CHAPTER OUTLINE – THE CAVE OF TREASURES
Tracy R. Twyman

<meta:print-date>2006-11-07T17:21:00</meta:print-date>

Chapter Outline:

The Cave of Treasures: Rennes-le-Chateau and the Holy Grail

By Tracy R. Twyman

Phone: (814) 676-2492

Email: tracyrtwyman@adelphia.net

Mailing Address: 224 Hoffman Ave.

Oil City, PA 16301

 

Chapter 1: Psychic Shock

 

            It is customary, during the initiation ceremony for a new recruit joining a secret society, cult, or religious group, for the candidate to be confronted with something disturbing, disconcerting, or frightful. This induces a state of “psychic shock” in the initiate which suspends disbelief, and heightens suggestibility. It creates a blank slate in the mind which can then be imprinted with the organization’s particular dogma. In this chapter I will explain how Dan Brown used a similar tactic in The Da Vinci Code to imprint public consciousness with the idea of a bloodline descended from Jesus, and a secret society sworn to protect it – the Priory of Sion.

 

Chapter 2: Fact vs. Fiction

 

            The premises upon which Dan Brown’s novel is based require a number of assumptions of fact which are not entirely true. In this chapter, I will take apart The Da Vinci Code’s “fact” page at the beginning of the book, and describe the erroneous nature of each statement. I will then introduce a more realistic concept of the Priory of Sion based on what is actually known about this organization.

 

Chapter 3: Illustrious Pedigree

 

            In the Priory of Sion’s own literature, deposited in the national library of France, they claim an origin dating back to the eleventh century. They purport that the Priory of Sion, then called the “Order of Sion”, was responsible for creating the Knights Templar, and that the two orders originally were led by the same Grand Masters. Allegedly, the Order of Sion eventually broke away from the Templar order, in a ceremony called “the Cutting of the Elm.” This chapter will delve into the Priory of Sion’s purported origins.

 

Chapter 4: The Navigators

 

            After the Cutting of the Elm, the Priory of Sion claims to have experienced the leadership of a number of important Grand Masters. The men and women on the Priory’s Grand Master list include famous artists, authors, and scientists, as well as people from important noble families. Each alleged Grand Master is someone known to have been deeply involved in occult and alchemical studies. This is one of several lines of continuity that seem to run though the lives of each person on the Priory’s Grand Master list, lending it an aura of credibility. It is also alleged that the Priory of Sion has had significant influence on the politics and history of Europe throughout this time. In this chapter, I will explore the different periods of leadership and activity that the Priory of Sion has purportedly experienced, up until the twentieth century. I will then describe the actions of the Priory’s main spokesman in modern times, Pierre Plantard, and how the Priory of Sion came to the attention of the general public.

 

Chapter 5: A Schism in Sion

 

            Shortly after the publication in 1982 of the bestselling book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, the Priory of Sion became a household name, and its allegations regarding itself were open for public debate. Under the light of journalistic scrutiny, embarrassing details about the order’s true history came to be known. Several members of the Priory of Sion and associates of Pierre Plantard came forward stating that the Priory was a modern organization with no medieval background, and indeed, could hardly even be called an “organization”, but was rather a casual association of friends. They said that the order’s claims about its origins in history were products of Pierre Plantard’s imagination, and that the documents put forward to back up these claims were fake. In this chapter, I will present the evidence that the Priory of Sion is really a modern hoax, and the reasons why despite the apparent fakery, the Priory might still have something important to offer the world.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6: The Sorcerer Kings

 

            The most controversial claims of the Priory of Sion and The Da Vinci Code center around the alleged continuation of a medieval royal bloodline into modern times. I refer, of course, to the Merovingian kings of the Franks, who ruled over lands that are now called “France.” In this chapter, I shall explore the known history of this royal house, including contemporary legends which linked them with an incredible superhuman ancestry, and the magical powers which they were said to have possessed because of this. I will discuss how this royal line was dethroned and extinguished, seemingly as a result of a conspiracy involving the Catholic Church. I will also address the Priory of Sion’s allegations regarding the secret continuation of this bloodline in the Languedoc region of Southern France, and the proclamation that Pierre Plantard was the last scion of this line.

 

Chapter 7: Blood Royal

 

            In addition to contemporary legends portraying the Merovingian line as the spawn of a superhuman being, there are now modern legends linking them with another incredible ancestry. As everyone now knows, the Merovingians are purported by some to have been descendants of Jesus Christ, who, in this version of events, was actually married to one of his female disciples – Mary Magdalen. As The Da Vinci Code and Holy Blood, Holy Grail have both suggested, the medieval symbol of the Holy Grail can be seen as a metaphor for this concept. In this chapter, I will give context for the idea that the Grail symbolizes a royal, sacred bloodline. However, I will show that the actual origin for this bloodline that the legends are alluding to seems not to be Jesus Christ, but something more ancient and infernal in nature.

 

Chapter 8: This Place is Terrible

 

            In Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland is portrayed as the physical center of the Grail mystery, and the final sanctuary of the Grail family. But in real life, the Merovingians, the Grail, and the Priory of Sion are more directly linked to another location, more remote, and even now much less well-known: the tiny village of Rennes-le-Chateau in southern France. It was here that, in the late 1800s, an impoverished parish priest discovered something that apparently made him very wealthy. Speculation on what he might have found includes the Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, and the bones of Jesus Christ, or of Mary Magdalen. Perhaps most popularly, some believe that he found proof of a terrible secret that could have been damaging to the Catholic Church. He was supposedly led to this treasure after finding a collection of coded parchments underneath the altar of his church. In this chapter, I will introduce the amazing story of this priest, Berenger Sauniere, who was the inspiration for one of the characters in The Da Vinci Code, and the man at the center of one of the world’s greatest mysteries.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 9: Tombs and Treasures

 

            The story of Berenger Sauniere and Rennes-le-Chateau seems to include not one, but a series of discoveries which happened while the priest was trying to make repairs to his church. He appears to have found several things within the royal and noble tombs situated beneath the foundation of his church. These discoveries led him to exhibit some bizarre behavior, including mysterious travels throughout France, purportedly to attend meetings with occult groups. He also began digging up and desecrating the graves outside of his church, much to the outrage of the villagers. With one grave in particular, he seems to have deliberately destroyed the writing on the tombstone, which contained yet another enigmatic coded message. In this chapter, I describe these peculiar aspects of Sauniere’s story.

 

Chapter 10: Shrine to a Secret

 

            The discoveries made by Berenger Sauniere at Rennes-le-Chateau, whether they involved treasures, secrets, or both, seem to have inspired him to create a coded message of his own, which he embedded into the décor of his church via a major renovation. To accomplish this, Sauniere used a number of symbolic elements not normally found in a Catholic parish, arranged in such a way as to make metaphorical statements. These include a statue of the Devil in the doorway, Stations of the Cross altered to make heretical comments on about Jesus Christ, and statues of saints that appear to proclaim further blasphemies. The decorations are convincing evidence that Sauniere had been initiated into an esoteric order, and taken as a whole, the entire church can be seen as an occult ritual chamber. Some people believe that Sauniere was also attempting to disclose the details of his discoveries to future generations of treasure hunters. In this chapter, I will reveal Sauniere’s strange system of coded decorations, and the heterodox religious beliefs that they imply.

 

Chapter 11: Mysterious Income

 

            Berenger Sauniere’s drastic remodeling of his church was paid for with vast amounts of money, causing many around him to wonder where he was getting it. Other behaviors provoked similar wonder, as Sauniere proceeded to spend lavishly, travel extensively, and to entertain important guests. He also bought property in the area around his church, and had several other expensively-produced buildings constructed on the grounds. Eventually, Sauniere’s diocese forced him to account for the source of his wealth. He was found to have received enormous donations from people whose names he refused to reveal, for reasons that are still unknown. People were also paying him large amounts off the books to perform masses for their dead ancestors. All of this still does not account for the large amount of money he had been spending. Some people believe that Sauniere had discovered a secret so damaging to the Catholic Church that he had been able to bribe them, and that is how he got rich. But nobody knows for sure. Sauniere was finally suspended from his duties and forbidden to perform the sacraments. In this chapter, I will tell the story of Sauniere’s prosecution by the Church, and address the question of how he acquired his riches.

Chapter 12: Death of a Salesman

 

            By the time he died in 1917, Berenger Sauniere was broke. His death was, in some ways, rather strange, most especially because the priest who took his last confession and was supposed to administer his Last Rights refused to give him Final Absolution. Apparently, Sauniere told the priest something that left him in a state of shocked horror. On his death, Sauniere’s parishioners performed a strange occult ceremony with his corpse. Afterwards, his housekeep made statements indicating that the treasure which Sauniere had discovered was still there at Rennes-le-Chateau, hidden somewhere, and that it had the power to make people rich. I think chapter, I will describe the bizarre occurrences that happened before and after Sauniere’s demise. 

 

Chapter 13: Rites and Obligations

           

            Debunkers claim that the Priory of Sion is not a “real” secret society, because they have so few known members, no known rituals, and their purported ancestry going back to the Knights Templar has been discredited. Critics also disagree with the notion that the Priory of Sion has had any real impact on the politics of the twentieth century, whether behind-the-scenes or otherwise. But in fact, the known membership of the Priory of Sion, and the known associates of Pierre Plantard, have all belonged to other, more established secret orders that have had such influence. So too were Berenger Sauniere and the figures involved with the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau, including the noble families of the area. In this chapter, I will reveal a line of continuity between the esoteric orders that seem to be behind the Sauniere affair at Rennes-le-Chateau, and those that appear to be involved in the activities of the Priory of Sion. I will establish that both phenomena are manifestations of the same metaphysical movement from within the occult underworld of Europe. This movement can be connected to the Knights Templar, and to mystical traditions which date back to ancient times.

            Involved in the plot are the Masonic Grand Lodge Alpina of Switzerland, the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta, the Hieron du Val d’Or, the Rectified Scottish Rite, the Rite of Memphis-Mizraim, the Rite of Strict Observance, the Order of the Rose-Cross of the Temple and Grail, the Martinist Order, the Polaires, the Philadelphes, and the Ordo Templi Orientis; famous occultists such as Georges Monti, Papus, and, Josephin Peladan; key figures in the early united Europe movement; and members of American, British, and French intelligence agencies. A common thread running through all of these groups is a metaphysically-inspired political philosophy known as “Synarchy”, very influential with the right-wing movements of twentieth-century Europe, which I will also discuss in this chapter.

 

Chapter 14: The Keys to Heaven and Hell

 

            Berenger Sauniere is certainly not the only Catholic priest to be involved with the practice of the occult. Indeed, a priest is more likely than a lay member of society to be interested in ritual magic, and to know how to use utilize spiritual power for specific ends. An ordained Catholic priest is supposedly given access to a current of spiritual power derived directly from Jesus Christ through Saint Peter via Apostolic Succession. Each pope is said to hold the metaphysical keys to both Heaven and Hell. Through him, Catholic priests allegedly have the power to command the spirits of both worlds. This power has been frequently used for what would be considered non-Christian or even anti-Christian ends. There have been a number of popes throughout history who were recorded by contemporary chroniclers as having been sorcerers. One is even credited with having written a magical grimoire.

            The famous Catholic exorcist and close friend of Pope John Paul II, Father Malachi Martin, wrote extensively about what he considered a secret Satanic cult movement within the priesthood of the Catholic Church. He warned that these people had intentions to actually take over the Vatican, and install one of their own as Pope. This might be linked with the Catholic-oriented groups (the Martinist Order, the Hieron du Val d’Or, etc) that seem to be involved with the same network of secret societies as the Priory of Sion.

            These groups, while politically right-wing, seem to have a theology decidedly different than orthodox Catholicism. In their literature they indicate that Christianity actually originated in Atlantis, and that the power of ostensibly Christian symbols actually lies in their pre-Christian origin. Some of their spokesmen have even gone so far as to say that the true meaning of Christianity is defined by Catholic dogma (which can be altered on order from the Pope), and is not necessarily connected to the Bible in any way. In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown portrays the Priory of Sion as plotting to take over the Church and install a puppet Pope to promote its own unusual theology. In this chapter, I intend to demonstrate that he may not have been far off the mark on this.

 

Chapter 15: The Outer Head

 

            In the Catholic Church, all members are part of a spiritual pyramid scheme based on a magical contract. The Pope is continuing a pact originally made between Jesus Christ and St. Peter, in which the metaphysical powers of Christ are granted to the Pope in exchange for his service to God. The Pope is then able to forward these powers to the bishops and priests, who then use them to perform magical acts on behalf of the laity. The Church members sacrifice tithes and devotions in return for these boons. The priests then channel the spiritual power derived from these sacrifices over to the pope, who then passes them on to God. The Pope is also able to divine and interpret the word of God, which he uses to steer the direction of the Church according to God’s will.

            Occult groups work on similar principles. The Grand Master of the Order is usually placed in direct communication with something called “the Outer Head.” This is the spiritual entity who is actually in charge of the order, and who holds the highest rank. The Grand Master and other high-ranking members of the order work out a contract with the Outer Head, in which they agree that their members will perform certain duties in exchange for help from the spiritual world to accomplish certain goals. Often the entire structure of the order’s membership, as well as the details of its rituals and activities, are all dictated to the Grand Master by the Outer Head. This is accomplished through divination methods, such as crystal balls, Ouija boards, pendulums, table rapping, automatic writing, or direct channeling. Sometimes it is not the Grand Master, but a specifically chosen medium who performs this divination. Regardless, however, it is the channeled information which the Grand Master uses to decide what instructions he or she will give to the other members.

            Often the lower-ranking members are completely unaware of the society’s real agenda, and certainly unaware that it is being controlled by a supposedly supernatural being. They may be aware that there is an “Outer Head” controlling things, but they may think this to simply be a person whose name they are not allowed to know.  It is likely that the Priory of Sion, and the groups connected to it, are operating on similar principles. It is also likely that Berenger Sauniere and his church members were channeling spirits in this manner also. In this chapter, I will explain how understanding the concepts of the Outer Head and spiritual mediumism can help us to understand the Priory of Sion, and the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau.

 

Chapter 16: The Baptism of Wisdom

 

            The “Outer Head” of the Templar order was named Baphomet, a figure mentioned briefly in The Da Vinci Code. To understand the Grail mystery, you must understand Baphomet, who is not only a spiritual being, but a profound transcendental concept. The Templars were arrested and disbanded with the approval of the Church because they were accused of blasphemy and witchcraft. Specifically, they were accused of worshipping an idol called “Baphomet”, and performing perverse rituals in its honor. It was described by some as a mummified human head, which allegedly could speak prophecies for them, and brought them wealth. But during rituals, it also manifested as a goat-headed being with a human body, and dual sex organs.

            Since the Templars revered John the Baptist as their patron saint, some historians have presumed that the Baphomet head was that of John the Baptist. The Templars are believed by some to have carried out secret excavations beneath the foundation of Solomon’s Temple, and to have discovered some treasure there. In this hypothesis, it is speculated that they may have found the severed head of St. John down there, and established a cult around it. Others think they discovered the Ark of the Covenant, or perhaps both. Whatever they discovered, it is thought to have made up the core of the so-called “Templar treasure”, which enabled their order to become wealthy and powerful over a relatively short course of time. There is even a rather believable theory which holds that this treasure found its way to Rennes-le-Chateau, or somewhere nearby.

            The name Baphomet is sometimes said to mean “Baptism of Wisdom”, or to be a code for “Sophia”, which is Greek for “Wisdom.” After the Templars were disbanded, other occult groups formed that also paid reverence to Baphomet, and helped to develop the mosaic of concepts with which this figure is now associated. By the end of the nineteenth century, Baphomet had become an embodiment of the alchemical concept of the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Holy Grail. Baphomet plays an important role in the rituals of the higher degrees of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. One Masonic author, Albert Pike, even wrote that Baphomet is the secret Outer Head of all Western occult groups. In this chapter, I will explore the concept of Baphomet, and how it ties in with the myth of the Holy Grail. I will also write about how Baphomet may have influenced the occult groups behind the Priory of Sion and the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau.

 

 

 

Chapter 17: The Mother of Blood

 

            As Baphomet is a figure both male and female, the female aspect, called by some the “Mother of Blood”, is revered by these same occult groups separately, under the guise of the Black Madonna. Idols of the Madonna and child with pitch-black skin can be found throughout Europe, and especially France. Some modern writers think that these figures were erected by members of a loosely-organized underground cult, who meant them to secretly symbolize either Mary Magdalen, the ancient goddess Venus, or both. In a broader sense, both figure of the Black Madonna and the concept of Mary Magdalen as the bride of Christ can be seen as manifestations of this darkly feminine concept of hidden, forbidden wisdom. This is the real meaning of the “lost sacred feminine” idea which Dan Brown insists is at the heart of the Grail mystery, and the concept which the Priory of Sion is determined to revive within the Catholic Church – having been allegedly squelched throughout history by the Church’s patriarchal hierarchy. In this chapter, I will explain the subtle notion of the Mother of Blood, and how it relates to the topics at hand.

 

Chapter 18: The Fabulous Race

 

            The idea that the Holy Grail is a symbol for a sacred, royal bloodline is one that appears to be backed up by analysis of the original Grail romances, as well as the traditions regarding the Grail that have been passed down through the various occult orders already mentioned. But the picture which emerges from this analysis presents us with the idea of a bloodline descended not from Jesus and the Magdalen, but rather a super-human race of much more ancient, even antediluvian origin. There are several Judeo-Christian legends which describe how a group of angels from Heaven (called the Nephilim, the Sons of God, or the Watchers) conspired to impregnate human women, breeding a hybrid angel/human race. This action was frowned upon by God, the stories say, and thus he brought about the Great Deluge, to cleanse the Earth of this bastard race. The angels who participated in this plot were cast out of Heaven, and imprisoned in the bowels of the Earth. This, then, is the true story of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, and the true origin of the so-called “Grail bloodline.” But these fallen angels are said to have taught mankind all of the basic arts of civilization, as well as occult wisdom, and their super-human children are said to have become the kings of the Earth. Thus the Nephilim have been revered throughout the centuries by occult orders, who see the fallen angels as the source of their own traditions. Similar legends revolve around the biblical figure of Cain and his descendants, the Cainites, who are portrayed as the cursed half-human hybrid children of the fallen angels.

            Outside of Judeo-Christian scriptures, we find folk legends throughout the world and throughout history regarding a race of “gods” who allegedly interbred with humans to create a royal race. Such concepts can be found in the mythology of the ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Indians, Greeks, and Amero-Indians. In each one of these cultures, the gods were believed to be the source of all wisdom, having taught the arts of civilization to mankind. Many legends say that the gods were eventually punished for their acts by being imprisoned in the center of the Earth, which is remarkably similar to the Judeo-Christian version of events.

            In addition to the legends, there is physical evidence throughout the world that a highly-advanced race did once walk the Earth in ancient times, and that they were responsible for civilizing the post-diluvian world. We find highly advanced cultures, such as the Sumerians, Egyptians, and Mayans, whose civilizations seem to have sprung up almost overnight, with no real period of development, indicating that they derived their arts and sciences from some other, higher culture. We also find monuments created by the ancients, the construction of which defies the understanding of modern structural engineers. It certainly would be easy for some people to believe that these ancient cultures were helped in building these monuments by a super-human race with advanced technology that we still fail to understand.

            In this chapter, I shall explain how the idea of the Nephilim race fits in with the legends stating that the Merovingian bloodline was of superhuman origin. I will also explain how the idea of a royal bloodline derived from the fallen angels, or the gods of the ancient world, can elucidate certain enigmatic statements made by the members of the Priory of Sion. It is a concept which lies at the heart of all occult teachings.

 

Chapter 19: The Cave of Treasures

 

            There is a recurrent theme both in world mythology, and in the Hermetic traditions of the occult, which signifies the highest wisdom, and the unifying principle of life. It is actually the most archetypal of symbols, and can be seen to represent the totality of all other archetypes. It involves a mountain, the tallest in the world, said to be located within “the center of the Earth.” Examples of this include Mount Olympus, the abode of the Greek Gods, and the sacred Mount Meru of Buddhism. Within this mountain is a sacred cave which reaches down into the very bowels of the Earth. Contained within this cave, in each of these myths, is at least one object that represents the sacred wisdom of the ancients, passed down to man from the gods, or the fallen angels, depending upon the myth.

            The Holy Grail is one such symbol, sometimes said to be a jewel chipped from Lucifer’s crown that fell to Earth during the mythical war between God and the rebellious angels. This can be seen to represent the blood descent of human royalty from the Nephilim race, as well as the forbidden wisdom which these beings allegedly gave to mankind. The Grail legends say that this stone is now located at the “Grail castle” on the “Mount of Salvation”, which is located in the center of the Earth, and which is accessible only to the elect few who belong to the “Grail family.” The Grail is guarded by the “Fisher King”, a figure who exists in a twilight state between life and death, held there by the powers of the Grail.

            In other myths, the “Grail” symbol is represented as a tablet engraved with sacred wisdom, written on a stone that fell from Heaven. This is the case with the Greek story of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes, the Egyptian myth of the “Book of Thoth”, and the Judaic legend of the “Tablets of Enoch.” In each of these myths, the stone tablet is said to be interred within a cave in a sacred mountain, along with the dead body of a god or goddess associated with it. The Emerald Tablet resides in the tomb of Hermes. The Book of Thoth is supposedly hidden in a tomb with the body of its namesake. The Tablets of Enoch rest within the “Cave of Treasures”, inside the sacred mountain, Kardo, in the center of the Earth. In Judeo-Christian lore, the Cave of Treasures is said to contain the bodies of the Jewish patriarchs and their wives, from Adam to Jacob. In each of these myths, the sacred corpses within the cave are magically preserved undecayed, and in a state neither dead nor living, by the power of the heavenly stone tablet, just like the Fisher King in the Grail legend. Frequently this cave is said to be illuminated by something described as “an inner sun.”

            In the metaphysical science of alchemy, the agent of alchemical transmutation (of lead into gold, and other things) is called “the Philosopher’s Stone”, and is said to once again be hidden within “the center of the Earth”, inside of a cave in a sacred mountain. Like the Grail, the Philosopher’s Stone has the power to make a man live forever, and from it one can learn the forbidden wisdom of the angels. Sometimes the Philospher’s Stone is even called “the hidden sun.” Obviously, alchemical symbolism relies heavily on mythic archetypes. It is interesting that, according to alchemical tradition, man is said to have learned the secrets of alchemy from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes.

            A related concept is that of the “Black Sun”, a mythological element found mostly in the legends of the Far East. This object is said to radiate its life-giving essence throughout the whole world. It is described as being located in the center of the Earth, in a sacred underground city called Agartha, which is accessible via a secret tunnel known only to the chosen few, within a sacred mountain in the Himalayas. Agartha is believed to be ruled over by a superhuman being called “the King of the World”, who psychically controls activities on the surface of the Earth.

            In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a number of occult groups believed in and actively searched for the entrance to Agartha. They also used their mediums to psychically contact the King of the World, and to channel the power of the Black Sun. Many of these occult groups were affiliated with the movement that eventually became Nazism, or with other nationalist movements throughout Europe. Some of them include the secret societies previously described as being connected with the Priory of Sion and the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau. It is upon this belief in Agartha that the aforementioned political concept of Synarchy is based, for it supposedly reflects the way the government of Agartha is run. In this chapter, I will review this tapestry of interwoven symbolic archetypes. In the process, I will explain the true meaning of the “Arcadian tomb” and the “underground stream”, concepts which figure prominently in the Priory of Sion / Rennes-le-Chateau phenomenon.

 

Chapter 20: The Mount of Salvation

 

            In the Judeo-Christian myth of the Cave of Treasures, the latter is said to be located within a sacred mountain called “Kardo”, in the center of the Earth. It is further implied that this mountain is somehow analogous to the mountain that the Ark landed upon in the story of Noah and the Flood. Interestingly, there is a mountain near Rennes-le-Chateau called “Cardou” that seems to have similar associations in local legend. There are also other mountains nearby said to contain the bodies of Greek gods and goddesses, hidden within secret caves. The Pyrenees mountain range is in fact named after one of these interred goddesses, and amazingly, she was a figure associated with the Greek version of the Deluge myth. Yet another nearby mountain is specifically named in local legends as the location of the Grail stone, which supposedly had been magically deposited in the center of the mountain by a dove that carried the stone in its beak.

            Other elements seem to link the region of Rennes-le-Chateau with these ideas. There is said to be an ancient “meridian line” of metaphysical power running through the center of Mount Cardou, which supposedly links it up to other sacred sites throughout Europe. Also near Rennes-le-Chateau, at 1500 feet above sea level, I and other researchers have discovered sea-worn rocks encrusted with barnacles. The publications of the Priory of Sion have attempted to link the area of Rennes-le-Chateau to the resting place of Noah’s Ark, using veiled language. Also, a colleague of Berenger Sauniere’s, Abbe Henri Boudet from nearby Rennes-le-Bains, wrote a book alleging that traces of the original language spoken by Noah and his family (prior to the dissolution of that language at the destruction of the Tower of Babel) can be found in the names of landmarks in the Rennes-le-Chateau area.

            In this chapter, I will catalogue all of the fascinating bits of legends, both modern and medieval, that appear to link the area of Rennes-le-Chateau with the mythological archetypes of the Flood and the sacred mountain in the center of the Earth.

 

Chapter 21: The Devil’s Fingerprint

 

            One of the most amazing facts about Rennes-le-Chateau is that, as author Henry Lincoln has discovered, the five mountain peaks surrounding the village form a mathematically perfect pentagram, or five-pointed star, when viewed from above or on a map. There is nothing else like this anywhere else in the world, and the odds against it occurring naturally are astronomical. The pentagram, of course, is an ancient symbol of wisdom, and of the goddess Venus. It is also associated, in modern times, with the worship of the Devil.

            There are some interesting clues as to why the pentagram has come to represent Satan. One reason is that, in ancient Sumeria, the pentagram was a hieroglyph that symbolized the Sumerian word “Ar”, which translated as “prison.” In some traditions of Western occultism, it is said that when God cast Lucifer out of Heaven and imprisoned him in Hell (described as being “in the center of the Earth”), he bound him in magical chains which formed the shape of a pentagram.

            A similar legend regarding Cain and his descendants can be found in Judeo-Christian lore. The Cainites were said to be descendants of fallen angels. Just like their Nephilim forbears, God imprisoned the Cainites in “the center of the Earth”, within an underground chamber called the “Arka.”

            In this chapter, I will expand upon these concepts, and relate them to the amazing pentagonal formation in the mountains of Rennes-le-Chateau. I will also describe the local legend which states that there is a treasure beneath the ground of Rennes-le-Chateau that belongs to the Devil. There are several landmarks named after the Devil in and around Rennes-le-Chateau, which I will mention as well. Finally, I will deal with the theological implications of the fact that the Devil’s prison and the Cave of Treasures are both said to be in the center of the Earth.

           

Chapter 22: The Round Temple

 

            If there was any doubt that the Priory of Sion and its former leader, Pierre Plantard, were promoting the bizarre occult concepts described in the foregoing chapters, this doubt is dashed by reading the articles printed in the magazines that have been published by Plantard on behalf of his occult organizations. They speak of the underground city of Agartha, inhabited by advanced races using technology derived from Atlantis. This city is said to be accessible via hidden tunnels in the Himalayas. One article states that that this underground city can also be accessed through secret tunnels in the mountains of France. At the heart of this underground city, there is said to be a “Round Temple”, and a crypt containing the bodies of important figures unnamed. On the walls of the temple, ancient secrets are supposedly inscribed, written with a hieroglyphic alphabet said to be that of the world’s original language. The hieroglyphs are described as being alchemical symbols.

            In more recent literature published by the Priory of Sion in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pierre Plantard explicitly stated that the great secret held by the Priory, and the treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, consists of knowledge regarding the entrance to an underground temple within one of the mountains. He refers to it as the “Round Temple”, just like the one at the center of Agartha mentioned in the other article. He also says that the temple contains a “golden sun.” He states that this “treasure” (the temple and its contents) is guarded by the Devil, and that those who have knowledge of it are able to make use of its metaphysical power.

            Pierre Plantard died in 2000, but the Priory of Sion has continued on without him. In the past few years, several spokesmen for the Priory of Sion have come forward and agreed to be interviewed by journalists researching their organization. By their statements, it appears that the Priory of Sion’s is indeed sticking to the claim that there is an entrance to an underground temple inside one of the mountains in the area of Rennes-le-Chateau.

            But more exciting yet is that there is a team of documentary-makers currently working with representatives of the Priory of Sion to try to find this temple. They are also dealing with the mayor of the village in an attempt to gain permission for the necessary excavations, and he has already let some of them proceed. The documentary’s producers have been told by the Priory representatives that there is indeed an ancient god-king buried somewhere within the underground temple, and that the temple is in some way linked with the Devil. The producers promise that the full results of their investigation will be released with the film, named Bloodline, which is scheduled to premiere in 2007.

            As one of the early proponents of the theory of an underground temple and sacred tomb beneath Rennes-le-Chateau (which I have written about in previous books and magazine articles), I was interviewed extensively for this documentary, and had the chance to learn about these exciting new developments before they were announced to the general public. In this chapter, I will summarize what the Priory of Sion has said in the past about the Round Temple, and what they are saying now. I will also give readers an inside glimpse into the making of this documentary, and the explorations at Rennes-le-Chateau that are currently taking place.

 

Chapter 23: The High Priest of the Grail Cult

 

            If there really is an ancient underground temple structure of the sort thus described beneath Rennes-le-Chateau, or even if there is not, it appears that faith in its existence has formed the core of a cult belief system adhered to by many of the people who live there, and others who have been initiated into the secret. This may help explain the strange behavior of Berenger Sauniere and others in the area, as well as the peculiar activities of the Priory of Sion. Clearly the alleged underground structure, and whatever is supposedly contained therein, is regarded by those who believe in it as a tremendous source of occult power. This explains why they would be more interested in utilizing its power for ritual magic, rather than declaring its existence to the archeological community and inviting further study.

            With this in mind, we can speculate on how Berenger Sauniere became wealthy, and the meaning of his bizarre behavior. His wealth may have resulted mainly from large donations from well-off people, and the sales of masses for the dead, which is what debunkers of the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery have said. If Sauniere had access to a major source of occult power (or thought so), and if his parishioners believed this, they may have been paying him to perform magic rituals and divination on their behalf. The same goes for all of the others throughout France who are known to have given him money. They could have heard about his supposed powers through the grapevine of the occult underground. Using spiritual power to gain wealth in this way is one of the least-understood but most widely practiced techniques of ritual magic, and some authors have even said that it constitutes one of the major secrets of alchemy.

            Looking at it this way, we can consider that Sauniere may have decorated his church and surrounding domain in the way he did because he was trying to create the perfect ritual chamber for channeling the spiritual power that he may have believed to reside beneath the ground of Rennes-le-Chateau. The coded parchments that he allegedly found could have been related to similar rituals performed by previous priests at the parish. Occult rituals often involved the use of codes, inscrutable diagrams, and slightly-altered versions of traditional religious symbols.

            The fact that Sauniere dug up the bones of the nobles and royals buried at this church could have been related to necromantic rituals. He may have been attempting to contact their departed spirits, or perhaps he was just trying to use the bones for the supernatural power that he may have believed them to contain. He might have believed that these deceased people had been related by blood to the fallen angels via their Merovingian ancestry, and thus might have considered their bones to be of particular value.

            In this chapter, I will explain how each of Sauniere’s strange activities, and each of the decorations he added to the church, can be explained in relation to occult rituals. In doing so, I will relate the decorations and activities to the esoteric concepts already discussed earlier in the book: Baphomet, the Mother of Blood, the Nephilim race, and the Cave of Treasures, as well as more general occult, Masonic, and alchemical principles.

 

Chapter 24: Magical Documents

 

            Just as with Berenger Sauniere, the activities of the Priory of Sion can be explained as the actions of people who believe that they have access to, and are utilizing, a tremendous source of occult power. Many of the mysterious documents which they have produced may have been what I call “magical documents.” It is common for occult groups to channel strange messages and diagrams when communicating with their Outer Head. Sometimes the spirits instruct them to publish these messages, or to disseminate them amongst other occultists, as part of casting a spell, with the promise that certain magical results will occur from doing so. Often these results do not develop as planned, or even develop at all, because as the chronicles of ritual magic throughout the centuries demonstrate, channeled spirits frequently lie to their devotees, or mix in truth with falsehood. This could explain why the publication of the Priory of Sion’s documents seems to have resulted in a great deal of embarrassment for the members of the order.

            However, it is also possible that Priory of Sion had a very deliberate purpose for publishing these documents. Another important principle of ritual magic is the idea that by releasing a channeled message into the world, even if the information contained therein is false or wholly invented, when people start to believe it, it becomes “true.” Ritual magic is based on the concept that people can make things real simply by believing in them. For example, this is how Joseph Smith created an entirely new history of pre-Colonial America with his channeled Book of Mormon that is now considered true by millions of people. There are numerous other examples like this from the past. This concept is related to a notion within Jewish cabalism, which holds that their own most sacred channeled document, the Torah, existed before it was written down, and even before the events which it describes took place. If events had taken place differently, they say, the letters of the Torah would have arranged themselves differently.

            Sometimes occultists consciously use this magical principle to insert ideas into reality, purely for fun. The Rosicrucian Manifestos, which placed the idea of the Rosicrucian brotherhood into public consciousness, was allegedly created with such a purpose. There is evidence that certain members of the Priory of Sion were associated with an avant-garde art movement called “Oulipo”, which involved creating such hoaxes. These artful jokes often involved using elaborate and coded messages and diagrams, just as the Priory of Sion has done.

            But even though these hoaxes are, on one level, jest, they also have serious effects. Hermes, the so-called “trickster god”, is said to initiate people into ancient secrets through the use of ruses and red herrings. In a similar way, the Priory of Sion’s hoax has caused people to educate themselves about history, religion, and the esoteric so that they can try to figure out the Priory’s supposed “secrets.” In so doing, the Priory is introducing people to occult mysteries through the back door, and bringing them to enlightenment.

            In this chapter, I will explain how these concepts regarding “magical documents” can be seen to apply to the activities of the Priory of Sion, and hypothesize about what exactly the Priory has been trying to accomplish.

 

Epilogue

 

            Regardless of their original intent, because of the success of The Da Vinci Code, the Priory of Sion has indeed inserted some new ideas into public consciousness, and thus made them real, casting a spell on the whole world. In this final chapter, I will reflect on the sociological changes that have already occurred because of this, and try to predict what other changes may occur in the future. I will also try to anticipate what may result from the archeological discoveries currently being made at Rennes-le-Chateau.