Close to the holy well that stands next to the chapel [photo in poor focus – not shown, to be replaced], is a spring that once emerged from this limestone rock – now capped:
The area immediately around is set in ancient stone terraces, with here. a small standing stone incorporated into the corner of a walled section :-
The place-name Theron occurs frequently in the stony uplands of the Corbiere Hills and the Minervois causses – it is a provencal/occitan toponym with unknown roots, signifying the place of the spring, or wateringplace – and thus a place where animals would gather. Potnia Theron is a central Minoan goddess : the Mistress/Queen/Mother of the animals – Cybele in Greek mythology.
Walter Burkert, a scholar of Greek mythology and cult, and Emeritus professor of classics at the University of Zurich writes: “In particular, it seems as if an ancient Great Goddess, especially qua Mistress of the Animals, has been individualized in Greece in various ways, as Cybele, Hera, Artemis, Aphrodite, Demeter, and Athena,” adding, “The idea of a Mistress of the Animals who must be won over to the side of the hunters is widespread and very possibly Paleolithic in origin.”
It’s unlikely that I will be wandering in to many more churches for a while – but the original decoration that covers almost every wall of this chapel are striking, and worth a last photo or two :-