The Cathar Initiation Caves at Ornolac in the Ariege region of Southern France continue to beckon the spiritual travellers to their initiatory door. This three-part cave complex houses the Eglise (Church), the Hermit and the Bethlehem Cave. These underground retreats, places of meeting with the 'Almighty Creative Essence', offered the Cathars a safe and peaceful dwelling place. We are told that in these caves the initiate would begin to access the state of the living Soul, the state of the 'Pure One' or 'Perfect One' (parfait). When the timing was right the disciple would go through the 'Mystical door', and come back into the world to devote themselves to suffering mankind, in service to Christ.
The Eglise is the first stage of the Initiation. It is where the perfect one would say goodbye to the material world and enter the Eglise for a period of three years. The Eglise is very much about the letting go of materialism, material traps and addictions, external responsibilities, ties and contracts, all kinds of greed, wealth, financial power and status. It marks the beginning of a serious spiritual change, a step and stage along the way upon which there is no return. Here is the moment where you renounce the god of the material world and all his empty promises and enter the dwelling place of the Living Soul.