In the months following publication, The Templars, Two Kings and a Pope was favorably reviewed in the Masons’ Knight Templar Magazine, lauding the novel’s historical accuracy. I also received a number of reviews and comments from present day knights templar, both Masons and non-Masons. Masons commented on how the novel described the origins of their organization, and how they now had confirmation of the link between the Masons and the Templars’ secret Brotherhood, based on the concepts and symbols in their practice. I learned that they become knights templar in their uppermost degrees, which is around the 30th degree in the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, and the blue degrees. Subsequent degrees after being dubbed knight templar are higher ranks of knighthood. The Masons are not a secret organization anymore, there’s no need; no one is burning people at the stake for their beliefs anymore, but they do have secrets that revolve around their Gnostic esoteric foundation, what is also known as the ancient mysteries, and just like the Brotherhood before them, they are dedicated to serving mankind and fomenting religious tolerance. Their recorded history goes back to the early 1700’s, although their legends speak of a beginning in Scotland in the early 1300’s, starting from a guild of stoneworkers, just as my novel describes. The reason for the absence of documentation before the 1700’s has to do with the British civil war when the Puritans ascended to power, and tried to wipe out anything they considered a heresy by burning books and imprisoning and killing people. They succeeded in suppressing all Gnostic organizations. It’s clear that that’s what happened to the Masons, they disappeared during the reign of the Puritans and made a comeback in the early 1700’s, when they reinvented themselves.
These symbols confirmed that the Masons, at least from the 30th Degree on up in which they are initiated as Knights Templar, are linear descendants from the Templars’ secret Brotherhood. The Templar Cross, the “Croix Rose” or Red Cross, is widely used and originally called Rose Croix (grammatically incorrect in modern French). All four extremities are the same size which is a Gnostic symbol for balance. The symbol of the rose is also used, which for the Brotherhood meant the Christ consciousness. In one scene in the novel I describe how Jesus’ prison cell was permeated with a faint scent of roses. This made perfect sense to the 33 Degree Masons. In old French, the color red was called “rose,” also the name of the flower, which makes the name of the Templar cross and why it was red, code for the Christ consciousness. Gnostics believed that this was a state every person could achieve.
The Christ consciousness was the perfect state of balance, which they termed Beauseant, literally “be whole,” in the Lingua Franca, the old french the Templars spoke. This term is presently widely used by the Masons. The other symbol of balance, which the Masons also widely use, is what looks like a Star of David, comprised by two spades, one upward or male, one downward, or female. This means the coming together of the male and female in all of us. The Gnostic faith balances the female aspect of God, Sophia, with the male, Christ; which we will all embody at some point when we reach Beauseant, symbolized by the Templars’ flag, black and white stripes of equal size, and a theme still used by the Masons.
So, how did the connection between the Templars’ Brotherhood and the Masons take place? In the research I conducted for my novel I found that once they left the Holy Land, the Templars and The Brotherhood found themselves embroiled in a covert and intense war against the king of France, Philip IV to keep him from taking over the Holy Roman Empire. To accomplish this he first needed both the Order of the Temple and the King of England out of the way, because they could stop him, and he also needed their money.
The Brotherhood had to act quickly. If Philip invaded England there was no stopping him. They realized that this was first in the French king’s list. They came next. They needed something to distract him, a war that would pull him away from England. They turned to Flanders, what is today Belgium. It was ruled by a count, a nominal subject of the French monarch. The county was split along ethnic lines; for centuries the French speakers and the Dutch had been at odds. There were also very powerful guilds of textile workers, for it was the processing of wool that made Flanders. The nobility was very weak and easy prey for a rising working class.
The Brotherhood decided to approach the Dutch-speaking guilds, train them, and use them to fight the French. This worked out perfectly. The "Battle of the Golden Spurs" saw the defeat of the powerful French cavalry by lowly infantry. This battle and what led to it are graphically described in the novel, along with the weapons, training and tactics, for I feel this is a very crucial episode in Templar history.
In the book I lead into the Flemish excursion with a venture by two of the main characters (fashioned after real historical figures) that find them working with weavers who moonlight as entertainers at fairs. This gives them the idea for Flanders, the possibility of using the powerful guilds. I’m sure that something along these lines took place; some incident that led The Brotherhood to look into the guilds, for otherwise the social divide was so strong at this time in history that such a working arrangement was unthinkable.
After Flanders, The Brotherhood continued to work with the guilds. When they reached Scotland, it was just natural that they would link up with them. In the novel, this happens through a sergeant, a natural link between the noble knights and the working class. It makes sense that the Brotherhood would seek out the most powerful guild around, which was made up of learned men, men who built cathedrals and bridges and not only could read and write, but were also relatively sophisticated. What the Brotherhood needed, was an organization they could infiltrate and control so they could find a safe haven for “The Knowing,” Jesus’ secret teachings. It’s evident that they had in their possession a copy of Jesus’ actual writing, a Jesus Gospel, and they also needed a hiding place for it.
They connected with the Masons and passed on their secrets.
In the 16th century when the puritans rose to power in Britain, most of the written records of the Masons and other Gnostic and non-traditional Christian denominations, were destroyed. The Masons had to reinvent themselves in the 17th century, mostly from what was passed down as legend. In the course of the years some misconceptions came into play, including a dash of Egyptology, the result of the Egypt obsession that ran through Europe in the 19th century. But surprisingly, the main body of Jesus’ secret teachings did survive, and are being practiced by present day 33 Degree Masons, and also by their offshoot, the Rosicrucians.
Besides the Masons’ knights templar, the novel was also welcomed by a number of world-wide knight templar organizations, based in the US and England. They too viewed The Templars, Two Kings and a Pope as documenting their history, and were glad for information on what it was like to be a knight templar in the middle ages. The one organization that appears to be the oldest, and could have a direct connection to the original knights templar besides the Masons, is the Hereditary Knights Templar of Britannia.
However, the original knights templar were monks, and needless to say, no modern templar today is a monk. That life style ended when the last of the original templars died, sometime in the 14th century.