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The Labyrinth and the Land of Oc

September 12-14, 2013

Dearest Life Traveler,

I have definitely fallen down the rabbit hole this time and am grateful to have your companionship and attention to share my story.  I find myself in the ancient and richly mystical area of Southern France, called Languedoc; which, literally translates to Langue d’ Oc or language of Oc.  My research and experimentation of using symbols, signs and sacred places finally led me here.  Oc means yes.  My troubadour friend, Ani Williams recently shared with me that the people who have inhabited this area for many millennia have stood for the positive life affirming principles of love, beauty and freedom.

The only plan I had before coming was to have no plan.  Serendipitously, my friend Ani Williams was going to be arriving at the Toulouse Airport the same day as I was, September 12th, so we agreed to meet and share a car to her little town Rennes les Bains where I would find a B&B for a couple of nights and get my bearings.

I found the village of Rennes les Bains suffocating and dark.  I, of course, became self critical because the place was “supposed to be magical”, so what was wrong with me?  After the second day, I decided to drive up to the ancient and historic city of Carcassonne (La Cite).  I found a little pension about an hour north of the old city for a very reasonable price.  Thinking this was a good idea should have been my first clue.  La Cite was VERY crowded and full of tourists.  After a couple of hours I really wanted to get out of there so I thought I would find my lovely little pension.

I got lost and then more lost and then finally really lost.  After driving two hours for a 30 minute trip, I finally found my pension at 1:30 pm but to my dismay, it was closed until 5:30 pm.  I was hungry and thought I would find a little cafe to hang out in only to find that the town didn’t have any restaurants.

Sitting on a bench, close to tears, a friend of the local mayor took pity on me and invited me into the old chateau that was now the town hall to view some of the recent discoveries that were uncovered under the plastered walls.  I spent several hours looking at 16th and 17th century wall paintings and murals of greek mythology.  It turned out to be very enjoyable.

At 5:30 pm, I was ready to check into my pension.  When I opened my purse to get out my credentials and money, I noticed my wallet was missing.  With as much composure that I gather, I excused myself and went to my rental car and back tracked all my steps and couldn’t find it anywhere.

It was all too much.  If this was was it was to be a sovereign woman, I wanted no more part of it.  By now, all I wanted was my mother…and where the heck was my boyfriend when I needed him.  Wasn’t he supposed to protect me and all that?

I explained to the pension owner what happened and told her I probably had enough euros to pay for one night.  She asked me what color my wallet was and it turns out she found it earlier.  I must have dropped it when I took out a pen to write down the phone number listed on the door.  Although I was relieved, my inner critic was hard at work.

I settled into my room with 4 bunk beds.  Fortunately, I was the only one with a reservation.  I was wondering what Self chose this place.  Out in the middle of nowhere.  I was lonely and I was hungry.  With no restaurants in town and had to drive 20 minutes to find the nearest restaurant.  None of the restaurants looked good so I drove aimlessly for another hour, only to return to the first restaurant I saw.  My critic was really working overtime now.  She kicked into high gear when it took me over an hour to find my way back to the pension.

Finally, it occurred to me that I had two choices:

1.  Continue to beat myself up and be miserable

2.  Use some of my newly discovered feminine alchemy practices and begin shifting my experience.

Thankfully, I chose the second alternative.

Feminine Practice 1:  Love Your Shadow

The first thing I needed to do was to “love my dark side” and all aspects of myself that are imperfect.  I started with the critic and the idiot for choosing the location and the pension and for getting lost and for eating bread.  I was simply a neutral witness to the energy.  It began to lighten immediately.

Feminine Practice 2:  Ask Questions

I began asking expansive questions like:

What’s perfect about this that I can’t see?

How can this experience allow me to deepen and further express my sovereignty?

My point of view about myself began to shift.  I began to appreciate myself for my willingness to go through it all.  One of my desires is to bring 12 women to the region next May.  I want to really find the areas that have the most expansive energy of the divine feminine.  Thank goodness I came ahead of time and didn’t just follow some guidebook.  My experience on The Camino taught me have my own personal experiences of places and not rely on guidebooks.

Feminine Practice 3: Follow the Energy and Find Your Flow

I realized that I hadn’t been using my newest practice of finding my flow by following the energy.  This practice involves both complete surrender and acute attention.  Two skills I pretty much lack!  I am by nature a mind wandering control freak!

I took a breath and ask myself if it felt light to stay in this village and in this pension.  The answer was clearly no.  So I knew that in the morning I would once again be off and this time follow the light.

I realize that each Sacred Place has a unique energetic construct behind it and Languedoc is that of a Labyrinth.  There is one way in and one way out.  The rest is up to you.  There are no correct turns and no incorrect turns.  Which turn you choose makes your journey unique.  Each step along the way adds to your learning.  Whether you journey in joy or whether you journey in suffering is also up to you and whether it is your soul or your ego guiding you.

To your sovereignty, I remain,

Alie McLean




  1. Rachel

    September 17, 2013 - 3:46 pm

    Loving you!

  2. Teri Beauchamp

    September 17, 2013 - 4:42 pm


    Now who is making lemonade. Great stories, you are amazing. I enjoyed reading your book and learning more about myself. I cant believe we never had the chance to talk about all of this over labor day. Nancy is in town. She and Dennis are in Love. So darn cute, you guys were quite the matchmaker.

    You are awesome! Cant wait to learn more. Glad to be a new friend. Teri

    Teri Beauchamp

  3. Robert and Delphine

    September 21, 2013 - 4:27 pm

    Ma chere fille. How daddy and I enjoyed reading your first post from Langdoc. I read it over and over again, always sad that the computer was giving us trouble and we could not respond promptly as we wished. Being a mother I kept worrying about your fatigue. You were after all tired from your long trip before you took off. I know it will get easier as you adjust. It happens to tout le monde. I hope you are enjoying great “pain” “vin” and “fromage’ and ‘fruit”. We loved to picnic simply everyday in the parks, roadsides, by the streams. We loved our tripsto France, but we understand it is easier to solve the inconveniences and problems,both little and big ones,when two are facing them. But we know you are strong and smart. It must have been a harrowing experience to look for your wallet,but look upon it as a painful but necessary lesson in constantly being aware of your possessions and your surroundings. From our experience we know to have plenty of gas, travel during daylight and keep the car doors locked. We hope you are meeting as many wonderful French people as we did. I think our secret was that it was obvious that we loved being in their country. Much Love maman and pere. Buen camino.

  4. Robert and Delphine

    September 23, 2013 - 1:45 am

    Dear Alie, We have received one note from you about your preliminary difficulties, and hope that they have all disappeared. I hope that the weather is good, the people friendly,
    and that you are learning a lot and having a good time, We are busy fixing up our house, and making improvements. The weather has been gentle, but cold winds will be coming soon. We hope to go to Florida for three months this winter, and take a holiday when the North winds blow. Mommy sent you a reply, but we do not know whether you received it.
    Did you bring any French language books with you? Writ soon. LOVE , Daddy and Mommy

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