My Popes are my two grandfathers, Grand-Dad Maurice and Grandpa Charles. Straight men, frank like gold, the same gold that runs through their fingers. Neither of them approved their time, that of the entrepreneurs and the knights of industry, very little made for dreamers like them. For the rest, Grandpa and Grand-dad were not alike.
According to Flornoy, this last initiator of the Magician represents the college of those who care for souls and bodies. Physicians, healers, shamans, teachers, priests, imams, rabbis, gurus and in general all those whose activity is training or helping relationship. My two grandfathers did not fail in this sacred mission. Grandpa Charles gave me his penchant for the inner life and his gift for horticulture. While Grand-Dad Maurice tried to make me a painter.
Grandpa Charles was the father of mine. I did not know him very long, he died when I was a young child. In his estate of Loir et Cher, he had imagined making his wine. He should have made white wine, but no, he wanted red. The soil was not good for the wine he loved, so he brought some earth from Burgundy. But in spite of all his efforts, he has managed to produce but an infamous piquette – moreover in a very limited quantity.
I remember he took me to see his vineyard. We had to climb the hillside behind his house. There were troglodyte cellars dug into the limestone cliff. A big wooden harrow protected the access. He showed me the different grape varieties. Grandpa Charles made a gesture that I never forgot. He tasted the earth at the foot of his vineyards. And he made me taste too. I liked the deep, slightly acid taste of black earth. Acid? The word displeased him. That’s precisely what he wanted to correct with his Burgundy earth. Excess acidity. Judging by his production, he never succeeded.
I don’t care anyway. I hold him my green thumbs. Plants feel happy everywhere I go. They send me their sweetest scents. Flora adores me, and I return her love. Her sister Pomona gave me her heart. The orchards hand me their most beautiful fruits. I owe this gift to Pepe Charles. Since then, I use my tongue and my palate to test the acidity of a culture soil. His gesture taught me Taste-terre, Charles dubbed me Knight of Ph.
His expected death took place according to a staging that impressed me greatly. All his children and grandchildren came to assist him in his last moments. One after another, we were introduced to the room where he was bedridden, the complexion yellow and waxy, a pale smile on his features drawn by agony. Each of us, at least I suppose since it was my case, received in viaticum some words of wisdom, a recommendation which was to protect us when he was no longer there to do it. May he be blessed, my interiorized, discreet grandfather Charles, a beautiful example that kept inaccessible to me.
My other grandfather, Grand-Dad Maurice, was Mom’s father-in-law. I knew him much longer. A jeweler by trade, he had a developed artistic temperament, passionate about drawing jewels and painting landscapes on the motif. He introduced me to his second passion, painting, which he practiced as an amateur, without much technique, but with a communicative enthusiasm. He sang: “La peinture à l’huile, c’est plus difficile, mais c’est bien plus beau que la peinture à l’eau.” (translation)“Oil painting is more difficult, but it is much more beautiful than water paint.“
I accompanied him in his pictorial walks, in search of a landscape to reproduce. He had given me his old easel with the box of material, tubes of colors, brushes, knives, charcoal, linseed oil and white spirit, as well as the essential cotton rags. He discovered at home, very young still, a true talent as a painter.
On this point, either he was wrong or I did not persevere and take classes. Too many artistic passions have tugged me to hue and dia. Illustration, comic strip, painting, music, poems, songs, stories, novels, I touched all the arts with a mixed happiness but a total commitment. When I was 15 years old, I wanted to stop school that was pumping me air. My worthy father took me to one of his loyal customers – my father ran a small paint shop.
This wealthy client lived in the beautiful neighborhoods. He was a restorer of old paintings. He greeted my father with affection and then listened to his request. His apartment, large and bright, had tall windows facing north as in all studios artists: the northern light varies less with the wire of the day, it is thus preferable to paint. But the sumptuous decor was not that of a dauber. The man relied on an incontestable success.
He showed me the work he was working on, a master painting attributed to Rembrandt commissioned by a Dutch museum. I saw myself already touching such masterpieces; to smell them, to feel them, and one day, to dare to put my brush on the venerable canvas. In my head, I was already his pupil. So he cut off my wings. “Your father, I know him well, he has a nice painting company, I suggest you start there, when you can put a lacquer on a door, put the roller on a ceiling, mix colors to get the color when you’ve done the job for five or six years and you’ve got a good grasp of all aspects of the house painter job, then you can come back and see me.“
I was very disappointed when I left the beautiful bourgeois building. Dad chuckled. Needless to say, I forgot the art restoration. The ego of a teenager hears nothing, feels nothing, does not understand anything, and makes a lot of nice projects fall apart … So was I. Anyway I can think that such was not my destiny. The art of painting belongs to the College of the Popess. My college, I know today, is that of the Hierophant. When you have an activity in another college than the real one, you waste your time, you ruin your talent.
Here I am a healer, storyteller, lover of soul, subtle companion, guide of the astral and practitioner of the unthinkable. For all these things, I have no salary. The activities of the Hierophant’s college are never priced in sacred societies. Healers and storytellers live on giving. That’s fine. The gifts I received, innumerable talents, are not to be put on a bill. My gifts call yours. Those I heal give me if they wish, what they want. Those who read me and who experience the benefits of my texts will give me too, it is much better this way. Each present received is a joy, a pride, a blessing to me.
I kiss you as I love you.