Read the next installment of Paul Saussez' exclusive presentation of a never before published essay: "A Concise History of Rennes-le-Château in Languedoc".
You can find it HERE.
As a person who has wondered if the trip by SESA to RLC in the summer of 1905 was 'faked' in some way i was happily surprised to read the following:
Patrick Mensior wrote - "Since 2005, a few isolated researchers continue to question the tour made June 25, 1905 by the society of scientific studies of the Aude (SESA) tour that was the subject of a report published in 1906 Volume XVII memories of the learned society. However, since the publication of The Legacy of Saunière authors Claire Corbu and Antoine Captier (OdS Publishing, April 2012, p. 245), we know that Sauniere noted this event on that day, in his notebooks".
I have highlighted in the above paragraph the tidbit that i didnt know - Sauniere noting the event of the visit in his diary. HERE is a link to the page where you can see an illustration of this. Also there is further info. in this document - Mensior shows what appears to be a reference of the group meeting in the local newspaper of the time. Fascinating.
Oh if only Marie de Negre's tombstone was still extant - we would have none of this stress....!!!!
When you immerse yourself in the mystery of Sauniere it is not long before you bump into the theory that the historical Jesus Christ was married to a woman called Mary Magdalene. This was more the 'Anglo-Saxon' take on the intrigues of Sauniere and which could possibly be a great 'red herring'.
However, this does not detract from the interesting 'historical' question itself: Just what was the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene? To answer that question there is a fascinating book by F. Stanley Jones called 'Which Mary'? Here is some 'blurb' about the book:
" This book brings together cutting-edge contributions on the early Christian Marys, offering a variety of perspectives by leading scholars, suggesting answers for known questions and attempting to reframe the discussion through new questions. The studies evaluate the recent insight that the somewhat revolutionary Mary in ancient Christian writings who has often been assumed to be Mary Magdalene is sometimes specified to be Mary the mother of Jesus. The book analyzes the cross-fertilization of traditions that has apparently occurred and also probes into the earliest preserved traditions on the Marys, both canonical and non-canonical, as preserved in Western and Oriental languages. These essays were initially presented at the 2000 Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. F. Stanley Jones provides an introduction; the contributors are Francois Bovon, Ann Grahan Brock, Karen L. King, Jonathan Knight, Antti Narjanen, Stephen J. Shoemaker, and George T. Zervos. Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)".
This book is an absolute fascinating read. Bovon, moreover, writes about the Acts of Philip and the portrayal of a certain Mariamne, aka Mary Magdalene. On page 84 he refers to a tradition that talks of the death of this Mariamne. The author of the Acts of Philip says that he is concerned with ' a special form of funeral for this Mariaamne' ..... Philip orders the coffin to be placed in the River Jordan. As Bovon notes '....to my knowledge there is no other text locating Mariamne's death in Palestine.....the location of her tomb in a river is also exceptional. I know only of one other case, that of Alaric I, king of the Visigoths, who died at Cosenza in 410C.E. and was buried by his soldiers in the River Busento.'
Funny how the legend of the Magdalene being buried in a river [from the Acts of Philip] replicates the legend of Alaric being buried in a river. Especially when both have been grafted on to the legends of Rennes-le-Chateau quite independently of each other!
I recommend the book and you can buy it here:
At the following website - http://priory-of-sion.com/ - there is an article published HERE talking about some observations by Monsignor Boyer on the book by Gérard de Sède entitled ‘L’Or de Rennes ou la vie insolite de Bérenger Saunière, curé de Rennes-le-Château’ (“The gold of Rennes, or the extraordinary life of Bérenger Saunière, priest of Rennes-le-Château”). Boyer had given - on this subject - a talk to the Société des Arts et des Sciences criticising the work of de Sède. I was particularly interested to read that: Abbé Boudet never had any problems with the Diocese, but rather with the town council of Rennes-les-Bains regarding the lease on the presbytery at the time of the separation of Church and State. And the Diocese never destroyed “in front of him” (or behind his back either) his book entitled ‘Lazare.’
Depending how you read that statement, might it suggest that Boudet had written a book on Lazarus?
On sharkskin legs, the lamb gambles with our gullibility,
floating in formaldehyde, fleecing us for all its worth.
Brassed off, the art historian turns away. Rustic simplicity
parodied in woolly counterpoint has no place on his Earth.
Ilissos, wrapped in thought; the child, the artist, all recoil:
Arcadia must have its tomb; Pan died here. We seek the thrust,
extrapolate: what words are running through each oil-
fired head? Right now the paint speaks best, for voicing sheer disgust.
Although turn of century political correctness has wrought considerable havoc with many traditional symbols of European art, the lamb, a revered and ancient symbol, has fared far better than most: the lamb. Early Christians adopted the lamb, a sacrificial animal of the Old Law, to represent a triune innocence of gentleness, purity and self-sacrifice that would challenge sorcery and defeat paganism: when the lamb bleeds into a chalice, it represents Christ’s sacrifice; when it carries a banner, it becomes a symbol of Christ’s resurrection.
Indeed, the lamb in painting has experienced a mystical re-birth in a picture by André Durand that reflects upon Damien Hirst’s Away from the Flock, a Postmodern work that has achieved iconic status as a symbol of Britart. In Durand’s picture ET IN ARCADIA EGO, OR, THE ART LOVERS, the lamb symbolizes art that has gone astray. Durand’s ET IN ARCADIA EGO is an emblematic ‘Neomodern’ picture: Neomodernism restores the traditional and eternal values of art while contemplating the essence and potential of the present.
Not only does the lamb in Durand’s picture assume new symbolism, but also the elliptical title ET IN ARCADIA EGO takes on a new meaning quite distinct from the analogue that was coined in the 17th century. George III believed Arcadia was a place of perfect bliss and Utopian beauty far removed from reality, but Greek authors knew better — that the real Arcadia was the domain of the great god Pan, who played his syrinx in a bleak and rocky domain devoid of all the comforts of life.
Once Virgil succeeded in idealising Arcadia, the pastoral kingdom of Arcady evolved rapidly into a source of inspiration for innumerable artists. Among the most celebrated pictures by Guercino and Poussin, central importance is given to a tomb said to be the final resting place of an unknown shepherd who died of grief — some would say, of unrequited passion. Even the utopian bliss of Arcady would fail to heal his broken heart.
Et In Arcadia Ego may translate several ways, such as: ‘I, too, was born [or lived] in Arcady’; or, ‘Even in Arcady, there I am’. After much deliberation, Erwin Panofsky (Meaning in the Visual Arts, Doubleday Anchor Books, New York, 1955) concluded that it is not the ghost of the shepherd that declaims to us from the depths of the rustic sarcophagus, but Death itself. Indeed, there is Death — even in Arcadia.
Just when we thought that Panofsky had unravelled the definition of this esoteric anagram, Durand gives it another spin by adopting it as a title for a picture painted during his tenure as artist in residence at Kingston University’s Stanley Picker Gallery during the summer of 2000.
In point of fact, THE ART LOVERS serves as an ironic subtitle for Durand’s picture, a composition that gives as much portent to Hirst’s Away From the Flock as Poussin gave to the symbolic sarcophagus. Durand’s four Arcadian shepherds adopt a novel attitude to the presence of Hirst’s Postmodern sepulchre, an attitude unprecedented in any of the other pictures that Durand surely must have considered before he painted his own version of Et In Arcadia Ego. In every picture concerned with this subject, the shepherds are seen carefully examining the tomb that they have come upon. But in Durand’s ET IN ARCADIA EGO, OR THE ART LOVERS, the four shepherds refuse to scrutinize Hirst’s lamb embalmed in formaldehyde. They turn their backs to it. Had the artist not painted himself as one of the shepherds, we might wonder what this Arcadian quartet could possibly be thinking about. With a self-portrait to remind us of Durand’s personal commitment to the content of his picture, we can safely guess that these shepherds have art historical questions on their minds. This supposition is substantiated by another likeness. The eldest shepherd in the upper right-hand of the composition is a portrait of Dr. Andrew Ciechanowiecki, the Polish classical scholar and collector of renaissance bronzes.
We note that Hirst’s icon, like all Postmodern endeavours, mocks the autonomy of aesthetics and form as well as painting generally. However, the four generations of shepherds in Durand’s ET IN ARCADIA EGO, OR THE ART LOVERS understand the truth in Hirst’s flippant comment, `If you can ‘do’ the art world at 32, it means that there is something wrong with the art world, not that you are a genius.` (The Big Issue) To be sure, there is something definitely wrong with the art world; and Hirst, most certainly, is not a genius.
Durand has said that he saw Away from the Flock once, in the Serpentine Gallery the same day another visitor poured ink into the formaldehyde. The thought of a black sheep triggered his imagination – a blackened, dead, Postmodern lamb. So often a victim in European art, the lamb suddenly became a symbol for art itself; the aquarium a tomb. For Durand, Hirst’s pickled sheep swiftly emerged as an apt symbol of how far art had gone astray.
Durand’s ET IN ARCADIA EGO, OR THE ART LOVERS, with its traditional painterly values, evinces an epiphany of Hegel’s Idea, eloquently manifest in the nude shepherd. His self-contained beauty dominates the composition, and links the picture’s iconography to ancient Greece. Like Henry Moore, Durand has spent many hours in the British Museum contemplating and drawing that indisputably great piece of sculpture, the so-called Ilissos from the east pediment of the Parthenon, which represents a formal discovery as valid as the formulation of a philosophic truth (Kenneth Clark The Nude, A Study in Ideal Form, Pantheon Books, 1953). We understand why the artisans who painted the Greek sculptures often were paid higher wages than the sculptors were, when we study the way Durand has rendered the luminous flesh tones of his shepherd in oil on canvas. Here we are confronted with a nude equal to any that preceded it – an implacable Ilissos to greet the Millennium. A classical nude emanates, signalling a new direction in the history of art that we will baptise with a tautology: Neomodernism.
The Idea and the symbol of the Nude are two criteria of a Neomodernist picture. Another criterion exists in Durand’s ET IN ARCADIA EGO, OR, THE ART LOVERS, that is Albertian depth, as invented by Brunellesco, tempting us to abandon Clement Greenberg’s exceedingly narrow conception of Modern art as a self-inquiry, illustrated by an ‘ineluctable flatness of the surface’ which he perceived as emblematic of and endemic to modern painting.
It is true. Art had gone astray. But now Durand’s ET IN ARCADIA EGO, OR, THE ART LOVERS continues the inexorable dialectical process of movement from so-called high art to Postmodernism and beyond. Durand’s four Arcadian shepherds should welcome this U-turn in the history of art because Neomodernism assertively restores the traditional and eternal values of art while contemplating the essence and potential of the present.
Is it any wonder, then, that Andre Durand’s shepherds refuse to tend Damien Hirst’s sheep? Postmodernism is dead, and in spite of all, we still possess the power to recognise and acknowledge the Idea.
Away from the Flock has been entombed in Durand’s Neomodernist Arcadia. Spirituality and beauty in painting have been resurrected.
Armando Bayraktari, 2000
The above is taken from Durands website: http://www.andredurand-gallery2000.com/paintings/et_in_arcadia_ego. It is a fascinating modern take on this theme. And the discussion of it is also profoundly interesting. Durand has elsewhere mentioned the story of Sauniere and the alleged 'parchments' associated with him, and the Poussin connection to the tomb at Arques. In that painting (see Here) there does seem to be allusions to the Sauniere 'mystery' as perhaps created by Cherisey and Plantard! - so it seems he had an interest in the tale of the priest with billions as well.
La Gazette de Rennes-le-Château - in its News section - reports that the archives of the department of the Aude are now on line [Les archives de l'Aude en ligne].
This is a great tool for dedicated researchers. Here is the link HERE.
A few years ago i watched an History programme on TV which which focussed on Rennes-le-Chateau. They reported on the recent Ground Penetrating Radar scans that had been conducted at various places around the village and on Sauniere's domaine.
One of the prime 'movers' in all this new activity, and which allowed investigations to take place was Jean Genibrel. According to him, one of his ancestors had worked with Saunière on the building of the Tour Magdala. Genibrel reported that this ancestor had then left [after he had died] a letter indicating that the priest had buried a chest or casket beneath the foundations of the Tour Magdala. And of course Genibrel wanted to find out if this was true.
I had corresponded with Jean on just this point. Robert Eisenman was linked to this activity and the scans and this activity with Genibrel.
A few years later, this activity - which had been filmed 'as it happened' - turned up on the History Channel Documentary i mentioned above. I have always remembered it because the filming showed that digging was commenced as a result of the Tour Magdala scans, but clear as day, when the 'diggers' hit something which sounded wooden and hollow [perhaps a chest or casket?] - they were refused permission to dig further by the 'powers that be'. It seemed to me that on screen confusion abounded among the participants because it was not understood why the digging had to stop.
Anyway, i taped the program and here are some photos below from the TV images which show the point where a wooden 'artifact' [?] might have been found.
Closer inspection reveals they have chipped away bits of wood. Of course one wonders - was Genibrel correct? Did a workman of Sauniere, who was an ancestor of Genibrel - see Sauniere put a wooden box in the foundations of the Tour Magdala? Had the diggers reached it and were chipping away bits off it?
It seemed all who were there thought a box had been hit. So why was the 'digging' stopped at this point to the dismay of those present? There may be a valid reason for this and the wooden pieces were not relevant in any way to the Genibrel 'story' - but the sense from the documentary, for me anyway - did not convey this. For me it seems they hit on something interesting and then were told to stop. It was never referred to again!
I'm not one to 'mystery - make' especially as the genre is so littered with those who like to make a mystery out of nothing - but it seems to me here that perhaps there really is a mystery about what is buried under the Magdala Tower and why the investigators were told to stop. Until an explanation is forthcoming to suggest otherwise, it will always be a little suspicious to me.
"Towards Rennes-les-Bains, the meridian line passes between Serres and Peyrolles, close to the tomb at Arques, known as the " Shepherds of Arcadie", continue on to Serbaïrou to the place where a stone of almost 2m in height bearing the engraved Latin inscription: "AD Lapidem Currebat Olim Regina" (towards the stone the Queen formerly ran). This queen is the red line of the meridian line, the "Rose-Line" as Abbe Boudet would write. Perhaps he was right, because Roseline was abbess of "Celle aux Arcs" and her festival is on January 17… her legend deserves reading".
Why does her legend deserve reading in the context of the Roseline, Boudet and January 17th? Which legend is that? The one of her 'roses' or the one of her body?
The roses - This is an event which occurred in Roselines childhood: As a young child she developed a love for taking care of the poor. She would distribute goods to the poor from her family’s provisions. Someone of the household saw her doing this and alerted Rosaline’s father. One day she filled her skirt with bread to take to the poor only to be stopped by her father who asked her what she was carrying in her skirt. She told him they were roses. Extending her skirt by her father’s insistence, what were revealed were actually roses.
Plantard picks up on the 'roses' to link it to his beloved Roseline Meridian, probably reveling in the connection of 'Arcs' and 17th January.
Her body - Five years after her death, in 1334, Pope John ordered her tomb to be opened. Her body was found entirely incorrupt and it is still so today.
We could of course put these two themes together - and be confronted with a scenario that Plantard and Cherisey were forever drawing attention to: that is a tomb or important burial on the Roseline near Rennes-les-Bains. Let us assume, just as in this 'miracle' of Saint Roseline, that an incorrupt and perfectly preserved body remains - a body of an important, and perhaps religious person, by whatever name (the Grand Roman?) in an underground Temple. A tomb, which Boudet connected to the Resurrection, and therefore perhaps an important saint of the Christian religion?
Welcome to the blog of Rhedesium
My name is Sandy Hamblett, inspired and passionate researcher of the mysteries at Rennes-les-Bains.