Onward To the Palace of Wisdom- Love, Pt. 2, Amor

In the second half of the 11th century, the Aquitaine area of southern France gave birth to thetapestry-492475_1280 Troubadours, wandering poets who sang of love for love’s sake. This was the time of the Arthurian legends, chivalry, and the ritual of courtly love, amidst the stoicism of forced marriages. For love and marriage were of two different orders, one did not marry for love. The latter arranged under the convention of economic gain, sanctioned by the church, the former, a game of patience and conquest and could mean death if lovers were found guilty of adultery.

“For the first time, people wrote extensively about love; courtly love, fine love, adulterous love, the love of the troubadours, ‘inaccessible’ love and respect for the woman. For the first time, the woman’s elevated to the level of the man and this is the most important thing in the culture and is perhaps the most symbolic thing about the cultural effervescence of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.”
-Gerard Zuchetto

Amidst the doctrines of the church or in spite of it, for the first time, female prowess is elevated as another inflection of love was openly celebrated, Amor, love directed toward another person, influenced by the oral poetry of the Troubadours.

When Amor is spelled backwards we have ‘Roma’ as to signify distinction from the fixed institution of marriage as dictated by the church. This was also the time of the Cathars and Gnostics. Given their writings of that time… the search for the Christ within, the ‘feminine’ powers in man, it is not surprising that the Troubadours were able to flourish.

Love is born for one individual, discriminating, not as a way toward enlightenment, not for financial gain and not born of lust but for reasons the heart in its wisdom only knows. It confronts the object of its desire through the senses of the eyes. This is the “noble or gentile heart” which is not of Heaven or of Hell but of the earth.

Since love cannot be fully realized on earth, agony and elation became the twin boundaries of Amor. For this reason, it is not for the faint of heart. And if you’re total desire is to swim in the waters of Divine bliss then turn away from this path.

Only a knight dares ‘la queste’ and the ‘aventiure.’
-Carl Jung

In this day, we each lay claim to the lyric narratives of these minstrels as we try to cast our poetry onto an unknowing damsel, or the tide turns and we find ourselves under the spell of a femme fatale. Even today, we still find ourselves under the influence of religion with regards to love and marriage and what constitutes marriage. It is clear that love is the mystery of mysteries but it was the Troubadours that stole it away from the church and gave it to the masses and as a result, we have never been the same.



11 thoughts on “Onward To the Palace of Wisdom- Love, Pt. 2, Amor

  1. A truly deep and fascinating history on the perception of love through the ages. Ending with your own remark “Since love cannot be fully realized on earth, agony and elation became the twin boundaries of Amor. For this reason, it is not for the faint of heart”.

    Troubadours have for centuries been and still are popular in my country of birth ( Sweden ) and are held in high regard.

    Thank you Jeff for this enlightening tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mirja. I’ve always been interested in the history of the world at that time, truly a period of great change.

      And yes, a very dear friend of mine has enlightened me to the history of your country’s troubadour tradition.


  2. JC, thank you for this interesting and informative post. I had no idea about the history of troubadours or even what they really were so loved the insightful ‘lesson’ which moves quickly into the deeper spiritual side of love itself. What a quest! Ps. keep safe during the hurricane!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm, I was brought up on the Arthurian legends, but with an atheist father and both a Roman Catholic Convent for three years followed by a Quaker headmistress at another boarding school for five years, I became curious about attitudes to Amor. My Art College thesis looked at love and sex in the early Christian period!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would have loved to take classes on this period in time and maybe I still will. I find it to be so facinating… thoughts attitude, and politics. Thanks for the comment…


  4. Well worth dwelling upon. Your post induces me to think more deeply about the French concept of marriage – after all it is only in the last century or so we have come to tie lifelong commitment to a notion of romantic love – which is probably why it doesn’t always work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, from what I’ve learned, the French were way ahead of the times but as you say it is a relatively new concept in a world where there are still arranged marriages.


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