There has been much speculation on social media as to how, “The Lady of Paris,” Notre-Dame Cathedral caught on fire. Conspiracy Theorists quickly jumped to the conclusion that the fire was an intentional act of arson. InfoWars fans leapt at the chance to blame religious and political extremists.
Meanwhile, notable French families quickly pulled together by donating hundreds of millions of dollars in less than 24 hours to renovate the spiritual heart of France including: billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, owner of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent brands, Bernard Arnault family, owners of Louis Vuitton and Sephora and the Bettencourt family, founders of L’Oreal.
When something bad happens do you assume harm was intended or are you solution-oriented? It’s easy to point the finger based on assumptions rather than doing due diligence. Sadly, The Notre-Dame Cathedral Fire social media climate of response is an indicator that many people want to have someone to attack and blame.
In the weeks ahead, facts will be gathered as Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz leads a team of 50 people to investigate how the fire started. What we do know is the fire began at 6:43pm GMT on Monday April 15, 2019 and it was fully extinguished by 8am GMT on Tuesday April 16, 2019.
When the haunting image of the Notre-Dame spire collapsed, Glenn Beck compared it to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the collapse of The Twin Towers. He suggested that the Paris fire was an intentional act.
However, if you look to history and famous French writer Victor Hugo’s novel, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” that was penned in 1831, the story’s central theme is focused on Notre-Dame’s heyday in the 1400s, when a man with disabilities Quasimodo, found a purpose to his life as the cathedral’s bell ringer. At the time of Hugo’s writing, Notre-Dame had fallen into a state of disrepair. His intention was to bring the central theme of the cathedral into the consciousness of French society and to save this historic landmark. This was the foundation of deeper issues of division that ran rife in Paris society.
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Victor Hugo
In 1163, the first stone of Notre-Dame was laid and she was completed in 1345. In 1841, The Commission of Historical Monuments agreed to rebuild after damage inflicted upon her during The French Revolution. In 1848 the renovations were fulfilled.
On a positive note, fire fighters saved the bell towers. What stands out is Hugo’s idea that there is freedom in architecture unlike the ability to have freedom of press. Almost 200 years later, we still struggle globally to experience freedom of speech in our culture and media. History seems to be repeating itself and we are all a part of making it. Certain influencers with large platforms do not realize the effect they can have to cause collaboration and support in community or division and destruction. We must be mindful and intentional with our speech that stem from our thoughts if we want to raise our children in a safe and loving environment. A question to ask yourself, “Why do I believe what I believe when I read or hear a public figure’s opinion on a breaking news story?”
Where do your beliefs stem from? What experiences shaped your belief structure?
In the Rider Waite Tarot deck, the major arcana card of “The Tower” is symbolic of The Lady of Paris set ablaze. This tarot card’s core meaning represents danger, turmoil and destruction. In Thomas Moore’s classic book, “Dark Nights of The Soul,” he consistently shares a theme that guides the reader towards the idea that out of pain and tragedy, deep spiritual growth and transformation can occur.
Indeed, the Notre-Dame Paris fire is heart-breaking because to many she represents love and hope. Seeing her in flames sparked an awareness that we as a human race are not indestructible. If we do not learn from history, we shall suffer like many generations of ancestors who have gone before us.
Spiritually speaking, fire throughout the ages has represented purification of the unevolved ego into higher consciousness. What we do next as a collective society is an opportunity for building moments of daily peace despite the terrible things happening around the world. I was inspired to learn Air France is donating free flights to those involved in the reconstruction of Notre-Dame, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to send experts to help restore the landmark and France’s strong spirit in the voice of President Emmanuel Macron, “We will rebuild this cathedral together.”
About the Author: Joanna Garzilli’s is writer of “Big Miracles: The 11 Spiritual Rules for Ultimate Success,” published by Harper Collins.