Glen Craney: At first, I couldn’t make a connection between the Roman pontiffs and this holy woman on the mountain. Then I found a reference to a double cross carried by Godfrey of Lorraine, a leader of the Christian forces in the First Crusade. That’s when my research turned interesting. The Knights Templar used this Cross of Lorraine as their first insignia, and centuries later Joan of Arc placed it on her battle standard. During World War II, the French Resistance, which was active in the Pyrenees and old Cathar country, used the cross as a symbol in its fight for freedom against the occupying Nazis. As a result, the double cross came to symbolize the age-old fight for freedom in France.
So, the double and triple crosses suggested to you some connection between Rome and the Occitan fight for freedom?
Glen Craney: Several months after the dream, I met Dr. Norma Lorre Goodrich, the now-deceased scholar of ancient religion and myth at Claremont College. In her book, The Holy Grail, she had identified the triple cross as a medieval watermark known as the “Catharist Cross” or the "Cross of Light." The Cathars, I learned, despised the Roman cross of the crucifixion as a symbol of torture, and this Cross of Light seemed to have no connection to the Roman cross. I traveled to southern France and walked the pog called Montsegur. The terrain there looked strikingly similar to the mountain in my dream. I also learned that the Cathars meditated to connect to a spiritual Light. And “Esclarmonde”—the name of my heroine—meant “Light of the World.” My dream began to make more sense to me.
Glen Craney: The story found me. I awoke one night from a vivid dream of a robed holy woman walking amid the ruins of a mountain castle. The word “Crusade” repeated in my ear and crosses began sprouting around the woman's feet as if to indicate the locations of lost graves. These were no ordinary crosses, but shifted between possessing two and three horizontal beams. Surrounded by a dazzling sunlight, the woman beckoned me with opened arms and said, “Peace, child, let the Light.” The dream ended with the word “Mallorca” flashing below this scene.
That must have had quite an effect on you.
Glen Craney: I suspect such strange inspirations happen to more writers than care to admit it. The next morning, I hurried to the library and discovered that the medieval papacy adopted the triple cross for reasons that remain shrouded in mystery. Perhaps it had something to do with the Trinity, but I came across an esoteric work titled Meditations on the Tarot that said the triple cross symbolized respiration between the angelic and earthly realms. One who carries this cross is deemed to be the gatekeeper for spiritual ascent and descent.