Sub-Figura vel Liber Caeruleus
.:. Baphomet .:.
The Goat of Mendes
The practice of magic -- either white or
black -- depends upon the ability of the
adept to control the universal life force
-- that which Eliphas Levi calls the great
magical agent or the astral light [A:.A:.
/ "orgone" / whatever -B:.B:.]. By the
manipulation of this fluidic essence the
phenomena of transcendentalism are
produced. The famous Hermaphroditic
Goat of Mendes was a composite
creature formulated to symbolize
this astral light. It is identical with
Baphomet, the mystic pantheos of
those disciples of ceremonial magic,
the Templars, who probably obtained
it from the Arabians.
and the Amerikan Magickal Mystery Tour
Following are some observations -- both pro and con -- regarding the
highly secretive and oft misunderstood fraternity known as the
The first batch of quotes comes from Manley P. Hall’s 1988 master-
piece, "The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopaedic Outline
of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy"
and the remainder reflect the painstaking
research of one William Bramley in his epic Paradigm-Buster "The
Gods of Eden" (Avon Books, ISBN 0-380-71807-3).
"The true story of the life of
of Nazareth has been unfolded to the world, either in the
accepted Gospels or in the Apocrypha, although a few stray hints
may be found in some of the commentaries written by the
ante-Nicene Fathers. [it was the Nicene council BTW which also
Book of Enoch from the "cannonized" texts so
searching ante-Nicene sources for clues becomes essential in our
Quest for the "Holy Grail." -B:.B:.]
"The facts concerning His identity
and mission are among the price- less mysteries preserved to
this day in the secret vaults beneath the "Houses of the
Brethren." To a few of the Knights Templars, who were initiated
into the arcana of the Druses, Nazarenes, Essenes, Johannites,
and other sects still inhabiting the remote and inaccessible
fastness of the Holy Land, part of the strange story was told.
The knowledge of the Templars concerning the early history of
Christianity was undoubtedly one of the main reasons for their
persecution and final annihilation.
"The discrepancies in the writings of the early church fathers
not only are irreconcilable, but demonstrate beyond question
that even during the first five centuries after Christ these
learned men had for the basis of their writings little more than
folklore and hear- say."
-CLXXVII: Mystic Christianity, Hall’s "Secret Teachings"
"The Roman Collegia of skilled architects were apparently a
subdivision of the greater Ionian body, their principles and
organization being practically identical with the older Ionian
institution. It has been suspected that the Dionysians also
profoundly influenced Islamic culture, for part of their
symbolism found it’s way into the Mysteries of the dervishes. At
one time the dervishes referred to themselves as Sons of
Solomon, and one of the most important of their symbols was the
Seal of Solomon -- two interlaced triangles [the "Star of David"
"This motif is frequently seen in conspicuous parts of
Mohammedan mosques. The Knights Templars -- who were suspected
of anything and everything -- are believed to have contacted
these Dionysiac architects and to have introduced many of their
symbols and doc- trines into medieval Europe."
-CLXXV: Freemasonic Symbolism, Hall’s "Secret Teachings"
Origins of the
Behind the Crusades lay
the Brotherhood. The Christian Crusaders
were led primarily by two powerful knight organizations with
intimate Brotherhood ties: the Knights Hospitaler and the Knights of
the Temple ("Knights Templar").
The "Knights Hospitaler" were so named because they operated a
hospital in Jerusalem to help pilgrims in distress. The Hospitalers
began operations in the year 1048 as a charitable order. Their
purpose was aid and comfort. When the first Crusaders successfully
captured the Holy City, the Hospitalers began to receive generous
financial support from the wealthier Crusaders. In the year 1118,
seventy years after their founding, the Knights Hospitaler underwent
a change of leadership and purpose.
They were made into a military order
dedicated to fighting the Moslems who were continually trying to
recapture Jerusalem. With this change of purpose came a change in
name; the Hospitalers were variously called the "Order of Knights
Hospitaler of St. John...Knights of St. John of Jerusalem," or
simply, "Knights of St. John." The Hospitalers had named themselves
after John, son of the King of Cyprus. John had gone to Jerusalem to
aid Christian pilgrims and knights.
There is some doubt as to whether the Hospitalers were founded as a
Brotherhood organization. They reportedly did not function as one at
the outset. However, they soon became affiliated with the
Brotherhood network by adopting Brotherhood traditions and titles.
They became ruled by a Grand Master and developed secret rites and
By 1119, one year after the Hospitalers had become a fighting order,
the Templar Knights were in existence. The Templars originally
called themselves the "Order of the Poor Knights of Christ" because
they took solemn vows of poverty. Their name was later changed to
"Knights of the Temple" after they were housed near the site where
Solomon’s temple had once stood. Although the Templars and
Hospitalers had a common enemy in the Moslems, the two Christian
organizations became bitter rivals.
The Templar Knights began their existence as a branch of the
Brotherhood. They practiced a deep mystical tradition and used many
Brotherhood titles, notably "Grand Master." Like the Hospitaler
Knights, the Templars received large sums of money from well-to-do
Christian crusaders. The Templars thereby became enormously wealthy
and were able to transform themselves into an international banking
house during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The Templars
loaned large sums of money to European kings, princes, merchants,
and to at least one Moslem ruler. Most of the Templars’ riches were
stored in strongrooms in their Paris and London temples, causing
those cities to become leading financial centers.
After the fall of Jerusalem and the final victory of the Moslems in
1291, the fortunes of both knightly orders changed. The Knights of
St. John (Hospitalers) were forced to flee the Holy Land. They took
up residence on a succession of islands during the ensuing
centuries. With the changes of location came changes in name. They
became the "Knights of Rhodes" after moving to the island of Rhodes.
They were the "Knights of Malta" when they moved to that island and
ruled it. While on Malta, the Knights became a major military and
naval power in the Mediterranean until their defeat in 1789 by
After enjoying temporary protection
under Russian Emperor Paul 1, the Knights of Malta had their
headquarters moved to Rome in 1834 by Pope Leo XIII. Today they are
known as the "Sovereign and Military Order of Malta" (SMOM) and have
the unusual distinction of being the world’s smallest nation.
Located in a walled enclave in central Rome, SMOM still retains its
status as a sovereign state, although new Grand Masters of the Order
must be approved by the Pope. SMOM runs hospitals, clinics, and
leper colonies throughout the world. It also gives active assistance
to anti-Communist causes and is surprisingly influential in
political, business, and intelligence circles today despite its
[Recent American members of SMOM
have included the late William Casey (American CIA director),
Lee Iacocca (chairman of the Chrysler Corporation), Alexander Haig (former U.S. Secretary of State), and
William A. Schreyer
(president of Merrill Lynch).]
The Templar Knights did not fare as well
as the Hospitalers after the Crusades. They were forced to flee with
the Hospitalers to the island of Cyprus, whereupon the Templars
split up and returned to their many Templar houses ("preceptories")
in Europe. The Templars came under heavy criticism for their failure
to save the Holy Land and rumors circulated that they engaged in
heresy and immorality. Accusations were made that the Templars spat
on the cross during their initiations and forced members to engage
in homosexual acts. By 1307, the Templar controversy had become so
strong that Philip IV the Fair of France ordered the arrest of all
Templars within his dominion and used torture to extract
confessions. Five years later, the Pope dissolved the Templar Order
by Papal decree.
Many Templars were executed, including
Grand Master Jacques de Molay, who was publicly burned at the stake
on March 11, 1314 in front of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.
Nearly all Templar properties were confiscated and turned over to
the Hospitaler Knights. The long and intense rivalry between the
Hospitalers and Templars had finally come to an end. The Hospitalers
emerged as the victors. The Hospitalers’ victory could not have
occurred at a more fortuitous time for there had been serious
discussion within Papal circles about merging the two orders -- a
plan which would have been completely unacceptable to both.
Despite the downfall of the Templar Knights, the organization
managed to survive. According to Freemasonic historian, Albert MacKey, the Knights Templar were given a home in Portugal by King
Denis after their banishment from the rest of Catholic Europe. In
Portugal, the Templars were granted their usual rights and
privileges, they wore the same costumes, and they were governed by
the same rules they had before. The decree which re-established the
Templars in Portugal stated that they were in that country to be
rehabilitated. Pope Clement V approved the rehabilitation plan and
issued a bull (official proclamation) commanding that the Templars
change their name to " Knights of Christ." The Templars, or "Knights
of Christ," also changed the cross on their uniform from the
eight-pointed Maltese cross to the official Latin cross.
The Templars became quite powerful in their new home. In 1420, King
John I gave the Knights of Christ control of Portugese possessions
in the Indies. Subsequent Portuguese monarchs expanded the Knights’
proprietorship to any new countries which the Knights might
discover. The Knights of Christ became so powerful, reports Albert MacKey, that several Portugese kings felt compelled to curtail the
Knights’ influence by taking over the Grand Master position. The
Knights of Christ survived under Portugese sponsorship until well
into the eighteenth century, at which time the Templar name
re-emerged and took on renewed importance in the stormy political
affairs of Europe, as we shall see later.
There was a third Christian knight organization during the Crusades
worth mentioning: the Teutonic Knights. The Teutonic Knights were
originally called the "Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St.
Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem." Like the Hospitalers, the
Teutonic Knights started as a charitable order. They operated a
hospital in Jerusalem to aid Christians making pilgrimages to the
Holy Land. In March 1198, the Teutonic Knights were given the rank
of an order of knights, which made them into a fighting order. Like
the Templars, the Teutonic Knights lived a semimonastic lifestyle,
practiced initiation rites, and were ruled by a Grand Master. The
Teutonic Knights permitted only Teutons [Germans] to become members.
They also feuded a great deal with the Hospitalers and Templars.
New [Golden] Dawn
As human history entered the eighteenth century, changes were
occurring. The Inquisition was almost dead and the Bubonic Plague
was dying with it.
Students of Masonic history know that the early 1700’s were an
important period for Freemasonry. Masonic lodges in England had
attracted many members who were not masons or builders by trade.
This happened because Freemasonry was evolving into something other
than a trade guild. It was becoming a fraternal society with a
secret mystical tradition. Many lodges were quietly opening their
doors to non-masons, especially to local aristocrats and men of
influence. By the year 1700, an estimated 70% of all Freemasons were
people from other occupations. They were called "Accepted Masons"
because they were accepted into the lodges even though they were not
masons by trade.
On June 24, 1717, representatives from four British lodges met at
the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse in London and created a new Grand
Lodge. The new Grand Lodge, which was called by some "The Mother
Grand Lodge of the World," officially dropped the guild aspect of
Freemasonry ("operative Freemasonry") and replaced it with a type of
Freemasonry that was strictly mystical and fraternal ("speculative
Freemasonry"). The titles, tools and products of the mason’s trade
were no longer addressed as objects that members would use in their
livelihoods. Instead, the items were transformed entirely into
mystical and fraternal symbols. These changes were not made
suddenly, but were the result of a trend which had already begun
well before 1717.
A number of histories incorrectly state that the Mother Grand Lodge
of 1717 was the beginning of Freemasonry itself. As we have seen,
Freemasonry’s roots were firmly established long before then, even
in England. For example, one Masonic legend relates that Prince
Edwin of England had invited guilds of Freemasons into his country
as early as 926 A.D. to assist the construction of several
cathedrals and stone buildings. Masonic manuscripts dating from 1390
and 1410 have been reported. Handwritten minutes from a Masonic
meeting from the year 1599 are reproduced in Albert Mackey’s History
of Freemasonry. Freemasonry was so well-established in England by
the 16th century that a well-documented schism in 1567 is on record.
The schism divided English Freemasons into two major factions: the "
York" and "London" Masons.
The new Grand Lodge system established at the Goose and Gridiron
Alehouse in 1717 consisted at first of only one level (degree) of
initiation. Within five years of the Lodge’s founding, two
additional degrees were added so that the system consisted of three
steps: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. These
steps are commonly called the "Blue Degrees" because the color blue
is symbolically important in them. The three Blue Degrees have
remained the first three steps of nearly all Masonic systems ever
The Mother Grand Lodge issued charters to men in England, Europe and
the British Empire authorizing them to establish lodges practicing
the Blue Degrees. The colorful fraternal activities of the lodges
provided a popular way for men to spend their time and Freemasonry
soon became quite the rage. Many lodge meetings were held in taverns
where robust drinking was a featured attraction. Of course, many
members were also drawn into the lodges by promises of fraternity
and spiritual enlightenment.
The new Mother Grand Lodge was reportedly very strict in its rule
forbidding political controversy within the lodges. Ideally,
Freemasonry was to be independent of political issues and problems.
In practice, however, the Mother Grand Lodge, which was established
only three years after the coronation of the first Hanoverian king,
supported the new German monarchy at a time when many Englishmen
were strongly opposed to it. One of the earliest and most
influential Grand Masters of the Mother Lodge system was the Rev.
John T. Desaguliers, who was elected Grand Master in 1719.
Desaguliers had earlier written a tract stating that the Hanoverians
were the only legitimate sovereigns of England under the "laws of
nature." On November 5, 1737, he conferred the first two Masonic
degrees on Frederick, Prince of Wales -- a Hanoverian. During the
ensuing generations, members of the Hanoverian royal family even
became Grand Masters.
[Augustus Frederick (1773-1843), the
ninth son of George III, was Grand Master for the thirty years
before his death. Prior to that, his older brother, who became
King George IV, had held the Grand Master position. A later
royal Grand Master was King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria;
Edward served as Grand Master for 27 years while he was the
Prince of Wales. The most recent royal Grand Master to become a
king was the Duke of York, who afterwards became King George VI
The English Grand Lodge was decidedly
pro-Hanoverian and its proscription against political controversy
really amounted to a support of the Hanoverian status quo.
In light of the Machiavellian nature of Brotherhood activity, if we
were to view the Mother Grand Lodge as a Brotherhood faction
designed to keep alive a controversial political cause (i.e.,
Hanoverian rule in Britain), we would expect the Brotherhood network
to be the source of a faction supporting the opposition. That is
precisely what happened. Shortly after the founding of the Mother
Grand Lodge, another system of Freemasonry was launched that
directly opposed the Hanoverians!
When James II was unseated by the Glorious Revolution of 1688, he
fled England. His followers promptly formed organizations to help
him recover the British throne. The most effective and militant
group was the Jacobite organization. Headquartered in Scotland and
Catholic Ireland, the Jacobites were able to rally widespread
support for the Stuarts. They staged many uprisings and military
campaigns against the Hanoverians, although they were ultimately
unsuccessful in recrowning the Stuarts. When the unsuccessful James
II died in 1701, his son, the self- proclaimed James III, continued
the family struggle to regain the British throne. A new branch of
Freemasonry was created to assist him. That branch was patterned
after the old Knights Templar.
The man who reportedly founded Knights Templar Freemasonry was one
of James III’s loyal supporters, Michael Ramsey. Ramsey was a
Scottish mystic who had been hired by James III to tutor James’ two
sons in France.
Ramsey’s goal was to re-establish the disgraced Templar Knights in
Europe. To accomplish this, Ramsey adopted the same approach used by
the Mother Grand Lodge system of London: the resurrected Knights
Templar were to be a secret mystical/fraternal society open to men
of varied occupations. The old knightly titles, uniforms, and "tools
of the trade" were to be used for symbolic, fraternal and ritual
purposes within a Masonic context. In keeping with these aims,
Ramsey dubbed himself the Chevalier [Knight] Ramsey.
Ramsey did not work alone. He was assisted by other Stuart
supporters. Among them was the English aristocrat, Charles Radcliffe. Radcliffe was a zealous Jacobite who had been arrested with his
brother, the Earl of Derwentwater, for their actions in connection
with the failed rebellion of 1715 to place James III on the British
throne. Both brothers were sentenced to death. The Earl was
beheaded, but Radcliffe escaped to France.
In France, Radcliffe assumed the title of Earl of Derwentwater. He
presided over a meeting in 1725 to organize a new Masonic lodge
based on the Templar format being revealed by Ramsey. The
Derwentwater lodge was instrumental in getting the new Templar
system of Freemasonry going in Europe. Derwentwater claimed that the
authority to establish his Lodge came from the Kilwinning Lodge of
Scotland -- Scotland’s oldest and most famous lodge. Templar
Freemasonry is therefore often called Scottish Freemasonry because
of its reputed Scottish origin.
[There is some debate as to whether
Lord Derwentwater had also received a charter from the Mother
Grand Lodge of England to start his new French lodge. Many
histories state that he did, but some Masonic scholars aver that
no record of such a charter exists and that Lord Derwentwater’s
lodge was an unofficial ("clandestine") lodge. It has been
argued that the Mother Grand Lodge of England would not have
granted Derwentwater a charter because his pro-Stuart political
leanings were well known. As a footnote, Lord Derwentwater
continued to remain politically active and he tried to join
Charles Edward during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. The ship
on which Derwentwater sailed was captured by an English cruiser.
The Earl was taken to London where he was beheaded in December
Ramsey’s Scottish Masonry attracted many
members by claiming that the Templar Knights had actually secretly
created the Mother Grand Lodge system. According to Ramsey, the
Knights Templar had rediscovered the "lost" teachings of Freemasonry
centuries earlier in the Holy Land during the Crusades. They brought
the teachings back to Europe and, after their disgrace and
banishment, secretly kept the teachings alive for hundreds of years
in France, England, and Scotland. After centuries of living in the
shadows, the Templars cautiously re-emerged by releasing only the
Blue Degrees through the vehicle of the Mother Grand Lodge.
Ramsey claimed that the three Blue
Degrees were issued only to test the loyalty of Freemasons. Once a
Freemason proved his loyalty by reaching the third degree, he was
entitled to advance to the "true" degrees: the fourth, fifth, and
higher degrees released by Ramsey. Ramsey stated that he was
authorized to release the higher degrees by a secret Templar
headquarters in Scotland. According to his story, the Scottish Templars were secretly working through the lodge at
To effect their pro-Stuart political aims, the Scottish lodges
changed the Biblical symbolism of the third Blue Degree into
political symbolism to represent the House of Stuart. Ramsey’s
"higher" degrees contained additional symbolism "revealing" why
Freemasons had a duty to help the Stuarts regain the throne of
England. Because of this, many people viewed Scottish Freemasonry as
a clever attempt to lure Freemasons away from the Mother Grand Lodge
system which supported the Hanoverian monarchy and turn the new
converts into pro-Stuart Masons.
The Stuarts themselves joined Ramsey’s organization. James III
adopted the Templar title "Chevalier St. George." His son, Charles
Edward, was initiated into the Order of Knights Templar on September
24, 1745, the same year in which he led a major Jacobite invasion of
Scotland. Two years later, on April 15, 1747, Charles Edward
established a Masonic "Scottish Jacobite Chapter" in the French city
of Arras. Charles Edward later denied ever having been a Freemason
in order to squelch damaging rumors that Scottish Masonry was
nothing more than a front for the Stuart cause (which it largely
was), even though he had been a Grand Master in the Scottish system.
Proof of his Grand Mastership was discovered in 1853 when someone
found the charter issued by Charles Edward to establish the
above-mentioned lodge at Arras. The charter states in part:
We, Charles Edward, King of England,
France, Scotland, and Ireland, and as such Substitute Grand
Master of the Chapter of H., known by the title of Knight of the
Eagle and Pelican...
["Chapter of H" is believed to have been the Scottish lodge at
Heredon. Charles Edward is denoted as the "Substitute" Grand
Master because his father, as King of Scotland, was considered
the "hereditary" Grand Master.]
We have just discussed the founding of
two systems of Freemasonry. Each one supported the opposite side of
an important political conflict going on in England-a conflict which
affected other European nations, as well. Both systems of
Freemasonry were launched within less than five years of one
another. Ramsey’s story of how the two systems came into existence
therefore contains some rather stunning implications. His story
implies that a small hidden group of people belonging to the
Brotherhood network in Scotland deliberately created two opposing
types of Freemasonry to encourage and support both sides of a
violent political controversy. This would be a startlingly clear
example of Machiavellianism.
How true is Ramsey’s story?
To answer this question, we must first take a brief look at the
history of Freemasonry in Scotland.
Scotland has long been an important center of Masonic activity. The
earliest of the old Masonic guilds in Scotland had been founded at
Kilwinning in 1120 A.D. By 1670, the Kilwinning Lodge was already
practicing speculative Freemasonry (although, in name, it was still
an operative lodge).
The Scottish lodges were unique in that they were independent of,
and were never chartered by, the English Grand Lodge even after they
began to practice the Blue Degrees of the English Grand Lodge
system. The Kilwinning Lodge itself had been granting charters since
the early 15th century. It ceased doing so only in 1736 when it
joined other Scottish lodges in elevating the Edinburgh Lodge to the
position of Grand Lodge of Scotland. The new Grand Lodge of Scotland
at Edinburgh adopted the speculative system of the English Grand
Lodge, yet it still remained independent of the English Grand Lodge
and issued its own charters. About seven years later, in 1743, the
Kilwinning Lodge broke away from the Grand Lodge of Scotland over a
seemingly trivial dispute.
Kilwinning set itself up as an
independent Masonic body ("Mother Lodge of Kilwinning") and once
again issued its own charters. In 1807, the Kilwinning Lodge
renounced all fight of granting charters and rejoined the Grand
Lodge of Scotland. We therefore see substantial periods of time in
which the Kilwinning Lodge was independent of all other Lodges and
when it could very well have granted charters to Templar Freemasons.
It was independent at the time Ramsey and Derwentwater claimed to
have received authorization from Kilwinning to establish Templar
degrees in Europe.
Some Masonic historians argue that the Kilwinning Lodge and other
Scottish lodges still had nothing to do with creating the so-called
"Scottish" degrees. They state that the Scottish degrees were all
created in France by Ramsey and his Jacobite cohorts. Some Masonic
writers contend that Templarism did not even reach Scotland until
the year 1798 -- decades after it had already caught on in Europe.
Those writers further claim that the Kilwinning Lodge had never
practiced anything but the Blue Degrees of the English system.
Others believe that Ramsey, who was born in the vicinity of
Kilwinning, claimed a Scottish origin to his degrees out of
nationalistic pride and to help build a base of political support
for the Stuarts in Scotland. These arguments sound persuasive, but
historical documentation proves that they are all false.
First of all, we have already seen that Scotland was providing this
era with important historical figures contributing to some of the
changes being wrought by Brotherhood revolutionaries. Michael Ramsey
is the third mysterious Scotsman of obscure origin we have seen help
bring important changes to Europe. The other two were discussed
earlier: William Paterson, who helped German rulers set up a central
bank in England, and John Law, who was the architect of the central
bank of France.
Secondly, the Scottish Masonic lodges were a natural place for
pro-Stuart Templar degrees to arise. Scotland was strongly pro-
Stuart and the Jacobites were headquartered there. Decades before
the English Grand Lodge was created, many Masons in Scotland were
already known to be helping the Stuarts. These Scottish loyalists
used their lodges as secret meeting places in which to hatch
political intrigues. Pro-Stuart Masonic activity may go as far back
as 1660 -- the year of the Stuart Restoration (when the Stuarts took
the throne back from the Puritans). According to some early Masons,
the Restoration was largely a Masonic feat. General Monk, who played
such a pivotal role in the Restoration, was reported to be a
Finally, there is incontroverted evidence that the Scottish lodges,
including the one at Kilwinning, were involved with Templarism
decades before 1798. Masonic historian Albert Mackey reports in his
History of Freemasonry that in 1779, the Kilwinning Lodge had issued
a charter to some Irish Masons who called themselves the "Lodge of
High Knights Templars." More than a decade earlier, in 1762, St.
Andrew’s Lodge of Boston had applied to the Grand Lodge of Scotland
for a warrant (which it later received) by which the Boston lodge
could confer the " Royal Arch" and Knight Templar degrees at its
August 28, 1769 meeting. It is significant that St. Andrew’s Lodge
had applied to the Grand Lodge of Scotland for the right to confer
the Templar degree, not to any French lodge.
We have thus confirmed two elements of Ramsey’s story:
1) that Scottish lodges
practiced Templar Freemasonry
2) that a Scottish Grand Lodge was granting Templar
charters at least as early as 1762
We can safely assume that the Scottish
Grand Lodge was involved with Templarism before that year because
the Lodge would have had to establish the Templar degree before
another lodge could apply for it. Unfortunately, there are no
apparent records surviving to indicate just when Templarism began in
the Scottish lodges. Ramsey and Derwentwater, of course, claim that
the Templar degrees already existed in the early 1720’s. The
Scottish lodges may well have been involved with some form of
Templarism at that time.
Understandably, the Scottish lodges were highly secretive about
their Templar activities. We only know about the 1762 Templar
charter to St. Andrew’s Lodge from records found in Boston. One need
only consider the fates of the two Earls of Derwentwater to
appreciate the dangers awaiting those people, including Free-
masons, who engaged in pro-Stuart political activity.
Not every element of Ramsey’s Templar story was backed by evidence.
For example, Freemasonry itself was not started by the Templar
Knights as Ramsey implied. The Masonic guilds which gave birth to
Freemasonry existed long before the Templar Knights were founded. On
the other hand, there is circumstantial evidence that Templar
Knights may indeed have been the ones who brought the Blue Degrees
As mentioned in Chapter 15, it is thought that the three Blue
Degrees were already being practiced centuries earlier by the
Assassin sect of Persia. The Templar Knights had frequent contact
with the Assassins during the Crusades. During those periods when
they were not fighting against one another, the Assassins and
Templars established treaties and engaged in other amicable
relations. One treaty even allowed the Templars to build several
fortresses on Assassin territory. It is believed by some historians
that during those peaceful interludes, the Templars learned about
the Assassins’ extensive mystical teachings and incorporated some of
those teachings into the Templar system. It is therefore quite
possible that the Templars did indeed have the Blue Degrees long
before they were established by the English Mother Grand Lodge.
Further circumstantial evidence is that during the Crusade era, the
Templars were at the height of their power in Europe. They owned
properties throughout the Continent. Their holdings and preceptories
in Scotland were especially numerous. When the Templars abandoned
the Holy Land after the Crusades, they eventually returned to their
preceptories around the world, including Scotland. After the Templar
Order was suppressed throughout Europe, many Templars refused to
abandon their Templar traditions and so they conducted their
activities in secrecy. Some secretly-active Templars joined Masonic
lodges, including lodges in Scotland and England. It is therefore
conceivable that Templars were the conduit through which the three
Blue Degrees traveled from the Assassin sect, through Scotland, to
the Mother Grand Lodge of 1717.
Some Freemasons may view any attempt to connect the Blue Degrees
with the Assassin sect as an effort to discredit Freemasonry, even
though the connection was suggested by one of Masonry’s most
esteemed historians. In discussing such a link, it is important to
keep in mind that the assassination techniques employed by the
Assassins were never taught in the Blue Degrees. The Assassins
possessed an extensive mystical tradition that extended well beyond
their controversial political methods. Furthermore, the Assassins
had borrowed many of their mystical teachings from earlier
Brotherhood systems. The Blue Degrees may have therefore begun even
earlier than the founding of the Assassin organization.
Whatever the ultimate truth of the origins of the Blue Degrees and
Scottish Degrees may have been, both systems gained great
popularity. The Scottish Degrees eventually came to dominate nearly
all of Freemasonry. On continental Europe, the center of Scottish
Freemasonry proved to be Germany, where the same small clique of
German petty princes we have been observing soon emerged as leaders
in the new Templar Freemasonry.
Knight, There a Knight
Even after the collapse of the Stuart cause, the Knight degrees
remained popular and spread rapidly. The pro-Stuart slant vanished
in favor of an antimonarchial philosophy in some Templar
organizations, and a pro-monarchial sentiment in others. Freemasons
practicing the Templar degrees played important political roles on
both sides of the monarchy vs. antimonarchy battles going on in the
18th century, thereby helping to keep that issue alive in such a way
that people would find it something to continuously fight over.
For example, King Gustavus III of Sweden
and his brother, Karl, the Duke of Sodermanland, had been initiated
into the Strict Observance in 1770. In the following year, one of
Gustavus’s first acts upon assuming the Swedish throne was to mount
a coup d’etat against the Swedish Riksdag [parliament] and
reestablish greater powers in the Crown. According to Samuel
Harrison Baynard, writing in his book, History of the Supreme
Council, Gustavus was assisted largely by fellow Freemasons.
The Knight degrees also found a home in Ireland when they attached
themselves to the Order of Orange. As we recall, the Orange Order
was a militant organization patterned after Freemasonry. It was
founded to ensure that Protestantism remained England’s dominant
religion. Members of the Orange Order vowed to support the
Hanoverians as long as the Hanoverians continued their support of
Protestantism. The Knight degrees were grafted onto the Order of
Orange in the early 1790’s, by which time the Stuart cause was
nearly dead. The Orange Order’s Templar degrees were, and still are
today, called the "Black Preceptory."
Although the Orange Order and the
Black Preceptory are supposed to be equal in status and link, entry into
the Black Preceptory is accomplished only after a person has first
passed through the degrees of the Order. According to Tony Gray,
writing in his fascinating book, The Orange Order, the Black
Preceptory today has eleven degrees and "a great deal of secrecy
still shrouding the inner workings of this curious institution."
Approximately 50% to 60% of all Orange members become members of the
Preceptory. The Orange Order itself continues to be strongly
Protestant and anti- Catholic, and in this way it contributes to
some of the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland
Another interesting chapter in the history of the Templar Degrees
concerns the creation of a bogus "Illuminati."
"Illuminati," as we
recall, was the Latin name given to the Brotherhood. In 1779, a
second "Illuminati" was started in the Strict Observance Lodge of
Munich. This second bogus "Illuminati" was led by an ex-Jesuit
Weishaupt and was structured as a semiautonomous
Openly political and anti-monarchial, Weishaupt’s "Illuminati" formed another channel of "higher degrees"
for Freemasons to graduate into after completing the Blue Degrees.
Weishaupt’s "Illuminati" had its own "hidden master" known as the
"Ancient Scot Superior." The Strict Observance members who were
initiated into this "Illuminati" apparently believed that they were
being initiated into the highest echelons of the real Illuminati, or
Brotherhood. Once initiated under strict vows of secrecy, members
were "revealed" a great deal of political and antimonarchial
Weishaupt’s "Illuminati" was soon attacked, however. Its
headquarters in German Bavaria were raided by the Elector of Bavaria
in 1786. Many radical political aims of the Illuminati were
discovered in documents seized during the raid. The Duke of
Brunswick, acting as Grand Master of German Freemasonry, finally
issued a manifesto eight years later, in 1794, to counteract Weishaupt’s bogus "Illuminati" after the public scandal could no
longer be contained. Joining in the suppression of Weishaupt’s
Bavarian "Illuminati" were many Rosicrucians. Despite the
repression, this "Illuminati" survived and still exists today.
Many people have mistakenly believed that Weishaupt’s "Illuminati"
was the true Illuminati and that it took over all of Freemasonry.
This error is caused by Weishaupt’s express desire to have his
degrees become the only "higher degrees" of Freemasonry. One can
still find books today which theorize that Weishaupt’s "Illuminati"
was, and still is, the source of nearly all of mankind’s social
ills. A careful study of the evidence indicates that Weishaupt’s
"Illuminati" is actually a red herring in this respect. Although
Weishaupt’s "Illuminati" did contribute to some of the revolutionary agitation going on in Europe, its impact on history does not
appear to have been as great as some people believe, despite the
enormous publicity it received.
The social ills which have sometimes
been blamed on Weishaupt’s "Illuminati" existed long before the
birth of Adam Weishaupt. What did take over nearly all of
Freemasonry in the eighteenth century were the Templar degrees,
which were not the same thing as Weishaupt’s "Illuminati." The true
significance of the
Bavarian Illuminati is that is was an
antimonarchy faction allowed to operate out of Strict Observance
lodges; meanwhile, the Strict Observance was generally considered
pro-monarchy and it supported pro-monarchy causes, as in the Swedish Ricksdag overthrow mentioned earlier. This made the Strict
Observance a source of secret agitation on both sides of the
monarchy-versus-antimonarchy conflicts for a number of years --
another example of Brotherhood Machiavellianism.
The worldwide transformation of human society announced in the
Rosicrucian Fama Fraternitis gained momentum as Freemasons and other
mystical network members led numerous revolutions around the world.
The uprisings were not confined to Europe; they spilled across the
Atlantic Ocean and took root in the European colonies in North
America. There they gave birth to single most influential nation on
Earth today: the United States of America.
When European colonists sailed to North America, the Brotherhood
organizations sailed with them. In 1694, a group of Rosicrucian
leaders from Europe founded a colony in what is today the state of
Pennsylvania. Some of their picturesque buildings in Ephrata still
stand as a unique tourist attraction.
Freemasonry followed. On June 5, 1730, the Duke of Norfolk granted
to Daniel Coxe of New Jersey one of the earliest known Masonic
deputations to reach the American colonies. The deputation appointed
Mr. Coxe provisional Grand Master of New York, New Jersey, and
Pennsylvania. It also allowed him to establish lodges. One of the
earliest official colonial lodges was founded by Henry Price in
Boston on August 31, 1733 under a charter from the Mother Grand
Lodge of England. Masonic historian Albert MacKey believes that
lodges probably existed earlier, but that their records have been
Freemasonry spread rapidly in the American colonies just as it had
done in Europe.
The philosophical importance of Freemasonry to the American
Revolutionaries can also be seen in the symbols which the
revolutionary leaders chose to represent the new American nation.
They were Brotherhood/Masonic symbols.
Among a nation’s most significant symbols is the national seal. An
early proposal for the American national seal was submitted by
William Barton in 1782. In the upper right hand corner of Barton’s
drawing is a pyramid with the tip missing. In place of the tip is a
triangular "All-Seeing Eye of God." The All-Seeing eye, as we
recall, has long been one of Freemasonry’s most significant symbols.
It was even sewn on the Masonic aprons of George Washington,
Benjamin Franklin and other Masonic revolutionaries.
Above the pyramid and eye on Barton’s
proposal are the Latin words Annuit Coeptis, which means "He [God]
hath prospered our beginning."
On the bottom is the inscription Novus ordo Seclorum: "The beginning of a new order of the ages."
This bottom inscription tells us that the leaders of the Revolution
were pursuing a broad universal goal which encompassed much more
than their immediate concerns as colonists.
They were envisioning a
change in the entire world social order, which follows the goal
announced in the [Rosicrucian]
Barton’s pyramid and accompanying Latin inscriptions were adopted in
their entirety. The design is still a part of the American Great
Seal which can be seen on the back of the U.S. $1.00 bill.
The main portion of Barton’s design was not adopted except for one
small part. In the center of Barton’s proposal is a shield with two
human figures standing on either side. Perched atop the shield is a
phoenix with wings outstretched; in the middle is a small phoenix
burning in its funeral pyre. As discussed earlier, the phoenix is a
Brotherhood symbol used since the days of ancient Egypt. The phoenix
was adopted by the Founding Fathers for use on the reverse of the
first official seal of
the United States after a design Proposed by
Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress. The first
die of the U.S. seal depicts a long-necked tufted bird: the phoenix.
The phoenix holds in its mouth a banner
with the words E. Pluribus Unum ("Out of many, one"). Above the
bird’s head are thirteen stars breaking through a cloud. In one
talon the phoenix holds a cluster of arrows; in the other, an olive
branch. Some people mistook the bird for a wild turkey because of
the long neck; however, the phoenix is also long of neck and all
other features of the bird clearly indicate that it is a phoenix.
The die was retired in 1841 and the phoenix was replaced by the bald
eagle -- America’s national bird. (image
Freemasons consider their fraternal ties to transcend their
political and national divisions. When the War for American
Independence was over, however, the American lodges split from the
Mother Grand Lodge of London and created their own autonomous
American Grand Lodge.
The Scottish degrees soon became dominant in
American Freemasonry. The two major forms of Freemasonry practiced
in the United States today are the York Rite (a version of the
original English York Rite) and the Scottish Rite. The modern York
Rite has a total of ten degrees: the topmost is "Knights Templar."
The Scottish Rite has a total of thirty-three degrees, many of which
are Knight degrees.
The influence of Freemasonry in American politics remained strong
long after the Revolution was over. About one third of all U.S.
Presidents have been Freemasons, most of them in the Scottish Rite.
[In addition to George Washington
and James Madison, Freemasons in the Presidency have been: James
Monroe (initiated November 9, 17751), Andrew Jackson (in. 1800),
James Polk (in. June 5, 1820), James Buchanan (in. December 11,
1816), Andrew Johnson (in. 1851), James Garfield (in. November
22, 1861 or 1862), William McKinley (in. May 1, 1865), Theodore
Roosevelt (in. January 2, 1901), William Howard Taft (in.
February 18, 1908), Warren Harding (in. June 28, 1901), Franklin
D. Roosevelt (in. October 10, 1911), Harry S. Truman (in.
February 9, 1909), and Gerald Ford (in. 1949).
The list of
prominent American Freemasons also includes such people as the
late J. Edgar Hoover, founder of the F.B.I., who had attained
the highest (33rd) degree of the Scottish Rite, and presidential
candidate Jesse Jackson (in. 1988). Famous American artists have
also been members, such as Mark Twain, Will Rogers and W.C.
The influence of Freemasonry in American
politics extended beyond the Presidency. The U.S. Senate and House
of Representatives have had a large Masonic membership for most of
the nation’s history. In 1924, for example, a Masonic publication
listed sixty Senators as Freemasons. They constituted over 60% of
the Senate. More than 290 members of the House of Representatives
were also named as lodge members.
This Masonic presence has waned somewhat
in recent years. In an advertising supplement entitled,
"Freemasonry, A Way of Life," the Grand Lodge of California revealed
that in the 97th Congress (1981-1983), there were only 28 lodge
members in the Senate and 78 in the House. While that represents a
substantial drop from the 1920’s, Freemasonry still has a good-sized
representation in the Senate with more than a quarter of that
legislative body populated by members of the Craft.