Papa Nicetas, the Bogomil Saint (Bog meaning God and Mil meaning beloved), was said to be the first patriarch of the Cathar church. In the year 1167, he visited Occitania to attend the Council of St. Felix de Caraman which was the first official congress of the heads of the Cathar church. It is said that he walked all the way from Lombardy and that he carried with him a mythical grand grimoire commonly referred to as the ‘book of love’, ‘the book of Nicetas’, or the ‘book of the seven seals’. The book was said to have become one of the mythical treasures of the Cathars hidden at Montsegur which was either lost in the siege or possibly smuggled out to any number of hypothetical destinations.
Just what sort of content might this mythical book have contained? Authors such as Walter Birks, R.A. Gilbert, and Elizabeth van Buren, have suggested that the Cathars guarded a manuscript, knowledge , or a spiritual treasure. This manuscript is said to be the “book of love” attributed to St John the Divine, and is claimed to contain “sublime teachings, marvelous revelations, the most secret words confided by our Lord Jesus Christ to the beloved disciple (John the Evangelist). Their power would be such that all hatred, all anger, all jealousy would vanish from the hearts of men. The Divine Love, like a new flood, would submerge all souls and never again would blood be shed on this earth.” It’s quite a claim.
About this supposed treasure of the Cathar’s, this lost gospel, or book of love, pseudo historian, Michel Lamy writes an interesting hypothesis about the final destination of the lost treasure of the Cathar’s in his book The Secret Message of Jules Verne. To review a little Albigensian history, Ramon d’Aniort was lord of the Razes area during this time and a very powerful lord at that. He was the one who conducted the negotiations for the terms of surrender of the castle defenders. Ramon himself was married to Marquesia, the sister of Pierre-Roger de Mirepoix ( head of the castle garrison at Montsegur and a member of the radical Cathar sect the ‘Sons of Belisenna’). Pierre-Roger was married to the daughter of Ramon de Perehla’s ( the man in charge of refortifying and protecting Montsegur) oldest daughter. He lost his other daughter, Esclarmonde, and his wife, Corba, to the raging fires of the Inquisitor’s on the Camp de Cremat. And to make things a little closer (if not more confusing), Ramon d’Aniort’s sister, Alice, was married to the son of Ramon de Perehla, whose name was Jordon. All in all, they were a tightly woven family of practicing Cathar’s and Cathar sympathizers. During the 15 days that it took to conduct the negotiations of the terms of surrender, the treasure was supposedly smuggled out of Montsegur in the dead of night. Legend has it that it was taken across the Pays de Sault to the chateau d’Usson, the home of d’Alion family. Historian Elie Kercob disputes this fact, saying that trying this route during the winter would have been futile because of the snow, “Furthermore, the ending point normally mentioned, Usson, would reveal itself to be a veritable trap.”
Michel Lamy then points the finger to the Razes region as a place where the treasure might have been hidden, more specifically towards Mount Bugarach. “We might also compare the book closed with the seven seals of the Apocalypse, depicted in the church in Bugarach next to the Grail chalice, to that secret book called the Book of Seals, which was solemnly opened on the Cathar feast day of Bema. The Cathar feast day of Bema is said to be somewhere around Palm Sunday. In his book, The Court of Lucifer, Otto Rahn talks about a conversation with a local Montsegurian shepherd about the lost treasure of the Cathar’s which might be found on Palm Sunday, “It lies in a cave in the Tabor forest. A massive stone block protects the cave’s entrance from intruders. Whoever wishes to enter can do so by only entering during Mass on Palm Sunday – on the Fete de Rameaux. That is the moment when it is possible to lift the stone slab, because the snakes are fast asleep. But God help the person who has not left the cave before the priest has sung Ite Misse Est! At the end of Mass the slab closes again, and the intruder suffers a terrible end as he is bitten to death by the newly awakened vipers.”
Otto Rahn’s name was linked to a secret society known as the Polaires via an article that appeared in the newspaper La Depeche, in 1932, entitled “Gold Rush in the Pyrenees”. According to the journalist responsible for writing the piece, “an international secret society, under the command of a shadowy individual named Rams, has been digging up the grounds of the castle of Lordat”. Apparently the Polaires were in search of the Lost Gospel of St. John or the mythic Book of the Seven Seals hidden by the Cathars. A missive from Rahn appeared a few days later in which he assured the editor’s, “My dear sirs, you are entirely mistaken; my name is Rahn not Rams.”. It is unclear at this distance in time whether or not Otto Rahn was the leader of the Polaires, but what is certain is that Rahn was close with the Countess Miryanne du Pujol-Murat. He speaks about her quite eloquently in The Court of Lucifer, “I am a guest of the Countess P., an elderly lady. Nobody knows the history, legends, and customs of her homeland better than she.” The Countess was the owner of the chateau of Lordat and a Polaire. She believed that she was a direct descendent of Esclarmonde de Foix, the 13th century high priestess of the Cathars. “The great Esclarmonde was my bloodline. I am proud to see her in spirit on the platform of the keep in Montsegur, gazing into the stars.” The Countess was the one who authorized the Polaires excavations at the chateau of Lordat.
According to sources at the time the Polaires also suspected that the Tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz was located at Lordat. Now, why did they believe that Rosenkreutz had visited the castle? The Polaires advocated the theory that Christian Rosenkruetz had been initiated into Catharism by Albigensian refugees in Germany. French esoteric writer, Maurice Magre, in his book Magiciens et Illuminés (1930), tells the story of a Christian Rosenkreutz who was the last descendant of a German family called Germelshausen, a family that allegedly had embraced Albigensian (Cathar) doctrines during the 13th century. They were all put to death, except for the youngest son. He was carried away by an Albigensian priest from the Languedoc and was brought up in their monastery, the rest is pseudo history. Magre claims that his account was derived from oral tradition. Why exactly his tomb would have been placed at the chateau de Lordat is something that only the Polaires know.
The Polaires were a group of French esoteric seekers who shared a common interest in a magical system through which they thought they could contact Agartha and the “Masters of the World” that had apparently taken up residence there, after these “leaders of the Soy Cross” had fled the western world in the 17th century. Without going into the specific methodology, it can be said that it shared some things in common with Nadi astrology and seemed to have a indirect nod in the general direction of Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society, in which writer Maurice Magre had been involved with at one time.
Lordat turned out to be a wash and instead the Polaires turned their attentions to finding the mythical book of the seven seals up at Montsegur during excavations in 1931 headed by high ranking Polaire members Cesare Accomani, also known as Zam Bhotiva, writer of the book Asia Mysteriosia, and Mario Fille, a former vaudeville and dancehall composer. During the excavations, which lasted about forty days, a group of fervent English spiritualists, headed by White Eagle Lodge founder, Grace Cook, joined them on a type of pilgrimage. “Dressed in white and holding lit candles”, they sang in honor of Esclarmonde de Foix, perhaps not realizing that she would have been long dead before the siege of Montsegur. Apparently Grace Cooke foretold a prophecy that the book of the seven seals or the treasure of the Cathar’s would be found. The prophecy was not very specific about what the treasure actually was and Accommoni tried dousing the area with a diving rod, and not just any old rod, but the famous dowsing rod of Italian Renaissance philosopher and Kabbalist Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), that supposedly shook when it found gold. Otto Rahn describes this process quite amusingly in The Court of Lucifer, ”On my first day here. I met an engineer from Bordeaux who is looking for the treasure of the Albigenses. He explained that the castle is the property of the municipality and that he obtained their permission in a written contract, which, if his project is successful, awards to him half of the treasure (which he is convinced is gold and silver). Furthermore, he hopes to find the authentic Book of Revelations, the Apocalypse According to John, which should contain the true message of Jesus Christ and was believed to be in possession of the Albigenses. The Cathars believed that the Church of Rome wanted to destroy the only true message of the Son of God because the Catholics had falsified it.
How does he know all this? I asked. He made it clear that he couldn’t tell me because he belonged to a secret association that demanded silence from it members (the Polaires). Even though the Albigenses were exterminated almost to the last man by the Inquisition and its executioners, the true Book of Revelations was placed in a safe resting place inside the mountain, which is hollow. Long after the castle had fallen, The Roman Catholics were still digging up the place in their search for the holy scriptures of John – but in vain. In addition, he told me that he knew the location of Esclarmonde’s grave. A man with a divining rod had revealed the place to him, and thanks to the way that the rod turned, he was able to describe the sarcophagus: It was stone with a golden dove decorating the top. I had to stop myself from smiling…”
Amazingly enough, Grace Cooke’s prophecy was supposedly proven to be true. One day, while surveying the excavations, they noticed that one part of a wall of the castle of Montségur was in a slightly different color than the rest of the building. When they struck it with a hammer, they found a niche in which were stored some yellowed papers, separated by a stone. The top layers of these papers had been corroded by moisture and only one word could be read: Fatalité – Fate. The lower sections were better preserved and were found to be parchments on which there were numbers and geometric figures. They were quick to conclude that this was a “divinatory oracle”.
Rumors spread of the discovery. In The Court of Lucifer, while looking over the findings of researcher Friedrich von Suhtscheck in which he compares the mountain sanctuary Koh-i-Chwadska to the sanctuaries of Jerusalem, Mecca and Rome, as the archetype to Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Grail Mountain, Munsavalt, author Otto Rahn recalls that many of the names in Parzival could reveal Iranian origins. “I ask myself: Could that book found in the rubble of Montsegur and written in an unknown alphabet be filled with Manichaean writing, perhaps even a copy of the original Iranian version of Parzival?” Apparently he was suckered in by the story as well.
The contents of the book that they found that day in Montsegur were not published curiously enough until 1967 (the Polaires only existed until 1939) in a booklet called “Un Oracle Kabbalistque”, which revealed the manuscript to be made up of Nadi astrology, instead of being the ‘lost gospel of St. John’. The authors of this article were Mario Fille, and Rene Odin, another high ranking member of the Polaires. Eventually the whole thing was proved through historical documents to be a hoax, some. The truth was that nothing was found at all at Montsegur or Lordat. At the time, Grace Cooke’s prophecy and their psychic questing proved to be an utter failure. This disappointment led to Accomani leaving Montsegur for Spain where he continued his fruitless search. He left the Polaires in 1932 and subsequently disappeared off the esoteric map.There is some speculation about whether the Polaires felt they were in competition with other secret sects in the area, forcing them to produce faked evidence to substantiate their mystical claims, in a similar manner to the false idols that were placed in the caves of the Sabarthes by Antonin Gadal and his “La Société du souvenir de Montségur et du Graal”.
There is a plausible explanation at hand thanks to the careful research on the Polaires done by Milko Bogaard, which doesn’t fall all that far from the curious case of the Priory of Sion (see de-bunking of the bloodline myth). To quote Bogaard, “according to the available but limited sources the history of this Order (the beginnings of what would be known as The Polaires) starts in Italy back in 1908 where a young Mario Fille meets a mysterious hermit during a holiday in Bagnaia (near Rome). Fille apparently received some old and withered parchments from the hermit who stated: “What you have here are some pages taken from the Book of Science of Life and Death: these pages contain a successful Method of Divination on an arithmetical basis (Nadi astrology)”. These same ‘old and withered parchments’ would constitute the “Oracle Kabbalistique” or the treasure that was planted up at Montsegur. Given the pressure to produce results and Fille’s cabaret background, it is easy to surmise that this in fact would be the case.