The Daughter of God: The Real Story of Joan of Arc
Oct 21, 2004
Author: Boyd Rice
At the church of Mary Magdalene at Rennes-le-Chateau, France, there is a curiously neglected statue. It is obviously the work of the same Marseilles craftsman who created all of the works which dominate the church's interior, yet it is essentially abandoned. It is stored on a patio outside the Villa Bethania, exposed to the elements. Paint cracks and peels from it, and tourists have seemingly chipped off bits of it as souvenirs. It is a statue of that intrinsically French saint, Joan of Arc.
When we visited the church, the tour guide could not satisfactorily explain to us why this particular statue has been exiled to this seemingly insignificant location. Neither did she know if it was ever originally within the church, or indeed anything whatsoever of its original whereabouts. This statue is a genuine anomaly. It is a piece of history relegated to insignificance in a place where virtually everything is perceived to be pregnant with potential significance. How did this statue, which, even in its present state of decay, retains the essence of its original beauty and elegance, come to attain such a poor status in relation to the other objects within the church? It is very curious.
Another question might be: “What relationship can be shown to exist between Saint Joan and what is known of the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery?” In fact, there are quite a few connections, but to explore them in any meaningful manner entails a reevaluation of Joan of Arc and her legacy. The standard notion that she was a young girl who heard voices (and may have been crazy) seems very inadequate. Even the most superficial inquiries into the life of Joan of Arc indicate that her real story has never been revealed. Her relationship with the prominent Angevin Grail dynasty suggests that there is much more than meets the eye.
For ages before the appearance of Joan of Arc on history’s timeline, there was a popular tale in French folklore that in the nation's darkest hour, “the Maiden of Orleans” would appear, unite its citizens and vanquish its foes. So popular was the legend that certain leaders attempted to manufacture such “maidens” to serve their own ends. Invariably, a skeptical public saw through such ploys, and all of these attempts came to naught. Until Joan came along.
Most tellings of the story of Joan of Arc don’t begin to reveal the full extent of how she was perceived in France in her day. She was thought to be the “daughter of God”, a sort of feminine French Christ sent to Earth by the primordial patriarch to save the monarchy of France. Pretty wild stuff, but not at all inconsistent with what you would expect of an Angevin/Merovingian conspiracy. Rene d’Anjou’s ancestors were masters at manipulating archetypes and reviving old myths with new emanations. Also, both Rene and Joan were so close that many presumed them to be lovers.
In more recent times, an ancestor of Rene d’Anjou was said to have been married to a woman named Melusine who was half-serpent, half-human. This is an obvious recapitulation of the cabalistic tradition which states that Cain's mother Lilith was also a mix of serpent and human. Rene’s distant ancestor Jesus Christ seems to have had a very conscious strategy to fulfill messianic prophecy, detail by detail. A prophecy existed promising a Messiah, and a man appeared who embodied that prophecy, or certainly appeared to. He wasn’t the first of his bloodline to recycle old myths and present himself as their embodiment, nor was he the last. Just as Christ had reconstituted the myth of Osiris, Joan of Arc has, in a way, reconstituted the myth of Christ. She was the “daughter of God”, sent to save her people. Had all not gone awfully awry, she would have been worshipped as a living goddess. In fact, her martyrdom, which she wholeheartedly embraced, lead to essentially the same result. The real question in all of this seems to be: “To what extent was Joan consciously aware of the process in which she was involved?”
As an illiterate girl of age 19, she exhibited a cleverness above and beyond that of her learned prosecutors and judges. She was glib, enigmatic, and poetic whilst facing her accusers. They tried repeatedly to trick her and trap her, yet repeatedly she out-thought them. How does a simple peasant girl become a master of rhetoric, a victor in debates with scholars conversant in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and Old English? Was she divinely inspired or simply well-tutored?
No one disagrees that Joan’s tutor and mentor was Rene d’Anjou’s mother Iolande. As asserted in Holy Blood, Holy Grail:
“It was Iolande who provided the feeble, weak-willed Dauphin with incessant transfusions of morale. It was Iolande who inexplicably appointed herself Joan’s official patroness and sponsor. It was Iolande who overcame the court’s resistance to the visionary girl and obtained authorization for her to accompany the army to Orleans. It was Iolande who convinced the Dauphin that Joan might indeed be the savior that she claimed to be.”
Iolande de Bar was held in such high regard that the Dauphin immediately married her daughter. The influence of Iolande cannot be overestimated. Her impact on the politics of France (and in turn, Europe) is undeniable.
The most difficult aspect of the Joan of Arc story is trying to ascertain the degree to which she may have been a mere pawn of the Angevins, and the degree to which she was a conscious and willing co-conspirator. There are, of course, compelling arguments on either side. But for a dynastic family so obsessed with blood, does it seem likely that they would choose an obscure peasant to occupy a position with such potential politico-religious authority? Of course not. Joan of Arc must surely have been a natural Angevin (i.e., illegitimate). It is altogether possible that Joan was the bastard offspring of Rene’s father, who was the Duke of Bar, where Rene was born. This would make Rene and Joan brother and sister. We needn’t belabor the archetype of the divine couple as brother and sister. (Isis and Osiris are the most obvious example.) Could it be at all possible that, had not everything gone hopelessly awry, Joan and Rene might have married and become the focus of a new national cult in France? Ponder it for a second: Rene was a descendant of Lohengrin, Godfroi de Bouillon, and ultimately of Christ. Joan was perceived as the savior of France, sent directly by God. Such a couple would have been viewed as a modern Adam and Eve: a divine couple whose offspring would be divinely ordained to rule. The monarchical ideal would have been born anew.
But history is messy business, and things don’t always go according to plans. In the France of Joan, Rene and Charles VII, Catholic and British influences were seen as being threatened, so the Brits and Rome garnered their cumulative forces to crush the threat. Joan of Arc was the symbolic “heart” of the French nation. France, used to the tradition of the French national goddess Marianne, as well as the Magdalene cult, saw Joan as an emanation of the French spirit, of their very race-soul. Therefore, she and her influence had to be brought to a halt and discredited. Otherwise Rome and Britain stood no chance. They would have been defeated by a young girl perceived to be the embodiment of an eternal ideal. Their only recourse was to demonize her and label her a heretic, or to entice her into their fold and convince her to recant, to deny her past proclamations. But Joan was a tough nut to crack. She told her inquisitors that even should they “separate [her] soul from her body”, she would not recant. Her judges, learned and scholarly men all, felt impotent in the face of this bizarre young woman. So strong was her will, her belief, that she refused to give an inch.
The transcripts of her trial (never accurately reflected in modern films about Joan) reveal the true modus operandi of these court sessions. It is not a trial of a heretic - it is a trial in which one historical tradition is being brushed by another. It is, yet again, the bloodline of the Grail being suppressed by orthodoxy. It is France being subjugated by Britain and Rome. What one immediately notices in the testimony of Joan at her trial is how closely her responses seem to match those of the Templars and Cathars tried for heresy. She is asked essentially the same types of questions, and her answers are at times so identical as to match word for word. When accused of having been sent by the Devil, Joan replied: “No, it was you who were sent by the Devil, to torture me.” Interestingly, many years later, another woman related to the Angevins gave a very similar response in a trial related to the attempted overthrow of Louis XIV’s monarchy. She was the Duchess de Bouillon, and when a magistrate inquired as to whether or not she had ever seen the Devil, she stared him in the face and replied: “I’m looking at him now.”
A true window into Joan's history can be glimpsed in the remarkable Carl Dreger film, The Passion of Joan of Arc. This is a film that was thought to be forever lost, and then was “miraculously” rediscovered. All known copies of the movie had, like Joan herself, been “destroyed by fire.” Then, in 1981, a negative of the film was discovered in (of all places) a Norwegian mental institution. The film is most well-known perhaps for its use of “Theatre of Cruelty” advocate Antonin Arteau, acting as a monk. But this is the film's least compelling offering, although Arteau gives a brilliant performance. The most compelling aspect of the film is that it documents the trial of Joan word for word, based on manuscripts still held at a library in Paris. As the film opens, it proclaims these manuscripts to be the “most important” documents in the history of the world.
Important, obviously, but “most” important? Is someone trying to convey the idea that the Joan of Arc drama represented a crossroads in history? One in which the True Faith was (yet again) suppressed by orthodoxy? It certainly seems likely.
One notices in the title sequence that certain members of Jean Cocteau’s inner circle seem to be involved in some capacity, for we see the names of Jean Hugo and Valentine Hugo. Mr. Hugo was a close associate of Cocteau, and son of the Priory of Sion’s former Grand Master, Victor Hugo, whose time in office preceded that of Cocteau himself. In fact, the whole film seems to emanate the Priory of Sion ethos. That Catholics are all fat, debauched, decadent, and have faces covered with ugly warts. Joan represents the French race-soul as it should be: pure and unyielding.
The upshot of the narrative is never that she was a heretic, but that she refused to submit to the authority of Rome, that one who experiences a direct connection with God has no need of the Church. This was also the message, essentially, of the German mystic Meister Eckhart, who proclaimed that God lives in and through all things; therefore, to experience communion with God required no church and no priesthood. Eckhart’s fate, not surprisingly, was not much different than Joans. He too was a mystic, a visionary, and a prophet far beyond his times. In consequence, he is remembered as a heretic and not a saint. Joan, in fact, received sainthood, as did other key Merovingian “heretics” such as King Dagobert II. The Church, recognizing the futility of opposing public opinion, attempted to incorporate all that they couldn’t entirely expunge from public memory. This is by no means anything new.
The building of cathedrals on ancient pagan holy sites was an early example, as was the co-opting of ancient holidays. Right or wrong, the Church knows what it’s doing, just as it knew that Joan of Arc was a viable threat. Here was the “Virgin of Orleans”, a warrior and a reputed “daughter of God”, a French Christ in feminine form. Given the proper circumstances, a figure of this magnitude might well have overshadowed the Church of Rome. She could have made France (and not Rome) the focal point of global religion, and indeed, the center of the world.
Was Joan a mere pawn of the Angevins, or a conscious co-conspirator? We opt for the latter, because Joan was always conscious of the bigger picture, and fanatical in her devotion to her ideals. She embraced her martyrdom, as Christ did his, understanding full well that she would exercise far more power living on as an ideal than she ever could in the course of her day-to-day life. She told her accusers that she would win a “great victory” over them. A monk, preparing her for death at the stake, inquired as to what had happened to the “great victory” her God had promised her. Where was it now? Unhesitatingly, she replied: “My martyrdom.” And she was correct.