Monday, 5 February 2018

The Christian and Evolution

In this essay, I engage with the problem of evolution. For many Christians, neo-Darwinian evolution is anathema. They think that goes directly against the Christian view that God created the universe as well as all the biological diversity within it. So, should Christians merely assert their opposition in this regard or are there solutions which allow for some kind of reconciliation with science in this matter? I present an alternative perspective based on the biological model developed by Immanuel Kant in his Critique of the Power of Judgment which may serve as an alternative to the neo-Darwinian model. I also show that some models in contemporary quantum biology show a remarkable consistency with Kant's view which supports the Christian perspective of God as Creator.

Image result for darwin origin of the speciesThe question of evolution is one that generates strong feelings among many Christians. Although there are some Christians - especially academically inclined ones (such as those from BioLogos) and those belonging to Biblical Criticism - who accepts the role of neo-Darwinian evolution within God's plan, most Christians think that the basic assumptions of this theory go directly against the Christian tenet that God created all things. The reason for this is that the mechanism which drives evolution according to neo-Darwinism, namely natural selection in cohort with random variation, is basically a random process which goes directly against the idea that all creation be viewed as part of God's great purpose. If things happen randomly, it seems that God is excluded from the process. Although one may argue that God works (in a mysterious way) through such an evolutionary process, the randomness thereof seems to exclude purpose which is indissolubly linked to God's role as Creator.

So, even though I think that one cannot expect Christian scientists to disengage from the dominant (biological) theory of the day, it is nonetheless also true that it is very difficult to incorporate neo-Darwinism within the Christian perspective. This leaves us with the question: What are the alternative options for Christians considered in scientific terms? (This would be the question of any Christian scientist such as those from BioLogos!) Christians who believe that the earth is young (such as those from Answers in Genesis) will merely say that God directly and purposively created everything during the six solar days of creation about 6000 years ago (for a detailed discussion of this view, see [1, 2]). This is obviously in direct conflict with science and very few (if any) Christian scientists of respectable standing (especially in the natural sciences) would seriously consider that as an option. Another possibility is given by those Christians who accept that the earth is old (and accept a scientific theory such as that of the Big Bang). Some of them (such as those from Reasons to Believe, Discovery Institute or the Biologic Institute) think that God intervened directly at various points in the evolutionary process when he created the species, for example, during the Cambrian Explosion 544-530 million years ago (for a detailed discussion, see [2, 3]).

Both Young and Old Earth Creationists reject neo-Darwinism. The first group does so in principle whereas the second group think that other related evolutionary models which accentuate discontinuities in the fossil record, such as "punctuated equilibrium" (which rejects the graduality of neo-Darwinism), could be reconciled with the idea of God's purpose in creation. Since "punctuated equilibrium" (or related models) cannot provide an adequate mechanism to explain those gaps, these Christian scientists and philosophers of science make their own proposal in this regard, namely that God intervened during these periods to create the species. Some of them present their view of direct divine intervention (not all such Christians have particular views in this regard) as a scientific hypothesis called Intelligent Design. I discussed the book Darwin's Doubt (2013) written by one of its proponents (Stephen C. Meyer) elsewhere [3]. The problem here is that their view seems all too human (they think in terms of human design) and many secular scientists regard this hypothesis as little more than creationism dressed up in pseudoscientific clothing although these Christians would obviously disagree.

One may, therefore, ask: Are there not any other alternatives? In an essay on this blog I previously suggested that neo-Darwinism is an incomplete theory which would in time be replaced by theories which are more in line with the Christian way of thinking [3]. Neo-Darwinism, for example, did not traditionally include quantum physics in its explanation and as such presented mere mechanistic solutions (which is incompatible with "creation"). This has changed dramatically over the last decade with the coming of age of the new scholarly field of quantum biology. At that time (in 2014) I made a proposal [3] based on my reading of Kant's philosophy of science in his Critique of the Power of Judgment (called the third Critique) which is consistent with a new biological model which has recently been presented (in 2016), namely of homogenomic evolution [4].

In this essay, I present a more detailed version of my proposal (which is also found in my Master's thesis [5]) and show how it corresponds to the mentioned biological model. Making use of Kant's theory makes sense since the interest in his work had made a dramatic comeback in academic circles over the last few decades and his philosophy of science had been shown to be consistent with current scientific thinking [6]. As such, I argue that although God may have intervened throughout history in the process of evolution, he had already built the blueprint which allowed for the unfolding evolution of all life into his design of the cosmos when he created it in the beginning. We may interpret homogenomic evolution (which to a large extent replaces neo-Darwinian evolution) as being consistent with Kant's model and therefore consistent with the purposiveness (i.e. teleology) that Christians ascribe to God. Although homogenomic evolution has obviously not yet become the dominant model in scientific circles (it had only recently been presented as a serious alternative) there can be no doubt that the new ideas associated with quantum biology are changing the field in a way that is much more in line with Christian thinking!

I start the discussion by first giving a short overview of the Biblical creation narrative in the Book of Genesis showing that it is consistent with such a scientific view (even though the text was obviously not written with a scientific perspective in mind! - see [1, 2]). Then I present my interpretation of Kant's scientific model of biological evolution in the third Critique. Thereafter I show that this is consistent with homogenomic evolution and more specifically as presented by William B. Miller Jr. in his recent essay Cognition, Information Fields and Hologenomic Entanglement: Evolution in Light and Shadow [4]. In the same way that Old Earth Creationists accepts the Big Bang, we can now more generally accept such scientific theories as consistent with the Christian viewpoint. This means, that at last, biology joins physics as a field that Christians do not have to view with antagonism as they usually do. In general, I think that this will also make it easier for Christians to accept the scientific evidence for the age of the cosmos.

The Biblical perspective

Although most Christians regard the creation narrative given at the beginning of the Book of Genesis as important for understanding God's plan for man, not everyone thinks that it is relevant to contemporary debates about origins. Some Christians (such as those from BioLogos and those from Biblical Criticism) accentuates the fact that the book should be viewed within the ancient context in which it was written which stands totally apart from contemporary concerns. I accept that this is true but at the same time think that the Biblical account could not be in direct conflict with science (insofar as scientists make an honest attempt to understand God's creation) when we accept that it is divinely inspired (I discuss these issues in some detail elsewhere [1, 2]).

In the creation story of Genesis 1, we find that God is said to have created the cosmos in six "days" which had become a major stumbling block for many unbelievers who regard this as being in direct conflict with science (especially as interpreted by the Young Earth View). Although I cannot discuss this in any detail here, I can mention something very basic which goes against such an interpretation of the text, namely that it makes absolutely no sense that God created things on the first, second and third solar days if He created the sun only on the fourth day! In this case, there would have been three solar days without the sun!

This should not be regarded as a stupid error by the author (see [1]) but as implying that we should read the text in another way, namely that the "days" refer to longer periods (as is found in Gen. 2:4). We know this since the author also mentions that God made the sun and the moon (and the stars) on the fourth day as signs regulating "seasons, days and years" (Gen. 1:14). This means that solar days (!!!), the four seasons and even solar (and lunar) years only made their appearance on the fourth "day" of creation! This is actually consistent with the sun being made on the fourth creation day. This obviously strongly suggests longer periods of creation which is also consistent with contemporary science. (Why would one want to hold to an interpretation which is so diametrically opposed to all science if it is not really necessary?)
Image result for creation cosmos painting
God creating the sun, moon and stars - Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel
When we now take a closer look at God's creative acts during this period, we find something interesting. The phrases "God made" and "God created" (Gen. 1:21, 25) are used in the same breath as ones which state that He ordered the earth and the waters to bring forth all the many species of plants and animals (Gen. 1:11, 20, 24). Why this ambivalent description? How could the earth or waters produce the species? They seem to have been the milieu within which the species were produced. But this suggests that the process of creation - which is described as evolving from simple to more complex life forms - may have been more nuanced than Christians usually think and may have included some element of spontaneous production/evolution within the framework of God's grand design. This also means that the creation of the species (and even mankind; Gen. 1:26) could have happened through some process of theistic evolution even though not the neo-Darwinian one. At the very least, one could say that there is no reason to categorically exclude some form of theistic evolution on textual grounds.

This brings us to God's creation of humans. The creation of humans is mentioned twice, namely in the creation story (Gen.1-2:4) as well as in the garden story (Gen. 2:5-3) (which I do not regard as another creation story [1]). According to the creation story, 'adam (mankind; which is not a personal name!), which includes male and female, was created during the sixth creation "day" whereas the central personage of the garden story, which is later called Adam, was created at the time when God planted the garden in Eden. The inclusion of both male and female persons in the expression 'adam (mankind) is nicely expressed in Genesis 5:2 where we read: "male and female created he them, and called their name 'adam, in the day when they were created." So, one can interpret this as saying that the human species was created sometime during the sixth "day" of creation, long before Adam's time. As such humans may have been around for a very long time before the arrival of Adam on the scene (nothing in the text is against this reading).

One should also note that the metaphoric use of the image of God as potter in the garden story should not be taken literally in the same way that the story of Eve's formation from Adam's rib in the same story is not to be taken as such (the problem of the fusion of metaphorical and literal motifs is typical in such ancient religious texts and confuses the modern mind - one may assume that these literary tools were not well distinguished and developed as such at that early stage [7]). The author of the garden story based the story of Eve and the rib on a well-known story from the ancient Middle East which he adapted for his purposes (for a detailed discussion of these points, see [2]). There can therefore not be any doubt that he never intended it to be taken literally! There is, therefore, also no reason to think that Adam was made from clay! Once we allow that 'adam be distinguished from Adam (see above), there is no reason to think that Adam was the first human ever created.

The view that Adam and Eve were not the first humans is supported by other textual evidence. We find, for example, that reference is made to people living outside the area of the garden of Eden - who are described as people who may have felt the impulse to kill Cain (Gen. 4:14). Where did these people come from? Now, it seems that the author took it for granted that there were people outside the garden - other humans who were not previously introduced in our story except in the context of 'adam. So, taken in this way, we can accept that the Biblical text is not in conflict with science. The earth can be very old (the Bible gives us no clue how long the days of creation were) and humans may be hundreds of thousands of years old as both archaeology and DNA data proves. Why would one insist on reading the text in a way which is in direct conflict with scientific evidence if there are other viable readings (in accordance with good hermeneutics) which are consistent with science?

More generally, there is still one outstanding issue. We may accept that the earth is very old (billions of years) as are humans (about 200 000 years) but the question remains whether one species developed from another? Did God create each species anew or did they evolve out of each other (a process in which God may have been actively involved)? The evidence suggests the second option. As scientists from BioLogos have mentioned [8], the history of the species includes a common ancestry which includes not only healthy genes but also broken ones. This strongly suggests that those genes were inherited from previous less-advanced species (and that God did not create each species anew - He would obviously not have created broken genes!). This is evidence for theistic evolution but not for neo-Darwinian evolution.

All of this implies that we can easily accept the Biblical narrative of creation as being consistent with science (insofar as the age of the earth and possibly even some form of theistic evolution are concerned). There is absolutely no good reason the insist on interpretations of the Biblical text which go directly against science. In fact, one can argue (as I do) that this is by far the better interpretation of the Biblical text (since it accounts for all the nuances of the text). As such, we may explore scientific models which are consistent with the Christian view that God's creation reflects his purpose. Such models should be in line with a teleological (purposive) reading of the unfolding biological development of the species.

One of the greatest philosophers (of science) of all time who developed such a model is Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) whose model in this regard never found a wide audience because of the popularity of the evolutionary model of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) (similar to the discovery of genes by Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) which stayed in obscurity for many years because scientists thought that Darwin (who knew nothing about genes (!)) said it all). I will now discuss Kant's model of biological evolution.

Kant's model of biological evolution

In the period before Immanuel Kant's time, Isaac Newton (1642-1727) had published his famous work on classical mechanics and there were questions as to how such a mathematical science could be placed on solid epistemological grounds (that is, be taken as objective knowledge). Kant tackled this problem in his (also) famous Critique of Pure Reason (1781) in which he showed that we can only obtain "objective" knowledge if our conceptual structures (our theoretical model) could be synthesized with sensible intuition (empirical data) (allowing for a determinate "truth" judgment in this regard). When we cannot obtain empirical data of something (say, of God Himself) then we can also not know if such a thing exists. This does not mean that such things do not exist - it merely means that we as humans are very much restricted in our ability to know things about the cosmos especially if such things fall outside empirical reach [9] (such as we find nowadays in the case of quantum entities during the pre-measurement phase).

Kant presented his scientific model in two works, namely in his Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1786) which laid the philosophical foundation for Newtonian science and in his Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790; in the second part called Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgment) which focussed on biology. His work regarding Newtonian science had since been extended in a manner consistent with contemporary scientific theory (where Einstein's work was also greatly influenced by Kantian thought!) [6]. Kant's work also had a great influence on Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. His work on biology is what concerns us here. 

Kant observed that there are certain "products of nature" like organisms for which an explanation in purely mechanistic terms (which is all that was allowed in Newtonian science as well as in Darwin's theory) does not seem to make sense. He proposed that we have to go beyond merely mechanistic explanations even though we cannot prove that to be the case. As such, he proposed a teleological approach in which our world is taken as if it is designed and which allow for two kinds of causal processes, namely mechanism as well as one that is spontaneous (called teleology). This does not mean that Kant asserts that our world is designed (that cannot be proven since it goes beyond our empirical means) but merely that science has no choice but to work under a guiding principle according to which the world is regarded as if it is designed (otherwise science which searches for "laws" of nature would not be possible). Within this guiding principle, Kant suggests that there are two possible kinds of causality which produce everything in nature, namely the mentioned ones of mechanism and teleology. 

Kant produced a biological model which incorporates these ideas. This is a model that proceeds beyond "objective" knowledge (as we find in Newtonian science - exploring possibilities beyond the confines of such knowledge) to allow for "regulative" ideas which serve merely as hypotheses even though they may be beyond direct empirical confirmation. In this regard, Kant allows that our world may include not only "nature" (this Kantian concept should not be confused with our contemporary concept thereof) ruled by mechanism but also a supersensible substratum of nature which is ruled by a spontaneous causality which Kant conceptualized as a "natural purpose". Kant formulated this last one as a kind of causality which allows for non-extended  "wholes-and-parts" (i.e. which lay beyond proper space/time and which may be regarded in some sense as "designs/plans") to produce material "parts" belonging to aggregated wholes in nature through a self-organizational process. Natural purpose as a causality has a capacity or potentiality to produce effects within observable nature. In his view, the two effective causes of mechanism and natural purpose (teleology), taken together, may explain the possibilities of organisms in a way that mere mechanism cannot. 

In the context of biological evolution, Kant proposes that the “maternal womb of the earth” had an original purposiveness without which the "possibility of the purposive form of the animal and vegetable kingdoms cannot be conceived at all" (CPJ 5:420). He proposed a theory of evolution according to which one species could have evolved through adaptation into another. The alterations which species could undergo and then successfully pass on can be judged as "purposive potentialities" which were originally present in the fundamental constitution of the species (CPJ 5:419-20). This means that through natural purpose we can see new species - which incorporate the less-complex features of previous species - becoming realized within the world. In Kant's view, we can see this unfolding grand design within the cosmos within the context of God's intentional act of creation even though this can obviously not be proven (as discussed above).

In my work, I show that these Kantian ideas find their application in quantum physics [5]. The Kantian idea of "nature" (as a system governed by mechanism) is consistent with our "classical world" where Einstein's theories of relativity apply (i.e. within proper space-time). The Kantian idea of a supersensible realm finds expression in the "quantum world" and all the necessary characteristics (conditions) for the first are confirmed (satisfied) in the second [5, 10]. Kant's idea of a natural purpose finds expression in the reduction of the wave packet - during which superpositions of states (consistent with Kant's wholes-and-parts) are realized as outcomes in observable nature (the particular range of possible statistical outcomes reflects the Kantian idea of material "parts" belonging to "aggregated wholes"). A detailed discussion of this is beyond the scope of this essay but is presented elsewhere [5].

In a previous essay on this blog (in 2014) I suggested that this reading of the Kantian biological model of evolution may at some stage find its equivalent within contemporary quantum biology. I wrote:  "It is possible that we will eventually find that evolution has a quantum component, i.e. that leaps in biological evolution have their grounds in the quantum world where they would arguably seem to be at home." Such a model has now been presented which describe the "leaps" in biological evolution which produce new species in terms of quantum potentialities which are realized in biological phenotypes (i.e. its observable characteristics).

Homogenomic evolution

Before commencing with this discussion I freely admit that I am not a biologist. As such, I do not try to explain all the nuances of this evolutionary theory. I am only interested in its obvious correspondence with the Kantian model described above. I am also not going to discuss this model of evolution within the wider context of biological studies but am only concerned with it as presented by William B. Miller Jr. in his recent essay Cognition, Information Fields and Hologenomic Entanglement: Evolution in Light and Shadow (2016, [4]).

What is homogenomic evolution? This theory of evolution focusses on the cellular level in its evolutionary conception. It works with the principle that individual cells and other life forms (which is where the term "homogenomic" originates) can engineer solutions to environmental stresses and that these are more important than natural selection as the primary impulse of evolutionary development from the origin of life onward. As such, the embedded information within "Pervasive Information Fields" (PIF's) which operate on the cellular level, enables a natural and self-organizing cellular engineering process to solve problems, allowing new phenotypes to emerge. This rejects the idea that random mutational variation within a generally static central genome can produce such phenotypes. As such it becomes a competing model for neo-Darwinism.

The role of quantum processes stands central in this model. As such this self-organizing evolutionary process is seen as rule-based, not in a mechanistic sense, but in accordance with the principles of quantum physics. The PIF's are taken as being governed by superimpositions of biological possibilities (that is, as an overarching field) which may be expressed as phenotypic forms. Miller writes: "Therefore, at any moment of time, current biological form is the setting of the superimposition of possibilities from a larger dominant unicellar eukaryotic information set as temporary manifestation of a narrow range of specific information subsets". Selection is only the "temporary settling of a range of implicates [possibilities] within the PIF of that master Eukaryotic cellular domain as an information subset of latent potentials resolved into biological explicates [expressions]". In this model, genes are not merely "units of inheritance" but an emergent expression of "information space" which is reciprocally dependant upon cellular processes as well as information inherent in bioactive molecules and extrinsic epiphenomena (sources of information which lay beyond the genes).

So, what we find is that PIF's have "purposive potentialities" (if we may use Kant's expression) which are expressed through the adaptation to new phenotypes. They include both "the sum of the histories of the field" (the product of their evolutionary history) as well as the "summation of the latent potentials to meet environmental stresses" which may trigger their particular expression as phenotypes. These PIF's are even taken by Miller as some kind of "bauplan" which defines any form of life. This corresponds to the Kantian idea of such potential "designs/plans" being realized through natural purpose. As such Kant's idea of natural purpose is very much what Miller describes through his concept of the PIF's ability to realize its potential possibilities (with wholes-and-parts being realized as material "parts" which belong to an aggregated whole, i.e. the phenotype). Miller even says that "there is room within contemporary evolutionary biology for creativity [that is, through the "settling of ambiguities"] and determinism" which comes very close to the Kantian idea that both teleology (which operates through natural purpose) and mechanism are necessary to explain organisms.

In the final instance, it seems that Miller's model of homogenomic evolution can be viewed as a contemporary version of the Kantian evolutionary model (although cells play no role in Kant's model, life forms do) which accommodates elements of neo-Darwinism (natural selection) as well as Mendels' discovery of genes (both of which came after Kant's lifetime). What is particularly important, is that although this evolutionary process includes some random elements, it is primarily a "well-designed" one which Christians can without reservations accept as consistent with and expressing God's purpose.

As such, Christians can accept that God embedded his purposive design within the world at the time when He first created it (which may have been through the Big Bang) and that this had been unfolding through time as a process of theistic evolution. Throughout the ages, He would have been guiding this process, allowing particular adaptations to develop at certain periods (as God is beyond time, there is presumably no preference with him for long or short periods of time). Christians would also believe that God was especially closely involved in the evolutionary process which produced humans which were created in the image of God Himself (a process of which we still know very little at this stage).


In this short essay, I discuss the problem of evolution. Most Christians cannot accept that neo-Darwinian evolution is consistent with God being the creator of the universe. They have consistently rejected neo-Darwinism as a scientific model that represents a true reflection of the process of evolution (or as reflecting divine creation, more generally). They are now vindicated in this reservation with the radical new direction that scientific evolutionary theory had been taking over the last decade and especially with the emergence of the new field of quantum biology! Suddenly, we find that new evolutionary models are being proposed which are very much consistent with the Biblical worldview.

I have not merely argued that homogenomic evolution is consistent with the Christian perspective. I have also shown that it is consistent with an old evolutionary model which was first proposed by Immanuel Kant in his third Critique. I have previously shown (on this blog and elsewhere) that Kant - who was a Christian and whose philosophy is consistent with the Christian worldview (see [11]) - had been vindicated in most aspects of his regulative metaphysics. His idea of the supersensible realm had long been rejected as untenable but we now know that it is consistent with the quantum realm. He was obviously far ahead of the people of his time and even those of many generations to come!

Now Kant is even vindicated in his theory of evolution which is suddenly much more relevant than Darwin's original ideas which would probably have gone out of fashion long ago (natural selection does, after all, seem to be a mere tautology!) if it was not for certain scientists whose dogmatic stance about natural selection enforced a mechanistic view of the world (why do we not speak about neo-Mendelism since he discovered genes?). But that time is forever gone with the coming of age of quantum biology! A new era has arrived. One in which Christians are much more at home!

[1] Does the creation narrative of Genesis 1 support the idea of a young earth?
[2] Adam and Eve: Were they the first humans?
[3] Darwin's Doubt
[4] Miller, William B. 2016. Cognition, Information Fields and Hologenomic Entanglement: Evolution in Light and Shadow. Biology 5(2) 21.
[5] Mc Loud, Willem. 2015. Introducing a Kantian Interpretation of Quantum Physics, in accordance with Kant's Philosophy of Science in the Critique of the Power of Judgment, reinterpreted and reworked with special attention to the supersensible realm. Masters thesis. Cape Town: UCT.
[6] Friedman, M. 2001. Dynamics of Reason (Stanford: CSLI Publications).
[7] Shusman, Gregory. 2009. Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations. London: Continuum.
[8] Giberson, K.W. & Collins, F.S. 2011. The Language of Science and Faith. London: SPCK.
[9] Science and our restricted human understanding
[10] Science and the spiritual realm
[11] Science and metaphysics: in search of Russel's teapot

Author: Dr Willie Mc Loud (Ref.
The author is a scientist (PhD in physics) and philosopher (MA in philosophy of science). He writes on issues of religion, philosophy and eschatology.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The New Temple of Solomon

What happened to the temple treasures of Jerusalem? Get a glimpse in this chapter of the book Discovering the Keystone, Solving the Riddle of The Red Serpent after 40 years by Guillaume Brouillard (Griffel Media, Cape Town, 2009). The tenth stanza of the poem Le serpent rouge is discussed. The focus is on the secret new Temple of Solomon built by the order of the Children of St. Vincent. It once held the keystone with directions to the final resting place of the temple treasures. It is recommended that the BackgroundThe Manuscripts (chapter 1), Pierre Plantard (chapter 2) and The Fountain of the Magdalene (chapter 7) be read before this chapter. Chapters 3-6, 8-9, 11-13 are not published on this blog. 

Vision céleste pour celui qui se souvient des quatre oeuvres de Em. SIGNOL autour de la ligne du Méridien, au choeur même du sanctuaire d'où rayonne cette source d'amour des uns pour les autres, je pivote sur moi-même passant du regard la rose du P à celle de l'S, puis de l'S au P ... et la spirale dans mon esprit devenant comme un poulpe monstrueux expulsant son encre, les ténèbres absorbent la lumière, j'ai le vertige et je porte ma main à ma bouche mordant instinctivement ma paume, peut-être comme OLIER dans son cerceuil. Malédiction, je comprends la vérité, IL EST PASSE, mais lui aussi en faisant LE BIEN, ainsi que CELUI de la tombe fleurie. Mais combien ont saccagé la MAISON, ne laissant que des cadavres embaumés et nombres de métaux qu'ils n'avaient pu emporter. Quel étrange mystère recèle le nouveau temple de SALOMON édifié par les enfants de Saint VINCENT.

Celestial vision for the one who remembers the four works of Em. SIGNOL around the Meridian line, even at the choir of the sanctuary from where radiates this source of love from one to another. I turn around, letting my gaze pass from the rose of the P to that of the S, then from the S to the P ... the spiral in my mind becoming like a monstrous octopus expelling its ink. The shadows absorb the light. I am dizzy and I bring my hand to my mouth, instinctively biting my palm, perhaps like OLIER in his coffin. Curses, I understand the truth, HE HAS PASSED, in doing THE GOOD, like THE ONE of the flowery tomb. But how many have sacked the HOUSE, leaving only embalmed corpses and numerous metal objects they were unable to carry. What strange mystery is concealed in the new temple of SOLOMON set up by the children of Saint VINCENT.

The poet is now taking one to the St. Sulpice Church in Paris. The fact that this entire stanza centres around this church – just like the sixth stanza around the Church of Mary Magdalene in Rennes-le-Château – implies that it is also somehow related to the geometrical pattern in the Rennes-les-Bains area. The poet starts off with a 'celestial vision' of the church, which implies that the layout of the church is particularly significant.

10.1 The St.Sulpice Church

The St. Sulpice Church lies in the heart of Paris, in the part called St.-Germain-des-Prés, just one block north of the gardens of the Luxembourg Palace. The easiest way to get there is to take the metro to the St. Sulpice Station and then walk east from there down Rue du Vieux. The open square of St. Sulpice suddenly appears among the high buildings. In front there is a huge fountain dating from 1844, the Fontaine des Quatre Points Cardinaux, with statues of Bossuet, Fénelan, Massillon and Fléchier. The name of this fountain is ambiguous: It could either mean 'Fountain of the Cardinal Points' or 'Fountain of the Four Cardinals who Never Were' – the latter arising from the fact that none of the aforementioned four churchmen ever became a cardinal.

One subsequently walks down Rue St. Sulpice, which runs along the left side of the church. At the junction of Rue St. Sulpice and Rue Lobineau, a side entrance to the church can be found on the right.

Upon entering a church everyone has a unique and singular experience, and this holds especially true for St. Sulpice. The decorative style is bold, almost overwhelming, and strongly resembles the church of Rennes-le-Château, which is embellished in the same style. (I have to admit that to me, the St. Sulpice Church holds a very distinct charm. It is one of the most magnificent churches I have ever seen – and I have visited quite a few! The shades of golden brown in particular evoke the feeling that the church is 'alive'.)

Once inside, one of the first things one notices is the impressive statue of Mary with the Son in her arms right in the front on the left-hand side, in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin. She is standing on an enormous serpent that lies stretched out over the globe. The statue is rich in shades of gold and yellow.

The choir chancel is at the centre of the church, and around this chancel, the chapels are arranged against the outer walls of the church. As the guide to the church describes it: '[The] choir ... ends in a semi-circle, surrounded by an ambulatory, which opens into chapels radiating from the centre.' The last chapel on the left-hand side, at the rear of the church, is the Chapel of the Holy Angels, wherein Delacroix had painted three works with angels as the central theme. One's eyes are also drawn to the imposing wooden organ case at the back of the church, which resembles the facade of an ancient temple.

Image result for delacroix st sulpice heliodorus
Some temple treasures shown in Delacroix's painting: Heliodorus driven from the Temple
According to the poet, one has to go to the meridian indicated by the copper strip across the floor, which represents the Rose Line. This strip is to be found at the centre of the church and runs diagonally from the southern to the northern transept. The reason it runs diagonally across the floor is that the church does not face exactly east-west but in the direction of the rising sun. The strip crosses the front of the choir, exactly as the poet states: '... around the Meridian line, even at the choir of the sanctuary ...'

One is looking for the four 'works' of 'Em. SIGNOL' around this meridian. There are two paintings by Emile Signol – a contemporary of Delacroix – against the walls on either side of the meridian in the northern transept. In the one, Judas's betrayal is depicted, and in the other, Jesus's death. The paintings are signed 'Em Signol'.

In their article, 'Notes on Le serpent rouge' [53], Marcus Williamson and Corella Hughes remark that the anagram 'La Signol' yields the word 'Langlois'. Langlois was the engineer responsible for completing the gnomon in the St. Sulpice Church in 1744. He performed four tasks in the erection of the gnomon, which are most probably the 'works' that the poet is referring to: He laid the copper strip across the floor indicating the meridian; fixed a lens in the southern window in order for the sunlight to fall on the copper strip each day at noon; erected a marble obelisk of 10.72 m (on which an inscription and the symbol of the Lamb of God appear) on the northern side, which catches the sunlight in winter, and also fixed a marble plaque (that had once been covered with copper) on the southern side, which catches the sunlight in midsummer.

This gnomon enabled the Cassinis (father and son, who succeeded each other as directors of the Paris Observatory) to determine the change in the angle of the earth's axis as a result of the precession of the equinoxes. According to their calculations, it had been 45 seconds per century, which is very close to the computation acquired by means of modern technology, namely 46.85 seconds.

The name Signol clearly alludes to some or other 'sign'. It could therefore be that he, just like Delacroix and Poussin, had specifically been chosen as the painter on account of the meaning that could be linked to his name. The fact that Emile Signol had painted the paintings 'around' the meridian could relate to this 'sign'. It could therefore be that one is dealing with something 'around' a point on the meridian.

'Langlois' also sounds a lot like the French word 'langouste', which refers to a crayfish. This calls to mind the fact that there are also other objects in the church that are associated with sea animals. There are two holy-water stoups of giant clam (Tridacna gigas), which had been a gift from the Venetian Republic to Francis I of France. The fact that the poet refers to an octopus calls to mind that the word 'pulpit' is quite similar to the French 'poulpe', which means 'octopus'. (The impressive pulpit in this church dates from 1788.) These sea animals could therefore be connected with the 'sign' around the meridian.

10.2 Rotating P and S

The letters P and S now enter the spotlight. On the floor plan of St. Sulpice in the notes in Le serpent rouge, these are written on either side of the meridian. The S appears to the right of the southern transept and the P to the left of the northern transept. They therefore relate to the meridian. There is of course also the PS symbol above the vertical line on Marie de Blanchefort's tombstone that has a bearing on the Rose Line, which is represented by this meridian. The poet indeed also mentions the 'rose' of the P and S, which clearly alludes to the Rose Line.

Interestingly, one also finds P's and S's combined with a rose in the nearby located church of St.-Germain-des-Prés (mother church of St. Sulpice). In the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, two SP symbols appear across from each other high up on the walls, referring to the names of these saints. A rose is depicted between the S and P in each of the symbols – which could surely be indicative of something other than the obvious.

Back to the St. Sulpice Church, where the poet states that he is looking from the rose of the P (that is the northern side of the meridian) to the rose of the S (the southerly direction of the meridian) and then again from the S to the P. He is therefore turning around, as he indeed mentions, and then keeps spinning until he is dizzy. The description '[t]he shadows absorb the light' also alludes to this dizziness. It is furthermore an embroidering on the theme of light and darkness; white and black. This repeated going in circles of the poet leads one to suspect that the Rose Line, which is defined by the P and S, also has to be 'circled', in other words, rotated.

The most logical point to rotate the meridian around would surely be the centre of the church, in the middle of the copper strip across the floor, which also cuts through the choir chancel. The rounding of the choir around this point also suggests that it should be rotated as such.

This centre point is also called the 'heart' of the church – to which the poet actually refers: '... around the Meridian line, even at the choir of the sanctuary from where radiates this source of love from one to another'. This phrase contains very clever wordplay: The poet is employing the similarity between the French words 'choeur' ('choir') and 'coeur' ('heart') – which corresponds with the fact that the 'heart' of the church lies in the choir chancel. It is indeed from the heart that the 'love from one to another' flows (cf. John 13:34-35). The line therefore without a doubt has to be rotated around this 'heart' of the church.

10.3 The octopus

The fact that the poet connects the rotation of the meridian with an octopus is certainly not without reason. As was already mentioned, the octopus could allude to the pulpit. One therefore possibly has to draw a line athwart the meridian so that it runs through the centre of the church as well as the pulpit.

The pulpit is located in front of the fourth chapel, which is dedicated to Joan of Arc, and this is where the martyrdom of St. Maurice and his companions is commemorated. This is the third chapel after the Chapel of the Holy Angels on the southern side of the church.

Drawing the above-mentioned line athwart the meridian, one discovers that it runs through the chapel just to the right of the door through which one had entered. This chapel is dedicated to St. Louis, Blanche of Castille's son, as well as St. Theresa of Lisieux. This Carmelite nun is holding a bunch of roses in her hands according to her vow to let it rain roses. This indicates that one is still on the right track.

In the centre of the church, this line crosses the meridian at an angle of 65.5º. On the western side, it runs through the pulpit to the first chapel in which Delacroix's paintings appear. Since these paintings figure exceptionally prominently in the whole mystery, it is highly unlikely that this orientation is coincidental. It may therefore very well be that the St. Sulpice Church was specifically laid out as such that this line would cross the meridian at the exact mentioned angle.
Fig. 33. A depiction of the rotated meridian on the floor plan of St. Sulpice
What immediately strikes one, however, is that this line across the meridian corresponds exactly with the 17th January line of sunrise in the Rennes-les-Bains area! Both these lines cross the meridian (the Rose Line) at an angle of 65.5º (114.5º in respect of the horizon implies an adjacent angle of 65.5º). The line in the St. Sulpice Church also runs past the plaque against the wall at the Chapel of the Holy Angels on which reference to the mud-fountain is made. This corresponds to the 17th January line in the Rennes-les-Bains area, which actually runs through a mud-fountain (the Fountain of Dogs) (see Figure 27).

The geometrical layout of the St. Sulpice Church therefore corresponds exactly to that of the area around Rennes-les-Bains. The fact that the 17th January line of sunrise is indicated in the St. Sulpice Church is clearly also very fitting since it is the holy day of this saint!

Fig. 27. Map of the area with lines of sunrise (taken from chapter 8)
If one now tilts this line in the church 2.5º, just like the 17th January line in the Rennes-les-Bains area (obviously in the same direction), one discovers that it runs almost directly through the middle of the painting of Heliodorus – close to exactly where the tiny cross on Heliodorus's chest appears and which had earlier also been linked to the cross at Roc d'en Clots!

In the Rennes-les-Bains area, this line corresponds with the one running from the Fountain of Lovers through the 'fountain of love' (the Holy-water Stoup) to Roc d'en Clots. This line therefore literally runs through 'this source of love' to 'another', as the poet states. He therefore indeed draws parallels between the layout of the church and that of the Rennes-les-Bains area, although the latter only implicitly comes under discussion.

The line from the Fountain of Lovers to Roc d'en Clots was discovered after inspection of Marie de Blanchefort's tombstone (see Figure 24), on which a vertical line (the Rose Line) with the letters P and S appear at the top and the words 'PRAE-CUM' appear at the bottom thereof. To the right appears the letters AD (as part of the inscription ET IN ARCADIA EGO), which has a bearing on 'Des Amours' (its mirror image, as discussed), and to the left the letters RC (written as PX on the tombstone), which is linked to Roc d'en Clots at the mud-fountain. Right underneath 'PRAE-CUM' appears the symbol of an octopus, which hints at the rotation around the Rose Line (like in the St. Sulpice Church), according to which a line linking the mentioned two landmarks has to be drawn across the Rose Line. This implies that the person who created the depiction on the tombstone must certainly have been aware of the wordplay contained in 'octopus' in the St. Sulpice Church.

Fig. 24. The horizontal tombstone of Marie de Blanchefort (taken from chapter 8)
The symbolism in both the St. Sulpice Church and on Marie de Blanchefort's tombstone undoubtedly refers to the same element – the geographical layout of the Rennes-les-Bains area. The depiction on the tombstone is however much less complicated and therefore easier to decipher. No wonder Saunière removed it!

There is also no doubt whatsoever that the geometrical layout of the church, which corresponds exactly to the geometry of the area, had been devised calculatingly. This means that, right from the beginning, this church had been designed to include the geometry of the Rennes-les-Bains area, and also that the detail had been added over hundreds of years to form a link with this geometry. As the church of Rennes-le-Château was laid out to indicate the route through the area (see the previous chapters), the St. Sulpice Church was laid out according to the geometry of the area in which the route lies.

It is a phenomenal discovery that an entire church was laid out to incorporate a secret geometry. Although Saunière had certainly taken particular trouble with the design of his church, it does not compare to the fine planning the St. Sulpice Church must have required!

This can mean only one thing: The Rennes-les-Bains area was irrefutably not laid out as a mystery for the sake of a mystery; the design was planned and executed with the greatest care for literally centuries to hide a secret of the utmost significance. The magnitude of the work that went into the St. Sulpice Church is an indication of just how incomparable this treasure is!

10.4 Olier and De Fleury

The poet subsequently refers to Jean-Jacques Olier, the founder of the new St. Sulpice Church, of which the cornerstone had been laid in 1646. He states: 'I am dizzy and I bring my hand to my mouth, instinctively biting my palm, perhaps like OLIER in his coffin'. The fact that this gesture reminds him of Olier in his coffin could allude to silence and secrecy.

In view of the close connection between the St. Sulpice Church and the area around Rennes-les-Bains, it is to be remarked that the poet refers to Paul-Urbain de Fleury in the same breath – 'THE ONE of the flowery tomb'. The French word 'fleurie' clearly alludes to 'Fleury'. This echoes the structure of this stanza, wherein the St. Sulpice Church is in the foreground and the geometry of the Rennes-les-Bains area all the while implicitly in the background. The graves of both Olier and De Fleury are now under discussion, from which one can derive that De Fleury – the grandson of Marie de Blanchefort – had probably played equally as big a role in the geometrical layout of the area as Olier in the erection of the new St. Sulpice Church.

The poet uses the words 'IL EST PASSE ... en faisant LE BIEN' ('HE HAS PASSED ... in doing THE GOOD') – which corresponds exactly to the words on the grave of Paul-Urban de Fleury in the Rennes-les-Bains cemetery. Here it is stated that he was born on the 3rd of May, 1776, and died on the 7th of August, 1836. On another tombstone, at the foot of De Fleury's grave, the words 'Restes transférés' appear, which indicates that his remains had been moved here. According to this tombstone, he died on the 7th of August, 1856, at the age of 60!

10.5 Terrain Fleuri

The extraordinary fresco at the back of the Rennes-le-Château Church, right above the confessional, could also be connected with the mentioned De Fleury grave. As was mentioned earlier, it is a depiction of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus is standing at the top and the disciples are half sitting, half lying around Him against the hill. This hill is called Terrain Fleuri ('Flowered Terrain'), obviously due to the many flowers growing on it.

As was also mentioned, the confessional seemingly represents the church of Rennes-les-Bains (in Saunière's scheme). The fact that the fresco is behind the confessional could therefore imply that the De Fleury grave is right behind that church – where it indeed is.

The arrangement of the people sitting around Jesus also corresponds greatly to the depictions of the blessed (deceased) in Paradise in accordance with Dante's description of it as a 'rose'. Their half sitting, half lying postures is how the blessed are portrayed in the petals of the rose in an illustration of the Celestial Rose in Dante's Divina Comedia by Giovanni di Paoli. In this case, it clearly has a bearing on the cemetery. The fact that a rose is under discussion confirms that the De Fleury grave lies close to the Rose Line.

Fig. 34. At the top, the mural 'Terrain Fleuri', and above, an illustration of the Celestial Rose by Giovanni di Paoli in Dante's 'Divine Comedy'. Note the similarities in the depictions.
According to Pierre Jarnac, this fresco could also portray the miracle performed by St. Germaine of changing a bag of bread into roses, which would explain the bag at the bottom of the fresco. Fact is that Jarnac's interpretation also relates directly to roses and the Rose Line.

However, this bag could also be indicative of a money bag, which could imply that something had been hidden in the De Fleury grave. The fact that the bag has a hole in it could mean that it had been removed from the grave. In that case, it would relate to the epitaph 'Restes transférés'. Some of the items could have been robbed – as allegedly happened with the items that were found in the crypt of the Rennes-le-Château Church. The fact that the poet speaks of 'embalmed corpses' that remain could mean he is referring to the tomb (possibly in the church). He curses the robbers when he realises what had happened – that they had 'sacked the HOUSE'.

10.6 The new temple of Solomon

Opposite the 'house' that had been pillaged stands a new 'temple' that had risen – a glorious temple, which is even called 'the new temple of SOLOMON'. Since this is exactly what the St. Sulpice Church embodies, this name is everything but unintentional. As Tatiana Kletzky-Pradère writes in Rennes-le-Château: A Visitor's Guide: 'St. Sulpice [is] an esoteric temple copied from the Temple of Solomon' [54]. This description, however, applies just as much to the geometry of the Rennes-les-Bains area. It is not by accident that both the St. Sulpice Church and the geometry of the area are set as parallels in this stanza.

It is noticeable as to how many times in the poem reference to Solomon is made. His famous seal is mentioned, there is an allusion to his ring, and now his new temple is under discussion. What is more – the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement, whose headquarters were at St. Sulpice, were also called Les Enfants de Salomon ('The Children of Solomon'). This implies that one is dealing with a group like the Freemasons or the Templars, in which Solomon's Temple is a central theme. Maybe the 'ship' the group is associated with (cf. the second stanza) is nothing other than the ship of Solomon one reads about in the Grail legends.

The fact that a 'strange mystery' is hidden in this new temple of Solomon clearly hints at some or other treasure, and the treasure that is above all associated with Solomon's Temple, is obviously the temple treasures. The temple treasures are then also what is depicted in Delacroix's painting in the St. Sulpice Church, being 'the new temple of SOLOMON'. This very clearly implies that this is the treasure that is under discussion here. It is therefore 'the new temple of Solomon' wherein it is hidden.

However, the 'temple' that is under discussion is most probably not the one that is so pertinently mentioned in this stanza, but rather the one that lies beneath the surface – the geometric layout in the Rennes-les-Bains area.

10.7 The Children of St. Vincent

It is significant that the poet applies the description 'HE HAS PASSED, in doing THE GOOD' to both Jean-Jacques Olier and Paul-Urban de Fleury. It could possibly be a Rosicrucian motto, which means the poet is implying that they had been part of a Rosicrucian organisation. This could refer to the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement, which later appears to have been called the 'Children of St. Vincent'. According to the poet, this group had been responsible for erecting the new temple.

It appears that the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement was founded by Henry Levis in 1629. He must surely have been a member of the Levis or Levy family, who had been linked to the Plantards from very early on. Merovée Levi, the knight who is said to have brought Sigebert to Rhedae in 681, was certainly an ancestor of this family. They seem to have been the most important and loyal supporters of the Plantard family throughout the centuries. Robert II Saint-Clair-sur-Epte married Isabelle Levis (Levy) in 1188 – the same year in which the Rosicrucian Order the Prieuré de Sion was allegedly founded. This marriage has possibly resulted in their support shifting to the Plantards. The Plantards later on married descendants from this marriage and consequently acquired the title of St. Clair.

St. Vincent de Paul was one of the most prominent people in the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement. At some stage he, together with Jean-Jacques Olier and Nicolas Pavillon, had been at the helm of this order. According to the authors Jean-Pierre Deloux and Jacques Brétigny (who were friends of Pierre Plantard), the well-known story of St. Vincent de Paul – according to which Barbary pirates captured him close to Marseille, took him to Tunisia and sold him to an alchemist – refers to him being brought to the Barberie castle, where he had met the alchemist Jean Plantard. This could confirm that the Plantards had indeed been the power behind the Compagnie, and that the destruction of their castle in the time of the struggle between the Compagnie and the French throne did indeed have something to do with this very fact. It appears that St. Vincent de Paul had also been one of the first people to refer to Sigebert.

After the apparent dissolving of the Compagnie in 1665, it would seem that it had been refounded on the 17th of January, 1681. According to the statutes of the Prieuré de Sion, it was the order known as the Children of St. Vincent that was founded on this day in 1681. One could deduce that this is the same secret order that is under discussion since it is said that the Children of St. Vincent also existed before 1681. This 'St. Vincent' possibly not only refers to the early St. Vincent that is associated with the monastery of St.-Germain-des-Pres, but especially to St. Vincent de Paul. The priests who studied under Olier at the St. Sulpice seminary, as well as those who studied under Pavillon at the seminary at Alet-les-Bains, close to Rennes-le-Château, would have been candidates for this Children of St. Vincent order. According to Boudet, the latter had also been in charge of the church of Marseille. It is interesting to note that Saunière himself had been the vicar of Alet-les-Bains prior to his moving to Rennes-le-Château.

According to the Vaincre of September, 1989 – a paper of which Thomas Plantard de Saint-Clair (Pierre's son) had been the editor – the order that came into existence on the 17th of January, 1681, was founded by Jean-Timoleon Nègre d'Ablès, Blaise d'Hautpoul and the abbot André-Hercule de Fleury. They represented the most important families of the Razès. If they had been involved with the same organisation as the priests of St. Sulpice, it would explain why the layouts in Paris and the Rennes-les-Bains area correspond to the extent that they do. Paul-Urbain de Fleury also descended from one of these families. His parents were Paul F. Vincent de Fleury and Gabrielle de Blanchefort, the daughter of the famous Marie.

10.8 The families of the Razès area

Just as St. Vincent de Paul is associated with the Plantards, so are some of the other families in the Razès, and this association apparently goes back a long time. According to Généalogie des rois mérovingiens, the Blancheforts had originally descended from a branch of the Plantards. The Blancheforts' ancestor was Aureol, the son of Rotaude Plantard (who died in 855) and who was the sister of Argila, through whom the Plantard line ran. It appears that Aureol's sister, Anne, was married to a descendant of Mérovée Levi.

The goldmine in which the treasure seems to have been hidden initially was on Blanchefort land, and if it is true that the treasure belongs to the Plantards, the Blanceforts would have safeguarded it on their behalf.

The Blancheforts can be linked to all of the parchments Saunière allegedly discovered. The earliest association goes back to the time when the religious group the Cathars had been active in the Languedoc. One of the main figures during this time, Ramon (Raymond) d'Aniort (Niort), can be directly linked to the Blancheforts: His son Ramon was married to Alix de Blanchefort, as Jean Markale points out in Rennes-le-Château et l'énigme de l'or maudit. Ramon was the person who in 1244 acted as the negotiator between the besieged Cathars in the mountain fortress of Montségur and the Inquisition. According to the authors Jean-Pierre Deloux and Jacques Brétigny, the commander of Montségur, Pierre-Roger de Mirepoix, was Ramon d'Aniort's father-in-law. Pierre-Roger de Mirepoix himself had apparently also been a direct descendant of Mérovée Levi, who is said to have brought Sigebert to Rhedae.

Following the escape of four Cathar Perfects with a certain 'treasure' from Montségur, Ramon's delegate, Escot de Belcaire, struck up a fire to signal Pierre-Roger de Mirepoix up in Montségur that the mission had been successful. This could mean that Ramon d'Aniort had indeed received the 'treasure', which possibly consisted of certain documents. In this regard, it is interesting to note that the oldest of the parchments Saunière is said to have discovered, also appears to date from 1244. Furthermore, Ramon, despite his Cathar associations, was later received with much hospitality by Louis IX, the son of Blanche of Castille (whose seal is said to appear on the mentioned parchment). Later, in 1283, also Philip the Bold of France called on his son Ramon and his wife, Alix.

According to Généalogie des rois mérovingiens, the Blanchefort inheritance came into possession of Francois-Pierre d'Hautpoul's grandson, Louis, in 1644, following the death of the last heir of the oldest branch of the Blanchefort family, with whom the line had died. The Hautpoul family also had close ties with the Plantards. According to Les descendants Mérovingiens, one of Sigebert VII Plantard's daughters, Claudia, married a Hautpoul in the early 1000's. The Dossiers secrets d'Henry Lobineau also mentions that in 1372, Jean VIII Plantard's great-granddaughter, Hermininde, married Guillaume Pierre d'Hautpoul, from whom all the subsequent Hautpouls are descended.

The second parchment dates from the year when the Blanchefort heritage came into possession of the Hautpouls. It apparently also contains the testament of Francois-Pierre d'Hautpoul, which could imply that this testament is related to the Blanchefort inheritance. It had been regarded as such an exceptional document that Jean-Baptiste Sian, the notary of Espéraza, in 1780 refused to hand it over to Pierre Francois d'Hautpoul from a related branch of the family. According to Sian, the testament was 'of great importance'. It is quite noteworthy that Blaise, the baron of Rennes-le-Château and son of Francois-Pierre d'Hautpoul, who had the document drafted, appears to have been one of the founding members of the Children of St. Vincent in 1681.

The third parchment Saunière allegedly discovered was apparently a testament of Henry d'Hautpoul, Blaise's son. Henry's son, Francois d'Hautpoul, inherited Blanchefort following the death of Henry's brother, Louis. This testament is dated 1695, and the contents thereof apparently a 'state secret'.

In 1732, Francois d'Hautpoul married Marie de Nègre d'Ablès, dame de Niort and de Roquefeuil. Jean-Timoleon Nègre d'Ablès, from the previous generation of this family, had apparently also been involved in the founding of the Children of St. Vincent in 1681. Marie was the heir of the Niort (Aniort) family of whom Ramon d'Aniort had been an ancestor. Marie was the one who inherited this family's archives. It is this Marie that died on the 17th of January, 1781, and who is said to have disclosed the family secret to the priest Bigou on her deathbed.

Francois and Marie had three daughters, one of whom, namely Elizabeth, never married and later lived with her mother in the castle of Rennes-le-Château. Elizabeth refused to make available certain documents in her possession to her sister Marie, who in 1752 married Joseph-Marie d'Hautpoul-Felines – marquis of the parallel branch of the Hautpoul family that had branched off from this family about three centuries earlier – as well as to her cousin, Pierre Francois d'Hautpoul of Seyres, whom the notary of Espéraza had also denied access thereto. Both apparently pestered her about it, but she is said to have pointed out that it would be 'dangerous' to see the documents, and also implied that some of the documents that had been in the custody of the family, did in actual fact not belong to them.

Blanchefort came into possession of the third sister, Marie-Gabrielle, who in 1767 married Paul Francois Vincent de Fleury. André-Hercule de Fleury, who also appears to have been involved in the founding of the Children of St. Vincent in 1681, was from this very same family. The grave of their son Paul-Urbain is mentioned in the poem, as well as that he played an important role in the building of the 'new temple of SOLOMON'.

The Blanchefort family, as well as the families who came into possession of their inheritance, have therefore throughout history been very closely associated with the documents featuring in the Rennes-le-Château mystery. This could suggest that a treasure had indeed been hidden at Blanchefort and that the mentioned testaments contain information pertaining to it. It could therefore very well be this treasure that had been rehidden in the area.

One cannot help but wonder whether the 'twin children' of St. Vincent do not perhaps refer to two groups within the Children of St. Vincent, namely the priests and those who had in some or other way belonged to certain families. This would once again hint at the white and black theme – with the priests perhaps representing black? In the St. Sulpice Church, this saint is indeed depicted with two children on his lap. Interestingly, both Jean-Jacques Olier and Paul-Urbain de Fleury are also linked to St. Vincent de Paul: Olier was his spiritual child and Paul-Urbain de Fleury's father was also called Paul F. Vincent de Fleury, evidently in honour of St. Vincent de Paul.

Furthermore, the families that are linked to the mentioned bloodlines are associated with the Templars as well as the Cathars. In later years, these families appear to have been linked with the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement, the Children of St. Vincent and the Rosicrucian Order. Paul-Urbain de Fleury, too, is associated with the Freemasons as well as the Rosicrucian Order.

It appears that the Rosicrucian Order had carried on a tradition that dates back to the Templars. In contrast with this, the other branch of the Hautpouls, who wanted to lay their hands on the mentioned documents, is very closely associated with the Knights of Malta. It also appears to have been these knights who later on unlawfully obtained possession of some of the documents.

10.9 The geometrical pattern in the second text

Back to something more tangible!

The reference in the poem to De Fleury's grave once again refers to a landmark on the route in the Rennes-les-Bains area – the only one mentioned in this stanza. This landmark, however, lies on the way back after the poet had reached El Casteil. The fact that there is indeed another landmark could imply that one has not yet uncovered the full geometrical pattern that has been hidden in the area.

It is noticeable that the landmarks highlighted in the previous and this stanza, namely El Casteil and the De Fleury grave, are related to two objects that are to be found directly opposite each other in the Rennes-le-Château Church, namely the altar in the front and the fresco at the back of the church. On a map, El Casteil and the De Fleury grave also lie virtually opposite each other on the Rose Line. The De Fleury grave lies very close to the heart of the Rose Line, which runs through the Jean Vie grave, and El Casteil further south, just to the west of the Rose Line.

Drawing a line from El Casteil to the heart of the Rose Line one discovers that it runs at an angle of 2.5º in respect of the Rose Line (see Figure 35). As was indicated earlier, the line between the Fountain of Lovers and the Fountain of Dogs does indeed have to be tilted 2.5º. The position of El Casteil may therefore very well serve as confirmation of the fact that this 2.5º tilting is essential in uncovering the geometrical pattern in the area. It could in actual fact be the clue that one has to tilt the mentioned line 2.5º (if this discovery has not yet been made).

This makes one wonder whether these two landmarks – El Casteil and the De Fleury grave – do not also relate to the geometrical pattern that is hidden in the second Latin text (see Figure 35). As was mentioned earlier, one can draw a line between the two roselike symbols at the top and bottom of the text, and then produce a line through the two tiny crosses in the two separate lines at the bottom. The latter crosses the 'rose line' at an angle of about 2º.

To determine the exact angle of this crossing, one has to determine the exact point at which these two lines cross. The 'NOIS' symbol at the bottom to the right of the text now comes into play. There is an upside-down A underneath this peculiar symbol of which the one leg seems to be begging to be elongated in the direction of the 'rose line', which would then indicate where the other two lines should cross. When elongating this mentioned leg, it indeed results in the other two lines crossing at an angle of 2.5º!

What is important now is to turn the text 180º so that 'NOIS' reads correctly as 'SION'. The N symbol underneath 'SION' then also indicates North. The fact that the two Latin texts had originally been on both sides of the same parchment, one on one side and the other on the other side, implies that one has to look at the geometrical pattern of the second text from the other side – in other words, when holding up the 'parchment' with the first text facing one.

If one now compares the geometrical pattern in the second text with the one on the map, one finds that the 2.5º tilted line in the text corresponds exactly to that on the map in respect of the Rose Line. The 'heart of the rose line' in the text (where the lines cross) also corresponds exactly to the point on the map where the Jean Vie grave lies – at the heart of the Rose Line in the area. The geometrical pattern on the second text and the one on the map are therefore one and the same!

10.10 The 17th of January, 681

It must be said that the people who devised the riddle thought it fit to devote the whole geometrical pattern of one part of the parchment to this 2.5º angle. This just goes to prove how significant this angle actually is. It is not only crucial in order to discover the hidden geometrical pattern in the Rennes-les-Bains area, but above all to find the line of sunrise on 17th of January, 681, the date when Sigebert is said to have arrived in Rhedae (see chapter 8). The entire layout of the St. Sulpice Church, and even that of the church of Rennes-le-Château, was also intended to draw one's attention to this line of sunrise.

Finally, one can now try and figure out exactly where the 'strange mystery' the poet speaks of, is hidden. The aim of the brilliant layout of the landmarks in the area had unquestionably been to indicate the location of the treasure of the Blancheforts.

Fig. 35. On the left: The second Latin text with its geometrical pattern. The text has been rotated 180º and must be viewed from the other side to correspond to the pattern on the map. On the right: A map of the area with the geometric pattern shown. 

[53] It was published on the internet in 1999.
[54] Kletzky-Pradère, T. 1990. Guide du visiteur. Quillan: Author. Translation: Brooke, C. & Dawe, N. 1997, p 12.


Content of Discovering the Keystone

Preface / i
Background / 1
1. The Manuscripts / 11
2. Standing on the White Rock (Pierre Plantard) / 23
3. Finding the Way / 33
4. With Measured Steps /41
5. Reaching the Meridian Line / 53
6. A place called the Holy-water Stoup / 65
7. The Fountain of the Magdalene / 77
8. The Horseshoe Bend in the River / 85
9. Ending at the Ruined House / 109
10. The New Temple of Solomon / 125
11. The Purest Gold /143
12. Returning to the White Hill / 163
13. A Dream / 167
Conclusion / 171 
Notes / 173

For all those lovers of secrets:

For Sampo Lanthardt

The only advice I have, my friend,
is to search for the beginning
right at the end.
In so doing, it seems to me,
even the fool
wise can be,
like the dim Parceval,
at first to fail,
in the end became
king of the Grail.