Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Carcassonne. Walled Cathar City. Albigensian Crusade

The Course of the Unthinkable 

Crusades based on Dogma

Carcassonne was overcome and its Cathar inhabitants driven out after a long siege in the 13th Century, because they interpreted Christianity differently than the dominant Roman Catholic institution.  Read the accusations of the Inquisitor Bernard Gui from that time: In addition, they were highly successful, economically prosperous, peacable, and played well with others.  However, they followed not Rome, but their vision of a good life.

The century 1200-1300 witnessed multiple Crusades.  These were not the Holy Land Crusades so familiar through film, novels and texts disseminated. These were Christian against Christian; or Christian against other Europeans still identifying with perhaps an Orthodox Christian missionary group, or their own ethnic groups.  The Balkan Crusades encompass those Eastern Europe and Northern Europe Crusades. There were also Crusades in Sicily, etc.

Albigensian Crusades.  The Crusade relevant to Carcassonne --  the Albigensian Crusade, named for the City of Albi where may Cathars lived.  The Cathar Crusade in effect extended beyond the official dates.  Initial forays and brutalities at the end of the 12th Century bloomed into a formal Crusade by Papal Bull in 1208, and continued with slaughters until the last found Cathar was killed or forcibly converted, mid-century.  Bernard Gui was a well-known Dominican Inquisitor, see  A review of his life and times can help in understanding the era.

Carcassonne:  a huge walled city now repaired, reconstructed where needed to recreate a period and encourage tourists, with a modern city outside the walls.

History overview.  1208-1229 is the formal parameter for the Cathar Crusade of Pope Innocent III, but persecutions and slaughters continued long after, and began before.

 In 1209, the Catholic Crusaders arrive, set siege, cut off the town's water supply, and the Count of Carcassonne, Raymond-Roger Trencavel, agrees to a truce discussion but is captured instead.  The town has to surrender, Trencavel is executed, and the remaining citizens forcibly driven out.  Simon de Montfort takes over the city and surrounds initially on behalf of Pope and King, but then for self.  See  The Baltic Crusades are ongoing in the same time frame. See site.  Attacks against Cathar strongholds continue.

The citizens of Carcassonne at least were given their lives, even when all their property was taken (manye were even sent out naked). Cathar churches were razed.  Cathars in a neighboring town, Beziers, were killed, along with any others non-Cathar who were there at the wrong time..  

Renovations of Carcassonne in the 19th century result in the appearance of the castle and town now. Add tourist restaurants, shops, musicians, and lots of families.

The wood used in old castles and walled towns were vulnerable to flaming arrows, catapulted burning tar-hay balls.

Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

If the water supply had held, could the town have held out longer.

The Crusaders came here from Beziers, then on to Lavaur, Toulouse, Montsegur, and other strongholds. The Cathar genocide has been wiped from the tourist information except for this, a glossy fold-out tourist map, Carcassonne, Plan Touristique, with a flip side entitled "Historique".  Summaries are given in many languages.  It pays to know a little French to see how little we are told.  Carcassonns, built where a Roman fortress once controlled the area. "Simon de Montfort led heavy battles against the heretics, who were protected by Raymond Trencavel, "Vicomte de Carcassonns." After the destruction, a Bastide was built, then burned. Cultural life today is very rich .....

The French is little better:  keep asking, why and how is anyone heretic?  You die if you interpret ambiguous texts differently from your neighbor?  As to Carcassonne, it was also a Neolithic site, and after the Romans, Visigothic.  Christian. Then Saracens occupied.  I hadn't realized the Moors got this far. Then, in the 13th century (I am translating from the brochure) facing a Cathar heresy (? define terms. What dogma and compare it to actual words of Jesus.  How heresy?), the Pope Innocent III declared declared a Crusade against the Albigensians (many Cathars were from Albi, not far away).  The count Simon de Montfort took it in 1209 and took as prisoner Raymond Trencavel, viscount of Carcassonne, Given in 1226 to the Crown.... (how about what led to Carcassonne: Beziers, Trencavel moving to Montfort during siege under a flag of truce, then captured, and later killed while a prisoner, and all the Cathar lands confiscated, riches, belongings, how about expelling everyone there, never mind, dear, that's just old history.

I asked the historian at St. Nazaire how people saw that era now, and she said that they do not question.  They are taught to believe what they are told, and to have faith.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rennes-le-Chateau. Afterthoughts on Geneology, Gnosticism, Dualism. A Priest Changes.

Clues in Geneologies. What belief system was re-emerging.

What if other interpretations arising from the same texts
are closer to a Founder's intent than those of a militant Complex Institution.

What music did Sauniere hear?
Notoriety, focus on secrets and over-working the conspiratorial,
 obscure other issues: 
Where an institution resorts to labels like"occult" in order to entrench its own system and persecute others,  does it really fear vetting its own dogma. 

The process:  Institutional dogma supersedes search for truth.

 Examine Catholic, Gnostic, Dualist Ideas, long held "heretic." 
Sauniere as emerging Gnostic, after the discoveries. 
Did his discoveries lead him there?

Rennes-le-Chateau:  the village, and the parish, and the castle, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. By setting, subject matter, eras, and characters, Rennes-le-Chateau offers a field day for unprovable theories.  One set of theories, however, has narrowed.  Why was there such insistence of the Church in explaining the sudden wealth of priest, Berenger Sauniere, as bad acts by the priest, financial exploiting, (selling masses?).  This idea pales before the Cathar-Templar connections of one Marie de Negre D'Ables or D'Arles, whose burial stone had been at the site but obliterated by Sauniere and other words added, see

Marie De Negre had died in 1781, after giving documents and secrets to her confessor priest, Antoine Bigur, who hid them in the church at Rennes.  A copy of her stone had been made before its disappearance (she is not even in the graveyard), but her name and connections suggest deeper issues that threatened the Church: challenge to its dogma, Templars, Cathars, Gnostics, Dualist heresy in the Institution's view.

Her heritage by marriage and perhaps by own line, is shown in her name:  Marie de Negre D'Arles or D'Ables.  The copy of the stone shows Hautpol, and Blanchfort, both Cathar-origin castles. The area of Languedoc was full of Cathar and Templar castles as shown in her name:  D'Ables, Hautpoul, Blanchfort, de Negre.  Each carried related centuries of secrets and beliefs.  What was Catharism?  Why the upset and a whole Crusade against these fellow Christians?  They believed in no hierarchy, and direct access to the deity, no intercessors needed.  It included concepts of dualism, eastern elements, non-dogmatic Christianity, no long list of required "sacraments", responsibility for self, all long deemed "heretic".  The Church with its contrary established dogma had persecuted them ruthlessly.

Ask, in addition to exploring all the theories out there about the source of the funds for Sauniere's wealth, whether other issues of paintings, representations, symbols, personal behavior, show that he himself had begun to adopt Cathar-like views.  Did his exposure to the Marie De Negre materials start him thinking.

The explanation that Berenger Sauniere himself was becoming or became a secret Gnostic, a dualist, explains the Church's ostrich-like ignoring of the connections of Rennes-le-Chateau with those earlier, Manichean, believed-decimated, views.

Once primed, the idea of Gnosticism permeating Rennes-le-Chateau grows.  Mary Magdelene, Madeleine, is the patron of the Church.  She is shown at the altar at the Church of Mary Magdelene, Rennes-le-Chateau. See

Look closely.  Note the position of her hands. Theology: see overview at Mary Magdalene and the Gnostics. Scroll to Gnostic beliefs. Crop the photo and look closer, foggy here.

That hand position is apparently left hand over right, and that is also found, is it happenstance, in the Templar graveyard at the Templar town at La Couvertoirade, also in France, Larzac area. Find the fingers clearly shown for Mary in another painting at  There an intertwining is new, not shown in our photograph. Does that change things? That site notes that an earlier inscription elevating Mary's role, to central in washing away our tears, has been deleted. By whom?

Berenger Sauniere.

Role of designation occult.  Search.

That label has been applied to Berenger Sauniere's practices.  Why? The word itself is a value judgment.  Yet texts are indeed ambiguous. Whether a demon or satan or a snake is in Eden, whether that snake is dualist -- apart from "good" -- is a matter of belief, not proof, but text evidence supports either interpretation. He behaved as a Gnostic, a Cathar in many ways.  He had a relationship, no details either way dispositive, with his housekeeper (as Cathars:  no ceremony for "marriage"; my business is my responsibility), continuing religious services next door at Bethanie when the Church barred the sanctuary from his activities (as Cathar:  ritual unimportant), and other behaviors and choices of decor suggested here.

That gravitating to another belief system other than the dominant Roman Catholic would  not be enough, however, to start solving all the mysteries. It offers motivation for Catholic institutional animosity (ask -- was he killed?), but there also has to be a source of wealth.

The area was replete with treasure tales from fleeing persecuted groups and individuals., through the centuries:  not just Cathar or Templar, but was also Visigothic. Marie de Negre's roots include Visigothic.  See pseudonym Paul Sennier ideas at Pyrenees:  a crossroads for those fleeing the Church, or a King, or both. Troves of many origins feasible.

The castles: Blanchefort, Hautpoul or Haupoul or Haupol, and Ables (see Rhedesium site), are discussed on several sites, but none raise the dualistic theology they represented. That theory, that Sauniere had become a dualist, a gnostic, as Marie's family had been by association and perhaps more or less, may be closer to "truth" than other theories of Rennes.  The church: fight back.  Noone can challenge the True Faith as we have defined it, whether Templar, Cathar, gnostic or dualist orthodox. Skip the evidence. Like Jesus married.  Skip the evidence. We have decided and we change not. Or is all this just a scenario created by the fun-loving? Take with grain of Sault.  FN 1


FN 1.  For those who want to explore further

Summary of Analysis:

  • Stones and People and Representations. 

Father Antoine Bigur, the priest of Rennes-le-Chateau and confessor of Marie de Negri Dables, Lady of Hautpol, received from her before her death some documents (so it is said) that she gave him, with instructions for passing them on according to her directive.  He secreted them in a pillar at the Rennes-le-Chateau Church.

The confessor laid an inscribed flagstone by the altar, the Knight's Stone, inscription down.  The confessor told the story to two other priests, then died.

Enter Sauniere, who obliterated the inscription, and there are other issues of inconsistencies between copies made before, see and vet for yourself (how to vet? do it anyway -- where else does the story appear)

 There are, then, three stones relevant to the Rennes story (the Come-Sourde is really a rock face, apparently, for which drawings exist but location still shrouded?) Can and should some of the theories stemming from the names and places of people involved and shown on the stones, however, still offer ground for further exploration. Why was (and is) the Church so determined to discredit Berenger Sauniere and others following different conclusions from same texts.

Contents here:
I.  The stones:
A. The headstone or Marie de Negri D'Ables;
B.  The repository stone in the church; and
C.   The Come-Sorde stone, so-called, the altar stone with its own history, see And the Come-Sorde is beyond us here, the "location" of whatever is there.

II.  The people and beliefs represented by those connected to the stones.
A.   Marie de Negre D'Ables' heritage connections with Cathar-Templar castles in the area, a consistency and opportunity for receiving, passing on
B.   Dualism of the Cathars, also many eastern-influenced religions, Manicheans, shown in the Arcadia painting at Rennes.  Find the demon in the midst of the good.
C.  Unusual name "Berenger" -- any connection to the Barcelona Count Ramon Berengeur and his heritage.  Boundaries between Spain and France were fluid. 
D.    Greek crosses, not the usual Templar or Crusader Cross, or even the Roman Catholic Crucifix, found.
E.  Mary Magdalene, position of hands at altar representation at Mary Magdalene Church, Rennes-le-Chateau.  See the same position at Templar gravestones. See also the skull beside her:  non-scripture, but many cultural explanations (contemplative life, or Templar later? overview at

III. Discussion

I. Stones and Inscription Clues to the Source of the Wealth

A.  First stone.  Here is the headstone of Marie de Negre D'Ables.  It is easy to start confusing the stones in the story.  At first I thought this was the Come-Sorde. It is  not.

This is the headstone (if the body is really there)  (is she really buried there?) of the heiress to original secrets/fortunes, Marie de Negre D'Ables. Some writings spell her name as Marie de Negre D'Ables.  She was a noblewoman, Lady, or Marchioness, and that is a step above countess, a step below duchess, of Hautpoul. This stone as headstone for Marie de Negri D'Arles is in the tourist center at Rennes-le-Chateau and is a reproduction.  Tourists are now not allowed in the graveyard, and its view is barred;  where the stone is not there any more anyway.  Neither is she.  See pseudonym Paul Sennier site.

 Did the inscriber mean D'Arles, or D'Ables? We see no connection to Arles, as the reproduction shows; but do see such with Ables. De Negre:  family of Sault (county in France) and Urguel (Catalonia); Visigothic history, but first "death" was late -- in 1389. See One Jean de Negre bought the Visigothic (believed to be) Ables Castle in 1600.

She had told her confessor a secret and passed on documents/something, and the priest confessor blanched at the thought (she is indeed a Blanchford, Blanchfort also being a Templar castle), and when she died, after whatever, her stone is embroiled in Rennes-le-Chateau -- there is a long history that is not the point here, but a starting place.

Of Hautpol, of Blanchfort. Of Rennes.

Why has the connection to Hautpoul been downplayed in the Rennes-le-Chateau story: an old castle site, castle destroyed during the Albigensian Crusade, rebuilt, redestroyed, rebuilt.

Does Hautpoul, Houtpol, give any clues to old Cathar, Templar roots.

What is Hautpol?   Hautpol was a Cathar castle destroyed in the Albigensian Crusades, see  There also is a reference to Git, but here not "Gitane" or "Gitano"?  The "git" is like a little inn, a B&B?

Inscription:  CT GIT

Marie deNegri is buried in the Rennes-le-Chateau parish graveyard beside the church,  Was she an adopted orphan, whatever. A "worthless" person?  Or is her own bloodline obscured (why would a Noble marry an 18-year old nobody?).  Was she somebody.  Back to Mary Magdalene, the name on the Church, all the Languedoc traditions of her whereabouts, family way.  Does that relate to the "git" in the headstone? Why should it? Red herring?
In the area as well:  Treasure of Visigoths, Treasure of Sion, treasure from Palestine that made its way through Crusaders and others to Europe, or not, read all about it there.   So far,  nothing clearly rules out an inquiry.
  • Marie de Negri's husband had been the last Lord of Rennes-le-Chateau, at the castle Hautpol at the village there, where she resided at her death, see inscription. Cathar, Templar. Cathar Crusade: 1185 agitations by Roman Catholicism began against Cathars, through formal edict, to 1255, date of perhaps last killings. Templars. Active in the area to 1307, and later, when Templars were put on the run or killed. See  
  • The Pyrenees offered a refuge and escape route for some, others found and killed anyway.  Roman Catholicism has seldom brought up the issue of its relationship to the fates of either voluntarily. Without that era's and other era's religious and political brutalities (the Church was also military and militant at the time), Roman Catholicism could not have prevailed -- on merit or "truth" agreed. See Western Violence Timeline.

Blanchfort,  A nearby castle, also in the Marie de Negri nomenclature heritage. See it at Scroll down to the photograph with names of Rennes and Blanchfort superimposed. It was a Templar Castle, see; but there were so many when Templars were in their prime, that perhaps most in the area were. Blanchfort, however, is connected to Visigothic treasure tales, gold.  Looking at possible sources of Berenger Sauniere's sudden wealth, could this be a possibility. Names, places. It was attacked, defeated in 1209 in the Albigensian Crusade, and, with Rennes-le-Chateau, given over to a "comrade in arms" to the attacker, Simon de Montfort.
B.  Second stone.  Repository stone.

What she passed on, came to be concealed through the confessor Bigou at Rennes-le-Chateau, all this before the time of Berenger Sauniere and his housekeeper.

Look again at the design on the "repository" stone.  Nothing Christian about it. Swirls, even Celtic-type arrangements.  Experts, step forth.

Now look at a Cathar sarcophagus, perhaps originally with the tortured body of Raymond-Roger Trencavel, Count of Carcassonne, also Cather; this sarcophagus now at St. Nazaire, Carcassonne. 


St. Nazaire, Carcassonne Cathedral, sarcophagus (no body) of Count of Carcassonne, Cathar Raymond-Roger of Trencavel.  Natural designs, no "Christian" symbols

C. The Third "stone", the Come-Sourde stone, altar stone, or Coumesourde stone -- il est disparu.  It is apparently an inscription on a rock face, not a "stone", see  Is this directions, to where whatever it is, is found.

This is allegedly from a mountain of the same name, its meaning leading to blast-off of issues at  It was first found, supposedly, in 1927 by one Ernest Cros, and not on Come-Sourde at all. Mistake or to deceive as to location?  This is not an unexplored issue.  See Sauniere at  But some issues have been ignored.  Come-Sourde? What and where is that. If we only have drawings of its inscription (until now, says Perillos), what is the accuracy? See as a start for your own vetting, *  Arcadia:  many options.

II.  Names, Places, Representation as Clues to the Source of the Wealth

A.  Marie de Negre D'Ables.

Back to Black Madonnas.  The name "Negri"  or "Negre" suggests, of course, black. But black can be many things, suggest many references.  Others have explored the stone but we see no focus on the "git and the "negri."  .  See; and our intention here is to focus on the "Negri" meaning.

This gets murky.  Clues.  Mary also appears, Virgin or otherwise, as the Black Madonna, in Europe and later in South America where Hispanic tradition thrives.

Are all these really "Madonna", or are some Mary Magdalene?  And some Sara-la-Kali.  Do your own search; and in this part of the world, a Black Sara-la-Kali as patron saint of Roma, stemming from an Egyptian dark-skinned woman, who is believed to have landed with the Three Marys on coastal France (Stes.Maries-de-la-Mer), appears with symbolism that merges/mixes her with Mary and etc.  For others to pursue.

For us, is Marie de Negre in any way connected to the Black Sara-la-Kali, or Black Madonna in any way. Go to it. There are Black Madonnas in sculpture, Black Mary's all over Europe, including Barcelona.  Marie the Black?  Is Maria de Negri remotely connected.  We leave this issue alone also, because we have no idea what to do with it. Like bottles at the sea, set it out there and go on.

Some relationship?  Find these Black Madonnas (do your own search) at the Chapel in Barcelona, said to be the last Templar Chapel, part of an old palace, at the confluence of Templar Street and Althuis.  When I come to that in Spain Road Ways, I'll refer.

Meanwhile, in France, there are many Black Madonnas, as in Germany.  See Mont St. Michel. And there are black Saints, patron saints, whose images and symbolism blend with the Madonnas, see Poland Road Ways, or the Black Sara-la-Kali, at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, to the south at the Camargues, a Roma connection, see Gypsies, Roma, Romani.

This is of interest because the stone inscribes CT GIT --  is that (who knows?) Countess, plus reference to Gitano, Gitans, another name for Roma or Gypsies? Keep all these strains, even strained strains, in mind in trying to make sense of disparate presentations.

Fast forward:  If Marie de Negri later inherits interests or has interests in Cathar-Templar castles, see Hautpoul, who is she in her own right?

 Marie de Negri, Marie de Negre, sounds like what? Negri. Black. Ask again, is that a mere family name, or signifying color or obfuscation of other issues? My own Grandmother from Scots heritage is a "Black" -- we were told it was because any relations of a certain clan, the MacGregors,  think Rob Roy, lost their rights to the name for two centuries, and to hide the Big Guy, the border villagers took the names Black or White --nobody here by that other name!

B.  Beliefs

Dualism.  Gnosticism.  Was it Berenger who added a phrase referring to Acadia, or Arcadia.See its discussion at  And find the inscriptions and clues at I wish people writing on this topic could avoid the spooky, mystical pictures. This is also an academic exercise; not somebody's mystery adventure online game.

Then look again at the painting, but from a different, a theological angle.

Evil in the midst of  Good.  Is the evil separate, why do we assume creation is "good" -- see what the powers did according to this transliteration.

See the Demon there? See the face just below the apron of flowers being offered up.  Theology:  Material world, and its drives, house and coexist with evil. Fact of life.  Focus instead on eternity. Let your neighbor take his own consequences, if any.  Not for you to judge.  See The Gnostic Jesus, or Cathar Beliefs.

That representation of dualism is personified. It echoes the Bogomil, Manichean idea of good and evil (each had other ideas as well) in perpetual dichotomy, even in Eden (The Nchsh, see Eden)  where apparently the creating god could not even control the borders against it.  Did Berenger Sauniere, in setting up his own housekeeping, deviating from the priestly path in holding and disposing of wealth, signify a compatibility with Cathar tenets. No wonder the Church had to move that issue off center stage.

We did the usual magnifying with a simpleminded photo program, and affirm that the lettering offered at the site is the same we found. Find it also at the Paul Sennier site.

  • Greek crosses at the church:  Greeks were more, in their form of Eastern Christian Orthodoxy, more dualistic than others.  See Dualism, Orthodoxy, Heresy, site by Turmarion.  Greek crosses rather than Roman Catholic or Templar at Rennes suggest an affinity with that. Templars and Crusaders passed through Greece on the way to the Holy Land.  What was brought back in the head and in the hand and saddlebag? 
And Gnosticism:  See Mary Magdalene, fair use crop used here. Note the hands. The skull. 

The cross that Mary Magdelene holds: It is out of all proportion. Was the vertical length added later, to fit a Roman Catholic mold? Had it been an equal-sided Greek-type cross. Art sleuths could examine it to tell. Skull: said to signify the contemplative life. Why? Where is that from? Why not many other interpretations, including Templar. Scripture is silent. Institution-promoters are not.  The exposure was so high on this one, taken at the window, that I had to alter colors to see it.  No other changes. No photoshop in this house.

Crop to see the Crucifixion scene up close.

Notice the white cap.  That signified, in the middle ages, a married woman, in many areas.  Now look back at the tryptych at the probably Templar Rundkirke in Bjernede, Denmark:  the woman in the white cap at the Last Supper.  Scroll down to it.  The hair cap: bundling hair into a cap. Marriage or gender? Woman's hair -- erotic.  Jewish men are prohibited, we are told, from praying within sight of a woman's hair, so women in those situations covered their hair, see prayer in the Talmud at

Digression:  The married woman's hair as husband's property?  See 

Women, watch for the white caps, and find women in close association with Jesus.

Was Jesus married?  Keep asking and looking. Some in the middle ages did not find that odd at all.  Did Sauniere and others before him (who arranged the church representations?) so suggest as well?

C. Heritage in the Name Berenger? 
Berenger Sauniere, Priest from nowhere.  Or was he?  See an earlier Ramon Berengeur, and offspring and descendants, Counts of Barcelona, Aragon, all areas with boundaries fluid as to France, Pyrenees, other.  Did Marie have a connection to a Berengeur.  So far, with quick looks at, and ancestry first look, we see no connection between the names, Berenger and Berengeur, but centuries have passed.  Go, ancestry people.

The Pyrenees - ancient. See I cannot find Come Sourde as a mountain name and location. Sourde is French, for deaf. Ha. Come is Spanish for eat. Now what? Great Pyrenees dogs can be prone to deafness. Blind alley!

4.  Berenger.  Berenger Sauniere.

The great line of Counts of Barcelona, Ramon Berengeur, numbers !-IV,  Boundaries between France, Pyrenees, and Spain, still fluid, with Moors, Basques, all sorts of folk competing.

Would a Templar-Cathar heritage family, the De Negre group of Hautpoul Castle, seek out a kindred spirit, a trusted person finding such even centuries later.  Berenger, where he was then, a parish priest.  Sleuths, go.

Berenger as convert to Gnosticism.  Referring to the Gnosticism overview at
practices would include God as directly accessible, no intercession needed, transformation of the self or EGO is highest goal of spirituality, that Satan tries to trap us in the material world, etc. See the inscriptions on the stone now missing, words ego, Arcadia. And the Mary at the altar of the Church, see above.

III.  Discussion

Sauniere as Gnostic, Cathar-like. It appears feasible that Berenger Sauniere adopted Cathar-like dualist beliefs for his life and practice; and that infuriated the Institution.  Whether from documents found as to Christian origins, and secrets he believed, as to the True Faith as confirmed by Templar materials (what? where?) as dualist, and not Roman Catholicism, or on his own, he still practiced in a priestly fashion. But he did so as a neo-Cathar, and Rome could not let that stand, or even acknowledge the source of his new orientation. After all, they thought they had wiped all that dualist, gnosticthinking out. Once a position is taken, it shall not be altered, even upon new evidence, which shall not be vetted, is that so.

 Ask, does that headstone for Marie De Negre by its names and person represented and their castles,  support a Cathar-Templar set of documents, secrets of theology even from Jerusalem and the Crusades there, or merely a refugee Visigothic or other trove, sold and now source of funds for Berenger Sauniere, priest at Rennes-le-Chateau, and later - perhaps - influenced by their ways, what he found, was told.  Is the church throwing out a red herring claiming that the fortune resulted from a mere hornswoggling of parishioners, the "selling of masses," claimed by the threatened Church as to the wealth.
Threatened?  Rennes-le-Chateau's sudden wealth in the 19th Century? Why would that present as a threat to the institutional church. Look at the repository stone, its design. Is it similar to the Cathar sarcophagus at Carcassonne,
Reminders of a murderous, crusading and inquisition past, a priest not turning over wealth to the institution for disposition, carrying on his own relationship life. Anathema.  Disregard of dogma's rituals, hierarchies of humans deciding what god cannot and can do, all that.  Interesting tale.
    • Perhaps the church's bilking explanation was intended to deflect interest in sources of the wealth as from refugees from its persecution, how the Church had gained dominance over the area in the 12th-13th Centuries and after: the unspeakable Albigensian Crusades, Inquisitions, and the slaughter of the Templars. Each group's tenets ran counter to the authority claimed by the Institutional church.
    •  Beliefs counter to the Institution:  Cathars and eastern religious influences, Manicheans, other Christians' beliefs, shared intellectual commonalities. See, for example, the dualism, gnosticism of Manicheans, especially Manichean Bogomilism, known to the Templars. "The (Manichean- Bogomils) sect called for a return to the teachings of early Christianity and a rejection of the political amitions of the reigning ecclesiastical authorities," says archeologist Dimitar Nedev, Sozopol (Bulgaria) Archaeological Museum, see Archeology, September-October 2012, article by Matthew Brunwasser at p.13. The canon had been constructed after careful exclusions of inconsistent accounts; the system began to self-perpetuate.
      • Dualism, objectified.  What is "heretic" about making other sense of experience or reasoning:  a theology based on the physics of every action met with an equal and opposite reaction (dualism of good and evil as forever duelling, outcome unknown); or another wish-like theology, god is great as we define, god is good as we define, combined with institutional requirement to trust the System. Both from the same texts.
  • Now to look up D'Ables. There is an Ables, Spain, near Asturias. And the orphan idea from one of those geneology sites.  
The Tale has arrived in the New World.  See Blanche: as in Blanchfort?  But Queen Blanch was not a Cathar sympathizer? See site. There are always more.  See

So many conjectures to enjoy, so little time!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rennes-le-Chateau. A Song of Sauniere. A Demon. A Disturbed Graveyard. Lost Treasure? What Clues?

 A Song of Sauniere 1852-1917
Mysteries of History II
Berenger Sauniere Reburied.

Rennes-le-Chateau.  A Pyrenees foothills village and parish church, with a history of mystery, and a Marie Denardaud in the house, who may have known all, and spake not a word.  Revisit, retell. Relook. Parse. Sau. Wild. Nier. Deny. Sauniere: Add a feminine e.  Niere. She denies? Who denies? Who denies wildness? Google translate, speak on. The site tells the tale. It is full of intrigue, ambiguities, see Paul Sennier (pseudonym) and the Treasure of the Aniorts

Take your GPS and find Rennes-le-Chateau. Pay and go in. Placards placed about will fill you in. You go on. Is there really a Demon in the picture in the refurbished Rectory, a place for services were ongoing despite the Church's prohibition. A Demon? What does that mean, scurry flurry. Speak not of forbidden Dualism, secrets contrary to Dogma, that there is indeed Evil personified, out there, from the Beginning. Cathar, Gnosticism!  Grail. What is it. Idea or thing? Templar Fever. Gold? Challenge the powers? No! Stamp out heresy and that means anybody who disagrees with Institutional Fixes.

Sing the story. Make a Lay.
  •  I will build a fine Estate, sang the Priest, with sudden funding.
 Rennes-le-Chateau, France. New Facilities, Sudden Funding
Rennes-le-Chateau. Village interpretation of Sauniere and Denardeau, an establishment for comestibles.
  •  No mere priest can be allowed that much money! Sang the Church, as it made up a tale of his bilking parishioners in order to finance Improvements. He resigned. They blocked his priestly practice. See Sauniere site.
  • You know he told me, sang Marie, supported by some cache during her life, but only using what was needed. And I will tell, perhaps, in my good time.
Rennes-le-Chateau. Marie Denardeau, in the House

But she did not. She is buried in the Churchyard, with Others with secrets.  See Sauniere.
  • Who cares, sang another Villager. We have a fine new Estate for our tiny Parish. Tourists, they will come. And she, we can fantasize.... 
  • Ha, ha, ha, you and me, Little Brown Box, you'll never find me, sang the Treasure, the Documents, Whatever.
  • And the nephew fumed, and ordered the diggers to dig up Great-Great-Grand-Uncle, hoping, is this so, that the exhumation of Berenger Sauniere would disclose the Big T. And it did not.
  • So dear Mystery Sauniere was updug, and replanted, and, like the cheese, left alone and outside the hallows of the church graveyard, rest his soul (but the tourists click on)
  • And the way to and view of the graveyard was closed up, tight. Who else was there left alone. Another Marie, who is no longer there if she ever was, Marie de Negre D'Ables, who died in 1781, she of the old ruined, many times rebuilt, Cathar Castle Hautpol, Castle Able, Castle Blanchfort, the Visigothic family, heritages brought for safekeeping, and her secrets, Paul Sennier site, and its.
Rennes-le-Chateau, Church Graveyard locked, view barred. Is that Cathar blue? Woad?

Try to peer within, through a little hole, to see, perhaps, the grave of newly lonely Marie Denardaud; and perhaps where the other Marie de Negre D'Ables once lay or did not, stone defaced by Sauniere and now disappeared:  No luck.

Rennes-le-Chateau. View of Grave of Marie Denardaud, through a hole in the door of the locked-up graveyard

Why locked? What of the rights of the dead to be remembered?  Read a long form at Berenger Sauniere's Secret,

Find a reproduction of the headstone in the tourist shop: the inscription is indeed as represented at

This is not the Come-Sorde stone, the mysterious one with symbols and directives, see Paul Sennier site.  On this stone is the inscription:

ARIE DE NEGR (and here is a superscript but smaller E?)
DHAULPOUL D (and here is another superscript but smaller E?)
AGEE DE SOIX (with a high dot between de and soix)
ANTE SET ANS (or SPT ANS, in each case a circonflex-type squiggle between E and P or t) I

And there it stops.  Apparently, other words, ET IN ARCADIA EGO,  were etched in addition by Sauniere.  Who can vet any of this?  Meanwhile, enjoy and chek at

Parse it:  What is the CT GIT?

Marie had known parents, see, o "git" (Scots in later centuries) meaning "worthless person" -- no known parentage, for example, could make sense. See Haupoul, Hautpoul, Cathar-Templar-Visigoth "treasure" possibilities, see

 Now. Sing of Marie the Housekeeper.  She, the faithful, non-exploiting one, is that so,, had been buried next to the once-priest, in the church graveyard. But was it the same graveyard territory?  See  Family and Church left in the lurch. What did she know? A Crusader or Other Treasure Trove found and lost again?  Or a Big Bilk? 

Never mind, said a distant great-great-great nephew.  I find sex far more important: the fact that Dear Deceased Clergy Unk may have had a forbidden affair for years with this Marie, who kept his house, and is buried next to her.  Dig him up! Move him over there!

Rennes-le-Chateau. New grave of Berenger Sauniere, exhumed, and outside the Yard. Far from Marie. Thanks to distant disgruntled nephew.

There, Berenger lies. Alone, like a specimen. Then, lock the graveyard! Bar the view! Change history to suit ME! And so the great-umpty-non-great nephew did.

That silly would-be heir whose never got, and so severed great-great-great uncle Sauniere from -- who? What was the relationship? What did she know? She remains in the locked and blocked graveyard, secrets intact.

Sauniere the Finder or Bilker. Placed like an exhibit apart from all hallows. Put him back, nephew. Put. Him. Back. 

Guidebooks, update your facts. He is not there. He is exhumed. He is outside, over there. And the demon laughs.

Wait! says another Villager. We have more clues! Little trowels, and Un Papillon, les horns sous le what? Water chaser? Pearls from the east! A half-moon sur the bottle! Mithra! Or is that a Dachshund leaping?

  Must find truth in theology.  Must find truth in theology. Must... 

But wait!  There, in the village, another clue.  Is it?  Yes!  Words! Find l'Auberge!

Who is laughing now?

Time to go. And so we did.

Part of this thing is just like the other.

More clues?

Note the equal-sided Cross, not a Crucifix size Cross. Not Templar. Is this a Greek cross?

Go to good old Wiki for crosses, at  Greek Cross! First Crusade Crusaders from France passed through Italy, Greece and so to Palestine, see  Oh, dear, this is just too much. Dig up the whole route in Greece?  Come on!  You want to?  Find the funding and off we go, is that so?  Anything funded will get you there. Buy the result you want. What if there is something to the old tales? Conspirators, pool. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fontestorbes Fountain. Hydro-Geology. Springs Eternal, In Its Ways

Fontestorbes Fountain
 Quiet here, Gushing there. 


The Fontestorbes Fountain is an intermittent hydro-geologic performer that results from precipitation from a plateau known as the Pays de Sault.  The rain and snow melt filter through calcium rock, accumulating in pockets underground and with speed on the way out, clocked in 1966, as gushing out at, yes, 12,500 litres per second, says Squidoo at

Fontestorbes Fountain, France. From unmappable deeps.

Go further, Squidoo. 

One litre is .264172 gallon. Gallons per second? 12,500 litres X .264172 litres per gallon = 3,302.15 gallons per second. 

Bring boogie board.  Wiki shows you how.

It cycles every 40 minutes.  We lucked out and happened to pass it roadside in our roam through Cathar country.  See

Chalabre Castle. Chateau de Chalabre. Renaissance-y.

Castle Chalabre
Chateau de Chalabre

Chateau Chalabre:  Near Puivert is Chateau de Chalabre. This castle presents as overwhelmingly Renaissance, but there is an older part behind. Many castles were refurbished, redone, wrecked, rebuilt, other-built. Chalabre differs from Puivert in important respects.  Here is the added Cathar Theme Park idea, with educational rooms, activities, demonstrations, exhibits, we are told.  Polish up your French and visit  We found it after Puivert.

Cathar connection:  The property is listed among those of Roger the Elder, First Count of Carcassonne, see Chateau de Chalabre.  It was never besieged, but battles waged around, see Puivert.  Its first mention is from the 9th Century.

We were there an hour too soon for opening, after Puivert and a nice drive around.  Slugabeds. 

With little to do or see from the outside, and nobody even around, we left.

Puivert Castle, Cathars and Troubadours

Visit Cathar country in Languedoc, France, and find too many castles to see in one visit.  The Crusade against Cathar Christians extended for half a century, late 1100's to about 1250 CE, see Heresy Wars Timeline.

A lesser known Cathar castle is Puivert, meaning green hill top, a ruin on a hill and not a rocky cliff as so many others, accessible by a winding path.  The way is not difficult, but in heat, takes time and energy.  It is not well-promoted or financed. It is privately owned, and supposedly undergoing restoration, but please speed it up.  See

 In its day, this castle saw nobles and troubadours, a song even specifically describing a gathering in 1170 CE of the musicians: "This poem was composed to the sound of bagpipes / At Puivert among sound and laughter."  The Castle fell in 1210.  The wife of the seigneur was a Cathar Parfaite, see  Catharcastles and http://www.cathar.

The most famous troubadour was one Pierre d'Auvergne, see  He sang of Ermengarde, lovely Viscountess of Narbonne.  Read a poem at this Google book, Lays of the Minnesingers.
Scroll to pages 243 ff. Now, sing.

One Ermengarde d'Ussat is listed at number 63, among the numbers and names of those put to death at Montsegur in 1244, see Peter Wronski site from 2002, Montsegur, Identities of Cathars Executed on March 16, 1244.  Is that the same Ermengarde? She is listed as a Believer, not as a Parfaite. We had found a far higher number burned, some 250, as the initial paragraph of the site notes. Are these named at the Wronski site only those who could be identified? Yes.  It appears that the total of 220 or so, from survivor testimony afterwards, stands.

The castle as seen today dates after the Albigensian Crusade, from the 14th Century.  But ruins of the old castle are nearby.  Many Cathar castles were totally demolished in the Crusades, and by later foragers for already-quarried stone.
Pay a modest admission fee, and find a rough jousting demonstration area, and just outside, some rib-thin horses.  France can do better than this for its heritage.  The people attending the area, it appears, are expected to make do with nothing. 

For glamour and the results of funding, see the medieval theme park at Chalabres Castle, Chateau Chalabre, nearby.  No wonder the tourists are drained from  here.  

Funding national treasures.  Do it.  There is authenticity here, acknowledging the ruin of the original castle, then this rebuilding in the 14th century. We like gaps, not prepackaged glitz. But our view of Chalabre was from the outside; limited.  If broad educational programs are accurate, and start an interest, then that is fine. Why not let kids into Puivert, to start with what they think they find, look it up, go back, find more, and gather their own history. 

Chalabre: join with Puivert, deflect some of the Chalabre income to support Puivert, says the Car-Dan Tour Company. Puivert offers food for imagination, not packaging.

Privately-owned or not, surely the family tending the area,  with their horses, can be provided more sustenance, consistent with their own dignity and acknowledging their work on their own.  The troubadour tradition here can be made to bloom.

All takes funding, however.

We liked Puivert because we could discuss and fill in gaps, without being overwhelmed with others' agendas.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Montsegur Village. Ironies of history and location.

The ironies begin.  Montsegur Castle itself, on the mountaintop where 13th Century Christian Cathars sought fruitless refuge against Papal Crusaders ordered to kill all non-Catholic Christians, is visible only from a distance.  To get close, find a helicopter or hike up.

Cathars were Christians, as were many who followed their various interpretation of Jesus' text and tradition.  For Cathars, dualism, asceticism, egalitarianism, was the Christian message.  That did not fit Rome. 

From a distance, the castle ruin is a small sight, but moving.

Then find a less familiar sight: the approach from the far side.

That first sheer cliff is, from another direction, a more gradual climb, a place where Cathars could even cultivate land to support themselves while defending, and, as fate would have it, where overwhelming soldiers of the Pope and the King could ultimately overwhelm, as they did.

The route that offered sustenance, also brought murder.  Some 250 living Christian souls, whose sin was differing interpretation of the same scriptures, tolerance and leave others to their own beliefs, were sacrified to the institution:  Burned alive on a pyre in the village below.

Montsegur Village. The ironies continue.  Montsegur offers much, by way of thought and atmosphere and sustenance.  Religious institutional evolution, as with philodendron: watch what takes root because it may well keep growing.  That idea from a Kay Scarpetta crime book somewhere.

1.  Fine accommodations, delicious food, even without reservations.  And trust.

 Drive late in the day, early evening, seeking Montsegur. Follow signs and the GPS in and in and winding in, finally see some views and gasp.  Yes, breathtaking.  Too late in the day, or not inclined to drive back, knowing the summit is accessible only by walking (hike, climb, like a pilgrimage), so keep on.  See a sign or two to rooms off to farms at the side.  Keep going.  Faith?  And arrive at a little village with plenty of places to stay.  It is 7PM so stop at the first where you can park on the side in order to run in.  Yes!  Room!  Take it, sight unseen, Auberge de Montsegur.

And love it.  Not air conditioned, but up there, in the cool, not really needed.  Locate the town parking area, leave your stuff in the trunk again on faith, and take in the usual overnight change of essentials and toiletries, such as they are.  We loved it.  Delicious, fresh food, friendly people, and, again the food. 

Find quiet, excellent food and service. The chef is Pierre-Rene Debris.

We finished our spectacular meal (big salad! big salad!), Dan and I headed upstairs, and were relieved to find that the nearby church does not gong all night.  But wait.  There's more.

The church, the infernal church. It started in at 7 AM.

Now, I ask you,  Is this not the issue of the Crusades.  By what right does one cult impose its practices on others.  Seven in the morning!  It was the gong show.  By what right is this church here at all, when the only reason it is here is that it killed off all those who did not want to get up at 7 in the morning.  Is that so? See serious look at chronologies at Heresy Wars Timeline, Cathars, Other


It is indeed a nice church.  It has all the right accoutrements, except institutional tolerance of the rights of others.

Look at causation behind the power, the monopoly.  The assassination of a monk is given as the reason behind the total extermination to come:  but that wee monk was also a Papal Legate and First Inquisitor Cistercian Pierre de Castelnau.  Not exactly benign.  Without the Pope and the King and their Crusades to get them power and territory and property consolidated in their names, there would be no such.  Dominance.  Not by merit, but by force.  This the view of a raised-Christian who is appalled at how little semblance the "consolidated forms" bear to the Founder.

Back to Montsegur. Read stories, legends, dig for facts.  Where is fact, where is legend, does calling fact "legend" defuse its power?  See Legend of the Cathars

And find that nice Pyrenees dog.

Montsegur.  Spend the night.  There are many places to stay.  Where exactly was the pyre that burned the hundreds of fellow Christians?  Should not the church set up a site for rememrrance, doing penance, give back ill-gotten properties in the entire Languedoc, instead of gonging other-thinking Christians and others awake at 7AM?

This is a spontaneous appreciation.  No kickbacks.