Meet the Author
Val Wineyard tells us about her life in her own words.
Hello! I hope you are enjoying reading about Mary Magdalene in the region of France where I live. This photo is my favourite photo and I use it for publicity purposes, calling myself "Val Wineyard, writer and pizza eater."
Well, we all need to lighten up sometimes! I am a writer first and foremost. A writer is what I am and writing is what I do!
I live in the Languedoc, the old land of Septimanie where the Visigoths lived, and have particularly studied the departments of Aude and Ariège, those mysterious mountains to the south of the ancient route linking the two seas, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the area south of Bordeaux, Toulouse, Carcassonne and Narbonne. The mountains held so many secrets, as they were the last to be Christianised (by Charlemagne) and are still basically "pagan" in character. Some of the people do not even consider themselves French!
Our region is so RICH; in mysteries, in sunshine, in beautiful scenery and wine, I fell in love with it and soon moved to live here permanently. It is quite a long story! I had always felt an attraction for France and after travelling to France from England to write articles for holiday magazines, I bought a piece of land near Narbonne in 1995. Then strange things started to happen to me, including a reincarnation experience. I have tried to explain it but it's not easy! For further details, click here.
My previous life was of Visigothic descent. I decided to find out more about the Visigoths here in our region of Languedoc, the old Visigothic kingdom of Septimanie. I was so fascinated by this I wrote a book called The Visigothic Inheritance and am now working on another, Barbarian Gold. Recently I started a blog all about the Visigoths, these little known and badly judged people.
I had long been interested in Rennes-le-Château, deep in the hills to the south of Carcassonne, because it was founded by the Visigoths. As a mysterious centre it is endless - one mystery leads onto another; especially when you enter the church and see for yourself how the unusual priest loved Mary Magdalene. The whole village is devoted to her.
My conviction that the priest of Rennes-le-Chateau knew something that we didn't about Mary Magdalene inspired me to write "Mary, Jesus and the Charismatic Priest" and since then I just haven't stopped writing about her, there is so much out there to know and learn and be fascinated and intrigued by. It has all snowballed. I do not, by the way, believe that she lived at Rennes-le-Château but at nearby Rennes-les-Bains. For more about both villages, click here.
I would add that I am basically a historian and reporter and belong to various French historical societies in the region. The French love the Romans and this knowledge of the history of the Romans inspired me. Mary Magdalene and Jesus lived in the Roman Empire, right? That was their background. I studied the history of that time like there was no tomorrow. Who was who? I found out that well-known upper class Romans were friends of Mary and Jesus. I checked the dates and moved the figures around on the chess-board of my mind to find out who went where and when? How did they get there, where were the roads?
There is an old legend in Languedoc that both Mary Magdalene AND Jesus came here, to Languedoc, NOT to Provence, as the 13th century Roman Church "traditions" tell us. Oh, I thought, where would they have gone, how would they have travelled, in that summer of 33AD?
It all slotted into a coherent pattern. Everything added up. I worked out that they came to Rennes-les-Bains, a small town not far from Rennes-le-Château, and wrote the book, "The Sacred River of Rennes-les-Bains." (Mary Magdalene baptised people there.) And just recently I investigated the route they took across the Corbières and called it "The Sacred Journey." People are buying the book so they too, can follow in the footsteps of Mary and Jesus, who came here so long ago.
My love for Mary
I always tell people that this my site is to study the historical Mary Magdalene. I cannot claim that Mary Magdalene or Jesus ever speak to me, nor can I offer you spiritual experiences. Those must come from inside yourself. I am not the leader of any sort of group or cult. But I love the story and stories of Mary Magdalene and Jesus. To me Mary is a heroine, a strong gutsy women who loved strongly, and protected, her own Jesus. I will put it in a novel some day.
Having said I'm a historian, I do study all evidence, including spiritual and anecdotal. From many different backgrounds and viewpoints I gather information, then compare and match. My research resembles those old 3D spectacles - every image looks different or odd, but when you pass one on top of another, the whole picture comes into focus.
I am part of these exciting times we live in. For with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Nag Hammedi gospels about fifty years ago, there is more information out there about Jesus and his beloved Mary Magdalene, plus the history of early Christianity, than ever before. Everyone is interested in her.