Ancient Truths? - Part 6 : From 1200 AD to date
Reflections On Part 5, and then...The previous chapter introduced the term 'secret societies', but it did not enlarge on its meaning and how, indeed, they came into existence. A clue is in Christian scripture, e.g.
2 Peter 3:16 ESV : There are some things ... that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.The point is that 'inner truths' - if told straight-forwardly - cannot be absorbed, or understood, by everyone. Indeed, some might distort their true meaning. Jesus and many other spiritual masters have got over some of this dilemma by speaking in parables, or story-telling. Even then, that approach would not be suitable in all situations. Therefore deeper truths were told separately to those who could comprehend, and this comes out in many gnostic texts, such as found in the Nag Hammadi library. Or revealed scriptures - such as the Qur'an - have to be understood in the context of when a text was revealed and the circumstances appertaining to it. They were very rarely intended to be read literally and need to be read in the context of the circumstances of the time.
For example, in the Qur'an (112:1-4), a translation states:
Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah is He on Whom all (beings and things) depend. He does not beget, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him.This text - I understand - upset Christians when they learnt of it, because it appeared to be in contradiction to the Christian perspective. However, this verse was revealed to Muhammed when the nature of God needed to be explained to members of Muhammed's community, not as an argument addressed to Christianity. And there are other, more subtle, aspects to this verse. The text of various scriptures can be understood at different levels.
Ordinary religion does not describe an inner truth but instead provides some of the essential structure as a guide for a good life to be spent, and by a combination of the application of that practise and illumination it might be that some measure of deeper understanding could be gained - particularly when giving service to the poor and the sick and also through sincere prayer. But there are those - of all persuasions - who read their religious teachings literally, and that approach unfortunately often leads to they claiming superiority for their religion over others. This is most often because of their lack of understanding of religions other than their own.
The original and earliest 'secret societies' - going back at least thousands of years - were usually made up of sincere seekers (led by an inspired master) who had the ability to grasp and sincerely apply the 'inner truths' which, if openly told to the more gross members of society, might create social disturbance and even harm. A simple example of this was when a significant theologian and scientist by the name of Joseph Priestley made a philosophical observation in 1791 about the French Revolution which, when openly disseminated by a spy, instigated a major riot in Birmingham. The homes, valuables and libraries of Priestley and several distinguished friends and associates were plundered, trashed and burnt by the crowds. Priestley himself felt obliged to immediately leave Birmingham and not long after, via London, he found solace in the newly-created U.S.A.
However, it is sadly the case that the original (mainly) pure intention of some secret societies has denigrated over time and, in some cases, there has been some modification that would seem to have caused the promotion of harmful causes. But there were other societies that evolved over time, some leaning towards enlightenment, and others towards darkness.
The Roman Catholic Church built up its power over centuries and used the tool of fear through the mechanism of the Inquisition. And a society known as the Jesuits was paramount in the implementation of that. Founded by Ignatius Loyola, he began life as a professional soldier. When his right leg was shattered during a siege he was invalided out of the Spanish army. Then, during a period of convalescence, he was reading a book on the lives of the Christian saints when he realised his religious vocation. So in 1534, while studying in Paris, he gathered around him seven fellow students to form a brotherhood. In 1540 the Pope recognized this order as the Society of Jesus (as they were formally called).
The Jesuits were to be the Church’s intellectual elite, its military intelligence, servants unto death, searching out heresy and unlawful entry into the spirit worlds. They considerably helped the Roman Catholic cause in mainland Europe during the Reformation, and against the more spiritual Rosicrucian movement, and have been considerably influential since and throughout the Catholic world. They were not quite a secret society, being an official arm of the Church, but the Jesuits acted in similar ways at times.
Because of its largely hidden latter-day influence in the world, the secret society that we will mainly examine here is Freemasonry: its origins and its evolution, including its infiltration.
Templars, America and FreemasonryMasonic roots most likely go back to ancient Egyptian times, if not earlier, but because of its significance, we will concentrate on their development from the time of the Knights Templar, who were spoken of in reasonable depth in the previous chapter.
In common with all earlier Masonic fraternities, the declared purpose of freemasonry is to illuminate on the purpose of existence and to promote learning to use mind over matter in personal and collective growth. As part of this curriculum, service to society is generally promoted as an estimable activity. Within freemasonry, there are various degrees of initiation and attainment. Freemasonry, therefore, presents itself as an extension to religion with the promise of leading to greater truths.
We have seen how the Knights Templar seem to have had considerable intercourse with other esoteric cults during their sojourn in the Middle East, including the Isma'ilis (via the Assassins), Sufis and Mandeans. It would also seem that they borrowed from those people certain systems of organisation and methods of spiritual evolution, but they probably modified them to suit their own purposes.
When the Knights Templar were forced to withdraw into Europe following the expulsion of the Crusaders from the Levant, they continued to operate their banking function but also withdrew into secret activity. Then, in 1307, they were repressed by Philip V of France, then dissolved, during a time when the papacy was at its weakest. This repression saw the major numbers of Templars (apart from those arrested, tortured and executed) leaving for Scotland and Portugal, where the Templars were already very established. They almost certainly took with them the greater part of their property, whether in gold, objects or intellectual form.
With the Templars losing their intended purpose, they sought new ventures. For example, there seem to be strong indicators that they assisted Robert the Bruce in his fight against the English. The Templars certainly established a significant number of cells, or lodges, in Scotland. But what is perhaps of particular interest is that there are strong claims of a voyage that took place to America in the 14th c. by Sir Henry Sinclair - obviously a long time before Columbus - and which voyage clearly shows some prior knowledge of America's existence. The purpose of that voyage certainly seems to have included a reconnaissance with a view, probably, to greater migration.
Proof of some Templar visit to America prior to Columbus exists in the Roslyn Chapel in Scotland, which was built by the Sinclair family in the 1460s, some 30 years before Columbus's famous voyage. In the Roslyn Chapel - which is universally accepted as being built on the lines of the second Jerusalem Temple - exists carvings of crops and vegetation that would only be found in North America. The Chapel also has other carvings that clearly relate to Templar activity, and the Chapel is not designed as a usual Christian church of the period.
It is highly likely that the Roman Catholic Church and Columbus already knew of the American findings of the Templars in the previous century, with the Church wanting to claim America as its own. Columbus had married a daughter of a Portuguese Templar.
In 1717, the first English Freemason's Lodge was established in London, but they do not admit to any precedent to their existence other than the lore of King Soloman. The reality is, however, that the source of their existence lies firstly in the Scottish Masonic lodge system, which, in its turn, evolved out of the Templars. James I of England (James VI of Scotland) was a member of the Scottish Lodge. There was too much similarity between the systems of the Scottish and English lodges for them not to be historically connected.
The number of degrees of initiation in Freemasonry came to number 33, and Idris Shah ('The Sufis', (1964)) states:
The Kaaba (cubical temple) of Mecca was rebuilt in 6o8 AD, when Mohammed was thirty-five years old, and five years before he started his teaching. This temple was built with thirty-one courses of stone and wood. The Sufis add: "with Earth and Sky, thirty-three ."It is well known that Washington, the USA's capital, was designed according to a plan utilising the knowledge existing within Freemasonry. Indeed, members of the leadership that brought about the United States of America - particularly Washington and Franklin - were freemasons. At that time, and in the USA, Freemasonry was almost certainly an entirely constructive movement, bringing together a rich seam of intelligentsia to build a new country on sound - even spiritual - principles.
However, a new development was taking place that may well have infiltrated and re-directed the original aims of freemasonry towards a New World Order, but one without sound principles. This development has probably taken place without the knowledge of the initiatory degrees of Freemasonry.
The IlluminatiIn 1776 a Bavarian professor of law, Adam Weishaupt, founded an organisation called the Illuminati, recruiting the first brothers from among his students. Members were requested to surrender individual judgement and will. Weishaupt joined the Freemasons in 1777, and soon many of the Illuminati followed, infiltrating the lodges. They quickly rose to positions of seniority.
Spirituality was derided and spat upon. Jesus Christ’s teachings, they said, were really purely political in content, calling for the abolition of all property, of the institution of marriage, all family ties and all religion. The aim of Weishaupt and his co-conspirators was to set up a society run on purely materialistic grounds, a revolutionary new society - and the place where they would test their theories, they had decided, would be France.
Weishaupt’s writings revealed the extent of his cynicism:
… in concealment lies a great part of our strength. For this reason we must cover ourselves in the name of another society. The lodges that are under Freemasonry are the most suitable cloak for our high purpose.By 1789 there were some 300 Freemasonry lodges in France, including 65 in Paris. According to some French Freemasons today, there were more than 70,000 Freemasons in France. The original plan had been to impregnate people with hope and will for change, but lodges had been infiltrated to the extent that it has been said that ‘the programme put into action by the French Constitutional Assembly in 1789 had been put together by German Illuminati in 1776’. The revolutionary leaders Danton, Desmoulins, Mirabeau, Marat, Robespierre, Guillotin and others had been ‘illuminated’. Thus became the fate of France. Yes, the poor had been maltreated by their king, but what replaced royalty was almost unspeakable - a reign of terror. Napoleon - eventually - also failed when, possibly, wisdom departed from him.
What has happened over the 230 years since the French Revolution appears to have been a universal takeover of masonic activities at the highest levels by the self-styled Illuminati in order to achieve a New World Order. This has been made more possible by converting the world banking systems to this cause, and the creation of the CIA. Further, and worryingly, the nature of education worldwide has become not just secular but slanted towards material ends, although often under the guise of constructive ideas.
The approach taken by the Illuminati may have been modified over the years and modified according to circumstances, but the approach is essentially still the same as in the 1780s. However, it is more than likely that their lack of spiritual insight and orientation to material greed will be their eventual downfall, that their dark thinking will fail. As did Hitler, and any other power-crazed dictator or cult. But their existence creates suffering on the way, as has been attested by a former Dutch banker by the name of Ronald Bernard, who appears to have worked at the highest level and knows at first hand how the world monetary systems work and for whose benefit it exists - i.e. the top 1% richest.
As Ronald Bernard discovered, the antidote is - and can only be - by taking the way of Light.
The Way of LightCoincidentally, following on the heels of the early 14th c. suppression of the Templars in France, there appeared a new wave of illuminates (not 'Illuminatis'!) in the West, probably beginning with Meister Eckhart. Eckart became another of those many who became charged with heresy in times when the Roman Catholic Church knew no limit to their restriction of spiritual freedom. The papacy seems to have had a fear of the growing problem of mystical heresy. However, it seems that Eckart evaded the decision on heresy charges by dying whilst in prison, in 1328.
Not long after grew a movement called 'The Friends of God', which began within the Catholic Church but then became a separate sect. This movement grew out of the preaching and teaching of Meister Eckhart, and especially his Dominican spiritual heirs, the preacher John Tauler and the writer Henry Suso.
The Friends of God, as led by Tauler and Suso, sought a mystical path in line with established Catholic doctrine, following Thomas Aquinas. Another inspiration in the movement, Rulman Merswin, wanted to purify the Church, but this stress on reform brought The Friends of God into conflict with the Church. Not long after Merswin’s death in 1382, they were condemned.
That Francis felt the source of his troubadour inspiration to lie in the East, and that he was connected with the Sufis, seems clear from much evidence. When he went to the Pope, trying to have his Order accepted, he used a parable which shows that he must have been thinking in terms of the orphaning of a tradition and the need to reestablish its reality. The phrases which he uses in the parable are of Arabia, and the terminology, of a King and his court, of a woman and her sons in the desert is not Christian but Saracen.
"Francis," says Bonaventura, recording an audience with Pope Innocent, "came armed with a parable . 'here was,' he said, 'a rich and mighty king who took to wife a poor but very beautiful woman, who lived in a desert, in whom he greatly delighted and by whom he had children who bore his image. When her sons were grown their mother said to them, 'My sons, be not ashamed; ye are the children of a King .' And she sent them to the court, having supplied them with all necessaries. When they came to the King, he admired their beauty; and seeing in them some resemblance to himself, he asked them, 'Whose sons are ye?' When they replied that they were the sons of a poor woman dwelling in the desert, the King, filled with much joy, said, 'Fear not, ye are my sons, and if I nourish strangers at my table, how much more you, who are my legitimate children."'
The tradition that the Sufis are the esoteric Christians out of the desert, and that they are the children of a poor woman [Hagar, by Abraham] because of their Arab descent, fits completely with the probability that Francis had tried to explain to the Pope that the Sufi stream represented Christianity in a continuing form.
Added to the known acquisition of Sufi lore by the Templars, and also by Richard I of England, the close proximity of Moorish Spain (and the Sufis of Spain) to Provence, also that Meister Eckhart resided at Avignon in southern France, then the circumstances are such that the mystical direction taken by some in Christian Europe shortly after these events is not surprising, particularly in the nature of the mysticism.
Raymond Lully, the Majorcan mystic of the 13th c. AD is yet another link to the Sufis. Lully openly studied the works of several great Sufi luminaries.
King Edward III of England instituted the Order Of The Garter in 1348, ostensibly as a chivalric order. But according to the late Sufi master and writer Idris Shah, its origins are much more mystical and lie with a tradition of Sufi origin, which Shah described.
To add, Roger Bacon (12th c.) was influenced by Aquinas but almost certainly the Sufi philosopher ibn Rushd in equal measure. Roger Bacon's namesake, the possibly more eminent Sir Francis (Bacon), is thought by a number to have been the real writer of Shakespeare's works. Even 'The Taming Of The Shrew' comes from the famous Arab tales called 'A Thousand and One Nights', which is nothing more than a set of allegorical Sufi stories. Shakespeare's contemporaries seem to suggest that he, Shakespeare, did not have the capability of converting such a story from one culture to another.
Sir Francis Bacon's works are credited with developing the scientific method but, like Roger Bacon, Sir Francis intimately knew the works of ibn Rushd, who was earlier in his scientific method. Bacon specifically also refers to hidden teachings and states that a country or island named Atlantis existed thousands of years before and was lost to the sea as a result of a deluge.
What's NextPeter Russell, a scientist who has stated that he once worked with Stephen Hawking, has said in his book 'From Science to God':
Unlike the God I rejected as a youth, God as the light of consciousness neither conflicts with my scientific leanings, nor does it run counter to my intuition and reason. Indeed, it points toward an ultimate convergence of science and religion. By convergence I mean more than just a reconciliation between two different worldviews. Various people have traced parallels and areas of similarity between science and spirituality – the way that quantum theory, for example, is like some Buddhist, Hindu or Taoist teachings on the nature of reality. Or in the way that Old Testament [and Qur’anic] teachings seem to predict recent scientific discoveries. These resemblances are certainly intriguing, but I believe we are heading toward a far more profound convergence – a true synthesis of the two in a single, all-embracing worldview.Hawking himself stated the opinion: “If we find why it is that we and the universe exist, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.”
The scientific world followed Deterministic Mechanics (as identified by Newton) until the first leading questions were raised as a result of the discovery of the electron in the late 19th century. Only at this point, did modern science begin to properly learn; and it still learning.
This phase led to Quantum Mechanics in the 1920s. Then, as indicated by Peter Russell, by the middle of the 20th-century scientists were beginning to accept the presence of a universal consciousness (effectively another term for ‘God’). This despite the fact that it was scientists that had earlier wished to remove God as Creator and Prime Mover from physics because no God (according to their earlier methods) could be proved to exist.
Now more than ever, we must be careful to adjust our worldview, to react to events in a healing way and maintain a course involving sacred action. This is what it means to be conscious. We will each do this in a different way because we are all different, but we will all keep our focus and attention on these things.