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TRACY R. TWYMAN | Tracy R. Twyman Interviewed About Rennes-le-Chateau, the Merovingians, and the Priory of Sion

Below are the pre-interview notes for an interview that Tracy Twyman did in 2005 for the documentary Bloodline by 1224 Films. The questions were provided by the interviewer, Bruce Burgess. The answers do not necessarily represent Twyman’s current viewpoint. To fully understand the ideas discussed in this interview, read Tracy R. Twyman’s book The Merovingian Mythos and the Mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau.

Interview:

What do you think of the hypothesis of Holy Blood, Holy Grail?

I first read Holy Blood, Holy Grail when I was 17 and in college. I was at that age when my identity was still forming, and I was looking for an idea to attach myself to. I was already a very curious-minded and intellectual person, interested in metaphysics, history, and conspiracy theories. The ideas presented in Holy Blood, Holy Grail seemed to push all the right buttons with me. I was intrigued by the idea that many of the most influential figures in the history of the West may have been descendants of a sacred royal bloodline. Furthermore, that knowledge of this truth may have been purposely excluded from history not only by members of the bloodline itself, but by their historical enemies, the Catholic Church. Then, I was intrigued by the idea that knowledge of this secret had in various ways influenced events throughout history. Thus this theory provided what amounted to a hidden history of the West. So these ideas definitely excited me, and they also struck a chord. I felt that the authors were definitely onto something, although it also seemed that they had merely scratched the surface of what was there.

I thought that the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail did a good job of providing evidence that Jesus could have been married and had children. They also provided tons of evidence showing that there is a long-standing, implied tradition tracing the royal heritage of Europe back to the royal and priestly castes of Israel. They presented a hypothesis that more sufficiently explained the progress of European history than the traditional academic explanations do. And one must remember that the veracity of Pierre Plantard’s claims is almost immaterial at this point. The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail mainly used Plantard’s claims, and the “clues” provided by the Priory of Sion, as springboards for their own research.

And although they weren’t able to prove the Priory’s claims, they were able to establish that nothing really disproves the Priory’s main claims either. In fact, they were able to show that there was a personal relationship between every person on the Priory’s purported list of Grand Masters, and the person before him or her on the list, as well as the person after him or her on the list. That really is quite extraordinary, and lends credence to the idea that the Priory wasn’t just making up this pedigree. And every person on the list was either a descendant of a Merovingian tributary bloodline, or was somehow associated with them. Many of them belonged to families associated with the Merovingians. Many of them belonged to families associated with the Knights Templar, which the Priory claimed had at one time been their military wing. Holy Blood, Holy Grail showed that many of these people on the Grand Master list had participated in political movements that aimed to put a person from a Merovingian-descended family in power. Many of them held unorthodox religious views, which would have been compatible with a belief in a married Christ. And many of them had been members of other secret societies.

In short, I think they made a convincing case that the Templars, the Rosicrucians, the early Freemasons, and then later the modern Priory of Sion, could all represent the continuation of a mystery tradition surrounding the bloodline of Christ, and a continuing conspiracy that aimed to bring members of that bloodline to power.

Did Jesus die on the Cross?

I think that in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and also in the sequel, The Messianic Legacy, they did a good job of re-arguing Hugh Schonfield’s The Passover Plot idea — the idea that Jesus had faked his death on the cross, perhaps by having someone else die in his place. Holy Blood, Holy Grail added onto Schonfield’s hypothesis the idea that Jesus had then gone on to breed a royal heir with Mary Magdalene, who then fled to Southern France with the child in her womb. This child, they suggested, bore a line of descendants that eventually resulted in the Merovingian bloodline.

Now I think I found this idea more convincing on a literal level when I first read it ten years ago. At that time I was very cynical of religion. The idea that Jesus had willingly died on the cross as payment for the sins of mankind seemed in a way ignoble to me. Christianity sort of thrusts the sufferings of Christ in your face, forces you to look at him nailed to the cross in agony, and then lays this heavy guilt trip on you, saying that it’s your fault that this man was tortured and killed 2000 years ago, because you were born human and you bear the guilt of Adam’s sin. You’re told it’s a gift from God, payment for your sins, but really it can seem like they are handing you a bill for something you didn’t order, telling you that Jesus paid the bail to get you out of prison, and now you have to pay him back with your guilt and devotion. It seemed kind of neurotic to me. So when I was presented with the idea that Jesus was actually a literal king from a real royal house, who in the interest of perpetuating his bloodline did not allow himself to be killed and humiliated by his enemies, I found it very intriguing.

However, in hindsight, I think that it’s unnecessary to believe that the crucifixion was faked. It could have been, but it doesn’t really explain anything. He could have perpetuated his bloodline either way. In fact, I think it’s probable that if he did have a child, his wife was probably already pregnant before the crucifixion. And now, of course, even if Jesus were, as Holy Blood, Holy Grail hypothesizes, the blood descendant of his father Joseph, and thus, by extension, his ancestor King David, that doesn’t mean that he might not have willingly sacrificed himself, either as a political martyrdom, or to fulfill the prophecies of the Messiah, or even, possibly, as a symbolic sacrifice on behalf of mankind, as believed by the Church. All of these things would have been consistent with ancient traditions regarding sacred kingship from throughout the world. The sacrifice of the king was one of the most widely practiced sacred rites in the ancient world, and Jesus may have been continuing that tradition.

The evidence of a “Passover Plot” is scarce, but I do find it compelling that according to the Gospels, Pilate had guards dispatched to guard the tomb of Jesus, for fear that his disciples would try to steal his body from the tomb. And indeed, when Jesus’ body disappeared, that is what the guards believed had happened. But these days, I prefer to think that crucifixion conspiracy theories should be looked at mainly on a mytho-poetic level, as the traditional crucifixion story should also be viewed. I’m not saying that there isn’t a literal and absolute trust that exists regarding the life and death of Jesus. Of course there is. He’s a historical person, and there can only be one true story of his life. We just can’t prove one way or another which version is true. But I think we can gain meaning, insight, and a certain amount of spiritual truth from nearly all of these versions, and all at the same time. Each of these versions has a symbolic lesson to teach us about reality and about the archetypes found in our mythologies.

For instance, lately I’ve been looking into the idea presented in a medieval forgery called The Gospel of Barnabus, that Jesus allowed Judas Iscariot, the man whom he knew was plotting his betrayal, to die in his place, and that God changed Judas’ face into a likeness of Jesus’ face, thus tricking Pilate’s soldiers into arresting and crucifying him instead. Examining this on a mytho-poetic basis, I found it interesting that there was also once a heretical belief that the apostle Judas Thomas was actually Christ’s twin brother, an idea alluded to in the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas. And putting these two concepts together, I thought: What if Judas Iscariot and Judas Thomas were the same figure, and it was Judas who was crucified, while his twin, the second Christ, ran off to India claiming to be Judas Thomas.

You see, this is where heretical thinking leads you …

Did Jesus marry Mary Magdalene and have children with her?

I don’t know. The “evidence” for the claim resides mainly in local folk legends in France that have existed at least since the Middle Ages. In the Gospels, both canonical and apocryphal, the most we can be sure of is that the two were very close, and that the other disciples were jealous of Mary. I also find the idea that the wedding at Cana was really theirs a very compelling one. The description of the wedding does lend itself to that interpretation. It could very well have been a ritual marriage between the sacred king and his consort, as suggested by Margaret Starbird’s The Woman with the Alabaster Jar. Thus the trick of turning the water into wine could have been symbolic of alchemical process, just as the sacred marriage ritual was symbolic of an alchemical wedding of male and female divine principles.

I definitely think that Mary Magdalene was an important figure in Christ’s life, and in the early church. And as Holy Blood, Holy Grail argued convincingly, as the head of his royal house, Jesus would have been obliged to make breeding a royal heir his number one priority. If Jesus had been married or had children, it would have been with her. But regardless of the historical authenticity of this claim, which would be impossible to prove, she definitely now has a permanent place in legend as the wife of Jesus. This necessarily places her in the role of a goddess figure. She was viewed in this way by followers of esoteric Christian cults in Europe from the Middle Ages onward, and now she’s viewed that way by popular culture. And just like the Virgin Mary, the figure of the Magdalen built up by legend, and portrayed in Catholic iconography, has most certainly been patterned on the imagery of the ancient goddess Ishtar or Venus.

One of the most obvious connections is her name, which sounds much like “Migdol,” a Babylonian word which meant “tower.” The goddesses Ishtar, Artemis, and Diana (different names for essentially the same figure) have all been portrayed in ancient times wearing a crown made of four towers. Mary Magdalen is shown wearing the same headdress in a statue outside the church at Rennes-le-Chateau.

Also, although the Church has since retracted it, Magdalen was once thought of as being the same figure as the adulteress whom Jesus saved from stoning in the Gospels. This somehow mutated into an image of Magdalen as a reformed whore. The image has stuck with her, and I believe it is integral to the legend of Magdalen as an archetypal figure. Venus or Ishtar was likewise associated with prostitution. She was actually called “the Mother of Harlots,” and her cult was celebrated in Babylon with the practice of temple prostitution. Some writers have gone so far as to say that Jesus and Mary Magdalen were operating a temple prostitution cult, with Magdalen as the high priest. However, as far as I know, the sources of these rumors are secret societies promoting their own mythology. There is nothing scriptural, either canonical or apocryphal, to back this up.

Finally, we should consider the name “Mary,” which was a term used by ancient Semitic cultures such as Babylonians, Hittites, Philistines, and Hebrews to denote the bride of a god. It seems beyond coincidence that the three women most prominent in the life of Jesus were all named Mary. Mythologists say that ancient goddesses usually fall into one of three categories: mothers, maidens, and harlots. In the story of Jesus, these three spots are occupied by Mary the Virgin, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalen, respectively.

My view on the Magdalen subject mirrors my general view on the Merovingian, Rennes-le-Chateau, and Priory of Sion subjects. Historical truth will be almost impossible to prove regarding the claims that have been made. But what is important is what influential people have believed throughout the centuries, and how those beliefs may have influenced their actions, thus influencing history. I think the evidence is definitely there that real secret societies, populated by people holding important societal positions, have existed throughout the last 2000 years of history, and have promoted these ideas of a bloodline stemming from Jesus, as well as that of a sacred treasure buried at Rennes-le-Chateau. If such people believe these things, their beliefs will necessary shape world events. The popularization of these beliefs certainly has. The public reaction to The Da Vinci Code will affect how people think about religion in the future, and thus, will affect history.

Why has this (theory regarding Christ’s marriage and descendants) been covered up for so long?

Well, because it was challenging to Christian orthodoxy, and both Catholic and Protestant-run governments could be very nasty to people who talked about unorthodox ideas. I think a better question is, “Why is this information finally coming out?” And I think that it’s simply because only in the last 100 years or so has it been physically safe in the Western world to talk about unorthodox ideas regarding religion. Before that time, such talk could at least ruin your career or get you thrown in prison, and at worst, get you killed. I think that secret societies with esoteric beliefs have had to spend the last millennia trying to break down the societal barriers of taboo and superstition, just to set the stage so that they could reveal some of the wisdom they’ve been keeping under lock.

What do you know about the Priory of Sion and its history?

Almost everything we know about the Priory of Sion comes from what its own representatives have said about it, from the 1950s onward. It mostly comes from the documents which they had deposited in the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris: the Secret Dossiers, Le Serpent Rouge, and the magazine C.I.R.C.U.I.T. When taken as a whole, these documents, through a series of statements and inferences, make the claim that there is a secret society called the Priory of Sion, which has existed for almost 1000 years, and which was initially allied with the Knights Templar. The purpose of this group, the documents said, was to protect and promote the interests of a bloodline which purportedly descended from the officially-defunct Merovingian royal house of France. This royal line is considered by historians to have died out, after their last effective king, Dagobert II, was assassinated in what appeared to be a plot by the Catholic Church to depose the Merovingian line from the throne. But the documents published by the Priory of Sion claim that the Merovingian bloodline continued on, propagated in secret, and that, for the last 1000 years, the Priory had been working behind the scenes in European politics trying to engineer a return to power for the Merovingian family. More than that, the documents indicated that the reason why the Catholic Church had attempted to stamp out the Merovingian line was because the bloodline ultimately descended from Christ.

There is historical documentation of something called the Order of Sion in the 11th and 12th centuries, which, the modern Priory of Sion claims, was its original incarnation. Other than that, the existence of the Priory of Sion has gone undocumented in history until the 1950s. That’s when they registered as an organization with the French government. And all that registration established was that they were an organization dedicated to “Catholic chivalry,” with a specific membership structure, under the directorship of Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair. But this certainly did not specify the real purpose of the organization, or establish that it had been working behind the scenes to influence European politics. That information, along with everything else that we purportedly know about the Priory, came from either their own publications, or from Pierre Plantard’s interviews with the French author Gerard de Sede, and with the co-authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Is the Priory of Sion a hoax?

Now that “debunking” the novels of Dan Brown is a popular sport for reactionary Christian authors, it has become fashionable to smear the Priory of Sion with the label of “hoax.” I think a man named Paul Smith, who runs the website prioryofsion.com, is responsible for spreading this misconception. On it he purports to expose all of the Priory of Sion’s dirty little secrets. All he manages to do, really, is establish that they did not conform to his idea of a powerful and ancient secret society. He’s basically saying that they were just a bunch of friends who got together and cooked up an elaborate yarn, to entertain themselves, and to gain public attention.

But this is meaningless. Many secret societies have only a few members, can’t afford elaborate outfits or ceremony halls, and their influence on society is subtle or little- known. Many secret societies also have nebulous histories, and claim a pedigree to earlier groups that cannot be absolutely documented. This is true of the Freemasons, for instance, and their purported connection to the Knights Templar. And in most secret societies, no two members ever have the same idea of what the group actually is. Most of the members are not in on the group’s “innermost secrets,” which are reserved only for the members of the top degrees.

But I think a rational person would have to admit that there is an implicit line of continuity between the Templars and the Freemasons, even if there was no official charter that was transferred from the older order to the newer order. This was the case with the Rosicrucian order, which is believed to have actually started out as a hoax, spawned by the literature of Johann Valentin Andrea, and the rumors it fomented. But I think a rational person would have to admit that the Rosicrucians did actually exist, even if they were at first an urban legend, and that the modern Rosicrucian orders are thus continuations of the original. I think the same should be said about the Priory of Sion.

We know that at least since the 1950s, some people got together and declared themselves to be the Priory of Sion. They had an organizational structure. They attempted to influence the world by covert means. And they claimed to be perpetrating the work of the Templars, the Rosicrucians, the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement, and the early Scottish Rite Freemasons. Therefore they were, de facto, a continuation of these orders, and therefore they were a real secret society. Besides, Paul Smith’s claim that they only came into existence in the 1950s is countered by the fact that during World War II, Pierre Plantard headed an organization, called Alpha Galates, which appears to be the same as the Priory of Sion.

What is the Modus Operandi of the Priory with researchers and authors over the last two decades?

It’s hard to say what exactly the Priory of Sion was trying to do during the period between 1954 and 1980, when they seemed to be waging a propaganda campaign announcing their existence to the world. Their goal seemed to be to convince modern writers of the existence of their group and their influence on events throughout history. They didn’t seem to be seriously attempting to place Plantard on the French throne, or even to convince mankind of the falseness of Catholic orthodoxy. They just wanted people to know about the existence of their group, and about the idea of a bloodline stemming from Christ, stretching into the present day.

Why would a secret society want to reveal anything about itself?

Some secret societies are so secret that even their very existence is unknown to outsiders. But of the ones we do know about, the main reason we know of them is because their own members have purposely spread rumors about their existence and influence on events. Depending on what your secret society is aiming to do, this approach could certainly make sense. One reason to let your existence be known would be to threaten and intimidate your enemy. So the Priory, by publicizing itself, could have been saying to the Church, “We’re still here, and you can’t stop us.” And there’s no better time than now, in this century and last, for them to reveal their existence, since our society is just now breaking out of what has been several centuries of thought control by the Church. Now people are going to be much more receptive to the Priory’s unorthodox claims about Jesus, for instance. Also, by publicizing themselves and their aims, they are encouraging others to join them in their pursuits. Perhaps they were hoping that, just as the publication of The Rosicrucian Manifestos inspired the creation of real Rosicrucian orders, the publication of the Priory’s documents would inspire a Priory copycat group to form that would be capable of pursuing their stated aims more seriously.

Finally, there is the simple fact that every group needs to replenish its membership periodically in order to continue its existence. So publicizing themselves could have been a recruiting method, creating an intriguing mystique about themselves that would make newly-invited members excited about joining.

What do you think of Pierre Plantard and his background?

Paul Smith and other detractors of Pierre Plantard claim that he’s nothing but a con man and an anti-Semite. The con man claim is wrapped up in the idea that the Priory of Sion is a hoax. The anti-Semite charge stems from the fact that during World War II, when France was occupied, Plantard published a magazine called Vaincre, which contained pro-Vichy content. This magazine purported to be the organ of a group called Alpha Galates, which the magazine said was headed by Pierre Plantard and which was described as an anti-Jewish, anti-Masonic, pro-Vichy organization. When asked about this magazine and organization, Pierre Plantard claimed that both were part of a front operation for what was actually an underground French Resistance group. I find this excuse convincing, since it does not follow that an anti-Semite would be at the head of a pro-Zionist group that reveres a bloodline descended from Jewish kings. Furthermore, Plantard claimed that after the war, he assisted the Charles de Gaulle in coming to power. This claim was backed up by newspaper articles which were published at the time. All of this, I think, helps to corroborate Plantard’s claims, and also indicates that Plantard was probably a French intelligence agent throughout his entire life.

Indeed, I think it’s likely that the activities of the modern Priory of Sion have all been part of a French intelligence project, although that does not means that the Priory’s claims to a medieval pedigree are untrue. In both my experience and in my research, I’ve learned that intelligence agencies often spawn secret societies, and often, secret societies spawn intelligence agencies.

Now I don’t know whether or not it is true that Pierre Plantard was a direct descendant of Dagobert II and also Jesus. Even if Pierre Plantard had family records which claimed that, it wouldn’t necessarily make it true. But I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt when they make claims about their genealogy. I think a person has a right to declare their own name, race, and genealogy as they understand it to be, and they shouldn’t have to prove it to naysayers unless counterproof is given.

What’s your assessment of the Dossiers Secret and the list of Grand Masters?

I think I’ve discussed my assessment of the Priory’s Grand Master list, and the overall claims presented in Dossiers Secrets, in my answer to the first question. I basically said that I think the claims made in the document are not only plausible, but in many ways explain history more adequately than the traditional version of events. For instance, as the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail found, Secret Dossiers provided a more complete and verifiable list of the Grand Masters of the Knights Templar than had been available at the time. In other words, the authors of the Secret Dossiers, presumably working on behalf of the Priory of Sion, seemed to have access to inside knowledge regarding historical events that, with further research, turned out to be most likely true. So that counts in favor of the whole document being true. Now I think it’s interesting that the authorship of the Secret Dossiers was attributed to a guy named Henri Lobineau, who was dead by the time the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail went looking for him. But the man’s daughter claimed he had no interest in such matters, and would not have written such a document. This is so typical of intelligence operations. Either Mr. Lobineau was an intelligence agent with a secret life his daughter didn’t know about, or he was just a hapless victim whose name the Priory decided to make use of. And since he was now dead, he couldn’t very well deny it!

What do you make of the deaths of the Le Serpent Rouge authors?

I think that, just like with Henry Lobineau and the Secret Dossiers, the three authors to which Le Serpent Rouge is attributed could have just been convenient names for the real author or authors to use. They could have just been three people whose obituaries were picked out of the paper, who died at around the same time that the poem was published. And the Priory liked this ambiguity, because dead men can’t talk, and because the supposed authors’ deaths added intrigue to the document, making it seem dangerous and explosive. All this might have been manipulated just for propaganda purposes by the Priory of Sion. Of course, it could also be true that these men were the authors, and that they were killed for publishing it. Perhaps it does contain the secret of the Grail in code, and with the Priory being a probable intelligence operation, it is possible to believe either way: that the men were killed because they wrote the poem, or that the poem was attributed to them because they were dead men whose names were conveniently available to use.

What is the Atbash Cipher?

Atbash is one of the simplest and most widely-used transposition ciphers in the world. All you do is you substitute the first letter of the alphabet for the last letter, and vice versa, then the second letter for the second-to-last letter, and so on. The entire alphabet becomes inverted. The first becomes the last. Therefore I think it is appropriate that the Templars are believed to have used the Atbash cipher to encode the word “Sophia” or “Wisdom,” creating “Baphomet,” the name of the sacred principle that they revered. It is appropriate because Baphomet has been depicted as the very embodiment of this inversion of polarities: of the inversion of the black and white, good and evil, the end and the beginning.

What do think of the idea that there is “something in the blood” of people of the Grail bloodline?

Certainly it stands to reason that if the Priory of Sion is promoting the idea of a modern royal bloodline descended from Dagobert II, Jesus, and King David, they must believe that there is something inherently special about that blood, especially since they are claiming that Jesus’ biological father was Joseph and not God. There is something sacred about the blood itself — something that predates even Jesus. It seems to me that this idea of there being a “divine” quality inherent in royal blood is what is at the heart of the concept of the divine right of kings. Back when monarchies ruled the world, it was believed that the king was chosen by God to be his representative on Earth — a right that passed to his heir when he died, and which was etched in his very DNA. A king is a king by right of his birth, almost regardless of anything else. Specifically dealing with the Merovingian bloodline, when their kings ruled France, they were viewed by their subjects as having magical powers inherent in their blood. They said that the power was actually contained in their long hair. They were believed to be psychic. Their relics were attributed with talismanic powers. And according to legend, this is ultimately because the Merovingians were descended from a divine being called a Quinotaur, a sea-beast who is purported to have raped the mother of their first king Meroveus while she was already pregnant. This injected a divine element into his already human nature, and from that point on the Merovingians carried something supernatural in their blood.

Well, in my research, I was able to find similarities between this sea creature, the Quinotaur, which was described as having a man’s head and a fish’s body, and a figure revered throughout the ancient world, which was also described as half-man and half-fish. The Philistines called him Dagon, the “dag” syllable being a Semitic word for “fish.” This may explain why there were two Merovingian kings named “Dagobert.” Known to the Chaldeans as Oannes, to the Greeks as Kronos, and to the Sumerians as Enki, I found that this same figure was recalled in the ancient myths for having interbred with human females, and spawning a half-human, half-divine royal race. In fact, he was part of a race of fish gods who did this, and who are said to have passed down sacred knowledge to mankind. Their children became the kings of mankind, and keepers of the divine wisdom of their ancestors.

Now this story has a parallel in Judeo-Christian lore. In Genesis there is a story which is told very briefly, and not elaborated on much, just prior to the story of the Flood. It states that angels came down from Heaven and interbred with human females. This, according to the text, was an unnatural abomination. “Giants” were born to these women, and they were monstrous, destructive creatures who laid waste to everything on Earth. So God decided to cleanse the planet of them, and this was the real cause of the Flood of Noah.

An apocryphal text called The Book of Enoch elaborates on this story even more. It makes clear that the interbreeding of the angels, called in the text “the Watchers,” with human women, was considered an abomination by God, and that the angels knew this, but did it anyway. Thus, as punishment, they were cast out of Heaven and, after God cleansed the Earth with the Flood, he locked the fallen angels in Hell forever. So this, according to this story, was the cause of the War in Heaven between God and Satan. It was Satan (called “Azazel” in this version of the story) and his fallen angels who interbred with the human females. And interestingly, The Book of Enoch specifies what “forbidden wisdom” the fallen angels or Watchers taught their human descendants. This included astronomy, math, writing, music, metallurgy, and all forms of arts and sciences, as well as how to perform magic. So we are talking about a bloodline supposedly descended from Satan, that was believed to be responsible for acquiring and passing down to us all of the basic arts and sciences of civilization, as well as the occult sciences. This links up with the story of Dagon and his race of fish-gods interbreeding with mankind and bringing them wisdom, or with the Quinotaur inseminating the mother of Meroveus. In each case, we have a forbidden sexual union between the human and the divine which results in a royal bloodline, and which is associated with the passing down of forbidden wisdom.

It all starts to come together with another apocryphal Christian text, The Book of the Cave of Treasures. In this version of the story, instead of being fallen angels, the forbidden sexual union is between the Cainites, descendants of the murderer Cain (who it is alluded, is actually the son of Satan), and the descendants of Cain’s pure and pious brother Seth. In addition to sexual defilement, the Cainites defile the Sethites by passing on to them, once again, the same forbidden wisdom, and again these acts prompt God to cleanse the Earth with a flood.

Now interestingly, I was able to find a number of old school mythologists and anthropologists, such as Ignatius Donnelly and L.A. Waddell, who have equated the ancient fish-god Dagon with the biblical figure of Cain. They also equate Cain with a figure who appears, alternately named “Qin,” “Kon,” or “Kan,” in the Babylonian, Egyptian, and Indus Valley pre-diluvian kings lists. These authors hypothesized that the biblical figure of Cain is actually based on an ancient king who ruled over several continents prior to the Deluge, and whose descendants were responsible for rebuilding civilization after the Deluge. They were eventually deified by their ancestors, remembered as god-kings by the ancients. And as I examine world history and mythology, it is clear to me that it is descent from these semi-human, semi-divine god-kings which has provided all monarchs since then with a divine right to rule. I am willing to bet that all royal houses from throughout the world can in one way or another be traced back to these god-kings.

Now, Genesis does state that after Cain was exiled to the so-called “land of Nod” for murdering his brother Abel, he founded a number of great cities. So the Bible seems to be confirming that Cain ruled as a king somewhere. And as it turns out, Cain’s name can be interpreted to mean “king” in ancient Semitic languages. In other words, you could think of Cain as the primordial king upon which the archetype of “king” is based.

Genesis gives the descendants of Cain out to four generations. Strangely, their names are each strikingly similar, and sometimes even identical to, the names of the descendants of his brother Seth, who was born after his exile to Nod, and who ended up inheriting what should have been Cain’s birthright. Each of Cain’s descendants is credited with having invented some science, such as music, or metallurgy, just like the fish-gods of Babylon are said to have given these things to man, and just as the fallen angels of Judeo-Christian lore are said to have. Cain himself is said to have invented agriculture, just like his mythological counterpart in other cultures is credited with doing. And yet, as significant as these contributions seem to be, only four generations stemming from Cain were mentioned in Genesis. Not only that, but Cain was eventually killed by his own grandson, in a hunting accident which bore parallels to the death of Merovingian King Dagobert II. And after four generations, nothing more is said of the Cainites in the Bible. It is assumed that they all died off in the Flood. Jewish legends state that they were swallowed up by the Earth, and thereafter lived in a subterranean world called the “Arka.”

But did they die out? The deliberate obfuscation caused by the similarities in the names of the Cainites and the Sethites makes me wonder if some of Cain’s seed did not make it on board the Ark and survive the Flood — if that cursed Cainite blood wasn’t really flowing in the veins of the patriarchs of the Bible, and thus, ultimately, in the veins of King David, Jesus, and later, the Merovingians. Certain details found in the Bible and other apocryphal sources indicate that this was the case, and that Noah’s ancestry was more than human.

There is then, of course, also the implication that Cain was the son of Satan and not of Adam, as his brother Abel was. In the story of Genesis, after Eve eats the apple of the Tree of Knowledge, she becomes enlightened with the knowledge of good and evil. She then shares it with her husband Adam. They both then become aware of their nakedness, of their sexuality. And we all know what happens after that. Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden for disobeying God, who did not want them to have this wisdom. Soon afterwards, Eve is pregnant. She has two children, although it is not clear if they were twins, or if they were born and conceived separately. Cain is considered the eldest, though. It seems clear that, in part, the knowledge which the Serpent gave to Eve by getting her to eat the apple was “carnal knowledge.” And so it is possible that he indeed impregnated her at that time, spawning Cain, prior to her and Adam conceiving Abel. So once again, we have a sex crime which spawns a royal race, and which originates with Satan.

Is this what the Quinotaur — the Cain-otaur — symbolizes? Is this why the Devil is such a prominent theme in Rennes-le-Chateau? Is this the heresy that really lies at the heart of the Merovingian mythos? Is it this secret knowledge: that our kings, our savior, and all of our human wisdom have a heritage going back to Cain and to Satan? This is the kind of idea that the Church never wants anyone to think about. But it is this very union of the human and the divine, as well as of good with evil, which had always been said to lie at the heart of occult, alchemical power. This is the mystery of the ages. Knowledge of this is said to bestow upon its bearers an omnipotent power. And indeed, it seems that this is what all the monarchs of history have carried in their blood — the powers of both God and the Devil, inherited literally through blood descent. This is what gives them an inherent right to rule, and what bestows nobility upon them. God has ordained that Satan is the Lord of the Earth, and that those who carry his blood will rule. And so any person who has this blood has a right to rule, declared by God, etched in his very DNA. But they also carry with them the curses of their forefathers, Cain and Satan. This, I believe, is why a double-barred cross was chosen as the emblem for the Merovingian-descended House of Lorraine. It represents the union of divine and infernal blood. French poet Charles Peguy wrote of it:

“The arms of Jesus are the Cross of Lorraine,
Both the blood in the artery and the blood in the vein,
Both the source of grace and the clear fountaine;
The arms of Satan are the Cross of Lorraine,
And the same artery and the same vein,
And the same blood and the troubled fountaine.”

What is the importance of the landscape and mountains around Rennes-le-Chateau?

My approach to the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery has been no so much to try to find the treasure, which I do not have the power or the resources to do, but to try to interpret the lore — to try to figure out what is being implied by all of the strange local legends, the clues placed by Sauniere, the Priory of Sion, and others, indicating some sort of “treasure” present at the location. To sum it up, I came to the conclusion that Rennes-le-Chateau was the center of a cult which believed, rightly or wrongly, that it was the location of the “Arka,” or the prison of the Cainites, the subterranean world in which, legend states, the descendants of Cain were imprisoned by God. It would also be the prison of the fallen angels in The Book of Enoch, which the title character actually visits in the story. Upon seeing the prison of the angels, Enoch exclaims “This place is terrible.” This just happens to be what Sauniere had written above the doorway to his church. And inside that doorway, what do we see? A fallen angel, or demon, in chains.

Now, Henry Lincoln discovered that the five mountaintops which dominate Rennes-le-Chateau form a mathematically perfect pentagram, which is an absolute statistical anomaly. And of course, the pentagram is a symbol of magic, associated in modern times with the Devil. But as I have discovered, it was also used in ancient Sumeria, the cradle of civilization, as a hieroglyph symbolizing the concept of a prison. In ritual magic, pentagrams are still used to contain demonic spirits when conjuring them. So perhaps these five mountains are really just the tips of what is actually a vast subterranean structure, the “Arka,” containing the bodies of the five generations of Cainites, and thus imprisoning their souls. This structure, then, would have been literally built by God, or by angels, on his orders. And over time, it may have become a center of worship for those who perpetuated the teachings given to man by the Cainites, or the fallen angels, as well as by the families descended from them.

In my book, The Merovingian Mythos and the Mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau, I explore this idea, and connect it to the idea of the “Arka” to the “Cave of Treasures,” which, in Judeo-Christian legend, is believed to contain the bodies of the patriarchs, from Adam to Jacob, as well as a temple built by Adam. This cave is said to be inside a mountain called “Kardo” that resides in the center of the Earth. Well, one of the five mountains at Rennes-le-Chateau is named “Cardou.” The word “Arka” can mean “prison,” but also “container,” “coffin,” or “treasure box,” among other things. So perhaps that’s why the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau is associated with the concept of “Arcadia,” or “Arka Dia” — because the “Arka” built by “God,” and containing both the Cainites and the patriarchs, is there.

Now I’ve found legends of such a place in many ancient cultures, as well as in more modern occult folklore. There is this recurring idea of a cave inside of a sacred mountain in the center of the Earth that contains the grave of a sacred king, and which is said to be lit by an “inner sun.” This was said by the ancient Egyptians to be the permanent location of the tomb of Osiris, for instance. And it is this idea of an inner sun inside of a sacred tomb which I believe is analogous to the Grail stone. And since Rennes-le-Chateau is believed to contain the Holy Grail somewhere underground, I speculated that such a sacred tomb, containing an “inner sun” (whatever that is) might be what is underneath the mountains of Rennes-le-Chateau. And perhaps it serves as an underground temple too, as a secret place of worship for the bizarre, Luciferian cult which seems to dominate the local population of Rennes-le-Chateau, who are no doubt privy to the mysteries of what lies beneath.

Did Pierre Plantard admit that there was an ancient hidden temple underneath Rennes-le-Chateau? What did he say?

Amazingly, something remarkably similar to my hypothesis about Rennes-le-Chateau seems to be implied by statements attributed to Pierre Plantard in what purports to be a new Priory of Sion newsletter that was published, according to the website of Paul Smith, in 1989. In it, Plantard talks about a black rock at Rennes-le-Chateau — a rock which, he says, has been mistaken by some for the Devil, whom he also refers to as “the Angel of the bastard race.” He was talking about the landmark known as the “Roc Noir,” or “Roc Negre”: the “Black Rock” in Rennes-le-Chateau. Other articles published in the same magazine state explicitly that there is a mining shaft running through the Roc Negre that connected to a series of old underground passages, which in turn leads finally to what is described as “a former Celtic sanctuary” called the “Round Temple.” The article says that this was also a former Temple of Mithras. It is described as having 13 stone seats arranged in a circle. Upon each seat is written a letter, and the letters spell out the Latin words “Ab Urbe Condita.” These words mean “From the founding of the city,” and are traditionally used to refer to the founding of Rome in 753 B.C. On the floor of the temple, the article says that there is a “Golden Sun,” upon which is written, in Roman numerals, the number 2434. This, of course, matches up with my idea that there might be a tomb and temple beneath Rennes-le-Chateau, “lit by an inner sun,” as the tomb of Osiris and other gods are said to have been.

The article in the Priory of Sion magazine says that the Priory’s inner circle of leadership, known as the “Arch of the 13 Rose-Croix,” has meetings here, even unto the present day, and that the Priory of Sion was actually founded here. This may explain the term “Ab Urbe Condita.” And 2434 might be the year that the Priory was founded, expressed according to an alternate dating system. Pierre Plantard said in an interview in the magazine that the existence of this temple was indeed the great secret of the Priory of Sion.

How important is this story? How real is it?

The reality of the supposed “treasure” at the heart of the “mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau” can only be determined by scientific analysis of the area, including excavations. But I think the best evidence that there is a genuine mystery there is the peculiar activities of the townspeople, who really do behave to this day as if they have something to hide, and do not enjoy the publicity they are getting one bit. The fact that the church, and all the other weird landmarks in the area, have been preserved exactly as they are, even though the town is not promoting tourism, is telling.

The “reality” of the Priory of Sion is lost in the mists of time. I don’t think we will ever be able to prove or disprove the modern Priory of Sion’s historical connection to the Order of Sion from the 11th and 12th centuries. The Priory led by Pierre Plantard definitely existed and was a real organization, using propaganda and other covert methods to try to influence history and current events. We know that it existed at least from the 1950s through the 1980s. According to the latest issue of the Priory of Sion’s magazine, it continued at least into the 1990s, and the Grand Mastership was passed onto his son, Thomas Plantard. So it’s certainly possible that the Priory is still around now, perhaps plotting how to best take advantage of the popularity of The Da Vinci Code. A true conspiracy theorist would believe that they are somehow behind the success of The Da Vinci Code! But unless Thomas Plantard himself steps forward, and can prove that he’s the real Thomas Plantard, I’ll never believe anyone who claims to represent the Priory in modern times. There are too many impostors in the world.

Is this the biggest cover up of all time?

If it is the location of the “Holy Grail,” then it contains, almost by definition, the greatest secret of all time. However, in my book I posit that Rennes-le-Chateau may have been just one of many locations in which the “Grail stone” has resided. Other candidates include the temple mount in Israel, for instance, and the Giza plateau in Egypt. But Rennes-le-Chateau may have been, up until recently, one of the least-suspected locations, and thus, the most well-hidden.

How is history and archaeology challenging, questioning, and getting us to the truth?

The problem with historians and archeologists is that, so much of the time, they are just copying one another’s bad homework. Once a particular historical interpretation gets recorded and agreed upon as fact, it becomes enshrined in holy scripture, and can never be questioned again. Future historians and archeologists then build further hypotheses and assumptions based upon those assumptions, and then the next generation of historians and archeologists builds upon that. Anybody who questions the most basic assumptions determined many generations previous to him is labeled a “crackpot,” and so much of the time the academic establishment never goes back to look at the source material.

Another problem with archeologists and historians is that they tend to interpret ancient cultures with a modern worldview. This often manifests itself in their inability to conceive of there being more than one meaning to a folk legend — for it to be both a record of a historical memory, and at the same time an allegory. They can’t conceive of an object having both a functional purpose and a symbolic purpose. They can’t conceive of more than one layer of meaning to anything, and they can’t conceive of everything being interconnected, rather than separated.

I think that this is the very opposite of the way that ancient man viewed the universe. Every part reflected the whole, “As above, so below.” And so to them, the study of astronomy, astrology, religion, history, math, science, philosophy and architecture were all part of the same pursuit. To them, just because something happened literally did not mean that it was not also spiritual and metaphorical. To them, a god could be at once a human and an animal and a divine being, and at the same time correspond with a planet, a color, or a metal. He could at once be a flesh and blood being who lived and died, remembered in legend, and at the same time an omnipresent primal force, a spiritual entity beyond time and space.

This is the way you have to look at these tales of the long-forgotten past. Just because you see, in a myth, evidence that the characters and the story elements embody an “archetype” does not mean that the story is not also literally true. Prototype precedes archetype. The common archetypes that you find throughout the world’s different mythologies are all based on common ancestral memories. They are based on something that actually happened. I think this explains what Jean Cocteau once said: that he had “always preferred myth to history, because history consists of truths which in the end turn into lies, while myth consists of lies which finally turn into truths.”

Will we discover the truth?

The truth regarding Rennes-le-Chateau? I used to think so, but now I’m not so sure. The town has gotten a lot of unwanted attention lately because of The Da Vinci Code, and I think it won’t be long before the church and other landmarks of interest become closed to outsiders. I really don’t think they ever wanted their town’s mysterious secrets to become so widely known, and they certainly have no desire to have so many tourists visiting their little town. They’re also wary of treasure-hunters. In order for the truth to be known about Rennes-le-Chateau, the mayor would have to allow excavation and other research to be done on site, which so far every mayor they’ve had has been unwilling to do. And I can see why: once the secret’s out, you no longer have a mystery.

As for the alternative views on the life of Jesus, I do think we are making progress there. There hasn’t been a lot of new information revealed in the last few years that wasn’t already known to biblical scholars, but many more people have been educating themselves about apocryphal gospel material and the theories about the bloodline of Christ. And really, a lot of these people have had to re-read, or perhaps read for the first time, the Canonical gospels as well, in order to put the apocryphal material in context. So it’s been good for Orthodox Christianity too. It’s good for society in general for people to educate themselves about history, and especially about the history of religious ideas. It’s also good for people to become aware of the influence of secret societies and fringe beliefs on politics and current events.

I do think that there is a flowering of awareness not only of Rennes-le-Chateau, the Merovingians, and the Priory of Sion, but of the whole array of topics associated with the Holy Grail mythos, such as Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Templarism, secret history, and the kaballah. But I don’t know if that brings us any closer to the ultimate “truth” regarding the issue. I think the more desperately you search for a definite answer, the more elusive it becomes.

Do you believe that there’s a “coming event,” a revelation, an apocalypse of some kind? What do you think it is and how is this event connected to Rennes-le-Chateau?

If what I think is beneath Rennes-le-Chateau is indeed there, then I think that if it were ever revealed to mankind, the results would be so shocking that they would disturb the foundation of every major religion, and every major power structure on Earth. Whoever took control of the treasure might even be able to use its power to take control of the world’s governments Thus I would think that God would only allow those secrets to be revealed if he was ready for the Apocalypse to begin.

That being said, I also think that, if there ever were going to be an “Anti-Christ,” a king who unites the globe in a universal religion and government, declaring himself to be the embodiment of God, it stands to reason that he would probably come from the Grail bloodline. He would be descended from Satan, which would explain his predestined predilection for evil, but he would also be a descendant of Christ, King David, Abraham, Jacob, Noah and Adam. He could use all of these lineages as credentials to convince members of all the world’s religions that he is not only their divine right king, but the final avatar, or messiah, which their prophets have been predicting. So yes, I think that our generation may yet see the rise of a Merovingian Anti-Christ.