The members of the Brotherhood, which was the Gnostic group the Templar founders belonged to, and became the core of the Templars, functioned the same as the other groups, except that its existence was not known for centuries, not until the Rosicrucians shocked the world in the early 17th century with a publication called Fama Fraternitatis, “History of the Brotherhood,” the Rosicrucian Manifesto. The text describes Gnostic principles in Alchemy terms with references to the Rose-Cross and to “those who came before us,” the mysterious superiors connected to the supposedly defunct Knights Templar.
We know about the Brotherhood's secret codes and symbols, which they bestowed on the Templar order. The Templar rank and file had no idea what their peculiar red cross (the Rose-Croix, with all four legs the same size, signifying Gnostic balance and the rose, the flower and the color red, signifying Christ) or the term Beauseant meant, (literally “To Be Whole”) which they used as salutation, battle cry and the name of their flag, the black and white. For the uninitiated, this was simply a peculiar turn of phrase, perhaps meaning completion of oneself in the Church, but for the Gnostics it meant the ultimate spiritual goal, what we would call enlightenment today.
So what exactly was Gnosticism? The Gnostic Gospels that were discovered in 1947 in a cave in Egypt shed much light into the subject. Up to then what we knew about Gnosticism was that it was a religious tradition outside of the mainstream that had been banned at one point, one that evolved into different sects with as much dogma, ritual, and misconceptions as any other 2,000 year old religion. Gnosticism is the foundation of the Jewish Kabalah, Islam's Sufism, and what became known as Christian Kabalah or Christian Mysticism, in addition to several independent groups; all with their own particular dogma and ritual. But the Gnostic gospels contained in those mud jars found in a cave in Egypt in 1947 when eventually translated revealed Jesus’ unadulterated secret teachings, the original Gnosticism, what he reserved for the few he considered ready. His disciples Thomas and Mary Magdalene wrote the two most famous gospels found in those jars. They offer us a glimpse of Jesus and his message by contemporaries, unlike the four gospels in the Bible, which were written many decades after Jesus’ passing and recounted an oral tradition.
Gnosis means knowledge in Greek, the knowledge we acquire by going inside and knowing who we really are, one with God. This, very simply is what Jesus taught. Once we attain this God-knowledge, also known as the Christ consciousness, a person would see the God in all, be one with all. This was the Templars’ Beauseant, to be whole. This meant that there was no need for Church or priests, that anyone could know God by simply learning techniques of meditation, quieting the mind and body and letting one’s spirit soar. It threatened the Church’s very existence, so they banned it.
But groups formed to continue what they considered as Jesus’ real teachings. They came together in secret, and sometimes, fatally out in the open, as was the case with the Cathars.
The Church was successful in eradicating most Gnostic groups, but evidently, the Brotherhood decided to go deep underground and remain as such for centuries, eventually spawning other groups, most notably, the Masons and Rosicrucians.
Following publication of The Templars Two Kings and a Pope two 33-degree Masons, both historians, contacted me. They felt that the novel confirmed information they already had, but that it also opened new lines of inquiry regarding their legendary connection to the Knights Templar and where their mystical practice came from, what they refer to as “The Ancient Mysteries,” the Gnosticism they inherited from the Brotherhood, which is imparted in the topmost three degrees when Masons are initiated as Knights Templar.