Our next stop is Alatri, a medieval town with ancient roots, far away in history. Our intention is to visit the St. Francis Monastery, with a fresco labyrinth with Christ in the centre. We will be guided by Giancarlo Pavat, a friend from the international labyrinth movement, who was involved in the restoration of the labyrinth, and in the research that led to its interpretation. And what a moving visit it was… The labyrinth is sitting on a wall, seconded by a fresco that shows a lifted veil with ancient symbols of oneness: flowers of life, circles, branches, birds, spirals and circles, all in complete harmony. To me it seems as if they represent the alchemy of the soul on its journey towards the Divine. It would fit quite well with the message of the labyrinth next to it. In its circle we see Christ as Pantocrator, wearing a white tunic and a golden mantle. In his left hand he is holding the Holy Book, while his right hand points towards the entrance of the labyrinth. The message seems clear: it’s an invitation to go the road inwards – the inner pilgrimage – that in the end leads to knowledge of the sacred, guarded and transferred by Christ himself. To say it in modern terms: the fresco depicts the journey towards the Self.
Our friend explains us that the fresco is probably made in the 13th century by a monk of the Franciscan convent, with the support of the Templars, who were present in many towns of southern Lazio. It was never intended as a walkable labyrinth, but rather a vertical image, Initially it was probably behind the altar on the wall of a church that doesn’t exist anymore. The pilgrims could thus visually connect with this rich symbol on their journey towards the Holy Land. leave the place in complete awe. I realise that we have not only seen a unique representation of the (soul)journey through the labyrinth, but I also feel that we had indeed to connect with this place at the beginning of our journey, like we connected with Voltumna/Fortuna on the day before. Nothing happens by coincidence.
In the afternoon our friend guides us further through Alatri, together with the local archaeological expert. The town is built around an impressive Acropolis, built with huge blocs of stone that look similar to the ones that both of us have seen in Peru. They are earthquake resistant, important in this area that – like Peru –for long struggled with seismic activity. The acropolis was in ancient times only accessible through two gates, a small and a large one. On top you can see still some of the remains of the Temple of the Solar God that once stood here. What makes it all quite amazing that the acropolis is aligned with Carnac in France and with the Gizeh pyramids in Egypt.
Astronomical experts say that there is a special alignment with the summer solstice, and with the zodiacal sign of Gemini. On top of the Acropolis, where once stood the Solar Temple, now stands the Cathedral of Alatri that houses a peculiar relic, called the ‘Ostia Incarnato’, a host that according to legend turned into flesh. To me it as if the symbol of the risen Christ, that is encapsulated in the labyrinth fresco, has been chosen to sanctify the ancient place of the Solar God. We finish our tour on the acropolis, again with the ceremony with the solar and lunar discs, to remember and honour the Sacred Union, and to join the strong energies of this place in the line that we are drawing to Southern Italy. But it also connects us with Stonehenge, Glastonbury and St. Michaels mound in Cornwall, where Agnes and many other friends have recently done profound energy work…
Our visit to the area isn’t finished here yet, a next chapter is waiting for us in the Alatri area. Giancarlo Pavat offers to guide us at the following day through and around the nearby town of Ceccena, where we will visit a recently discovered sanctuary.