Author Archives: Patrice Chaplin

Lucifer and the Pentagram

(The pentagram is a religious symbol used worldwide since the beginning of recorded time. In ancient Japanese and Chinese religions it represented the five elements of life. In Christian symbolism the pentagram represented the five wounds of Christ. The pentagram contains the golden ratio and has been used in magic practice.)

Lucifer and the Pentagram

I saw him in the church of St Germain as he passed beside me on his way from the altar quite unexpected. Out of nowhere, he was there.

He was beautifully made and moved with the sureness and ease of a performer. His sun-streaked fair hair – long to his shoulder – had life and style no hairdresser could improve.

Then I saw he was wearing a knee-length, white robe in soft fabric, held with a simple clasp. He walked barefoot, a substantial chain around one ankle. I saw his face for a mere moment; it did not give away any age. It was a perfect face, the exquisite eyes; blue-green filled with the joy and glory he had recently beheld.

Other people did not seem to notice him as he made his graceful way through the clusters of tourists and local Parisians, and I was too absorbed in him at that time to find it strange.

Later, I realised his exceptional charisma should have commanded attention anywhere, but not, it seemed, in this famed church. He was clean, pure, filled with light that came from being close to the sea in sweet air and kind sun. Of course, he was a movie star. He did not hesitate as a visitor might, and as though knowing this place well, he continued towards the exit but did not reach it. He just was not there.

Like a light bulb pinging out, he was gone.

Had he knelt by one of the saint’s statues – out of sight – or opened a side-door to an inner chamber? What had happened when he reached the exit? Did he continue barefoot across the pavement to the Deux Magots Café? Had he left his sandals at the entrance in the care of the beggar?

Or did he live nearby, perhaps around the corner leading to the Place Furstenberg? Or was he allowed in this church to fill himself with divinity, theological study or divine meditation? Or he didn’t exist in this earth reality at all?

I turned to my friend, surprised she had not commented and I asked what she had thought. She had not seen him.

“The altar is made of stone from the Pyrenees,” she said. Then she remembered she had been aware of a sudden perfume – unlike any other, and it had faded slowly. I finally decided he was an archetype of Jesus that I had been privileged to see. A few days later I recalled a man had mentioned on a Facebook post a being in the church of St Germain. He had remarked on his indescribable beauty and the fact no one else seemed to have noticed him.

Had others, he enquired, witnessed this phenomenon that moved with such familiarity in the dim light? I wondered if he was an eccentric compelled to dress up in this raiment and make appearances in the church.

But for what reason had so few – it seemed – witnessed them? Or were we into something else altogether?

Yves, the waiter in the Deux Magots, said, ‘People say that is a banned religious figure that goes there. Once an archangel. Well, it would be drawn to a church. Perhaps it’s Lucifer.’

The Happy Street

Las Ramblas, Barcelona, was The Happy Street. The legendary writer García Lorca said it was the most joyous ‘calle’ street in the world. Before the Olympic Games, hosted by Spain in 1992, when everything was ‘done up’ and ‘improved’, Las Ramblas was one of the most inspiring neighbourhoods of my life. Rich in sounds, compelling in atmosphere, filled with life, night and day, lined on each side of the street with stalls selling flowers, birds in cages, drinks, hot doughnuts.

Music from bars that never closed, always soul-stirring and broadcast from the same radio station. A narrow street led to the Gothic area, a hidden territory, a maze of alleys where the people of the night gathered in bars and the girls plied their trade. This, a private quarter frequented by artists, musicians, and those who could not be seen in the light of day. The Gothic area offered enticements not possible elsewhere. It was not without danger. It also had good restaurants. Further up Las Ramblas, in the prestigious art gallery, my play about Modigliani was performed in the middle of an exhibition of his work. That was a night of celebration in an area that could do celebration justice. Writing about those nights in The Siesta, and then in the movie that followed (Miles Davis wrote the music), it all started here.

The street cries in the night and the church bell that was uneven due to bomb damage from The Civil War, and the noisy birds, and the smell of frying oil and toilet water filled my street-facing room in the cheap hotel. I remember a woman shouting by the bird-stalls and this sound, in turn, raised a terrible squawking from the cages. The woman’s hoarse chanting over and over must be a cry for help. Had she lost her mind? I decided she was a working girl accosting a customer who had not paid. 4 a.m. and the cry went on in the hot night with people still wandering around. It was not some ritual. She was selling lottery tickets. Her voice raw from ‘Get lucky. Get lucky’. Las Ramblas will get lucky again. Lorca is right. But after Thursday’s atrocities: ‘Corazon Partido – Heart Broken’. That’s my cry.

Barcelona

The Stone Cradle – Introduction Part 2

The Cradle is made up of iron rock chondrules and other constituents. What do people do when they find an object of value with special powers? Hide it behind closed doors? Let it be used for the benefit of everyone? Put it on the market? Otto Rahn, the German Grail writer, looked for this stone that was said to rock Lucifer. It wasn’t hidden in those days. Neither was its existence kept safe.

The Stone Cradle – Introduction Part 1

The Stone Cradle is not the only powerful stone in northeast Spain. Near the frontier, the area is vast and empty, a difficult terrain with dolmens, menhirs, cromlechs, and just over the border in France, the oldest cave art going back 50,000 years. Standing in that inhospitable land, I cannot but feel deeply impressed by the immense age of the place. I have come to realise that many of these ancient stones have special properties. The Cradle to heal and give nutrients, the sunstone once in the Cabala centre in Girona to make barren women fertile, the stone in Le Puy, France, to cure, especially in the plague years.

A Recent Interview

The following is an extract from an article and interview with Patrice that appeared recently in [ut] Essencial Empordà Guia, a bi-lingual magazine published in Catalunia:


Incipient spring light breaks through the clouds in an April full of rain. The road winds its way through the hills of Albera, until the gravel on the wheels signals the vehicle’s intrusion into foreign territory; a world where old buds are renewed of that sense of life we all should hold most sacred. The noise of the engine disrupts a harmony that should never be broken. The walls of the monastery of Sant Quirze de Colera rise up in the middle of the small valley like an offering to the universe.

Darkness had fallen when we passed the door of the church. A Gregorian chant between lit candles, an unusual calm in a world so busy we rarely have time to remember that we also contain a spirit element. In this circle of smiling faces there is an English lady, Patrice Chaplin. Her latest book speaks of Rabós d’Empordà, Santa Julita and Sant Quirze, and one wonders what a woman with this name and origin is doing in a small valley in the Empordà’s Pyrenees.

How did you choose Girona?

“Oh, I did not choose it at all! But perhaps Girona chose me, who knows…”

Patrice arrived in Gerona as the sun was setting. The Eiffel Bridge stretched before her, connecting both banks of the river, and Patrice knew that if she crossed it she would never be the same. A young man, Jose Tarres, a local poet, hands in his pockets, waited at the other end. As she entered into the city she was greeted by its history, its people, its environment and intense feeling of love. She was fifteen. She was lodging at the Auberge de la jeunesse but she would wander the streets with the friends of Jose Tarres, and used to visit his family. With them, she went to Rabós d’Empordà. The Benedictine monastery of Sant Quirze was abandoned but sometimes she felt Gregorian chants rising above the walls. Some people, members of a society with an interest in knowledge of the world beyond the country’s obtuse view, so characteristic during the fifties, gathered within those ruins straddling Spain and France, with the intention of going beyond the limits of knowledge.

“It was at that time that I met John Cocteau. He was filming scenes for the film Le Jardin de les Françaises in Girona. Later, when I got married, we saw each other many times because he was a friend of my father-in-law, Charlie Chaplin, and Jean insisted that Girona was a vortex of universal energy.”

 Patrice Chaplin

“Salvador Dali used to say that this is an area of extraordinary energy content. One day, Michael, my husband, said that Dali considered the station in Perpignan as the centre of the world because he didn’t rely on the Spanish postal service and used to send his paintings from there; however, Dali himself denied it categorically and claimed that Perpignan is the centre of a triangle full of mystical elements and magnetic mysteries.”

Some of Patrice Chaplin’s recent books talk about this, such as The Portal, City of Secrets, or Jeanne Hébuterne and Modigliani – Un Armor Trágico (A Tragic Love). Soon to published is The Stone Cradle, a non-fiction story located around Rabós and in which the author makes it clear that Empordà holds a privileged place in nature.

“Rocks, trees, wind … these are things which do not belong to the human race. People have a great capacity for destruction; it may be why the characteristics of these sites are kept as secrets.” She thinks. “I’m just an intruder in an exquisite place.”

Rabós d’Empordà

Modigliani Interview

I recently did a two-part interview with Jesse Waugh in the wake of my new book, Into the Darkness Laughing: The Story of Jeanne Hébuterne, Modigliani’s Last Mistress. Here is a short extract from the interview.

 

To listen to the whole thing go to Jesse’s site where there are two, one hour long interviews with me: jessewaugh.com/radio/

To buy the book you can visit: amazon.co.uk/dp/1523282185

Into The Darkness Laughing

Readings for Brando

I was clairvoyant from my first thought, and, as a child, supposed everyone was.

It came as a surprise when I was told I couldn’t know the things I did, and I’d better talk about something else.

When I was 16, my friend Beryl and I hitched through Spain on a marvellous travel of pure freedom. Nearing Andalucía we wanted to find the Flamenco Gypsies who were located in five villages around Seville.

They had never seen ‘on the road’ young girls like us, and I thought our reception could go all ways until the grandmother called for me to come forward and she said that I was ‘the Savia’, the one who sees and knows. She taught me to divine by the signs of nature: the cry of birds; the change of a south wind; the language of the shadow.

Later I did remember the warning of the birds – it saved my life. She also said never read cards on anything but a wooden table – it would absorb the bad energies that might be stirred up by a reading. Later, I learned how to read cards from Myra who owned a dress shop in West Hampstead. She used ordinary playing cards and I recall the sayings: ‘Aces red; a love bed,’ and ‘Two black knaves and a king; not a good thing!’

Many clairvoyants in the sixties learned their trade from Myra. I worked on and off in Hollywood and clairvoyance crept back into my life. I read palms and cards for people in the industry. Through screenwriter Ivan Moffat in the early sixties, I met Marlon Brando, who liked parlour games and became intrigued by cards and their meanings. Ivan disbelieved utterly in clairvoyance, but couldn’t explain how the cards showed a phone call leading to a broken marriage. But it happened and I had seen it. ‘So you have a bad day – why know about it in advance?’ he would say.

Brando did not follow that reasoning and liked readings from the plain cards – not Tarot – especially the old system like ‘the Grand Star’ or ‘the Surprise’.

The word Christian crept up four times in a row, and I thought he’d become religious. But he’d met Christian Marquand, the French actor/director– and he called his first son after him. Later my first son was called Christian, and much later Roy Scheider, the actor from Jaws, choose Christian for his first son.

When I next met Brando in 1966 – during the filming of A Countess from Hong Kong, directed by my father-in-law, Charles Chaplin – he had come to the end of the first part of his career and was in a dip that he could not have foreseen. Even the exotic women around him who could forecast aspects didn’t get that one. Regarding my card readings for him in Alvaros (the restaurant in London’s Chelsea where the famous went to eat in the sixties), I remember two things: one, an island which he would reach, and, two, that his career would come up, bigger than ever. Even I thought it was unlikely as he went on to make a few, as he said, ‘bow-wows’, like Candy for Marquand.

But then came The Godfather and he didn’t look back. And he did buy an island! From clairvoyance I went on to transformation, which lead to The Portal, and that is the beginning of privilege.

Marlon Brando

My latest novel, The Fortune Seller, explores the world of clairvoyance and card reading in detail. Find out more…

The Fortune Seller