At Rennes-le-Château, I fear, change has become inevitable. But some changes, it seems, are beginning to spread confusion. I have, for instance, often been asked for directions to the Devil’s Armchair. My response is now frequently met with: “But I thought that was the Seat of Isis ... !” (And vice versa.) Well ... yes!
This seems to be one of the unlooked-for effects of the Da Vinci Code. The goddesses seem to be taking over. So ... Isis now sits in the Devil’s Armchair ... the Fourtou Cave has become ‘the Magdalen’s Grotto’ ... and more than one excited visitor expects to be shown the house she lived in – or the cave where she was buried – or the garden she planted – or any other whimsical piece of wishful-thinking that you ... they ... anyone ... may conjure up.
Let me make one simple – if disappointing – statement :
There is not the tiniest bit, piece, shred, fragment, portion or even scintilla of evidence that Mary Magdalene ever came to this part of the world. (Nor Jesus, nor Joseph of Arimathea, not-neither !)
True – there is a legend that the Marys came to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer – as is celebrated by the annual gypsy festival. But legends are not evidence. Believe them, if you will. I, however, make no acts of faith.
And I shall continue to adhere to the old names by which I have known the local landmarks for forty years or so. I’m very fond of Isis – (even more so of Ma’at – not to mention Selket) - but as far as I am concerned, it’s still the Devil in that Seat!
Since I decided to spend my latter years in the Aude, I find myself being asked why I no longer lead groups around Rennes-le-Château and its area, as I used to do.
Well - I suppose I didn’t foresee the greatly augmented interest in the story - or the desire that so many people have to “hear it from the horse’s mouth”.
I’m also only too aware that I’m the last of the original merry band of Plantard/de Sède/de Chérisey/Buthion et al. Mine are now the only remaining first-hand memories. So:
I’ve agreed to act the guide to a couple of small groups in 2010.
You’ll find preliminary details on the ‘Events’ page of my web-site.