On the 10th of September 2021 the publishing house Rozekruis Pers will present the book Places where the Spirit breathes The Sabarthez as a mirror of humanity. Antoine Gadal 1877-1962, Life, work and transmission of the Cathar Gnosis. On the occasion of the realization of this book, a symposium is being organized under the title:

Le Fil d’Or du Libre Esprit – The golden thread of the free mind.

The symposium will take place on September 10, 11 and 12, 2021, in the Salle François Mitterrand in Tarascon, where a selection of international scientists, philosophers and musicians joins together, who as a common denomination all cherish a profound love for the Sabarthez and the Ariège, presenting subjects that shed a light on the ancient old human history of this region. The symposium focuses on the human being and his free mind.

In various themes, authors from different fields show how that this free mind manifested itself in that special region of the Ariège that is the Sabarthez. The background of the fascinating rock paintings, the hidden oral tradition of the region, the art of the free mind in the Middle Ages, the tension between materialism and idealism throughout history, the role of women in Catharism and the courtly love of the troubadours are some of the topics that leading speakers will cover.

They paint a modern picture and the state-of-the-art of the advancing insights in all the fields of interest with which Antoine Gadal felt particularly related some hundred years ago. This son of the Sabarthez, born a stone’s throw from where the symposium takes place, saw in each of those areas the influence of that always independent and free mind, which runs in the blood of the people of that region. And he discovered that its origin lies in the simplicity and openness of heart and mind with which the people of the Sabarthez approached, lived and defended their territory, their spiritual wealth and their Christianity in its purest kind. He saw it as his duty to carry on that spirit of freedom, brotherhood and love.

At the occasion of this symposium an ensemble has been formed consisting of Louis Merlet (viola), Sylvain Imbs (piano) and Christian Koenig (panflute), which will perform “Voices of the Sabarthez through the ages”.


You can register for this symposium in the following ways. The concert of Jordi Savall on Saturday evening is part of the symposium. Costs for the symposium and concert are € 150,00 per participant. You have to arrange accommodation and meals yourself.

On https://spiritualtexts.academy/gadal you will find a direct link for your registration, via Eventbrite. On that site the booking system leads you to the payment possibilities. When you have registered and paid, your registration is final and you will receive further documentation.

It is only possible to order one ticket at a time for the symposium. For any additional ticket, you must reconnect with the registration site.

The municipality of Tarascon has composed a program of sites worth visiting, for a reduced price. The more sites you visit, the lower the price will be. This concerns the Parc de la Préhistoire (the Pre-historian Parc), the caves of Niaux and of Bédeilhac, the castle of Foix, the cave of Mas-d’Azil and the Palais des Evêques (the Bishop’s Palace) in Saint-Liziers. There are also some sites that can be visited for free, like the Salle Gadal and the Dolmen of Sem. Furthermore you can partake in three special visits for a fixed reduced price:

  1. a special tour of 2 hours in the Lombrives caves à € 10,- (www.grottedelombrives.com with symposium code)
  2. a visit of 2 hours to Les Bains du Couloubret in Ax-les-Thermes à € 17,- (www.bains-couloubret.com with symposium code)
  3. a visit to the castle of Montségur (information about this follows later)

The visits to either one of those sites is not included in the symposium price.

As a Symposium participant, you will receive a booklet with all texts of the symposium in your own language (German, English, French, Dutch or Spanish).


General information:

  1. The official language of the symposium mainly is French. There will be at least two lectures in English.
  2. We adhere to the then current French government measures regarding corona.
  3. All visitors are responsible for complying with corona measures (travel,
    accommodation, including necessary documents).

All further information will be given via https://spiritualtexts.academy/gadal

All recording and redistribution is prohibited,
all rights are © copyright of each individual author/speaker
Tout enregistrement et rediffusion est interdit

1. GOD IS LOVE, Mirjam Duivenvoorden, curator of the Gadal Archives in the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam and co-author of the book Places where the Spirit breathes.

Dieu est Amour (God is Love) was the motto and adage of Antoine Gadal. From an early age on he has committed himself hereto, trying to practice some of that love. In the nineteenth century, as Benjamin of the Félibrige, in search of the sublime beauty of the mind, in poetry and literature; from the age of twenty-three as a teacher in the village of Montceaux-lès-Provins in the Champagne, as a captain in the trenches of la Grande Guerre; then as speleologist, archaeologist and president of the Syndicat d’Initiatives, always committed to making man receptive to the beauty and silence of the caves, in which a pure receptivity can perceive the inaudible. He delved deep into the archives to examine the true background of pure Cathar Christianity as it was experienced in the Sabarthez, and of which he had heard people whispering on his journeys through the region. From the moment he had formed a crystal clear picture in his mind, he did everything in his power to secure its transmission – a mission handed to him in 1897 by the nearly 100-year-old Adolphe Garrigou, who he called the beloved patriarch of the Sabarthez.

2. THE CAVES OF THE VOLP, An exceptional sanctuary from the flourishing period of the stone age (the magdalénien), Robert Bégouën historian, founder of the Louis Bégouën Foundation, curator of the three caves of the Volp

The Tuc d’Audoubert and Trois-Frères caves were discovered in 1912 and 1914 by three teenagers, Max, Jacques and Louis Bégouën. They immediately decided not to open them to the public. The explanation for this is the fact that their family has been researching the origin of life and of man for two generations. Their grandfather, Count Maximilien Bégouën (1826-1885), was an erudite and multilingual humanist researcher. As a high-ranking official in Toulouse, in 1872 he met Émile Cartailhac, the doyen of French prehistory. Bégouën’s son Henri would continue his research.
After the discovery of the Tuc d’Audoubert, Cartailhac was the first to be informed and to give his advice. Two years later, the Trois-Frères cave with its innumerable and fine carvings is under investigation. Realizing that they are responsible for a historical heritage belonging to humanity, the Bégouëns decide to preserve it for science. The Louis Bégouën Foundation was established in 1989 to continue this philosophy, which allows these caves to remain intact to this very day.

3. THE PALEOTHIC ART OF THE CAVE PAINTINGS, Philippe Grosos professor at the university of Poitiers, philosopher, author of the book Signe et forme. Philosophie de l’art et art paléolithique (Sign and form. Philosophy of the art and paleolithic art)

If we consider art as a symbolic activity, we can say that its presence in the history of mankind extends very far back. And if we consider the origin of the first hand axes (which after all require both abstraction and symmetry to make) we can even trace that beginning back to the first appearance of the Australopithecus, a little over 3 million years ago.
About 40,000 years before our era, however, a new form of artistic activity presents itself. Homo sapiens – the human beings we still are – then for the first time created and disseminated artistic figurative representations that gave birth to cave paintings, both in Western Europe and in Indonesia.
Drawing on the abundant examples of cave paintings that can be found in the caves of the Ariège, I want to show the audacity that our ancestors needed to draw, paint, engrave, and sometimes even sculpt these types of figures.
In order to reasonably comprehend what this means, I examined what made this leap, this discontinuity possible. What has such a daring representation meant for the further course of our history, for us, homo sapiens?

4. THE BREATH OF THE SPIRIT AND SPIRITUAL ENERGY, Eric Palazzo professor in history of medieval art at the University of Poitiers and Princeton and author of Peindre c’est prier. Anthropologie de la prière chrétienne (Painting is praying. Anthropology of the Christian prayer)

The lecture examines the theme of freedom of spirit in Christian theological thought of antiquity and in the Middle Ages, viewed from the specific concept of spiritual energy. From a Christian perspective, this energy is primarily what enables us to define the “true” nature of God.
Thus it is the spiritual power that God has given to mankind to enable him to complete his spiritual journey, both on earth and thereafter, and to grant him access to the ‘face to face’ knowledge of the Christ, glorified in eternal majesty.
Subsequently the various forms of the visual translation of that spiritual energy are examined, in particular those in the spiral form and its meaning in relation to the figure of Christ, both in his spiritual as in his physical dimension.


Eduard Berga Salomó author of Sabiduría del Silencio and Le Catharisme et la tradition spirituelle de l’Occident (Wisdom of silence and Catharism and the spiritual tradition of the West)

One of the major contributions of Occitan Catharism to the development and advancement of Western culture in Europe was its attempt to liberate individual thought from the narrow religious dogmatism in which the Church of Rome had placed society in order to “strengthen their consciences”. The enormous influence that Catharism had on all social strata of his time, contributed not only to a direct knowledge of the sacred texts, but it also placed in their midst Christian teaching in its purest, most essential and practical sense: to seek God above all things and love others as oneself.
The words of the humble shepherd Pèire Mauri, a Cathar believer, when Bélibaste reproaches him for his good relations with people who do not belong to his faith, are telling: “We must do good to everyone, for we know not who is good or who is bad.”

6. ON THE WINGS OF LOVE, Courtly love and catharism, an encounter between eros and agape, Maria Bartels Dutch Philosopher, author of two publications: Zijn in ontmoeting (Being in encounter) and Zin in kwaliteit (The sense of quality) 

Love plays a vital role in both Catharism and courtly love. But what kind of love is it exactly and what role does it play? Courtly love has its origin in the Platonic eros, while Catharism, although influenced by Platonism, is mainly based on Christian love: agapè or caritas. Although both loves are rooted in a spiritual context, they differ in their starting point, their pursuit and their form of expression. Where do these two loves take us and what do they have to give? How can we trace them in our own experience? Are they incompatible, as they go opposite ways, or is there a meeting point possible? Will they remain irreconcilable or can they complement each other?
The answer lies in the most silent intimacy of our soul, that place of transformation where both loves find their deepest meaning and their ability to unfold their wings. From there, eros and agapè can inspire our lives and actions, as well as our relationships with others, with God and the world that surrounds us.

7. IN BETWEEN DAILY LIFE AND PRIESTHOOD, Catharism a refuge for women?, Gwendoline Hancke is historian and author of the books Femmes en languedoc (Women in the Languedoc) and Le Miroir d’Aimengart (The mirror of Aimengart)

In the Languedoc of the 13th century, women developed in social and religious frameworks dominated by men. However, thanks to the place of women in Cathar theology and in particular the priestly role assigned to women in Cathar religious life, women were able to modestly open the doors to this masculine stronghold. Moreover, the anchoring of the Cathar religion in everyday life and in the existing social structures of the villages of Languedoc allows women to shape their religious life in the established social frameworks, in the female social life and also in their traditional role as guardians of belief in the family, educators, household managers, and also caretakers of the sick.
Precisely this merging of a religion more open to female participation in the sacred and the anchoring of this “women’s world” in the village offers them a favorable framework to develop themselves in a kind of “parallel world” – a free space in which they hold the reins of their own lives and especially of their religious life in their own hands.

8. PROMETHEUS’ DREAM, Understanding nature in and through arts, science and religion,Sergi Grau Torras doctor of Philosophy, historian and professor of History of Science at the University of Barcelona, author of Cátaros e inquisición en los reinos Hispánicos, ss. xii-xiv (Cathar inquisition in the Spanish kingdoms in the 12e-14e century).

One of the themes that Antoine Gadal raises in his manuscripts, is the necessity to reach a common vison of the relation between science and religion, and more specifically between faith and reason, as a means to obtain knowledge. In the Renaissance a new way to interpret nature arose, which caused the intuitive vision to melt together with a consciousness that is based upon reason.
Since then and until this very day we find different testimonials that somehow, in one way or another, emphasize the connection between science and religion, not only as to understanding nature, the universe and the natural laws, but also when it is about obtaining knowledge. In this lecture we will discover on the basis of several testimonials from the history of science that the interaction between science, art and religion is indispensable in order to create scientific knowledge. 

9. TRANSMISSION OF THE FREE MIND, A. Gadal – the man, the visionair, the guardian, Peter Huijs studied art history and archeology, he is author of the book Called by the World Heart.

What is the free mind? Does this mean we are free to think what we want? On the contrary, it is always the result of a mental discipline built on a scientific, social and strongly spiritual basis.
When we study the life of Antoine Jules Gadal, we discover that he has always worked on three levels:

  • at the scientific level, as a delegate of the department of Ariège in the Société Préhistorique Française, with his friends in archeology Father Mir from the town of Ussat-Ornolac and Count Henri Bégouën, with the President of the Tourist Office of Tarascon Joseph Mandement, with Commander François Octobon and Captain Jean- Louis Boudon in speleology;
  • socially, as a teacher for young people and as president of the Tourist Office and the thermal baths of Ussat-les-Bains, and as manager of the caves;
  • and on a spiritual level, for all those who came to meditate in silence in the impressive tranquility of the caves, fascinated by their immeasurable space.
    He saw himself as a guardian of Sabarthez’s spiritual heritage. Adolphe Garrigou had envisaged him the transmission of the free mind, a spirit of humanity, spirituality and transformation. All his life he has striven to pass this calling on to worthy successors.