When I stepped out of the car and saw this light-dappled forecourt flanked by old plane trees, the sun-drenched altar, and the statue of Notre Dame de Delivrance in the background, I felt as if I’d stepped into a dream. The sight in front of me looked just like a place from a dream I once had, down to the tiniest detail!
I was dumbfounded. I looked around the sanctuary bathed in peace and gentleness, and felt shivers running up my spine. There it was—the chapel, the statue, the altar, the plane trees—the whole scene just as it had been in my dream. Yet this was a real place, one of the old pilgrimage sites in the South of France, built in the early 14th century.
A picturesque legend accompanies its founding. An invincible dragon used to terrorize the local population until a certain chevalier figured out how to kill it—by training a pack of dogs to attack its belly, the only place of its body that was unprotected. Unlike other instances of slaying a dragon in Christian iconography, performed by either St. Michael or St. George, this one was accomplished by a mere chevalier, although with the help of Mary. Hence the name – Notre Dame de Delivrance.
For me, this legend carries more meaning than its surface story. Dragons symbolize Earth energies, also known as terrestrial currents, telluric force, serpent current, or the Druidic Wouivre. All these names have been used to denote and describe the animating but invisible power of the Earth, the vital Life Force on which all life forms depend. This telluric force was recognized and worshipped by ancient matriarchal cultures. The act of killing a dragon symbolizes a victory over the old, Mother Goddess worship and the subjugation of the forces of nature by the new order—the patriarchal religious system.
But why I dreamt of this place, and how I could have “seen” it just as it was, has remained a mystery to me.