Man of the Century
And the 23rd Navigator of the Priory of Sion
by Tracy Twyman
Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was an influential poet, playwright,
novelist, artist and filmmaker from the early half of this
a contemporary of people like Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky,
and Marcel Proust. In the Priory Documents" deposited
in Paris Biblioteque Nationale, first brought to public
life by the 1982 bestseller Holy Blood, Holy Grail,
by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, he is
listed as the twenty-third Grand-Master of the Priory of Sion,
from 1918 until his death in 1963. The Priory of Sion is,
of course, the chivalrous fraternal order which has, since
1188, been dedicated to the service of the royal Merovingian
bloodline of France, said to be the "Grail family"
descended from Jesus Christ himself, and, according to our
research, from the first kings of civilization at least 6,000-12,000
years ago. However, many authors, including the writers of
Holy Blood, Holy Grail, have noted that Jean Cocteau
seems like an unusual choice for the leader of such a prestigious
organization, as an opium addict, homosexual, and eccentric
"libertine" with no known connection to any particular
royal house, which many of the other Grand Masters possessed.
For this reason, the legitimacy of the claim that Cocteau
did possess this post has been questioned. However, we at
Dagoberts Revenge steer clear of this dismissive attitude.
Our investigation has revealed overwhelming evidence that
Cocteau was not only a Grand Master of the Priory of Sion,
but also one of the most important figures of the twentieth
century, and the complex meaning behind his art and writing
has been severely underestimated.
He was born on July 5, 1889(1.) in Maisons-Laffitte, a Parisian
suburb, to a cultured, aristocratic family. As Holy Blood,
Holy Grail states: "Cocteau was raised in a milieu
close to the corridors of power - his family was politically
prominent and his uncle was an important diplomat." His
father, a painter, shot himself when Cocteau was only nine years
old, and so he clung to his mother, maintaining an unusually
close relationship with her for the rest of her life. As is
the case with many geniuses, Cocteau did poorly in school, and
dropped out in the equivalent of high school. He ran away from
home at age 14, and went to Venice, as well as the "red
light district" of Marseille. He was soon ingratiating
himself with the salon crowd of Paris, and impressing some of
the worlds most well known artists and intellectuals with
the brilliance of his work. The first poem he presented to his
salon friends - at age 15 - was called The Frivolous Poet,
which stuck with him as a nickname for years, as it seemed to
encompass the light-heartedness of much of his work at the time.
However, as Cocteau matured, and his work matured, this "frivolous"
appellation gave way to the title "King of Poets"
- a title he inherited from his friend and mentor, Apollinaire.
He was patronized by some of Europes most wealthy and
respected nobility. His fame and respectable reputation grew,
and by the latter part of his life, he had been elected to the
prestigious Académie Française, inducted with
a ceremonial sword that had been designed by Picasso. He had
also been named "Poet of the Year", made a "Chevalier
of the Legion of Honor", and was invited to Oxford to become
an honorary Doctor of Letters. Once, he was even invited by
the brother of French President Charles de Gaulle to give a
national address on the general state of France. There is no
doubt in this author's mind that Jean Cocteau had every attribute
required to be the Priory of Sions Grand Master, and had
accomplished everything necessary to be listed among the greatest
poets and artists of all time.
The Return to the Rose
"Whatever the public blames you for, cultivate it:
it is yourself."
is ironic that the first use of the term surreal
was made by the poet Apollinaire in relation to Cocteaus
work on the Ballet Russe - Ironic because the movement
that later became known as surrealism was diametrically opposed
to everything that Cocteau stood for, and aesthetically unrelated.
The prefix "sur" in Latin carries the same meaning
as "subra", so the term "sur-real" would
mean "less than real", or "beneath reality."
In contrast, Cocteau always spoke of his aesthetic as being
supra-real, beyond real, or in other words, a higher form
of reality than that which is readily perceived. A better
word to apply to his work would be "surreptitious"
- secret - for it is the secrets of the ages, secrets gleaned,
presumably, from the Priory of Sion that Cocteau was trying
to communicate, albeit in cryptic form.
Most of the avant-garde art movements that were prevalent
during Cocteaus time were rejected by him - Dadaism,
Surrealism, even cubism, although he did, for a time, explore
cubist techniques - mostly because of his interest in geometry,
and his love for Pablo Picasso. These modernists embraced
weak, atheistic creeds, such as existentialism, creating works
of art that excelled in their meaninglessness
- rubbish which continues to clutter up "modern"
art museums to this day. These people also, in general, espoused
left-wing political views that were anti-royalist, anti-elitist,
and opposed to any form of hierarchical order whatsoever -
aesthetically, politically, philosophically, or otherwise.
In contrast, Cocteau wrote that, " If [the Dadaists]
stand at the extreme left, I am at the extreme right. The
extreme right used not to exist. Every right is timid. I invented
the extreme right." Cocteau declared himself the President
of an "Anti-Modern League", and rejected their empty
creeds. He instead took classical themes and revitalized them,
gave them new meaning. As biographer William A. Emboden once
described it, "Cocteaus emerging aesthetic was
becoming an extension of Neoclassicism simplified. In Cocteaus
words, it was a return to the rose, a reference
to Ronsards Roman de la Rose, which he so
admired." And we might embellish that statement a bit,
with the benefit of hindsight, to read "A return to the
Cocteaus anti-modern, pro-classical, right-leaning
aesthetic and attitude provoked extreme hatred and vindictiveness
from the modernists, culminating in vicious attacks both verbal
and in print. But they could rarely attack his work, since
it so clearly surpassed their own. Instead, they took the
form of personal insults, which were then transformed onto
his art and writing as though they were mere manifestations
of his perceived personality flaws. He was portrayed as a
hanger-on, who used people for money, connections, or notoriety,
an idea thief whose main goal was to weasel his way in to
the fashionable set. But Cocteaus sense of style was
beyond the comprehension of this set, who made fun of his
aristocratic appearance and mannerisms, his elegant form of
dress, and the make-up he used to heighten his complexion,
with that shallow form of derision that so obviously stems
from jealousy. In A Life of Picasso, by John Richardson,
we read: "The Cocteaus neighbor, the Comtesse de
Chevingné... was.. put out when Cocteau prostrated
himself, the better to fondle Kiss, her Pomeranian. Careful,
she snorted. I dont want him covered in face powder."
Worst of all were the insinuations that Cocteaus relationships
were not genuine. His friendships with aristocrats and noble
families were all just a ploy on Cocteaus part, they
said, to get the money he needed to finance his projects,
his expensive tastes, and eventually, his opium habit. His
relationships with the great artists of his time, most of
whom he knew personally, were equally false, they said. He
merely wanted to be seen with them, say the biographers, while
they, in contrast, wished nothing to do with him, and only
feigned affection for him out of politeness. Even Picasso,
one of his closest friends and creative partners, is painted
with this brush, and passing comments of slight irritation
he might have made about Cocteau throughout their lifelong
friendship have been blown out of proportion against the more
numerous laudations and approbations they both heaped upon
one another. The depth and sincerity of their mutual respect
was undeniable. Cocteau described their first meeting as one
of almost instantaneous telepathic communication. "There
were long silences. Varése couldnt understand
why we looked at each other without saying anything. When
Picasso spoke, his syntax was visual. One immediately saw
what he was saying." Together, these two artists - one
an anti-Modern Modernist, one a modern anti-Modernist - formed
the twin pillars of an artistic temple that housed a Hermetic
brotherhood of contemporary intellectuals.
consorted with a number of people who, if they were not actually
members of the Priory of Sion, made superb candidates. Picasso,
for instance, to quote John Richardson, "was of noble
lineage; what is more, his uncle Salvador had married into
the Malagueño aristocracy. Ill dine with
the duke is how he ends one of his notes." In 1917,
he even had an audience with the King of Spain. His art, too,
shows his interest in Hermetic subjects: his obsession with
the bull symbol, his use, on more than one occasion, of the
figure of the Black Sun, and his undeniable use of pentagonal
geometry in many, if not most of his cubist paintings. Another
candidate was Salvador Dali, whose "surreal" and
"cubist" works often centered around strangely Hermetic
religious themes, and whose two films, The Andiluvian Dog
and The Golden Age both used the classical Grail-themed
works of Richard Wagner as a soundtrack. They were even financed
by the same noble family - the Noailles - that financed
Cocteaus first film, Blood of a Poet, and Dalis
bust was once sculpted by the same artist - Arno Breker -
who also sculpted a bust of Jean Cocteau, as well as a statue
of Cocteau making the hand sign of John the Baptist. (See
the article entitled The Prophet in this issue.) Dalis
choice of the title The Golden Age for one of his films
is interesting, as it refers to the Utopian civilization that
once spanned the globe, thousands of years ago, when the gods
ruled directly on Earth - the gods who were the
source of the mysteries preserved by the Priory of Sion. Interesting,
also, is that he consorted with a group of cubist contemporaries
called "Section dOr" - "the Golden Section",
a reference to the Fibonnaci sequence discussed elsewhere
in Dagoberts Revenge.
But besides these two, Cocteau had connections to people
who were almost undeniably members of the Priory. Cocteau
was good friends with Jean Hugo, grandson of the Priorys
twenty-first Grand Master, Victor Hugo. He was also good friends
with Jeans wife Valantine Gross Hugo, whom he called
"my swan," Together they collaborated on countless
projects. Cocteau was quite enamored with the late Victor
Hugo himself, and is known to have made the comment that,
"Victor Hugo was a madman who thought he was Victor Hugo."
Cocteau even made a film adaptation of Victor Hugos
Ruy Blas. Unfortunately, as author William Emboden
put it, "Cocteau had taken the liberty of adapting
Ruy Blas without asking permission of the Hugo family.
Worse, he transformed it in a way that greatly displeased
Jean, who nevertheless refrained from taking action against
the production out of consideration for his friend."
Cocteau also had a direct, public relationship with the man
who purportedly preceded him as grandmaster of the Priory
of Sion: composer Claude Debussy. In 1962, one year before
his death, Cocteau was commissioned to, "design the curtain,
decor and costumes for a production of Pellé et
Mélisande at the Festival of Metz. The audience
at the opening saw a curtain with a giant face bending over
the sea..." (William Emboden.) In addition, Cocteau maintained
a life-long respect for Leonardo da Vinci, the Priorys
ninth Grand Master, and quoted him often.
It was from da Vinci that Cocteau obtained his theory of
the use of line in his artwork, which was one of his main
methods of communicating the secrets he learned from the Priory
of Sion, using sacred geometry and symbolism. Cocteaus
lines were often subtle, implied - which, he believed, make
the statements encoded in them all the more powerful. Biographer
William Emboden sums it up best:
"[Cocteau] felt that line must make itself felt in a
way that transcends the model from which it is taken. He employed
an analogy similar to the one employed by Leonardo: line,
Cocteau wrote, sounds an imperishable note, not able
to be perceived by the ear or the eye. It is, as it were,
the style of the soul... These thoughts from The
Difficulty of Being are comparable to Leonardos
analogy of the scent of a flower diminished in space like
the sound of music, and yet Leonardo accepted the continuum
of sound and scent in space as an extension of line... The
more visible it [a line] is, the less they see it, Cocteau
states; they look only at its trappings ... The
obvious line is, to Cocteau, like the skeleton of a man; in
contrast, the unadorned line is so subtle that it is more
the glance, the gesture, and bearing of a man. Such a line
is enigmatic and confounds the philosophers with respect to
its force and motivation. In music, Cocteau says, it
is a phantom line... when the melody embraces the line to
the point of being integrated with it. Neoplatonic thought
creeps into Cocteaus concept of line when he links the
line to history. The ideal line retraces the lives of
great men, he states. It accompanies their actions
and threads them together. It is, without a doubt, the only
certainty able to withstand the false perspective of history."
art, especially his murals, were often laid out on a grid
pattern, unseen on the finished product, that allowed him
to place the objects in the picture in specific geometric
configurations. However, Cocteau also left indicators in the
picture that allow the viewer to retrace his grid patterns
and find the hidden geometry. Grid patterns are indicated
by the strange symbols on the archways in the Chapel of St.
Peter, and by the strategically-placed dots in this chapel,
as well as the Chapel of St. Blaise. Lines of force and geometry
are indicated by glances, pointing fingers, spears, flagpoles,
and other understated means throughout much of his artwork,
allowing the perceptive viewer to "read" the secret
messages encoded into each piece. As William Emboden wrote,
"Cocteau saw an unbreakable link between the arts of
writing and drawing." To him, the lines in a picture
were like "lines in a script." Cocteau is quoted
as saying that, "When I draw, I am writing, and perhaps,
when I am writing I also draw." Cocteau also explicitly
stated that his picture-writing contained a mathematical,
almost qaballistic encoding system. He said: "My work
is the result of serious considerations which consist of turning
ciphers into numbers. And so, I belong to the blood donors,
the only artists I really respect. The long red trail they
leave behind them fascinates me." Another quote, regarding
his poetry, is equally suggestive. "Every poem is a coat
of arms. It must be deciphered." He elaborated on this
further in Testament of Orpheus: "The poet, by
composing poems, uses a language that is neither dead nor
living, that few people speak, and few people understand.
...We are the servants of an unknown force that lives within
us, manipulates us, and dictates this language to us."
Some of Cocteaus more "secret-laden" works
may have been, in fact, made at the request of the Priory
of Sion. Cocteau repeatedly insinuated that his poetry and
artwork came to him from somewhere else: either a divine entity,
or a secret organization posing as a divine entity. He has
said, "I am only a medium, a hand that carries out instructions",
and that the Chapel of St. Peter was, "the work of a
medium." His poem LAngel Heurtebise was
written, according to Emboden, "under a mysterious spell...
He believed that it came to him by a kind of divine revelation."
Of his play, Les Enfants Terrible, Cocteau said, "My
subconscious wanted me as its writer. It dictated the book
to me." And in the film Orpheus, the character
"Death", who is believed by the public to be a "Princess",
is broadcasting poems over a magic radio signal so that poets
will think theyve been "inspired", and will
publish the poems as if they were their own. The meaning of
this is never explained in the film, and I believe this was
Jean Cocteaus way of confessing that he was, in a way,
a propagandist for a mystical secret order, the Priory of
Sion, and that the messages he was incorporating into his
work were actually messages given to him by the order. Characters
in his films and plays are repeatedly subjected to bizarre
moral allegory plays and told not to ask questions, that it
is wrong to try to understand. This is exactly what would
occur during the initiation into a secret mystical society,
and what must have occurred with Cocteaus initiation.
Cocteau and "The Universal Church"
"It is excruciating to be an unbeliever with a spirit
that is deeply religious."
if his classical style, conservative politics, superb talent
and relationships with the worlds most influential artists
wasnt enough to annoy his contemporary detractors, Cocteaus
re-conversion to Catholicism in 1925 drove them over the edge,
while driving numerous other associates and followers back
to Mother Church. With a seemingly libertine lifestyle saturated
with opium and young boys, Cocteau might have seemed an unlikely
convert, but, in a way, that might have been part of what
drove him back in the first place. Then again, it could have
been something far more complicated.
Like many people, Cocteau had never really broken with the
church of his childhood - he just fell out of practice. But
he had apparently always maintained a deep and profound belief
in God. While he was in his mid-twenties he was known to have
had an argument with Count Mathieu de Noailles which ended
with the Count chasing him down the stairs shouting: "Besides,
its simple. If God exists, I would be notified before
anyone else." Obviously, Cocteau had been arguing the
pro-God position. Since his childhood, he had been obsessed
with crystals, and he collected crystals paperweights which
he would press up against his eyeballs in order to examine
their facets. "Like those who press their ears against
seashells to hear the roar of the sea", he wrote, "I
brought my eye near this cube and believed that I had discovered
God." He had also been obsessed with angels ever since
1914 when he took a plane ride over France with the famed
pilot Roland Garros. An interesting quote from Cocteau bears
witness to this. "Nothing fascinates me more than the
angel which a slow-motion camera forces out of everything
like a chestnut from its shell. Since in relation to God,
our centuries elapse in a twinkling, we are being shot in
Cocteaus 1925 re-conversion came he when met a poet
named Jacques Maritain, a Catholic who "sought a reconciliation
between Christianity and the twentieth century." Maritain
had first become acquainted with Cocteaus work when
a disciple named Charles Herion gave him a copy of Cocteaus
pamphlet Le Coq et lArlequin. Herion soon became
ordained as a priest, and it was from him that Cocteau took
the sacraments for the first time since his childhood, during
the Feast of the Sacred Heart. This "Sacred Heart"
symbol played a large part in Cocteaus passionate conversion.
According to William Emboden, when Cocteau was introduced
to Father Herion, he "looked at the swarthy priest wearing
a cloak with a red cross above a red heart - the symbol of
his order - and all but swooned as he dropped into the eyes
of the church. When he wrote afterwards of Father Herion as
an angel in costume, we cannot help but look back to the opium
drawings of only months earlier with the theme of the angel
with the heart on his chest. ...Cocteau was now in the same
club as Picasso and Stravinsky; he had converted
back to Catholicism."
Indeed, it would appear that Cocteau was already a member
of a club that included those two, specifically, the Priory
of Sion. And the Sacred Heart symbol which so attracted him,
and which had been a theme of his art even prior to his conversion,
would appear to be a metaphor for the Rose-Croix. In fact,
one of Cocteaus drawings from that period, The Mystery
of Jean the Birdman, No. 15 shows a rose protruding out
of his chest, and a human heart protruding out of his back,
reinforcing the connections between the two symbols - symbols
that have always been considered equivalent by Hermeticists,
both being signs of the qaballistic Sephiroth known as "Tiphereth",
and thus, the sun.
his conversion, Cocteau allowed Maritain to "cure"
him of his opium addiction, who suggested that he take communion
wafers for his withdrawal symptoms, "like a tab of aspirin."
Cocteau stayed at a Catholic convalescent home in Villefranche
where he was cared for "according to ancient prescriptions
of the faith" by Father Charles, who belonged to an order
of monks that practiced herbal medicine. The following October,
while still at Villefranche, he composed a pamphlet called
Letter to Jacques Maritain which "amounts to a
proof of God by Cocteau, resulting in a proof of Cocteau by
God", according to one of his biographers. "If He
counts us, if He counts our hairs, He counts the syllables
of verse. Everything is His, everything derives from Him.
He is the model of audacity. He has borne the worst insults.
He requires neither religious art nor Catholic art. We are
His poets, His painters, His photographers, His musicians."
At Villefranche, he was often seen by fisher boys "in
an ecstatic trance before a statue of the Virgin."
After his conversion, many of Cocteaus followers decided
to take the plunge as well. "God was in", as one
author described it. "Le Boeuf suddenly abounded with
penitents while seminaries abounded with clerics reading Cocteaus
verse." Many authors have claimed that Cocteau only converted
to impress Maritain, and presume sexual lust as the motivation,
even though Maritain was married, and his wife was a good
friend of Cocteaus as well. Further, they imply that
his new-found faith was just a phase, based on the evidence
that he soon returned to the comfort of the opium pipe, which
he never truly gave up. "He exploited the Church for
his own ends", wrote Frederick Brown, "like a spouse
who provides a spouse he no longer loves a consolatory substitute,
the solution to a bad marriage being a divine triangle."
According to others, this was part of a pattern for Cocteau,
who would continue to flirt with Catholicism for many years.
As it states in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, "For a
good part of his life Cocteau was associated - sometimes intimately,
sometimes peripherally - with royalist Catholic circles...
At the same time, however, Cocteaus Catholicism was
highly suspect, highly unorthodox, and seems to have been
more an aesthetic than a religious commitment."
While this author does not wish to question Cocteaus
religious commitment, which would be rude and presumptuous,
I am willing to agree that Cocteaus beliefs were, and
always had been, highly unorthodox - much like those beliefs
held by the members of the Priory of Sion.
instance, the Priory of Sion holds a special reverence for
the Biblical figure of Mary Magdalen (Or "Madeleine"),
whom they consider to have been the wife of Christ, and the
mother of his children, who, they say, later went on to spawn
the French Merovingian bloodline they were sworn to protect.
Cocteau, too, seemed to bear a similar reverence for this
figure. As William Emboden has written, "[Cocteau] spoke
of a mystical effluvium of the Madeleine Church [in Paris],
like the emanations from some antique temple, that kept him
in the region of that edifice." The Priory of Sion has,
in the past, purposely used the letters "MM", or
sometimes just "M" to symbolize this figure, and
Cocteau used it as well. In the Church of Notre Dame de France
("Our Lady of France") in London, which Cocteau
decorated with fantastic murals, this letter "M"
is mysteriously placed on the altar, directly beneath the
depiction of the crucifixion. (2.) To the left are depicted
the dice thrown by the Roman soldiers, who according to the
Gospels, cast lots to determine who should get Christs
clothing after he died. The number of dots that are shown
on the dice are fifty-eight, a significant number. The skull
of Baphomet, which the Templars and later the Priory of Sion
are said to have possessed, was referred to cryptically as
"Caput 58M", with the M looking more like the astrological
sign for Virgo. Five and eight is thirteen, and "M is
the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, so the statement being
made here is "Mary Magdalen." The same statement
is being made in Cocteaus mural at Notre Dame. This
statement is further reinforced by the fact that the "M"
on the altar is directly below a rose stuck to a cross beneath
Christs feet. Not only does that make it a "Rose-cross",
a symbol used by the Priory of Sion, but the rose is directly
above the initial "M" for "Mary." The
term "Rosemary" is used in occult parlance to refer
to the female consort of a God or demon (thus the title for
the film Rosemarys Baby) - which Magdalen certainly
was. The fact that the rose, as well as the blood drops beneath
it, are colored both red and blue may indicate the "blue
blood" of Christs royal line. Given all this, the
Churchs title "Notre Dame De France" is interesting.
Most would assume this to be a reference to the Virgin Mary,
who is referred to by Catholics as "Our Lady." But
the true "Lady of France" is the goddess Marianne,
the national symbol of France. Perhaps "Marianne"
and "Magdalen" are representations of the same archetype.
Notre Dame de France is located in Londons red light
district. Cocteau had always, for some reason, held a special
place in his heart for prostitutes, who had taken him in when
he ran away to Marseille at age 14. The author William Emboden
writes of Notre Dame that: "This church was dear to Cocteau
because it was French and because it was in an area frequented
by prostitutes and the poor of London. After his mural was
completed, the local prostitutes took up a collection and
bought a blue rug in honor of the Virgin and as a tribute
to Cocteaus work." Now which seems more likely:
a group of pious Catholic prostitutes paying homage to a virgin,
or a group of clued-in prostitutes who were friends of Jean
Cocteau paying homage to the "Whore Superior" Mary
Magdalen, under the guise of the Virgin Mary?
Another heretical belief posited by the Priory of Sion seems
to be present in Cocteaus work: the idea that not Christ,
but a substitute died on the cross, while the real Jesus went
on to raise his royal family in the South of France. This
concept can be seen illustrated in the Notre Dame mural, where
only the feet of the crucified man can be seen, leaving his
identity undetermined. Looking on, with a scowl on his face,
and tears of blood dripping from his eye (which has been made
to resemble a fish) is a man who is unmistakably Christ -
the real one. On the opposite side of the cross, Cocteau has
depicted himself, with his back turned to the crucifixion,
as if to show that he rejects the traditional version of the
story. The theme is picked up at the Chapel of St. Blaise,
which Cocteau decorated and was buried in. Here we see two
Christs depicted. We see only the head of the central one,
wounded with his head slumped over as though he has just died
on the cross. Above him, however, is another Christ, wounded
in the hand, but perfectly alive. On either side of the two
figures are identical crowns of thorns. Finally, in the Chapel
of St. Peter, Cocteau has made another unorthodox statement
on the nature of Christ. In his own words: "I concealed
the image of Christ in a curve of the Roman vaulting. You
cant see it as you enter the chapel. You have to get
close to the altar to spot it. The construction of the vaulting
reveals it only to the Priest, unless you go up and look."
In other words, "the true nature of Christ is concealed
to all but the initiated, and is not to be found in the man
who died on the cross."
The belief that John the Baptist was a sort of Second Christ
is one that, it has been posited, is also held by the Priory
of Sion, Because of the special reverence that they hold for
him, all of their Grand Masters took the title "Jean
(or, if female, "Jeanne") upon assumption of the
office. It has been noted by authors Lynn Picknett and Clive
Prince that a hand signal associated with John the Baptist
(a single index finger pointing upward, with the palm facing
inwards) can be found at the mural at St. Blaise, being made
by Christ. Also, as noted in the article The Prophet, Cocteau
himself was sculpted making this sign by the artist Arno Breker.
authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail also made the point that
Jean Cocteau, as the twenty-third Grand Master of the Priory
of Sion, would have been "John 23." In 1958, during
Cocteaus Grand-Mastership, a new Pope came to power
- Angelo Roncalli - who also called himself John XXIII. He
was the Pope that finally revoked the ban on the practice
of Freemasonry for Catholics, making members of the Priory
of Sion, which is described as a "Hermetic Freemasonry",
legitimate Catholics again. Whats more, the 1976 book
The Prophecies of Pope John XXIII, allegedly written
by the Pontiff himself, stated that he was secretly a member
of the Order of the Rose-Croix, with whom, to quote Holy
Blood, Holy Grail, "he had become acquainted while
acting as papal nuncio to Turkey in 1935." The Priory
of Sion sometimes referred to itself with the subtitle "The
Order of the True Rose-Croix." Stranger still, in The
Prophecies of Malachi, written by a 12th-century Irish
monk, the assumption of the papacy by a "John XXIII"
was predicted, and the descriptive motto he gave to this Pope
was "Shepherd and Navigator." Well, "Navigator",
of course, is the official title given to the Grand Masters
of the Priory of Sion. Furthermore, Jean Cocteau identified
himself with the Greek mythological figure of Orpheus, who
was the subject of many Cocteau paintings, drawings, poems,
plays and films. Orpheus was, traditionally, both a shepherd
and a seaman. This tends to indicate that Pope John XXIII
was a member of the Priory of Sion, and had a very close relationship
with Jean Cocteau. The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail
suggest that, "Cardinal Roncalli, on becoming Pope, chose
the name of his own secret grand master - so that - for some
symbolic reason, there would be a John XXIII presiding over
Sion and the papacy simultaneously." What could this
symbolic reason possibly have been?
The Priory of Sion has always been presumed to be at odds
with the Catholic church for a number of reasons. First, there
was the fact that they stole the mythos of Christ for their
own use, and the way that they purged the Bible of any reference
to Christs marriage, children, or real patrilinear ancestors.
Then there was the way that they censored any interpretation
of Christ other than their own faulty version, and "cleansed"
the Bible of all texts that presented evidence to the contrary.
Then, of course, there was the pact that they made with the
Merovingian descendants of Christ, making them the perpetual
heirs to the title "New Constantine" in exchange
for their silence about their lineage - the pact that was
broken when they conspired to assassinate Merovingian King
Dagobert II, and drove the Merovingians virtually out of existence.
But the Priory has often been composed of members who were
nominally Catholic, and many of them have even been clerics.
Furthermore, note that the Priory had, by Cocteaus time,
begun calling itself "an order of Catholic chivalry",
and Cocteau had taken care to make a public show of his re-conversion
to Catholicism. The Priory had also recently stated its intention
to create, through covert manipulation, a United States of
Europe, much like what the European Union is becoming, and
what the Holy Roman Empire, which the Merovingian bloodline
presided over, used to be. Such a feat would be as impossible
today as it was back then without an alliance with the Catholic
Church, which still holds the allegiance of much of Europes
citizens. An alliance - or a coup. Evidence indicates that
such a coup was attempted with the placement of John XXIII
on the papal throne - a coup for which that other John 23,
Jean Cocteau, was at the helm, so to speak, as the Navigator
of one of the most powerful organizations in Europe - the
Priory of Sion. Chillingly, John XXIII died in the same year
as Jean 23 - 1963 - a mere five years into his papal reign,
indicating that the attempted coup was snuffed out by the
Vatican before it accomplished its ultimate goal: a reform
from the inside of the corrupt Church of Christ, by those
who possessed his true teachings, and his blood. But they
certainly tried. The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail
state that: "...more than any other man, Pope John XXIII
was responsible for reorienting the Roman Catholic Church
- and bringing it, as commentators have frequently said, into
the twentieth century... And in June 1960, he issued a profoundly
apostolic letter. This missive addressed itself specifically
to the subject of "the Precious Blood of Jesus."
It ascribed a hitherto unprecedented significance to that
This would be the blood whose bearers, in the form of the
Grail family, the Priory of Sion was sworn to protect.
is interesting that both John 23s were thought of as prophets.
Pope John XXIIIs papacy had been predicted by the prophecies
of Malachi, and he had a set of prophecies attributed to himself
as well. Cocteau had been named "The Prophet" by
the sculptor Arno Breker, for reasons that remain unexplained.
But there is a clue in the first syllable of Cocteaus
name, a symbolism which Cocteau himself emphasized in his
work. He called himself Le Coq - The Cock, and
published a folded broadside of the same name with Raymond
Radiguet in 1920. According to William Emboden, "Cocteau
liked the concept of a bird alter ego. ... It is a symbol
of the soul's flight." Cocteau referred to changes in
his artistic style as "moltings", and his young
disciples were referred to by others as "geese."
The poet Apollinaire characterized Cocteau in writing as,
"The bird that sings with its fingers", a line that
was later used in his film Orpheus. But it was the
Cock specifically in which he saw himself, "as a bird
that calls the mourning hour, and calls his name in part."
(Emboden.) A cock is an announcer of things, just like a prophet,
and thus he used the crowing of the cocks in his films Blood
of a Poet, and Testament of Orpheus. He also used
the cock in the Chapel of St. Peter, where he watches the
Denial of St. Peter from atop of a ladder. Recall that it
was Peter who was said to have denied Christ thrice by the
third crow of the cock on the morning of the Crucifixion.
There is a further symbolic significance here. St. Peter is
regarded by the Catholic church as the first Pope, and yet
he denied the true Christ, as the Church still does today.
They consider Peter, who was consumed with jealousy for Mary
Magdalens relationship with Christ, and who mischaracterized
them both in his teachings, as their rock of foundation. Indeed,
Peters name means "rock", and it is also very
close to "Pater" - Father", the title assumed
by all Catholic priests upon ordination. In another mural
at St. Peter, entitled Saint Peter Walking on Water,
Christ is shown standing with his right foot upon a white
rock, presumably the "Rock of Sion" upon which he
said his Messiahship was founded, i.e., the bloodline of King
David. And yet Christ also called Peter "my rock."
On the left side of the picture is St. Peter supposedly "walking
on water", with the help of heavenly angels. But examination
shows that he is not walking on the water so much as being
held aloft by the angels while his feet are dipped into the
water. The rites of baptism as practiced by the likes of John
the Baptist involved the immersion of the feet in water -
not the entire body, as is practiced today. This mural, completed
in 1957, one year before John XXIIIs assumption of the
throne of St. Peter, may have been Cocteaus way of prophetically
announcing a reconciliation between the Rock of Sion (the
Priory of Sion) and the Rock of St. Peter (the Catholic Church.),
and pronouncing that the Church, symbolized by St. Peter,
was about to be re-baptized.
There is yet another possible layer of meaning behind the
emphasis on the words "John 23." The Revelation
of St. John the Divine has only twenty-two chapters, and
ends with the dire warning that, "...if any man shall
add or remove an iota of the words of the book of this prophecy,
God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and
out of the holy city, and from the things which are written
in this book." A similar line occurs in the poem Le
Serpent Rouge, which, we have posited, was written by
Jean Cocteau. "Take heed, my friend. Do not add or remove
an iota. Meditate and meditate again. The base lead of my
words may contain the purest gold." André Douzet,
in his recent book Berenger Sauniere and the Secret Model
of Rennes-le-Chateau speculates that Berenger Saunieré,
curé of the Church of the Magdalen at Rennes-le-Chateau,
France, may have been in possession of a twenty-third chapter
of Revelation, which he received through his contacts
with the Priory of Sion. Was Cocteau in possession of this
as well? It is true that the "Red Serpent" in Cocteaus
Le Serpent Rouge poem does seem to parallel the Red
Dragon of Revelation, among many other things. And
Cocteau refers to the candlesticks painted on either side
of the door inside of the Chapel of St. Peter as "The
Chandeliers of the Apocalypse." Also, the word "Rosemary"
encoded in the Notre Dame mural could just as easily apply
to the mother of the Anti-Christ as it could to Mary Magdalen.
Most readers are probably aware that both the Roman Catholic
Church and the Merovingian bloodline have been accused by
Fundamentalist Christians of playing a leading role in what
they see as an impending Apocalypse, and they believe that
the Merovingians are not the spawn of Christ, but of Lucifer.
The Merovingians and their descendants, however, claim that
they are the spawn of both Christ and Lucifer, for the historical
figure that later became known as Lucifer was, according to
them, one of Christs ancestors.
is an idea that is perhaps illustrated in Cocteaus painting,
The Temptation on the Mountain, portraying Christs
temptation by Lucifer. Here, Lucifer appears to be blessing
Christ, as a halo of light issues from the place where his
hand touches Christs head. The veins in his arms are
emphasized, and appear to be filled with blue blood that is
flowing towards Christ. Unlike the Biblical description,
they are shown seated at a table, taking wine together, like
a couple of old friends - or relatives - and Christ appears
to have been served some type of (forbidden?) fruit.
Given this, it would be valuable to quote a letter from one
of Cocteaus friends, Jean Bourgoint (a monk also know
as "Brother Pascal") to another of Cocteaus
friends, Madame Jeannette Kandaouroff, apparently in response
to a letter she had written him after Cocteaus death
in 1963. He wrote: "... I want to correct your mistake
concerning Cocteaus death, which - quite the opposite
of what you think, touched me profoundly... One thing I should
like to clear up at once is the word Satan, which you
think you remember and which I do not remember having used
concerning him. Isnt there confusion here? Didnt
I speak of Lucifer, bright name of the most beautiful
of the Angels before his fall? (In fact. dont
you have a magnificent photograph of him, part of my estate
signed by him with that name?)"
Perhaps this identification with Lucifer is the source of
what William Emboden calls, "Cocteaus preoccupation
with angels, and the belief that all persons are angels in
borrowed costume." An angel in the form of a human would
be, necessarily, a fallen angel. Cocteau also repeatedly drew
a figure called the "angel of flaming cheek", which
could easily be identified with Lucifer. And of course, there
was Cocteaus signature, with which he always included
that perpetual symbol of Lucifer, the pentagram, complete
with a little dot in the middle. Cocteaus explanation
of this star was that it represented a head wound that the
poet Apollinaire received during the Great War. This may be
a lie, but it represents an interesting metaphor: that of
the divine ray of Lucifer entering into the brain of one who
has just become enlightened. Henry Lincoln has pointed out
that there is a geometrically implied pentagram in the mural
at Notre Dame de France which radiates from the center of
Cocteaus forehead. If we were to draw in the dot that
Cocteau always placed in the middle of his signature pentagram,
it would land right in the location of Cocteaus Third
Eye, or pineal body, the place where divine revelation first
enters the mind. A similar geometric pentagram radiates from
the forehead of the shepherdess in Nicholas Poussins
painting The Shepherds of Arcadia, a painting that
is key to the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau and the Holy Grail.
Similar motifs show up in other of Cocteaus works. In
his Frontpiece for Dessins, there is an arrow pointing
towards the same spot on the forehead of a figure that looks
somewhat like Cocteau himself. And in his Head of Orpheus,
there are lines pointing to the same spot on the forehead
of one of the busts. This brings to mind the fact that the
Merovingian King Dagobert IIs skull, which is still
housed in a museum in France, appears to have been trepanated,
although it cannot be determined whether this was done before
or after his death. If it was done after death, it may have
just been an ancient ritual opening a portal so that the soul
of the dead person could escape into the afterlife. If it
was done before death, it may have been to allow another spirit,
that of Lucifer, in.
Related to these themes is the story of Jacobs struggle
with the angel, which earned him the new name of "Israel",
said by some to mean "He who overcame God", a very
Luciferian concept. This story comes up repeatedly in the
Rennes-le-Chateau/Grail mystery, and in Cocteaus work
as well. In 1919, he wrote The Cape of Good Hope, a book-length series of poems centered on this story, for which one critic wrote: "At last, he has declassed himself and written something truly Hermetic." A quote from Cocteau partially reveals his interpretation of this Biblical tale: "All of us contain in ourselves a night we scarcely know, or do not know at all. This night tries to emerge from us, yet resists emerging. That is the drama of art, the real struggle between Jacob and the Angel."
Another figure from the Bible with which Cocteau identified himself was King David, founder of the Judaic branch of the Grail bloodline from which Jesus came. In 1911, Cocteau began work on a ballet called David, which he enlisted Stravinsky to work with him on, but which was never produced. The costume designs he drew for David, show the Judaic king wearing a Templar cross. Cocteaus letters to Stravinsky from the year 1914 are very telling, showing a very Hermetic perspective on the mans life. In one, postmarked February 21, he writes: "A woman theosophist has described to me one of Davids dances according to the Magi - it is terrific. He danced around the Sacred Ark: The Dance of the Planets !!!! Can you imagine the music !!!!! - what a noble thing we can make of it - strong and rugged like those times when Jehovah was the ogre, when the church sacrificed two thousand sheep in order to please the good shepherd." Then later, on February 28, he writes: "I am seeing a lot of the theosophical Magi and old Fabre, who know everything about David." Could these Theosophical Magi have been the Priory of Sion?
But it was not only Cocteau who saw himself as David. Others did too. In 1918, André Germain published a "heroic farce" in his magazine Ecrits Nouveaux, which was entitled Cocteau Bourgeticide on Apollinaire Sauvé. In it Cocteau personifies the young David who, on the orders
of his "beloved leader", Apollinaire, beheads the "Goliath" of Cubism in the form of the artist Paul Bourget. The quote below shows how this was also equated with the story of St. George beheading the Dragon: "GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE: One more symbolic gesture is required! Who will place his foot on the head of the prostrate dragon? UNANIMOUS VOICES: You, you beloved leader! APOLLINAIRE: No - it shall be the youngest and the most innocent, the babe still at the breast, the suckling of the future, Jean Cocteau!" After Cocteau beheads Bourget, Apollinaire declares: "Astride the modern Goliath, dear child, you look like a young and radiant DAVID!"
There is little doubt that Jean Cocteau was heavily steeped in the occult. Author Frederick Brown described him as being "part of a smart set which called itself necromantic. It made an issue of sentiment and occultism." Cocteau himself, in describing his book Le Potomak refers to it as one in which, "occult characters represent the graph of the deep confusions that accompany the moltings of intelligence." One biographer specifically attributes his interest in these subjects to his friendship with Jean and Valantine Hugo, "with whom he embarked on assorted excursions into spiritualism and the occult. He quickly became versed in esoterica, and Hermetic thinking shaped not only much of his work, but also his entire aesthetic." Some of these "excursions" took the form of seances, in which Cocteaus friends Georges Auric and Raymond Radiguet also participated. One of these seances predicted Radiguets early death at the age of 20, thereafter making Cocteau an absolute believer in the power of divination, and in the existence of life after death.
Cocteau publicly showed an appreciation for the occult science of astrology, which would have been necessary for him to have been the author of the astrological prose poem Le Serpent Rouge. This is evidenced by his painting The Age of Aquarius, as well as his five-part series of paintings entitled The Astrologer. The first in this series shows Cocteau himself making strange, occult-looking hand signals with two right hands: one white and one black. In the fourth painting, the Astrologer is shown taking a white, astral-looking cord out of the fiery chakra of his heart and holding it against that Third Eye chakra on the forehead discussed earlier in this article. In the third painting, the Astrologer is shown reaching up to touch a planet hanging in the sky, and in the fifth, subtitled Anti-gravity, rocket ships shoot up towards the heavens. This reminds one of Cocteaus emphasis on the concept of the unity of Poetry and Science, which he associated with the myth of Pegasus. It was in Cocteaus lifetime that men began to seriously attempt to penetrate the heavens, and this was also the goal of the figure of Pegasus in Greek mythology. The frescoes that he made for the Paris exhibition "Earth and the Cosmos" illustrated his fascination with this idea. As Emboden writes: "These monumental pieces seemed to anticipate the astronauts who would later explore the skies. Two of these strangely suited and antennaed individuals flank the night sky in which the moon is the eye of the young, blind German scientist Burkhard Heim... A tableau in black is observed by the guards of the Apocalypse, and within the tableau, drawn in white lines against a night sky with stars are Copernicus, Newton and Einstein." Again, Cocteau acted as the Prophet, predicting mans accomplishments in space, perhaps acting on guidance from the stars. Cocteau depicted strange "connect the dots" drawings that look like star charts in The Mystery of Jean the Birdman No. 33, and in the opening credits to the film Orpheus. Also, his designs for the backdrops to Jean Babilees 1948 ballet Cupid and his Lover contained, for the first scene, a map of colors, and for the second scene, a star chart. This was probably refers to the Masonic tradition of the pillars of Jachin and Boaz, which are said to have been surmounted by both a celestial and a terrestrial globe, respectively, highlighting the Hermetic correspondences between the geometry of the sky and the geography of the Earth.
Another occult science which Cocteau apparently embraced was herbal medicine. He was probably first introduced to it by Father Herion when he was cured of his opium addiction at Villefranche. Cocteau made a shrine to medicinal herbs in the Chapel of St. Blaise, which he chose early on as his future burial spot. William Emboden explains:
"Only minutes from Cocteaus home in Milly-la-Forêt was a place occupied since the Middle Ages by a holy order dedicated to healing through the use of medicinal herbs... Cocteau set about creating a décor to suit the order of Saint-Blaise-des-Simples (Simples is a word still used in parts of England to designate useful herbs.) ... Monumental paintings of mint and gentian climb high above the door in the interior of the chapel, and on the other walls arnica, digitalis, vervain, and henbane rise majestically to the ceiling... Cocteau wrote of the pale blue irises, the green moss, the yellow saffron, and the mauve autumn crocus of Apollinaire, which were some of the flowers used by Saint Blaise to bring about his cures. Among the wolfbane, arnica, yarrow, and other medicinal plants Cocteau painted on the chapels wall, there is a tall stem of foxglove, a medicant for the heart... An herb garden surrounds the chapel, and it has long included all of the herbs that Cocteau used in his decoration. Ironically, among these are specimens of the opium poppy - a plant that is curiously absent from the chapel murals."
However, our own Assistant Editor, Brian Albert, an expert in horticulture, has identified a depiction of the opium poppy in Embodens own photographs of the St. Blaise murals, showing that Cocteau never truly lost his affection for the plant.
Much of the occult symbolism employed by Cocteau in his work specifically resembles that employed by the Priory of Sion. The "Horse of God" and "Divine Horsemen" mentioned in their literature, including the "Rennes-le-Chateau parchments", which we suspect him of having written, show up as the "man-horses" in his film Testament of Orpheus, and as the magical white horse named "Magnificent" in his film Beauty and the Beast, which, like Parcivals horse in the Grail legend, takes one directly to the elusive Grail castle (represented in the film as the Beasts mansion) if one rides it with slack reigns. The Black Sun, which was an important symbol to the alchemists, the Thule Society, and, we suspect, the Priory of Sion, shows up in one of Cocteaus drawings of Orpheus and Eurydice, and the mural at Notre Dame. The Black Sun is further indicated in this mural by the halo around one of the angels, which contains thirteen red lightening bolts and resembles the glyph the Nazis used to signify the Black Sun. There are also references to it in his poetry, like the line from Phoenixology that reads, "... glory shone like a nocturnal sun." Cocteau emphasized the alchemical symbolism of the sun in general as being a representation of the Philosophers Stone and thus, the Grail. He repeatedly depicted people gazing up at it in a sort of religious ecstasy, for instance, in Classical Figures in a Landscape, Faun, Homage to the Women of Villefranche, and the Notre Dame mural. And another, more specifically Masonic solar symbol, the All-Seeing Eye of God, is used by Cocteau numerous times: in Box of Three Faces, Stele, The Moon, 50 Years of French Film, the amphitheater at Cap dAil (where it is coupled with the symbol of the serpent), the curtain for the play Oedipus Rex, and the Chapel of St. Peter, where it looks directly at the alter. Cocteau even called this latter depiction "the All-Seeing Eye" himself. Most strikingly, however, it is depicted in a glass sculpture called Hand-Eye, in which a hand is holding up the eye while making a signal that resembles that which means "love" in international sign language, but also the Satanic signal for the Goat of Mendes. (As in The Temptation on the Mountain, the veins in the arm are clearly visible.)
Goats, fauns, bulls, and other horned figures are also common Cocteau motifs, which represent the progenitor of the Grail bloodline, Cain or Lucifer, who was mythologized as both a goat, or satyr. and a "sea-bull", like the Quinotaur, the "Fish-Man-Goat (or Bull) who is said to have sired the Merovingians. These horned figures can be found in such Cocteau works as Goat-necked, Faun, Small Faun, Jean Marais as a Faun, Flutist, and The Great God Pan. In the drawing for The Lady and the Unicorn, the unicorn is depicted as a goat, not a horse, in accord with the most ancient traditions of the unicorn.
The Quinotaur also seems to be represented in the lyre of Orpheus, which is always depicted as having five strings ("Quin" means five in Latin") and very distinct bull horns. In Blood of a Poet, this lyre is shown standing next to a globe of the Earth, showing the global dominion that Cain once held over his world-wide kingdom. In this film, another version of the Quinotaur myth is also represented: that of "Europa and the Sea Bull", which was discussed by Boyd Rice in the article of the same title that ran in Volume 4 #2 of Dagoberts Revenge. This scene in the film shows a bull with four pieces of cow dung stuck to its side (said in the script by Cocteau to be Europe split into four pieces) being lead by a woman named Europe. One of the statements being made is that a divided Europe, as opposed to the United States of Europe that the Priory wished to create, is nothing but shit. Other depictions of sea creatures in Cocteaus work also echo this Quinotaur theme. Mermaids and mermen show up in Ulysses and the Sirens, St. Peter Walking on Water (which actually shows Poseidon, king of the mermen, with a serpentine/fish-like tail), and a glass sculpture called Siren in which a mermaid is shown next to a bunch of grapes, a symbol of the Grail bloodline. And in his drawing The Fisherman, a man with a pitchfork is shown riding a sea-monster (Leviathan.) Also, the figure that Cocteau probably used most in his work, and with whom he identified himself the most, was Orpheus, a seaman, whose name is quite similar to the Latin "Orphus", meaning "sea-fish."
Fish, fishermen, water, and sea symbolism form some of the most pervasive emblems used in Cocteaus work, fitting for the "Navigator" of a secret society dedicated to preserving the royal bloodline of the worlds first navigators and kings, who were thought of as "fish-men." These themes can be found in Madame Favini and her Daughter, The Ancient Baths, Ulysses and the Sirens, Pheadre and Oenone, The Fishermen, Lovers, Siren, and of course, all over the Chapel of St. Peter, which is dedicated to the fishermen of Villefranche. It even includes an Homage to the Two Saint-Maries of the Sea, Martha and Mary Magdalen, who are said by the French to have come to France by boat after the crucifixion of Christ. The themes are also emphasized in his films The Eternal Return (based on Richard Wagners opera, Tristan and Isolde) and Testament of Orpheus, where Cegestes, Cocteaus fictional character from his previous film, Orpheus, comes to life from out of the sea, and where Cocteau makes the statement that, "I have enough sea in my veins to understand the language of waves." Besides the Chapel of St. Peter, Cocteau decorated a number of properties to make them look like ancient pagan temples to the gods of the sea. In 1959, he remodeled a natural amphitheater at Cap DAil near Villefranche, on the grounds of the an art school called Centre Méditerraneé, located on a cliff overlooking the sea. In a letter he wrote to a friend he boasted: The site is more beautiful than any in Greece." He used actual stones from the Mediterranean to create a huge mosaic of a horned ram. At the villa of Santo Sospir, which he decorated at the request of his friend Francine Weisweiller, he, according to William Emboden, "proposed painting images with characters from ancient myths represented as their friends. Francine would become Diana, Edouard would be Narcissus, and so forth... The villa was thus transformed into a mythological palace on the sea. Cocteau believed that it rivaled Knossos." Emboden says that Cocteau felt similarly
about his mural in the Marriage Hall in the Hôtel de Ville in Menton. "For the decorations he envisioned the superb decadence of Knossos... It was a Cretan palace in the modern sense... On the left wall... the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice is represented... Cocteau viewed this Orpheus as the brother of the young prince of Knossos... ."
Jean Cocteau also liked to combine the symbol of the fish with the symbol of the All-Seeing eye. We see this in the murals at Saint-Sospir, Notre Dame de France, the Chapel of St. Peter, the Chapel of St. Blaise, and the Marriage Hall at the Hôtel de Ville, as well as his drawing of The Fisherman, and a piece of jewelry he made called The Eye. Cocteau often used in his art shapes that look like Runic or Egyptian letters, especially the letter "M" in these alphabets, which also resembles the alchemical sign for water. In the Runic alphabet, this is, amazingly, the 23rd letter - quite apt for use by Grand Master John 23. But even more amazingly, the name of this rune is Dag! As we have discussed in a previous article, Dag means, in many ancient languages, "Fish", and it is the root word for the name of the Philistine Fish-Man-God, Dagon, a figure based on the progenitor of the Grail bloodline, Cain. It is also the root word of the name of the Merovingian King Dagoberts II. But in many other ancient languages, the syllable "Dag" means "day", which is what it means into he Runic alphabet as well - or, more precisely, the equilibrium between night and day. As The Handbook of Rune Magic, by Edred Thorsson explains, Dag is, "the synthesis of the powers of day and night through the concepts of dawn and twilight. This is expressed by the heavenly phenomenon of the morning and evening stars - as symbols of the divine twins." This, then, is the perfect symbol for Cocteau, who called himself "Le Coq" - "the opener of the day." The Dag rune shows up in his tapestry of Judith and Holophernes, his drawing of Her Majesty Queen Cleopatra, his Portrait of Raymond Radiguet, all over The Chapel of St. Peter, and probably in many other places. In one of the murals at Santo Sospir, he depicts himself as the sun with blue horns, stalks of wheat for eyebrows, and the water/M symbol inscribed on his chin, coming up out of the ocean. Also, another symbol that means "Dag", a Sumerian hieroglyph, can be seen on Box of Three Faces, an obscure ancient hieroglyph for a man with no formal education like himself, unless he learned of it from a group of initiates who had been passing down this knowledge from the first time the symbol was used. Cocteau has been quoted as saying, "I express myself with heiroglyphics", and this statement was literally true.
But Cocteau did not merely overemphasize the symbolism of water without also employing the symbol of its alchemical opposite - fire - the union with which produces the Elixer of Life, or the Grail stone. Thus, the fiery emblem of the sun in always central in his sea-themed works. The sea reflects the solar disc just as the Earth reflects Heaven, and mans intellect reflects the spirit of God. In The Testament of Orpheus, Cegestius - a fictional character who was killed in his earlier film, Orpheus - is resurrected and made into a real living being by taking, "That road which passed through fire and water." A photograph of him rises Phoenix-like from the ashes of a fire, and then is torn to pieces and tossed by Cocteau into the Mediterranean. "At once, a monstrous flower of foam is churned up", the script reads, "from which Cegestius issues like a stamen, flies up and lands gently on the shore..." Cocteau displayed his interest in alchemy with his 1960 drawing of Apollo/Mercury, the God who is purported to have first taught the art of alchemy to man.
This fire and water union is also represented in the symbol of the Hermaphrodite, a creature both male and female, usually depicted with two faces. Hermaphroditic, and/or two-faced beings are depicted in The Split/Each Time, The Twins, or Castor and Pollux, Three Eyes, Study for Lunar Tapestry, The Moon, Trinity, Bifronte, The Ancient Baths, Cocteaus Final Slateboard, and Box of Three Faces. Also, in Blood of a Poet, there is an entire scene which depicts "The desperate meeting of the Hermaphrodite", which "took place in Room 19." A bisexual figure undresses layer by layer to reveal a sign that says "Danger of Death" - the death that leads to eternal life through alchemy. This Hermaphroditic concept is further illustrated in Testament of Orpheus, in which Cegestius is tortured by two opposing natures trapped within his single body. The goal of his character in this film is to make these two opposing natures One again. Then there is Cocteaus "self-portrait as Nefertiti in plaster", where he depicts himself as the sister/wife of the Pharaoh Ahkenaten, a purported alchemist, whom some suspected of having achieved Hermaphoditism through the practice of alchemy. This brother-sister incest idea is a further symbol of Hermaphroditic union, and Cocteau used it in his film, Les Enfants Terrible, about an incestuous brother and sister, which he insists is "not about sex.... Incidentally, I always avoid explaining this play. These things should not be touched by human hands."
Cocteaus films repeatedly play on the theme of a lead male character being either killed or lead to his death by a destructive goddess. This appears in Blood of a Poet, with the statue-goddess who is responsible twice in the film for a mans suicide; in Orpheus, where the title character falls in love with a "Princess" named "Death", who kills Cegestius; and in Beauty and the Beast, where the goddess Diana statue comes to life in her sacred grove and slays two men with spears. But nowhere is this theme used so autobiographically by Cocteau as in Testament of Orpheus, where his mission as the main character is to deliver a hibiscus flower - which he raised from the dead and which he specifically states is a representation of his blood - to the goddess Minerva, or Pallas Athena, played by Brigitte Bardot. (3.) She hurls a spear through his heart and kills him, but he is almost immediately resurrected. Cocteau was brought to the goddess by Cegestius, who is referred to in this film as Cocteaus "true and adoptive son." My interpretation of this scene is very specific: Cocteau is showing us how he attempted to resurrect himself prior to his death by uniting with a goddess (i.e., a "Princess") sexually, and breeding an heir. The flower he presents her with represents is seed and his bloodline, which must have been very significant given his determination to pass it on. At the end of Testament of Orpheus, Cocteau states that "My star is the hibiscus flower." Since we have established that the Hibiscus flower represents his blood, and his star is the pentagram, the sign of Lucifer, this must mean that his blood is that of Lucifer, and that he is of the royal line of the Holy Grail, a line which he wished to pass on to future generations.
A lot of people probably cannot imagine Jean Cocteau getting married and having children. After all, he was a strict homosexual who preferred his gentlemen young, correct? Not at all the type to want to raise a family. Well, there are a couple of complications with that hypothesis. The first is that it states in the Articles of the Priory of Sion, which Cocteau himself wrote and signed, that:
"Members are admitted to their office for life... Their titles revert by right to one of their children chosen by themselves without consideration of sex.... By virtue of the hereditary rights confirmed by the preceding articles, the duties and titles of the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion shall be transmitted to his successor according to the same prerogatives. In case of a vacancy in the office of Grand Master, and in the absence of a direct successor, the convent must precede to an election within 81 days."
So in order to maintain any amount of control over who would succeed him as Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, Cocteau would have had to have had children. But there is an emotional factor as well. Many people do not realize that Cocteau had in fact always wanted a son, which is why he repeatedly "adopted"
young men, like Raymond Radiguet, as his spiritual sons, and
acted as their mentors. However, in the decade of the 1930s,
Cocteau actually made an attempt to breed not only a son,
but a royal heir. The scene is described in Francis Steegmullers
"To a private showing of Blood of a Poet Serge
Lifer brought a beautiful young woman with whom Cocteau seems
almost instantly, amid clouds of opium, to have decided to
fall in love and beget a son... The beauty was
a Princess by birth, worldly and elegant, married to a gifted
husband much in view; she was a café society favorite,
cinema-struck, later to have a brief film career of her own."
Cocteau and "The Princess", whom Steegmuller, clearly
out of jealousy for her relationship with Cocteau, refuses
to name, seem to have had a brief affair which included at
least an attempt at sexual intercourse. However, as the Princess
herself describes it, "He wanted a son, but he was only
as potent with me as one can be who is completely homosexual
and full of opium." Before the relationship could progress
any further, the Princess husband found out about her
infidelity and divorced her. She reportedly broke off the
Cocteau affair shortly afterward.
But Cocteaus account of the affair is quite different.
He claims that he actually did impregnate her, and that he
wanted to marry her and raise the child. Instead, she ran
off to Switzerland to have an abortion. Cocteaus later
reflections about this unfortunate incident reveal just how
regal the Princess family was. Frustratingly, Steegmuller
prefers to misquote Cocteau rather than reveal what the young
ladys family name actually was. "I almost
made a little Hapsburg , he was in the habit of lamenting
- using, instead of Hapsburg, the name of the
ladys equally illustrious family."
question arises, however: What European royal family at that
time was equally as illustrious as the Hapsburgs? It could
only have been an offshoot of the Habsburgs, like the Lorraine
family, for instance. There were no other candidates. And
the Hapsburgs were, as many readers know, direct descendants
of the Merovingians. Furthermore, Cocteau seems to have shown
an interest in the Hapsburg family in particular. He decorated
stained-glass windows for the Chapel of Notre Dame de Jerusalem
in Fréjus with a double-headed eagle - symbol of the
Hapsburgs, wearing the Cross of Jerusalem, which the Hapsburg
family was and is still in possession of as the hereditary
kings of Jerusalem. (On the opposite side, also wearing the
same cross, are two Templar knights, the protectors of the
Kings of Jerusalem.) Cocteau even produced a play, and later
a film, entitled The Eagle with Two Heads, about a
Hapsburg Princess who is seduced by an anarchist. Playing
a bit role in the film version was the young man who would
later become Cocteaus "true and adopted son",
as well as his legal heir: Edouard Dermit. As William Emboden
describes it: "This young man had been working in coal
mines in Lorraine, but, having a desire to paint, he had moved
to Paris. Through a bookstore clerk in Saint Germain-des Prés
he was introduced to Cocteau shortly before shooting began.
Cocteau was enchanted. Engaged as a chauffeur, Dermit joined
the Marais-Cocteau household at Milly-la-Forêt near
Fontainebleu, where Cocteau had recently bought a lovely country
estate. He became and remained Cocteaus closest friend..."
Dermit remained loyal to Cocteau throughout his life, and
afterwards. He went on to marry and have two children himself,
whom he raised at the apartment at Milly-la-Forêt that
Cocteau bequeathed to him. Until his own death in 1995, most
of Dermits life was taken up, according to Steegmuller,
"by consultation with advisors concerning the legal and
literary complexities of his inheritance" - an inheritance
that included the copyrights to all of Cocteaus work,
and, most probably, his seat in the Priory of Sion. Indeed,
we do not know who presided over the Priory from Cocteaus
death in 1963 to the ascendancy of Pierre Plantard to that
post in 1981. Dermot seems like a reasonable candidate.
To Cocteau, having a son was a way of living on after his
physical death, a feat he seems to have been determined to
accomplish. Another way that Cocteau intended to live forever
was in the form of his works, which is why he continually
used the metaphor of fictional characters becoming real, or
statues coming to life, as in Blood of a Poet and Beauty
and the Beast. These statues represented, on a certain
level, the creations into which Cocteau had put enough energy
to give them a life of their own. His work, he believed, would
withstand the test of time, and be seen by historians of the
future as among the greatest accomplishments of all
time. A quote from William Emboden proves this. He wrote:
"Cocteaus [first heart attack] took him to Francine
Weisweillers Villa Santo Sospir, where he ruminated
on his murals as being as fine as any created in antiquity.
With age, he predicted, they would be thus judged. He felt
his works were equal in importance to those in Knossos...
." Another quote, from Cocteau himself, reflects this
same mindset. He said, "I have always dreamed of becoming
an archeologist, and as I have never followed through with
this dream, I invented pottery that I would love to have found
in the earth."
Cocteau believed that he had already become a living legend,
like the great men of the ancient world, who were immortalized
as gods. Emboden wrote that, "Increasingly, Cocteau would
see all life, including himself, as mythology... ." Cocteau
used ancient myth as the basis for most of his greatest works.
He even used the Grail myth in his play, The Knights of
the Round Table. A wonderful quote from him in the documentary
Biography of an Unknown explains the importance he
placed on myth:
"The Pharaohs incorporated into the foundations of
their temples pieces from earlier temples, used the wrong
way round. They sewed these seeds so that the temples might
grow like plants. When a young Egyptologist explained this
mysterious process of recycling to me, I realized, although
somewhat belatedly, what I had done in La Machine Infernale.
Essentially, I had followed the rhythm of the Egyptian temple
builders without knowing it. The reinterpretation of myths
is essential if they are to survive. They are handed down
from one writer, one generation to another, like certain stories
which are translated orally. In the process, they are constantly
embellished, or they loose their meaning. In any case, they
are altered by every narrator. The great myths are not very
many in number. Racine, Goethe, and Shakespeare knew very
well why their use is so effective. Myth is like a key that
opens even the most unsympathetic soul to writing.. I have
always preferred myth to history, because history consists
of truths which in the end turn into lies, while myth consists
of lies which finally turn into truths. If I am fortunate
enough to live on in memory, then it will be in the form of
Cocteau also appeared to believe that death could be transcended
quite literally. He called himself an expert in "Phoenixology"
(a term borrowed from Salvador Dali), which he defined as,
"The science that allows one to die many times, only
to be reborn." Death and resurrection were constant themes
in his work, including Blood of a Poet, Sleeping Beauty,
Orpheus, and Testament of Orpheus. Cocteau implied
many times that he himself had died before, and that he was
in fact the living dead. He said of the making of his murals
in the Chapel of St. Peter that, "For two years, I locked
myself inside like a Pharaoh painting his sarcophagus. I was
already dead." This thought was expressed in Testament
of Orpheus, in which he spends most of the film as a walking
corpse in the afterlife, reviewing the events of his previous
existence, and the works of his own creation - in other words,
the archetypes of his own unconscious. Cocteau believed that
the afterlife and the unconscious were one and the same, and
were located in an Underworld that could be accessed through
mirrors. This is how Beauty got to the Beasts magic
castle in Beauty and the Beast, how Orpheus got to
the Underworld in Orpheus, and how the Poet got to
the Hôtel dé Folies-Dramatiques in Blood of
a Poet. Cocteau stressed the mirror concept in his artwork
too, by using mirror images, backwards "mirror-writing",
as in The Mystery of Jean the Birdman No. 33, and even
reversed speech, as used by the character Cegestius in Testament
of Orpheus. The implication is that the afterlife of the
Underworld is in another dimension that is a mirror reflection
of our own, located in the watery depths of or own unconscious.
But he also warned of the dangers of swimming too much in
these waters. In Blood of a Poet, the statue says,
"Mirrors should reflect a bit more before sending back
images." And in Testament of Orpheus, Cegestius
opines that, "Mirrors reflect too much. They reverse
images pretentiously and think they are profound."
Numerous times Cocteau implied that it was possible to travels
through such portals (represented by mirrors) and transcend
time and space, to exist eternally in a state that is neither
life nor death. In the tribunal scene in Testament of Orpheus,
he tells the panel of judges that: "I have often wanted
to jump over the fourth mysterious wall that men write their
loves and dreams upon", referring to time, the fourth
dimension. In this film, Cocteau dies and enters the Underworld
after he has opened up a "glory hole" in space-time,
and gotten lost in the various centuries. This was accomplished
by firing a gun filled with bullets made of "chronons"
- particles of time. Cocteau visits the science professor
who invented the bullets at the end of his life, snatches
the bullets away from him, and then travels back in time to
deliver them to the professor as a younger man - before he
had invented them, giving him the breakthrough he needed in
order to be able to invent them in the future. Cocteau clearly
looked forward to the afterlife, and embraced the idea of
flitting about freely in time and space, meddling in the affairs
of men as an eternal - and timeless - ghost. Given his interest
in talking to the dead while he was alive, in the form of
the well-documented seances, we can easily imagine him, as
a departed spirit, whispering valuable pearls of wisdom into
the ears to the chosen few of future eras. After all, Cocteaus
self-chosen epitaph in the Chapel of St. Blaise reads: "I
remain with you." It stands to reason, then, that he
has never left us. So we shouldnt miss him, but rather
try to understand what he is saying to us, even now. Recalling
his words in one of the final scenes of Testament of Orpheus:
"Pretend to weep, my friends, as poets only pretend to
(1.) Cocteaus full name was Clément-Eugène-Jean-Maurice
Cocteau, but he enjoyed using "Jean Cocteau" because
it could be initialized as "J.C.", the same initials
as "Jesus Christ."
(2.) Another, similar-looking and oddly-placed M. can be
found on Cocteaus glass sculpture entitled Stele,
and numerous Ms have been found in his mural at the Chapel
of St. Peter. See the articles Secret History and Sacred
Geometry: Cocteau's Mural at the Chapel of St. Peter, The
Compass of Enoch, and Pilgrimage: A Visit to Villefranche-sur-Mer,
by Boyd Rice.
(3.) Bardot, whose middle name is "Anne-Marie",
was once personified as the national goddess of France, Marianne,
in a series of sculpted busts of the goddess that were made
in her likeness, and which were put on display in public buildings
throughout France for a number of years. Jean Cocteau was
also known to have made a few pen-drawn representations of
the goddess, one of which was made into a national postage