be construed as anything salacious at all. He's just being strong I suppose. It would look like a strong, masculine sort of pose, but Eleanor feels it much more deeply and she can't take it for a long period at a time. She has to get up and move about. It's like being in the sun too long; it gets a bit too hot. And even when she walks away and does things at the sideboard, she is so conscious of him still looking at her that she can't behave naturally; it's as if she is on a string. She is so self-conscious of almost giving a performance - as if she is on a stage because she is being watched so much. And afterwards when she gets together with Petronella, they are standing and giggling like mad with their hands over their mouths, and they just put their heads down and they are giggling.  Which is nothing new those two, but is not very approved of.  This might or might not lead anywhere. We need to find out.  Geoffrey was gorgeous and Eleanor here is obviously still very much a young teenager.  She married at 13 in 1137 and into the 1140’s was still an adolescent.  It’s a normal girly response to giggle in the presence of a handsome man in his 20s with powerful sexual charisma. It felt like she was sitting next to a pop star whom she had admired from a distance, and it was very exciting to meet that person.
So go to the closest moment between Eleanor and Geoffrey of Anjou prior to the second Crusade and then their closest moment after the second Crusade, so say 1149
Oooh, Eleanor is very confident here. Eleanor is in control here. This is much more like the older Eleanor that I've seen. You know how in later life she became this very regal, confident person?  I am seeing an element of that in the younger woman here, but this seems to be texual confidence. In other words she is feeling her sexual power. It's a confidence that became more of her public persona later on. This is where it starts from.
She's standing against a pillar, slightly out of the room but on a step above the room. She is feeling very proud and very attractive. She is feeling beautiful. Geoffrey has looked up ‘across a crowded room’ and straight at her, and even licked his lips. She has this invincible pride; it's almost steely. You know how she was really quivering before as a teenager? She is not at all here. It's more her political sense here. It reminds me more of when she was moving soldiers about. It's a feeling of perhaps one in the bag - she's got a political ally, and she uses it like mad. So if she gets the opportunity to walk in front of him, she will emphasise her body as she walks, knowing that he is watching her. She flirts with him unmercifully and she really calls his bluff.
By something she says, or just by her body language?
I am not sure exactly what it is. He is standing sideways on. She is as well and she's got her elbow bent and something in her hand that looks like a walnut or something and she's very flirtingly offering this to him. This is really subtle. She knows what she is doing. He thinks he knows what he's doing. He's been calling the shots; he's been the one who has seemed to be in pursuit and making her feel embarrassed, but it is now as if she is pushing him to get under the pretence, to get under the show on top to see what he's really like underneath. To see what his real feelings are. Which are... real lust. So when he shows her that in his eyes, he also shows her his vulnerability because he has revealed his true feelings. And she is ready to lead him. So she leads him on with this plaything, and when she has got him really gagging for it…then she walks away.
So when you say she leads him on with this plaything, what is she doing then? It's like the carrot before the horse. ‘Have a little taste.’ Takes it away. ‘A little bit further…no hands… a little bit further.’ And then she walks away? Yes when he gets it. Ah, he gets it then? Yes, but then he has to stand there chewing and watching her walk away.
 Go to another significant moment between Eleanor and Geoffrey before the Crusade.
There's that warm feeling again in her chest. I'm getting horse riding movements.. She wants to feel his body close to hers and that's what this warm feeling is about here. She's riding on the back of a horse behind him. They are playing in a silly way. I think if he was a motorcyclist he be going a bit too fast, just to make her scream, but he's actually making the horse rock about at the back too much, up and down. That's it, and then he catches her with his arm as she falls. Then there's a lot of fast riding, but not with her at this time. There seems to be a lot of playfulness in general. It's a group of them being a bit wild.
Bottom line: The chroniclers may have seen smoke and created fire. And perhaps Geoffrey warned his son against Eleanor because she had such powerful sexual charisma as a mature woman. 

I have written a blog about Geoffrey of Anjou at my regular Living The History blog.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Part 8

"In my descriptions of people, nearly all the information I get comes from an inside perspective.  It’s what it feels like to be that person.  When they talk directly to us, it’s what it’s like to be in the presence of that person as well. "
Alison to me at a recent Akashic session.

A little bit more on Alienor's sister Petronella and involving Louis' second cousin, the courtier and warrior Ralph or Raoul de Vermandois

Go to Petronella, sister of Alienor of Aquitaine, when she receives the news of their father’s death.
Alison Petronella is so shocked at the news of the death of her father that she can’t breathe, she can’t speak, she’s all stiff.  Daddy, daddy, daddy.  I feel really at a standstill in the centre of my chest.  She wants to give these flowers to him, white daisy flowers, big ones.  She’s got them in her hand.  She wants to know where she can give them to him. Where is he?  She doesn’t understand.  How can he be dead?  He’s not here.  I don’t think she understands the concept of death properly.  She doesn’t understand that it’s final.  She thinks that her father can suddenly be brought into the castle and be there again.  She believes that if she wills it enough, that’s what will happen. ‘Daddy, daddy, I love you.’  She doesn’t want anything to do with Alienor because she thinks it’s Alienor’s fault.  She thinks Alienor sent him away. If it wasn’t for Alienor he would have stayed, and she would have had him all to herself.  She wouldn’t have had to share him with Alienor.  The pain in her chest is just tremendous.  She’s like a lost dog, looking in all directions.  She can’t be consoled.  She keeps asking questions.  ‘When will he come home?  She’s not accepted it; that’s basically how it is.  And as time goes on, it only gradually dawns on her as things change that he’s not going to come home.  She starts to be very, very sad about it.  Depressed, crying.  It’s as if part of her shuts down emotionally and she carries on with the practicalities of what she has to do.
Does she continue to feel like that towards Alienor, or does it ease?  She starts to rely on Alienor a lot as a sort of surrogate parent.  And like a surrogate parent you can rebel against a parent but love them at the same time.  You kick against them but rely on them too.  She seems to rely on Alienor for Alienor’s authority.  Alienor makes decisions as to what’s right and what’s wrong.
And does she still blame her for their father’s death?  No.  I think there’s some jealousy there that Alienor had times with their father that Petronella didn’t and never will and that Alienor had longer with their father, but it’s also something she can draw on, so she can ask Alienor about those time and she can experience them at second hand.  I think she has come to realise it’s not Alienor’s fault through Alienor’s own suffering.   

Petronella going to Paris.
I notice that Petronella has this signature sort of body language where she has her hands clasped together, or something in her hands. A lot about her is heart-shaped like her face.  The top of her body can be heart-shaped.  It’s just that delicate sort of – very much like her grandmother’s physiology.  She’s crying about what she can and can’t take with her, and having to leave behind so much.  When I say leave behind, it’s more like the flagstones of the castle, the walls, the very stones that make the place up.  The sunshine, especially the sunshine.  Pets.  I am seeing a little greyhound type of dog in a very pale colour.  She’s not taking that with her then?  No, it’s got puppies and won’t travel well.  It belongs to the house and she’s being told not to be silly.  I’m seeing a woman who’s telling her these things.  Quite a well dressed woman.  The woman is saying she will be better off without the encumberance of a dog.
And her impressions as they enter Paris and her thoughts on Alienor’s sudden marriage. Petronella is quiet.  Her mouth is down and her eyes are down.  She feels a bit depressed.  There’s a deep emotional pain as well.  She’s lost her sister as well now.  She’s lost her mum, her dad, her sister.  She switches off and is just a body going through the motions.  You wouldn’t know all this was going on from the outside.  You’d just see a proper person doing what she was meant to do but there’s no sparkle there.
And Paris.   Hmmm, she’s very interested.  She likes all the new sensations.  The smells, the sights, the sounds, the tastes.  She enjoys new things and she gets embarrassed as well when people notice her and offer her things.  She’s very sweet. She’s looked after with such pomp and distance in a way that she really wasn’t looked after at home.  There was much more proximity and hands on at home.  In Paris there is definite etiquette about things and she likes that.  Aaaah, and there’s a little dog.  A little fluffy dog like a Pomeranian. That someone’s given her?   I don’t know, but it’s near the hearth and she loves it.
So where did it come from?  It’s just already there, but it’s in the area where she particularly lives.  There’s this big square hearth.  There are other dogs there, but she particularly likes this one.  It sits on her knee as well.
So how does she get on with Alienor’s mother in law the dreaded Adelaide? Adelaide treats her as quite a pet because Petronella is so quiet and pliable.  She looks so sweet, she’s like a chocolate box ideal of a little girl or a little princess. 
And Petronella’s impression of Louis?  She doesn’t like him.  Her mouth purses to one side and there’s a sick feeling coming all the way down her middle.
Why?  She just finds him gruesome.  Sort of smarmy.  He’s always trying to be kind to her and she just finds him really smarmy.  He tries to give her gifts.  Say someone in this situation was trying to give her a bag of sweets, and because she doesn’t like him she doesn’t like the gift either.  The sweets are horrible.  I think it’s like an older brother syndrome.  An older brother with a girl-friend.  Euwwww!  There’s just something sibilant about him.  Something about his lips and something kind of… it’s like the way many male writers write love scenes - sleazy snail-trail stuff.  She finds him disgusting. She’s just happy when he doesn’t notice her.  She’s not happy when he puts his attention on her. She feels that Alienor has changed. She likes this horrible monster Louis.  It’s as if Alienor is all different and all grown up and talking with these other people, and Petronella has to watch her from a distance. 
And Petronella’s views on Alienor sharing a bed with Louis?   She can’t stand the thought of that.  Who’d want anything to do with Louis?  That’s how she feels and she tries not to think of it.  It gives her bad vibes.  I think she can sense his unease with pleasurable things.  I think she picks that up.  I don’t think she trusts him because of that.  It seems false.  I don’t think she’d be able to put her finger on that, but that’s what’s at the base of it.
I wondered about her relationship with Ralph of Vermandois in that first year in Paris?  She gets ever so shy with him and coy.  She’s got a very unusual smile.  I can feel it forming.  Her top lip puckers somehow, all across the top.   She gets totally embarrassed and giggly and looks down.  She hardly dares look up again, but she does.She has a tremendous laugh. It’s quite a deep laugh and she does it just because he looks at her and he has this humour in his expression.  I suppose it’s the vibration he’s sending that triggers something in her. 
So all he needs to do is look at her and she bursts out laughing? Yes, it’s as if he’s told her a very funny joke. I don’t think this is just something that happens without a background.  It’s a reference perhaps to some transaction they’ve done beforehand.
 So investigate it a bit more.  She’s giggling away like mad.  She’s trying to hide it by stroking this little dog and putting her head down.  And then she’s found him standing right in front of her.  She’s been trying to overcome her feelings and look down and cut off.  Then suddenly in front of her there’s this shadow and there he is, right in front of her and she didn’t know he was there! 
Just with him?  Yes!  He’s standing there and admiring her dog and asking about it.  Her mouth’s puckering up again and she’s talking.  There’s a warm, bubbly feeling in her abdomen as she is able to control herself enough to talk about the dog and about something else, perhaps a journey.  I’m not sure.  The conversation settles down and then slows down.  His attention is going somewhere else and she can look up at him with a yearning feeling.
A father figure thing?  It feels like love.  It’s a feeling that this person has given her attention and love and a positive thing and she wants more of it.  She is naturally open to giving her love to him.  It reminds me of her grandmother Dangereuse.  You know how passionate her grandmother was, and when she was fixed on that person that was all she wanted she was so full on.  In a similar way; it has a slightly different flavour, but the focus is the same. Interesting.  We discuss her age – somewhere between 11 and 13.  Certainly no older than that.  I suppose it would be a bit like an older boy in the school noticing you and becoming the centre of his attention and how you would deal with that.  Well in this case it would be more like fancying the headmaster because he’s 35 years older than her!  But what I am saying is that the feelings inside her are like that.  Ah, I see.  So like fancying a boy, not a man. Yes. So let’s see if she notices how old he is.  I think it’s a mixture of this daddy thing and boyfriend thing.  I think the other thing is that a lot of women of Alienor’s age and Petronella’s age were married off to much older men as a cultural norm.  I don’t know whether their focus was on older men – their eye perhaps trained into wealth and standing rather than youth and beauty. I don’t think he was unattractive. I do feel he was an attractive man.
So what did Ralph think of her?  The sort of feelings I’m getting are of him striding from one side of the room to the other and then striding towards her and like having a very complex toy, a little toy like an automaton that is very fascinating to play with.  Then there’s another deeper motive that is to do with power, that realises the very powerful position he is in, in relationship to her.  And this is exciting because it is in relation to personal power not delegated power. It’s not official, it’s something to do with him alone, with his own charisma.  It’s interesting, because he does like to test that out on other ladies as well.  It’s not something new to him, but he gauges people’s reactions.  So it’s like a hobby then?  Alison laughs and half nods.  Is it flirting then?    I think there’s an element of it, yes. 

And what does Alienor think of Ralph?  Alienor has a very fixed gaze on him.  She thinks him very attractive.  This is her view from a distance.  She thinks his body very attractive.  She thinks his mind is busy on things in front of him and doesn’t notice her.  When he does turn his attention on her, he can out-courtesy her.  She’s very good at being courteous but hers is very natural.  His is natural but with an extra edge as well. It has an intent.  She likes him better at a distance than close up because he tends to get too close.  He can invade her privacy.  When he’s speaking to someone smaller than him, he has a habit of bending over right from the middle of his back and putting his hand forward just to be on their level, but the edge of his energy is quite sharp.  It’s like having a metal edge to his fingers somehow, and she doesn’t like that sharp edge.  Although they’ve got things in common, a closer familiarity makes her feel uncomfortable and back away.  But there again, it’s not that she doesn’t trust him, it’s just his manner that she finds uncomfortable. While he’s at a distance, she likes him.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Part 7. The Vase and Suger

 One of the few items remaining from Eleanor's life is the vase she gave to Louis VII at the time of their wedding.  Louis - or Louis and Eleanor together, depending on who you believe, later gave it to Abbot Suger of St. Denis at the consecration of the magnificent new church of St Denis.  Originally the rock crystal vase was unembellished apart from carving on the crystal itself, but Abbot Suger had it beautified with gold and jewels.  Various biographers and novelists have imagined that Eleanor must have been devastated to  see Louis give up that vase to the abbot, but I honestly do not see why that should be the case.  An item such as this would always have been used for religeous purposes and kings and queens were always in the act of giving magnificent gifts to their favourite religeous establishments.  What was more fitting than that the mausoleum and church of the Kings of France should house this gift with Suger as its custodian? It would hardly have stood on Louis' bedroom windowsill before this would it?
But, I digress.  I wanted to find out about this vase in the Akashic sequence, so I asked Alison to take a look at it.  I also asked her to take a look at the personality of Abbot Suger:
For readers interested in the vase in conventional history, there's an excellent piece in Eleanor of Aquitaine Lord and Lady edited by Bonnie Wheeler and John C. Parsons.  The title is The Eleanor of Aquitaine Vase by George. T. Beech.  You can also find out a bit about it at the Louvre website.

To the question of Alienor giving the crystal vase to Louis:
A tall man is stooping down to put this crystal vase in her hands and it seems to have straight sides and then flares out a little bit at the top.  I’m not getting past the bit where I see the vase being put in her hands. I’ll try to get it from her point of view.  She’s feeling good.  Warm, excited.  I can’t get the feeling of the vase in my hands though.  I don’t want you to tell me what it looks like…  No, but I can tell you that it was a family treasure and that it had belonged to her grandfather William IX who got it from Spain.  It had been been passed down the family from him.  It’s quite knobbly and it’s got embellishments at the top. Alison is drawing it and it does have a strong look of the said vase but without the top and base that were added later.
She feels very warm about this. She’s holding this precious thing in her hands and she is walking across to Louis and she’s walking across at a diagonal towards Louis, and because of the preciousness of this object, she is just walking with her feet, she’s not making her knees move.  It’s as if she’s giving this delicate thing which is also her delicate self, her heart to him.  She has no qualms about trusting. She is just doing what she needs to do and trusting in this exchange and this shows the level of her trust.  Louis picks it up and holds it carefully, looks at it, and he kisses her right at the top of her brow.  She feels satisfied.  In fact it feels a bit of a relief because she no longer has to have responsibility for this vase and Louis calls someone to come and look after it.  I can see a ring being exchanged now.  It’s a gold ring with a big red stone in it.  He’s taking it off his own finger and giving it to her. He’s not putting it on her finger, he’s putting it into her hand. 
And the incident from his POV?   When he sees this coming across to him and the vase and the bride, he thinks ‘Yummy.’  Again, he accepts it as what ought to be.  He takes this expansion of his belongings, his well being as just normal.  He takes it for granted.  He doesn’t see a limit to it.  He doesn’t feel it needs to stop there.  He feels the ring is something to bind her closer to him.  It’s the sort of gift he’s used to making from the throne to his magnates and he uses it in a similar way.  It feels the right and proper thing to do and he’s done it now.  And then he looks around at his entourage to see what effect that’s had on them.  It’s because he’s used to using these gifts for political reasons and it’s a habit with him now that he has to see the effect of favouring one person on other people. So it’s not just an actor looking for audience response then?  No, I can’t see that.  It’s just a habit.  You have to be watchful and on your guard if you are going to control all this.  Although on the other hand he can’t control it all.  

Go to Suger first seeing the vase.
I can see him looking at the vase, and I can see it as a vase, without all the embellishment. I can see the light shining through it. It's fantastic. Suger's eyebrows go up. It's kind of amazement and a very smooth feeling inside. Suger isn't a very smooth person, he's always got lots of deals going on inside. This calms it all down and smooths it all out. I suppose it supersedes all that, it overlays all that. It's the beauty of it, it clears everything else out. He has this aesthetic ambition (In history) and I think this is what it is. It calms everything down in him. He gets a sense of being at peace; he's not at peace generally, that's not his nature, but being able to be overwhelmed by something beautiful and magnificent allows him that time of peace where he doesn't have to think. There's no thought going on. I suppose that's the closest to God he can be when he can have that lack of mundane thought. He goes blank and he goes through the moment. He is no longer Suger the ball bobbing along the ocean, it's just all gone and he can be himself. It's not even a desire to have the vase. It's like relief. It's like going to a retreat and thinking ‘Ah, I can just let it all go now. ' So I guess that the beautiful things he collects – his vase collection for example, are what do it for him. Yes I suppose that's why he does it, because it's an important part of his life.  We thought how sort of intricate these things are, and busy. We never guessed that it could bring this calmness. I suppose it's a bit like A mandala, for him then.  Yes, but naturally in an unexpected way. It wasn't premeditated or anything. He doesn't hang onto it at the time because that would lose it. He just allows it to happen. How interesting. It shows why he's got the motivation to do this collecting. I suppose he's only like this when he's in the zone. When showing somebody else he would be in a very different frame of mind. I don't think he'll be able to explain it. He would say, Oh the beauty of this object, the proportions, the size… But he wouldn't be able to explain the feelings, or only in terms of God. God is all beauty. So he would use that experience to tell others what God is, but it would be profane for him to tell people that he got this feeling from physical objects. These are only reflection of God’s might and worth.

Why did Louis decide to give the vase to Suger in 1144?
Louis loves this man and there seems to be a flowering of this love as Louis gets older.  It seems to be something that sustains him.  He has been able to rely on Suger right from childhood as someone that sustains him.  He just wants to show his appreciation for everything that Suger has done for him and his family in everything that he upholds.  The way that he’s treated in the family.  The way that Suger has dedicated his whole being and life to upholding the family.  What more loyal member of state could you wish for?  It almost brings tears to his eyes.  So how can he show what he feels without bringing something that is very precious, fragile and more than that, luminous, to give to Suger.  It’s something which appears transparent but in certain…ah this is interesting…but in certain lights gives off other colours like a prismatic effect.  That’s why it would be so precious wouldn’t it?  It would be like a real light show. It would complement the windows that Suger had put in his church – like a reflection.  I can feel that Louis feels the emotional preciousness of it in the connection that he has with Alienor.  So it has that emotional resonance as well as the other resonances.  And to give that, all his love, all this beauty, all his connection with Alienor is an enormous gift.  No wonder it brings tears to his eyes.
What does Suger think of this gift?  He is taking it into his stomach, taking it into his treasury. Mmm, yum, nice. 
But then he tarted it up, didn’t he?  That’s to make it his.  It can’t go back; it’s his now.
Yes, he made an inscription to that effect.  So the tarting wasn’t because he felt it needed extra bling?  No, he was putting his own graffiti on it.  So he thinks it’s a worthy gift?  Oh indeed, yes. Has he coveted it before?  Yes, he has!  Has he ever made mention before that it’s a nice piece?  I’ve lost it now, but I just got the feeling he has commented on it before and seen it before, but said things like ‘If only it was a little bit here and a little bit there, it would be perfect, or it would be gorgeous.  He certainly does like it.

 Following on from our look at Louis giving Alienor’s vase to Suger, I wanted to look at Alienor’s reaction to this event.  1144
Alison: She feels quite tight across the heart area.  This is an Alienor who is quite worked up.  Tight heart, tight cheeks, tight eyes.  Emotional in an anxious way.  I am getting the words ‘Please God, this has got to work.’  She is angry and not that bothered about the vase.  This is about God.  Her anger is connected to her relationship with God, so this is a direct communication with God.  Suger is just a periphery.  I think this is to do with wanting a boy child.  It doesn’t seem fair.  Why can’t she have what she wants?  She will give anything, it doesn’t matter what, in order to have what she wants.  So the actual item isn’t as relevant as what she wants.  Suger to her is just someone who is doing what’s needed in the circumstances.  Not quite a servant, but a functionary. It’s not up to him, it’s up to God.  That’s how she sees it, although she wouldn’t say it outright.  It wouldn’t be necessary.  She can find Suger a bit annoying but he’s got a job to do.  She’ll let him get on with his job, but this isn’t to do with him really.  It’s to do with God. He’s just a functionary of God. 
So this vase is to be given to God as a plea for her fertility?  It’s more of a demand actually!  She hardly even looks at the vase.  It’s only in her side vision and the main part of her vision is to God. Why the vase and not a different gift?  Well she could give anything.  She doesn’t mind what it is, and it isn’t the only thing she’s given.  She’s given loads of things.  She’s given bags of gems.  She’s given gold coverings to things.  I am seeing one of those gold engraved domes that you put over tombs.  She would rake around and give whatever it took.

Suger  and his character.

Adelaide’s and Alienor’s relationships with Abbot Suger.
Adelaide feels that this is a person she can do business with.  He has stature but he knows his place.  I can see something like a bishop’s mitre and it’s very upright.  She’s on a pedestal above him.  There’s a definite demarcation in their positions but they are both upright, and she can rely on him to fulfil his role.  Sometimes he can be a bit over-zealous and working his own machinations, but generally she feels it is for the purpose of upholding the state so she’s prepared to give him a bit of leeway in that.  There are moments when she pushes against him and it’s as if there is nothing there.  She just takes that as an aberration.  Something that doesn’t quite click.  There’s something that’s not quite right, but there’s not enough of those incidents for her to see the whole thing as not quite right, so generally she disregards those for the benefit of the overall structure.  And there is a glint in both their eyes which shows they understand each other.  They’re on the same wavelength.  There’s a glint of humour as well. Their humour is getting one over on someone and how you do it, and I think they appreciate that in each other as very skilled practitioners.  They recognise when each other has a win. 
Alienor and Suger?  Alienor comes from a position of a supplicant, a person who wants to do right by religion, spirit, God.  She has a wider idea of what religion and spirituality are.  While he is a figurehead and part of the structure of a physical church. I am seeing arches in a cathedral here and as if he is one of those arches that holds it up.  In a similar way, if she pushes against that, it could damage the stability of the church.  So she has to accept his position for the sake of the structure, but she does find him quite rigid, like a column made of metal rather than stone, as if he doesn’t have the spirituality that the rest of the church transmits and yet he is this elegant column and arch that looks right, that looks more than right,  She feels sick, looking at it more emotionally. I find I have to go to two levels with Alienor.  That was the higher level, but the emotional level is a bit lower.  He makes her feel physically sick and I am trying to work out why this is... He pokes into the private lives of other people.  He pokes into places where it’s really, really not appropriate and this very much upsets her.   And yet she doesn’t seem to have the power to stop him or keep him out and he can do it when she’s got no intuition about where he’s going to do it next. I suppose he’s got his talons in Louis so he can manipulate Louis all the time.  She is definitely not treated as a human being by him.  She is not considered to have feelings but only to be part of a unit in this political jigsaw.
Abbe Suger and his first feelings on meeting Eleanor when he came to Bordeaux.  He seems to be in a very deep state, perhaps he's asleep. I can feel him washing his hands now and I can see him from a strange angle. There are some squared off pillars ornamented, with a basin in front. Yes it's a basin that's built into a pillar and it's all carved. It's like a water fountain in a garden. He's drying his hands now and saying 'Where is she?' He is being told a whole catalogue of things she has been doing today. Oh I see. He is asking about her and he is being given a lot of detail about her lifestyle. He is saying 'We will see her at prayer.' He is asking how pious she is. He is being told that she is very pious. She knows a lot about the Bible.
FFW. I am hearing a bell; I am seeing a long corridor with lots of people going down it. Then they moved back to allow Suger to pass forward through them. I am getting this contemplative feeling. I feel that I am in the church with Suger and he is in the situation where the choir is alongside the altar. The children, not just Eleanor are brought up to the altar to have communion and he watches her.  His attitude to her is that she is a child and as such like a blank tablet that you can mould. Children are not fully formed people. The outside of her looks fine and he doesn't see any problem with it. I just get the impression that he would regard all children as being the same, just blank objects that he puts form to. So it wouldn't matter who she was really inside, just so long as she met the birth criteria. And as an additional bonus she is very attractive and almost jewel-like in her perfection, so everything seems very satisfactory from his point of view. After all this is a world for grownups.
Now to take a look at Suger’s spirituality, particularly in the building of St.Denis.
Oh! Such pride!  His head, it circles round.  It’s so mobile it’s like on the end of a snake.  His lips are pursed.  Exquisite!  He’s so over-arched with pride about this.  It is the apex of what man can do in terms of honouring God and it all is to do with artistic taste and exquisiteness.  He feels he has brought all this together, so it is his creation.  He has sourced everything.  Workmen, artists.  He’s claiming the credit for the whole thing.  Not because he’s designed it, but because he’s brought all the designers together to work on this project. So really he’s claiming himself as an artist here.  He’s gone down in history as the creator of this place and seen as massively spiritual.  Why? Because St. Denis is so spiritual.  Mmm.  It gives people an urge towards spirituality? Yes, like when you enter a cathedral and you get this spiritual soaring feeling towards God.  And this is what St. Denis does, and so everyone thinks that its builder must have had this great spiritual vision and been of that mindset himself.  Which may not necessarily be true.  Not at all. He sees it as he is the one who has done the most magnificent thing for God, so isn’t he wonderful? He’s taking so much credit for it.  Not the designers who actually brought that spirituality in through their work, but because of him because he actually thought of having them in to do it.  Let’s have a look at how he actually gelled all these ideas together so I can make sure what his aesthetic involvement actually is.  Yes, he has actually got aesthetic involvement in the sense that he knows what looks nice.  He would know what garments were the best if he was going to a very big service.  He would want very beautiful, ornate, well embroidered garments – it’s just on a larger scale.  It’s like ordering a very nice cake.  I want it to shine here, I want sparkly bits there and it would be a wonderful setting for him to do his sermons with his nice gear on.  I am seeing gear that is basically silver and white with pale blue, pale yellow, pale green embroidery on – delicate colours on a very light background and that’s the setting he puts himself in.  So he looks like a radiant being as well.  Absolutely.  ‘Oh, my dear ones, you are gathered in my offering to God.’   I mention that St Denis was the resting place of the Capetian kings.  Alison comments that St. Denis also gives Suger a place then where he can preside over the bodies of these dead kings and that Kings have to apply to him for special services.  Alison also comments that all of his deep feeling was aggandisement and everything else seems to be quite mundane and practical.
What were Suger’s feelings towards Alienor?
It’s quite interesting because he feels as if she is sending out these golden rays, every so often prodding him.  So it feels as if she can see through him and he has to protect himself against her and guard himself.  He sees her as someone he has to be careful of.  He recognises her intelligence himself, but probably wouldn’t admit to anything like that.