There is a strange proliferation of mysterious 'heads' in the folklore of Rennes-les-Bains. Henri Boudet, in his book 'La Vrai Langue Celtique', described a "head of the Saviour" which used to be found on top of a menhir in the local area which he claimed had 'existed for 18 centuries'. And yet Antoine Delmas - an earlier priest of Rennes-les-Bains [who is known to have looked for archaeological relics] does not one reference to this head. Should we assume that this Boudet 'head' did not exist in the 18th century [at the time of Delmas] - and should we assume that Boudet 'invented' it in much the same way he invented his Celtic Cromleck. Why would he do this?
"the “tête du sauveur” [is] a menhir [i.e. a standing stone] preserved on this site [a hill above Rennes-les-Bains] and it is a [head] which is carved, in high relief, and represents a magnificent head of the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of Mankind. This sculpture, which has seen approximately 18 centuries, has given its name to this part of the plateau, Cap de l’Homme, the Head of Man, referring to the man par excellence, filius hominis. It is deplorable that we were obliged, in December 1884, to remove this beautiful sculpture from the location it occupied, to remove it from the ravages of a pick-ax of an unfortunate young man, who was far removed from being able to understand the significance and its value.”
The account is interesting in that it suggests a date of circa. 84AD for the origin of this 'head' - an impossible statement as chronologically Christianity hadn't reached this part of France and in fact did not even exist as a religion then. Perhaps Boudet was trying to suggest a continuation of a tradition by linking the Roman era of the local village with the modern village in his lifetime?
One could ask why anyone would want to create such a sculpture as this? Boudet refers to the standing stone as originally being part of a pagan temple, which was converted into a Christian church and later destroyed by a fire. He adds that the head looked out over the valley “and dominated all of these Celtic monuments that have lost their teachings”.
This 'Head of the Saviour' was described as being attached to a menhir. Its not altogether clear if this is a prior sculpture set upon the top of the menhir or whether the statue was intrinsically an actual part of the standing stone as in an 'anthropomorphic' menhir [see below].
In “La Vraie Langue Celtique” Boudet mentions clearly the existence of an antique grave in Rennes-les- Bains, writing that menhirs are ancient graves and that a cromleck is always built around a menhir. Is this his way of saying to us that the artificial cromleck which he draws attention to contains an ancient grave? Is the Menhir with the carving of the Head of the Saviour the centre and important part of the Cromleck?
It certainly would seem so. However, several other heads have been confused with this one. There is the head on a boulder or rocky outcrop - also associated with Rennes-les-Bains! This is a 'female' head later transferred to the presbytery wall at Rennes-les-Bains! Local archaeologists around the time of Boudet criticised him for his account of a head that he found and they determined that what he describes is not the same as the head which was later cemented into the presbytery wall of his church.
This 'other head' is known because of another account associated with Boudet. Nevertheless it does not resemble the description given in his book. Viz:
"Madame TIFFOUS, born Alys GRIFFE, in 1886, at Rennes-les-Bains, said: "Mr De GROSSOUVRE mining engineer in Bourges, Colonel TOUCAS, Périgueux, and my father Joseph GRIFFE of Rennes sought the veins of ore at the Pla de la Côte or Pla des Bruyères, on land owned by Count H. De Fleury. They found a boulder which seemed interesting, brought it to my father and the Abbe Boudet [of Rennes les Bains] to have it cleaned up and [we] saw it was a head. MARTIN, mason, on the order of Abbe Boudet placed the head at the place where it is still, [and] this happened around my twelfth year, i.e. about 1898."
According to this paragraph the 'head' was fixed 'in the place where it is still' - i.e the presbytery. The archaeologists, however, dispute that the head Boudet refers to in his book is anything but the boulder referred to in the paragraph above. They say:
"It [the sculpture] refers to a feminine head, sculpted quite roughly in high relief in a block of reddish sandstone. One can, moreover, distinguish the chisel marks used to hollow out the block of stone scarcely smoothed out around the edges. It is actually set into the centre of the eastern façade of the presbytery at about 1.5 metres from the ground. Despite the effects of weathering which has softened the relief, it is in quite good condition and shows no significant scratch marks, only the nose is broken at the tip exposing the two drillings for the nostrils. The locks of hair are present but not heavily outlined; the upper head lightly flattened, presents a deep, more or less conical indentation....."
To further confirm our suspicions Boudet told us later what happened to the real head he was referring to. After he saved it from destruction from vandalism he wrote: "This carved head of Christ is [now] in the hands of Mr. CAILHOL of Alet-[les-Bains]".
So we have two heads, one male and one female. It is the female head which was embedded into the presbytery wall and which is now in the local museum. These are pictured below:
The only point in common for both 'heads' was their find location. This was on the rock called "Cap de l’homme’ on the boundary and along the Pla de la Côte or Bruyères. Is that significant? The general consensus was that the female head represented a Romanised cult of a local goddess. The archaeologists Gibert and Rancoule asked: Did Rennes therefore possess its own goddess or goddesses source? Our ‘head’ - does it not represent one of these goddesses? The location of the find eliminates its allocation as a decorative element placed on a building used for public worship. It seems that the size and shape prohibit this: it is either a votive or a fragment of tombstone, or the character is represented in bust or foot. We think we see in this representation one of the innumerable minor goddesses, a more or less Romanized Gallic version of a much older source.
The names reinforces our hypothesis: the place of discovery is located above the spring feeding the stream called "Las Brueissas" i.e. witches, a place that overlooks all the hot springs. A. Grenier said over the long evolution of religion: the mother goddesses became the Fairies. In our region the presence of "Dones" or "Ladies" are at water sources and creeks. This term is synonymous with local Fairies, and seems a relic of the worship of nymphs equivalent in Italian sources. We have an illustration of the Roman period on the dedications shown on the plates of lead-Amelie les-Bains or the protectors of springs which are called "Niska" (Young Ladies). These terms have often degenerated in more recent times, and this may be the case here, "Brueissas" or witches .
The next strange twist in this 'story' is the details added by Plantard et al. Plantard added that the head sealed in the Rennes-les-Bains presbytery was that of the Merovingian king, Dagobert II. The details are given in the suspect publication 'Les pierres gravées du Languedoc' (The engraved stones in Languedoc) which was published in 1884 under the name of Eugène Stublein. This literature is part of the so called Lobineau Documents and the Priory of Sion mythology.
But look at the oher details given here. This head of Dagobert was engraved 700 years after Christ (i.e. the 8th century) on a menhir in exactly the same place as was found the Head of the Saviour of Boudet and the female head [which has been identified as belonging to a head of a local female Goddess] - that is - the Pla des Bruyères [Brugos]. This may have correlates with information contained in Cherisey's novel CIRCUIT.
And while looking at the drawing of the head of Dagobert, does this really look like a Merovingian king? No. They look - especially from the styles of the hair - more like figures from the 17th century! All Priory propaganda! Even the page is numbered 186, no doubt a pun on the ever important 681 key.
For me, the head that is of 'real' interest is of course the one described by Boudet. What did it look like? Why did he give it to Mr. CAILHOL? Why was the 'head' associated with a pagan Temple? Was there ever such a Temple in the area?
Boudet's Head of the Saviour was said by him to have been engraved on a menhir on the Cap de l'Homme. These type of menhirs are known as anthropomorphic Menhirs. The best known examples of these type of menhirs are the ones found at a famous archaeological site in Corsica. There are also some in France, especially old Occitania as i have illustrated below.
Who are these figures meant to be? Archaeologists suggest that they are images of the deceased, whose presence and protection are required from beyond the grave. They therefore appear over funerary sites.
If this theory fits then Boudet and his anthropomorphic menhir of Jesus Christ, which had seen 18 centuries, originally found along the Cap de L'Homme area of Rennes-les-Bains, represented an image of the dead and its presence was required for protection from the grave. Is this really what Boudet wanted to suggest? That essentially the grave of the historical Christ is in the area of Cap de L'homme? As incredulous as it may seem the area of Rennes-les-Bains does carry ancient traditions of a burial of Christ in France [see HERE].
Because of a random act of vandalism, presumably that Boudet came upon while walking the area, he was obliged to move the menhir [how can you remove a sculpture embedded into a menhir such as this?] because the young man defacing it with a pick axe 'Did not understand the significance and its value.”
Everything about this menhir doesn't ring true! None of it makes sense. Is it wishful thinking, trying to understand any alleged coded message from Boudet? Perhaps not. The anthropomorphic menhirs referred to above [from Corsica] surmount stone funerary coffers rather bizarrely named 'corn-silos'. The legends in Corsica say that these monuments, the 'silo's', contained gold ingots. We know Boudet often referred to corn and silo's in code too. For example a key word that Boudet uses [in La Vrai Langue Celtique] is 'kairolo' - which he describes as a word made up of the English term `key' – which no doubt is a “coincidence” where the pun was intended. It appears in the translation of "Kaïrolo", page 295.
Here, Boudet analyzes this word by making it derive from `- key', key, `- ear (ir)' ear of corn, `- hole' small house, attic "and can be the silo or underground containing invaluable cereal…"; here is the typical style of Boudet: under cover of a key word, he indicates to us that the corn was stored in an underground room, with all allusions relating to corn, as well with gold when using slang, but also with the parabola of the sower: if the grain does not die..."
Perhaps then, this head of the Saviour, near Cap de L'homme - which may or may not conceal an antique grave may also contain some ancient gold! When all is said and done it was an anthropomorphic menhir found near Pla de la Côte or Bruyères. Boudet said it looked over the valley and this might be visualised as below:
Here we see that it is the same 'view' that Plantard and Cherisey see as significant. That is a view from Cap de L'homme towards the church at Rennes-les-Bain and its valley ...
What is fascinating is that local postcards [thought to date around the last century] of the area of Rennes-les-Bains depict this celtic Cromleck of Henri Boudet's. How on earth could this happen, when it is quite clear that the Cromlech does NOT exist? Someone certainly didn't want us to miss this book .....[see below].
Welcome to the blog of Rhedesium
My name is Sandy Hamblett, inspired and passionate researcher of the mysteries at Rennes-les-Bains.