June 2022

Put down the shovel. We are not looking for a cache of hidden gold or precious jewels. No, this is something far more valuable than that.

It has been over fifty years since this tangle of enigmas was placed before the world in Gérard de Sède's 1967 book L'Or du Rennes

The Affair of Rennes-le-Château has become a cliché. So many books have been published, full of speculative fiction and wild-eyed theories, that no one seriously expects a rational resolution anymore. 

When a problem has been in the public domain for decades, without answers, despite the efforts of an army of investigators, it usually means that people have been looking in the wrong place.

It's as though we have before us an impregnable castle, and the goal is to gain entry, to discover what lies within.

The front door is too solid and will not yield. The walls are too high to climb. There does not appear to be any accessible entrance.

Obsessed with the search for treasure, people have dug holes, and swam the moat, and launched drones, but none of these efforts have breached the security of the castle walls.

The puzzle-makers were one step ahead. They made sure that the castle could not be taken by any kind of direct assault.

But what if we were not interested in getting rich? What if the gold held no attraction? What if we weren't even trying to gain entrance to the fortified castle, but had other goals instead?

There is a legend attached to the Rennes affair. It is said that several hundred years ago, a shepherd by the name of Ignace Paris was wandering in the fields near the hill-top village of Rennes-le-Château, in search of one of his sheep that had gone astray.

As he rambled over the hilly terrain, he tripped and fell into a hole in the ground. It led to an underground cavern, into which he tumbled.

As he picked himself up, and looked around, his eyes widened. He had apparently found some kind of tomb. There were bodies, and gold and jewels lying around. 

Amazed by the sight, he scooped up as much gold as he could carry, and returned to the village.

The villagers were, naturally, extremely curious. Where had he found these riches? The shepherd refused to share the information. 

The villagers, enraged, stoned him to death.

There is a moral to this story: even if you find the gold, you should leave it alone. It does not belong to you. It is not to be disturbed. 

Look around, by all means, but don't touch if it's not yours.

This story is a perfect metaphor for the Mystery of Rennes. Ignore the rumours of buried treasure. Pay no mind to the question about how the priest Saunière became rich. These are mere cover stories about baubles and trinkets.

No, there is something far more valuable here than mere treasure.

It all begins with asking the right questions.