After the city of Jerusalem was captured during the First Crusade, groups of Christian pilgrims from across Europe began visiting the Holy Land. About 1118, a French knight, Hugues de Payens, founded a military order- to protect these pilgrims.
"Sword of the Spirit."
(Traditional Sign of the Apostle Paul).
Over a thousand years before, almost word for word, this same creed was seen in the writings of St. Paul: Our own battle of the soul against enemies of the mind, a fight as real as any earthly combat. Paul spoke of the need for warriors to fight the powers of darkness and to defend pilgrims on their journey. The idea of spiritual armor is attributed to the apostle Paul, the original Templar.
"For the weapons of our warfare are not physical, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." - St. Paul
rue initiation is not induction into into some fraternal lodge or secret society receiving attention for outward show. The secrets of the occult can be easily had through diligent study. Initiation cannot be purchased or solicited. It is a the gift of grace when the neophyte is taken on by a Master who sees the need for guidance and a sincere desire for God. The lessons to be learned can be very hard, more like boot camp than a social club. It's about obedience to your Commander.
How do we find such a master? He will find you. We are servants of the mind instead of its master, slaves to our impulses. This long pilgrimage is to reclaim our lost birthright of self-mastery over the mind. One thoughtless mistake can result in a great loss! Why in the world did I do that? What was I thinking?
And there shined a bright light from heaven and he fell to the earth, hearing a voice speaking to him in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, what are you doing? "Who are you Lord?" I am Jesus. Why do you hate me? You can't win, surrender! (cf. Book of Acts, Chapter 9.)
His retina was burned by the brilliant glare. He was three days without sight, payback for his spiritual blindness. He was too depressed even to eat, helpless, wondering how long this agony would last. Because of his reputation as an inquisitor, God had to convince a believer, Ananis, it was safe to go and minister to him.
Saul was baptized and his eyes were opened. He was able to eat and his hard heart was changed from one of stone to one of flesh. If there be any doubt of God's Love, here is proof: He was totally transformed into the Apostle Paul: The indomitable soul warrior for Christ. It's the most compelling account of initiation!
"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." - St. Paul
Conflict exists only as thought and must be settled within your own mind. Unaffected by the opinions of others, the initiate has learned not to react to the impulses of this world. His thoughts are purified. For the one who is open to instruction he will achieve this healing elixir. There is no higher duty in life, and pales in comparison to all other goals. No one else can do it, this a man must do for himself, forging his own alchemy in the crucible of Egypt: The meltdown of lead and the refining process of gold. It is not easy! Anything worthwhile has its price to pay.
The entering neophyte senses he is changing, different from his own kind. The things of the world fade into the background, less enticing. We are given new ideas, right ones. The old ones must be discarded. The initiate is now part of a silent brotherhood, a society just as real as any fraternal order or lodge. There is wise counsel, he need only call upon his inner master. The answer comes in the form of intuition and promptings. Before any problems arise the solution is already there.
The Holy Grail is the chalice believed to have been used by Christ. The noble quest of Knights. In fact, the Bible says he never drank from the cup, he only handed it to the disciples. (Matt.26:27-29). There is no literal chalice, it's an archetype of the Womb. Nicodemus asked, how do I return? Symbolic of a passage difficult to enter. In a few hours, Jesus would drink from a different cup, so bitter no ordinary man could face. But he was no ordinary man. The celestial hosts were watching this drama unfold.
"Therefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a gallery of witnesses, let us discard every false thing which holds us back, and go willingly on the journey set before us, with patience." - Hebrews 12:1.
The Hero's journey is a template for the journey of the courageous Templar. It's the story of the Prodigal Son; the prophet Jonah in the innermost heart of the whale; Elijah's supreme moment of ordeal on Mt. Carmel: Sitting alone in a cave he had given up all hope when he heard the still small Voice and rose up to fight the prophets of Baal. It's our Maiden Voyage, with gale winds, storms at sea and occasional shipwrecks.
You sense the call, at first only whispers, echoes from those having gone before us. You feel alien to the shallow interests of this world which appear like cheap imitations in a bargain basement. You find less and less in common with old associations who share no interest in your new life. Drawn like a moth to the flame, you must go. There is no turning back. The veil parts and you enter into the Secret of the Ages: The straight and narrow, you have found the door and few there be that find it.
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life." - St. Paul
The Lance of Destiny is for the conqueror. The enemies of the mind are exposed for the lies they are, and flee from the Knight who has learned to wield its power. This is the spear that pierced the side of Christ, the coup de gras. Yet he lived again!
"Every man that strives for mastery is temperate in all things. We do this to obtain an incorruptible crown."
Lawgivers are anointed prophets, messengers from God sent from time to time to visit humanity. They come in human form with the same God Power, Christ Power, Master Power. They bring the Truth of the Unseen All-Person.
Ιησούς Χριστός, Jesus Christ.
You call me Master, the Lord, and so I am. I call you not servants, for the servant knows not what his Lord does. I call you my friends, for all things I have heard of my father I have made known unto you. - John 13:13. 15:15.
In the course of time, a lofty soul called Zarathustra came in the flesh. He saw the causeless Spirit and the weakness of man-appointed gods. He spoke, and all of Persia listened when he said One God: Good thoughts, good words, good deeds. The laws and precepts of Zarathustra are preserved in the Avesta.
And then came a mighty master, a Buddha of enlightenment who turned away the honors of the world and found the holy Silence in the quiet groves. He had no doctrine, he just knew man. So his creed was justice, love and righteousness.
"Listen to the secret sound, the real sound, which is inside you. The one no one talks of speaks this secret sound to himself, and is the one who has made it all."
And God said unto Moses, "I AM that I AM. This is My Name forever, a memorial to all generations. Now go and tell the children of Israel I AM."
The initiate has no other choice but to answer the call and go, then return to his community after overcoming all obstacles, bringing with him the elixir of life: Lucidity. Because everything is only a creation of the mind he learns to be fearless. But without illumination, we struggle with the forces of the world always at odds with the Spirit.
To overcome insanity requires mental and physical tests. Invisible to the eyes of the world, this inner work is silent, the suffering is not for show. No pats on the back from anyone. So why would anyone want this? - To get straight, to develop a fearless and disciplined mind capable of keen discernment and tempered by absolute self-control. The seed of Truth falls on good soil; in darkness it germinates and grows into a mighty tree of life.
"Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it. If any man follow me, him will my Father honor."
The bread of affliction. Unleavened bread is pierced and striped, impress of the savage punishment endured by Christ. Matzoh is plain, tasteless, without sensation. Yeast represents the puffing up of the prideful heart. Grudges and vengeance are a sign of weakness, and must be purged from the heart of the True Warrior. The Templar is not about retaliation for personal offence. The Lord said,
Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world!
The terrible crucifixion is a metaphor for the work of purification This is the warrior's buckler and shield, the signet of the Knight of the Cross: A life sacrificed to be transformed into God's perfect ideal. Christ: A Love so invincible nothing could destroy it, not even Roman torture. Jesus conquered darkness, hate and insanity. His strategy was obeying his Father's Will.
Yoga: "Union." Meditation is more than just the stilling the mind. With a little practice, learning to do is relatively easy. True Yoga is death to the romantic fantasies of ourselves, our selfish pride, our obsessions, possessions and all delusions separating us from God. To become free of it all is "moksha."
"The Christ within, the Higher Self, functions as a unit, a whole, thus expressing perfectly the will of the indwelling God." -Alice Bailey
The initiate trains the mind to be in total control, not simply obedient to the tyranny of lower impulses. The Christ Mind is undivided, lucid, centered and calm. Prayer is essential to break the stubborn power of intrusive thoughts. The process cannot be rushed, eager as one might be to finish. It's really not finishing anything. The war is waged in our own imagination: A theater of vivid illusions, complexes, obsessive thought patterns and dark fixations. St. Paul wrote:
Like a gladiatorial contest against an invisible enemy, it goes on and on. Whatever is necessary to extricate ourselves from the illusion of mind takes time. This is the journey. A journey to where? To HERE.
In the temples of Egypt, initiates were confined to lonely vaults for days, confronted with vivid projections, convincing apparitions and powerful temptations. It was Christ in the wilderness. The closer we get to Pure Mind, the more fiercely it is guarded by the fire of purity. No half measures, no pretending, only sincerity will do. The Knight Warrior must battle this mania continuously until he gains control, recovering for himself the secret elixir: Crowned with sanity!
After a fight to the finish, the Templar returns from his ordeal to assist the community from which he came. "...devoted to protecting these pilgrims."
Copyright 2017 by The Pulpit.