Just re-published in the USA 2004, ''Holy Blood, Holy Grail,'' is climbing the bestseller charts. Dan Brown's thriller in turn, inspired a crop of new  books coming out, from ''Breaking the Da Vinci Code'' to ''Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code.'' So this website forming the basis for a just completed twelve day seminar, will decode the mysteries of not only "Holy Blood, Holy Grail an The Da Vinci Code," but the many  books that come in its wake 2004.

The truth about all the usual suspects will be revealed, the Cathar heretics, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Vatican, the Freemasons, Nazis, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Order of the Golden Dawn plus many more..

First of all the Holy, Blood and the Holy Grail, and their follow-ups are a classic example of the conspiracy theory of history. When doubts surround even such recent events as the assassination of President Kennedy, it is easy to see why the certainties offered by an alternative version of history are so attractive. It would take a book as long as the original to refute and dissect The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail point by point: it is essentially a text which proceeds by innuendo, not by refutable scholarly debate. Like many similar books and title’s until recently like "The Book of Hiram, Unlocking the secrets of the Hiram Key" by C. Knight and Robert Lomas, where the authors’ promise to "unlock" their first book (title), the whole argument is an ingeniously constructed series of suppositions combined with forced readings of such tangible facts as are offered.

H. Blood H. Grail’s reference to documents in the Bibliotheque Nationale are harmless fantasies which surface from time to time, all too familiar to any publisher remotely connected with historical publishing - from imaginative amateurs who believe that they suddenly hold the key to "life, the universe and everything."

It is a genre, which, if it were not usually so tedious, would repay study as a manifestation of twentieth-century popular culture: a folklorist would  classify it in the way that "urban myths" have been studied.

Especially here, the documents were not discovered by the Library staff, as The Da Vinci Code seems to imply, but by confederates of Plantard, i.e. by the same people who had planted them in the Library in the first place. No serious scholar has ever regarded the documents as anything else than a 20th century fabrication.

Dozens of credible details are heaped up in order to provide a legitimizing cushion for rank nonsense. Unremarkable legends (that Merovingian kings were thought to have a healing touch, for example) are characterized as suggestive clues or puzzles demanding solution. Highly contested interpretations (that, say, an early Grail romance depicts the sacred object as being guarded by Templars) are presented as established truth. Sources, such as the New Testament, are qualified as ''questionable'' and derivative when they contradict the conspiracy theory, then microscopically scrutinized for inconsistencies that might support it.

Continuity in books like Holy Blood Holy Grail  is provided by a series of statements based on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century inventions about the Grail: in three sentences we have the Cathars as owners of the Grail, the Templars as its custodians, and the Templar heads as parallels for the Grail. On the way, they manage to read the symbolic scenes in romances such as Perlesvaus as obscure allusions to crimes of which the Templars are said to have been accused.

This is the excuse for a rapid survey of the Grail stories, and we are told that "modern scholars concur that the Grail romances ... refer to the Merovingian period" which may surprise readers of the present book some­what. At this point, there is an excursus on the "need to synthesise," a thinly veiled attack on "experts" and on the specialist nature of modern university research:

What is necessary is an interdisciplinary approach to one's chosen material - a mobile and flexible approach that permits one to move freely between disparate disciplines, across space and time. One must he able to link data and make connections between people, events and phenomena widely divorced from each other.

And "it is not sufficient to confine oneself exclusively to facts," This is carte blanche to create an imaginary network of previously invisible links, which is precisely what the authors proceed to do, in what they call our hypothesis'. The mistaken fifteenth-century etymology of the Grail as "Sang real," John Hardyng's secularization of the Grail, is quoted as definitive: a misreading or whim of an English writer perhaps not entirely at ease with French becomes the key to the whole mystery. If the Holy Grail is not the "sang real" or "blood royal," the whole argument (such as it is) falls to the ground, and the splendidly imaginative construction of a "bloodline"' of Merovingian kings descended from a Jesus who was never crucified can have no connection with the Grail, or indeed anything else in the real world. Once again, the (Grail's true function seems to be as a lodestar for imaginative creation, in this case disguised as history but in truth imaginative indeed.

Recently two books by astrologer Ovason one about the seal on the dollar bill, and the more bestselling  book about a  presumed  use of astrology by the builders of Washington DC.  stands or falls on the assumptions that L'Enfant and Ellicott were freemasons, that freemasons held similar views about astrology that he does, and that Freemasonry places any significance in Virgo. All his assumptions are unproven and his theory as with the other books in this genre  fails to pass any reasonable examination.

The methodology of books like The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail has become widely popular freely applied now by most paranoid style of conspiracy theorists like Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval.

Two other authors re-examined the supposed evidence of H. Blood H. Grail, and concocted an equally wild theory, that the "core of the treasure is a strange artifact, an inexplicable power source created by some ancient, long­ forgotten technology, or brought to Earth in a starship ... whose qualities enabled its owners to accumulate a huge treasure." At least they have the grace to admit that "there is, of course, no proof for this theory;" we are in effect dealing with a new genre, fictional history.

This genre is perhaps best described as "selective history;" historical facts which favour the argument are adduced as proof that the whole is true, ignoring their context and any contrary evidence. Sometimes the result is, on the surface, well-documented and referenced, and involves genuine historical research. A good example is Noel Currer-Briggs' attempt to link the Holy Shroud of Turin, the Holy Grail and the Templars in The Shroud and the Grail. Here the Grail becomes the casket in which the Shroud of Turin, imprinted with Christ's image and soaked in his blood and sweat, is housed. The tradition which connects the Grail  to the concept of Christ's  blood is dismissed however here.

Henry Lincoln next inspired by Genisis (a wild fantasy) by David Wood introduced another, seemingly unlikely addition to the geometry of Rennes-le-Chateau, the Paris Meridian.

However a  meridian is simply the line showing the direction of the sun at midday; every place on the earth (except the two poles) has its local meridian, and every person who has accurately set up a sundial, has, without necessarily being aware of it, established their own meridian. This is fine for measuring the local time, but in order to know one's place on the Earth's surface relative to somewhere else, the latitude and longitude must be measured. The latitude presents little difficulty, since the elevation of the sun at midday gives it directly, but how to measure the longitude was a serious problem from the sixteenth century onwards when the great sea voyages were being undertaken. Basically, one had to measure the difference between the local time and the time at some place of origin, and astronomical methods were the only ones available for doing this. In order to measure longitude, in 1666 Louis XIV authorized the building of an observatory in Paris. The centre line of the building was established as the line of zero longitude - the Paris Meridian - and it has been in exactly the same place ever since. In 1884 at the International Meridian Conference in Washington DC, the Greenwich Meridian was set as the prime meridian of the world. The French Government was not happy with this decision, and French cartographers continue to the present day to indicate the Paris Meridian on maps of the IGN, including the one of the area around Rennes-le-Chateau. The Meridian passes about 350 m west of the Poussin' tomb.

There is a very famous local meridian in Paris in the church of Saint-Sulpice. It was .et up in 1727 at the request of the cure, Languet de Gercy, who wished to determine precisely the date of the March equinox, and hence the date of Easter Sunday. The meridian of Saint-Sulpice, which is about 100 m west of the Paris Meridian, is marked in the floor of the church with a brass line. The proximity of the Paris Meridian to Rennes-le-Chateau and the occurrence of the church of Saint-Sulpice in the affair have caused some confusion. In Le Serpent Rouge, under "Gemini," "the reader is told to look for the line of the meridian," and "place yourself in front of the fourteen stones marked with a cross," clearly referring to the interior of the church, but interpreted by David Wood as referring to the Paris Meridian on the ground near Rennes-le­Chateau.

So Henry Lincoln started his own, and soon asserted that `the Paris Meridian, which the Cassinis measured and which is still used by the French Geographical lnstitute, runs exactly along the line of intersections formed by an alignments of structures.

Lincoln's alignments however include churches dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, at least 500 years before the Meridian was established. Lincoln says, "It is difficult not to be drawn to the obvious conclusion that the Cassini Meridian line was based upon the "cromlech intersect division line."

The essence of his case is illustrated in two diagrams which appear in chapter 16 of The Holy Place. The first shows five alignments all intersecting at a point on the Meridian. We give a diagram of these alignments in Fig. 13.8 and the data in tabular corm beneath it. Four of the five lines cut the Meridian within a distance of 220 m, which is hardly an accurate intersection. The third (through Castel Negre and the centre of the circle of churches) is another 240 m away, but it is only fair to state that the location which we found to be the best fit for the centre of the circle is not necessarily where Lincoln would have placed it.

The above intersections define Point A on the Paris Meridian. Lincoln finds that the line from Antugnac church to Point A is just one of a fan of 10 lines radiating out from the church towards the Meridian. He says that these lines cut the Meridian into equal segments, and that this confirms that the Meridian was sited in relation to Misting structures.

But all of the so called "Knights Templar" organizations in existence (as far they are not purely Masonic) derive from the organization and period described for the first time in August 2003: "The True Origins of Current Knights Templar Organizations, and History of Fabre-Palaprat and the Masonic Knights Templar Legends in 19th Century France" the leading author of H. Blood H. Grail/Temple and the Grail, Michael Baigent is a member of this.

And for that once has to find out about Josephin Peladan who renewed this order after it practically disappeared. A poor writer, he loved  big titles, called himself a Czar and created  the Ordre de la Rose + Croix, du Temple et du Grail.

The new order was to he Catholic, and, more important, aesthetic; and it became very much part of the artistic scene in Paris. Someone who picked up many of  Peladan’s ideas of combining the occult with expressions in the arts was Rudolf Steiner founder of the Waldorf schools, who also incorporated all of the Grail and Rosicrucian stories in his work.

The chief outward manifestation of Peladan's order was an annual art exhibition called "Salon de la Rose + Croix," the first of which caused a considerable stir in the Parisian artistic world in 1892.. Visitors to the opening of the first salon were greeted by the sound of a brass band playing the prelude to Parsifal, and paintings on themes from the opera appeared in several of the exhibitions. Rogelio de Egusquiza's etching of the Grail may have been the result of a meeting with Peladan on a visit to Bayreuth. The Belgian artist Jean Delville was also a regular exhibitor, and his "Parsifal" stems from the same Wagnerian enthusiasm.

Peladan himself was dedicatee of a strange reverie about Narcissus and the Grail in Saint-Graal. His most important contribution was a pamphlet with the suggestion that the Grail was associated with the Cathars, it was to have surprising and remarkable consequences.

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