When people ask what I think about the Priory of Sion and the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau, I often tell them this: Throughout the ten years and more that I spent in serious study of this enigmatic body of legends, I discovered a treasure trove of wisdom. I learned so many interesting things about Hermeticism, alchemy, ritual magic, cabalism, religious traditions, history, archeology, mythology, anthropology, philosophy, astronomy, and physics that I never would have looked into otherwise.
Because of this research, I learned to read myth intuitively, and to see the archetypes of the collective unconscious in everything. I gained a faculty of vision that allows me to penetrate a mystery to its core almost instantly at times, and to navigate the seemingly impenetrable depths within using the Compass of the Wise as my guide.
I have often thought that perhaps the public persona of the Priory of Sion exists purely for this purpose. It acts as the Psychopompus, the Hermetic initiator, the March hare that suckers the initiate down the rabbit hole and into the labyrinth, which, if navigated properly, may bring the seeker to the Castle of Light.
Nicolas Haywood, the controversial public spokesman for the modern-day Priory of Sion (made famous by the 1980s’ Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and more recently revived by The Da Vinci Code), would object to this characterization. The Priory is much more than a red herring meant to trick people looking for buried treasure and ancient mysteries into seeking enlightenment. Nor is it just a bunch of pissed-off ex-Catholics who have a bone to pick with the Church.
Haywood admits that the Priory’s public pronouncements in the last several decades, laden as they are with allusions to mysterious artifacts, historic locations, secret societies and sacred royal bloodlines, do in fact have initiatory properties if contemplated properly by the seeker. In this case what may seem like a red herring may turn out, upon closer inspection, to be the very Salmon of Wisdom of the philosophers.
Furthermore, we learn when we reach the end of our initiation that it is we who are being fished. As I wrote recently in my essay “Regnum in Potentia (Part 2)”:
There is a reason why Parzival is led to the Grail castle by a man in a fishing boat who turns out to be the king. That’s because it was really Parzival he was fishing for. … Jesus told his apostles, speaking of their training as miracle-workers and evangels, that he would teach them to be ‘fishers of men.’ … the idea of ‘fishing for men’ alludes to the concept of setting a trap, baiting someone and luring them in … When the Fisher King is sitting out on his boat, waiting for someone like Parzival to come by so that he can encourage him to go to the Grail castle, he is playing the role of the Psychopompus. This is a label applied to Hermes the trickster god, who is both the initiator for adepts of alchemy, so too is he the guide of souls traveling to the Otherworld.
In this light it is interesting to note that one of the meanings of the word “nick” is “to catch, take unawares, arrest,” and also “to steal.” Hermes was a thief. In the alchemical art film The Holy Mountain from 1973, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, the Alchemist introduces his final specially-selected student to the other initiates in his class thusly:
The fish thinks about its hunger, not about the fisherman. It is the master who seeks the disciple. You want to know the Secret. But man can achieve nothing by himself. To accomplish the Alchemical Work, you will have these companions. They are thieves like you, but on another level, they are the most powerful people on the planet: industrialists, and politicians.
Nicolas Haywood says that the Priory is indeed the real bodyguard of real buried treasures and ancient mysteries. I was right, he says, to speculate in my book The Merovingian Mythos that there is an ancient underground temple hidden beneath the ground at Rennes-le-Chateau. He says I was correct when I asserted that the area which the village is situated in was at one point thought of as the “center of the world” by the locals, because it was believed that an “Ark” containing remnants of a human civilization had been preserved there after a global deluge. Moreover, he agreed with my theory that there is a lunar calendar hidden in the numeric structure of the organization’s hierarchy, which I wrote about in The Merovingian Mythos, and in my ebook The Cutting of the Orm. (Haywood, in fact, kindly gave his personal endorsement of several of my works and said that some of my books are already archived in the Priory of Sion’s own official library in France.)
Haywood said that the Priory of Sion is and always has been the greatest thorn in the side of the Catholic Church, as the representative of the Desposyni — the group of royal families that comprise the living descendants of Jesus Christ. But more ominously, he says that the Priory believes that the end of the world as we know it is imminent. He seems to think that they have inside knowledge about how it will go down, who will survive, and why. But apparently the hidden masters for whom he speaks will not permit him to go into too much detail about this.
However, he asserts that the legends are true, made popular in recent newspaper headlines, that nearby Mt. Bugarach is the gateway to an underground realm that will be safe from the coming catastrophe. Haywood has expressed interest in the cryptic apocalyptic messages of the Cross of Hendaye, discussed in the final chapter of the alchemist Fulcanelli’s book The Mystery of the Cathedrals. This artifact is noteworthy because it contains the following warning, in code:
Il est ecrit que la vie se refugie en un seul espace. (It is written that life takes refuge in a single space.)
Fulcanelli decoded it thusly:
… a country exists, where death cannot reach man at the terrible time of the double cataclysm. As for the geographical location of this promised land, from which the elite will take part in the return of the golden age, it is up to us to find it.
Most people who believe in such things fear that the end of the Mayan Calendar in 2012 is the date on which a catastrophe will come about on Earth that will bring an end to our civilization. Haywood has said on a recent interview with Rene Barnett on NightVision Radio that he thinks we may have a few years more than that to go, but not much.
Since this information would clearly be of interest to all humanity, I attempted once again to penetrate the mysteries of the Priory of Sion, as Mr. Haywood so graciously granted me an interview. It was conducted shortly after his return from attending the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate Middleton) as a General Guest. Here are the results.
TRT: Is there more than one Priory of Sion?
NH: No. There is only ONE TRUE Prieure de Sion or Priory of Sion. There are, however, several satellite organisations that support many of Sion’s aims and goals. This has, not surprisingly, expanded in more recent years, but until the early 1990s societies such as the GLA and the AASR (aka: ‘The Rite of Memphis’ as promulgated by Paul Urbane Fleury), were amongst the main supporters and co-operatives, fiscally and otherwise alongside certain families who were/are - by dint of marital alliance - direct descendants of one of the categories listed by the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy as far back as ad. 326-7 as constituting a very real and alarming potential threat to the institution’s expansion and monopoly on several truths relating directly to the veracity of the entire Christian mythos. In other words; families whose members would have, (and still do), constitute what - in modern parlance — ‘a hit list.’ Which marked the Roman Catholic Church’s sojourn into Regicide and, ultimately, Deicide. The FOUR SEPARATE Papal Decrees will, according to TWO Cardinals, currently still located within The Vatican, NEVER be voluntarily rescinded.
Since about 1993 a number of pre-existing esoteric and political societies have identified some common ground with Sion and have become associated, but by no means to the same extent as their precedents, (e.g: GLA, Les Loges Ecossais and Le Loge d’Or de Trismegistus No. ‘0’ based in Lucerne, Switzerland, etc.).Besides the latter section above one must also consider the fleeting alliances that the Order has made, over the many past centuries, with seemingly unlikely candidates — groups — with a view to hastening certain specific shifts in Collective Consciousness OR as a means to furthering its current Circuit . Such seemingly-unholy alliances (as has often been the case) are seldom written or logged, with the fixed exception of the signed compacts; copies of which are held by each party only.
TRT: Is the Priory that you represent the same as one that Gino Sandri represents? Is it the same one that Pierre Plantard represented?
NH: Yes. The Priory of Sion for which Gino ‘Sandri’ acts as General Secretary and the Priory of Sion that invited me to act as its spokesman are ONE AND THE SAME. However, you must bear in mind the fact that members are bound by certain oaths, statutes and warrants which are notoriously prone to sudden and seemingly-inexplicable change due to an ancient clause within the statutes; patently designed as a direct result of the execution of the alleged Papal Decree and the Royal Warrants of Arrest under Philippe IV vis-à-vis self-contradictory statements, denial of previous assertions in relation to the, or an, individual’s standing within the order. This latter example may include a sudden denial of ever having been connected with the order completely. Such contingencies exist within the Official Statutes under Statute No. 0, the contents of which have NEVER been made public, but the Statute’s existence has occasionally been hinted at.
TRT: What role does the Priory play pertaining to Rennes-le-Chateau? Are you guardians of a secret there?
NH: Yes. Sion is the guardian of a secret at Rennes-Le-Chateau which has been deemed a State Secret since approx. 1153.CE. In fact, what commenced as one primary secret became an entire host of secrets ranging from the historically esoteric/ occult to globally contemporary/metaphysical.
TRT: Is there some larger purpose besides this which constitutes the purpose of the Priory of Sion?
NH: Again — Yes. I was at one time told to state quite emphatically that Sion’s true raison d’etre was one of ‘World peace….’ This is NOT entirely true, although the culmination of many of its major goals would ultimately result in the resolution of differences between major spiritual belief-structures and, in significant number, the merging or identification of mutually-fundamental divisions throughout both East and West thereby removing all pseudo-legitimate reasons for warring and discord based upon religious differences alone.
One major purpose, apart from the continued protection of individuals who, by dint of birth, find themselves members of families allied directly or otherwise to the original Desposyni (including those families descendant from the original and TRUE Apostles; those who were known to be married and sired offspring), is the protection of sacred objects (wrongly termed Relics), and a precise location in the environs of The Rennes. There are other matters of which I have NOT YET received permission to speak, but when and if I do I shall provide further information.
TRT: For what reason does the Priory use spokesmen like yourself to dangle clues in front of the public, inviting them to solve a mystery for which the question has not been clearly defined, and for which it is by no means clear that there is an answer to be had at the end of it? Is this an intergenerational performance art project, and if so, does it constitute a magick ritual of some sort as well?
NH: We thought this one of the most interesting of your questions, especially as Tony Robinson had made a similar assertion in a documentary. However, M.Robinson failed to inform his audience that he was a ‘Born Again Christian’ as if it would have little or no bearing on his conclusions, etc. Also, my old friend Brian Sewell — the Art Critic-turned-Historian — was also asked by the Directors to disclaim any esoteric meanings in Leonardo’s works. Furthermore, one so-called expert; a man from Oxford, constantly referred to The Magdalene as ‘The Maudlyn’ — a term deliberately put in place by the founder of Magdalene College; Lord Audley, 1552, as a means of distinguishing his institution from another of identical name. However, early Biblical works do not spell her name with the final letter ‘e’ and it is claimed — by the college Vice-Chancellor - that the letter ‘e’ was added by the early postal service some time during the 19th century.
Firstly. Many of the questions one finds ones self being posed by such ‘teases’ are actually self-revealing, hermetic, if one looks at the given material, statements and steers or ‘clues,’ many of which appear — at first glance — to be disparate, and as one looks carefully into the background pertaining to such material and/or claims, etc. one is actually involving one’s self in a deep-but-unconscious meditational exercise. One is completely focused. Added to this fact is that when historical ‘clues’ or reports of little-known fact are disseminated by persons such as I the tenacious individual will follow the testimony and historical thread, tracing it to its very point of origin. It is precisely just such exercises as this which yield sudden and totally unexpected connections to more well-known reports of early historical events. After all, the term ‘Sion’ can be taken quite literally to mean the point of origin. It is, in part, one reason for describing the order as constituting — in part — a form of alchemy. After all, The Lapis Philosophorum, apart from being a real and solid object or substance, constitutes the hub or central axis through which or to which all contemplations pass. The centre of all that is, has been and ever will or can be. Thus it confers upon the Successful a Coign of Vantage; from which ALL that exists can be seen at a single glance of the mind’s eye!
In essence, Sion concerns itself with specific primordial events, with falsely-taught history, with the evolution of Mankind and, along the way it has unwittingly drawn-in to becoming the guardians of several specific relics crucial to the true components of western civilisation. However, because the world is now a far more mercurial place such guardianship has become equally as important to the eastern and middle-eastern notion of history. For the ‘Inner-Sanctum’ of Sion there exists no such thing as ‘the Dark Ages.’
Secondly. As to Sion being a contemporary or Intergenerational Performance Art exercise. Were this so it would still not be without purpose, and the very idea imbues such statements as ‘All the world is a stage…..& etc.’ with a wholly unexpected and new meaning. However, whilst certain unconnected, uninitiated individuals and groups, have — since the mid-1980s — attempted to forge alliances with Sion and, whilst doing so, have heaped additional material into the order’s crucible thereby contributing to the ‘shifting shadow’ that IS The Priory of Sion and causing false raisons d’etre, such interferences have tended to work in the order’s favour, especially as the zenith of this period successfully occluded internal changes, (and a few upheavals), occurring at the same time.
Be that as it may, the answer to the notion of Sion being an intergenerational Performance Art exercise is a resounding ‘NO,’ but its certain older, accepted, satellite societies have — at times — made it more akin to an Intergenerational Protestation exercise aimed at The Catholic Church, and I take it that by ‘Intergenerational’ you are referring directly to generations of specific families and their supporters, etc.
TRT: Is the ranking system the same as the one that was published in The Messianic Legacy and attributed to Jean Cocteau? How many members are there today? What is the application process?
NH: No, the Order’s internal structure has altered slightly since that cited in all written works to-date, and there is NO application process. One is approached, but only when an hereditary would-be member chooses to pass their rightful place within the order. Once an heir to a rank within Sion has refused their rightful inheritance they CANNOT expect to be inducted into the order at a later date — ever. This being the case, The Order of Sion looks elsewhere for a suitable candidate or candidates; something which occurred within the last thirteen — fourteen years ago in respect of an ostensibly English member’s eldest male heir.
TRT: In the past I have hypothesized that there is a lunar calendar hidden within the ranking system of the Priory. Do you think that I am correct?
NH: Most certainly there is! Excluding the GM, (‘Nauttonier’), there are three Seneschal. I CANNOT, at this time, convey the entire structure as it stands today except to suggest that it still retains the vestiges of a pyramidal structure. However, the main core of the order comprises the three upper echelon, (see above), and five others. Added to this are precisely twenty other associates mostly by dint of birthright. This gives a total of twenty-eight, (excepting our GM), but only thirteen of the order’s members hold the right to vote new members ‘in’ or to veto said proposals AND to make changes to the General Statutes.
TRT: Is the Priory planning any sort of political maneuvers in the future? Are your colleagues working to manipulate world events behind the scenes in any way?
TRT: In recent interviews you have talked about the Cross of Hendaye and its apocalyptic message. You seem to think we’re facing a massive catastrophe soon. Is this a belief that the Priory of Sion officially adheres to?
TRT: Are there indeed massive underground structures beneath Rennes-le-Chateau, as I suggested in my book The Merovingian Mythos? In the past I have written about how some of the place-names and folk legends, as well as clues left by the Priory, seem to indicate that RLC is the metaphorical “center of the Earth” and the mountain of safety upon which Noah landed his ark (or Deucalion and Pyrra). I have suggested that Mount Cardou might be connected to the “Mount Kardo” mentioned in the “Book of the Cave of Treasures.” What do you think?
TRT: Are these underground structures accessible to everyone, or only certain people? Are there only certain conditions in which the entrances can be seen?
NH: The entrances can only be seen from certain points on the North side of the Sals Valley and from Arques. There is also a clean view or line of vision from one window in the Chateau at Serres and from the position of the tombeau at Pontils. The entire circle of entrances is clearly visible during the Winter months from Mont Bugarach.
Such means of access are only accessible at certain times of the year. (In early January until late March only ONE entrance has ever been totally safe to use.)
TRT: What relationship is there, if any, between these structures and the tomb discovered by Ben Hammott in the film Bloodline?
NH: A tenacious one.