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The Staff of Mercury.

The above image shows the ruins of the 1st Century Temple of Mercury atop the Puy De Dome in the Auvergne region of France, and it is to this majestic place that my own investigation into any esoteric underlying theme to be derived from the two much speculated upon paintings by Poussin and Tenniers draws conclusion.

There then the two paintings which were intimated by the Priory of Sion proponents Plantard and Cherissey as having some sort of significant themed connection, with the geometrical sub-structure and relationship shown which i have arrived at in my own investigations. Click on either of the two paintings for my pages on which the methodology and meanings of the two paintings are fully examined, basically however i first examined the Poussin breaking it down as i would any other neo-classical work of art, determining the essential keypoints and structure, this determined i then super-imposed the results upon the Tenniers to find the same geometrical structure, and then onto the Priory of Sion parchment.

This is actually a differant approach to the traditional of this genre, were first the parchment structure and cipher was considered, and then the resulting considerations imposed upon the Poussin, the irregular Pentagons and such forth, which in my opinion were never in accordance with the picture itself, the facts did not fit the theory.

My conclusion is that Cherissey in drawing up the structured parchment demonstrated knowledge of the geometric sub-structure of the two paintings, and composed the text in accordance with such.

Here then is were i draw conclusion as regards the greater implications of the geometry itself, and in particular the point of intersection of the three lines, seemingly a most critical and enigmatic facet of the two paintings.

In determining whether the geometry i had arrived at might in any way collaborate the principle underlying sub-theme of the genre, that the resulting lines would find accordance upon the landscape of France, the primary factor was that the Paris Meridian would be taken into account, that passes through Saint Sulpice in Paris, as this had been suggested in the primary evidence as being of import.

By a little trial and error, i observed that when one of the principle vertical lines of the geometry was imposed upon the Paris Meridian, then one of the key angles of the intersection, the angle of the staff of the shepherd in white, Mercury, in the Poussin painting, then aligned with London, were the Meridian was based upon the hill of Lud/Lugh.



Thus working from the supposition that a vertical line down the Paris Meridian in accordance with a key diagonal toward the London Meridian would possibly reveal some consistent themed intent, i aligned a best fit of the geometric grid upon the map of France. The key diagonal, the staff of Mercury, showing remarkable accordance with a line picking up the cities of London-Rouen-Chartres-Orleans--Bourges-Montpellier.

Montpellier itself being at the bottom of my deduced scaled grid, finding generally close accordance with the Southernmost ancient French cities of Bayonne-Pau-Toulouse-Montpellier-Marseille, all roughly equating with that latitude. Other principle lines are picking up axis such as that of Amiens-Paris-Bourges-Carcassone.

So certainly these alignments looked as if somebody could have found them of interest, this simple grid picking out the greater majority of the ancient Cities of France, and it's worth noting the little geomtric key on the sion parchment equates with London. When it came to locating what should be the critical place of the structure, the point of the three line intersection, initially this looked disapointing, coming fairly close to Clermont-Ferrand, though seemingly not a remarkable point of significance.

Any sense of disappointment about the lack of a City upon the point of intersction however quickly disappeared when a little research revealed what was actually there, the Puy-De-Dome, in Orcival, an imposing recently formed, in relative terms, volcanic dome that dominates the region of Central France, and upon the top of which was the 1st Century Temple of Mercury.

The fact that the mountain was a volcano also accorded with my central proposition regarding the allegorical meaning of the Poussin painting, that the central character within the tomb represented Vulcan, this conjecture thus being reinforced, and the scientific Park of the region is named 'Vulcania'.

An examination of the history of the Mount reveals that it was long a sacred centre of Mercury, or his Celtic equivalent Lugh, as outlined on this excellent site, 'Lugus: The Many-Gifted Lord.' Also discussed there is the importance of the Raven in the cult of Mercury as esoteric harbinger of it's opposite principle, the 'light' as in the 'Saints Paul and Anthony' painting

Celtic "Mercury" is unambiguously linked with the high places of each tribal territory in which he was worshipped. Montmartre in Paris, the Puy-de-Dôme in the Auvergne, the Mont de Sène in the land of the Ædui -- to name just a few out of scores of possible examples -- were all originally Mercurii montes. Shrines crowned these heights, and one conventional depiction of "Mercury" was to have him sitting on a mountain. The Aruerni commissioned (for a fabulous price) the Greek sculptor Xenodorus to make a gigantic statue of "Mercury" seated atop their sacred mountain, the Puy-de-Dôme: it was one of the famous sights of Roman Gaul. Clearly the location of a temple to "Mercury" on a high place was of theological importance.

Another aspect of the cult of Mercury discussed upon the site is his association with triune concepts, this also being the key proclamation of the Hermetecists of course, Hermes Trimagestus, and this Mercurial site as posited is upon a three line intersection. Indeed it can be argued that the high places of Mercury, the Saint Michaels Mounts with their famous 'Ley Lines' also deriving from this earlier cult, had the specific intent of aligning linear features of the lanscape, the spear of Lugus projecting High order over the humble serpentine chaos of nature, as does the High Saint Michael over the lowly Satan.

Thus in ancient times a gigantic statue of Mercury dominated the Central region of France, and the ruins of the associated Gallo-Romano temple are illustrated on this site with a re-constructed ground-plan of the quite unusual design; 'Temple De Mercure'.

It can also be seen that the Dome continues to see Mercurial usage in our age of swift communications, and an intrguing aspect to the history of the site is that In 1648, Florin Périer, at the urging of Blaise Pascal, famously proved Evangelista Torricelli's theory that barometric observations were caused by the weight of air by measuring the height of a column of mercury at three elevations on Puy-de-Dôme, perhaps also worth noting that Mercury was Lord of the air-ways.

"We live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of elementary air, which is known by incontestable experiments to have weight".

Thus wrote Torricelli following the experiments upon Puy-De-Dome involving the column of Mercury, and this scientific background to the area is actually quite intriguing when one considers the famous Mathematicians of the era from nearby Clermont-Ferrand at the base of Puy-De-Dome; 'Mathematicians born in Clermont-Ferrand'

At once a physicist, a mathematician, an eloquent publicist in the Provinciales ... Pascal was embarrassed by the very abundance of his talents. It has been suggested that it was his too concrete turn of mind that prevented his discovering the infinitesimal calculus, and in some of the Provinciales the mysterious relations of human beings with God are treated as if they were a geometrical problem. But these considerations are far outweighed by the profit that he drew from the multiplicity of his gifts, his religious writings are rigorous because of his scientific training...

That being said of Blaise Pascal, whilst he famously said;

If God does not exist, one will lose nothing by believing in him, while if he does exist, one will lose everything by not believing.

Thus there was a strong Mathamatical tradition in the area during the 17th Century, involving the leading research of the day in things such as Projective Geometry, and this also is the era of Poussin and Tenniers, and one has to suggest therefore a collabration to some extent between the leading thinkers and artists of the day involving the latest develpments in Cartography and Projected Geometry. The two painting referance two differant traditions, that of the Classical, and that of the Christian, but the two are seen to complement the other in underlying theme, mortality and hoped for resurrection, the Puy-De-Dome intersection equating with the dome of the skull in Tenniers painting, the traditional place of the crucifixion of course.

If such a 17th century group then collaborated to put together the themed paintings, one might also take into accout the picture to the right by Poussin, of a Bacchanal before a Herm, the square waymarkers of Hermes upon the landscape, and the giant statue in the background which again can only be that of Hermes/Mercury, and thus possibly a direct depiction of the statue of Mercury upon the Puy-de-Dome by Poussin.


The 1683 map of France by Mallet, below to the left, indicates the Paris Meridian were the key lines of latitude and longitude are both shown, whilst the Speed map, to the right, drawn in London in 1676 shows that by this date maps were of quite good quality and fully gridded to show the relative position of places more accurately. This development moving on from the Medieval principle of drawing lines to indicate the relationship between important centres, both spiritual and secular.


By the 17th century therefore with the advances in cartography it is not far fetched to assume that with the increased knowledge of the geographic relationships between principle sites and areas, interest was taken in evaluating these relationships in terms of themed spiritual significance, ie the sites formerly dedicated to Mercury, and more latterly Saint Michael, especially in terms of the major Capitals and Meridians and known Cultic centres.

The Map on the left is a section from the superb Catalan Atlas of the 14th Century, the link provides access to a site were every aspect of this is illustrated and it is all most weird and wonderful.

However, as i said the lines on this map are issuing forth from places deemed important, with no overall regard for grid in terms of latitude and longitude, many lines radiating forth from places such as Rome and Jerusalem, due to their especial value in cultural terms, rather than geographic.

The study i have made therefore would certainly be in keeping with this tradition, ie joining the dots to places of import, but also this is observed with regards to the overall grid, the 17th century development.

Looking at particular aspects of the map to the left, it can be seen how Santiago della Compostela is given great significance, the major pilgrim centre of the time, and their would be a line going from here to Puy en Velay, near Clermont-Ferrand as that was the major pilgrim route from the centre of France.

The key diagonal to London would also appear to be indicated, and also a couple of the more famous Saint Michaels lines...


Furthur related study is made within these pages;