Who really were the cathars?

Certainly not the orgiastic godlessness denounced by the catholic church! 😄

What is catharism?

The cathars or albigensians are the heirs of:

  • The teachings of Jesus and his disciples.
  • The first christian communities.
  • Essene communities, such as that of the Holy Family.

They are groups of families who share the same spiritual values.

The name “cathar” only appeared later. At the time, followers were known by different names in different regions.

Eaux troubles

Rejection of christianity

While the cathars followed the teachings of Christ, they considered certain aspects of catholicism to be contrary to original christianity:

  • Church authority and dogma.
  • Sacraments.
  • Intermediation between the believer and the divine.
  • Existence of an all-powerful, vengeful and self-righteous God.
  • Accumulation of wealth and power by the clergy.
  • Restrictions on sexuality and procreation.
  • Notion of sin.

For all these reasons, they were considered heretics.


From the year 1000 onwards, catharism or albigensianism gained considerable momentum, particularly in Occitania in the south of France.

More and more mixed communities began to organize and unify.

To such an extent that the majority of clerics and residents from different social backgrounds adopted their doctrine.

Catholic rulers were concerned that this christian dissidence was escaping their control.

In the first instance, they sent out preachers to attempt conversion.

The lack of success, and the political and economic stakes involved, prompted Pope Innocent III to launch the albigensian crusade in 1208.

This marked the start of a veritable manhunt that would last over a century, with the aim of eliminating the cathar heresy:

  • Persecutions.
  • Massacres.
  • Excommunication.
  • Forced conversions.
  • Torture.
  • Inquisition.
  • Confiscation of property.

The last perfect, Guillaume Bélibaste, was burned alive in 1321.

At the stake, he uttered a prophecy: “In 700 years, the laurel will grow green again. This can be interpreted as the current awakening of consciousness.


Cathar doctrine

Catharism wass more a philosophy of life allowing for personal fulfillment than a strict, restrictive doctrine.

Inhabitants were concentrated in autonomous, interrelated community villages.

A distinction was made between:

  • Perfecti.
  • Believers.

If the perfecti are those who dedicate their lives to spiritual research and teaching, believers lead a life similar to the majority of their contemporaries.


The word “perfect” is not used in the sense of perfection, but rather in the sense of accomplishment.

Perfecti were the initiates of the doctrines, who commit themselves to the spiritual path and guide believers.

Their main principles were:

  • Recognition of spirit and soul.
  • Gender equality.
  • Non-violence.
  • Detachment from material possessions.
  • Inner listening.
  • Vegetarianism.
  • Freedom.
  • Personal and permanent union with the Divine.
  • Appreciation of the present moment.
  • Spiritual awakening.
  • Fasting.
  • Belief in reincarnation, and a sense of karma.
  • Energy practices.

Catharism’s excesses

However, catharism sometimes led to excesses:

  • Extremism (in asceticism, vegetarianism, etc.).
  • Belief in demons.
  • Power struggles.
  • Elitism.
  • Fatalistic understanding of reincarnation.
  • Internal conflicts.
Champ brume


Who really were the cathars?

In the Middle Ages, followers of the original christianity faced catholic domination.

Today, many of the principles of catharism are being revived and making sense.

These so-called heretics were in fact spiritually awakened.

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