What is the Priory of Sion?

The publication of The Da Vinci Code in 2003 has arguably made the PRIORY OF SION the most high profile ‘SECRET SOCIETY’ in recorded history. According to DAN BROWN, the Priory of Sion is the pre-eminent GODDESS worshipping CULT on the planet, and has a FEMINIST pedigree stretching back nearly a thousand years. Millions of Brown’s adherents have accepted both these claims as ‘fact’, and believe that the Priory of Sion is an ancient goddess worshipping cult almost a THOUSAND YEARS OLD.

    Many of these Brown fans also believe that the CATHOLIC CHURCH has spent almost two millennia attempting to denigrate MARY MAGDALENA, by falsely labelling her a PROSTITUTE. By doing so ‘the Church’ has also denigrated every woman and femininity as a whole. According to Brown and those who believe that his claims are accurate, the ‘Priory of Sion has fought for many centuries to right this wrong’. However, almost all Da Vinci Code/Sion sceptics believe that the Priory of Sion is far less than less than a century old and is nothing more than a FRAUD concocted by a French CONMAN with DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR.

    These two viewpoints represent the extremes. On the one side, at least in the English speaking world, the Priory of Sion is viewed as an ancient order of feminist ‘good guys’, intent on battling the ‘evils’ of state-sponsored chauvinist ‘PATRIARCHY’. On the other side, the Priory of Sion is viewed as nothing more than a devious HOAX perpetrated by the unwholesome on the gullible. And more importantly perhaps, these ‘hoaxers’ are, according to some Sion sceptics, intimately associated with the very same ‘Patriarchy’ that is viewed with such hatred by so many Brown adherents!

    However, these contradictory claims did not just appear after the publication and subsequent massive publicity associated with the phenomenal sales of The Da Vinci Code. Right from the earliest published literature the ‘facts’ and ‘myths’ associated with the Priory of Sion have been, to say the very least, highly contradictory. The claim that the Priory of Sion was and is crucially concerned with feminism did not begin to develop until over two decades after its first public ‘exposure’.

    However, while the feminist theme was absent from that first exposure, which originated in a book published in 1962 by the French author GÉRARD DE SÈDE entitled Les Templiers Sont Parmi Nous (The Templars are Amongst Us), the book nevertheless contained early allusions to the Magdalene and some cryptic references to the goddess ISIS. This first public reference to the Priory of Sion in the world of publishing appeared in the Appendix (entitled ‘The Point of View of the Hermeticist’) of the work in question and took the form of an interview between de Sède and a man named PIERRE PLANTARD. Plantard is introduced as a ‘HERMETIC’ archaeologist who, it is alluded to, works for the secret services:

·       ‘A few rare archaeologists still practice a unique art: the hermetic deciphering of ancient monuments. More often than we think, civil and religious organizations, and sometimes even the ‘secret services’, use them’ [Italics added] (1) [Gérard de Sède]


Plantard is, of course, of crucial significance to the whole mystery. According to the various ‘BELIEVERS’, Plantard is no less than the LINEAL DESCENDENT of Jesus Christ. To the Sion sceptics however, Plantard is nothing more than an ANTI-SEMITIC conman with delusions of grandeur.

    The Priory of Sion receives its first mention in the world of publishing in the ‘The Point of View of the Hermeticist’ Appendix. The reference is deliberately vague and cryptic, something that is very typical of this sort of French ‘Hermeticism’. However, the reference itself has no other function than to ‘alert’ the careful reader to the ‘existence’ of the Priory of Sion. First Plantard states that:

·       ‘Perhaps the miracle will be achieved there [in the fortress of Gisors]. The traveller, like Jacob, will have a strange dream: Two Johns will appear to him – one, Cernunnos, the child of men; the other, Smertullos, the child of God – awaiting the third coming. While illuminated from within, he sees John baptizing Jesus with the shell, with the dove present, and then sees John the Evangelist of the Cross, the Beloved of the heart of Jesus’ (2) [Pierre Plantard].

Then this cryptic passage is annotated with a number reference. When this reference is checked, it reads simply:

·       ‘Instruction of the scholars, the rank of Commander, Priory of Sion’ (3) [Pierre Plantard]

 There is no explanation of what this means or any further reference to a ‘Priory of Sion’. Clearly, the reference itself has no ‘real’ function other than to ‘alert’ the careful reader to the existence of a ‘Priory of Sion’, without any elaboration on what that means exactly.  

    Prior to the Priory of Sion’s modern association with ‘matriarchal feminism’, it was linked with a number of other, seemingly contradictory, themes. The theme that has perhaps become most inextricably linked with the Sion Mythos, at least as far as many Sion researchers are concerned, is RENNES-LE-CHÂTEAU, a tiny village located in southern France. Well over a century ago a man by the name of Bérenger Saunière became priest of this small mountain top village. Although his official salary was extremely meagre Saunière would seem to have lived an opulent life during certain periods. He also built extravagantly, paying for the construction of a villa and ‘tower’ amongst others things in the village. He also behaved in ways that many consider extremely suspicious. For ‘believers’, Saunière either found a lost treasure horde, and/or blackmailed the Church and/or local aristocracy, and/or acted as high priest in strange magickal rituals. However, sceptics claim that he was simply a simonist receiving payment for saying masses that he would never had had the time to actually preform.

    The first widely circulated publication to link the Priory of Sion to Rennes-le-Château appeared in France in 1967. It was again a book written by Gérard de Sède and was entitled L’Or de Rennes (The Gold of Rennes). Although the book does not mention the Priory of Sion directly, there were many allusions to it, particularly in diagrams depicting stones, graves, and other features supposedly found in or around Rennes-le-Château. More importantly, the book was written with the collaboration of Pierre Plantard. As Plantard is at the centre of all things Sion, the narrative presented in The Gold of Rennes is extremely significant for so many different reasons, not least because it is the Sion tale as relayed by the supposed Sion grandmaster (4).

    It is also crucially important to note that the de Sède book was quickly rereleased, under the new title Le Trésor Maudit de Rennes-le-Château (the Accursed Treasure of Rennes-le-Château), and was subsequently read by a man named Henry Soskin. Soskin is better known to the general public by his pseudonym HENRY LINCOLN and was one of the three of authors who eventually wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a book that had a massive impact on how the Priory of Sion was perceived, and which had an extremely powerful influence on Dan Brown. Holy Blood, Holy Grail will be examined in due course. For now it will suffice to note that Lincoln was directly inspired by the work of Gérard de Sède in collaboration with Pierre Plantard.

    1973 saw the publication of Les Dessous d’une Ambition Politique (Behind the Scenes of a Political Ambition) by ‘Mathieu Paoli’. That particular author claimed to have uncovered evidence that strongly indicated that the Priory of Sion is a French nationalist MONARCHIST CONSPIRACY intent on the restoration of a TRADITIONALIST CATHOLIC French Monarchy (5).

    In that same year Gérard de Sède published La Race Fabuleuse (The Fabulous Race), in which he claimed to have inside information that ‘proved’ that the MEROVINGIANS were descended from a hybrid race of ANCIENT ISRAELITES and EXTRA-TERRESTRIALS from the SIRIUS star-system:

·       ‘The descendants of Extra-Terrestrials once reigned over France’ (6) [Gérard de Sède].

According to de Sède, the Priory of Sion is the Extra-Terrestrials very own secret society, a society which vehemently opposes to the Vatican!

    The most famous of all Sion books, prior to the publication of The Da Vinci Code, was originally published in 1982. Entitled Holy Blood, Holy Grail it was written by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and, as already noted, Henry Lincoln. This book introduced the Priory of Sion to the English speaking world and would become the inspiration to dozens of other authors, not least Dan Brown. Holy Blood, Holy Grail is one of the half dozen books mentioned by name in The Da Vinci Code. The narrative of the latter is so closely based upon Holy Blood, Holy Grail that two the trio of Holy Blood, Holy Grail authors, Baigent and Leigh, attempted to sue Dan Brown for plagiarism. In Holy Blood, Holy Grail Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln claimed that the Priory of Sion is a powerful secret society whose purpose is to protect and promote a hidden BLOODLINE descended from JESUS CHRIST and MARY MAGDALENA. As such, it is supposedly vehemently ANTI-VATICAN, if not anti-Christian (7).

    In direct response to the publication of Holy Blood, Holy Grail an Anglican priest, the Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe (affectionately known as Fanny to his friends), produced Holy Grail Revealed. Despite being a married Christian priest, Fanthorpe found the idea of a sexually active Jesus both distasteful and unbelievable. Instead, he offered up a number of different 'theories' about the Priory of Sion:

·       ‘The first theory of the Priory is that it may have originated as a group of very early Roman Christians, drawing support from Judeo-Christian communities scattered throughout the Roman Empire, but strongest in the East...The second theory of the Priory of Sion...[is that it] was the secret inner hierarchy of the Templars’ (8) [Lionel Fanthorpe].

Eventually, however, the Reverend Fanthorpe settled on what, to him at least, was a much more ‘believable’ scenario than a sexually active Jesus – he instead claimed that members of the Priory of Sion guard:

·       ‘…a strange artefact, an inexplicable power source created by some ancient, long-forgotten technology, brought to Earth in a STARSHIP’ [Emphasis added] (9) [Lionel Fanthorpe]!

Perhaps it might be reasonable to wonder whether Fanny’s career path as a Christian priest has unduly influenced his views on how the Priory of Sion, and indeed Jesus, should be understood.

    Continuing the Extra-Terrestrial theme begun by Gérard de Sède and continued by the Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe, the author David Wood claimed in his 1985 book, GenIsis, to have uncovered evidence that links the Priory of Sion to both the lost island of ATLANTIS and Extra-Terrestrials who ‘terra-formed’ part of the southern France countryside, around Rennes-le-Château, to resemble A GIANT VAGINA. He was one of the first authors to claim that the Priory of Sion specifically worships a goddess, in this case an ancient Egyptian goddess called Nut. Wood further claims that on initiation, all new Sion members are ritually CASTRATED. Apparently new Sion members store their newly dismembered members in an ancient communal sacred jar. Jesus was also, according to Wood, castrated in this manner, so presumably His ancient mummified penis might still be found in the Sion sacred penis jar (10).

    In that same year the author Ean Begg expanded on the claims made by Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln in his book The Cult of the Black Virgin, a book of particular significance in the evolutionary path of the Priory of Sion:

·       ‘Books about Black Virgins prior to 1982 did not concern themselves with the Priory of Sion or the fortunes of the Merovingian dynasty, and it was not my original intention to break with that precedent. Holy Blood, Holy Grail made no mention of Black Virgins, but one of the authors alerted me to a possible correlation between them and the Priory. Then I read Rennes-le-Château in which Brétigny and Deloux refer to the Black Virgins…in the context of the Priory and its history. As my researches continued, it became increasingly obvious that the cult of the Black Virgin and the history of the Merovingian bloodline were inextricably linked’ (11) [Ean Begg].

Begg continued the goddess theme and arguably BEGAN the feminist theme by claiming that the Priory of Sion was:

·       ‘…passionately concerned with the cult of the Black Virgin and has a remarkable record of equal rights for women’ (12).

Begg made the ‘equal rights for women’ claim solely because four of the twenty-six supposed Priory of Sion ‘Grandmasters’ were supposedly women. But of course, sceptics have dismissed the Grandmaster list as nothing more than pure fantasy, which would mean that the Priory of Sion has no history of ‘equal rights for women’, simply because the Priory of Sion has no history prior to 1956. Begg also claimed that the Priory of Sion worshipped the BLACK VIRGIN as Mary Magdalena. By doing so, he made the Magdalene something more than the ‘mere’ wife of ‘God incarnate in the flesh’, beginning a process that would eventually culminate in the complete reversal of roles presented in The Da Vinci Code, where Brown presents Jesus as a mere mortal and the Magdalene as a divine LIVING GODDESS.

    In 1986, in a book entitled Hermes Unveiled, the author Roy Norvill claimed that the Priory of Sion is the modern incarnation of an ancient order of ROSICRUCIAN and ALCHEMICAL ADEPTS, intent on educating those with eyes to see and ears to hear:

·       ‘The story of the Templars begins in 1090, when Christendom remobilised to capture the city of Jerusalem…Godfrey de Bouillon…was offered the crown of the city by a mysterious group of religious figures known as the Order of Our Lady of Mount Sion. Look closely at the title. ‘Our Lady’ is none other than the Virgin – in former times, Isis – while Mount Sion has the inner meaning of the subconscious. This Order was obviously one that followed the Hermetic path. And it was from the ranks of this mysterious sect that the Templars evolved.

    The origin of the Knights Templars is mentioned in an historical document, the chronicle of William of Tyre (1160), and it is in this screed that the discerning reader will encounter traces of a hidden message. According to the text, the first Templars were nine in number (9). Led by Hugh de Payens, they went to Jerusalem, their appointed task being to keep the roads to the Holy Land safe – with especial regard for the protection of pilgrims. The king of Jerusalem looked favourably on their ideal and allowed them to stay in one whole wing of his palace, which happened to have been built on the very spot occupied by the original Temple of Solomon. Hence the name Templars.

    To extract the real message from this slightly fictitious item of history, we have only to centre our attention on the introduction of the Temple of Solomon, and knowing that famous edifice to be a symbol of the inner mind, we extend the symbolism to the palace of the king of Jerusalem. Aware now of what to look for, we read the text again to find that the Templars were nine in number (a reference to the ‘scala philosophorum’, the Hermetic Ladder which has nine rungs). The Templars’ task was to keep the roads to the Holy Land safe, and as the ‘Holy Land’ is another reference to this inner mind, we gather that the Order’s intention is to maintain the secret tradition of the Hermeticists. Especial regard…is afforded pilgrims. In the Hermetic parlance, a ‘pilgrim’ is a Neophyte – one who wishes to undertake the mental process.

    The number nine is repeated later in William’s document, in a statement declaring that the Templars pursued their activities for nine years, during which time they excavated the ruins under the palace and came upon the ruined stables of King Solomon. To decipher this, I ask you only to recall the Katha-Upanishad with its ‘horses’ of the conscious mind and you will see that this is just another way of saying that the Templars were in the Hermetic business. The documents also notes that five of the original ‘nine’ Templars were brothers of the founder organisation, the Order of Our Lady of Mount Sion.

    As you can now appreciate, the document of William of Tyre was written by an initiate, and in the formation of the Knights Templars we are presented with a situation where a secret organisation (Our Lady of Mount Sion) remains in the background, but initiates and controls another, more open society to which non-initiates might be attracted. In this scheme you will find the beginning of a recurring, historical pattern’ (13) [Roy Norvill].   

 Again, the influence of Holy Blood, Holy Grail should be clear to the reader.

    In the same year, in the wonderfully titled Refuge of the Apocalypse: Doorway into Other Dimensions, the authoress Elizabeth Van Buren continued the alchemical theme, while also claiming the Priory of Sion guarded a secret refuge, found perhaps predictably around Rennes-le-Chteau, from a coming APOCALYPSE. ‘There will be earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods, such as have not been experienced for thousands of years. Weather patterns will change, become confused, and the planet’s food supplies will diminish each year. There will be famine throughout the Earth. There will be war, and injustice and man’s violent nature will be revealed to be like that of a WOLF. The blackness will grow ever more dense’ (14).    

    1986 also saw the publication of The Messianic Legacy, the follow-up book to Holy Blood, Holy Grail by the authors Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln. In this book the trio have become somewhat more suspicious of the Priory of Sion, and the information that they believe the Priory has disseminated. They began to discover possible Sion links with various INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES and groups that seem to be inimical with what they had thought was the Sion agenda, perhaps even indicating that Sion was associated with an ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE Catholic ANTI-COMMUNIST conspiracy linked to the ultra-right wing pseudo-Masonic group known as P2. P2 was, and perhaps still is, a group that would seem to have been created to prevent a Socialist/Communist government from taking power in Italy, particularly during the so-called Cold War (15).   

    In 1988 a book written by one of the original architects of the whole Priory of Sion mythology was published that attempted to debunk the whole Jesus bloodline concept. In Rennes-le-Château: The Files, the Impostures, the Fantasies, the Hypotheses the author Gérard de Sède dismissed the claims of Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln, David Wood, and Elizabeth Van Buren as fantasy, which is perhaps somewhat ironic given that it was he who both introduced the Priory of Sion to the publishing world and first linked it to Extra-Terrestrials (16)!

    In 1989 a Traditionalist Christian author named J.R. Church claimed, in Guardians of the Grail, that the Priory of Sion is an anti-Christian MASONIC conspiracy:

·       ‘…the Order of the KNIGHTS TEMPLAR was, at first, only a front organisation for a more secretive group known as the Priory of Sion, whose real purpose was to capture the wealth of the world, establish their own world government, and introduce a Merovingian king to sit upon a throne in Jerusalem. They are said to be the true possessors of the [Jewish] Temple treasury and the behind-the-scenes controllers of the world’s currencies’ [Emphasis added] (17) [J.R. Church].

Church claims that the Priory of Sion is led by the ANTI-CHRIST. The purpose of the ‘Order’ is to place the Anti-Christ on a newly created ‘THRONE OF EUROPE’. This event will supposedly trigger ‘ARMAGEDDON’.

    Through the 70s and 80s the Priory of Sion was linked, rightly or wrongly, with bloodlines, politics, and extra-terrestrials. There was also some association with alchemy. From the 90s on, this supposed association with alchemy became more explicate as Sion began to be linked with various types of SEX CULT. In her/his 1990 booklet Inside the Men’s Club ‘Hawthorne Abendsen’ claimed that the Priory of Sion is a HOMOSEXUAL sex cult joined exclusively by males who worship al-Shaddai, the God of War and the ‘subjugation of women’. According to ‘Abendsen’, the Priory of Sion is a sect that is thousands of years old, and whose central rituals involve violence, bloodshed, RITUAL SACRIFICE, murder, war, and homosexual ORGIES (18). ‘Abendsen’s’ claim of ritualistic homosexual orgies are perhaps incompatible with David Wood’s claim of Sion eunuchs, and maybe even Dan Brown’s pagan sex rites. ‘Abendsen’s’ claim about Sion subjugation of women is also obviously at odds with Brown’s claim about Sion ‘goddess worship’.

    The next book to mention the Priory of Sion was also greatly inspired by Holy Blood, Holy Grail and like that book, was mentioned by name by Brown in The Da Vinci Code. Entitled The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, the authoress, Margaret Starbird continues the sexual theme by claiming that:

·       ‘Institutional Christianity, which has nurtured Western civilization for nearly two thousand years, may have been built over a gigantic flaw in doctrine…: the denial of the feminine. For years I had a vague feeling that something was radically wrong with my world; that for too long the feminine in our culture had been scorned and devalued. But it was not until 1985 that I encountered documented evidence of a devastating fracture in the Christina story. On the recommendation of a close friend who knew of my intense interest in Judeo-Christian scriptures and the origins of Christianity, I read a book in April 1985 entitled Holy Blood, Holy Grail(19) [Margaret Starbird].  

Starbird, at least at this early stage of her research, accepted mostly as ‘fact’ the various claims made by Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln, about a hidden bloodline descended from Jesus and the Magdalene. However she elaborated upon those claims by suggesting that Jesus and Mary Magdalena were EQUAL PARTNERS in a royal pagan marriage that involved ancient sacred sexual rituals. These claims were subsequently of great influence on Dan Brown. Like the Holy Blood, Holy Grail authors, Starbird believes the Priory of Sion was founded to protect the bloodline supposedly descended from this marriage. According to Starbird the Priory of Sion practiced a secret, rival form of Christianity – a Church of AMOR (Love) in direction opposition to the Church of ROMA (Rome), with the Magdalene as ‘royal matriarch’. 

    Sion researcher Lynn Picknett has also claimed that the Priory of Sion is a sex cult. According to Picknett, as outlined in her 1994 book entitled Turin Shroud – In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled, a member of the Priory of Sion contacted her secretly and supposedly informed her that the ‘Order’ was behind the creation of the Shroud of Turin (20), apparently to discredit orthodox Roman Christianity! Her Sion ‘Deep-throat’ also supposedly informed her that the image on the Shroud was actually a primitive photograph of Leonardo da Vinci, supposedly one time Grandmaster of the Priory of Sion.

    In The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardian of the True Identity of Christ, published in 1997, Picknett claimed that the Priory of Sion hates Jesus and Christianity. Jesus was, she claimed, a failed SEX MAGICIAN who eventually became a jealous, murdering ‘FALSE MESSIAH’. According to Picknett, members of the Priory of Sion actually worship JOHN THE BAPTIST as the ‘TRUE MESSIAH’ and the Magdalena as his ‘SEXUAL INITIATRIX’. Puzzlingly, however, while claiming that John was the Jewish Messiah she also claims that he (and also Jesus and the Magdalene) was a Pagan rather than a Jew. According to Picknett, Sion members supposedly practice ancient pagan sex magic, and have done so right up until modern times (21). The Templar Revelation was also another of the handful of books mentioned by name in The Da Vinci Code.

    However, it is perhaps also worth pointing out that although Picknett’s work is cited by Brown, and she and her publishers have claimed that she was the major influence on Brown, she herself utterly rejects the validity of the so-called Jesus bloodline hypothesis. She doesn't believe that Mary Magdalena was either wife to Jesus or mother to His hypothetical children. As the hypothetical 'Jesus bloodline' is the crucial theme running throughout the Da Vinci Code narrative, Picknett’s influence on Dan Brown must be limited to her personal interpretation of the art work of Leonardo de Vinci.

    The following year, in 1998, in a very rare and difficult to obtain booklet, entitled The Unknown Treasure: the Priory of Sion Fraud and the Spiritual Treasure of Rennes-le-Cheteau, the author Robert Richardson claimed that:

·       ‘The Priory of Sion is a front organisation for another group. The group behind the Priory of Sion was founded in the 1920s under the direction of a man named George Monti, who is referenced in Priory publications as ‘Count Israel Monti’ [Italics added] (22) [Robert Richardson]

According to Richardson, the Priory of Sion was/is a front for a Rightist SYNARCHIST political conspiracy:

·       ‘By the 1880s a man named Joseph Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre began to write about a new idea for governing society…It was called SYNARCHY. Synarchy – or joint rule – combines the esoteric and the political. Its aim is a restoration of spiritual values in society. The medium is through an elect band of spiritual initiates. These initiates effectuate change by influencing groups which represent different aspects of society. These groups then influence their spheres, which in turn influence and modify societal structure, government, and culture. The model for Saint-Yves d’Alveydre was the Knights Templar. He saw the Templars as secretly controlling the direction of society in their time in exactly this way. Where the Church was obsessed with the redemption of individual souls, the Knights Templar concerned themselves with the redemption and reformation of entire sectors of society, and ultimately with the social order itself. The Templars embodied the principle of the spiritual elect, living a spiritual focused life yet fully engaged in the material world…Saint-Yves d’Alveydre believed the key point in time when western civilization turned for the worse was the betrayal of the Templars by the Church and Monarchy in 1307. For him, the return of Templar principles would lead to the creation of an ideal society…By the 1920s, politically active Masonic groups with distinctly synarchist policies were a reality in France’ (23) [Robert Richardson].

It is perhaps worth noting that in 2006, in The Sion Revelation, Lynn Picknett changed her mind and began claiming that the Priory of Sion is a SYNARCHIST conspiracy (24). Interestingly, she makes absolutely no mention of Robert Richardson in her bibliography or index, despite the fact that his synarchist claims were extremely well known on the Internet by 2006! It is also perhaps understandably that Picknett is somewhat reluctant to accept that her first ‘expert investigation’ into the Priory of Sion (The Templar Revelation, see above) was somewhat flawed, so she has tried to amalgamate the two ‘expert investigations’ into one arguably confusing ‘revelation’ (The Sion Revelation), but with a few less dominatrix and ritual orgies.

    The other authoress already mentioned who claims that the Priory of Sion is a sex cult is Twacy Twyman. Again, Holy Blood, Holy Grail was a seminal influence. As she writes in her 2004 book, entitled The Merovingian Mythos and the Mystery of Rennes-le-Château:

·       ‘As a researcher…I have often felt the spine-tingling sensation of the Devil himself breathing down my neck, and the presence of praeterhuman intelligences guiding me down the path towards revelation…I discovered the answers to age-old questions, and revealed ancient secrets that have lain untouched in the dusty catacombs of dead history for thousands of years. Most of those secrets, I knew, would be of incalculable value to scholarship, and to humanity as a whole, once I was able to publish them…The primary impetus for my interest in this mystery was, as it is for many Grail researchers, the publication of the best-selling Holy Blood, Holy Grail Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln, Richard Leigh’ [Italics added] (19) [Twacy Twyman].

Indeed, Twyman relies so much on Holy Blood, Holy Grail that is fair to say that much of The Merovingian Mythos is simply a rehash, with very little addition, of Holy Blood, Holy Grail. She also accepts almost everything in Holy Blood, Holy Grail as factually accurate, and unfortunately formulates her claims from that extremely dubious position.

    According to Twyman the Priory of Sion sex cult is neither specifically goddess nor pagan nor even homosexually orientated, but is instead a SATANIC sex cult.

·       ‘…Jesus and Mary Magdalene may have been the leaders of a royal sex magic cult, with the Magdalene performing the role of a “temple priestess” or a “sacred prostitute”. Obviously, if this were true, then the belief system that Jesus represented was well outside of mainstream Judaism. Indeed, he and Magdalene were most likely followers of strange Satanic gods, the worship of whom involved sexual magic…Mary Magdalene’s status as a Benjamite princess may have made her especially qualified to act as a SACRED PROSTIUTE, as the Benjamites were associated specifically with the performance of rituals for strange gods’ [Emphasis added] (25) [Twacy Twyman].

These various references to sex cults and sacred prostitution are worth noting, as they bring the first section of this study full circle, and illustrate the general confusion associated with both the Sion and ‘Bloodline’ narratives. Twyman, like both Margaret Starbird and Lynn Picknett, who are, of course, the female authoresses specifically mentioned by Brown in The Da Vinci Code, claim, in one way or another, that the Magdalene was a sacred prostitute. Yet, like Brown, each of these authors excoriates the Christian tradition that claims the Magdalene was a prostitute:

·       ‘This is the woman who singlehandedly could crumble the Church?

“Who is she?” Sophie asked.

“That, my dear,” Teabag replied, “is Mary Magdalene”.

Sophie turned. “The prostitute?”

Teabag drew a short breath, as if the word had injured him personally. “Magdalene was no such thing. That unfortunate misconception is the legacy of a smear campaign launched by the early Church. The Church needed to defame Mary Magdalene in order to cover up her dangerous secret – her role as the Holy Grail”’ [Italics added] (26) [Dan Brown].


Of course, many will argue that there is a great difference between a prostitute and a sacred prostitute, but is it entirely reasonable to expect this ‘difference’ to be acknowledged by devout followers of a rival religious tradition such as Christianity?  

    It might also be worth noting that many seem to think that linking the Magdalene with sacred prostitution is more than acceptable, and casts her in an extremely positive manner, while just as many seem to think that associating her with ‘mundane’ prostitution completely and utterly demeans her memory. Some thought should perhaps go to the many millions of female prostitutes in modern society who might be both deeply hurt and deeply offended by the obvious contempt that they and their profession are held in by both ‘the Church’ and supposedly pro-women writers such as Brown, Starbird, and Picknett.

    All of this, of course, eventually culminated in The Da Vinci Code, where the Priory of Sion is portrayed as an arch-feminist secret society that has, for over a thousand years, supposedly protected a bloodline supposedly descended from the mere mortal preacher Jesus Christ and his divine wife Mary Magdalena. In Brown’s version the faith of the whole Earth literally rests in the goddess worshipping hands of the members of the Priory of Sion. Without their help and guidance human society and perhaps the whole Earth itself is at risk of destruction from a ‘male ego [that] has spent two millennia running unchecked by its female counterpart’ (27).

    Even the most credulous conspiracy theorist would have to accept that some of these claims about the Priory of Sion must be bogus, simply because so many of the claims are contradictory. However each of the various authors claims to have uncovered the ‘shocking truth’, although almost all have created a different scenario. So is the Priory of Sion pro-papal or anti-papal? Is the Priory of Sion pro-Christian or anti-Christian? Is the Priory of Sion Matriarchal or Patriarchal? Is the Priory of Sion a homosexual sex cult paying homage to the God of War, or is it a group of Goddess worshipping eunuchs, or even a satanic sex cult? Or could it really be a violently anti-Vatican Catholic Monarchist conspiracy, most frequently joined by Satanist Jewish Freemasons, who become Goddess worshipping homosexual eunuchs, and who wish to subjugate women for al-Shaddai, the God of War, while protecting a bloodline descended from Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene and aliens from the star-system Sirius?

    As a final point, it perhaps worth noting an issue raised by the judge, Justice Peter Smith, who presided over the doomed Baigent and Leigh legal attempt to get their hands on some of Dan Brown’s money. As outlined above, Justice Smith commented that:

·       ‘[Dan Brown] has presented himself as being a deep and thorough researcher for all of the books he produced. [However] the reality of his research is that it is superficial’.

Unfortunately, it is a reality of the pseudo-historical genre that research is generally superficial, or even more unfortunately, that ‘research’ is more often than not nothing much more than opinion presented as ‘fact’, and ‘fact’ that is often misrepresented to manipulate the reader. This issue is crucial to the pseudo-historical genre, particularly as authors desperately attempt to ‘sex up’ their claims to attract the attention of a fickle audience.

    It is common to read reviews, particularly by ‘amateur’ reviewers, that claim this or that pseudo-historical book is ‘well researched’. However, it is generally the case that such reviewers simply read a particular book and accept the accuracy of the various ‘facts’ within, and limit their review to an examination of the author’s claim or hypothesis as extrapolated from those ‘facts’. Unfortunately, when these ‘facts’ are not ‘facts’ at all, the whole premise of a particular pseudo-historical piece can become untenable even before the ‘evidence’ is interpreted.

    Take, for example, Twacy Twyman, the last authoress mentioned above. She discusses the possibility that the Priory of Sion was the ‘real power’ behind the ultra-Rightist, pro-Catholic, pseudo-Masonic, counter-revolutionary terrorist organisation P2. This secret organisation reached to the very highest levels of power in Italy and committed numerous serious crimes. Many also suspect that P2 played a major part in the 1980 Bologna Bombing, in which eighty-five people were killed. According to Twyman:

·       ‘It was during the 1960’s that the CIA began distributing funds to its favoured groups through the Vatican’s own bank. This was done with the help of a shadowy, pro-Catholic, anti-Communist Masonic lodge known as P2…All this came out in the Italian press when a massive banking scandal broke involving the official Vatican bank, Banco Ambrosiano, and P2. The main figures implicated were P2 members Michael Sindona (a high ranking official in the bank and P2’s financier) and the lodge’s Grandmaster Licio Gelli. Gelli was a man with far-right viewpoints who, after the scandal broke, was found hanging from Blackfriar’s Bridge in London in 1982, in manner consistent with masonic ritual’ [Twacy Twyman] (28).

The possibility of an association between P2 and the people behind the Priory of Sion will be examined as this study progresses. For now, it will suffice to simply note that, while this passage might seem to some people ‘well researched’ and full of information, the truth is LICIO GELLI was NOT found hanging under Blackfriar’s Bridge. The man found hanging in London was banker Roberto Calvi. Licio Gelli is still alive, as of 2011, and currently involved in making a film about his life, provisional entitled The Conspirator! So, while the above passage is perhaps well written, it is NOT at all well researched. Someone reading the above passage, who is not familiar with the subject matter and does not take time to fact-check, will simply assume the data is correct because it is presented in a seemingly well-written published work.

    One more example of this superficial ‘research’ should suffice for now:

·       ‘Godfrey de Bouillon was…”Defender of the Holy Sepulcher” [sic] of Jerusalem, and was succeeded by his brother Baldwin, who took the title “King of Jerusalem”. This title was then passed onto Fulk the Black from the French Angevin dynasty. (Merovingian descendent), who married Godfrey’s daughter Melusine…she remains in the genealogies of many prominent noble families in Europe, and her son Geoffrey d’Anjou, became the first Plantagenet king of England. Geoffrey, and indeed all of the Plantagenet kings, were known for their hot temper, and thus Saint Columba (who was instrumental in the creation of the Knights Templar) said of Geoffrey that “From the Devil he has come, and to the Devil he’ll return”’ (24) [Twacy Twyman].

Ok. So this passage seems absolutely loaded with ‘historical information’. However, it is almost all inaccurate. The ‘Fulk’ that received the crown of Jerusalem was Fulk the Younger, not Fulk the Black. Fulk the Black lived and died almost a century earlier. Nor was Godfrey de Bouillon ever married or even a father. He therefore had no daughter named Melusine who could have married Fulk, whether Black or Younger. However, Godfrey’s supposed ‘cousin’ (the exact blood relationship between the two has not been established), not his brother, King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, had a daughter Melisende (not to be confused with the legendary Melusine), who did marry Fulk the Younger. Again, however, this Melisende was not the mother of Geoffrey d’Anjou. Geoffrey d’Anjou’s mother was Countess Ermengarde of Maine, who was Fulk the Younger’s first wife. Also, Geoffrey d’Anjou was not the first Plantagenet king of England. That honour went to his son, Henry II. And the reference to Saint Columba is arguably the most confusing of all. Saint Columba lived during the 6th century, which is, of course, over five hundred years before the period in question.  Twyman is probably confusing Saint Columba with Saint Bernard.

    In fairness to Twyman she is far from the only author that undertakes such superficial ‘research’. Unfortunately, the revisionist history genre is riddled with extremely basic errors such as these, and it this that allows this field of study to be portrayed in such a poor manner by sceptics. This is very regrettable because undoubtedly, parts of history do indeed need to be re-examined and re-interpreted. As a final note it is perhaps worth noting that Twyman is often contacted by TV, radio, and other media, to appear as an ‘expert’ on all things Priory of Sion!     

    This study will, over the following chapters, attempt to unravel the mystery that is the Priory of Sion. It will attempt to start at the very beginning of the Priory of Sion’s known history and build forward from there, examining each of the various Priory of Sion incarnations, layer by layer, until the reader has a comprehensive understanding of the development of the SION MYTHOS. This study will also attempt to examine, as accurately as possible, how each of the numerous SION THEMES has become entwined within the overall mystery with each passing decade. As such, the simple aim of this study is to lay bare:


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    1.     Les Templiers Sont Parmi Nous p278 (Gérard de Sède) 1962

    2.     Ibid p291

    3.     Ibid p291

    4.     Le Accursed…

    5.     Les Dessous d’une Ambition Politique (Mathieu Paoli) 1973

    6.     La Race Fabuleuse: Extra-Terrestres et Mythologie Mérovingienne p178 (Gérard de Sède) 1973

    7.     Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln) 1982

    8.     Holy Grail Revealed p54-55 (Lionel Fanthorpe) 1982

    9.     Ibid p143

    10.  GenIsis: The First Book of Revelations (David Wood) 1985

    11.  The Cult of the Black Virgin p145 (Ean Begg) 1985

    12.  Ibid p15

    13.  Hermes Unveiled p155-156 (Roy Norvill) 1986

    14.  Refuge of the Apocalypse: Doorway Into Other Dimensions (Elizabeth Van Buren) 1986

    15.  The Messianic Legacy (Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln) 1986

    16.  Rennes-le-Château: le dossier, les impostures, les phantasmes, les hypotheses (Gérard de Sède) 1988

    17.  Guardians of the Grail: and the Men Who Plan to Rule the World p27 (J.R. Church) 1989

    18.  Inside the Men’s Club: Secrets of the Patriarchy (Hawthorne Abendsen) 1990

    19.  The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail p.xix (Margaret Starbird) 1993

    20.  Turin Shroud – In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled (Lynn Picknett) 1994

    21.  The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ (Lynn Picknett) 1997

    22.  The Unknown Treasure: The Priory of Sion Fraud p12 (Robert Richardson) 1998

    23.  Ibid p4

    24.  The Sion Revelation: Inside the Shadowy World of Europe’s Secret Masters (Lynn Picknett) 2006

    25.  The Merovingian Mythos and the Mystery of Rennes-le-Château p1 (Twacy Twyman) 2004

    26.  The Da Vinci Code p243-244 (Dan Brown) 2003

    27.  Ibid p125

    28.  The Merovingian Mythos and the Mystery of Rennes-le-Château p77 (Twacy Twyman) 2004

    29.  Ibid p146

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