*Cata to Catalan


Browsing the dictionary, one may come by some interesting connotations of this root word: CATA…

According to the O.U.D. the [Gr./L.] root CATA-, KATA- [Arab.], CAT- and CATH- can be used to mean:-

Down [as in a place down there], down [as in away, entirely], implying disparagement [dishonour, inferiority or disgrace from association or marriage with inferior person], inferior, down upon, [as in below others], hence, [as in away from here], against and reflecting back, answering to, and lastly, intense, downright, completely.

In Catalonia, N.E. Spain, there is an autonomous community once known as Aragon, ruled as a kingdom under the auspices of the Caliphate of Cordoba. The area was once occupied by the Greeks, some from Rhodes, reflected in the coastal resort of ‘Roses’ [Rodes] and a monastery [now a ruin] and church, perched high above Vilajuiga [town of Jews], dedicated to St. Pere de Rodes. The saracen from N. Africa also occupied this area. It may not have been an invasion, rather an integration of migrating families. The people of Catalonia, the Cathars, filtered north into Pyrenees Orientales and Langudoc, on the French side of the mountains. Langedoc, literally translates as ‘Language of ‘Oc’ [hidden place], suggests the language spoken in this region was different – neither French, nor Spanish, or both? Were there settlers from the East, maybe even from the Orient originally, and was the Catalan language, [basically Latin], the primary language from which both French and Spanish grew, or was it that it just didn’t change into modern French or Spanish, maintaining it’s unique quality still known as Catalan?

Of course it is Catholic country but it was also known as Cathar country, and the Cathars are remembered as a people whom the central Catholic administration in Rome called heretics. The Spanish [Catholic] Inquisition is well known – it was not just one occurrence but a continual process over many years, whereby the central administration from Rome questioned vigorously any individual or group that may be opposing or resisting its doctrines and authority.

Catalonia is ‘Cathalunya’. Here we have two root words: ‘cath’ and ‘lun’. Quite literally this could be presumed to be the land down below the mountains [Pyrenees], but the symbolic use of, and hidden knowledge in language suggests far more: the ‘inferior’ people’s place under the ‘Moon’, perhaps? [The word for land in French and Spanish is ‘Pays’, not ‘Lun’] The Moon, in esoteric terms, is the feminine, reflective, illusive and mysterious, or occult light, as opposed to the masculine, direct, inclusive light of the seen and known, of the Sun. The patriarchal, omnipotent Catholic Church in Rome would have opposed any feminine, mysterious and esoteric, or pagan influences. They would have sought out and eliminated any splinter group, or ‘underground’ movement, and may have seen it as inferior knowledge, perhaps. Was it simply that Catalonia, the home of the Cathars, was a place hidden under the setting sun, i.e. in the West, a dimly enlightened place, like the moon, far from the Solar Centre of the Roman Empire? [which would originally have been Byzantium – Constantinople, Istanbul, and then Rome.]

History, and written language, is passed down by those who record it, and at that time that would have been in Latin, the base language of Italian, Spanish, French and most of our English. Further back and Greek would have underpinned modern written language, and further back still, Hebrew and Arabic. The languages are still hidden in English, in commonly used words.

Our own personal biological history is recorded in our blood, in the DNA. For those who develop their intuition, or inner knowledge, there is an instinct, or inner reaction, to verbal rather than written history: knowing what feels right. The history of All Men is recorded, in some form, as a Universal Truth, which some call the ‘Akashic Records’. I am not here to tell that truth, only to present some clues hidden in the ‘Word’: the sounds, letters and words that are passed down for us to hear a truth.

If we string together the words above, highlighted in bold, we may have a sentence that describes the Catalonians, the Cathars – “The lowly people who live together in a place down there, entirely away from here [the centre of knowledge, the Central Command of the Catholic Church, the Solar Plexus of the Roman Empire, Greek Empire or Jerusalem]. A people who are disparaged by marrying inferiors, ignorant pagan peasants, heathen barbarians, or foreigners, mixed-bloods, not ‘of the faith’ and are now inferior, dishonoured and in disgrace, and are thus hence, [gone], living against [the Central Command of the Church] and are only a pale reflection and not answering to [Central Command] and downrightly intense in themselves, completely on their own.

This may have described them physically, as settlers who moved west, and mixed with settlers from other places, but by doing so they may have become a people in their own right, of their own mind, with their own way of life, their own spiritual practices, rituals, philosophy and belief. They may have had oriental, Greek or Arab blood, mixed with their European, French and Spanish blood.

Look at some other associations with the root word CATA, KATA, CAT and CATH…

Catholic – all-encompassing or universal. Catholic with a capital C – Unified Religion.

Catalogue – an all inclusive list, or register. Within the Cathar population there was an ‘Order’, which taught only to the local people in their homes. They had no church but they had members, initiates.

Katabatic – the descent of cold air down a slope, [the ‘tramuntana’ North wind from the Pyrenees Mountains]

Cataplexy – complete entrancement; suspended animation, feined death, – out of body experience?

Cathartic – purging, downwards. Purging with certain plant medicines causes healing and self-awareness. Cathartin is a bitter substance extracted from Senna.

It is possible that the Cathars, a rural, pagan folk, with knowledge of herbs and medicines from distant places, could have used herbs in a cleansing, purging, spiritual ritual, which would have been forbidden by the Roman Church because it would have induced spiritual enlightenment, individual religious experience and self-empowerment. Also herbs could be used to induce cataplectic reactions, pain relief, out-of-body experiences, lack of fear of death and belief in reincarnation. [All of the above would have been outlawed by the Roman Hierarchy to prevent individualism and to protect their power, enhanced by their installation of fear of death.] It is known that the Cathars had a ritual, performed only by the trained initiates, called the ‘Consummatiolatem’, commonly believed to give them the power to overcome the fear of death; [L. consummationem: supremely qualified, complete, accomplish, fulfil, perfect]. Many cultures around the world, people who have retained their knowledge of sacred plant medicine, have the antidote to any narrow religious dogma that incites fear. [Opiates, hallucinogens, psychotropes and purgeants].

It is recorded that all Cathar heretics were persecuted and silenced by execution [burning].

That is history, the lesson of which has been learnt, hopefully. Within the legacy of both the Cathars and others like them and the Church itself, in fact of all religions, there lies all the symbolic, esoteric knowledge that we need, and is still available for all to seek, witness, understand and be enlightened by. We know that it is not knowledge itself that is dangerous or wrong, only the mis-use of it.

Other words:

Cathay – old term for China; a Cathai’an, or Catai’an, man from China, scoundrel.

Catacomb – underground burial chambers

Catastrophe – the final event

Catharan – a purist

Catalysis – dissolution, ruin; a substance that causes a reaction

Catamenia – the moon cycle, menstruation.

chthonic \THONE-ik\, adjective:

Dwelling in or under the earth; also, pertaining to the underworld

“Driven by dæmonic, chthonic Powers.”
— T.S. Eliot

“The chthonic divinity was essentially a god of the regions under the earth; at first of the dark home of the seed, later on of the still darker home of the dead.”
— C. F. Keary

I recommend browsing for more insights….


The origins of all religions appear to be unanimous in the recognition, honouring and respect for the Mother/Father Creators, unified as One, to give birth to Life. The downfall of all religions arrives in the separation of the wisdom into either ‘this or that’, ‘male or female’, ‘right or wrong’, ‘mine or theirs’.

May the Right of all to think, speak, and act according to their own belief persist in Freedom – to Unite all, and to create Peace and Enlightenment for all. A’men. Namaste. Sh’al’om. A’dio’siao. May your God be with you. Pax e Lux. Mitakuye Oyasin. [please add more]

Wendy Salter

[original writing]

Published in: on January 1, 2009 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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