The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud in the Loire Valley in France is an example of what happens to the energy of a sacred site when its purpose is degraded—used for a prison, in this case.
Built in the twelfth century, Fontevraud was once a prosperous and large abbey (housing up to 700 nuns) and a spiritual and cultural center for centuries. It is still the largest group of monastic buildings in France. The Abbey is also the final resting place of the famous queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, her husband Henri II, and their equally famous son Richard the Lionheart.
The Abbey suffered many blows. Its desecration by Hugenots in the sixteenth century was followed by the partial destruction during the French Revolution in the eighteenth century. Finally, what was left was converted by Napoleon into a state prison, which it has remained until recently.
Imagine this elegant, lofty nave, crammed with four platforms where a couple of thousand prisoners were jammed in what were called cages à poules, chicken cages. Many others were kept in the dormitories and the refectory, which were also sub-divided using platforms to increase the prison capacity. The result of this, as energy dowsing showed, is a chaotic and frazzled energy field, with dowsing rods trembling and quivering in all directions, as if they had “lost their head.” As I walked around the Abbey, I couldn’t shake off the feeling of heaviness and sadness—in a way, an energy rape.