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. http://www.louvre.fr/llv/oeuvres/detail_notice_popup.jsp?CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673226029&CURRENT_LLV_NOTICE%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673226029&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=9852723696500778&bmLocale=en
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.