|[Photo credits: The Heretic Magazine]|
This article was first published several years ago in 'The Heretic Magazine', issue nr. 10, written under my nom de plume, Jeanne D'Août. I now think it's time to share it with you. ♥
|[French cave paintings, by Jeanne D’Août]|
|[Bloodstones, by Jeanne D’Août]|
Immigrants from the East
Two millennia ago, thousands of Jewish refugees fled from Palestine to southern France and northern Spain to escape the harsh Roman rule of terror in their home country. On arrival, they introduced the Jewish culture to the region, including mythology, music, folk tales, customs and religion. Among these refugees were Essenes and early gnostic Christian missionaries, the first to set foot on French soil. These were gnostic mystics, preaching a new faith based on ancient concepts. They mixed the esoteric Hermetic Teachings with new rules, based on old principles. Because they recognized certain aspects of this new religion, the local French tribes - which at that time still mainly consisted of Celtic Gauls who had their own pantheon of gods and goddesses - were open to certain aspects of the new faith. Slowly but surely, after many conversations and joint philosophizing, the influence of these new ideas from the east began to take root in southern France.
|[St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, by Jeanne |
D’Août; Popes ruled by the sword]
Fifteen hundred years ago, a previously pagan Europe - where Celtic and Nordic traditions had always been the old and accepted way of life - witnessed with mixed feelings how various eastern religions were cleverly penetrating the established western European cultural and religious societies, its governments and the systems of law and order. When the Romans left their empire to the rule of the Goths and the Franks, Europe had already become a multi-cultural society, divided like a quilt tapestry into hundreds of small realms, dukedoms, counties and princedoms. These were ruled by their own elites, who almost constantly fought among themselves for power, land and the spoils of war. These rulers also took the liberty of pronouncing exactly what kind of religion their people were allowed to follow. Those who lived in towns under their control made sure they obeyed their ruler’s wishes and piously demonstrated their prescribed religion in public. However, in the countryside, the farmers and lumberjacks often remained faithful to the ancient laws of nature and their deities. Hence the use of the word ‘pagan’ (peasant, farmer or woodsman), or ‘heathen’ (people who lived on the heath, like shepherds), words that became invectives and caused division and hatred between townspeople and country folk. These pagans and heathens became the outcasts of society. They were called heretics; freethinkers, non-believers or worse: devil worshippers! So, around 1200 years ago, Europe was plunged into chaos. As a result, the Roman Catholic Church decided to dedicate themselves to becoming the primary remedy to cure Europe, if necessary, by sword, terror and fire. In the year 800, Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the new Holy Roman Empire, with Christianity as its main religion. Under his rule, his armies conquered land after land with just one goal in mind: to unite Europe under Christ.
Of course, there was more than just Roman Catholic Christianity in Europe. Because of its multi-cultural society there was also Judaism, Islam and of course, paganism. There were also a number of small splinter-groups that had created their own rules and philosophies - some more esoteric than others - who had cut themselves off from the main religions and boldly went their own way. Within Christianity alone, several sub-groups had already broken away during the reign of the first Christian Emperor Constantine the Great (4th century CE). Most of these groups had chosen to remain faithful to the original faith, which was mostly Gnostic in origin.
|[Qumran, by Jeanne |
D’Août; the caves where the
Dead Sea Scrolls were found]
The Guardians of the Grail
Situated in the south of France, the Cathars are believed to have been the guardians of the Holy Grail, the true cup of Christ, a tangible object that allegedly made its way to France by early Essene or Christian missionaries, Jewish refugees, the Knights Templar or even Mary Magdalene. The question is - could Jesus have had such a cup? This is actually quite possible. In the Near- and Middle East, important families possess a traditional cup, mostly silver or gold, which they use during religious feast days. In Hebrew, this cup is called a ‘Goral’. Obviously, the word could have easily been morphed into Gral or Grail throughout the ages. Did Jesus’ uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy tradesman and supporter of Jesus, use this cup to catch Jesus’ blood during the crucifixion? Or is this just a symbolic story in troubadour style, teaching us to look deeper? To look beyond? To look inside? There are clearly many versions of the Holy Grail, so when we remember the saying ‘as below, so above’, perhaps there really is both a material cup and an immaterial, more symbolic cup.
|[Crypt of St Michel de Cuixa abbey, |
by Jeanne D’Août]
Towards the 10th century, Cathar Country - today’s southwest of France - had become a melting pot of cultures and religions and thrived on trade, open philosophy, art, architecture and learning. A new understanding of higher natural science and metaphysics was developed from studying ancient mystical religious concepts. A metaphysical aspect of Mother Mary, for example, the Notre Dame de Sous Terre (Our Lady Beneath the Earth) became an important focal point for the Benedictine Order, an increasingly successful Christian order in the south of France that coexisted peacefully with the Cathars at that time. To the Benedictines, Mother Mary was the embodiment of the Light in the World: the Christ in her womb. She enabled the impregnation and birth of new life on earth, born through her body, inside the cave or crypt. This ancient mystical teaching symbolized the impregnation of the Mother Goddess (the earth) by the Holy Father (God), while Archangel Michael himself became the symbol of the impregnation with his fiery sword; Michael the Light bringer; Lucifer. Here we recognize the sore spot that created the misunderstanding about the Cathar view. Lucifer, of course, is what the medieval Catholic Christians called the devil. It didn’t take long before people accused the Cathars of devil worship, thinking they were focusing only on the extremes: good and evil. According to the Inquisition reports, the Cathars believed that the earth was created by an evil God, Lucifer, while the Heavens were created by a good God. However, knowing what we now know about Lucifer and the Light in the World, we are beginning to understand that the Cathar view was much deeper than a mere black and white - heaven and hell - based religion.
A deeper awareness of the energies that rule the world and the Universe, and knowledge of the Hermetic Teachings, can be recognized when we research the Cathar esoteric philosophy more closely. The medieval view of God and all of Creation had been divided into two extremes: Firstly, there existed an esoteric, mystical and metaphysical study of higher natural laws. Secondly, there existed a much more exoteric, black and white concept of the temporal material world with all its pain and sorrow on one hand, and the eternal realm of Heaven on the other; the source to which we all aim to return to after death. In this view, living souls were considered to be body-trapped light beings; fallen angels who only had one goal: to be returned to the Creator and the Heavenly Realm of the Good God. This is the generally accepted Cathar view. However, in the same period, the Catholic Christian view in their competition with the splinter-groups had no choice but to come up with its own dogma to be able to teach their flock how the Light in the World that creates and sustains life on earth could be explained in a simple way, and while debating this subject, a new question arose: what was this mysterious and holy content of the Grail cup, and what was the complicated mystical truth behind the Grail Lore?
However, these difficult metaphysical Grail concepts were not so easily understood by all the people who followed the new Christian faith. It is not so easy to lift the veil of Isis and discover the Grail, our own Divinity within ourselves; to recognize the Light - the Divine Spark - that lives within us all. Perhaps Parsifal simply managed to pierce that veil (name related pun intended). For the more exoteric followers of the faith, who struggled to grasp the metaphysical and mystical concepts that exist within the symbolism, new dogmas and doctrines were created, and Biblical stories were adapted and simplified. However, the more these new Christian missionaries evangelized the region, the bigger the demand for tangible holy objects. Also, there was a growing need to anthropomorphize the new deity, to give it a shape everyone could connect with or relate to. People needed relics; remains of saints and Biblical people, pieces of cloth that belonged to Mother Mary, splinters from the cross, etc. and when the tale of Parsifal became popular, there arose a rapidly growing demand for Holy Grails.
We arrive back in the Sabarthès region of southwest France and the sacred extraterrestrial stones that had become part of a 20th century Grail quest; the meteorites called ‘bloodstones’ that were sacred to prehistoric shamans and to the inhabitants of the area we now lovingly call Cathar Country. Being pulled into the Grail lore craze, like everywhere else in Europe, the people of the Sabarthès must have had a similar desire to behold a real, tangible Grail cup. So, what if someone had the idea of carving a cup from a bloodstone to use as a Grail? All you had to do was fill it with water and scratch the bottom to turn the water into ‘blood’. ‘Un vrai miracle!’ It is said that there really is such a cup. Though I have never seen it, locals call this cup the ‘Pyrenean Grail’. Could this be the Passover Cup that was used by the Cathars of Montségur? But the Cathars did not celebrate the Eucharist. They did not believe that a piece of bread could miraculously turn into Jesus’ body, or that wine in a cup could turn into his blood. Thinking of their background - perhaps they gave the Pyrenean Grail cup a different assignment. The mystery of the Passover cup goes back to an ancient Jewish tradition, in which the cup is actually the Cup of Salvation, referring to the Exodus and the great escape from Egypt. Knowing they would meet their death in the flames at the bottom of the mountain the next day, this could have been a reason for the Cathars to use the cup in a ritual to prepare for death - their escape from the physical world and journey to the afterlife.
|[Black meteorite and green impactite by Jeanne D’Août]|
But there is at least one other stone that has become famous; a stone that has been lost, but not forgotten.
|[Sol Invictus, photographer unknown]|
|[The Fontanet Cave, |
by Otto Rahn, 1931]
|[Montségur, by Otto Rahn, 1931]|
After joining the SS in 1936, it must have been difficult for Rahn to travel alone as he had done before 1933. Nevertheless he managed to travel around Europe and write a second book, which was given the interesting title of ‘Lucifer’s Court’ when it was published in 1937. It appears to be a travel journal of collected articles, written in the years when he traveled through Europe. However, there are several clues that make the reader realize that he understood very well the connection between Lucifer, the sun, the Light Bringer, Sophia, the Holy Grail, Apollo, Sol Invictus and all other sun-connected deities and their metaphysical and mystical concepts.
|[The Ariège River, by Jeanne D’Août]|
If you were one of the three escapees from Montségur on the eve of 16th March, 1244, with the sacred task of taking a certain object to safety, where would you hide a Grail stone? Where would you hide a pebble? Perhaps Rahn was simply looking for a lost Grail that had been hidden in plain sight, some 700 years before.
Through writing his books, Rahn made it possible for the world outside Cathar Country to become aware of the atrocities and horrific crusade against the heretics of the 13th and 14th centuries. He empathized with the Cathars, and had become angry with the Church of Rome for the medieval holocaust it had started; a mass murder against heretics, Jews and others who were not following the Christian dogmas; a black page in history which has been kept out of the history books. Surely, he must have felt he had to play his part in stopping it from happening again. Little did he know what horrors would come to pass in the years that followed and God only knows what this man went through when he found out.
|[Otto Rahn, ca. 1936, |
Much has been said about Rahn, but after researching what we know about him and dismissing the speculations, I have become aware of the complexity of his situation and the harsh post-mortal judgment that must be tormenting his ghost. He was a poet, a writer and a relic hunter, searching like the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann for ancient and forgotten places. Perhaps he had even found a forbidden relic. According to Rahn himself, he never found the Holy Grail, but he said he would have loved to find it. Still, he did mention possessing a stone from Montségur in his second book, ‘Lucifer’s Court’. “The stack on the left makes up this book.” he writes in the last chapter, “I will put them away, along with the stone I found at the heretical castle of Montségur.”
|[Medieval drawing of Esclarmonde, |
In his book ‘Crusade against the Grail’, Otto Rahn wrote about the Cathar Dame Esclarmonde, a name that roughly translates as ‘the Light of the World”. Esclarmonde was a legendary Grande Dame Cathar, a great public speaker and defender of the Cathar faith and rights, who was among the victims of the tragic fall of Montségur in 1244.
However, according to a shepherd’s tale that was recorded by Otto Rahn, she managed to escape from Montségur on the eve of 16th March, 1244; not as a mortal woman, but in the shape of a dove and holding the Holy Grail in her claws. She was seen ascending into the sky, flying high above the highest tower of the castle. Then, suddenly, the mountain beneath her opened up its rocky top, like a volcano ready to burst. She then dropped the Holy Grail into the mountain’s belly, after which it immediately closed again with a resounding thunderclap. In doing so, the Mont Ségur, the legendary Mont Salvat, locked and sealed the Holy Grail, the true Cup of Salvation, deep inside its bowels for all eternity. Esclar Monde, the Light of the World and at the same time the Holy Godflame, personified by Lucifer the Light Bringer - a concept that had been celebrated since prehistory, but which had been condemned to hell by a new faith - had chosen to return forever to the interior of the earth. It is only a shepherd’s tale, but perhaps, if we read between the lines, it contains the only truth.
For more on sacred stones, the enigmas of Rennes-le-Château, The Knights Templar, Otto Rahn, the Hermetic Teachings, the ancient Egyptian sacred stones and Akhenaten’s Aten-Ra mysteries, read my books written under the nom de plume of Jeanne D'Août: “The Forbidden Relic” (a.k.a. “White Lie, the Quest for the Forbidden Relic”) and “The Eye of Ra”, two fast moving esoteric adventure thrillers, available on Amazon. All the direct links can be found on www.jeannedaout.com or visit my blog page 'My Books'.