By Tracy R. Twyman
Originally written for Dagobert’s Revenge Magazine, Copyright 2002
(Does not necessarily represent author’s current viewpoint.)
Since the publication of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Messianic Legacy, it has long been assumed that Pierre Plantard was the last known Grand Master of the Priory of Sion. Whoever Plantard’s replacement was has not, until recently established. But just a few months ago, I received some shocking news from a man named Paul Smith, who runs a website, priory-of-sion.com, dedicated to exposing what he believes to be the “truth” behind the “hoax” of the Priory of Sion. Regardless of the author’s perspective on the subject, his website is absolutely wonderful, containing tons of information not available anywhere else, including translations of Priory of Sion documents never before available in English. For instance, Smith has translated almost all of the articles from Pierre Plantard’s magazine Vaincre, published in the 1940s by the Priory under its pseudonym, Alpha Galates.
Amazingly, Smith reports that a new series of Vaincre magazines began to be published in 1989. The new issues listed Pierre Plantard’s son Thomas Plantard as the “Managing Editor,” and one of them featured an interview with Pierre Plantard. A completely new list of Grand Masters was produced, in which many of the names had been changed, and the list now only dated back to 1681. Strangely, this is the year in which, according to a Priory document from the 1960s, supposedly authored by Jean Cocteau, the outer laity of the Priory of Sion, called the “Children of St. Vincent,” was created. The Priory of Sion now claimed to be completely disavowing any direct descent from the Knights Templar, and their Grand Masters were not listed. However, there was a complete listing of the Grand Masters from Jean Cocteau’s death onwards, something which had before remained a completely unanswered question.(1) Now it was claimed that Cocteau was followed by Francois Balphagon until 1969, and then a fellow named John Drick took over. In 1981, the office was assumed by Pierre Plantard, who as we know resigned in 1984. Vaincre now claimed that Plantard was followed by Philippe de Cherisey, who was quickly replaced by someone called Patrice Pelat in 1985. This person died in 1989, and then at the “Convent of Avignon,” on March 9, 1989, Pierre Plantard was reinstated as Grand Master, just long enough to pass the title on to his son four months later, at “10 o’clock solar time,” as its described in Vaincre.
Many aspects of the Priory’s new claims in this magazine appear to be attempts at obfuscation. They want the Priory of Sion to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds once again, but they want to spread some confusion, to increase the intrigue. This series of Vaincre appears to have later morphed into Le Cercle, which was still subtitled Vaincre and still edited by Thomas Plantard. Its logo featured a cock crowing, a favorite motif often used by Cocteau, and one whose solar symbolism we have already discussed. Both Vaincre and Le Cercle are very queer in their phrasing, as all Priory documents are, and appear to contain many code words recognizable only to initiates, many of which are written in all caps for emphasis. And in one of these issues, a reprinted letter from Pierre Plantard purported to reveal the Priory of Sion’s main secret. Plantard writes:
“Our TREASURE, that of the PRIORY OF SION, is the SECRET of the BLACK ROCK (‘ROC NOIR’).
Revered since remote antiquity by those who believed in its immense power, it was confused with the DEVIL, and even LABOUISSE-ROCHEFORTE wrote, in a poem intended for the initiated:
‘The Angel of the bastard race,
In a tone at once dry and crazed,
Keeps constant guard over
This immense income …’
and only the initiated could understand that the treasure was not gold, but the considerable energy that the MASTER of the genie — he who knows the secret — has at his disposal.”
Then, in another article called “The Dubosc Affair,” it was claimed that a mining shaft was sunk through the “Roc Noir,” the true purpose of which was to “re-establish a communicating ‘way’ between the old underground passages of the former Celtic sanctuary known as the TEMPLE ROND (Round Temple).” According to Pierre Plantard himself, the real “secret of the Priory” pertains to an underground temple beneath Rennes-le-Chateau which is associated with the Devil: the “angel of the bastard race” and “MASTER of the genie.” Yet another article, this time in Le Cercle, appears to link this temple with a 13-based numerical system (perhaps the lunar calendar discussed in the Dagobert’s Revenge articles “The Cutting of the Orm”), and claims that Priory of Sion meetings actually still take place here, specifically meetings of their inner order, the “Arch of the thirteen Rose-Croix.” In “The Arch â€“ It’s Symbolism,” author Jacques d’Arthuys writes:
“For [the Priory of Sion] the ARCH placed on the surface of the waters seemed like the sign of PEACE and WISDOM amid the torment. This was the sign of alliance, the guardian of the very essence of the Great Tradition. Its shape was the true representation of the Hebrew letter [Cheth], the engine of life, its number was 8, it was the last line of defense, while the sum of its three sides was 22 and its centre was the path that guides the ARCH towards the STAR.
The ARCH was the origin of the foundation of the PRIORY of SION and in our own times represents its pinnacle. It is composed of 13 members. The ROSE+CROIX meets in the round temple of the Roc Noir which, according to legend, was formerly a temple of MITHRAS. It has the shape of a semicircle, having 13 seats of stone. Each seat is engraved with a letter, namely: AB URBE CONDITA. On the ground is a GOLDEN SUN, bearing these letters: MM CD XXX IV, or 2434 in Roman numerals. It seems to be recent, no doubt engraved by a HAUTPOUL towards the end of the 17th century. The former entry is obstructed over a distance, but a drilling has opened up an entry to the south. In our own time the ARCH extends over a large part of the world. It is from its summit that the heads of state will come to search for PEACE.”
There are many very interesting aspects of this passage. The emphasis on the number 13 has already been mentioned, and it is worth noting that the numbers written on the “Golden Sun” on the temple’s floor, 2434, all add up to thirteen. The words “Ab Urbe Condita” are usually translated as “From the founding of the city,” and refer to the date of Rome’s foundation, which was used in the dating system of the Roman and Julian calendars, in the same way “Before Christ” is used in our own dating system. There seem to be no prevailing theories regarding the origin of the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” but it seems to me that it must derive from the notion that there was a single foundation date for Rome, and that the city was built in a single day by the mythological figure of Romulus. You will recall that Cain and his mythological equivalents are often credited by various peoples throughout the world with building cities and monuments in a single day through magical powers. And like Cain slaying Abel, Romulus slew his brother Remus immediately prior to founding Rome.
When they were children, they had been thrown into a river by their uncle, who wished to get rid of them. But they were rescued and raised by a she-wolf, in a cave in the side of one of Rome’s seven hills. When they grew up, the brothers decided to found a city upon that hill, but they could not agree upon which hill they remembered being raised within. This was the cause of the conflict that led to the fratricide, supposedly. (2) Thus the city was founded on Romulus’ hill of choice, Palatine, which, one cannot help but notice, sounds a lot like “Palestine.” So the phrase “Ab Urbe Condita” refers to a dating system based on the myth of a fratricidal king, who founded a city upon a hill within which he was raised. This city then went on to become the center of a global religious empire: Catholicism.
But the literal translation of the phrase needs to be looked at more closely. “Condita” comes from “condo,” which carried definitions such as “store up,” “preserve,” “keep in store,” “hide,” “secret,” “to sink” and “to bury/inter.” Thus “Ab Urbe Condita” could also be translated “From the hidden city,” or “From the subterranean city,” or even “From the sinking of the city.” Taken together, these clues indicate that the Priory of Sion may believe that the underground temple beneath Roc Negre is the foundation-point of a subterranean city, which was itself once the foundation-point of a mighty empire much like that of Rome: that of Atlantis during the Golden Age. And perhaps “the sinking of the city” during the cataclysm provided the basis for a new calendar system, much like “Ab Urbe Condita” did for the Romans.
Also interesting is the fact that the “Arch” which this Vaincre passage refers to seems to be more than just the upper degrees of the Priory of Sion. It is also a physical structure, shaped like the Hebrew letter Cheth, which forms an arch. (3) This “Arch” seems to further be likened to the Ark of Noah by the line describing it as “placed on the surface of the waters, which seemed like the sign of PEACE and WISDOM amid the torment.” Not only does this passage hint of Noah’s Ark, it also refers to the “arc’ of the rainbow that God placed in the sky as soon as the floodwaters subsided, as a promise of peace to man.
But perhaps the most evocative lines in this new Vaincre article are the last two: “In our own time the ARCH extends over a large part of the world. It is from its summit that the heads of state will come to search for PEACE.” To me, this indicates that the Priory of Sion considers the “Holy Land” of Rennes-le-Chateau to be the foundation-point of an empire that not only existed in the past, but also one that will exist again in the future. The use of “Ab Urbe Condita” by the Priory, referring to the foundation of Rome, says to me that they are, as they have stated in their own documents, planning a resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire through the United States of Europe. But in order for this to occur, I assume, the treasures of Rennes-le-Chateau would have to be revealed to the world. This would no doubt have a shocking impact upon the collective psyche of mankind, for it would cause them to re-evaluate not only their understanding of history, but their political, religious, and philosophical tenets as well. It would be especially shocking if it was proven that direct descendants of the god-kings of the Golden Age are alive today, many of them in positions of power, using their positions to bring about a resurrection of the Golden Age and the empire which ruled over that epoch. It would be hard to argue that the “sons of God” should have to submit to democratic elections rather than ruling by Divine Right.
These, then, appear to be the ongoing goals of the Priory of Sion. And though many have assumed that the Priory “went underground” again after Plantard’s resignation, the way they have in the past, and the way the Rosicrucian brotherhood supposedly does every hundred years. But in fact, it does not seem that they have gone into hiding. Since the publication of The Messianic Legacy, they have had several succeeding Grand Masters and published materials setting forth their aim of a renewed Merovingian empire. In that intervening period, there has been an explosion of materials related to the Priory, including Dagobert’s Revenge, the movie Revelation, and hundreds of books. Now with The Da Vinci Code hype sweeping the western world, the Priory of Sion mythos is arguably the most prominent and fast-growing ideas in the intellectual marketplace right now. This shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, and so I think it’s safe to assume that the Priory of Sion is back, it never truly left, and it’s not going anywhere now. The Priory’s agenda will dominate the world in the years to come, and there may be nothing on Earth powerful to stop it.
(1) It is surprising to us that Cocteau heir, Edward Dermit, is not mentioned in this list as succeeding him, but then again, something about the list seems altogether faulty.
(2) According to Roderick Conway Morris in The Herald Tribune, archeologists are currently digging up the remains of Romulus’ home, fortified against the battle with his brother, indicating a true historical basis for this story.
(3) It seems noteworthy that Cheth’s numerical equivalent, eight, is mentioned in this passage, and it states that “the sum of the three sides [of the arch] was 22,” the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet.