By Tracy R. Twyman
Originally written for Dagobert’s Revenge Magazine, Copyright 2001
(Does not necessarily represent author’s current viewpoint.)
An often overlooked clue in the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery is Berenger Sauniere’s personal bookplate, now on display in the Berenger Sauniere museum right next to his church at Rennes-le-Chateau. At the top, we see an angel holding Asmodeus in chains, a symbol perhaps of Cain’s supposed imprisonment in the center of the Earth. Below is an alchemical seal which he quite clearly copied from Henricus Madathanus’ Aureum Seculum Redivivum. The main feature of the symbol is the Seal of Solomon, formed by two triangles, one black and one white. This shape can be thought to represent the World-Mountain reaching up to Heaven, with the tomb of Cain in its bowels, reaching down into the center of the Earth. And on this alchemical seal, at the exact point in the bowels of the symbolic “mountain” where you would expect to find the sacred tomb, the astrological sign of the Sun has been drawn in, like the Black Sun in the center of the Earth, and the “hidden sun” which lights the tomb of Osiris/Cain. Placed over this is an inverted symbol of Venus, the cross surmounted by a circle. In this version, the cross is pointing upward, near the top of the hexagram, as if it is meant to represent the cavalry cross of Golgotha where Christ was crucified, which in apocryphal legend was placed just above the Jewish Cave of Treasures.(1) The part of the Venus sign that forms a circle is surrounding the “hidden sun” symbol. And written on the circle are the Latin words “Centrum Trigono Centri” (“The Center in the Triangle of the Center”). In other words, “the tomb within the mountain which is in the center of the Earth.” On either side of the cross are the letters “BS,” just as they are found throughout Sauniere’s church. For some reason, all past authors have assumed these to be Berenger Sauniere’s initials, and no one has thought to compare this seal to the alchemical manuscript it was copied from. These letters are part of the original. So the “BS” decorations Sauniere placed throughout his church are not his initials. They are undoubtedly an abbreviation for some alchemical motto, but one which, unfortunately, is yet to be deduced.
Alchemical image from Sauniere’s bookplate.
Obviously, this entire symbol is meant to depict the World-Mountain, the Tomb, Golgotha, and the Garden of Eden. Around the hexagram just described is another circle (representing the Earth, of which the hexagram represents the center) upon which are written the words “Tria Sunt Mirabilia: Deus et Homo; Mater et Virgo; Trinus et Unus.” This translates to: “Three are the Marvels: God and Man; the Mother and the Virgin; the Three and the One.” It speaks to the alchemical union of symbols represented by the center of the Earth. At the four corners of the seal are four cherubim, like those which guard the Garden of Eden, or those which flank the Ark of the Covenant.
Image of Asmodeus from Sauniere’s bookplate.
(1) An almost identical version of this seal was also shown in a manuscript by Abraham Eleazar, placed side by side with the alchemical symbol of the crucified snake. Since the cross is metaphorically linked with the Tree of Life, this may symbolize the serpent on the Tree in the Garden of Eden. It could also further embody the notion that Christ was of the serpent-blood of Cain.