are in the possible clues ancient Sumeria might yield in regard to some of the more enigmatic aspects of the Merovingian saga vis-à-vis the Grail family. And the first clue is to be found in the depiction of the god-king IA described previously.

IA on his watery throne

Many of the major figures from the Bible can be traced back to the deified kings of Sumeria. There are figures equivalent to Adam, Cain, Enoch, and even Moses; their stories are, at times, nearly identical, and the names of the figures involved bear a striking similarity to their biblical counterparts.

IA, dressed in flowing robe and crown, is seated on his throne before an audience of several people bedecked in ceremonial garb. The audience members could represent royal personages of different nations in their native dress, or they could merely be his priests or functionaries. In his right hand, IA holds aloft a vase from which water gushes forth. Emerging from the vase, and from the springs of water flowing out, we see what can clearly only be described as a fleur-de-lys. During the Middle Ages, the fleur-de-lys was the primary emblem of French royalty. It is to be seen in abundance on the heraldry of French and latter British royalty. It was a symbol essentially synonymous with France. And it is a symbol that pervades the church at

Rennes-le-Chateau, more perhaps than the Christian cross. Most people would probably assume that an emblem so closely linked to the French identity probably arose at a time when the old French territories were coalescing into a cohesive national entity. And yet this depiction of a fleur- de-lys arising from water can be dated to 2,730 years before the birth of Christ!

Some scholars tell us that the fleur-de-lys is the stylized representation of a lily, a symbol associated with King David. Thus, the fleur-de-lys was employed as an emblem of Davidic descent. But the depiction of King IA predates King David by close to two millennia, and the rendering itself is from a period far later than IA’s actual kingship. All we can reasonably surmise is that the fleur-de-lys, or lily, seems to have been an emblem of kingship dating back to the earliest period of recorded history of which we knows. The clear implication would seem to be that if, as some scholars maintain, the fleur-de-lys is symbolic of a specific royal bloodline, then the Merovingians (and indeed, much of European royalty) can trace their descent back to a figure who was both the first known king, and the first known god.

IA was known as the Lord of the Flood or the Lord of the Deep Waters because he was the first post-diluvian king, and because his arrival in Sumeria coincided with the cessation of the Flood. He was said to have come from “beyond the sea” or even “out of the sea.” In some versions of his myth, he descended from the heavens, and had been appointed, as God’s earthly counterpart, to be the “shepherd of mankind.” In the Babylonian/Akkadian tradition he was called Ea, and was depicted as a god who was part-man, part-fish. Instead of the title Lord of the Flood, he was known to the Babylonians/Akkadians as “God of the Abyss.” The Chaldeans knew him as Ea, and they too depicted him on their monuments as half-man, half-fish.

These varying traditions, so very similar and so fundamentally different, seem almost emblematic of the sort of paradox so central to the entire Merovingian mythos. While they all relate what is clearly a story pertaining to a single figure, and while the stories all obviously originated from a single source, each nonetheless possesses key elements which are not in agreement with one another. And yet, even the most seemingly contradictory elements of each version aren’t necessarily inconsistent with any aspect of the Merovingian saga. We have a king descended from a god. That fits perfectly. We have a God associated with the sea, who is part-man, part-fish. That fits

perfectly. We have stories of this god or king alternately coming from the heavens, out of the ocean, or from “the Abyss.” Any of the foregoing scenarios would find numerous points of convergence with some key aspects of the Merovingian mythology.

Nineteenth century author Ignatius Donnelly has offered what might be a very straightforward explanation for the heaven/sea/abyss conundrum. According to him, the ancients perceived the lands beyond where the sun set in the west to be the underworld. Beyond the horizon existed a land of the dead, where the sun sank each day to die. Thus people could very well have been seen to be coming from the underworld, or the abyss. Conversely, people coming from beyond the horizon where the sun was reborn each dawn may have been perceived as coming forth from the heavens. And either group, coming from a land which was unseen or unknown to the indigenous population could very possibly have been viewed as coming out of the ocean itself. This makes sense. The ancient Sumerian kings are known as sea kings because they were legendary navigators. Millennia before Columbus, these sea kings had already mapped most of the world’s continents.

In more recent history, white men appearing in South America were perceived as gods. Could not a people existing in the far more distant past have reached a similar conclusion about a strange race coming from beyond the distant horizon? We know from Sumerian records that this race of gods taught them about astronomy, which is fundamental to navigating the sea. And if this race first appeared following a great deluge, would it not make sense that they would appear on ships—ships in which they themselves escaped the very same massive flood? IA is, after all, the Lord of the Flood, synonymous in the minds of the Sumerians with the cataclysm which preceded his arrival. This brings us back to the drawing of IA in which he holds aloft a vase with a fleur-de-lys rising from the flowing water. If the fleur-de-lys is indeed emblematic of a royal bloodline, could not this depiction be a symbolic representation of the survival of that bloodline, rising from out of the floodwaters? If so, it would explain much of the water-based imagery pertinent to the Merovingians. One of the central images on the altar of the church at Rennes-le-Chateau is a very idiosyncratic depiction of the Grail cup. At first glance it appears straightforward enough, and yet it is highly unorthodox, because it shows the Grail chalice being born aloft on what appear to be the waters of the Flood. That the Grail cup is shown

floating on water would be unusual in itself. But it is not merely floating calmly on still waters; the waters depicted are decidedly turbulent. This, taken in conjunction with the other ocean-based imagery to be found at Rennes-le-Chateau, convinced us that the sea played some important role in regards to this mystery. Perhaps, in the Lord of the Flood, we have found an important link in the chain; a clue that will place the whole mystery in a far broader context than the mere story of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalen. Christ and the Magdalen are, after all, only bit players in what is plainly a far greater drama. And although they may be the best-remembered players, those who came before them and after them may have far greater things to tell us.

Writers examining the lives of Christ and Mary Magdalen in search of clues to the Grail mystery have been left with more questions than answers. And those going over the Bible with a fine-toothed comb have come up equally empty-handed. Undoubtedly the reason for this is due to the fact that the Holy Grail has virtually nothing to do with Christianity per se. Christ may have been a key figure in a long line of servants of the Grail, but its legacy is not to be found within the context of the religion founded in his name. Not a single one of the crucial clues relating to the Grail mystery can be satisfactorily explained in terms of orthodox Christianity. Indeed, it would appear that the Grail story was Christianized precisely to conceal a legacy that was wholly unchristian. It is a legacy that goes back to IA, and the mysterious race of which he was a descendant.

If the traditional Grail story a la Eschenbach, et al has little to do with the Christian tradition, that chapter of the mystery relating to the Priory of Sion, Berenger Sauniere and so on would seem to be even more distant still from it. The clues left behind seem to be far more specific in their meanings, while also appearing to be far less comprehensible in their possible relation to the story of the Grail family. What are we to make of Poussin’s mysterious painting, The Shepherds of Arcadia? And why would such a seemingly simple little oil painting figure as such a pivotal clue? What of the bizarre secret society, the Priory of Sion? Though many dismiss it as a hoax, is it not perhaps too elaborate to be a mere hoax? Any hoax perpetrated to serve some functional end would hardly encompass such a vast variety of incomprehensible information and symbols. If, as some suggest, Pierre Plantard created the Priory out of whole cloth as an enticing little puzzle to serve his own political aspirations, he certainly failed miserably. Because if

the Priory was nothing more than a clever cryptogram of his own devising, we can only say that he seems to have been far too clever for his own good. Mr. Plantard has now been dead for some time, and the puzzle that is the Priory of Sion persists in perplexing virtually all those who have attempted to unlock its mysteries. Academics, historians and occultists alike have all run into a brick wall in their efforts to unravel the enigma of the Priory of Sion. Having done so, they were unanimous in their appraisal that the Priory was undoubtedly a hoax. Consequently, that avenue of inquiry was dispensed with before even the most basic questions about it were answered satisfactorily. Questions such as: why are the Grand Masters called Navigators, or why do they adopt the name John as their title?

Although looking for answers to such questions within the Judeo-Christian tradition is fruitless, the tradition from which Judaism, Christianity, and so many other creeds prior to them emerged seems to contain quite a number of intriguing correspondences. The navigator title held by Priory of Sion’s Grand Masters is an allusion to Sumeria’s sea kings, who were legendary as navigators. Of these, the most known were the Akkadians. And Akkadians were obviously being referred to in Poussin’s The Shepherds of Arcadia. Sumeria’s sea kings were known as shepherds, a term that meant both “protector” and “shining one.” Remember, their first king was said to have come from “the heavens” to serve as “shepherd of mankind.” And the Sumerian god-king identified with Dagon was, in some records, referred to simply as the Shepherd. The Shepherds of Arcadia, then, can be seen as the god-kings of Akkadia; a royal dynasty of ancient Sumeria. But this is just one level of meaning, and as with so many things central to this mystery, Poussin’s painting contains multiple layers of meaning.

It is well documented that The Shepherds of Arcadia contains a hidden pentagram, the center point of which falls exactly on the forehead of the shepherdess. The pentagram has a dual meaning, representing simultaneously both the forgotten race from which the Grail bloodline descended and that race’s secret doctrine. One meaning is to be found in the Akkadia of ancient Sumeria, another in the Arcadia of ancient Greece. In Sumeria, where the pentagram originated, its pictographic image symbolized the “shining ones” or “lofty ones,” terms used in reference to the deified kings. In Arcadia, the pentagram was synonymous with the secret gnosis that Hermes was said to have preserved from a race of antediluvian gods. Hermes was said to have

been born in the mountains of Arcadia. Poussin’s painting purports to depict Arcadia. Hermes was the patron deity of graves and of shepherds. So we have a painting depicting Arcadia, a tomb, and a group of shepherds. The clear implication is that the secret doctrine being alluded to is the royal art known as Hermeticism. And in fact, the connection between Hermeticism and the fallen angels seems to constitute a long-standing tradition. Julius Evola tells us: “Tertullian says that the … works of nature, the secrets of metals, the virtues of plants, the forces of magical conjurations, and ‘all those alien teachings that make up the science of the stars’—that is to say, the whole corpus of the ancient magico-hermetic sciences was revealed to men by the fallen angels.” Tertullian’s assertion is confirmed elsewhere in a statement attributed to Hermes himself: “The ancient and sacred books teach that certain angels burned with desire for women. They descended to earth and taught all the works of nature. They were the ones who created the Hermetic works, and from them proceeds the primordial tradition of this art.”

Hermetic imagery recurs constantly in relation to the Grail mystery: the Cross of Lorraine, the rosecross, the black Madonnas, the Temple of Solomon, and so on. Hermeticism seems to suffuse virtually every secret society linked to Christ and the Grail. And at Rennes-le-Chateau it is inescapable.

A third level of meaning inherent in The Shepherds of Arcadia is the tomb itself, located not terribly far from Rennes-le-Chateau. Poussin has given us ample clues as to who these “shepherds” were and what they believed, and he has also documented a very real location—a place where the proof which substantiates these clues can be found. Whatever constitutes the real treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau was undoubtedly buried for quite some time at the so- called “Poussin tomb.” At some point, the treasure was uncovered and removed to Rennes-le-Chateau. Sauniere rediscovered it, reburied it, and devoted his life to leaving a tantalizing trail of clues; clues that might be decoded at some future time in which the populace in general might be far more well-disposed toward accepting a secret tradition that exists well beyond the confines of orthodoxy.

Et in Arcadia Ego (Shepherds of Arcadia) by Nicholas Pousssin, circa 1655.

Though some disagree, Akkadia seems to be synonymous with Agade, the Sumerian capital associated with the empire’s most well known leader, Sargon the Great. Sargon was so powerful a ruler that he was known as “the King of the World.” One indication that Agade and Akkadia may be one and the same is that the sea-faring men of ancient Phoenicia were referred to alternately as “Gads,” or “Kads.” The Sumerians and Phoenicians of old never referred to themselves as Sumerians or Phoenicians, but took their names from the city-states in which they lived. According to the Sumeriologist L. A. Waddell, the term “Gad” mutated and was preserved in the name of the Goths. The term “Kad” mutated to “Catti,” which was the title given to royalty in ancient Britain. Also, the word “Catti” was the source for many place names in Europe that date back to the time at which the Phoenicians had extensive trade routes, and contain the word “cat” or “cad.” There are literally so many such names that to list them all would require half