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.



  1. This is very well chronicled and tightly woven explanation of the enlightenment-era renovation of the Craft. Bacon was most likely responsible for the second part of the 3rd degree cermony which rationalized the preceeding degrees according to his crypto-Catholic anglican worldview.

  2. very informative, can't wait for part 4.

  3. Thanks, as always, Chris- Delorus

  4. Cliff in Cleveland8:14 PM, August 01, 2011

    Great series so far brother! Thank you!

  5. The circumpunct denotes the heliocentric nature of our solar system. Shemshu Hor, what a name. The Saitic Isis by Godfrey Higgins is an excellent tome to study the development of natural religion and unnatural(Pauline) doctrines. Thanks Chris for the eye opening essay in esoteric histronics. Shine forth brave souls. Dennis

  6. On the topic of Freemasonry and symbols: I know that the movie "The Green Hornet" may seem like a superficial movie, but I was surprised at how many FreeMasonic symblols it had. I believe it had references to Rosicrucianism too, with references to the FreeMasons taking exception to them.

  7. In light of:

    "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."

    This seems apt:

  8. Comments Part I.

    Great topic and insightful treatment of it, Chris. I did want to comment about a couple of things.

    " Like the Templars, the Masons meet secretly at night."

    I am a Mason and I can assure you that our meetings are well published on our own lodge's website as well on the Grand Lodge's website. Also, our members are documented on our own website including their current positions within the lodge. This is common practice these days. However, I would agree that our meetings are closed to the public, but calling that 'meeting in secret' might be a little bit misleading. I would say that our meetings are not constructive to non-Mason's and much of the ritual of opening and closing the meeting of the lodge would not make sense to someone just wandering in off the streets for the purpose of viewing it like you would, say, in a more public administration meeting conducted by public officials. Otherwise, the meetings are pretty parlimentary and kind of boring in the sense that they involve the minutia of the business of running the lodge. Besides, the meetings are for Mason's and not the general public. I wouldn't expect that you would want to intrude on any private or exclusive club's meeting if you were not apart of it or had some legitimate business with it. Perhaps it is only because it is 'Masonic' with all that word reverberates into ones imagination that one would think that something clandestine and subversive would be occurring within. As I have heard you point out before, organizations like the Freemason's were founded on the periphery of the mystery schools and cults, so some of that is in fact esoteric and does require initiation into it in order for it to make sense. Otherwise, a person who is not properly introduced into the rites and particulars will have no context in which to understand the proceedings and would promulgate misunderstanding rather than imparting beneficial knowledge.

  9. Comments Part II.

    Did the Templars form ranks into the Freemason's? Who knows. We don't. True, we do have "orders" which are conferred in the York Rite of Freemasonry as orders of Knighthood which conclude with the Masonic Knight Templar order (the Blue Lodge and the Scottish Rite have degrees--the York Rite has degrees which conclude with orders). But, are these direct lines that connect the Masons with the Templars? No one really knows what happened to the Templar's and if they were disbanded or reassembled elsewhere. Everyone on this blog and beyond has surely heard all the arguments and speculation is this or that. But, to my knowledge, there as never been any conclusive evidence to support that link that a lot of folks want so much to make about the Masons and the Templars.

    Some might scoff and point out to me that the evidence is in front of my face, what with the 'obvious' Templar Orders within the York Rite of Freemasonry and with the Scottish Rite 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31th degrees. But I can tell you, from my own experience within American Freemasonry (I am a Master Mason of the 'Blue Lodge', a York Rite Masonic Knight Templar, and a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason) that no one ever pulled me off into the corner of some lodge and opened a secret door or produced some dusty book which laid out any grand illuminated scheme or plan that proved once and for all that we were some neo-Templar order.

    But, why would I tell you if we were? Good question. I'll ask one back. In this day and age, why would we care to hide it? the days of sneaking around trying not to get burned at the stake or run out of the village or persecuted by kings and clergy are pretty much done. People are vastly more educated (fat lot a good it does in some cases!) then they used to be and everyone can pretty much have access to any and all esoteric and symbolic information that they can want via the internet and any decent bookstore, virtual or otherwise. A lot of non-Masons probably are more familiar with the rituals and rites of the fraternity than some of the actual members.
    Has any of that brought anyone closer to answering the question of whether or not the Masons were Templars and Templars Mason's? Nope. If it did, would you wake up in a better tomorrow-land?
    I don't know exactly where the high water mark of the esoteric fraternal orders might have been, but something tells me it has come and gone. Freemasonry is a wonderful organization and fraternity that tries to instill in men a sense of morality, civic duty, and general wonderment about the life we are given and offers opportunities to serve the community and the organization with whatever good works can be accomplished and needs met. This is all of Freemasonry that I am aware of and if you are looking for something other than what is true and golden within yourself on the outside of that, then I wish you success and good fortune in wherever that takes you, friends. If it leads you to be a better man, a kinder father, a more caring husband, and a productive member of your community---then that is more than enough.
    But, your blogs and comments are profoundly interesting and informative, Chris. Please continue on and I look forward to your next installment and encourage you in your hard and necessary work on these matters. Thank you!

  10. William J. Valles, what about the notion that Anders Behring Breivik is a York Rite Knights Templar?

  11. Interesting stuff, Mr Knowles. Have you read Steve Englehart's aborted 1970s OCCULT HISTORY OF AMERICA arc in DR STRANGE? Lots of resonant material in that on Francis Bacon, Benjamin Franklin, etc.

    Way off topic, but have you seen the new CAPTAIN AMERICA film? It incorporates a lot of the alien technology stuff from the THOR film, not to mention a sly reference to RAIDERS OF LOST ARK. I would love to read your take on it.

  12. Greg --- I can't speak to that, really. I can only tell you what my experience with the American Masonic fraternity has been. I understand what has been said about Mr. Breivik, but there have been numerous groups purporting to be associated with the original Knights Templar. Perhaps time and diligent, honest research will tell.

  13. Greg---I can't speak for every Freemason. I don't think anyone can. It's horrible what happened around that individual and it's unthinkable the kind of violence that goes on in the world every day. It is hard to imagine his state of mind. Unbelivable tragedy.

  14. Greg---I apologize...I did not see your entire comment and thought you said that he claimed to be a Knight Templar (didn't catch the York Rite part). If true, then it is profoundly sadder still.

  15. Thanks for the link to Paine's essay on Freemasonry. I honestly wasn't aware of it! What does surprise me is how accurate it is in light of later discoveries. Thank's again.

  16. I used to work with a bunch of Freemasons and I don’t think this awful tragedy is some evil Freemasonic plot, it was just when I 1st heard Knights Templar my 1st thought was Freemasons (and maybe that is the point following Hoagland’s and other’s theories) then days later I saw a picture of him with his apron on but I haven’t really looked into at all and it could have easily been photoshopped or something like that, yes the whole thing is just an extremely sad tragedy including the unfounded accusations

  17. nice catch on the DNA article, anon.

    wonderful comments valles...

    some info on Breivik's lodge...

    thx chris, excellent series :)

  18. Christianity as an evolved form of Sun worship:

    you guys remember this one?

  19. A marvelous job, thanks for going through all this once again, in a single narrative.

    Michael - Knight of the Temple of Sodom. ;-)

  20. I saw an interesting doco (On Nat Geo I think) where they said that during an inquisition by the Pope (during the whole King Phillip of France heresy thing) that during their initiation the Templars had to renounce Christ, spit on the cross (quite literally) and kiss the leader performing the initiation on the mouth and lower back (ass?). Seeing as the Templars were meant to be the Pope's representatives then I concluded that the pope must be some sort of wolf in sheep's clothing. In the doco they said the Pope admonished the Templars for these sinful ways as it was merely a ritual to test their faith and prepare them for tough times in battle and harden their character (or some such thing). For me, it still leaves an air of mystery regarding what the vatican is really on about...

  21. sorry - previous post should have said absolved, not admonished

  22. @ Anon,

    The desecrating rituals and homosexual acts have been explained as training for the Templars, in case they were captured by the Saracens and force to commit similar acts against 'the true faith', the same way nowadays American soldiers that are members of elite forces are often submitted to water-boarding.

    Re. the Pope's absolution, there's this famous Historian that recently found a paper showing the Pope never excommunicated the Templars, but I'm too busy to Google her name right now.

  23. via dialygrail...
    interesting article

  24. Very interesting and enlightening, as usual Chris. Amazing, really, because of some sort of social and/or historical bias, few, if any scholars make the obvious link between European Masonic societies and orders to Ancient Egyptian/Tama-Rean Mystery schools. You are truly a man of honor and truth! May you remain a constant blessing to the world! Hotep

  25. Coming from a multigenerational Nazibloodline, wich I despise, I want to mention here that the now socalled illuminati, allways were using the traderoutes to control the flow of money. They really are The Occult Masters of The Material Realm. So when the Phoenicians had it they went rich, allso the Venetians, Portugese, Dutch, etc., now they seem to be based in London.
    Also, in the article a seafaring people are mentioned, suggesting its from Atlantean origin. For such a statement you must have a date for Atlantis, a name only mentioned in Homers Ylias. My suggestion is very unknown because of a false history of the world, its the Seastate Dwaraka, wich sank 5000 years ago before the coast of India, wich caused a massive emigration of highly developed peoples to the surroundung countries around India. Thousands of years later many of these now Nomadic tribes were still on the move, entering Western Europe. For instance, druids were Dravadas.
    E-bee, from the most oppressed country in Europe, The Netherlands

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. I am Enjoying this series very much have put pertinent info on the subject of the Templars whom I have much interest and have been studying myself. Although not an expert as you are, I believe the Masons to predate all of the esoteric groups mentioned including the Templars, as they have ties and links to Solomon days and probable pre date him or the myth of him (who I take as more of an Archetype) as the Sun Man. Sol-Man. We must remember that it isn't just the physical Sun that was worshiped exoterically, but esoterically was an Astrotheological diety, of the Sun, transversing the houses and signs of the Zodiac and constellations. That give it the Christ or Logos analogy. Your Thomas Pain reference is brilliant..he sure was going out on a tine limb at the time, stating that worship was the basis of Christianity...he could have easily gone the way of the persecuted Templars.