“The Sion Revelation” is a book by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, most known for their roller coaster book “The Stargate Conspiracy”, a strange mixture of the bizarrely true and the merely bizarre. (Those interested in the UFO-USAF-CIA connections should also consult John Romson's “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and Nick Redfern's “Final Events”.) By contrast, “The Sion Revelation” is slightly less bizarre, and I sometimes get the impression that the authors are chasing shadows and fake mysteries which might be given more mundane explanations – which doesn't necessarily mean everything is alright, of course. The mundane machinations of the rich and powerful might be just as scary as those of hooded cultists with secret handshakes…
“The Sion Revelation” discusses the speculations found in “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” by Baigent-Leigh-Lincoln, speculations later repacked by Dan Brown in his widely (and wildly) successful novel “The Da Vinci Code”. The short form is that Picknett and Prince reject most claims made by, or on behalf of, the so-called Priory of Sion and its elusive Grand Master Pierre Plantard. However, they believe that Plantard and the Priory *did* play an important role in various political and occult scheming, and that the implications may be disturbing indeed.
I think Picknett and Prince does a good job locating Plantard's group in a broader context of French (and sometimes German) esotericism, with roots going back to at least the 18th century. It's a bewildering milieu of ritual magicians, “Templar” Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Mesmerists and mediums. Politically, this milieu was to a large extent monarchist and far right, and many participants claimed to be good, traditional Catholics. Yet, their interpretation of Catholicism was frequently idiosyncratic. I'm tempted to call this milieu “Catholic occultist” or words to that effect. Even the bizarre suicide cult Order of the Solar Temple belongs to this milieu, and had many ideas in common with it.
The authors believe that at least some of these groups (including Plantard's Priory) were secret heretics, and actually believed that John the Baptist rather than Jesus was the true Christ, Jesus being an apostate! They dub this the “Johannite” heresy. There is a peculiar religious group in Iraq which actually holds this belief, the so-called Mandeans. Judging by the authors' account, at least one “Templar” group in France openly held this belief, too, before they changed position (or stopped preaching it in public). In its Masonic form, the Johannite heresy also includes veneration of Mary Magdalene, claimed connections to the Knights Templar, and an obsession with all things Egyptian. (And, I suppose, veneration of a severed head – “bring me the head of John the Baptist”. Note that Baphomet could be interpreted as a word play on Baptist and Mahomet.) It may also include sex magic. The authors apparently believe that Jesus and Mary Magdalene really were married and sired children. I don't.
Unless I misunderstood them, L Picknett and C Prince believes that Johannitism might be the solution to the mystery of Rennes-le-Château. Father Saunière might have been a Johannite heretic, which explains a thing or two about the peculiar Church decorations. It's less clear where he got all his money from, though!
Picknett-Prince makes a connection between the occult underworld of France and synarchism, a political movement of an elitist and fascistic character. Synarchism was developed by an occultist, Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, and soon became a staple of many secret societies in France. Before World War II, the synarchists joined the far right. When France fell to Hitler's Germany, the synarchists joined Marshal Petáin's collaborationist Vichy government. Plantard may have been one of them – the authors believe that he really did have powerful backers during the war years, enabling him to publish a well-produced magazine in Nazi-occupied Paris. When it became obvious that the Nazis were going to lose the war, many former Vichy supporters switched their allegiances to the Allies. So did the synarchists. The authors also argue that Plantard's group played a relatively important role in the dramatic events which led to General De Gaulle becoming French president in 1958.
One of the main planks of the synarchist program is the creation of a united Europe. The EEC and the EU in a very real sense grew out of the esoteric speculations of French secret societies! They mention Eurafrica, but not the “race mixing” often attributed to Count Coudenhove-Kalergi. Too hot? The last chapter contains many damning allegations against French socialist president Francois Mitterrand, who collaborated with Vichy during the war years, and was steeped in occultism. Guess who built the famous glass pyramid showed in the closing scene of the film “The Da Vinci Code”? The authors presumably believe that Mitterrand (the architect of the Maastricht Treaty) was a closeted synarchist…
My problem with the above is mostly that powerful elites are always organized and, almost by definition, elitist. Thus, it doesn't come as a big surprise that the EU is the projection of great power dreams of a relatively narrow cabal. Nor is it surprising that the elite secretly despises democracy and the hoi polloi. What is more disturbing is the occult connection, especially if the authors are right about mediumship and sex magic being practiced in elite circles. Are we to believe that the architects of the “united Europe” are actually seeing ghosts and hearing voices…? (Perhaps that *would* explain a few things.) Of course, a more mundane explanation would simply be that some rich folk like to dress up funny. Trafficking can also be given perfectly “secular” explanations (secularly evil, obviously). That being said, “The Sion Revelation” might nevertheless be of some interest even to people not steeped in a conspiracist worldview, such as cult-watchers or fascist-watchers.
A final complaint. It's Upper Lusatia or Oberlausitz, not Haute-Lusace.