Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

by Robert Anton Wilson

excerpt from Email to the Universe


‘Say the magic word and the duck will come down and pay you $100.’    — Marx

In the small and otherwise little-known town of Rennes-le-Chateau in Southern France, near the Spanish border, stands a decidedly odd cathedral which has become a center of controversy, conspiracy theories and occult speculation for over a century. Although it belongs to the Roman Catholic church, and looks superficially orthodox from a distance, you don’t even have to go inside to begin suspecting you have found the weirdest goddam church in the entire Christian world, because over the entrance stand the ominous words


If nameless awe and Lovecraftian fears of cosmic horror do not drive you back, you will proceed, and discover that this temple is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, the most poorly recorded yet ill-reputed of the disciples of Jesus.  In the Bible itself, she appears as a name and only a name. According to long-held legend, she was a common whore; and even after she reformed, she remains a bit of an embarrassment to the more puritanical Christians, i.e, most of them.

An “accursed” church named after the Monica Lewinsky of the New Testament does present a puzzle, but the real mindfucks appear inside, on the Stations of the Cross. One station seems to show shadowy figures smuggling Jesus’s body out of the grave in the middle of the night [as if to fake the Resurrection?] and another, even more unorthodox when you think it over, shows a Scotchman in kilts amid the crowd at the Crucifixion…  if to validate the  secret tradition of Scotch Rite freemasonry….?

Lest you think all this the work of the Monty Python crew, the Church of Mary Magdelene was built in the 1890s by the local parish priest, Father Beranger Sauniere, but where he got the money for the construction seems even more problematic than the eldritch edifice itself. Rennes-le-Chateau, a small town, could barely afford a priest, and Father Sauniere in his early days often survived on free meals from his congregation, yet he suddenly became rich. In addition to the church, he built a Tower, also dedicated to Mary Magdelene, and a bridge, and other public works, but nobody knows where he got the money.

Some legends soon grew in the village, claiming that Father Sauniere had found the lost treasure of the Knights Templar [who had a castle in the area] or that he had re-discovered the secret of alchemy. In L’Or de Rennes-le-Chateau [The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau], an odd bloke named Gerard de Sede claimed that Sauniere had discovered some old parchments containing a “priceless” historical and occult revelation.  He even reproduces the alleged parchments, which consist only of two pages from the New Testament, in Latin.

Three other researchers named Lincoln, Baigent and Leigh later discovered that some of the letters in these parchments do not follow the alignment of the rest of the text, but hang above it, like exponents in mathematics. These letters formed words, not in Latin but in French — but the words create a new mystery of their own. Slightly condensed, they say:






We shall return to this dazzling revelation, or surrealist hoax, but first we will examine Father Sauniere a bit more deeply. This simple country priest often visited Paris and evidently mingled with the occult lodges there, including some of those associated with Aleister Crowley (a hint?). Before he died, Sauniere made a final confession, as a good Catholic should; but the priest who heard the confession found it so terrible that he denied the last rites and refused to grant absolution. According to Catholic dogma, Sauniere immediately went to Hell — for an accursed church, a Scotchman at the Crucifixion, noon blue apples, and some aeon-old horror that allegedly makes sense of all this….

Wait. It gets even weirder.

Gerard de Sede, whom I have already dared to call an odd bloke, produced another book, La Race Fabuleuse [The Fabulous Race], which deals with Stenay, a town far from Rennes-le-Chatteau, which happens to have the head of Satan on its Coat of Arms. Although de Sede prominently mentions [but never does explain] this blasphemy, he does have a lot of interesting things to say. Frogs often fall out of the sky onto Stenay, an annoyance to orthodox science, which cannot explain them.

Charles Fort and the Fortean Society have catalogs of inexplicable frogfalls. And fishfalls. And some falls of strange metal objects. I hope that helps you, here in the murk.

The Merovingian kings, a dark age dynasty [c 400-700 c.e], had a falling frog on their Coat of Arms. [Less sinister than Satan, but more perplexing?] The church in Stenay is built so that on midsummer day you can stand at the altar, look through the arched doors and see Sirius rising behind the sun. And Dagobert II, a Merovingian king, was murdered by persons unknown in the Ardennes Forest on 23 December, 679 c.e.


            AND HE IS THERE DEAD…

Hey, maybe some of this makes sense?

De Sede finally offers us a revelation, or part of one, thanks to one Marquis de B. [All the best conspiracy books have sources who cannot be identified. Even Woodward and Bernstein had “Deep Throat.”] The Marquis, himself descended from Dagobert, tells de Sede that the spooky Merovingians resulted from matings between certain ancient Israelites of the Tribe of Benjamin and extraterrestrials from Sirius. They have lived in hiding and obscurity for many centuries, because a certain powerful conspiracy has tried to murder them all, just like they murdered poor old Dagobert. Although neither de Sede nor de B. name this conspiracy, the evidence seems arranged so as to point a strong finger of suspicion at the Vatican.

Although the Marquis promised further revelations, he never got to provide them. Like Dagobert II, he was murdered on 23 December [in 1972] in the Ardennes Forrest. Or so de Sede claims.

Another part of the puzzle emerges from a Swiss source — journalist Mattiew Paoli, who, in a book titled Les Dessous [Undercurrents] exposed what he considered a conspiracy to restore monarchy in France, under the guise of two groups called respectively [a] the Committee to Protect the Rights and Privileges of Low-Cost Housing and [b] the Priory of Sion. His evidence actually   seems to indicate that both groups act as fronts for something even older and more esoteric.

Both of these secretive organizations had links with the Grand Loge Alpina in Switzerland and the Committee for Public Safety, an office of the de Gaulle government in Paris.

The Grand Loge Alpina ranks as the richest freemasonic lodge in the world, since most of its members belong to the elite Swiss banking families that British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once claimed had more power than all the governments of Europe combined. He even called them “the Gnomes of Zurich.” Timothy Leary also used to say that the Cold War came to an end when the Americans and Russians discovered that the Swiss own the whole world already.

The Committee for Public Safety seemed to consist of only Andre Malraux, Nobel Laureate in literature, and Piere Plantard de Saint Clair, a fabulously rich occultist. Both men had served heroically in the Resistance, during the Nazi occupation, and had long personal friendships with de Gaulle. Yet Paoli’s evidence seemed to implicate them in a plot to replace de Gaulle’s democratic [if right-wing] government with a restored monarchy.

It does not compute, as Robby the Robot would say.

But dig this: Paoli reproduces the front page of one issue of Circuit, the official journal of the Committee to Protect the Rights and Privileges of Low-Cost Housing and/or the Priory of Sion: it shows a map of France with a Star of David superimposed on it and a conventional “flying saucer” hovering above.

What was it de Sede claimed about ancient Israelites who mated with extraterrestrials from Sirius? Hmmm..?

After publication of Les Dessous, Paoli went to Israel, where the government arrested him for spying, convicted him, and shot him dead by firing squad, he then quickly dying of natural causes as a result. Unless we want to let this stuff really weird us out, we better regard that as a mere coincidence. Even considering it a synchronicity might get us into deep and murky waters, especially if we’re a little bit stoned.

La Race Fabuleuse and Les Dessous both appeared in 1973. On 23 July that year, I had the first of a series of experiences which seemed like communications from Sirius, although, grown older and wiser, or at least more cautious, I now tend to attribute them to Too Much Acid. [See my Cosmic Trigger trilogy,] Early the next year, sci-fi supergenius Philip K. Dick had a set of similar experiences, which he at times attributed to communications from Sirius — although he also thought they might actually emanate from his dead friend, Bishop James Pike, or from a Gnostic disciple of Jesus named Thomas.

In 1976 appeared The Sirius Mystery by Robert K.G. Temple,  a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, who evidently had felt the Sirius Vibe in his  own academic way. His book argues that ancient intercourse between Earth and Sirius had occurred about 4500 years ago in the mid-East, but unlike de Sede he does not suggest sexual intercourse, merely the intellectual variety, and he locates the contact point in Sumeria, not Israel…. but still…

Things heated up in 1982 with the publication of Holy Blood, Holy Grail by the aforementioned Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh.  It had no references to Sirius, but among other things, it tried to prove that de Sede belonged to the Priory of Sion [the real brains behind the Committee to Protect the Rights and Privileges of Low-Cost Housing]; that the Priory had existed since the 14th Century and carried on the secret inner traditions of the Knights Templar, the warrior-monks systematically exterminated by the Inquisition 1300-1307 on charges of heresy; that Pierre Plantard de Saint Clair acts as the current Grand Master of the Priory; and that the Priory serves to protect the Merovingians and their descendents from a murderous vendetta by the Vatican [a thesis only hinted at by de Sede.]

Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh even obtained an interview with Priory Grand Master Plantard de Saint Clair, who evaded most of their questions, but did admit that Father Sauniere found a “treasure,” adding hermetically that the treasure was not material but “spiritual,” that it belonged to Israel, and that it would be forwarded thereto “at the proper time.” Well, that sure helps a lot, doesn’t it?

The real bombshell falls at the end, when the authors offer their own solution to these enigmas. Jesus, they claim, married Mary Magdelene and they had a son. After the Crucifixion, the widow and the widow’s son fled to France, and he became the progenitor of the Merovingians. They even produce a photo of the sepulture of the widow’s son, which is quite near Rennes-le-Chateau, and point out its strong resemblance to a similar tomb in the painting, Shepherds of Arcadia, by Nicholas Poussin.



This painting shows three shepherds looking in awe at the tomb, and the tomb bears the inscription, Et in Arcadia ego….[“And in Arcadia, I….”] Baigent et al point out that if you permutate the letters of this fragment, you can obtain I TEGO ARCANA DEI {“I conceal the secrets of God.”] I surmise with further ingenuity you could obtain “Noon Blue Apples” again, perhaps in Lithuanian.

DeSede had already mentioned this cryptic painting, in La Race Fabuleuse, hinting that it was linked to the Merovingians and Father Sauniere. He also claimed that it once belonged to Louis XVI, who kept it in an isolated room where visitors to the palace could not see it.

But to return to the late Redeemer and his alleged paramour. Ms. Magdalene, if one accepts them as the ancestors of the Merovingians, as Baigent et al would have it, and if one accepts the divinity of Jesus, as most Christians do, then the medieval doctrine of “the divine right of kings” suddenly makes sense. The Merovingians seem to have intermarried with every other royal family in Europe — royals only marry royals, you know — so almost every king and queen of Europe from the middle ages onward has carried some of the holy “blood” of Jesus by way of the holy grail of Mary’s uterus. If you translate “blood” as genes, this makes sense, sort of.

Maybe we should give up all the democratic heresy of the last 200 years and accept the genepool of Jesus and Mary Christ as our God-given rulers?

Well, not if you think de Sede has a more plausible argument for the extraterrestrial/Hebraic origin of the Merovingians.

Or you can skeptically regard all this as a complicated joke perpetrated by an odd consortium of aristocrats with too much time on their hands.

But then why did the Swiss bankers get involved? They definitely do not have too much time on their hands. And where the hell did Sauniere get his sudden wealth and why did he use part of it to build a church for an allegedly reformed alleged hooker?

Baigent and his associates also produce a heap of genealogical charts showing who, in the modern world, belongs to the “divine” Merovingian genetic pool, together with an alleged list of Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion. Some interesting names appear:

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. He’s related to the Merovingians and, although this does not appear in the Baigent genealogy, he founded the Bilderbergers, a mysterious group of rich white males who appear in dozens of conspiracy theories by both Leftwing and Rightwing opponents of the current power structure. Although never convicted of any real crime in any real court, the Bilderbergers do indeed look conspiratorial to a lot of writers not rich enough, white enough or male enough to gain admittance; and they act with extreme secrecy. According to Lawrence Wilmot, writers for both the London Economist and the French TV news admitted to him that they have orders not to mention the Bilderbergers, and other journalists responded with “ironic laughter” when asked why they never touched   on this subject.

[A few known American members of the Bilderbergers: George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, David Rockefeller.]

Dr. Otto von Hapsburg, heir of the longtime rulers   of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, descendent of the Merovingians and another Bilderberger. According to Baigent & Co., the von Hapsburg family financed Father Sauniere and the building of the Church of Mary Magdelene in the last century. According to Maynard Solomon’s very scholarly and non-conspiracy-oriented biography, Beethoven, the Emperor Joseph von Hapsburg, in the 18th Century, appeared as a hero, an “Enlightened Monarch” to the Bavarian Illuminati, who commissioned Ludwig to immortalize him in the Emperor Joseph Cantata, where he is hailed as “foe of darkness and bringer of light.” Dr. Otto himself still carries the mysterious title. King of Jerusalem, which always belongs to the eldest male von Hapsburg of every generation. [Because they are descended from King Jesus? Or from those Jewish Extraterrestrials?]

Jean Cocteau, 23rd Grand Master of the Priory of Sion and a major figure in modernist art, having done notable work in painting, film, drama, poetry, ballet etc. A Gay opium addict, related to much of the French aristocracy, Cocteau had friendships with Ezra Pound, Dali, Picasso, Orson Welles, and almost everybody important in High culture, and helped create the surrealist movement. That may explain the Noon Blue Apples — if Sauniere didn’t really find those parchments and Somebody forged them later…..

And other revelations and/or hoaxes have surfaced….

In The Messianic Legacy [1987] Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh spend half the book proving links between the Priory of Sion and modern banking, implicating banks in England, Canada and the U.S. as well as the Usual Suspects in Switzerland. The other half of the book concerns the equality of men and women in early Christianity, placing the Papist all-male priesthood as the first “heresy.”

Pierre Plantard de Saint Clair also appears again, for a brief interview, in which he announces that he has resigned as Grand Master of the Priory, refuses to name his successor, and drops dark hints that the whole megillar has secretly come under the control of the Knights of Malta, a rightwing Catholic organization often accused elsewhere of plotting a revival of Fascism.

An undated pamphlet, Scandals of the Priory of Sion, signed “Cornelius,” has circulated among conspiracy buffs for some time. It links the Priory to the Mafia and the P2 conspiracy in Italy.

You’ve heard of the Mafia. P2, better known in Europe than over here, grew out of the CIA’s Project Gladio, created by James Jesus Angleton, Chief of Counter Intelligence — a man who appears in more conspiracy theories than anyone since Adam Weishapt. Gladio, intended to influence Italian elections, had an Italian organizer named Licio Gelli, who had previously worked for both the Gestapo and the Communist Underground during World War II, convincing each side that he was betraying the other. As soon as Angleton hired Gelli, Gelli repeated his previous achievement and got on the payroll of the KGB, too, again convincing each side that he was really loyal to them and betraying the   other guys. Gelli also belonged to the Knights of Malta, by the way.

Once he had funding from both the CIA and the KGB, Gelli formed P2, a secret society recruited entirely from 30 members of the Grand Orient Lodge of Egyptian Freemasonry. P2 then became the “secret government” of Italy, infiltrating over 900 members into the official government, laundering drug money through the Vatican Bank and Banco Ambrosiano, and assassinating everybody who seriously pissed them off. Muders charged to P2 include many left-wing labor leaders; Prime Minister Aldo Moro; Mino Pecorelli [the first journalist to expose their machinations], Roberto Calvi [president of Banco Ambrosiano, who after being indicted, seemed inclined to turn state witness]; Michele “The Shark” Sindona [president of Franklin National Bank, who also seemed inclined to turn informer after being convicted of murdering a bank examiner]; and, probably, the previous Pope. Calvi and Sindona also belonged to the Knights of Malta — and so does Dr. Otto von Hapsburg [see above.]

According to “Cornelius,” P2 was a tool, a front, for the Priory of Sion; James Jesus Angleton only thought he ran the show from CIA headquarters in Langtry. [However, according to Larry Gurwin of theInstitutional Investor, Italian investigators believe the real control came from a still-unidentified Puppet Master in Monte Carlo.] Corenlius also claims the Priory of Sion murdered Giorgio Ambrosoli, the bank examiner whose death the courts had blamed on Michele “The Shark” Sindona of P2; and that Cardinal Jean Danielou also belonged to the Priory.

Cardinal Danielou had literary friendships with Jean Cocteau, of the Priory of Sion, and Nobel laureate Andre Malroux of de Gaullle’s Committee for Safety and the esoteric Committee for the Rights and Privileges of Low Cost Housing and/or the Priory of Sion.  The Cardinal himself died, somewhat oddly, in the apartment of a strip-tease dancer, in 1974.

In 1985 David Wood produced GENISIS — not a misprint, but a Joycean pun, [Gen-ISIS — get it?] Based on the English science, or art, or group madness, called ley hunting, this book seeks a mystic secret in the geograpical arrangements of the sites important in the Priory/Magdelene mystery. You do this by connecting all the key points with straight lines, and if nothing significant emerges, you may try curved lines if they are arcs of a circle. If that doesn’t work, try a smaller map and a thicker pencil. Using the right map and pencil, plus a few circles, Wood emerges with a design he calls the Vagina of Nuit.

Although it doesn’t look like any human vagina I ever saw outside of a Picasso painting, the Vagina of Nuit does yield some interesting geometrical proportions.– numbers significant in mystic tradition. From these, Wood deduces that Mary Magdelene never existed as a person; she is the Egyptian sky-goddess Nuit in disguise. Furthermore, the Merovingians came from Atlantis, not the stars, but the whole human race was genetically engineered by a group of extraterrestrial scientists from Sirius.

knew that Sirius would creep back into the story eventually.

Wood also asserts that members of the Priory of Sion must all amputate their penises to obtain initiation, as a sacrifice to Nuit, or Isis, or [if we must use current mythology] Mary Magdalene.

Sounds less attractive even than Heaven’s Gate, which only wanted you to cut off your balls.

But, at this point, I cannot resist inserting the fact that several quite intelligent scientists have offered evolutionary theories as far out as Wood’s. Sir Francis Crick, Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, has long argued that the DNA contains too much information to have happened by means of any finite series of “lucky accidents.” Since the word “God” remains taboo in scientific circles, Crick claims the designer of DNA, and hence of all life on Earth, must be an advanced extraterrestrial race. Similar ideas have come forth from the distinguished astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, and from Dr. Timothy Leary, among others.

Inside the “Men’s Club”: Secrets of the Patriarchy, by “Hawthorne Abendsen” [no date: A-Albionic Research, Ferndale, Michigan] offers yet another perspective on all this weirdity. The Priory of Sion, Abendsen claims, controls all the other all-male secret societies you ever heard of, and thus all of our civilization. It worships Al-Shaddai [Lord of Battles], the god who appeared to Abraham, and it has created all later, gentler images of divinity [e.g., the God of Love] as deceptions to fool the masses. You might say Hannibal Lecter is their High Priest.

Worship of Al-Shaddai consists of making wars, as a God of Battles would wish, and also of periodic animal and human sacrifices of the sort Fundamentalist Christians attribute to Satanists. Satan has nothing to do with it, according to Abendsen: blood sacrifice, in or out of warfare, remains the central ritual of the Judaic-Christian-Moslem system, and anything else you’ve heard is just part of the cover-up, to conceal why our rulers do the murderous things they do.

Although this yarn sounds a lot like put-on or parody, Abendsen has a certain family resemblance to a great many serious thinkers of recent decades. Radical Feminists all consider our culture Patriarchal; Dr, Wilhelm Reich called it Authoritarian-Patriarchal; Dr James De Meo calls it Armored Patrist etc. The latest cuss word for it, logophallocentrist, contributed by the postmodernists, means that we have a social system based on belief in the special magic power of words and penises. Dr. Leonard Shlain, in The Alphabet versus the Goddess, blames it all on the invention of the alphabet, an argument that out-McLuhans McLuhan.

“Hawthorne Abendsen,” by the way, seems to have gotten borrowed or stolen from Phillip K. Dick, who used it as the name of the author of the book-within-the-book, in his sci-fi classic, The Man in the High Castle.

Yes: the same Phillip K. Dick who later decided he was receiving messages from Sirius…..

As the French themselves say, it must make one furiously to think and to jump up and down. And in Rennes-le-Chateau, the accursed church of Mary Magelene still stands, or lurks, still announcing its accursedness. A friend of mine, Fred Lehrman of Nomad University, recently visited the site and tells me he met an intrepid researcher there, who had discovered that one of the statues contained a sliding panel with a German newspaper from 1904 hidden inside. Since some of the words in the paper had underlining in pen, this investigator hopes to find a code revealing Everything.

I wish him luck; but I fear he will find something like “Stately plump Buck Mulligan has never wept nor dashed a thousand kim JFK Dallas 1963 midnight purple bananas…..”


(Submitted to rawilsonfans by Eric Wagner)


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