FROM TEMPLARS TO FREEMASONRY
Even a quick examination of the Templars’ history reveals the major transformations they underwent along the way. They first appear under a Christian façade, but soon enter a darker phase in which un-christian and perverse philosophies and teachings show through. This doesn’t happen all at once, however, and many events are responsible for the changes that occurred.
These changes first came about during the Templars’ sojourn in the Holy Land: During this phase, they became acquainted with the Cabala and learned the mysterious teachings of various other Jewish sects. The Assassins’ mysticism and perverse practices were also incorporated into their system; and the emerging picture reveals that their Christian faith had given way to secret occultist rituals and Black Magic rites. Needless to say, their ideals and mission changed accordingly.
The second cause of their transformation can be explained when we consider that the poor knights of the Templar Order acquired incredible wealth over a relatively short period of time. Given their hopes of attaining mystical powers over the material world through their newly-acquired dark beliefs and practices, it’s no surprise that they began to set their sights on much grander goals.
It’s important to keep in mind that at that time, mystic and secretive beliefs played an important, even everyday, role in people’s lives. Many were convinced that in order to gain wealth or power, one needed the help of dark powers, which could be compelled through Black Magic. Using what they considered “scientific” methods, people were investigating ways of contacting and controlling invisible powers-by means of secret codes, magic signs and formulas, and incantations. Poisons were prepared, the elixir of life was sought in experiments, and alchemists tried to create gold out of lesser metals. The Templars, seeking to rule this world with the help of the invisible one, came to worship Satan and called on him to dominate the powers of darkness.
Many years of investigations by the courts of the King and the Pope documented the Templars’ real ideals and proved that they were hiding behind a Christian façade. The order had gathered together the dark world’s symbols, traditions and rituals, and founded a system in castles built for that purpose, leading the way for many later secret societies.
Templars’ Confessions in Masonic Sources
As we saw in the last chapter, after going underground to escape the Inquisition, the Templars infiltrated various other sects and organizations. For their purposes, the masons’ lodges were an ideal choice. Very quickly, they infiltrated them, brought them under their own control, adapted and altered them to accommodate the Templars’ own philosophy, beliefs, and rituals. Since they had long been trained in the arts of architecture and masonry and had gained expertise in building castles and Gothic cathedrals, it was easy enough for the Templars to infiltrate and control the professional guilds of masons. Published reference works by Masons refer more often to the symbolic features of their merger with the Templars, than to the darker aspects the Masons inherited from them.
As one Turkish Masonic source writes:
The Grand Master’s abacus [staff of office] is evidence for the connection between the Templars and Freemasons. This staff is a symbol representing Aaron’s rod [mentioned in the Bible-a walking stick that sprouted leaves]. Its head is in the form of a temple, and along length of its body is carved measurements. This staff is a symbol of masonry.
In France as well as in Jerusalem, Templars and Freemasons existed side by side and must have influenced each other’s esoteric knowledge. An examination of architecture when the Gothic style came to be adopted reveals that the first European churches built deliberately in the new Gothic style began to be constructed after Jerusalem’s conquest by the crusaders.
With the Templars’ Grand Master being also the Freemasons’, it can be observed that the gradual progress from operational Masonry to speculative Masonry had already begun. The Cistercian monks, dealing with construction planning, had also been members of masons’ lodges-an example to the clerical or monastic type of mason; In Paris, where all other professions had their own lodges, the masons shared quarters with the Templars, also showing the close relationship between the two organizations.
The Papal decree of 1312 that liquidated the Templars’ order also ended the Masons’ right of free passage. Fearing even worse reversals, French Masons fled to Germany where, from then on, Gothic architecture became suddenly dominant. There, the Masons’ lodges that received Templars escaping from France experienced the same gradual transformation as the British ones had-from operational to speculative Masonry.
Gold-plated Masonic symbol
Within this silver-coated emblem are symbols of the Temple of Solomon, the Templars’ starting point
An 18th century Masonic sketch filled with Masonic symbols
Over time, the Templars became the Freemasons. Therefore their lodges and their new centers were built to resemble Solomon’s Temple, where the Templars had first originated.
The first handwritten Masonic document of 1390 is titled Regius. Evidently, from its verse style and the fact that it speaks of Lords and Ladies during lodge meetings, masonry had already become speculative at those dates. It is also interesting that masonry, as old as human history, had no recorded charter preceding the Regius of 1390. Architecture and construction require advanced knowhow.
Understandably, those who enjoyed this expertise weren’t eager to put their knowledge on paper, where undesirables might obtain it. But another explanation for their having no written rules may be that they existed within an order just as secretive as they were.
The article titled “De Molay and Freemasonry” found on the cover of the Pennsylvania Freemason magazine explains why Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Templars, is still so important for the Masons of today.
The Masons survived with their secrets, safe within this order, until the Templars were annihilated and abolished by the Inquisition. Then some of their secrets began to emerge. The Templars’ rules were also the Masons’ rules…
As stated above, Masons and Templars shared quarters for two hundred years and they must have influenced each other to some extent. Masonic rituals are so similar that they must have been copied from the Templars.
The Masons identified themselves with the Templars to a great extent, and what is viewed as original Masonic esotericism (secrecy) can be said to be a fairly important inheritance from the Templars. As stated at the very beginning of this research-and in a nutshell-the starting point of Freemasonry’s royal art and initiatic-esoteric line belonged to the Templars.44
Another Turkish Masonic source examines various aspects of the Templar-Mason connection:
Le Forestier was researching the same subject [the link between the Templars and the Freemasons], and his conclusions seem undisputable today. The first document in which the Templars appear to be the forefathers of the Masons is a handwritten one from Strasbourg dated 1760 that makes no secret of their inclination to mystical knowledge. This document includes the basis of the myth: It defines how the order secrets have been handed down from Jacques de Molay to contemporary Freemasonry.
According to Le Forestier, the influence of the German Rosicrucians is unquestionable, but “their only purpose was to find a different interpretation by attributing to the masonic tradition and enigma a secretiveness and a deliberate covertness.” On the other hand, the continuity of the temple had a certain logic:
“This continuity also brought the historical succession that it lacked and the established order that it did not have until then.”
As these examples show, the Templars never ceased to exist. Instead, they infiltrated the lodges of the weak and passive Masons, founded the Rosicrucians, organized and strengthened the order, and turned it into an effective tool. The Templars are not a branch or aspect of Masonry. Nor, as the Masons claim, are they “a little influenced by them.” Masonry, along with its symbols, history and ideals, has become a den for the Templars, albeit under a different name.
The Masons’ history being linked to the Temple of Solomon, their basic use of Hiram’s name as a symbol and the profession of stonemasonry, their use of mystic symbols from the Cabbala, their adoption of the Templars’ organizational structure, their ceremonies, oath, dress and rules of promotion being prepared according to the Templars’ rule-all prove that the Templars and Freemasons are one and the same.
As mentioned the Templars encountered no difficulties in penetrating the workers guilds and in Germany, England and Portugal brought these lodges under their control and with this they had found an ideal front and a new, strong organization suitable to be adapted to their purposes.
Origins of the Scottish Rite
The Scottish rite of Freemasonry, oldest of the Masonic lodges employed to provide shelter for the Templars, was established in the 14th century by Templars seeking refuge in Scotland. It became an example for the rest to follow. The titles of the Scottish lodges’ highest ranks continue to be identical to those given to the Knights Templar centuries before.Baron Karl von Hund, one of the most famous Masons of the 18th century who compiled research on the Templars, called the Scottish lodges a “restoration” of the Templars.
According to him, eight prominent Templars fled first to Ireland and thence to Scotland, where they reorganized. The Templars were soon active again in many other countries, but Scotland became their new stronghold, where they based their operational headquarters.
Baron Karl von Hund, the creator of the grade of Masonry known as the Rite of Strict Observance [was responsible for adding the Templar legend to the Craft]. Von Hund’s Rite of Strict Observance spread throughout Europe including parts of Switzerland and even as far as Russia. [T]here is no doubt that the Order of the Temple, the highest of the Chivalric Orders in the York Rite, and the Knight Kadosh grade of the Scottish Rite owe a great allegiance to the legend first put forth in Von Hund’s Rite of Strict Observance.45
In the following centuries, Masonic Templarism branched out, expanding around the world to become a serious global power, while always remaining true to its Templar ideology:
In 1717 “accepted Masons,” working in operative lodges, decided to create for themselves an organization to provide them tolerance and freedom of thought within the religious, political and ideological environment of the 18th century. This organization’s signs, traditions and ceremonies were derived from secret societies like Freemasonry, Templars and Rosicrucians. Its philosophy of contemplation was inspired by the idea of free thought, originating in the 17th century and just beginning to spread in England in the 18th.46
As the coming chapters will show, the true ambition hidden in this plan was to weaken and destroy religion, especially Christianity and Islam, by any means, creating a materialistic world order opposed to religion and religious organizations, in line with the Masonic ideals.
For Other Purposes: The Rosicrucians
The Rosicrucians, founded by the Templars as a sister organization to Freemasonry but serving a different purpose, were darker and more secretive. Even today, it cannot be ascertained where and when this organization was founded. It has circulated various documents and legends (such as the suggestion that their order first arose in the Mystery Schools of ancient Egypt), most of which contain little or no truth.
The first authentic printed Rosicrucian documents, “Confessio Rosae Crusis” and “Fama Fraternitatis,” appeared in Germany in 1614 and 1615, and contain important information about the order. According to these and some later documents, the Rosicrucians are an esoteric-secretive sect combining Egyptian Hermeticism, Gnosticism and Cabalistic lore. According to the German documents, they were founded by a German knight by the name of Christian Rosencreutz – though some experts suggest that his name is either false or merely symbolic.
According to famous Mason, Baron Karl von Hund, the Scottish branch of Masonry represents the restoration of the Templars
A 17th-century Rosicrucian drawing. The triangle, moon, and sun are symbols of the Rosicrucians as well as the Freemasons
In this sect, the Templars felt more at home than in the Freemasons’ lodges. The Templars accepted non-Templars into Masonic lodges, where they didn’t practice the dark activities, like sorcery and alchemy, that they did in the Rosicrucian organization.
Viewed from this perspective, Rosicrucian centers were an obvious place for the Templars to obtain the magical powers required to control material world. Therefore, these places became the research centers for the Templars. Interestingly, both the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians are of Templar descent and closely linked. In the Scottish rite, the title of the 18th degree is Rosicrucian Knight:
The Rosy Cross derived from the Red Cross of the Templars. Mirabeau, who as a Freemason and an Illuminatus was in a position to discover many facts about the secret societies of Germany during his stay in the country, definitely asserts that “the Rose Croix Masons of the seventeenth century were only the ancient Order of the Templars secretly perpetuated.”47
Lecouteulx de Canteleu, an expert in the subject, clarifies further:
In France the Knights [Templar] who left the Order, henceforth hidden, and so to speak unknown, formed the Order of the Flaming Star and of the Rose-Croix, which in the fifteenth century spread itself in Bohemia and Silesia. Every Grand officer of these Orders had all his life to wear the Red Cross and to repeat every day the prayer of St. Bernard.48
|The Rosicrucians and Masons are two secret societies with one common philosophy and purpose, as is reflected in their symbols-rose and cross-within the Masonic set-square.||
The sword, an indispensable symbol for the Templars, is also an irreplaceable accessory in the Masonic lodges.
Since Masonry is the continuation of the Order of Knights Templar, the Templars’ teachings derived from Cabalist-Jewish faith and rituals live on in Masonry. The Jewish shofar, or calling horn, is also used in the Masonic lodges.
Of all the Rosicrucian practitioners, the most famous and fervent was a man who’s often been surmised to be the true author of Shakespeare’s plays – Sir Francis Bacon, born in England in 1561. For his services to science and philosophy, he was knighted 1st Baron of Verulam and also Viscount of St Albans. He earned a reputation as Father of the Positive sciences for his philosophical and scientific writings, although none of them explains anything about his real identity.
He was the Grand Master of the English Templars and in this capacity, the most senior Rosicrucian. He was an undisputed expert in the secret sciences, especially the Cabala, alchemy, and sorcery. The so-called scientific research he undertook had little to do with real science, but much with engaging mystic and supernatural forces to win power over nature.
Bacon’s New Atlantis; his 1626 utopia of a heaven on earth, is an adaptation of the Templars’ ideal state. Bacon recounts the story of an imaginary people on an imaginary island called Bensalem (which means “New Jerusalem”) – an entirely scientific society, full of inventions, where the residents control even the winds. There’s also the science house he calls Solomon’s house, which is the Templars’ starting point as well as their destination.
A Masonic drawing depicting the symbols of the Knights Templar, together with those of Masons and Rosicrucians. In the box at the bottom, the execution of Jacques de Molay is depicted.
An illustration showing all the Masonic symbols together.
In short, we have three sister organizations, operating under different names – Templars, Masons and Rosicrucians – but with one single common aim. As the next chapter documents, they continued to increase in power and influence and actively tried to alter the face of the Earth to suit their purposes and still continue to do so, using every means at their disposal.