There are very few such places on Earth. Since olden times, people have chosen these same places in order to talk to gods. Why? The answer becomes evident with the first glance at Le Mont Saint Michel (Mount of Saint Michael), regardless of the constructions erected by humans in this very place. This granite cliff amid the sea is so unreal that even we, the modern people, perceive it as a creation by God for himself, not for humans. It is a so-called mausoleum of God.
More than two thousand years ago, the Mont Saint-Michel was called Mont Tombe (Mount Tomb), but it had never been a place of grief. Many centuries B.C., it was one of the most spiritual places for Druids. Here they talked to their gods, with Belenus prime among them. Belenus, “the shining one,” means the sun and everything connected to it: fire, warmth, fertility, spring, and life. His symbols are the circle and the swastika (yes, the same old sign that has been besmirched by Hitler). His main holiday, Beltane, was celebrated on the 1st of May, after which winter with its cold should be gone, giving way to warmth and faring well.
Thousands of pilgrims came to Mont Tombe from all of Gaul (modern France) to join the celebration. Celtic votaries, Druids made up fire on the top of the mountain using the sun’s rays to signify the end of the winter battle and the arrival of warmth. The fire could be seen many kilometres away.
It was a bright feast and people associated the future Le Mont Saint Michel with gladness, hope, and happiness. Everything was very different from the forthcoming Christian times, when people started to connect it with the world of the dead, and, more precisely, with the transition to the world of the dead, the door to which was thought to open at night.
That’s why entrance to the church is strictly forbidden at night, even to the monks themselves, although according to another version, angels gather here at night, probably in order to discuss their achievements and plans.
Each year on the 1st of November, you may count on meeting your deceased forefathers here. The locals still preserve the tradition of making a small voyage towards the Mont Saint Michel before they bring a deceased person to the burial place.
Then the Romans came from the south. They had their own gods and there was no need of the Celtic competitors. The most sure-fire way to destroy a god is to destroy anyone who believes in it. A god is alive while there is at least one person who believes. Le Mont Saint Michel is a tomb of the Celtic god Belenus. This is just the place where he was destroyed; however it is rather strange that the Romans never built their own temple on this mount.
After the death of the Celtic god, Mont Tombe spent 700 years waiting for its next godship, and it came as Archangel Michael, who bid St. Aubert, the bishop of Avranches, to build a temple in his honour here. Since then the island has been called Mont Saint-Michel and is nowadays the second-most attended French sightseeing location. Victor Hugo said that Le Mont Saint Michel for the French is like the pyramids for the Egyptians.
Mont St. Michel Abbey played a very significant role in the struggle of the French against the northern invaders. Along with Joan of Arc it became a symbol of the rebellion. The island was the only place in Normandy which the English failed to conquer, in spite of the 25-years siege and two acts of assault. Through joint efforts of people and nature an airy and an ephemeral, but very powerful fortress was created.
It’s like a real magnet. Now, as always, it attracts people. You will be able to feel this pull as soon as you see the Abbey. You move through the field and the Mont Saint-Michel appears from afar; sure enough you stop and watch—it is impossible to take your eyes off it.
You wake up early in the morning before sunrise, come out of your hotel to take a walk, and there is the Mont Saint-Michel, levitating in the distance, capturing your attention at once. You move towards the mountain along the recently built dike, gaze wide-eyed and get a feeling of something spiritual. Now it is clear why the passage to the Mont St. Michel Abbey through the quicksand during the falling tide has always been considered an ordeal. If your sins were really heavy, you might have not reached the island in order to ask absolution—the inferno could suck you down in there.
The color of any sea depends on the bottom color, water’s depth, and the sky color. Just imagine the severe somber sky, the sandy grey bottom, and as the result, the grey water. Considering the shallow depth, there are no waves here, only the tranquil, mirror-like waters, reflecting the sky. Along comes the mist, so typical for Normandy, and Le Mont Saint Michel which hangs in the grey space with no top, no bottom, no ground, and no space itself.
It’s hard not to believe that this place is a corridor to some another world. It might not be the world of the dead, but it is surely different to ours, because there is no way our world looks like this, unless, of course, it is the Mont Saint-Michel. Welcome to Belenus.