The history, the doctrines and the secret rituals of the Templars have incited, vexed and bewildered humanity for about 1.000 years. Since 1119. It was the year when nine knights from the South of France, who had already passed through the purgatory of the First Crusade, decided to found a new Order, with both military and sacerdotal valences: the Order of the Templar Knights. Or, by its official name: the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon.
Scholars, writers, professors and army generals, high priests, politicians and artists, businessmen, historians and average men keep on asking themselves - astonished and curious - when they face a huge worldwide mystery: Who are the Templars? Where did they come from? What kind of people were they? How did they live? What were their secret rituals?
Almost a millennium before the Christian Era, in Jerusalem, it had been raised the Temple of Solomon, the first edifice made of stone, cedar wood, copper, silver and gold, built by the Jews for the glory of the god of the storm - YAHWEH - who later became, under different names, the God of the three great religions of the world: Mosaism, Christianity and Islamism. After almost half a millennium, the Temple of Solomon was to be swept away by bloody invaders. On the Temple's old foundations, Zerubbabel raised a new edifice, with the same destination: the House of God. Several centuries later, the Temple was again demolished by the blind fury of the barbarians. And it was rebuilt again under the rule of the almighty king Herod. In the unfortunate year 70 of the Christian Era, the Temple of Jerusalem - Herod's Temple - was swept away too by the legions of Titus, the son of Vespasian, the future emperor of Rome.
Yet - under any circumstances - let's not forget that the Jewish people is surnamed the chosen people: because it took over, intact, the huge and high Sumerian culture, entrusting it later to the Egyptians to keep and fructify. But is it possible, we wonder today, that the people of Moses should have entrusted the Pharaohs and the Osyrian priests with the entire Sumerian knowledge? The Bible is full of keys that can answer this question. We just don't know which these magic keys are. Will we ever find them? What unsolvable mysteries does the Old Testament hide in its infinite horizon? What about the New Testament that tells us about the origins of Christianity? Under the Temple of Solomon there are precious treasures of spirituality, science and philosophy. Did the Templars have access to them? Did they discover them? Didn't they? Could it be a mere legend? Then where from and how and on the occasion of what miracle did the Templars leave us - in a strange and tragic destiny of history - an enormous spiritual, material and scientific heritage from which the most beautiful, mysterious and lasting of the world's buildings came to life? Where and whom did the Templars learn the mysteries of sacred geometry from? Who disclosed them the science of financial transactions, on which the operative structures of the International Monetary Fund is based today? From whom and how did the Templars took over that superb culture that would release the pompous phenomenon of the second millennium of the Christian Era: the Renaissance? These are questions that perhaps will never be answered entirely. Only fragments of truth, ill-assorted ideas, passing sequences from an illustrious and secret reality, to feed our petty vanities and maintain the illusion that we are seeking for the Lost Word! That is exactly what I'm going to do, in these humble lines, gathered from a few shelves of read books and then squandered in my soul burnt by an eternal question: what occult power have skyrocketed the Templars beginning with 1119 - and from then, on and on - on the top of the magnificent spiritual and material construction?
Therefore, a group of eight French knights led by the enigmatic Hugues de Payen came to the ruins of the Jerusalem Temple, founded the nucleus of the future Order of the Templars and had dug there, for nine years, a vast and sophisticated web of tunnels with patience, zeal and promethean effort. What were they looking for? Did they find anything? What exactly? The secret rituals of the Templars originate in that fortunate moment. Like an occult heritage. We know today a small part of the secret symbols and rituals of the Templars. But we don't know exactly what reality is hidden behind them. We still have a certainty: ever since the Templars appeared on Earth, the face of the world has changed fundamentally and irreversibly towards light. Towards self-recognition. That is towards God.
The majority of the documents - presenting us the Templars - come from the sober period of 1307-1314. From the times when a pope who was greedy for power, Clement V, and a king greedy for fortune, Philip IV, supported by the most bloody torture instrument of Vatican - the efficient Inquisition - generated and developed a huge criminal conspiracy against Templars. What secret and terrible result did this death hatred generate? Some historians assume that the reason for this exterminating ordeal was the irresistible temptation to grab the immense fortunes of the Templars. Others say that it was only a political game - a political exchange, actually - between the pope and the king. Many scholars thought the reason was the enormous military and religious power of the Templars. What is the truth? Perhaps all of these presuppositions are nothing else but different facets of one and the same gigantic black diamond. Will we ever find out the whole truth?
Anyway, the so-called historical truth, born and spread from the torture catacombs of Inquisition, made official with the Act of accusation constructed by the Pontifical Curia, is not more than a gloomy and ignoble lie, that has trodden among our consciences for about seven centuries. How could torture become the way to the truth?! It's customary that we leave to the poor and the wiseacres the morbid satisfaction that the Templars would have been depraved, uneducated and filthy scoundrels, the way Inquisition wrote in the collective memory.
On the contrary, the purity and the high morality of the Templars, their bright and altruistic spirit, their superior intelligence, wisdom, courage and power of sacrifice in the name of truth, their constructive gift results notably in their customs, symbols and secret rituals - few, as we came to know - if we know how to ponder on them with pure thoughts.
In the Order's Temples they hoarded and kept with infinite care the important scientific, religious and philosophical knowledge. The Templars transformed alchemy into science; the sacred geometry into sophisticated and lasting cathedrals, castles, basilicas; and the abstruseness into a revolutionary philosophy. The secret ceremonies were officiated in certain halls of the Temples, named penitence tombs. This is where they venerated the God of all men, the unique God of the universe, the later Great Architect of the Universe in Universal Masonry, a God who still has different names. However, this was the most important accusation brought to the so-called heresy of the Templars. The Saint Office in Rome did not admit, whatsoever, that people - Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindoos, etc. - have a single God, actually.
There, in the penitence tombs, the Templars developed their secret rituals, practising the forgiveness of sins in the Christian spirit. The Grand Master said, with a strong voice, at the end of the ritual: "All the confessed sins, as well as those you didn't confess because you were ashamed or scared of the punishment, I pray God to forgive them to you".
Animated by a profound human solidarity, the Templars promoted tolerance and the spirit of charity. Equality, Fraternity and Liberty. On the altar of the penitence tomb they were sworn in the oath of silence.
In an epoch when the Christian moral reduced the woman to a secondary role, not to say peripherical, excluding her from the clergy, the Templars decorated their Temple with the Flamed Star with five corners, symbolising Venus, goddess of love. They respected and adored the woman, lifting her even above the moral status of the man. An article of their secret Regulation stipulated explicitly: "Ne ordo diffamaretur pro mulieribus" (that is the Order must not be libelled to women).
The Templars weren't only a bunch of devout and courageous Christian knights. They were in the same time scientists, brilliant constructors, philosophers with a spirit forever open to knowledge, inventors of financial instruments and beholders of some huge and tormenting secrets about the history of the world in general, and of the origins of Christianity in special. A trifling part of their immense cryptic message is still carved today on the walls of the notorious Rosslyn Chapel. Creatively, this message was taken over by the York Rite of Universal Masonry.
The Templars cultivated - in their secret rituals - the human fraternity and the self-esteem, these being actually the keys of the Renaissance movement later. Their unalterable faith was that God had put divine seed in every man. The divine gift lies within the human being. Moreover, the Templars, in their rituals, declaimed a well-known verse of Hermes Trismegistus: "Or is it that you don't know that you, yourselves, are the sons of God?"
Each Templar Brother was encouraged - during the ritual - to explore by himself both the world around him and, especially, that lying within him, thus experiencing live the gnosis: the cognition of the divine.
The Templars practised a profound and developed school of the mysteries: the oath of faith, the oath of silence, the taxed initiation as spiritual resurrection, esoteric science as a means of communication, they promoted abstruseness, they knew the principles of alchemy and sacred geometry, they used - in all of their nine degrees - cabalistic symbols, Christian symbols, as well as elements from the Royal Art of the Osyrian Temples. The Templars knew the secret of the numbers, the demiurgic power of the human mind, but also the precipice a man can fall into, pushed by an ossified thinking. The Templars - as well as Modern Masonry - disowned dogmas, considering that they locked up the gates of human knowledge. The great thinker of the 19th century, Eliphas Levi, wrote with a firm conviction: "The Templars have been the only beholders of the great religious, social and scientific secrets".
By now, the entire world of the scholars knows that Saint John the Baptist has been the patron of the Templars. And, not by chance, he is today the patron of Masons. During time, a pious confusion has developed between John the Baptist and John the Revelator. The cult halls of the Templars were also called Temples of St. John's Order. In the same time, we must mention that the interior, superior nucleus of the Templars was integrated in a secret ritual that venerated Mary Magdalena, as a symbol of the feminine principle, originating in the
Flamed Star of goddess Venus. Where do these characteristic features - with a vague meaning of heresy - in the secret rituals of the Templars come from? Is their origin located in the tunnels dug under the millenary foundations of Solomon's Temple? From the 78 Gospels of the parents of primitive Christianity, the Christian Church - at the Council in Niceea, in 325 - recognized only four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. What about the other 74? Did the Templars know their content? The texts from Nag Hammadi in 1945, as well as the Scrolls of the Dead Sea, discovered in 1947, brought up several revealing details about the origins of Christianity, confirming, after almost seven centuries, the secret rituals of the Templars. The scholar Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair affirmed rightfully: "The Order of the Temple was the sword bearer of the Church of St. John the Baptist, but also the leader of the first Christian dynasty". In the same time, we mention that the notorious "Les Dossiers Secrets" revealed the same shocking truth: "The secret rituals of the Templars encrypted fundamental information about the origins of Christianity".
One of the illustrious supporters of the Templars was Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) whose well-known "Inferno" is nothing than an ample and bright poem about the universe of the knights of St. John's Order and their gnosis.
The reputed historian scholars Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, in their recent and massive treatise "The Mysteries of the Templars", affirm: "The documents about the Templars have been either destroyed or censored, and what is left to posterity was the persecutors' version (...) Thus, the majority of the documents and stories about the Templars come from their enemies" (Q.E.D.)
The Templars were eager for knowledge; their main effort was to find the truth. The real historical truth. The Christian truth. The eternal human truth. If we call the Templars heretics, it will be because they didn't follow the biblical dogma: "Believe and don't search". First, they searched, studied, analysed and only after that there was faith, as a natural course of human condition.
The Templars gathered information throughout the world: from the Arabians they took the principles of sacred geometry; from the catarrhs, the Gnosticism; from the Egyptians, the cult of the divine couple Osyris-Isis; beneath the foundations of the Jerusalem Temple they discovered the origins of Christianity; from the Jews, the philosophy of Cabala; from the Greeks, the rationalism; from the Romans, the cult for law and order.
At the famous Convention in Wilhelmsbad in 1782, they tried to clarify, once and for all, the complex problem of the secret rituals of the Templars. In one of the documents of the Convention (record card RST-18), a few of the components of the Knights of St. John's Order rituals are detailed: the invocation of the unique God of all the people, the cult of St. John and Mary Magdalena; the triple fraternal hug; the sign of the cross as an ancient symbol of the temples of Osyris and the Christian sacrifice; the rose as a symbol of love and regeneration, an esoteric project, later embodied in the notorious Order of Rose Croix; also, the Templars used in their rituals the cup of libations, the four fundamental tests of initiation: water, earth, fire, air; the consecration was done under the sword, they practised the spirit of charity, tolerance, but also courage; they studied and promoted the seven liberal arts; they used the incensing and the oiling with Nard Mirth during initiation. Moreover, the new initiated was called: the oiled one.
Today we're wondering - astonished - how was it possible for such illustrious, powerful and courageous men such as the Templars to become so easily the prey of ephemeral and menial political plots, allowing themselves to be massacred by a bunch of royal and clerical clerks? The answer is very simple indeed: one of the articles of the Secret Regulation of the Templars forbade them totally to fight against Christians. And the Templars obeyed strictly their law, even if the price was the supreme sacrifice.
Another tormenting question is: did the Templars disappear after the massacre between 1307-1314? The reputed opera singer Emma Calvé wrote in her autobiographical book: "In the Cabrieres castle, in 1894, knights of the Order of the Temple were still living". Count Cagliostro (1743-1795) wrote in his vast treatise "Arcana Arcanorum" in 1782: "Not only did the Templars disappear after the terrible 1314, but they organised themselves better, they lived surreptitiously, continuing to influence favourably the world's path towards civilisation".
I would like to end these humble considerations about the Templars with the title of a book by scholar Gerard de Séde, published in 1962: "Les Templiers sont parmis nous" (The Templars Are Among Us).