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.
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.