FREEMASONRY AND TEMPLARS. |
An Organisation built on the legend of another or
A clouded vision of Templar heritage?
Few organizations in history apart from the Knights Templar have been so praised and vilified with respect to their hidden hand in world destiny. If we had to choose the one which comes easily to mind, we would no doubt all call out "The Masons". Trying to tie down either the Templars or the Masons at any point of their individual histories is a matter of complicated analysis. In some cases, even criticising them is fraught with high conflict. The fringe fanatical element lying just beneath the surface of organizations under the Masonic banner is in the main of a very low threshold of tolerance and perhaps of educational level. It makes one wonder sometimes how they every got into these institutions bearing in mind the so called aspiration to social standards that can be heard from these pulpits. But then not all Masons are of the same ilk, although it must be said, that their understanding in the main of the material readily avialable on the templars is very superficial. Essentially, there is absolutely nothing historically or constitutionally common to the Order of the Temple and the Masonic movements. To analyse either critically and without bias is difficult in view of the amount of nonsense that both the members of the modern order of Knights Templar and the Masonic organisations put out to the public in bid to claim superiority over the other. Getting down to basics therefore is a primary requirement. We must talk of origins, links if any and above all historical, identifiable contexts. This where is all the confusion lies.
The matter before us is the world of so called freemasonry and it should be stressed from the first instance that it has absolutely nothing to do with the Order of Knights Templar despite the inclination by many of its members to think that they inherited the Templar tradition, secrets (and for some), the Order itself. Neither has this social organization anything to do with builders or ancient history since despite the question of a so called seventeenth century "Freemason" called Ashmole, utilized as proof, to the point of desperation, what is now British Freemasonry is no older than the turn of the eighteenth century. Nor has the Scottish version anything to do with the Templaea either, however much smoke Scottish die hards throw at the cameras and against which they have not been able to produce one single document that testifies to the effect. This of course does not deny the possibility that Templar knowledge and a form of identity did not come down via this channel through the centuries and original Priory archives. The country however, suffered a severe Templar backlash when its knights under the authority of an indignant Prior, Aumont, who managed to protect his own and offered asylum to many others, found himself cut off from the underground movement that the Order had become under Larmenius, the Latin Patriarch recorded in the Cistercian archives. Marc Larmenius is fully documented as a historical figure and also according the Cistercian records, the grandmaster reputedly chosen by Jacques de Molay before his execution and who gave his name to the Larmenius Charter and Marc masonic lodge in London. What has happened is simply called disinformation and all in a desperate attempt to deny the continuation of probably the most powerful organization in world history, whose influence in view of some of the modern Templars I met throughout the world, has been far from extinguished.
The real origins of Freemasonry.
The odd Masonic/Templar assertions, which serve only to attract members and fill coffers as a result, are easily challenged but it is not the purpose of this exercise to attack anything or anybody - merely put things in their correct perspective. I am an admirer of significant organizations and whilst one could not call the Masonic movement well run or socially important any more, it is a strangely respectful one which should perhaps modernize to carry out its so called chivalric aims and perhaps instill genuine ethical standards on its somewhat confusing membership. It is a very well known secret that the copy of the much maligned Larmenius Charter which some bad writers have denied themselves the privilege of investigating all it's incredible facets, (before ascribing it ridiculously to masonic mischievousness), is much revered by the masons themselve. s It is also the selfsame copy which was once handed into the French National Archives by a terrified grandmaster of the Templars - now considered a traitor by the Order of the Temple. The introduction of non aristocratic grandmasters into the Order after the French Revolution was a mistake and one which caused more than one future leader of the Templars to lose his nerve. The use of a modern word in the Larmenius Charter document, now attributed to a translation, has formed the basis of the arguments against its authenticity despite the many other aspects which flood the mind with genuine characteristics. What the whole thing means, is that if it is a more modern version of this document or a politically correct one approved by the Order for viewing below certain levels of authority, common sense dictates that it must have formed part of an original in view of the nature of its contents. The contents can only make sense in the time that it was written and by virtue of their revelations, demonstrate its veracity. However, like most Templar documents, the originals if only one, are secure if only lamentably in the wrong hands and it is not the subject of this exercise to point fingers at those who know where they are. The present Grandmaster, Fernando de Sousa Fontes, once commented that other copies had been burned without referring to the fate of the original. Who by, or when, he refused to comment on in front of a very large audience in the refectory of Altenburg cathedral, after an investiture ceremony attended by at least two Monsignors of the Catholic Church. The same in the cathedral of Santiago of Compostela, the valued shrine with the most significant Templar story to tell, where the Grand Master was invited to the altar by the most senior church figure in the region - hardly a recipe for denial and at which much mention was made about important Templar material hidden in cathedral crypts.
That the Knights Templar left a hidden tradition which exists even today, there is no doubt, since most of the aristocratic families of Europe including the Royal would never publicly deny the transmission and one of the most important edifices of Templar relationship - the Cistercian Order, has unimpeachable records that illustrate the tradition and its continuation with its Grandmasters throughout the centuries. In fact it does so with great pride and the reason for the masking of its presence by jealous or frightened entities, had a great deal to do with the Church and State which chose individually to deny anything that could harm their stake in power politics. Going to war against another nation would have been a little difficult without that total allegiance of its subjects to its identity and ambitions. Going to war as we know, became a favourite pastime of national entities with the help of its hapless unwilling subjects. The knights Templar would have found it difficult to do so in view of their oath to kill only the enemies of the faith and again only under very strict circumstances outlined by St. Bernard. In fact, if subjects bound under obedience to outside forces were allowed to assume the double identity, nationalism would have had to be subject to superior forces in the same way that a Catholic cannot subscribe to total obedience to all national demands. Civil wars have resulted from just that sort of fusion of identity. England created its own national church as matter of political expedience and its own Order of the Temple considering a great many factors that need their own space to illustrate with conviction. In return, like Charlemagne, with his reluctant Roman Crown, the response by the hidden order was a question of diplomatic agreement to differ in return for mutual support. This was to lead to the real decline of the status and credibility of the Temple as its anonymity and pacifistic acceptance of the policies of the Church and State represented a sign of weakness by those strongly dependent on both, for their family survival. In fact, the security that obedience to their Grandmaster and Pope granted these families was superior to any that a regional prince, king or even the local body of the Church could replace, but the fear of local reprisal as nationalism brought in by Joan of Arc consolidated, was too real for comfort. It was the tacit agreement by the major families of Europe therefore to keep a low profile in exchange for the support of the Monarchy and Church that enabled the hidden Templars to have a say in national affairs from the shadows. They utilized this space with great diplomatic skill but it ultimately lost the hidden Order its ability to defend what little was left of its sovereign status. A walk through the pathways of history shows a fascinating glimpse of their presence here and there and it is not difficult to understand that whatever influence may be left, it is now in the hands of a few in one generation or another with the enthusiasm and capability to recruit intelligently and within a discipline calculated to re-create the indomitable Templar spirit.
End of the aristocratic power.
The decline of the French aristocracy and the revolution that preceded the disaster that brought kingship into disrepute, ranks of Cromwellian regicide and where the Order and its representatives were in those days, is a matter of conjecture albeit of extreme interest. More so because Napoleon was seen to send his palatial guard to flank the Grandmaster of the Order of the Temple at a mass celebrating the anniversary of the death of Jacque de Molay. This inconsistent public gesture from a historical figure produced by the earlier massacre of aristocrats, including Le Comte de Brissac, head of the Scottish Royal Guard and well documented Grand Master of the Temple, needs to be carefully analyzed with due respect to contemporary affiliations of both the Templates and the French Masons to what Napoleon stood for. The study is unfortunately beyond the scope of this article and therefore bypassed.
That the Order was reinstated in France under the Grand mastership of Philip, Duke of Orleans has been denied by many, particularly the masons, but not one single member of the very important families listed and published by the foremost press of France one hundred years later, drew one single comment against the authenticity of what to them must have been common aristocratic knowledge. Again, hardly a recipe for denial and only by those so called academics who have little to be measured by in the context of either the Masons or the Templars. As can be seen, it was of urgent political interest to those with other intentions (and definitely not the Scots), to safeguard British interests, knowing possibly what lay in store in the 18th.century before them. It is curious that the Order of the Temple was officially recognized by the power structure of the day (1705) under the name of the knights of the Orient and not so curious that the body of initiates who broke away to create its own sub-order, was to call itself the Order of the Orient - the body that was to be classified erroneously as Continental freemasonry and linked briefly with the British version. Neither had anything in common, nor had the Scottish descent of the Royal Order Institution itself anything to do with either. What they all had in common was their origins in apprentice breakaway movements from the Order of the Temple or more specifically, the Templar lodges or secret teaching houses- movements that could no longer be classified as Templar since the very basis of their existence was educational and not yet political. The formal central and international authority had again gone underground and continued on its way for better or for worse as the transmission information reveals. There is a record however that illustrates the alarm created within the Order proper and the attempts to assign a Royal member to the care and safeguard of the breakaway apprentices. Subsequently, the social forces took the trail and led it to assume its own identity and carve a niche out for itself under the guise of a new breakaway umbrella, taking with it all knowledge available to apprentices up to the Knightly investiture or Master´s degree in Masonery Even today, many of the masonic, mystery school initiations or degrees are obvious Templar assumptions derived from whatever information may have been gleaned from its original Templar apprentices. The rest have been added for various reasons. The same can be said of the major mystical organizations like the Rosicrucian, Bavarian Illuminati, Carbonari etc. which spawned, like the Order of the Temple and Christianity, thousands of spurious and mediocre organizations purporting to be keepers of one secret or another. The masonic order apparition stands out in a singular way, since despite the timely creation of a central lodge that brought in the Scottish unrelated origins, it became an instrument of one country or another under different authorities with or without political aspirations and never with religious ones. The rituals adopted by each and every one varies within a core collection created by Scottish and British speculative masonry. Some, like the Scottish rite, unite lodges throughout the world in this respect but have no bearing on the foundations of those lodges and their local commitments. The hard fact is that there is no such thing as an international Freemasonic movement. Despite certain misgivings about the nature and abuse by some members of this somewhat curious and dangerously secretive organization, it has to be acknowledged that the style and presentation of its initiation levels is inspiring. They are, morever, also close to those originally organized by Orders like that of the Templars (who based their teachings on the visual and dramatic interpretations of the ancient mystery schools) and the Hashishim who also geared similar but more lethal displays to produce a psychological effect on which further, mind altering, training would be based. Discussions with former high executives of the Freemasons, who joined the modern Order of the Temple in an attempt to learn more about the nature of the secrets, confessed that they had gone in enthusiastically and left rather disappointed about what they called a non event. Taking everything into account, it seems more likely that the genuine secrets were not given to the breakaway apprentices at that early stage and substituted formats put into place. The masonic movement inherited the vacuum created by the fall of the French aristocracy but whereas it honoured the memory that the Templar lodges had worked hard to forge for themselves, the institutions did not survive and their work was taken up by the formal educational authorities that emerged in different countries and their prolific teachers, The Jesuits.
The kaleidoscope of Masonic alleyways.
The different masonic movements do not represent a world power and even lodges are aligned at angles to each other with the further disorder that even its members belong to, so called, different degrees that prompt its holders to display aspects of social superiority between themselves. This is not a criticism of the movement as a whole, but a necessity to rectify the false attributions many masons make to those who are unwilling to belong to something so secretive and behind which the ideological masters cannot be seen clearly. But let us go a step further... Effectively, what Ashmole joined was a Templar lodge supported by the Jesuits in their hidden efforts to spread knowledge in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. The Templars classified the founder of "Christianity" as one of their ancient Grand Masters (if we are to have any faith in the documents inherited by the 18th.century followers and which can be found in the French National Archives). The basis of knowledge as the essence of freedom was directly related to one of the many concepts that Jesus himself had made clear, was the way forward. The Jesuits therefore were doing just that and they not only had the full support of the hidden and influential Templars at high levels of society, but it is probable that Ignatius of Loyola was well prepared for the purpose beforehand. The Jesuits undoubtedly carried out Templar aspirations for knowledge for all and which was something which the Church dreaded. The Masonic degree relating to the apprentice pillar and the attempt to prevent the skills from being passed on, contains the moral that any attempt to do these things will result in the truth coming out eventually and the vindication of the foul deed. There is a great deal of material of the time that shows that the Knight Templars had brought a great deal of documentation to Portugal and it is no coincidence as noted in the modern Templar records, that a vast number of cases were taken from the crypts of the Templar church of Tomar by German Officers just before the end of the war - a matter recorded in municipal archives. Much of what the Templars brought over had been made available to them by their original allies,the Ishmaeli Hashishim who also taught them about training skills that were later applied against the orthodox Sunnies that this sect detested. The Hashishim had an enormous library at Alamut, their headquarters, and they knew that they battle against the orthodox enemy was only just beginning. They recruited the help of the newly founded Templar movement whose members fought with them initially before it became obvious to the Catholic Church that such an alliance could only further undermine Christian authority. The Ishmaeli, for that is what they were, provided the Knights with a wealth of material hitherto unknown and much of which was to be kept in hiding for reasons better explained in a specific article. It is noted historically that the Mongols devastated Alamut and its massive library, but it is more than likely that much of that had already gone as appears to be the case when the changes in Europe become evident. Such knowledge was to become the base for Templar creations like the universities of Bologna and Salamanca. The Jesuits who curiously share the same religious slogan as the Templars were undoubtedly the main instrument of response to Templar aspirations and like their mentors subjected themselves to Ishamaeli training in Alexandria as a basic initiation for their task in hand. This strange fact was publicly written on by the greatest etymologist of all times, the renowned Professor Higgins of the 19th. Century. The modern intelligence services are a product of the knowledge and even today retain aspects of training similar to that utilized by the hidden Hashishim Among other things, the Templar Lodges are also a product of that early training with the Ishmaeli love of the creation of illegal meeting places in the middle and face of enemy territory. The question of the Jesuit presence in the Templar Lodges, did not go unnoticed at the time by the erudite and conspirators as Benjamin Johnson noted in his diaries. In them he teases the Society of Jesus, with respect to the assiduous presence of its members in these places. Indeed, the very word lodge (logos) is derived from learning and knowledge and the name lodging houses passed on to posterity as such because of the tendency and need of scholars to live in the minute campus hidden in the back and upstairs rooms into which visitors with the passwords, were able to go. The Tiler or guardian of the secret door to whom these words had to be whispered is still there today in masonic lodges by the same name and in the same place. The Tiler relates to the black and white squares of the lodges and the chess tables on which much could be explained. For the would be entrants sent by the Order, the knowledge of these free houses and the correct passwords were a prerequisite, having first mingled with the unworthy throng or so called Pagans who were unaware of the hotbed in which they found themselves in. The unobtrusive movement would go as unnoticed as if modern elements went off the washroom and disappeared from view through a back door. It is this practice that gave the name to free houses in the UK and which have invariably been not only associated with freemasonry but actual meeting places for that organization and useful points of interchange and teaching locally. The back room into which they disappeared without causing gossip was sealed off to others and in most instances the room upstairs was the favourite stronghold. A curious and undeniable fact which scholars have laboriously omitted with respect to the various testaments by Jesus's followers, is the meeting in the upper room by the Sicarii or nazarenes of which sect, Jesus, we are told formed an important part. It was only with this basic camouflage of underground movements that illegal gatherings could be carried out regularly and parallel to daily activity of the unwary. As a result the free house was born - a name incidentally utilized by the secret services for un-bugged, safe quarters. The name "Franc Maison" which is what it is all about, came to be utilized by the sectarian masons as a suitable name for themselves and possibly draw members by comparison and assumed relationship with the ancíent Templar Houses or Lodges. The destruction of the social and political influence of these Templar institutions under the ultimate authority of the Grandmaster of the Order of the Temple was the calculated aim of the emerging ultra nationalist British establishment, who saw, after the Napoleonic struggles a threat from across the divide. Entrenched in their beliefs and fears, and inheritors of the Emperor's vast international holdings, anything that could bridge that gap, like membership of international orders would no longer be tolerated and a British version inserted in its place at point of death. The Masonic establishment therefore became a British aristocracy affair and ultimately an important instrument of state, albeit via a nudge and wink if not officially expressed. Britain from then on would be always on the Square and the British Monarchy, caught between its traditional Templar stance and the needs of the island state, was once more compromised with an affiliation through one of its senior members leaving the Leadership of the copy Order of Malta or Order of St. John as it came to be known, to the Crown Head itself. Ever since, despite strong support for the Order of the Temple by members of leading families and church establishment, many hedged their bets by becoming members of both the Order and the Freemasons including King Edward the V11 himself much to Queen Victoria's´s apparent dismay.
Contiental Freemasonry - a threat to British nationalism
The continental threat to the British establishment was real and any loose cannons in the form of subversive movements could not be tolerated with the subsequent closing of ranks against anything with its own basic sovereignty. The present head of the Catholic and original Order of Malta, a British subject, was unable to continue living in Britain although he is afforded the respect of a Head of State when he visits the country. It was for this reason that the Order of Malta which owned the island by that name and which Napoleon took for himself, before losing it to Britain, became an entity of similar threat and as a result banished from Britain, its influence and singularity replaced with a locally brewed one to fill the gap. In retrospect, it is exactly what British freemasonry is all about - an attempt to prevent the Order of the temple from exerting a political or religious influence on British subjects. The same cannot be for the Scottish version which apart from the historical affiliation with the French Crown and whose citizens had until recently, a right to French citizenship, has an independent traditional link with the ancient Templar influence in the country, although not directly with the international Order which they abandoned when they rallied behind Aumont and not Larmenius. To explain what was happening at the time, is beyond this exercise and a book with complete background details of all Grand Masters and their contributions, since Jacque de Molay, will be published within the coming year.
The introduction of the so called speculative aspect of freemasonry by the Chevalier Ramsay, a tutor of the House of Stewart, is exactly what it says - pure speculation and provided it does not in any way imply or propagate that the organization is a genuine continuation of the Order of Knights Templar, there is no harm to whatever fantasies may be brought to the attention of its members, Whilst writing I have to admit that the interchange of members between both organizations during the 18th. And 19th centuries and a period in the early 20th.century when Masonic masters of the third degree were eligible for acceptance into the Templar Order, the possibility exists that genuine secrets may have filtered through into the upper levels of the aristocracy, the monarchy and selected Masonic Grandmasters. If so, these would have served the interests of the masons in the same way as it did the Templars and explain why the Church, whilst condemning it publicly, has flirted with it in the same way that it had done with the Templars after the so called suppression.
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