|The Comte de Gabalis|
Like Bérenger Saunière, de Montfaucon de Villars, the author of Comte de Gabalis, was a priest. Perhaps the comparison between these two characters needs to stop there. The two people do not seem to share anything else. But perhaps they do…
Montfaucon de Villars is the author of Comte de Gabalis. The book was published
in 1670 in Paris and became an instant success. The format was so successful,
there were several fake sequels, or imitations. Still, though Sir Edward
Lytton quoted from it, specifically in his novel Zanoni, the book has since
been seldom if ever referenced.
De Montfaucon de Villars was born in Alet, near Toulouse, in 1635. Having taken orders, he came to Paris in 1667, where he gained many illustrious friends, including Madame de Sévigné. He published numerous books and pamphlets, including one on the origin of species, which is said to have influenced Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.
He claimed that during this period (1667-1670), he met the Comte de Gabalis in Paris, during a short series of visits, in which the Comte revealed certain secrets – or tall tales – to de Villars. He wrote this down in his book, which not only lead to his fame, but also to his death. In 1673, on his way to Lyons, de Villars was murdered. Some believe that the murder occurred because he had revealed “too much” in his book.
count visits the priest, after the priest had become a well-known figure
in esoteric circles. He had put out the message “he was interested”
and many came to visit him. But it seems de Villars had never bargained
for de Gabalis – if the meeting of course ever occurred in the first
The book is a series of minutes between the two individuals meeting each other five times. In essence, de Gabalis invites the priest to join his organisation of Sages – a group of people who seem to have incarnated to aide Mankind into fulfilling its destiny. Some people are identified, specifically Jerome Cardan’s father, a famous example of a man who had visitations of celestial beings.
the five discourses, we learn that the true adept abandons “human
intercourse” and instead opts to only have intercourse with the spirits
of the air, water, earth and fire. The count claims that many children have
come forth as a result of such encounters.
For any 21st century esoteric researcher, the descriptions of these beings, specifically those of the air, are identical to UFO sightings and specifically UFO abductions, with their specific sexual theme and focus on interspecies breeding. The storyline from Taken could literally have been copied from the pages of the book. This could include the so-called “Reptilian aliens”, making their appearance as “Salamander Women”.
Gabalis refers to how the Sylphs have “carried off men” in their
“innocent fleet” “from every locality”, “then
setting them down again on earth in divers parts of the world”. He
quotes instances of people that have been “dropped off” in the
wrong location, naming one such instance in Lyons – at the very least
evidence that the events in UFO abductions are not new at all.
Most intriguing is that in discourse V, de Gabalis states how intermarriages between these otherworldly beings and humans is the final goal of the Order of the Sages: they want to stop “human marriages” and children produced by “physical sex”, “Children of Sin”. Specifically, they want to reduce the size of Mankind; for a 21st century UFO abduction researcher, the message is that the Order of the Sages is in league with the aliens to create a hybrid race. Nothing, it seems, is new under the sun… then again, it is clear that if true, the project of the Order has been greatly unsuccessful since the 17th century, with more “children of sin” being born in the past centuries than ever before.
priest is asked to decide what type of wife to take, though in the book
it is never stated whether he ever made such a decision. During the last
encounter, the priest has still not chosen and it is quite clear he never
will. In his introduction to the various species, de Gabalis mentions the
Gnomes, the spirits of earth. He describes them as “people of slight
stature, who are the guardians of treasures, minerals and precious stones
[…] They furnish the Children of the Sages with all the money they
Taken at face value, de Gabalis is stating that his money, as well as others in his order, receive their wealth from an alliance with spirits of the Earth, who know the treasures of the earth (e.g. gold deposits), and give this to them. It is described as an everlasting treasure.
Comte de Gabalis reads very much like a fairytale. At the most basic level,
it demands of its audience to believe in a fairy world. Nevertheless, it
is clear that de Gabalis is the archetype of a shaman, and that intercourse
with this otherworldly life is no ordinary affaire – and might require
the usage of hallucinogenic substances (the “very Holy Medecine”
described in Discourse II, specifically linked with the pineal gland), or
meditation. Throughout the account, there are numerous references to astral
flight, “excursions” (out of body experiences), etc.
Did the Order practice meditation or “shamanic flight”, and thus contact spirits of the otherworld, which revealed to them the locations of precious stones and metals? It is definitely what de Gabalis specifically states in his account.
everlasting treasure is what has often been ascribed to Saunière.
Did he have similar interests? Was he familiar with de Villars’ book?
Did he or others around him practice similar rituals? At an even more daring
level: if the Count existed, and the Order was real, were Saunière
or people around him members?
They have to remain questions and can only serve as a possible inroad into his mystery.
Gabalis states the elemental spirits are mortal, however long they live.
Only by marriage with a Sage does their “soul” become immortal.
Therefore, their quest for a “human lover” will be their main
goal. It is extremely important to note that the Book of Enoch (officially
unknown at this moment in the Western World) and its references to the Watchers
– the Fallen Angels – is important: they have come down to marry
humans. These 200 Watchers caused such abominations that the archangels
intervened, in the end deciding with God to create the Flood.
The underlying message is that though after the Flood, the previous errors were washed away, but the situation remained the same. It suggests – never made explicit – that the Order of Sages was an organisation of willing individuals who would marry with these otherworldly creatures, so that the abominations of the previous Era do not re-occur.
The prime directive was that human intercourse could not occur – though multiple relationships with several otherworldly beings was allowed. At face value, it is clear that priests and nuns would be prime candidates for such tasks – and it suggests that this is one of the reasons why de Villars was approached: he was interested in esoteric subjects, and a priest.
AGLA, or AA?
Name of God, AGLA, obviously has an important role in this book. It is clear
the Order uses it and de Gabalis refers to a ritual involving the Name of
God they use – though rituals in general are looked down upon. This
specific rendering of the Name of God has been associated with an order,
the AA, the successor to the Compagnie de Saint Sacrement, forbidden by
French King Louis XIV in 1665 – shortly before the writing of Comte
The order would continue over the following centuries; there is speculation that Saunière and his allies, including Boudet and Billard, were members of this esoteric organisation, whose members were normally priests, and whose task was to protect “The Secret” – its exact nature obviously unspecified.
The question has to be asked whether the Count was a member of this order and whether the Order of the Sages and the AA at some point share points in common. If so, and if the AA was involved with Saunière, Billard or Boudet, then the world of Saunière and de Villars would not only touch, but largely overlap: the message revealed to de Villars would also be the message at the core of the mystery of Saunière.
Anthony has often been included in the list of “intriguing saints”
that might shed light on the mystery of Saunière. Anthony is specifically
referred to by de Gabalis, because of his conversations with Sylphs, as
well as his temptation by the devil. He is a hermit, a man who has forsaken
earthly pleasure – the world of sin.
Nevertheless, he is not treated with the greatest respect, which is given to Zoroaster and Alexander the Great, both of which are identified as offspring of intercourses of “divine marriages”. So are Apollonius and Merlin. But there is also Melchizedek, whose father is identified as a Sylph. Melchizedek is said to have been conceived in the Ark by the wife of Shem. Zoroaster was the son of the Salamander Oromasis (sometimes identified with Osiris) and of Vesta, Noah’s wife – and identified with the Vestal Virgins of Rome. For sure, centuries, countries and myths separate these individuals – but it is clear that de Gabalis is not out for historical accuracy – he is a shaman, a storyteller, out to tell the “truth”, not “historical accuracy”.
The hand that kills
mystery of Rennes-le-Château has its enigmatic deaths, specifically
that of Antonin Gélis. His murder is hard to explain within a normal
police investigation; it suggest a ritual murder, and possibly linked with
the AA. De Villars is said to have been murdered because he had said “too
much”. De Gabalis himself states how Athanasius Kircher and Jerome
Cardan revealed certain information, but that if they were members of the
Order, “they would not rashly have divulged the secrets of the Sages”
(discourse IV). Secrecy and protection of the secrets of the order is at
the core of the Order of the Sages. So it is for the AA. And so it was for
Saunière who, if anything, was tight-lipped.
The title page of the book has the phrase “Quod tanto impendio absconditur etiam solummodo demonstrare destruere est” (When a thing is hidden away with so much pains, merely to reveal it is to destroy it,) suggesting that there is a mystery concealed.
devil plays an important role in de Gabalis story. He is revealed as an
important character, who uses the elemental spirits to influence Mankind
so that we believe these elemental spirits are gods. De Gabalis refers to
how pre-Christian societies often mistook these elemental spirits for Gods,
and were thus mislead. Though de Gabalis is quite anti-pagan religions,
specifically using Pan, it should be made clear his doctrine is not Christian
– in fact, references to Jesus are scarce if not totally absent and
are largely introduced by de Villars – and politely left to fade out
by de Gabalis.
Asmodeus is identified, described as a “foul hobgoblin” and “infamous” – he is not treated as an exalted character, but with disdain – as by Saunière in his church in Rennes-le-Château.
The typical story of the man who sells his soul to the devil for money is present in Discourse V. De Gabalis repeats that the Gnomes hear the howling of the Devil in the centre of the earth and frightened, prefer to remain mortal rather than seek immortality – fear disabling the possibility to grow. They in return try to influence Mankind to forsake our path towards immortality, the path of the soul towards perfection, in return for short-term, monetary and physical prosperity. “They will provide him with all the money he asks for, will avert the dangers which might threaten his life during a given period, or will grant any other condition pleasing to him who makes this wretched covenant.” The devil therefore corrupts the soul of Mankind.
The Prince of the World
The Devil is finally identified as the Prince of the World, bound, confined, in the “terra damnata et maledicta”. Though he cannot harm man, he uses the gnomes to “sell the soul” of men: those who make such alliances, their soul will die with their body, their soul will return into the Black Abyss of non-existence. It is here that de Gabalis is proclaiming a religious framework which is non-Christian (though the Apocalypse and the Gospel of St John make references to it), but which is Sumerian-Egyptian: the battle between order and chaos, the role of Osiris as redeemer of the World, and Seth as the disruptive power – the primordial terrorist: Satan.
Here, de Gabalis is stating how apart from the traditional knowledge which most Kabbalists work with, i.e. the cycle of reincarnation or ascension, there is a path “not of God”, but of the Devil: one which stops the cycle of death and birth, the path of the soul, and obliterates it: this is the danger posed by the devil. It is suicide, but of the soul: it is the annihilation of the soul – a defeat for God, a victory for the Devil.
In the Book of Enoch, unknown to de Gabalis, we find further details: the Prince of the World is identified as Azalzel, chained by one of the four archangels, Raphael, who casts Azalzel in the Darkness, in the Wilderness of Dudael, covered with sharp and rugged stones, where he will remain until the Day of Judgement – the Apocalypse. His specific crimes: teaching men warfare and women – the gravest of all crimes – make-up. The leader of the Watchers, Shemhaza, is hung upside down, between Heaven and Earth. However, this knowledge was not revealed to de Villars – or at least not written down by him.
beyond this point must be speculation: de Villars did not commit it to writing.
But if his encounters with de Gabalis were true, and if de Gabalis spoke
the truth, the implications are tremendous.
In the Collegiate Church of St Matthew, also known as Rosslyn Chapel, the man hanging upside down is the “Prince of the World”: Shemhazai. He hangs centrally, in the middle of the front part of the church: some might argue he is the main object of worship – and perhaps we should wonder whether anyone praying inside the chapel might therefore by default be classified as a devil worshipper – without knowing it.
Some believe that Rosslyn is connected with the mystery of Rennes-le-Château and promoters of the existence of the Priory of Sion have always made sure to incorporate the chapel in its line of thinking. Though the evidence is strenuous at best, there is the possibility that the Sinclairs, builders of the chapel, were influenced by esoteric thinking from France: those who taught the children of the family came from there, their builders came from there and in the 16th century, their lords made alliances between Scotland and France, at the highest state level, that might have seen the unification of both nations.
The “Wilderness of Dudael”, a desert place where nothing grows, might seem an apt description of the landscape of Perillos. Is this the desolate area where Azalzel was buried in a cave, and Shemhazai hung in mid-Heaven, to watch the descent and ascent of the angels? Such a comparison is farfetched – or not? Courtade speaks of a “royal tomb”; Saunière’s speaks of a “Tomb of Christ”. But we know that Saunière liked his inversions (the model itself is an inversion of the real landscape) and thus we need to wonder whether he referred to the “Tomb of the Devil”. And is the “Prince of the World” not royal? And what to think of the references of Nostradamus, who refers to Tucham (Tuchan) and other towns around Perpignan, and in that fated quatrain, 6-66 (666 being the number of the devil), he speaks about a tomb, the opening of which is linked to great tumult, a new age: when the contents, or occupier, of the tomb is set free, “things” occur. Terrible things. What to think of the statement of William Cooper, who felt that the secret of Rennes-le-Chateau was about “bones”, the discovery of which would rock the world – a secret he felt the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail might have known about – and these are the authors who have promoted the link with Rosslyn Chapel.
do we need to look at a total inversion? Azalzel is entombed in the Land
of Terror, terra damnata. Opoul’s plateau is known as terra salvate,
Land of the Saviour. Chaos for one, Order for the other.
Are we to make anything of the dedication of the church, to the Archangel Michael, the incarnation of order, one of the four who communicated with God regarding the fate of Mankind, and the fate of the Watchers?
Finally, what to think of the extreme importance de Villars placed on the elemental spirits, and the enigmatic sightings, including “grey beings” in and around Perillos? And the possible parallels between the Order of Sages, the AA and the “Priory of Sion”, an invention of the 20th century, but surely not concocted from thin air – but perhaps from the sylphs living in it?
are questions and their answers are not directly related to the opening
question: whether the Comte de Gabalis has anything to do with Saunière,
and whether there is a correspondence between Saunière and de Villars.
At first, we would need to ask whether we need to place Saunière
within such a magical tradition, or not. And what we definitely need to
do, is look at this tradition, largely unknown outside of France and largely
forgotten inside of France… For the moment, it remains an open question,
but an intriguing one nevertheless…