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In 1971, when I began work on my first film about Rennes-le-Château, I thought that I was introducing the English-speaking world to a fascinating, essentially unimportant, little local French mystery. Before that film was completed, I already knew that there was much more to the story of Bérenger Saunière and his little village. I had begun with Gérard de Sède’s account in Le Trésor Maudit and I soon began to realise that he was not telling the whole story.

Geometry had begun to raise its head and it was ten years before I grasped the full significance of what I was beginning to uncover. Facts began to appear which were hard to accept and which took yet more years of careful work before I could show the world what I had found. Bérenger and his treasure remained a wonderful mystery, but behind it lay something else ... the extraordinary nature of the backdrop to his story.

Now with the passing of another thirty years there remains no shadow of doubt and I find it strange that the truth is still uncomfortable for some people who insist that the geometry of Rennes-le-Château can be found anywhere and in any landscape. But this is a wilful misunderstanding of the special nature of the Rennes-le-Château phenomenon.

Certainly, it is true that shapes can be traced ... hexagons, pentagons, triangles ... by drawing lines through churches anywhere. And the same can be done with public telephones – letter-boxes – even municipal rubbish tips. But these are arbitrary designs. They are not – like Rennes – controlled by a fixed, precise and repeated measure. (Those of you interested in looking for yourselves will find that on a map of scale 1:25000 the measure is a whisker less than 188 mm.)

When the discovery was first made, I was obliged to calculate that distance laboriously, using my utterly inadequate knowledge of mathematics. Only much later did I discover that the measure is already defined by the mountains. It is repeated many times between structures marked upon our local map. It is, for example, the distance between the churches of Arques and Terroles; of Arques and Peyrolles; of Esperaza and Coustaussa; of Esperaza and Granès – and many, many more.

So how was this astonishing discovery made? To answer this question, I must return to the beginning of my quest. In 1971 I was intrigued to find that, behind the curious writing of the famous parchments supposedly discovered by Saunière, lay hidden another mysterious layer ... a five-pointed star. It was my first glimpse of geometry.

And it meant nothing to me. I could do no more than note the oddity and file it in the back of my mind. 
At the same time I was trying to make sense of the Poussin painting, The Shepherds of Arcadia. Once more I found geometry – and it was Prof Cornford of London’s Royal Academy of Art who proved that, again, we were confronting the five-pointed star.

We were both astonished - and puzzled. And then Prof Cornford suggested that I look in the landscape. It was thus that the awe-inspiring pentagon of natural mountain peaks was discovered ... Blanchefort, La Soulane, Bezu, Serre de Lauzet and Rennes-le-Château with La Pique marking the centre. But still there remained the question: What can be the significance of this amazing wonder?

The answer lay in yet another aspect of Rennes-le-Château’s mystery. The answer to another question. Why was Saunière’s church dedicated to St Mary Magdalene?

In centuries past when that dedication was made, Mary Magdalene, the first to see the risen Christ, was looked upon as the “Medium of the Secret Revelation? and she was honoured with a symbol in the Heavens. That symbol was the planet Venus.

Yet another question: why Venus? And here lay the secret. Venus is special. She conceals a marvel in her movements across the firmament.

Each planet, as it circles, traces a pattern in the sky. A pattern formed by the number of times that it creates an alignment of Planet ... Sun ... Earth. Mars shows us an irregular four-sided figure in its four alignments. Mercury traces a great irregular triangle. Each planet aligns a different number of times and so forms an irregular geometric figure. But Venus is different.

Alone among the circling planets, Venus creates a perfect, regular and powerful symbol in the Heavens. In exactly eight full years she aligns five times. A pentacle. The five-pointed star ... the embodiment of the Divine Proportion. Professor Cornford said of this geometric figure, that ... ‘it enjoyed immense prestige and excited nothing short of reverence ... since very ancient times.’

As Above – So Below

The Magdalen – whose symbol is Venus – the goddess who traces that magical shape across the sky. The shape traced by Rennes-le-Château’s Pentacle of Mountains.
   Terribilis est Locus Iste ... Truly, This Place is Awesome.    
The wonder in the Heavens is reflected here upon the Earth.  For our ancestors this was indeed a Holy Place.

And for us ... ... ... ?
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