it is only by tracing the outline with the finger that one can recognize a form, a

human figure, an animal running, a crumbling planet, the curve of a bow on this
granite which, little by little, is returning to its original blankness. An atmosphere
of intense mystery emanates from these hundreds of monoliths lost in the
forests or on the deserted plateaux, but also one of fear and insecurity in the
face of death. These inscriptions aimed at protecting the deceased from
profanation of his tomb, these symbols which accompany him everywhere like
guardians keeping vigil over his soul, are bearers of an ambiguous message
made up of certainty and apprehension, wherein the very gestures of the dead
man, his rigid and ritual posture attempt, perhaps, to conjure up the mysteries
of the invisible world. Nothing of all this appears to be truly Gnostic and I am
doubtful to this day about the religious adherence of these thousands of dead
souls. What is certain is that these necropoli are the only vestiges of a society
which must have been long-lived and intense: nothing remains of the villages
and castles where so many beings, now forgotten, must once have lived. Not the
smallest ruin, the faintest trace in these mountains where trees and grasses
have covered over the soil and often uprooted the monuments themselves.
Be that as it may, one thing at least emerges from this: the fact that,
henceforth, the war against Gnosticism has also changed. Excommunication and
imprisonment are no longer enough. Religious and political rebellion by these
organized communities entails measures of repression, on the part of the
powers-that-be, which will consist of purely and simply annihilating all those who
refuse to submit, burning their churches, setting fire to their villages, razing
their fortresses to the ground and setting up stakes where the Bogomils, by the
hundreds, will throw themselves into the flames. What was it about this heresy
that provoked such ruthlessness, such repression? It preached the stand we
have long known: a total refusal to compromise with a damned world
contaminated by evil and the devil. But this refusal, in the context of this
particular epoch, turned principally against the official Churches, against their
flaunted wealth and their abhorrent symbols. The Bogomils detested the cross
because Christ had died on it and it became, in their eyes, the symbol of his
torment. They rejected the whole of the Old Testament, the essential dogma, the
Virgin, and all the Christian mythology. They practised a stern asceticismhenceforth no more debauchery or licence, for the historical struggle implies
another and equally pitiless struggle, against the temptations of the body. They
rejected procreation and marriage; they despised work, riches, honours, social
distinctions. Among themselves, each considered all others as his equals. One
single distinction-an important one, however-marked their relationships. Since