Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another History of the Knights Templar, Part 7

As we saw in the previous article in this series, The Norman Conquests were far-flung, logistically complex and incredibly expensive. The Norman people were also Christians in name only, with several pagan revanchist campaigns taking place right up to the Norman Conquest of England (and possibly after). Some have argued that the Normans were simply mercenaries for the Venetians, whose maritime empire ruled the waves during the Middle Ages.

The Normans too were intrepid sailors and almost certainly financed their military adventures in part through piracy. From icy Norway they settled in the rainy northwest of France, before establishing island kingdoms in England, Sicily and Malta, in addition to their conquests of Antioch and northern Africa. What could possibly have brought these ostensible Scandinavians to those scattered and unlikely destinations?

Normans occupy North Africa, Malta, Sicily, Antioch and England

Under the Templar flag the Norman Empire would expand into France and Iberia as well as establish strongholds in Jerusalem, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus. The Crusades were the impetus behind all of this empire-building, which Venice was the main financial power behind.

In other words, the Norman/Templars had reconstructed the old Phoenician Empire, almost in its entirety.

The process would be complete with the establishment of a Norman Kingdom in the south of Italy itself, the nation that had crushed the Phoenicians and scattered them to the far corners of the world.

Templar headquarters in the heartland of Ancient Phoenicia

If in fact the Normans had been acting as agents for Venice in this campaign, it adds weight to conspiracy theories that Venice itself was Phoenicia reborn in the heart of Italy.

Venizia was identical to Phoenicia in almost every way- a bustling, cosmopolitan maritime empire built on trade and finance, given to cultural and religious heterodoxy and seen as a den of conspiracy and intrigue.

Given that ethnic Phoenicians the Severans had come to rule Rome as the "Syrian Emperors"- establishing Sun worship as the new state religion- it's not out of the realm of possibility at all that Phoenicians could have come into Italy from North Africa and Asia Minor, assimilated themselves to a certain degree and rebuilt their empire as Christian Rome collapsed into chaos and ruin in the Fifth Century.

Venice did just happen to rise as Rome fell.

Phoenician scarab designs mirrored Sumerian cylinder seals, 3000 years later.
Orthodox historians are terrified of secret intrigues and vast conspiracies, but alternative historians thrive on them. No less a figure than R. Buckminster Fuller believed that the Phoenicians, Venetians and Vikings were kindred peoples. He wrote of the connections between all of these mystery men in Critical Path (1981):
Also in Italy—in the northeastern corner—is Venice, the headquarters of the water-people. The Phoenicians—phonetically the Venetians—had their south Mediterranean headquarters in Carthage in northern Africa. In their western Mediterranean and Atlantic venturings the Phoenicians became the Veekings.

The Phoenicians—Venetians—in their ships voyaged around the whole coast of Italy and sent in their people to each castello, one by one. The Venetians had an unlimited line of supply, and the people inside each castello did not. The people inside were starved out. Thus, all of the regional masters of the people in Italy hated the Venetians-Phoenicians-Veekings who were able to do this.

There being as yet no Suez Canal, the new world power structure centered in the ship mastery of the line of supply finally forcing the Roman Empire to shift its headquarters to Constantinople some ten centuries after the fall of Troy. The Roman emperor-pope's bodyguards were the Veekings-Vikings, the water-peoples' most powerful frontier fighters.
David Icke took this ball and ran with it out the door and down the highway in The Biggest Secret, tracing the Phoenicians back to the Reptilioids of Sumeria. I can't vouch for a lot of his conclusions per se, as they tend to be based on (very) speculative sources. But when dealing with historical mysteries you have to take what you can get, even if what you get includes shape-shifting lizard people from Mars:
The Egyptians knew the Phoenicians as the Panag, Panasa and Fenkha. The Greeks called them the Phoinik-as, and to the Romans they were the Phoenic-es. There is a simple reason why the Egyptians depicted many of their gods with white skin and blue eyes in exactly the same way as other cultures all over the world did. This advanced race, called the Phoenicians, were white skinned and often had blue eyes the same as the reptilian-human crossbreeds and the same, it would appear, as the race from Mars.

Thus we have the Scandinavian races, which were installed by the Phoenicians and other peoples of the same bloodstock and general location...

Once again they travelled under the heading of Phoenicians and they settled in the north of Italy in 466 AD in what is now Venice. These Phoenicians then became known as Venetians. They built a powerful maritime (of course) and financial empire which was based on lending people money that does not exist and charging them interest on it.

The Phoenician-Venetians, under the control of the Babylonian Brotherhood, expanded their wealth and power by war, assassinations, piracy and by ruthlessly manipulating trade and money.
The Black Nobility established close relationships with the bloodline families of Britain and they were behind the invasion in 1066 by another branch of their ‘family’, the Normans of William the Conqueror and the St. Clairs, a family of Viking descent.
OK. So a lot of this seems to be lifted from LaRouche, the Babylon stuff is just snakehandler brainwash and the term "Black Nobility" comes from the 19th Century, not the 11th. But what this demonstrates at the very least is that there are enough connections between the Phoenicians and the Venetians to inspire these kinds of theories. But who were the Phoenicians? And what connection could this ancient people have to the Knights Templar?

More than you could possibly imagine..

Phoenicians pay tribute to Solomon. Note ship design.


The more you learn about the Phoenicians the more mysterious they become. The National Geographic Society has been sponsoring DNA testing throughout Lebanon and Syria to find traces of this vanished people and offered up this brief overview on their website:
The culture later known as Phoenician was flourishing as early as the third millennium B.C. in the Levant, a coastal region now divided primarily between Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. But it wasn't until around 1100 B.C., after a period of general disorder and social collapse throughout the region, that they emerged as a significant cultural and political force.

They grew rich trading precious metals from abroad and products such as wine, olive oil, and most notably the timber from the famous cedars of Lebanon, which forested the mountains that rise steeply from the coast of their homeland. 

The armies and peoples that eventually conquered the Phoenicians either destroyed or built over their cities. Their writings, mostly on fragile papyrus, disintegrated—so that we now know the Phoenicians mainly by the biased reports of their enemies.

Left: Phoenician longboat, 740 BC Right: Norman longboat, 1066 AD
click to enlarge
Although the Phoenicians themselves reportedly had a rich literature, it was totally lost in antiquity. That's ironic, because the Phoenicians actually developed the modern alphabet and spread it through trade to their ports of call. 
Acting as cultural middlemen, the Phoenicians disseminated ideas, myths, and knowledge from the powerful Assyrian and Babylonian worlds in what is now Syria and Iraq to their contacts in the Aegean.
Those ideas helped spark a cultural revival in Greece, one which led to the Greeks' Golden Age and hence the birth of Western civilization. The Phoenicians imported so much papyrus from Egypt that the Greeks used their name for the first great Phoenician port, Byblos, to refer to the ancient paper. The name Bible, or "the book," also derives from Byblos. - National Geographic
The influence the Phoenicians had on the Greeks was overwhelming, particularly when it came to mythology:
Many of the Greek gods and heroes were admitted to be Phoenician, including Heracles...Dionysus, Cadmus...Semele, the Cabiri, Oedipus, Phoenix, and many others. — William Fink; Classical and Biblical Records Identifying the Phoenicians
Left: Phoenician alphabet Right: Norse Runes
click to enlarge
Much, much more on that later. The Phoenicians not only influenced Greek culture, they had a profound influence on Jewish culture, as well as the esoteric traditions which can be traced all the way up to modern Freemasory:
King Solomon, King Hiram of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff came together to build Solomon's Temple in 966 BC. That temple became an integral part of Freemasonry, providing everything from the layout of the lodge room with its pillars of Jachin and Boaz to the rituals of craft Masonry, Royal Arch, and higher degrees.
King Hiram and Hiram Abiff were Phoenicians from the city of Tyre. The significance of this is that the wonderfully complex and richly textured Phoenician society turns out to have a number of similarities to Freemasonry.
One of these was the strong Phoenician penchant for secrecy in shielding their affairs from outsiders. -- "Phoenician Secrets," Sanford Holst


The rise of the Phoenicians from just another Canaanite tribe to fabulously wealthy globe-trotters wasn't spontaneous. It was presaged by the arrival of the mysterious Sea People, nomads who seem to have had a powerful influence on the Phoenicians, one that historians-- orthodox historians, at least-- have struggled to sort out ever since.
Relentless attacks by groups known as the Sea Peoples around 1200 BC virtually destroyed all the major powers of the Mediterranean, and cleared the way for the rise of the Greeks, Romans and Western civilization. Surprisingly for such a pivotal moment in world history, the events which took place at that time are not well understood and are widely debated. Many theories have been advanced to explain these times, and their participants have been declared to come from Anatolia, or the Aegean, or even Atlantis.
(I)n the midst of a cataclysm which destroyed almost every city in the eastern Mediterranean area—the Phoenician cities remained untouched....an event which changed the course of history. -- "Phoenicians: A Critical Turning Point in History", Sanford Holst
Ignatius Donnelly had no doubts who the Sea Peoples were or why they chose to recruit the Canaanites/Phoenicians to join them on the high seas. Orthodox history might shrug their shoulders but to researchers like Donnelly the Sea Peoples were nothing less than the remnant of Atlantis:
The extent of country covered by the commerce of the Phoenicians represents to some degree the area of the old Atlantean Empire. Their colonies and trading-posts extended...from the shores of the Black Sea...to the west coast of Africa and of Spain, and around to Ireland and England; from the Baltic to the Persian Gulf...Strabo estimated that (Phoenicians) had three hundred cities along the west coast of Africa. When Columbus sailed to discover a new world, or re-discover an old one, he took his departure from a Phoenician seaport, founded by that great race two thousand five hundred years previously.

All of the known variations of the Templar cross
were used as solar crosses by the Phoenicians
thousands of years before the Crusades

(click to enlarge)
Aside from its island colonies, The Phoenicians had a strong presence on the North Africa and the Iberian peninsula, and particularly at the Pillars of Hercules and Gibraltar. Archaeologists have found a temple to Hercules at the entrance to the Meditteranean in what's now called Gorham's Cave.

The best-selling author of the Templar novels is Phoenician

It's believed by many researchers that the twin columns Boaz and Jachin from the Phoenician-designed Solomon's Temple are in fact a representation of the Pillars of Hercules, a secret symbol of the Phoenicians planted in the heart of Jerusalem itself.


The Phoenicians were known to have traveled far beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Greek historians recorded that they circumnavigated Africa. But is it possible they went much farther than that?

Scientists have long been stumped by traces of western drugs like cocaine and tobacco in Egyptian mummies, but the secretive Phoenicians- who jealously guarded their trade routes --may well have been the source of this mysterious, trans-Atlantic trade. From "The Phoenician Theory":

Ibarra Grasso has identified two Phoenician ships on the centre slabs of the temple of Sechim, in the Casma Valley, on the coast of Peru. These ruins are generally considered to be some three thousand years old.
Even more extraordinary are the discoveries made by Bernardo Silva Ramos. (Ramos) spent over twenty years in the Amazon rainforest...photographing and copying 2,800 stone inscriptions, identifying the majority of them as Phoenician and others as Greek.
The oriental scholar Lienhardt Delekat has established that the characters on the Paraíba Stone are of Canaanite origin . The stone, which broke into four pieces after it was discovered on a plantation, totally disappeared, but copies of the inscription were made before this occurred. It was discovered on September 11, 1872 and might well be proof that Phoenician sailors reached Brazil two thousand years before the official discovery of America.
Lienhardt Delekat's translation reads as follows: ‘We are children of Canaan, from the city of Sidon. We are a nation of traders. Our ship is beached on this far-off mountainous coast and we want to make a sacrifice to the gods and goddesses. In the 19th year of Irma's reign, we set sail from Ezlon Geber across the Red Sea, with ten ships...."
Historians are more confident in the Phoenician presence in England, where established a presence in Devon and Cornwall in their search for tin (needed in the smelting of bronze). Given that Phoenicians were among the earliest Gentile converts to Christianity (although almost certainly Gnostic Christianity, in light of the Phoenician penchant to heterodoxy and Syncretism, which we'll discuss in the next installment) it's no surprise they played a part in the early church's activities in Britain:
The strong tradition tying Joseph of Arimathea with Glastonbury and the Phoenician tin trade with Cornwall may have strong thread of truth that ties them together. The only known sailors who came from the Eastern Mediterranean to Britain were Phoenician. Hence, the elementary conclusion is that Joseph of Arimathea, if he really made the trip(s), must have done it on Phoenician ships.-- Britain, Phoenicia's Secret Treasure, and its Conversion to Christianity
Long before that, it's highly probable that the Phoenicians were the conduits of the dissemination of Shemsu Hor Sun worship to the Celtic peoples and perhaps the establishment of Druidry itself...

NEXT: Ba'albek, The Druids, Christian Rosenkreutz and the New Atlantis

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another History of the Knights Templar, Part 6

Memorize this map.

As we saw before, the Knights Templar were a Norman enterprise, first and foremost. The more you read about the Normans the more obvious this becomes. The Normans themselves are almost as mysterious as the Templars, and as such have fed into conspiracy theories and alternative histories, particularly in the elaborate exegesis of the Lyndon LaRouche organization. How deep the connections go is a question we'll try to answer here.

The Norman Conquest of England remains a singular achievement, in that the Anglo-Saxons were renowned for their fierceness in battle (so much so that they became wandering mercenaries following the loss to the Normans). One of the Normans' great advantages was their cavalry, armored knights on horseback.

Horses had not been used in war by the Anglo-Saxons. And the English had been battered fighting off a Norwegian invasion earlier in the year. But the Normans came into England with one of the most formidable invasion forces of its time. From the Wiki:
The army of Duke William of Normandy...had a strength of 8,400 soldiers consisting of 2,200 cavalry, 1,700 archers and 4,500 infantry (men-at-arms).

The Normans also needed a large naval fleet to move their forces across the Channel. And all of those men needed to be clothed and fed and armed. Each knight also needed to feed and house his horses and his entourage, including pages, squires, and servants. This was an incredibly expensive operation. And the invasion of England followed hot on the heels of the Norman campaign in distant Sicily:
After two probing incursions the conquest of Sicily was undertaken in 1061. This operation would take thirty years to complete and was possible due to the divisions present between the Moslem factions inhabiting the island. The Normans continued to face problems within the already conquered areas of Italy, as well as a chronic shortage of manpower ...

Out of necessity the invasion of Sicily was an amphibious operation with men and horses traveling by ship to an area south of Messina...A few years later a similar, though much larger, operation would be undertaken by Duke William of Normandy during the invasion of England. -- "The Normans: Their history, arms and tactics" by Patrick Kelly
The Normans were tall and strong and noted for their unusual intelligence and cunning, but there seems to be something else at work here. We know that William the Conqueror had been partially financed by Sephardic Jews who had fled Spain and been offered sanctuary in Normandy, but that doesn't account for the strange wanderings of both the Normans and the Templars in the years to come.

There was a quest here, a search for something lost to History.

As we'll see, the Normans/Templars were the original Indiana Joneses of history, and their travels reveal a much deeper and stranger purpose than even the Baigents and Leighs would assign to them.


First, let me go back to a point I brought up earlier in the series as to the ethnic composition of the Norman Nation:
Given that the Frankish nation gave us two crucial dynasties in the rise of Christendom, how do we account for the presence of Franks in an upstart nation such as the Normans? The epicenter of Frankish power was middle Europe, a long way away from the rainy coasts of Normandy.
The question becomes, what might caused their disaffection with their kinsmen?

As we saw, Charlemagne declared war on the indigenous beliefs of northern Europe, slaughtering tens of thousands of "pagans" to establish his Holy Roman Empire. The Normans converted in the 10th Century- remarkably late for such an ambitious people. The old beliefs went "underground," as opposed to dying out.
It turns out that I was wrong- pagan beliefs were hardly underground in Normandy- they were on the warpath. From The Catholic Encyclopedia:
As Duke of Normandy Rollo remained faithful to the Carlovingian dynasty in its struggles with the ancestors of the future Capetians. These cordial relations between the ducal family of Normandy and French royalty provoked under Rollo's successor William Long-sword (931-42) a revolt of the pagan Northmen settled in Cotentin and Bessin. One of their lords (jarls), Riulf by name was the leader of the movement. The rebels reproached the duke with being no longer a true Scandinavian and "treating the French as his kinsmen".
This revolt was not a one-off. The Christianization of Normandy seems to be a political expediency that went no deeper than the aristocracy:
Another attempt at a revival of paganism was made under Richard I Sans Peur (the Fearless, 942-96). He was only two years old at his father's death. A year later (943) the Scandinavian Setric, landing in Normandy with a band of pirates, induced a number of Christian Northmen to apostatize; among them, one Turmod who sought to make a pagan of the young duke.
Bear in mind this entry in The Catholic Encyclopedia was written in 1911, long before Vatican II and at a time when the Church was very much in militant/triumphalist mode. Admitting failure in the face of Norse paganism was not on the Vatican's agenda. But it gets worse:
So attached were these Scandinavians to paganism that their leader Olaf, having been baptized by the Archbishop of Rouen, was slain by them. Although they had become Christian, all traces of Scandinavian paganism did not disappear under the first dukes of Normandy. Rollo walked barefoot before the reliquary of St. Oueu, but he caused many relies to be sold in England, and on his death-bed, according to Adhémar de Chabannes, simultaneously caused prisoners to be sacrificed to the Scandinavian gods and gave much gold to the churches.
A few years before the Norman Conquest of England, Henry I of England reported to Pope Callistus II that Normandy wasn't anything close to a Christian land:
"The duchy", said he, "was the prey of brigands. Priests and other servants of God were no longer honoured, and paganism had almost been restored, in Normandy. The monasteries which our ancestors had founded for the repose of their souls were destroyed, and the religious obliged to disperse, being unable to sustain themselves.

The churches were given up to pillage, most of them reduced to ashes, while the priests were in hiding. Their parishioners were slaying one another."
Given that the Normans were giving the Church hell, they most certainly caught the eye of other dissidents chafing under Rome's yoke. And here's where the story of the Knights Templar really begins....


Now, Lyndon LaRouche isn't high on my personal list of reliable sources. But he has a theory on the stunning rise of the Normans, albeit one I've not been able to confirm. But when you're dealing with historical mysteries you're often forced to take whatever you can get. And it seems the old crank thinks there's something to the "fugitive pagan" component of the Norman people:
"Now, the power of Venice was located largely in its alliance with a formation of a bunch of gangsters, called the Normans. Now these were the heathen, who were chased out of Saxony, by Charlemagne, and they went north into Jutland, and similar parts of that part of the world. And they became known as the Normans. They were used as pirates and slaughterers, gangsters, organized crime. And they were used...to take over Normandy... And this destroyed the France of Charlemagne.

"So the Normans then, as Normans, or as called Plantagenets, or called Anjou, were the major force allied with Venice, as a military force, which, among other things, conducted the crusades.

The First Crusade, actually, was the Norman Conquest of England; that was the first crusade. Then you had others which were called crusades. All these were conducted by the Normans, as a fighting force. All were directed by Venice."
Bear in mind now that the Venetians and the Normans fought against each other, mainly over the Norman campaign against the Byzantines. But as we'll see the Normans' interest there also ties into their hidden agenda. And as soon as the Normans took over, Venice ramped up its business in England, using Southampton as its port of call. As we've seen more recently, war is often used to open up new markets for export:
For a long time the while the navy of England was in a very infantine condition the English were supplied by the Venetians with articles of foreign produce. Soon after the Norman conquest the Venetian vessels arrived regularly at Southampton, bringing Indian goods. -- The Saturday Magazine, Volumes 12-13

The Middle Ages saw the rise of the city-state of Venice as a major world power and center of all kinds of intrigues and heresies. Because it was a hub for naval traffic, the plague years would be especially tough on the Venetians. And the city would later become identified with conspiracy and debauchery, particularly in pop culture. But for many years it dominated commerce and shipping in the Mediterranean.
For Venetians during the Middle Ages the sea was life. The prosperity, the very existence, of the Republic depended upon seaborne commerce. That commerce was inherently peaceful and prospered best in times of peace and stability.

It was also competitive and aroused passions of jealousy and greed. Venetian commerce needed to be protected from predators, and Venetians, too, were often willing to use force to extend the scope of, and gain advantage for, their trade. War and trade were very often closely interlinked activities.Since maritime trade was the life's blood of the Venetian Republic, the naval policy of the state was aimed at defending or maximizing that trade.

Egypt was the second-oldest area of Venetian involvement, and a highly profitable one. -- "Foundations of Venetian Naval Strategy from Pietro II Orseolo to the Battle of Zonchio 1000 - 1500" by John E. Dotson
Of course, this doesn't just describe the Venetians. It describes another ancient maritime power and describes it to an absolute T....

...it describes the Phoenicians. And theories that Venice was nothing more than the old Phoenician empire reborn in the heart of Italy itself probably wouldn't be debunked by this old news story:
A Neglected Civilization Gets Its Due in Venice
The Palazzo Grassi museum has opened what it calls the largest exhibition ever dedicated to the Phoenicians, presenting these ancient people as a remarkable civilization that embraced the Mediterranean's varied cultural currents.

The show's organizers say this startling first impression announces the exhibition's inspiration in recent archeological discoveries. It also announces an intent to raise from the dead a people that lived a millennium from the days of the Old Testament's Canaan to the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage.

''They were a major civilization that produced an original synthesis, bringing many Oriental elements into the Mediterranean,'' Dr. Moscati said in an interview. ''Even though they ended as the vanquished, not the victors, they exercised an influence we still feel today.''
Oh, do they ever. And then some.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nightmares in Camelot: The Inside Story

Jeffrey Pritchett of The Church of Mabus was kind enough to invite me on his podcast to discuss The Outer Limits and alien contact/invasion themes in pop culture. We dig deep on the history of The Outer Limits and its creator, the eternally enigmatic Leslie Stevens, who evolved from military brat to mysterious intel player to TV producer to radical libertarian to the man who may be the real creator of the original Battlestar Galactica.

In between we cover everything else, including Knights Templar themes in blockbuster films, the shamanic appeal of Jim Carrey, Nazis and the Hollow Earth, our social media evolution to Borg-hood, 9/11 in Spielberg's War of the Worlds and The Dark Knight, the Djinn, Alchemy and the Elusive Companions, Heroin and the 27 Club and much, much, much more...

Click here to download. You won't be sorry....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Another History of the Knights Templar, Part 5

The county of Hertfordshire in England is world famous for being the site of a complex of film and television production studios commonly known as ‘Elstree Studios.’ Production facilities were first built in the town of Elstree-and-Borehamwood in 1925 , and were operated by the Associated British Pictures Corporation.

The studio was commandeered by the military with the outbreak of World War II in 1939, but was reopened for commercial film after the war. 33rd Degree Freemason Jack Warner then bought a 25% share in the complex and the studios became a hotbed of both British and American film-making.

Beginning in 1959, the legendary British firm Hammer Films also used the Elstree Studios for their string of classic comedies and horror films, including the seminal ancient astronaut epic Quatermass and the Pit, the Bram Stoker adaptation Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb and The Satanic Rites of Dracula, which seemed to have an enormous impact on the work of David Icke, among others.

Quatermass and the Pit moved to a
subway station/cave when remade in Hertfordshire

In the 60’s and 70’s, the Elstree studios became the place to shoot big-budget American movies, since the favorable exchange rate helped reign in production costs. Blockbusters such the Star Wars films (themselves drenched in Templar symbolism), the Indiana Jones films (likewise) , Murder On The Orient Express, Never Say Never Again, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Chariots of Fire, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Last Emperor- among many others- all made use of Elstree’s soundstages and production facilities. In the early 90’s the land was subdivided for retail usage, and a portion of the old studios were converted to use for television.

It’s not only the movie industry that has found Hertfordshire to be an amenable place to do business. In the Middle Ages, Hertfordshire was also the British headquarters of the Knights Templar. It was there they had built a perceptory that has come to be known as Temple Dinsley.

The land had been granted to the Templars by an English king, and it was at Temple Dinsley that the Templars held their national meetings. Following the disbandment of the Templars, the land was given to the Knights Hospitalers, and was finally appropriated by King Henry VIII when he broke off from the Roman church.

Yet Temple Dinsley is not the only well known Templar hotspot in Hertfordshire. In the town of Royston, there is what is known as the ‘Royston Cave’. This underground temple was discovered in 1742, lying beneath a block of shops. It was known that the Templars ran a market in that same area in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. It is believed that Templars used the cave to keep their foodstocks cool, but that they also used it to conduct their prayer ceremonies.

Templar Carvings have been found on the walls, including their two knights on horseback seal and a picture of Jacques De Molay burnt at the stake. Other carvings depict Mary Magdalene, the head of John the Baptist, St. Catherine, St. Christopher and St. Lawrence. However, others carvings are of pagan origin, including sunwheels and a pornographic image of the Celtic fertility goddess Sheela Na Gig.

Royston Cave offers us a compelling link between the Mithraists and the Templars. Most observers agree that the religious decorations indicate the cave was used for ritual purposes. These rituals were no doubt secretive, else the Templars would have built a chapel nearby. Ultimately, what the Royston Cave shows us is that these Knights Templar worshipped in a cave exactly as the Mithraic knights did.

The saints chosen are an interesting mix. Lawrence was said to be the guardian of the Holy Grail. Some have noted that the carving of St. Catherine resembles ancient depictions of Persephone, and that St. Christopher is seen with an engorged phallus. St. Catherine (Ka-Hathor-Ein) emerged from the Sinai in Egypt, and her shrine is located on the same site as an ancient temple of Hathor. Christopher was also identified with the god Anubis by early Egyptian christians and was pictured as being dog-headed even outside of Egypt.

It is believed by some that the carvings were made while the Templars were hiding from arrest, and that they were praying to Catherine and Lawrence because both saints had become martyrs through the very same methods of torture that the Church was now using on the Templars. However the Templars actually saw these saints, it is clear that these knights held to a quite unorthodox and syncretic variety of Christianity.


Several groups over the years, whether Christian, Masonic or Occult- have claimed to be the “true” remnants of the Knights Templar. Several sizable organizations refer to themselves as Templars, and use Templar iconography to identify themselves. But in 2004, a shadowy group emerged and claimed that they were the true Knights Templar, and in a formal letter to the Vatican, demanded an official apology from the Catholic Church for their suppression. What separates this group from all the others is that their announcement became a major news story in the British news media and garnered feature stories in major UK papers like the Times of London and the Guardian.

An article ran on November 29, 2004 in the Times, saying:
The letter, signed by the Secretary of the Council of Chaplains on behalf of the Grand Master of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Jesus Christ and the Temple of Solomon Grand Preceptory...formally requests an apology “for the torture and murder of our leadership”, instigated by Pope Clement V.

“We shall witness the 700th anniversary of the persecution of our order on 13th October 2007,” the letter says. “It would be just and fitting for the Vatican to acknowledge our grievance in advance of this day of mourning.”
It was said that the Pope John Paul II had been given the matter serious attention before his death and that the current Pope, Benedict XVI, had been investigating the British Templar group while as the Cardinal in charge of the Office of the Congregation of the Faith (formerly known as the Office of the Inquisition). So, where in Britain is this Templar group headquartered?



Hertfordshire isn’t the only place in England rich in Templar history. Liverpool was the location of many Templar holdings, and their presence there is marked by roads with names like ‘Temple Street’ and ‘’Temple Court’. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Liverpool area was used as a military base by the Roman Legion long before it was even established as a borough.

Interestingly enough, there is a cellar of a uniquely Roman style in a building on the corner of Temple Lane and Mathew Street. Strangely enough, this cellar is identical in construction to a Roman Mitraeum: it’s a long ‘half-cylinder’ shaped room complete with arches, columns and a curved ceiling, made entirely of brick. So aside from the Royston Cave, we now have to contend with the fact that a space identical in nearly every way to a Mithraeum can be found on a Templar road in Liverpool.

In the 1950’s, the space was converted to a nightclub. Its name? The Cavern Club.

The links with Mithraism are only part of the story. As we will see, the Templar connections take us much farther back in history. All the way back, in fact.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Another History of the Knights Templar, Part 4

To understand the Templars is to understand the Normans, and vice versa. There are no two ways about it.

Where the Normans went, Templar encampments followed. The absolute epicenter of Templar activity was in Upper Normandy and radiated into England, which the Normans had conquered in 1066 AD. We see Templar encampments in the Kingdom of Sicily and in Syria and Lebanon, another Templar holding. There can be no mistake- the Knights Templar was a Norman enterprise, first and foremost.

The Norman conquest of England was no walk in the park. The Angles and Saxons who populated southeast England had terrified Europe before pushing the Britons to the western fringes of the British Isles. And the Britons were no pushovers either, having given the Romans no end of headaches. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the Normans launched an impressive war machine across the Channel, well-trained soldiers using the state of the art equipment of the time.

It was like D-Day in reverse -- a stunning achievement of coordination and military logistics for a relatively obscure band of Vikings and Franks. Like all invasions, it was most certainly costly.

Where all that money came from is anybody's guess.

Mixed in with the Nordic Vikings in the Norman nation were Gallo-Romans, or Romanized Gauls. These would have been the descendants of soldiers and and mercenaries enlisted in the Roman army as the indigenous population declined.

The Franks are even more interesting- they were a tribe from western Germany who gave the world the famous (or infamous) Merovingian dynasty, which has been pulled into the esoteric Templarist orbit in the wake of books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail. This tribe also produced the Carolinian dynasty which in turn gave us Charlemagne.

Given that the Frankish nation gave us two crucial dynasties in the rise of Christendom, how do we account for the presence of Franks in an upstart nation such as the Normans? The epicenter of Frankish power was middle Europe, a long way away from the rainy coasts of Normandy.

The question becomes, what might caused their disaffection with their kinsmen?

As we saw, Charlemagne declared war on the indigenous beliefs of northern Europe, slaughtering tens of thousands of "pagans" to establish his Holy Roman Empire. The Normans converted in the 10th Century- remarkably late for such an ambitious people. The old beliefs went "underground," as opposed to dying out.

There's a certain breed of believer who would have been perfectly at home underground.

That pre-Christian beliefs survived among the Normans is recorded in the incongruous iconography in Norman and Templar churches, Roslyn Chapel (built by the Norman-derived Sinclair family), as well as in sites like Royston Cave (which we'll get to soon).

Pushed west?
The heartland of the Franks and the Mithraists

But does it go deeper than smatterings of folkloric icons here and there? Given that the Normans took up the ancient Sun cross as the Templar banner, it's worth noting that the Frankish precincts of eastern France/western Germany were ground zero for the Mithraic warrior cults. Given that there's no shortage of compelling evidence that the Templars/Normans were heretics at best and apostates at worst, did they find something besides the Ark of the Covenant in the travels?

Did they find their history?

In Casear and Christ, Will Durant explores the opinion of most historians that rather than help save the Roman Empire like Constantine intended (and conservatives still insist to this day) Christianity actually destroyed it and brought Western Europe to its knees for much of what is now called the Dark Ages (much as Globalism is doing today).

Durant refers to the opinion of the man he calls the “greatest historian,” Edward Gibbon, when he notes that:
“(Christianity) had declared war upon the classic culture- upon science, philosophy, literature, and art... it had turned men’s thoughts from the tasks of this world to an enervating preparation for some cosmic catastrophe, and had lured them into seeking individual salvation through asceticism and prayer, rather than collective salvation through devotion to the state. It had disrupted the unity of the Empire while soldier emperors were struggling to preserve it...Christ’s victory had been Rome’s death.”
Durant was being diplomatic. Gibbon’s own words are quite a bit more fiery. Gibbon specifically condemns Christianity for quelling the ancient martial spirit of the Romans:
“ Christianity had some influence on the decline and fall of the Roman empire. The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged; and the last remains of the military spirit were buried in the cloister; a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion ... the attention of the emperors was diverted from camps to synods; the Roman world was oppressed by a new species of tyranny; and the persecuted sects became the secret enemies of their country.”
Ruefully, Gibbon then credits the decadence of the pampered Romans for the rise of Christianity, admitting that the warrior ethic of the Empire had already been in decline:
“The sacred indolence of the monks was devoutly embraced by a servile and effeminate age; but, if superstition had not afforded a decent retreat, the same vices would have tempted the unworthy Romans to desert, from baser motives, the standard of the republic.”
Christianity had also taken hold amongst the various barbarian tribes, who saw it as a ticket to their acceptance as overlords once they had smashed the last vestiges of the once-mighty western empire. This process had begun in the early fourth century through the conversion of the Goths by St. Wulfila (c.311-c.383 CE). Gibbon offers a backhanded compliment to Christianity, commending it for helping mitigate the beserker spirit of the Barbarian hordes who were moving in to take over the corrupted and emasculated city of Rome.
“...but the pure and genuine influence of Christianity may be traced in its beneficial, though imperfect, effects on the Barbarian proselytes of the North. If the decline of the Roman empire was hastened by the conversion of Constantine, his victorious religion broke the violence of the fall, and mollified the ferocious temper of the conquerors.”
If Gibbon was contemptuous of Constantine’s new cult of state, Sir James Frazer (himself the descendant of Normans) was downright scathing:
The saint and the recluse, disdainful of earth and rapt in ecstatic contemplation of heaven, became in popular opinion the highest ideal of humanity, displacing the old ideal of the patriot and hero who, forgetful of self, lives and is ready to die for the good of his country. The earthy city seemed poor and contemptible to men whose eyes beheld the City of God coming in the clouds of heaven.

A general disintegration of the body politic set in. The ties of the state and the family were loosened: the structure of society tended to resolve itself into its individual elements and thereby to relapse into barbarism; for civilization is only possible through the active co-operation of the citizens and their willingness to subordinate their private interests to the common good. Men refused to defend their country and even to continue their kind.
Some Christian apologists counter these arguments by blaming Rome’s lingering imperial attitude to citizenship, which had disenfranchised a large portion of its population. For instance, the army had become largely composed of German mercenaries, most of whom were denied full citizenship.

Other historians cite the hordes of immigrants that colonized the Western Empire, as well as the assaults of the Asian Huns in the Fourth century. And it is true that Pagan Rome- the Rome of Jupiter and the Pantheon- was monumentally corrupt and unfair. Many iniquitous laws and customs that sprang from Rome’s tribal roots were never reformed.

And by ‘never’ I mean not even in the glory days of Constantine’s cult of state.

In fact, things were about to get much, much worse for peasants and workers when the Feudal System would emerge from the ashes of the Western Empire.

That cold, hard truth is that Constantine and Theodosius had created a imperial theocracy that would condemn most of the peoples of Western Europe to centuries of abject poverty, ignorance, plague and serfdom.

What must be remembered here is that Constantine’s adoption of Christianity was a shock to the Roman body politic. It would be similar to a modern American president converting to Islam.

Though Christianity was also heavily influenced by the Persian and Egyptian mystery cults that gave rise to Mithraism, it was very much a disreputable faith to Rome. It was seen as a docile and effete Oriental cult, filled with pederasts, housewives and slackers. Christians were also known to be troublemakers in the Empire, responsible for riots and acts of terrorism and vandalism.

One can only imagine what the Mithraic legionaries -- who saw themselves as the inheritors of an indomitable ancient tradition -- thought as they watched their Christian rivals surrender the Empire to savagery and superstition. Less than two centuries earlier they had been (literally) stabbed in the back by one of their own, an act that eventually led to the destruction of the ancient Western traditions. Esteemed academies of ancient learning were shuttered, revered texts were put to the bonfires, and venerable teachers and sages had been beaten to death in the streets by fanatical Christian mobs.

One can only imagine what the Mithraists felt when, through the incompetent machinations of the cowardly and corrupt Christian emperors following Theodosius, the Eternal City itself was becoming a magnet for the worst elements of the provinces. Literacy, science, and civic order were being undermined and discarded. And soon Rome itself would be the savage playground for barbarians, who raped, looted and sacked at will.

Now, just for a moment imagine that all those stoic sun worshippers, who were among the fiercest and most accomplished warriors of their time, didn’t simply abandon the faith of their fathers.

Imagine for a moment that they greatly resented the imposition of what they saw as a pacifistic and unnatural faith from the Orient on the Eternal Empire.

Just imagine that they blamed this religion for the degradation of civic virtue, for the collapse of the military, for the fall of the West and the incremental but unrelenting decline of the East.

Imagine that they were forced by circumstance to profess the Christian faith, but never in their hearts accepted its teachings.

Imagine how they and other Solar cults felt as their rivals hijacked the icons, holidays and practices of their ancient faith and grafted them on to this new state cult behemoth.

Imagine that, along with other co-religionists, they formed tight-knit, secretive brotherhoods with elaborate rituals and codes so they could continue to practice the timeless religion and recognize one another in foreign lands.

Imagine that the practioners of this faith eventually migrated from the fanatically Christian epicenters of the Mediterranean to the unconverted hinterlands of England, Normandy and the Nordic countries. England would not be converted until the late 9th century, Normandy well into the 10th and the Nordic lands would resist the cross of Calvary until the 11th.

Imagine that at the first opportunity that came their way, these errant knights took up the old banner of the Solar equilateral cross, an ancient pre-Christian symbol whose true meaning was lost in the epidemic ignorance of the Dark Ages.

Just imagine that they would take advantage of the institutional vacuum of the Dark Ages to build an empire within an empire, one that would eventually become the greatest financial, military and naval power the western world had seen since the glory days of Rome.


Monday, August 01, 2011

Another History of the Knights Templar, Part 3

The Templars exit from orthodox history texts after the death of Jacques DeMolay.
Since then any number of groups have claimed to be the "true inheritors" of the Templar legacy, claiming lineage to the true order, handed down in secret through the successors to DeMolay himself. The most important of all these groups is a fraternity who trace their origin to an alliance forged by Templar remnants and a Scottish guild of stoneworkers and church builders. This group came to be known as the ‘Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons,’ or Freemasons for short.

The origins of the Masonic order are at best murky. They were said to arise in the late Middle Ages, from fraternities of actual stonemasons, who used an elaborate system of codes and signals to recognize one another when they traveled. And somewhere along the line, they developed a rich and arcane set of rituals and beliefs which later came to be expressed in the Masonic degrees of Initiation.

In standard Freemasonry, known as Blue Lodge Masonry, there are three degrees of initiation: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craftsman and Master Mason. Chivalric orders like the Templars operated on a similar system of graded initiation with Page, Squire and Knight.

In the 16th Century, the Speculative Masons began to interact with European esoteric groups like the Rosicrucians, Kabbalists and Alchemists, and this interaction was the basis of a new revival of the ancient mysteries in Europe. This revival was centered in England, particularly with the rise of Queen Elizabeth I, who counted a great many legendary occultists in her court such as John Dee, Edward Kelly, Francis Walsingham and Sir Francis Bacon.


Bacon was a brilliant polymath whose landmark novel The New Atlantis is considered to be a Masonic blueprint for the eventual creation of the American Republic. Indeed, the inner circle of the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution were either Freemasons or members of Masonic-type secret societies. George Washington was a Freemason, as were thirty-three of his generals in the Continental Army and thirteen of signatories of the United States Constitution.

Though most historians dismiss Masonic claims that the order is a direct descendent of the Knights Templar, the two share a lot in common. Like the Templars, the Masons are organized as a knightly order that also concerns itself with both spiritual issues and with the architectural arts. Like the Templars, the Masons are an initiatory and hierarchal organization. Like the Templars, the Masons meet secretly at night.

Like the Templars, the Masons are an all-male society. Both the Masons and the Templars have a special reverence for the Temple of Solomon. Both share an infinity for the same types of symbols, such as the skull and crossbones. Many Masonic orders refer to themselves as knights and carry swords, which aren't generally part of the stonemason's toolkit.

Unlike some historians, the Roman Catholic Church has taken the links between the Masons and the Templars more seriously. In his landmark encyclical from 1864, Allocution of Pio Nono, Pope Pius IX identified and categorized the heresy of ‘Johannism,’ a veneration of St. John that the Templars and the Freemasons also share:
"Thus the Order of Knights of the Temple was at its very origin devoted to the cause of opposition to the tiara of Rome and the crowns of Kings, and the Apostolate of Kabalistic Gnosticism was vested in its chiefs. For Saint John himself was the Father of the Gnostics, and the current translation of his polemic against the heretical of his Sect and the pagans who denied that Christ was the Word, is throughout a misrepresentation, or misunderstanding at least, of the whole Spirit of that Evangel.
"To acquire influence and wealth, then to intrigue, and at need to fight, to establish the Johannite or Gnostic and Kabalistic dogma, were the object and means proposed to the initiated Brethren. The Papacy and the rival monarchies, they said to them, are sold and bought in these days, become corrupt, and to-morrow, perhaps, will destroy each other. All that will become the heritage of the Temple: the World will soon come to us for its Sovereigns and Pontiffs. We shall constitute the equilibrium of the Universe, and be rulers over the Masters of the World."
If nothing else, the beliefs and symbols of Freemasonry offer up many historical breadcrumb trails to follow back, trails that prove to us that the Knights Templar were anything but another monastic/military order, fighting to defend the doctrines of Rome. There are a number of mysteries surrounding the Templars that historians ignore but can be better understood in light of studying Masonic lore, whether it's based in fact or not.

And there is much that we do know about the Masons that links them-- symbolically, at the very least-- to the ancient Mysteries, back to the Mithraists and before that to the Shemsu Hor. The links between the Masons and the Templars might even suggest that the Templars were a bridge between the ancient and the modern secret societies.

It suggests that the names and the superficial details may change, but the core idea remains the same and has been secretly handed down to the initiates through the ages. The Templars were unlike any other chivalric order, and one thing historians do agree on is that they spent their time in the Middle East looking for something.

Judging from the evidence, what they were looking for may not be what we've been told to believe.

Returning to the Freemasons...

In 1818, Thomas Paine wrote an essay called ‘The Origin of Freemasonry’ which explicitly linked the fraternity back, not to the Templars per se, but to the Druids and the Shemsu Hor. Paine himself was not a Freemason, and his motives in this essay aren't very clear. To Paine, the Druids were an indigenous British/Celtic Solar priesthood, whose rites and practices were little different from their counterparts in Egypt or Rome. In surprisingly brisk and frank language, Paine lays out his case:
To come then at once to the point, Masonry (as I shall show from the customs, ceremonies, hieroglyphics, and chronology of Masonry) is derived and is the remains of the religion of the ancient Druids; who, like the Magi of Persia and the Priests of Heliopolis in Egypt, were Priests of the Sun.
Paine then refers to Solomon’s Temple and its design and construction not by local craftsmen but by the Dionysian Artificers of Phoenicia (aka "the Zidonians"). Remember that veneration of Solomon's Temple is one of the crucial commonalities between the Templars and the Masons:
Even in the building of this temple, the Jews did not know how to square and frame the timber for beginning and carrying on the work, and Solomon was obliged to send to Hiram, King of Tyre (Zidon) to procure workmen; "for thou knowest, (says Solomon to Hiram, i Kings v. 6.) that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Zidonians." This temple was more properly Hiram's Temple than Solomon's, and if the Masons derive any thing from the building of it, they owe it to the Zidonians and not to the Jews. -- But to return to the worship of the Sun in this Temple.
Paine then contrasts the rituals of Masonry with those of Christianity, which he also believes to be a Solar religion:
The (C)hristian religion and Masonry have one and the same common origin: both are derived from the worship of the Sun. The difference between their origin is, that the (C)hristian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun...

In Masonry many of the ceremonies of the Druids are preserved in their original state, at least without any parody. With them the Sun is still the Sun; and his image, in the form of the sun is the great emblematical ornament of Masonic Lodges and Masonic dresses.
Paine also shows a remarkable familiarity with the basic tenets of the Shemsu Hor. This is doubly remarkable since none of the ancient Egyptian texts would be interpreted until long after Paine died.
The worship of the Sun as the great visible agent of a great invisible first cause, "Time without limits," spread itself over a considerable part of Asia and Africa, from thence to Greece and Rome, through all ancient Gaul, and into Britain and Ireland.
Paine’s linking of the Druids to the Dionysian Artificers of Phoenicia and the Shemsu Hor of Egypt can't be dismissed. Phoenician traders had been visiting Britain and the Celtic lands for thousands of years, often for tin which was needed for smelting bronze. Scottish legends trace that nation's lineage back to Egypt. Alternative historians today have explored the links between the so-called Celtic nations and ancient Egypt and Phoenicia, though Paine beat them to by 200 years. Orthodox history records the travels of Celtic rovers throughout the Mediterranean, bolstered by modern DNA sampling.

But no conversation about ancient sun worship is complete without the Followers of Mithras, whose underground temples are found all over Europe. More so than the Freemasons, the militaristic, aesthetic, self-sacrificing Mithraists are startling similar to the Knights Templar. The stern strictures of Mithraism found an eager audience in the Germanic lands, a cross-pollination that may well have yielded a remarkable harvest in the centuries to come.

In The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly Palmer Hall records the influence of the Mithraic Mysteries on Freemasonry, particularly in their uses of initiatory degrees. What is noteworthy again is the use of the cross in Mithraism.
Initiation into the rites of Mithras, like initiation into many other ancient schools of philosophy, apparently consisted of three important degrees. Preparation for these degrees consisted of self-purification, the building up of the intellectual powers, and the control of the animal nature.... After his initiations were over, he was hailed as one who had risen from the dead, was instructed in the secret teachings of the Persian mystics, and became a full-fledged member of the order. Candidates who successfully passed the Mithraic initiations were called Lions and were marked upon their foreheads with the Egyptian cross.
The question then becomes how and why a long-forgotten pagan faith would influence an Elizabethan secret society like the Freemasons, when serious academic work on Mithraism wouldn't be done until the late 19th Century. The questions only deepen when you begin to explore the startling connections between Mithraism and Templarism.

What exactly were the Templars looking for? Why did the Normans-- a Scandinavian people who could fairly be called the founding tribe of Templarism-- chose Northern France, England, Sicily and Syria to establish their kingdoms? What drew them there?

The answer to both questions might well be one and the same.