Sodomy. Infanticide. Kissing a goat’s behind. Spitting and urinating on the Cross. Invoking the Devil. Worshipping a demonic idol. Denying Christ, the Virgin, the Saints, and God himself.
These confessions of blasphemy, heresy, witchcraft and sexual perversion may seem like rubbish, brought about under the brutal interrogation techniques of the 14th century. But some of the confessors seemed so sincere, so relieved to get the crimes off of their chests. They volunteered details that their inquisitors didn’t have the imagination to make up.
At dawn on Friday the 13th, 1307, the Knights Templar in France were arrested en masse by King Philip IV’s seneschals. Philip was out to get the order. He owed them a lot of money, and they had embarrassed him by refusing him membership to their club. Now he planned to use his influence on the papacy to have them disbanded. He had already sent in spies to join the order and see if the rumors were true–that there was something unholy about the Templar initiation ceremony. What his spies reported back would make anyone’s hair stand on end.
When the stories of the spies are combined with the confessions of the tortured knights, a remarkably cohesive, if horrific, pattern begins to form. Some details differed, but only in the ways one would expect–just small variations in the practices of particular Templar ceremonies at particular locations. The Templars apparently had a secret Rule, different than the one given to them by their patron, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Outwardly, they were Christian warrior-monks, pledged to fight for the protection and expansion of Christendom, and to adhere to an extremely ascetic lifestyle. Inwardly, however, they practiced anti-Christian rites.
At initiation new recruits were forced to kiss the naked behind of one of their new brothers, although sometimes the backside of a goat or a cat was substituted. They were made to spit upon the Cross, revoke their Christian baptism, and denounce Jesus. Some confessing knights said they were taught by their superiors that John the Baptist was the true Christ, not Jesus. They were then introduced to their new savior, whom they were to worship. It was a “head” of some sort named “Baphomet.” None of the inquisitors knew what that meant at the time, and no translation was offered by any of the confessors.
This “Baphomet” head was variously said to be that of a bearded man, a woman, a goat, or a demon with leathery skin. Some said that it had two or three faces, or that it had “feet.” While it was generally described as a mummified flesh-and-blood relic of some sort, others said that it was a skull, or that it was made of brass or gold, or that it was merely a painting of a head. All witnesses agreed that it was terrifying to behold. They said that the head “prophesied” to them during the ceremonies, and gave them “wisdom.” They believed that it “made them rich” and “caused the land to germinate.”
By November 1307, even the Grand Master of the Templars himself, Jacques de Molay had confessed to these charges, and more. Pope Clement had heard enough. He issued a bull ordering the arrest of all Templars in eight countries, including England, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Germany. On August 12, 1308, he drew up a list of 127 offenses with which they were charged. In addition to the various acts of blasphemy and heresy already discussed, they were also accused of homosexual orgies, baby sacrifices, and of treasonous dealings with the Muslim enemy, the Saracens. Trials dragged on for another five years. Many recanted their confessions, including that of the Grand Master, and those knights who did so were put to death in brutal ways. As he burned at the stake in 1314, Grand Master Jacques De Molay uttered a curse against Pope Clement and King Philip, prophesizing that they would both die within a year. They did.
Other knights stuck to their confessions, and were rewarded with lenient sentences of monastic penance not much different from the ascetic lifestyle they were already used to. The order was officially disbanded by the Pope, its property given over to other monastic orders. So ended what was once the greatest military and economic power in Europe.
How could things have gone so horribly wrong? In the beginning, nobody could have imagined this. The Templars were thought of as the Special Forces of their day, the elite fighting force at the forefront of the Crusades. The order began when a 22-year-old French knight named Hughes de Payens and eight of his friends took a vow of obedience to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, pledging to live in poverty and chastity. They dedicated themselves to the protection of pilgrims en route to the Holy Land. The knights were given lodging by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, who stationed them at the al-Aqsa Mosque next to the Dome of the Rock, site of the original Temple of Solomon. Thus they were named “The Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon,” which was rendered “Knights Templar” in common usage.
Soon the knighthood was adopted by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, leader of the Cistercian order of monks. Membership blossomed. In 1128 the knights assembled at the papal Council of Troyes in France, where they were given an official Rule and assigned a plain white robe as their uniform. A red equilateral cross was added to the outfit in 1147. The Templar Rule consisted of 72 paragraphs detailing every aspect of life in the monastery and on the battlefield. At most meals they were allowed only bread with no water, although meat was served three times a week. Scriptures were read aloud during meal times, but all other talking was forbidden. New members had to give up their wives and donate all of their property to the order, so as to live in perfect poverty and chastity. They slept on the floor communally, always with a candle left burning to discourage “immoral acts” at night.
In battle the Templars were forbidden to retreat, required to fight to the death of their last man. This made the Templars very formidable foes at war. Because of this, they were feared and respected by their Muslim Saracen enemies. In 1148, as the Second Crusade commenced, King Louis VII of France put the Templars in command of all European armies, and they led every major battle of the Crusades from then onward.
However, the most important moment for the Templars had come in March of 1139, when Pope Innocent II issued a papal bull entitled “Omne Datum Optimum” (“Every Best Gift”). In it, the Knights Templar were declared the “true Israelites,” and the Pope’s private army, answerable to him alone. No other king, bishop or nobleman had any ultimate authority over them. They were granted the right to form their own priesthood, with full authority to forgive sins and to raise tithes. They were also given the right to lend money with interest, something that the Church’s anti-usury policy forbade all other Christians from doing.
The Templars began to amass wealth and power quickly. Their membership was taken from the cream of European aristocracy, so each new initiate remitted to the order what was often considerable money and property. Wealthy families from all over Europe also donated lands and money as the Second Crusade mounted. The Templars set up “preceptories” throughout the continent. These were conducted like semi-autonomous city-states, where the knights farmed their own food, ran their own hospitals, and engaged in the manufacture of arms, textiles, and other goods. They also ran their own banks. This network of preceptories created ideal routes of travel for European pilgrims seeking the Holy Land, whom the Templars had sworn to protect at their inception.
Indeed it was the way these preceptories operated, particularly their banking operations, which provided a form of protection for the pilgrims. Instead of loading themselves down with gold and provisions, which were likely to be stolen, the pilgrims would simply deposit some money in the form of gold or silver at the Templar preceptory nearest to their point of departure. From there they would make their way to Jerusalem, traveling from one preceptory to another. At each stop the pilgrim would present the banker with a “chit”–a piece of paper that was encoded with ciphered information regarding the pilgrim’s deposit at the originating bank. The pilgrim’s account would then be charged for all the accommodation he received while staying at that particular preceptory, and he could also make cash withdrawals if he wished. A new chit, encoded with his new balance, would then be given to him to present at the next preceptory. In this way the word “check” or “cheque” entered into the English and French languages.
It was thus by donations, money-lending and industrial trade that the Templars were able to expand their empire and become Europe’s most powerful economic force. They were able to maintain this even after the Holy Land was finally lost in the Eighth Crusade in 1271. But now they were without a cause. Some of Europe’s kings and nobles, and well as many within the Church, began to wonder what the Templars were going to do next. They had money, property, authority, horses, weapons, and a standing army with nothing to do. Many European crown heads were heavily indebted to the Templars financially, and since they were also banned by papal decree from exercising any political authority over the knights, many of these kings understandably felt threatened.
There was another potential threat as well, of a more metaphysical nature. Not everyone understood exactly how the Templars had become so wealthy and powerful. It was rumored that there must have been a secret to this. One rumor was that the original nine founding Templars had discovered a treasure within or beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, perhaps a cache of King Solomon’s fabled wealth. After the arrests, King Philip had the Templar properties in France turned upside down looking for treasure, but found very little money at all, something that has always puzzled Templar scholars. Theories of a secret Templar treasure have been the subject of hundreds of books throughout the years, and this idea is even at the heart of some rituals performed by modern Freemasons. It is often suggested that the knights might have found the lost Ark of the Covenant underneath the Temple Mount. How this would have made the order wealthy, however, is something that really remains unexplained by the theorists. Some suggest that it would have given them negotiating power with the Church, which would have been eager to possess such a relic.
Another rumor floating around at the end of the 13th century was that the Templars acquired their wealth because their founders had made a pact with the Devil. According to this theory they allegedly kept the Pope under their control and compelled others to give them money through the power of witchcraft. Stories had begun to leak from disgruntled ex-knights about the secret initiation rituals. Word was getting around about the idol worship, the obscene kisses, the homosexual orgies, and the desecration of the Cross. Why would men in such important, respectable positions do such things, unless they were benefiting from it in some tangible way?
It would be so easy to dismiss these rumors as typical tall tales of the Middle Ages. But in their confessions the knights admitted that they did these horrible things in their rituals. They said it was all part of the worship of their demonic idol, a head named Baphomet. They also voluntarily proclaimed that it was the worship of the head which made them wealthy. Is this the “secret of the Templar treasure” for which King Philip was looking? Did he perhaps think that by forcing the knights to describe their rituals in detail, he would discover a method of getting rich through witchcraft?
When Philip’s police raided the Templar properties in France, they found very little gold or silver bouillon. They certainly did not find the Ark of the Covenant. But they did find, in the Paris Temple, the large bust of a female figure made out of silver. It was hollow. Inside was a human skull wrapped in a red clothe, with a label attached that read “Caput LXVIII”–“Head 58.” From this evidence, we can presume that there were at least 57 other heads somewhere that the police did not find.
So what was the true purpose of all these heads? What does the name “Baphomet” actually mean?
Pierce the veil! Glimpse the hidden truth about the history of money and the secret science of alchemy! In this volume, Tracy R. Twyman reveals how the entire global economy is based upon the principles and processes of this ‘Royal Art.’ Discover the connections between economics and ghastly rituals from the past that include child sacrifice, eating human flesh, and bathing in blood. Learn the occult origin of the dollar symbol, and the truth about the mysterious demon named ‘Baphomet’ who helped the Knights Templar to invent the banking system. See what arcane magic is at work in such things as the Federal Reserve, the Social Security system, free trade, taxation, the minimum wage, the fiscal year, and consumerist Christmas. Unlock the mystery of the Golden Age of Saturn, a time of prosperity and peaceful anarchy that purportedly existed in the past, and will come again, perhaps sooner than we could ever be prepared for.
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