Kundalini awakening, is the Path of Fire.

Brulology*” is an anglicisation of the French term, brûlologie, or the specialty of burn care. The etymology of the French terms “brûlure” and “brûlologie” comes from the vulgar Latin “ustulare”, to burn (which led in current day Italian to “ustioni”, burns), in combination with the Old Frankish (West Germanic) root “brenn”, burn. Taken together, these became “brustulare”, then “brusler” in the Middle Ages (as in the 12th century Oxford Psalter). This later became “brûler”, where the “s” is replaced by the circumflex accent on the “u”, a common process with mediaeval words. The same root “brenn” in Old Norse (Nordic or Old North Germanic) gave rise to the English “burn”. Like many French and English words, burn and brulology thus share a common ancestry.

The Cathars are among the great burn victims of history.

On the 16th of March 1244, over two hundred Cathars, mostly perfected ones, were burnt at Montsegur in the south west of France. No stakes were needed, they went willingly into the flames.

This reminds me of Thích Quảng Đức, the Buddhist monk, who immolated himself in 1963. He didn’t flinch or cry out as his body was burning. He had spent months in spiritual preparation for this event. The Cathar perfecti, besieged within the castle, knew full well that the flames awaited them and likewise spent their time praying and fasting in anticipation of what was to come.

Buddhist monks sometimes engage in a practice called Dark Retreat, where they meditate for up to six months, in a specially constructed room that is completely sealed from light. It is said that the Cathars engaged in similar practices and that to become a Perfect, they would enter deep into a cave system, not to emerge for one year.

Dark retreats are designed to instigate a series of very special visions known as empty forms. They are called this because although clearly observable as a phenomena they are empty of material particles. For the monk, this is the experience of directly seeing and cognising emptiness, a central tenant of Buddhism.

The principle empty forms are a watery mirage, smoke, sparks like fireflies and a flame, like a butter lamp or candle. This visions arise, when due to the power of either kundalini awakening or certain meditations, the energy winds that course through our bodies engaging the five senses, withdraw into the heart. When this happens, ordinary reality ceases to exist. In fact, this is what happens when we are dying. It’s quite possible that the Cathar perfecti might have used a similar technique, to withdraw the physical senses into themselves before immolation.

However, a recent dream experience gave me another perspective.

I found I was sitting in a chair, participating in a hypnotherapy demonstration. Wearing a simple woollen robe, I sensed the Middle Ages, I sensed Cathar… Suddenly, I was engulfed by flames but as they rose around me, a spiritual force manifested and I felt no fear. Cool and silvery, it counteracted the fire completely and I felt a holy presence.

Perhaps I was being shown what the Cathars knew. That Spirit would be with them as they walked into the flames, holding hands as they burned, chanting and singing their way to ascension.

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