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Mra. COOPER OAKLEY # » » ♦ » 

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Comall University Library 
HS397 .C77 

Traces of a hdden tradition in masonry 

3 1924 030 276 350 

Cornell University 

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the Cornell University Library. 

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I. Introduction 5 

II. Towards the Hidden Sources of Masonry . 31 

III. The Traditions of the Knights Templars 

Revived in Masonry . . . . ' . 76 

IV. The Troubadours 103 

V. The Heavenly Kingdom of the Holy Grail 137 


The series of sketches which are now brought 
together appeared originally as detached articles in 
the pages of the Theosophical Review, written, how- 
ever, with the object of demonstrating to students of 
Theosophy that a definite design could be traced 
beneath the apparently disconnected mystic doctrines 
held by the many occult brotherhoods, heretic sects 
and mystic associations which cluster so thickly 
together as we glance along the historical by-ways of 
religious thought during the Middle Ages, that object 
becomes clearer when they appear as they do now in 
closer juxtaposition. 

To those who wish to understand the reason of 
this steady recurrence of mystic tradition in every 
century, these studies may be of some use. They 
will serve as literary landmarks to guide the seeker to 


those distant sources whence flow faint echoes of 
divine truths — the heritage of the divine human 
race. Truths that bring dim memories to the soul 
which are its highest impulse, and give the clue that 
guides it to the inner " science of the soul " — the 
mystic quest of all the saints, and the hidden truth 
that all religions have tried to teach, and which only 
a few in each religion have ever realized. 

Mystics, visionaries, dreamers of vain dreams have 
been the names which the scoffers have always 
thrown at those who counted the world as nought 
compared with the treasure of the unseen life, and 
who devoted their lives to this divine science, and 
tried to reach an understanding of its laws. And as 
we trace out the records of the past it will be clearly 
seen that the Theosophical development is but 
another link in a wondrous chain of mystic teaching 
which stretches far back into the night of time. 

Such a claim must be proved and its pretentions 
shown to be accurate, but it is only by careful 
researches in the historical dust-bins of the middle- 
ages that these data can be disinterred, and the chain 
of evidence rendered complete. Then it becomes 
evident that Theosophy is that glorious wisdom- 
religion which includes in its scope all religions and 
all philosophies. 

And as we piece together the fragments of these 
historical relics, they waken delicate memories of the 
divine dreamer Dionysius the Areopagite, hallowed 
echoes of John Septus Erigena, and thus we come 


face to face with the holy secrets of tender mystical 
souls who sought the true meaning of life. We get 
strange glimpses of the intense devotion of the 
scholastic Divines, and Monks to whom the unseen 
life was an intense and vital reality. The thoughts of 
Averroes and the Arabian Mystics emerge — they who 
brought much of the Eastern truth and who founded 
the great occult schools of the once glorious Toledo, 
whence flowed a stream of thought, which formed the 
very life and soul of the heresies — so-called — of the 
Middle Ages. Nor may we omit the lore of the 
Eastern and Syrian Monasteries to whom the books 
of Dionysius had taken the wisdom of Plotinus. Nor 
can the Troubadours be passed by, the singers of 
mystic songs, and carriers of occult knowledge. 

Singers, Scholars, Saints, and Martyrs, a goodly 
array of men and women, all seeking the soul, and the 
soul's true world. Looked at from without, such a 
view appears like a worn mosaic pavement, broken, 
defaced, with many gaps lacking to make a perfect 
picture, and yet as we search and piece the apparently 
broken fragments the design begins to unfold itself, 
and finally the picture may be traced in perfect 
outline. For at the back of all these varying streams 
of thought there may be found one centre whence all 
diverge, and that great fount was named in ancient 
India, Brahma- VidyS, the Theosophia of the Neo- 

This Ancient Wisdom kefigion is the " thread- 
soul " on which are strung all the various incarnations 


and encasements of the religious life, adapted to the 
changing conditions and developments of humanity 
in its growth from childhood to manhood. 

Begotten by that Spiritual Hierarchy in whose 
guardianship is the evolution of the human race, 
brought forth from them, They, the guardians of the 
mystic tradition, give to those children of men who 
are strong enough for the burden, a portion of the 
real teaching of the Divine Science* concerning God 
and man, and the wonderful relationship that exists 
between the two. 

With the passing of time the old orders changed, 
old forms perished, and the Divine Sun that shone on 
the ever-changing screen of time veiled Itself in new 
hues, and gathered into new groupings the humanity of 
the Western races, and each century which rolled by 
evolved a new phase of the ancient mystic tradition. 

In the olden days men fought for their faiths, for 
they identified the form with that Divine life which 
lies at the back of all forms, and the changing of an 
outward veil shook their belief in the Holy Spirit, 
which it did but shroud. They feared change and 
sought to crystallise the Spirit, and this fear of 
change gave rise to that tenacious hold on outward 
, ceremonies which has wrought so much evil in all the 
religions of the world. 

* This " Science of the Soul" is the fact against which the Roman 
Church waged such bitter war, and formed the basis for the attack upon 
the various Sects such as the Albigenses, Patarini, and Vaudois, all 
remnants of Gnostic. Sects. 


Religious parties, secret societies, sects of every 
description, such is the shifting panorama of the 
religious life of Europe during the last eighteen 
hundred years, and as we glance back from our 
present standpoint, it is difficult at times to discern 
the mystic traditions, so loud is the clamour of con- 
tending sects over their formal doctrines, the outward 
expressions of their inner faith. 

A word may here be said to guard against one 
error that might arise with regard to the Spiritual 
Hierarchy before mentioned, the guardians of the 
world's religions. It is from this Great Communion 
that the World-Saviours have from time to time 
come forth, and from this centre have sprung all 
the " Sons of God." 

The inception of all religions is from Them, but 
lesser men build up the body ; like wise teachers 
They do not force dogmas on a child humanity. We 
see ordinary mankind prolific in building moulds for 
their faiths, heaping dogma upon dogma ; but in 
tracing back all the religions to their Founders, it 
may be seen that at the beginning the outward 
observances were ever subordinated to the -inner life, 
the forms and ceremonies in fact, were merely 
organized in order to turn the attention of man to 
the inner and spiritual aspect of life. This method 
of training receives its completest exposition in the 
ancient code of Manu, where the whole daily life of 
ancient India was directed, by its very organization, 
towards the religious aspect. In the West this ideal 


was revived under the monastic orders, but since it 
was chiefly done under the rigid doctrinal supervision 
of the Catholic Church, the ideal of the simple 
spiritual life was crushed. 

For the building of form — even religious form — is 
materializing in its tendency, and thus we see that 
in all the centuries subsequent to the inception of 
Christianity, the tendency of every " reformation " has 
been to throw back, if possible, to the original 
standard erected by the Founder. On careful 
investigation, for instance, the Christ appears 
responsible only for certain high and pure ideals, 
insistence being made on a holy life leading to a 
divine goal. The doctrines and elaborations which 
were later introduced arose in every case from the 
followers, who brought in their more worldly aims, 
and transformed thereby the purity and simplicity of 
the early ideal into an ornate body,* with wordly 
passions and constant strivings for mundane power. 

Hence we find at the end of the nineteenth 
century, on one side the Catholic Church, on the 

* " The favour and success of the PauUcians in the eleventh and 
twelfth centuries must be imputed to the strong, though secret, discon- 
tent vfhich armed the most pious Christians against the Church of 
Rome. Her avarice was oppressive, her despotism odious ; less 
degenerate, perhaps, than the Greeks in the worship of saints and 
images, her innovations were more rapid and scandalous." — Gibbon 
(E.), Decline amd Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. IX., chap, liv., 
p. 289. In Italy the descendants of the Manichaeans were termed 
Cathari, sometimes Gazari, or "The Pure." A good account, with 
many references, is tp be found in Fuesslins (Johann CoTaaA),_Neue und 
unpartheyische Kirchen uttd Ketxerhistorie der Mittlern Zeit. Frank- 
furt u. Leipzig, 1770, 


other the Protestant, and between the extremes of 
these doctrinal communities, a fluctuating, ever- 
increasing body of thinkers, formed by the mystics 
and idealists of both parties, who from century to 
century have been at variance with their " orthodox " 
brethren, seeking a higher Truth, a purer ideal, than 
those offered by the dogmatists. 

The doctrines hidden in the secret fraternities 
have been handed down in regular succession from 
first to last. We can see that the esoteric teachings 
which in Egypt, in Persia, and in Greece, were kept 
from the ears of an illiterate multitude precisely 
because it was known that they could not, in their 
then uneducated and ignorant condition, understand 
the deeper truth of Nature and of God. Hence the 
secrecy with which these pearls of great price were 
guarded and handed on with slight modifications into 
the possession of those grand early Christians, the 
Gnostics, the so-called heretics ; then straight from 
the Gnostic schools of Syria and Egypt to their 
successors the Manichseans, and from these through 
the Paulicians, Albigenses, and Templars, and other 
secret bodies — these occult traditions have been 
bequeathed to the mystic bodies of our own times. 
Persecuted by Protestants on one side and by 
Catholics on the other, the history of mysticism is the 
history of martyrdom. 

It is sometimes said that modern Theosophy is of 
sporadic growth and can show no sure basis, no line 
of religious or spiritual ancestry. But very little 


research proves the contrary, proves indeed that in 
spite of the many forms — religious bodies, secret 
societies, occult groups, Protestant reforms, and 
Catholic heresies — there is distinct evidence that 
there are certain points on which all of the various 
orders meet in accord, and that when these points are 
brought together, there appear self-revealed the same 
underlying teachings which form the basis of the 
great Wisdom Religion, parent and children standing 
out in unmistakable relation. For as King truly 
remarks : 

Hippolytus was right in calling all these 

heresies nothing better than the old philosophies disguised 
under new names ; his only error lay in not going back far 
enough to find their ultimate source.* 

Let us turn to that great conception, the doctrine 
of reincarnation, sometimes less correctly termed in 
Metempsychosis or transmigration. This tenet is the 
basis of the old Wisdom-religion — or Brahma- Vidya, 
and can be distinctly traced in all those mystic 
societies which draw their spiritual life from Gnostic 
sources. As Leckyf says : 

The doctrine of transmigration was emphatically repu- 
diated by the Catholics ; the human race was isolated 
by the scheme of redemption, more than ever from all 
other races, 

and it was against this isolation that the mystics, 

* King (C. W.), The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 13. London, 

+ Lecky (W. E., M.A.), History of European Morals, Vol. 11. 
p. 167. Third Edition. London, 1877. 


or so-called heretics, struggled ; this ancient doc- 
trine of the transmigration of the soul was one of 
the heretical opinions for which the Cathari* were 
persecuted by the Catholic Church. It was very 
freely taught by the Troubadours in their mystic 
poems ; a monk in his attack on Troubadour heretics 
mentions this doctrine with much scoffing and 
ridicule. We owe a debt of thanks to many such 
opponents, for they often show us where traces of the 
" Secret Doctrine " are to be found. For instance, it 
is to the orthodox and pious Catholic, Eugene Aroux, 
that we owe a mass of most important and valuable 
information on the Troubadours and their religious 
mission ; their connection with mystic bodies, and the 
esoteric interpretation of their poems. Information 
as to their tenets which is not divulged by the 
mystics themselves is often given to us by their 
opponents, whose dissertations provide us with much 

Such research indeed reveals a new phase, for out 
of the dim obscurity which shrouds the early 
centuries, undoubted historic evidence can be found 
of a wide-spread occult fraternity, which under 
various names has introduced into many societies the 
hidden aspect of spiritual truths, striving to avert the 

* Says Lea : " Transmigration provides for the fiiture reward or 
punishment of deeds done in life." Lea (Henry Charles), A History of 
the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, Vol. I., p. 91, 98.^ Schmid (C), 
Histoire et Doctrine de la Secte des Cathares oii Albigeois, Vol. II., 
p. 256. Paris, 1849. Says : " La Metempsycose enseign^e par I'une 
des <fcoles Cathares se retrouve egalement dans le ManichSsme." 


materialising tendency by turning the eyes of men to 
the inner instead of the outer life. 

Three principal streams of religious thought can be 
distinctly traced as we struggle through the labyrinth 
of evidences, and these may not inappropriately be 
termed the Petrine, Pauline, and Johannine doctrines, 
the last being the fountain-head of all the later 
Christian mystical heresies. The Johannine doctrine 
caused great excitement in the fourteenth century, 
the details of which will be given when we come to 
that period. It must be borne in mind that the true 
occultism, the real mysticism, is essentially religious 
in its nature, and students of Theosophy must not be 
surprised to find that some of the historical religious 
sects* have had their foundation in occultism and 
Theosophy. Such for instance are the Albigenses and 
the Waldenses, the forerunners of the Wesleyans, the 
Quietists and Quakers. These appear side by side 
with the Rosicrucians, the Knights Templars, the 
Fratres Lucis and many other sects who hold the 
same religious tenets. 

This view will necessarily arouse some criticism, 
for the standard orthodox works on all the sects and 
heresies studiously omit every reference to occultism, 
and in some cases the real tradition can scarcely be 

* The principal secret societies take St. John as their patron saint 
as we shall see when dealing with the details of many of these bodies. 
Notably is this the case with many of the Masonic bodies. See the 
articles on " Johannesbruder " and "Johanneschristen" in Allgemeines 
Handbuch der Frtimaurerei, Zweite voUig umgearbeitete Auflage ; ii. p. 
68. Leipzig, 1S65. 


found, SO carefully is every reference to it extirpated 
from ordinary history. 

It is only by searching into the records themselves 
that the real evidences of such esoteric doctrine are 
discovered, and it is in truth somewhat startling to 
find so many, while the outside public is in total 
ignorance of the very existence of a mystic tradition 
or a secret doctrine, or a Spiritual Hierarchy. On 
this point a well-known writer on mysticism says : 

The publication of the life and times of Reuchlin, who 
exercised so marked an influence over Erasmus, Luther, 
Melancthon, and the chief spirits of his age will, I trust, afford 
a key to many passages of the German Reformation which 
have not yet been understood in this country. They will 
reveal many of the secret causes, the hidden springs, which 
were moving the external machinery of several ecclesiastical 
reforms, which were themselves valuable rather as symbols of 
a spiritual undercurrent than as actual institutions and 
establishments. Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas. 
Fortunate is it for the student of truth when he can thus dis- 
cover the causes of effects, when he is allowed to examine the 
origin of those changes and revolutions, which but for this 
intelligible process would look like monstrous and un- 
accountable abortions, obeying no law and owning no 
reason. Fortunate is he who is thus allowed to step behind 
the scenes of the world's drama and hear the plans pro- 
posed and the pros and cons of the councillors which give 
rise to lines of action.* 

Truly one could almost think a Theosophist was 

*Tke Life and Times of John Reuchlin or Capnion, by Francis 
Barham (editor of the Hebrew and English Bible. London, 1843), 
p. 17. 


writing the paragraph just quoted. The whole of 
Reuchlin's period will, we hope, be dealt with in due 
course, and a digest of the mysticism of this period 

As already said, the occult doctrines of the 
Gnostics were heirlooms and sacred traditions from 
a very distant past, and when the early Christian era 
dawned, the human race had long been plunged in 
the darkening and materializing tendencies of the 
Black Age.* Soon indeed, the Gnosis was rejected 
by the orthodox church, and the sacred and secret 
teachings of the Great Master Jesus became mate- 
rialised ; they have, however, never been lost, and 
traces of them can be discerned from epoch to 

Says Marrasf in his interesting study : 

When therefore we speak of the continuation of their 
doctrines during the Middle Ages, we mean only a secret 
transmission of certain opinions, either in a number of 
families whose inner doctrines did not correspond to their 
outward profession of faith, or in the midst of certain sects 

which had had relations with the Gnostics The 

vitality of the Manichseans was wonderful ; notwithstanding 
the severe persecution they endured in the heathen as well as 
the Christian Roman Empire, they survived both in the East 
and in the West, and often reappeared in the Middle Ages 
in different parts of Europe. Manichseism dared to do 
what Gnosticism had never ventured upon : it openly 
entered the lists against the Church in the fifth century, 

* The Kali-Yuga of the Hindus. 

t Marras (P.), Secret Fraternities of the Middle Ages, pp. 19-21. 
London, 1865. 


but the civil authority came to aid the religious authority in 
repressing it. The Manichaeans wherever they appeared 
were immediately attacked : they were condemned in Spain 
in the year 380, and at Treves in 385, in their representa- 
tives the Priscillianists ; the Empire seem determined to 
annihilate Manichasism*, as well as Gnosticism when 
suddenly the latter arose under a new form and under 
a new name — that of Paulicianism. 

In order that our readers may follow this line of 
study more clearly, it will be well to group the 
evidences of each century together. We must bear 
in mind that many of these societies stretch back 
through several centuries, and are not limited to one 
date or confined to one period. The consequent 
overlapping makes one of the difficulties of following 
these evidences of the secret tradition. Sometimes 
a body will remain the same, changing only its name, 
but keeping the same tenets. This is markedly 
the case with the Albigenses, the Paulicians, the 
Waldenses, and many of the middle age bodies 
— the Rosicrucians and others. Then again, we 
find that the same terms are sometimes used for 
the highest spiritual sciences and at others debased by 
the usage of charlatans. Theurgy, alchemy, mystic- 
ism, occultism, theosophy, yoga, all these names have 

* In his last years the Pope had leisure to turn his arms against the 
Manichsean heretics, who, starting from the mountains of Bulgaria, 
carried their pure but stem religion westwards in a constant stream 
which never lost touch with its fountain-head, and under the names of 
Paterini, Ketzer, and Albigenses, earned the execration of their contem- 
poraries, and the respect of posterity. Browning (Oscar), Gtulphs and 
Ghibellines : a short History of Medieval Italy from 1250-14C39, p. 10, 



been alternately used to indicate the purest and 
highest ideal of development for man, and then 
adopted by those who sought in them but their own 
selfish ends. To discriminate between these extremes, 
to find the true and leave the false mysticism, is then 
the aim in view. It is perhaps simplest to begin with 
the present era and trace the way back through the 
darkness of the middle ages to the period when the 
Gnostic schools still preserved to a great extent the 
sacred Eastern traditions.* The details of that 
period must be left to hands more skilled to treat 
the subject. 

Let us then take a survey of the last nine centuries 
of the Christian era, and in a series of sketches sub- 
stantiate with historical facts the proposition here but 
briefly outlined : that the ancient Wisdom Religion, 
or Theosophia, has had throughout these periods its 
votaries, teachers, messengers and followers, that the 
Great Lodge has never been without its represen- 
tatives, and in truth that the guidance of the spiritual 

* One curious fact which makes a further identity between these 
bodies is given by H. C. Lea, in his History of the Inquisition of the 
Middle Ages, Vol. I., p. 92. London, 1888. " A further irrefragable 
evidence of the derivation of Catharism from Manichsism is furnished 
by the Sacred thread and garment which were worn by all the Perfect 
among the Cathari. This custom is too peculiar to have had an 
independent origin, and is manifestly the Mazdean kosti and saddarah, 
the sacred thread and shirt, the wearing of which was essential to all 
believers, and the use of which by both Zends and Brahmins shows 
that its origin is to be traced to the prehistoric period anterior to the 
separation of those branches of the Aryan family. Among the Cathari 
the wearer of the thread and vestment was what was known among the 
inquisitors as the hcereticus induttis or vestitus, initiated into all the 
mysteries of the heresy." 


evolution of the world by this body of teachers can be 
discerned by those who search the records. 

The wave of gross materialism which swept over 
the Western world is now but slowly rolling away. 
The deplorable scepticism of our own day is but 
the result, and the natural result, of the methods 
adopted by the Catholic and Protestant Churches in 
the struggles of the Middle Ages. It has already 
been pointed out as one of the basic teachings of 
Theosophy that part of the evolutionary progress 
is the breaking up of forms in order that the spiritual 
nature of man may find wider conditions. In both 
of these Churches the extremes of dogmatic limitation 
were reached, the result being an ever increasing 
irritation of the more highly educated people against 
dogmas which were contrary to reason, and forms 
of faith which degraded the God they were supposed 
to uphold. For the Protestants believed in the 
verbal inspiration of an inaccurately translated Bible, 
claiming that their God gave his fiat in books whose 
historical basis is now shown to be unreliable. All 
who refused the letter of the law and sought the 
spirit which lay behind were cast out. We have but 
to search the records of the Puritans and some other 
Protestant bodies to see how rigid were their dealings 
with those who rejected their narrow theological 

* See the execution and trial of Servetus, 1553, Willis (R., M.D.) 
Servetus and Calvin. A Study of an important Epoch in the early 
History of the Reformation ; p. 480. London, 1877. 


The Catholic Church permitted no education, no 
freedom of religious thought, and, knowing the 
unstable basis on which she stood, the Dominicans 
in the early middle ages took up the very simple 
position of entirely forbidding the reading of the 
Bible, except in such scamped versions as were 
authorised ; and all who did not obey were removed 
by the Church. Indeed, the bloodiest and blackest 
records that history can show us are the attacks of 
the Catholic Church on the mystics of all these 

" We do condemn to perpetual infamy the Cathari, 
the Patarines, the Leonists, the Speronists, and the 
Arnoldists circumcised, and all other heretics of both 
sexes by what name soever they are called. . . . 
And in case any nian by a presumptuous attempt, 
being instigated thereto by the enemy of mankind, 
shall in any way endeavour the infraction of them 
[i.e., the laws against the heretics] let him be 
assured, that by so doing, he will incur the indig- 
nation of Almighty God, and of the blessed Apostles 
Peter and Paul ! " 

Thus thundered Pope Honorius III. in the four- 
teenth century.* To give one solitary instance out 
of the numerous condemnations that fluttered about 
the mystic path. 

Indeed it is hardly credible, even with the records 
open before us, that such inhuman tortures as were 

* History of the Christian Church, by the Rev. Henry Stabbing, 
A.M. (London, 1834), ii., 301. 


perpetrated on some of the mystic sects enumerated 
could have been devised in the name of a Saviour of 
mercy and love. Such fiendish barbarity, however, 
brought its own karma, a rich reward of hatred, 
scepticism and unbelief. The education and know- 
ledge that the Church discountenanced and withheld 
were reached by natural evolution ; the priests who 
should have been the spiritual leaders were over- 
thrown and cast down, and the result was that 
education fell into the hands of materialistic and 
rationalistic thinkers, and the spiritual aspect of 
life was crushed out. 

During the dark days of the revolution in France, 
it was the mystics who most bitterly deplored the 
growing scepticism. The materialists were the 
enemies of mystics, occultists and religionists of 
every kind, Catholic and Protestant. The Catholic 
party tried to father the outbreak of the revolution 
on the mystics. The Abb^ Barruel in his book on 
Jacobinism * has taken every pains to do this, as 
also have the Abbd Migne and many others. But the 
appalling corruption of the Catholic Church, conjoined 
with her insistence on the ignorance of the people, was 
one of the great factors in that terrible outbreak. 

In a very interesting correspondence between the 
Baron Kirschberger de Liebesdorf and Louis Claude 
de St. Martin,! the situation is most clearly described, 

* Barruel: Mimoircs pour servir i FHistoire du JacubinUme, 4 
vols. London, 1797. 

t Le Philosophe Inconnu, the leader of the Martinists. 


and the following important extract shows the 
insidious method of work adopted by the German 
materialistic school, the enemy alike of mystics and 

The Baron writes : 

" MoRAT, _/««(?, 1795. 

" . . . . Unbelief has actually formed a well- 
organised club ; it is a great tree which overshadows a 
considerable portion of Germany, bearing very bad fruit, and 
pushing its roots even into Switzerland. The enemies of 
the Christian religion have their affiliations, their lookers- 
out, and a well-established correspondence; they have a 
provincial for each department, who directs the subaltern 
agents ; they control the principal German newspapers ; 
these newspapers are the favourite reading of the clergy who 
do not like to study ; in them they puff the writings which 
air their views, and abuse all besides ; if a writer ventures 
to rise against this despotism, he can hardly find a publisher 
who will take charge of his manuscript. This is what they 
can do in the literary way ; but they have much more in 
their power than this. If there is a place vacant in the 
public instruction department . . . they have three or 
four candidates all ready, whom they get presented through 
different channels ; ... in this way is constituted the 
University of Gottingen. . . . Another grand means 
which they employ is that of . . . calumny. This is 
all the easier for them, that most of the Protestant ecclesi- 
astics, are, unhappily, their zealous agents ; and as this class 
has a thousand ways of mixing everywhere, they can at 
pleasure circulate reports which are sure to hit their mark, 
before one knows anything about it, or is able to defend 
oneself This monstrous coalition has cost its chief, an old 
man of letters at Berlin and at the same time one of the 
most celebrated publishers of Germany, thirty years' labour. 


He has edited the first journal of the country ever since 1 765 ; 
his name is Frederick Nicolai. This Bibliothique Ger- 
manique has, by its agents, taken hold also of the spirit of 
the Literary Gazette of Jena, which is very well got up, and 
circulates wherever the German language is known. Besides 
this Nicolai influences the Berlin Journal, and the Museum, 
two works of repute. Political organisation and affiliated 
societies were estabhshed, when these journals had suffi- 
ciently disseminated their venom. Nothing can equal the 
constancy with which these people have followed their plan. 
They have moved slowly, but surely ; and, at the present 
hour, their progress has been so enormous, and their 
influence become so frightful, that no effort can now avail 
against them ; Providence alone can deliver us from this 

At first, the march of the Nicolaites was very circum- 
spect ; they associated the best heads of Germany in their 
Bibliothkqtie Universelle, their scientific articles were 
admirable, and the reviews of theological works occupied a 
considerable portion of every volume. These reviews were 
composed with so much wisdom that our professors in 
Switzerland recommended them in their public discourses to 
our young Churchmen. But they let in the poison [of 
materialism] a little at a time and very carefully.* 

This organised conspiracy was the result of the 
methods adopted by the Catholic Church. Men 
demanded knowledge, sought knowledge, and 
attained knowledge, but only of the material side 
of life. Shocked by the barbaric superstitions and 
illogical dogmas insisted on by the Church, the revolt 
of reason threw men back into a dogmatism which 

* La Correspondance inidite deL.C. Saint-Martin et Kirchoerger, 
Baron de Lieiistorf(l^qz•l1yJ). Paris, 1862; pp. 195, 196. 


was scarcely less rigid than the one they had left. 
The study of history, the knowledge of science, all 
tended to show the superficiality of that basis on 
which the Catholic Church had reared herself, and 
the leaders of thought who led this revolt, the 
Encyclopaedists in France and the NicolaYtes in 
Germany, were the bitter fruit of Catholic karma. 
They banded themselves together, and it was this 
body of sceptics and their organised conspiracy for 
which the Ahh6 Barruel and others tried to make the 
mystics responsible. The Church blamed others for 
the results of her own work, and the poison of 
unbelief and deadly materialism was meantime being 
slowly spread in Europe by the Nicolaltes. 

They tried to crush out all belief in or investiga- 
tions into the unseen life and its forces. Hence their 
bitter and criminal attacks upon the Comte de St. 
Germain, Cagliostro, Saint Martin, and also upon the 
various mystical secret societies and Freemasonry 
in general. Keeping this powerful and malignant 
organisation* in view, we shall better understand the 
charges brought against the various mystics above 
mentioned. It is only in the course of research that 
it is possible to realise the vindictiveness and argus- 
eyed watchfulness with which these Nicolaites pursued 
mysticism and Freemasonry. Article after article, 
book upon book, was produced, one and all from the 
same source, each teeming with the same poisonous 

* The Nicolaites. 


intent, the destruction of mysticism and the crushing 
out of the spiritual life. 

The eighteenth century is perhaps the most 
difficult in which to sift the true tradition from the 
spurious ; mushroom-like, semi-mystical societies 
sprang up on all sides, claiming occult knowledge 
and mystic teaching ; but when these claims are sifted 
for verification they lack the stamp of high morality 
and purity which is the ineffaceable mark of all that 
emanates from the Great Lodge ; hence in selecting 
the societies and bodies which will be dealt with and 
studied in detail, only those have been chosen in 
which outer and inner investigation proves their 
unmistakable origin to be from a source whose ideals 
are pure and holy. 

That there was definite connection between the 
various sects, societies, and heresies, is evident ; they 
had moreover a common language of signs, by which 
they could make themselves known to each other. 
Says Rossetti, speaking of the fourteenth century : 

There are some events in history, whether literary, 
or political, or ecclesiastical, which at first sight appear to us 
quite enigmatical ; but when once aware of the existence of 
the marked language of the secret Anti-papal Sects (especially 
of the Society of the Templars, and the Patarini, or Albigenses, 
or Cathari, with whom the learned in Italy were then so 
strictly connected), we find them very intelligible and clear.* 

• Disquisitions on the Anti-papal Spirit which produced the 
Reformation, by Gabriele Rossetti, Prof, of Italian Literature at King's 
College (London, 1834), ii. 156. He is here referring to a secret 
language, the existence of which was known to many writers. 


So that Rossetti speaks in the same manner as 
Barham in the passage already cited about a secret 
force* permeating the outer society. Again he says : 

Why were the Templars, who were members of the most 
illustrious families in Europe, sacrificed by hundreds in 
different countries ? Why were the Patarini burned alive in 
almost every city ? History tells us : they belonged to secret 
societies, and professed doctrines inimical to Rome. What 
those doctrines were is well known, as far as regards the 
Patarini. t 

Rossetti then proceeds to mention the Albigenses 
as a sect emanating from the Templars, who them- 
selves held Eastern doctrines, a fact not found in 
the ordinary standard dictionaries of heresies, for 
the connection between those religious bodies, the 
Templars, the Rosicrucians, and the Freemasons is 
entirely suppressed, yet the historical links are all to 
be found by the unprejudiced student. 

The rough enumeration which now follows of the 
mystical societies and so-called heresies serves only 
as a guide to where the evidence can be found. 

* Says Lea in speaking of Calabria : " The Heretics sought and 
obtained in 1497 from King Frederic the confirmation by the crown of 
agreements. . . . They were visited every two years by the 
travelling pastors or barbes, who came in pairs, an elder known as the 
reggitore, and a younger, the coadiutore, journeying with some pretence 
of occupation, finding in every city the secret band of believers whom it 

was their mission to comfort and keep steadfast in the faith 

Everywhere they met friends acquainted with their secret passwords, 
and in spite of ecclesiastical vigilance there existed throughout 
Italy a subterranean network of heresy disguised under outward 
conformity."— Lea (H. C), History of the Inquisition of the Middle 
Ages; 11. , pp. 268, 269. New York ; 1888. 

t Of. cit., I. 14S. 


They are, moreover, selected from many other bodies 
simply because in their inception they fulfil the 
before-mentioned conditions of purity and morality 
combined with occult knowledge. Some few societies, 
or groups rather, have been omitted simply because 
they are so occult that very little outer historical 
evidence is forthcoming. Facts are known about 
them by a limited number of people ; but they 
stand more as the inspirers of the bodies here 
enumerated than in their ranks. A few names of 
leading mystics are also given, so that students 
may be able to trace the groups to which they 
are related. 

Eighteenth century : The Fratres Lucis, or The 
Knights of Light ; The Rosicrucians ; The Knights 
and Brothers Initiate of St. John the Evangelist from 
Asia, or the Asiatische Briider ; The Martinists ; The 
Theosophical Society* ; The Quietists ; The Knights- 
Templars ; Some Masonic Bodies. 

Seventeenth century : The Rosicrucians ; The 
Templars ; The Asiatische Briider ; Academia di 
Secreti, at the home of John Baptista Porta ; The 
Quietists, founded by Michael de Molinos ; and the 
whole group of Spanish mystics. 

Sixteenth century : The Rosicrucians became 
widely known ; The Order of Christ, derived from 
the Templars ; Cornelius Agrippa, of Nettesheim, in 
connection with a secret association ; Saint Teresa ; 

* Founded in London, 1767, by Benedicte Chastamer, a mystic 


St. John of the Cross ; Philippe Paracelsus ; The Fire 
Philosophers ; Militia ,Crucifera Evangelica, under 
Simon Studion ; The Mysteries of the Hermetic 

Fifteenth century : The Fratres Lucis at Florence, 
also the Platonic Academy; The Alchemical Society; 
Society of the Trowel ; The Templars ; The 
Bohemian Brothers, or Unitas Fratrum ; The Rosi- 

Fourteenth century : The Hesychasts, or the pre- 
cursors of the Quietists ; The Friends of God ; 
German Mysticism, led by Nicholas of Basle ; Johann 
Tauler ; Christian Rosencreutz ; The great Templar 
persecution ; The Fraticelli. 

Thirteenth century : The Brotherhood of the 
Winkelers ; The Apostolikers ; The Beghards and 
the Beguinen ; The Brothers and Sisters of the Free 
Spirit ; The Lollards ; The Albigenses, crushed out 
by the Catholic Church ; The Troubadours. 

Twelfth century: The Albigenses appear, probably 
derived from Manichzeans, who settled in Albi ; The 
Knights Templars, publicly known ; The Cathari, 
widely spread in Italy ; The Hermetists. 

Eleventh century : The Cathari and Patarini, 
condemned by the Roman Church, both derived 
from Manichseans ; The Paulicians with the same 
tradition, also persecuted ; The Knights of Rhodes 
and of Malta ; Scholastic Mystics. 

Tenth century: Paulicians: Bogomiles; Euchites ; 


From the Ninth century to the Third century 
the following organisations and sects appear : 
Manichaeans ; Euchites ; Magistri Comacini ; * Diony- 
sian Artificers ; Ophites ; Nestorians ; Eutychians. 

In the Fourth century the central figure for all 
occult students is the great lamblichus ; the fore- 
runner of the Rosicrucians ; and in the Third 
century we find Manes, the widow's son, the link 
for all of those who believe in the great work done 
by the " Sons of the Widow " and the Magian 

The various sects and bodies here detailed should 
not, of course, be understood as belonging exclusively 
to the century under which they appear in the above 
classification. All that this list is intended to convey 
is that such sects were more markedly prominent 
during the century in which they are placed. 

The possibility of dealing with mysticism and the 
real mystic societies consists in the fact that we are 
dealing with a certain definite teaching, its difficulty 
consists in the fact that the outward presentation is 
constantly changing according to the exigencies of 

* Llorente (J. A.). Hist, of the Inquisition. London, 1826. 
Merzario (Giuseppe, Prof.); / Maestri Comacini; Milano ; 1893. 
This author says : " In this darkness which extended over all Italy, only 
one small lamp remained alight, making a bright spark in the vast 
Italian necropolis. It was irom the Magistri Comacini. Their respective 
names are unknown, their individual works unspecialized, but the breath 
of their spirit might be felt all through those centuries, and their name 
collectively is legion. We may safely say that of all the works of art 
between 800 and 1000, the greater and better part are due to that 
brotherhood — always faithful and often secret — of the Magistri 


the f)eriod. New teachers are sent to build new 
forms, for the tendency to crystallize and to petrify is 
the natural inclination of the human mind ; the 
emotional nature clings fondly to familiar conditions, 
but these belong to the " natural body " and we are 
following the evolution of the " spiritual body." 
Through forms and phases many and painful does the 
soul acquire experience. Hence all these many 
societies have been but the schools through which the 
souls have been passing, and wherein they have 
acquired knowledge. 

Thus the study of mysticism in the Middle Ages 
places before us a landscape flickering with shadow 
and with light, and the people who travel across that 
tract are alternately in light and shade, and their 
experiences, bitter as well as sweet, belong to all 
pilgrims who are seeking truth in the perplexities of 
the changing phases of human life. 


As researches into its history are pursued, it appears 
more and more probable that the Masonic movement, 
to state it generally, was a sort of broad, semi-mystic 
and largely moral movement, worked from certain 
unknown centres, and deriving its origin from some 
ancient and not generally known basis. That is to 
say, its basis was, and is, unknown to all of those who 
do not recognise a definitely spiritual guidance in the 
practical, mental, and moral developments which 
from time to time change the surface of society by 
the introduction of new factors into the evolving 
processes of which life consists. Researches into 
Masonic literature must be made in many languages 
and countries before this view can be firmly 
established for the general world, but to the student 
of Theosophy who is also a student of Masonry it 


becomes more and more apparent that the movement . 
which is generally termed Masonic had its roots in 
that true mysticism which originated, as an ideal 
effort, from the spiritual Hierarchy which guides the 
evolution of the world ; and that, however much the 
branches may be separated from the root-idea, there 
is nevertheless a mystic teaching in Masonry for 
those who will seek below the surface. 

One such searcher into the origin of Masonry 
gives the following interesting and suggestive passage 
in his study on the discoveries respecting the obelisk 
made by Commander Gorringe, which tend to " prove 
that an institution similar to Freemasonry existed in 
Egypt," and the writer proceeds : 

According to our reading of history, the priesthoods of 
Belus, or Baal in Assyria, of Osiris in Egypt, of Jehova in 
Palestine, of Jupiter in Greece and Rome, of Ahura-Mazda 
in Persia, of Brahma in India, and of Teutates in Britain, 
were primitive secret societies, who instructed and governed 
the primitive families and races. It little matters whether 
we call the members of those priesthoods Belites, Pasto- 
phori, Levites, Curetes, Magi, Brahmins, or Druids ; they 
were connected by secret ties, and intercommunicated from 
the Indus to the Tiber, from the Nile to the Thames. 
Hence there ever has been, is, and ever will be Free- 
masonry on our planet. Masonry was ever more or less 
connected with priesthoods till about the thirteenth century 
of our era, when Masons declared themselves Freimaurer 
(Freemasons). Since about that period priesthoods have 
ever denounced and persecuted Freemasonry.* 

* Weisse, M.D. (John A.), Obelisk and Freemasonry, p.p. 94, 95. 
New York; 1880. 


The evidences of the basic mystic teaching can be 
largely traced by watching the eddies and under- 
currents which constantly break the smooth stream of 
ordinary Masonry. Frequently do we find other and 
smaller bodies, whose mystic aim was more marked 
and whose occult tendencies were more decidedly 
definite, springing up within the larger organisation. 
Some few members with deeper insight gather round 
themselves others with the same tendencies, and thus 
we find formations of smaller societies constantly 
taking place. It is the main features of some of these 
that we are now going to outline, and after we have 
briefly reviewed the sources from which some of 
the leading Masons draw their historical Masonic 
tradition, we can pass from the general outline to the 
smaller societies, and it will be seen that the same 
traditions re-appear in them. 

And in corroboration of the hypothesis just 
enunciated, the words of a well-known Mason may 
be quoted, who in summing up an admirable lecture 
which had just been delivered by a Brother Mason 
spoke as follows : 

A thoughtful consideration of our principal ceremony 
irresistibly leads us to the doctrine that was typified by the 
Jiasios in the King's Chamber of the great Pyramid, and 
connects with the main characteristic of all the mysteries, 
which embodied the highest truths then known to the 
illuminated ones. 

. . . The twelfth century witnessed an outbreak of 
mystic symbolism, perhaps unparalleled in our era, and gave 
us the religious legends of the Holy Grail, which point to 


an Eastern origin; this period coincides with the greatest 
popularity of the Templars, whose fall is contemporaneous 
with the decadence noticed by the lecturer. 

Without pressing the argument, I may suggest that some 
portion, at least, of our symbolism may have come through 
a Templar source, Romanist yet deeply tinged with 
Gnosticism ; while at a later date the Lollards (supposed 
to be inheritors of Manichaeism) and who were but one of 
the many religio-political societies with which Europe was 
honeycombed, possibly introduced or revived some of these 

teachings One thing is certain, that satisfactory 

I renderings of our symbols can only be obtained by a study 
\of Eastern Mysticism: KabaUstic, Hermetic, Pythagorean 
land Gnostic. 

Down the centuries we find enrolled the names of 
philosophic teachers who veiled their doctrines in figures 
similar to those in vogue among the Rosicrucians and still 
more recent students, and often identical with the signs we 
blazon on the walls of our Lodges and Chapters.* 

Many Theosophical students will find such 
utterances of immense value, as show^ing the view 
held by a Masonic authority of such well-known 
repute as Mr. E. Macbean, LG., with regard to some, 
at any rate, of the Eastern links with moderrs 
Masonry .-|- Mr. Gould, the lecturer, also made the 
following suggestive remarks : 

* Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. Transactions of the Lodge Quatuoi: 
Coronati, No. 2076. III., Parti., p. 31. London; 1890. 

t Another Masonic authority says: — "A little latec, or about: 
the year 200 a.d., the most noteworthy Gnostic sect was a 
Persian branch, the Manichees ; it was divided into three classes — 
Auditors, Elect, and Perfect, and the sect was ruled by twelve- 
Apostles, with a thirteenth as President. Manicheism was always. 
a source of trouble to the Church, and St. Augustine between 
the years 374 and 383 a.d., was an " Auditor," but for some reason 


With regard to the derivations of Masonry, there are, 
briefly, three possibilities. 

It may have come down to us 
I. Through a strictly Masonic Channel. 
II. Through the Rosicrucians. 

III. Through a variety of defunct societies, whose 
usages and customs have been appropriated, 
not inherited, by the Freemasons. 

The views thus put forward by these two 
authorities coincide perfectly with those of many 
German and Italian mystic writers of the last 
century and those preceding it. We will, therefore, 
investigate the early traditions in order to trace the 
links which bind them together, and join the chain to 
the yet more remote spiritual centre hidden, though 
not lost, in the clouds of time, and in piecing together 

could not obtain advancement, and so abandoned the system. The 
Rite had a Theosophical Gospel which taught that the basis of all 
religion was one. In 657 they had changed their name to Paulicians, 
and later Cathari (purified), Euchites, Bogomiles, and in more recent 
times still, Lollards. We could quote numberless authors of the early 
period of the Church to prove the origin of these sects from the Eastern 
Magi, but it is unnecessary and space forbids. In a few words, they 
were a secret speculative society with degrees, distinguished by signs, 
tokens and words like Freemasonry, and the Church of Rome from the 
4th to the 19th century has hated them with the hatred of death, 
butchering and burning them by tens of thousands ; for Christianity has 
shed more blood than any other faith. Yet the fathers often admit 
their great purity of life, but that was their sin against a corrupt priest- 
hood and unpardonable. The Templars were Gnostics, on the evidence 
of the Papal trials in 1313, and Hugh, G.M. 1118, is said to have 
received initiation from Theocletus, Patriarch of St. John the Baptist 
and the Codex Nazareus." The Kneph, Vol. V., No. 4, 1885. 
" Records and Documents relating to Freemasonry as a speculative 
society," by John Yarker, P.M., P.M.M.K., P.Z., P.E.C., P.R.G.C, 
&c. Chapter IV. — " Secret Theosophical Societies. " (Continued from 


the fragments of these esoteric links it is better to 
begin with the views of a well-known Italian Mason, 
for it is to the " Sons of the Widow " we must look 
for help in revivifying the ancient spiritual truths of a 
once esoteric Masonry. The writer from whom we 
quote believed profoundly in Masonry and' writes of it 
as one who knows that it was a vehicle for conveying 
spiritual mysteries to the people : Thus he writes* 
of the early history of Masonry : 

Three centuries had passed since the origin of 
Christianity when at this epoch of barbarism there arose 
in the same Persia whence so many teachings had gone 
forth, a philosopher who wished to lead back the confused 
spirit of men to the cult of the only true God. He was 
called Manes. Some of the uninstructed have regarded 
him as the first originator of our Order, and the creator of 
our doctrines. 

Manes lived under the Persian King Sopares. He 
endeavoured to recall to life in their entire purity the 
mysteries and the religion of Zoroaster, uniting them with 
the pure compassionate teachings of Jesus Christ. The 
teachings of Manes were liberal, whereas superstition and 

* The quotations are taken from the German edition of the work 
of Reghellini da Schio, La Mofonnerie considirie comnie le Risultat des 
Religions Egyptienne,Juive et Chritienne. Paris, 1883. 

See also Eckert (Edward Emil), Die Mysierien der Heidenkirche 
erhallen und fortgebildet im Bunde der alten und der tieuen Kinder der 
Wittwe. Schaffhausen, i860. Chap, vi., p. 77. "Die Manichaer 
Oder die Kinder der Wittwe in Abendlande als Johannes-Briider-und 
Schwesternschaft. " 

In this chapter Eckert traces the connection of the Manichaeans or 
the "Children of the Widow" to the Johannes-Bruder of the West, 
and links them also to the German Building Corporations and Societies. 

Chap, vii., 307. In this chapter he links them by their signs and 
symbols to the Cologne Masonic body of 1535. 


despotism governed Europe. It is easy to believe that 
those who professed demagogic principles and a religion 
free from all that was chimerical would be persecuted. 
Thus the Manichaeans from about the fourth century were 
persecuted to the fullest by all the despots and by the 
Romish Priests. . . . The Holy Augustine, brought 
up in the mysteries of Zoroaster adapted to the holy 
teaching of Jesus, became his bitterest persecutor and the 
greatest enemy to the teaching of Manes which was known 
under the name of the religion of the Child of the Widow. 

This hatred shown towards Manes by St. Augustine, and 
his zeal for the Christian Trinity doctrine, may have 
originated in the vexation which Augustine experienced at 
having been only admitted into the first degree of the 
mysteries of Manes. The Magi, who had recognised in 
him an ambitious and restless spirit, were thereby induced 
to refuse to him all advancement, and this in spite of his 
nine years study, which he made in order to be raised to the 
higher degree. This fact is sufficiently confirmed by Fleury, 
Baronius, and by Augustine himself in his confessions. 
After the death of Manes, twelve of his pupils went forth 
into all the parts of the earth and imparted his teachings 
and his mysteries to all people. They illumined as with a 
lightning-flash Asia, Africa, and Europe, as may be seen 

from Baronius, Fleury, Bayle, and others 

We have already said that still in the lifetime of Manes, his 
pupil Herman had spread his teaching in Egypt, where the 
Coptic priests and other Christians mingled it with the 

mysteries adopted from the Jews It 

was through these same Coptic priests and the Eastern 
Christians that both the mysteries of the Children of the 
Widow, and the cult of the great Architect came to us in 
consequence of apparently unforeseen events, and it will be 
seen that it was principally by means of the Crusades that 
they obtained a secure footing in the West. The mysteries 
maintained their existence under the name of the cult of 


the Great Architect of the Universe, a name that has its 
origin in the allegory of Hiram, which represented, in the 
mysteries, "the unknown God," the Eternal, and sole 
creator of all things and the Regenerator of all beings. 

Thus does Reghellini da Schio write, as he traces 
the Masonic ancestry back to the pre-Christian 
period, and he continues : 

Bossuet in his Histoire des Variations, IV., says that 
in the middle ages the Christian sects, and especially 
the Manichseans and Gnostics, had concealed themselves 
as much as possible in the Orthodox Church itself: the 
remainder of the Manichjeans who had maintained 
themselves only too well in the East, crowded into 
the Latin Church. Montfaucon, VII., p. 271, says when he 
speaks of the religion of the Egyptians, that the heresy of 
the good and evil principles which had been upheld by 
Manichseans, had at various times brought forth in the 
Church great disorder, and he asserts that in the East . . 
. . . . these doctrines existed at the time of the 

Crusades, the long time that elapsed during 

the wars of the Crusaders gave them the opportunity of 
being admitted into all the mysteries of the Children of the 
Widow, the teachings of the Great Architect of the world, 
and of both principles .... the Crusaders who had 
been admitted to the mysteries of the Children of the 
Widow and initiated therein, imparted them, on their return 

home, to their pupils in Europe during the 

sojourn of the Crusaders with the Mussulmans, all kinds of 
theological investigations were instituted. These led the 
Crusaders deeper into the faith in the Great Architect of 
the world. . . . 

And again in another passage (p. 46) he adds : 

In spite of the religious and political changes that 
followed upon the conquests of the Saracens in Asia, Africa, 
and Europe; in spite of the persecutions introduced by 


them, the doctrines as to the unity of God was able to 
maintain itself by means of the Mysteries in Palestine, 
Syria, and Egypt, more especially, however, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Thebes; for here the Christians and Coptic 
priests preserved, in the lap of their solitude, the teachings 
communicated to them by Hesman, the pupil of Manes, a 
teaching which later passed over into Europe.* 

Passing on from these important and interesting 
indications to the more detailed aspect of our sub- 
ject we find that at a later period many of the 
semi-Masonic bodies had " Unknown Heads," and 
more especially those whose aims were avowedly 
occult, this being the term which was applied in 
Germany, Austria and Hungary to those organisations 
that did not make public the sources from which their 
teachings were derived, nor say from whom their 
inspiration came. To find the origin of such secrecy 
we must turn back to the early history of the Masonic 
tradition and sketch briefly what is told us by a Mason 
of the early part of this century, when dealing with 
this historic secrecy. He tells us : 

We find among all the priests of ancient peoples, and in 
order that none but really capable and worthy men should 
be associated with their offices and studies, they instituted 
forms of probation and examination upon which followed 
some kind of initiation. Now as the oldest writers ascribed 
such mysteries and initiations to the Egyptian Priests, it is 
very probable that they already existed before the downfall 
of that people, for we find traces of them in equally ancient 

* " Acerrellos" Rossler (Karl) Die Freimaurerei in ihrem Zusam- 
menhange mit den Religionen der alter Aegypter, der Juden, tmd der 
Christen: II., p. II. Leipzig, 1836. 


nations and perceive from the likeness of their fundamental 
principles and of the teaching and customs of their priests, 
that they must have had a common origin. Among the 
Chaldeans the Magi dwelt on the summits of the mountains, 
and among the Celtic races the Druids lived in the quiet 
solitude of the forests. Among the Indians and Ethiopians 
the Brahmins and Gymnosophists had localities specially 
dedicated to them, and among the Egyptians the Priests 
had intricate dwelling-places far beneath the surface of the 
earth. All had their symbols and distinctive signs, and 
owed their fame only to the secrecy of their initiation. 

The secrets of Antiquity had a twofold aim. In the 
first case Religion was chosen as the object of care; the 
greater the mysteries the more eternally secret were they to 
be kept from the people. The aim in the second case was 
to guard the Wisdom of all things. He who would be 
initiated must be a man of upright character and true 
mental power. The sacred mysteries fell into decay with 
the Roman Empire, the flourishing and spread of the 
Christian religion being the chief cause of this decadence. 
The initiation into the mysteries of the Wisdom was how- 
ever of much longer duration. They changed only from 
time to time either the name, the inner constitution, the 
degrees and various kinds of knowledge bound up in these, 
or even the nature of the union itself The men, who were 
known under the name of Magi, or the White Masters, made 
one of their most important aims the true knowledge of the 
human heart, which lay always open before their eyes. To 
them alone was entrusted the bringing up of Kings and the 
great of the earth, for they alone could understand science 
as well as art, and careless of all prejudice taught a simple 
and natural Theology, which based itself upon the worship 
of a Supreme Being. 

Because, however, their method of teaching was sym- 
bolical, many errors of which they were entirely incapable 
were ascribed to them on account of their numerous 


hieroglyphics. The Magi of Memphis and Heliopolis were 
held in such esteem, and their renown was so widespread 
that the greatest heroes of war, philosophers, and strangers 
of the highest rank journeyed to Egypt and sought to be 
initiated by the Priests in order to learn the secrets of the 
Priesthood. From among these priests Lycurgus and Solon 
drew a part of their system of philosophy ; and Orpheus was 
also initiated by them, and by this means enabled to 
introduce into his own land, festivals from which the Greek 
mythology afterwards arose. Thales also was instructed by 
them, Pythagoras received from the same source his doctrine 
of Metempsychosis, Herodotus obtained much information, 
and Democritus his secrets. Moses also, who was brought 
up by the Magi, used his knowledge of the mysteries to free 
the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and lead them to the 
service of the true God. It is well known that Moses 
prescribed certain probation for his Levites, and that the 
secrets of the Priesthood were inaccessible to the rest of the 
Israelites, and this principle ruled till the time of Solomon.* 

And this policy of silence was a wise one, for the 
bitter vituperations which were showered on the 
heads of the few who were the exoteric leaders in 
such organizations, demonstrated the wisdom which 
guarded the personalities of the real leaders. Such 

• Sarsena, oder der Volkommene Baumeister, enthaltend die 
Geschichte und Estehung des Frei-Maurerordens. Bamberg, 1816. 
The author of this work is not definitely known, but another Mason, 
Herr Z. Funck, wrote, in 1838, the Kurze Geschichte des Bucks Sarsena, 
Bamberg, and said of the above work : "There are few books which on 
their publication caused so great a sensation as did this one. . . . 
the author of this work was an old experienced Freemason." The 
publisher says that 1500 copies were sold in the first month, and it went 
through five editions ; it caused, moreover, a miniature Masonic war- 
fare. Written by one who knew what Freemasonry should be, it 
naturally raised the violent opposition of those who wished to drag it 
away from its mystical standpoint. 


work was better done by small groups, and this 
appears to have been the view held by those leaders 
with whom the student does come into contact. 
Some few of these groups in the last century have 
already been cited * but it will be as well to repeat 
their titles, which run as follows : 

The Canons of the Holy Sepulchre. 

The Canons of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. 

The Beneficent Knights of the Holy City fThe 
Strict Observance). 

The Clergy of Nicosia in the Island of Cyprus. 

The Clergy of Auvergne. 

The Knights of Providence (The Order of the 
Knights of St. Joachim). 

The African Brothers. 

The Knights of Light (The Order of Fratres Lucis). 

The Asiatic Brothers (The Order of the Knights 
of St. John of Asia). 

These Societies do not belong to any one country 
in particular, for we find ramifications of them 
appearing, disappearing and re-appearing, like beacon 
lights, in Austria, Hungary, Italy, France, Sweden, 
and Russia. England was the least prolific soil in 
the early centuries for the implanting of this mystic 
seed. In Scotland and Ireland, however, that light 
shone more clearly than in England. But in Austria 
and the Danubian Provinces mysticism grew apace 
for a short and happy while, and so a few words about 
Austria in particular may be said before passing on. 

* The Theosophical Review, xxii. 311. 


Says Ludwig Abafi, in his Introduction to Pre- 
Historic Freemasonry in Austria and Hungary:* 

It is proved that the Emperor Rudolph I., even in the 
year 1275, authorised an Order of Masons, whilst Pope 
Nicholas III., in the year 1278, granted to the Brotherhood 
of Stonemasons at Strassburg, a letter of Indulgence which 
was renewed by all his successors down to Benedict XII. 
in 1340. The oldest order of German Masons arises in 
the year 1397 ; next follow the so-called Vienna Witnesses 
of 141 2, 1430, and 1435; then the Strassburg Order of 
Lodges of 149s ; that of Torgau of 1462, and finally sixteen 
different Orders on to 1 500, and to the following centuries 
for Spires, Regensburg, Saxon-Altenburg, Strassburg, Vienna, 
and the Tyrol. 

At this period the Roman Church appears to have 
made various futile efforts to retain a hold upon these 
Masons, but vi'ithout tangible result. For the forces 
at the back of these movements prevented the 
destruction of a new free spiritual growth by the 
Roman power. At this period also came those great 
souls, burning for freedom, who worked the Reforma- 
tion,*!- and although that work and those reforms were 

* Geschichte der Freimaurerei in Oestcrreich und Ungat-n. Buda- 
pest, 1890-1891. Pt. I., p. 8. • 

t Such, for instance, as John Tauler, the famous Dominican (born 
1290, died 1361), who formed a mystical fraternity, the members of 
which recognized each other by secret signs. Then we have Nicholas 
of Basle, with his four disciples, the beginning of the "Friends of God." 
These men kept a watch on all that was going on in the world, and 
they had special messengers who had certain secret signs, by which they 
recognized each other ; Nicholas was burned as a heretic. Much 
information concerning this sect is given in a MS. called TJie Book of 
the Five Men. (1377). See for details, Jundt (A.), Les Amis de 
Dieu au XIV^ SiMe. Paris 1879. 


dwarfed of their full growth by the natural crudity 
and narrowness of the human mind, nevertheless the 
dogmatic and mind-killing power of Rome was 
materially thwarted, and the spirit in the teaching of 
the Master Christ set free from those trammels. At 
all events, Abafi proceeds : 

Equally important in the formation of Freemasonry 
. were certain religious communities and 
brotherhoods of the Middle Ages, which for the most part 
aimed at a return to the pure teaching of Christ, and at 
making its ethical form familiar to their adherents. One of 
these brotherhoods was that of the Waldenses, established 
by Peter Waldo in the year 1170 at Lyons. Their aim was 
the restitution of the original purity of the Church through 
the adoption of voluntary poverty, and other ascetic 
practices. But because of the doctrine of Transubstantia- 
tion they soon came into conflict with the Catholic Church, 
and as early as 1134 Pope Lucius III. excommunicated 
them, and Sextus IV. in 1477 proclaimed a Crusade against 
them. In spite of these attacks they have kept alive up to the 
present day, and have spread into several countries, namely 
into Italy, France and Bohemia, and in this latter country 
we shall meet them again under the name " Bohemian 

A few words may be summarised from the same 
writer about some of the other mystic bodies in 
Bohemia and Hungary, lands full of occult tendencies. 
Among them are the following : " Die Briider von 
Reif und Hammer," or the " Brothers of the Circle 
and Hammer," " Die Hackebrudershaft," " The 
Brotherhood of the Hatchet," " Die Freunde vom 
Kreuz," or the " Friends of the Cross." This last 


society spread into the Netherlands, and had its 
greatest success in the latter part of the 17th Century. 
The " Brothers of the Cross " * were still holding 
their meetings in 1785 : they had many members in 
Wallachia, and still more in Transylvania.-f Brabbee 
in his Masonic studies says : It consisted principally of 

Older men and those who were generally reputed 
wise, and therefore of the prominent leaders of the 
Brotherhood, who here, in the Metropolis of the Kingdom, 
formed a kind of stronghold of the " inner East." 

The last expression is worthy of our notice, 
for it shows how the minds of men were turning, 
even in Masonic Circles, to the Eastern teachings. 
Abafi also says that a great and moulding force 
was exercised at this period on the form of Free- 
masonry by Jan Amos Komensky (latinised 
Comenius) who was born at Briinn, in Bohemia, in 
1592, and who became a chaplain of the Bohemian 
Brothers in 161 8. When the civil wars began 
Komensky lost wife, child, and property, and was 
e.xiled from Austria like all other non-Catholics. 
He escaped to Poland, turned his thoughts to educa- 
tional matters, and became famous in Sweden, 
Hungary, and England. 

Komensky was actively interested in the Rosicru- 
cian movement, and joined John Valentinus Andreas 
in his work in that body. In 1650 Komensky was 

* Sometimes called Fratres de Cruce. 

t Brabble (Gustav), Sub-Jiosa Vertrauliche Mittheilungen atis dem 
Maurerischen Leben unserer Grossvdter, p. 25. Wien, 1879. 


invited to Hungary and Transylvania by the Prince 
Ragozcy, vviiere he stayed four years. It is doubtless 
partly owing to his influence that the Rosicrucian 
movement spread so widely in these countries. His 
philosophical and metaphysical views were so widely 
spread, that when Anderson* wrote his book on 
Freemasonry, he, according to Abafi, incorporated in 
his work a compilation of the most essential portions 
of the plans of Komensky. As Abafi phrases it : 

It was reserved for an Austrian, a Moravian school- 
master, the Chaplain of the Bohemian Brothers, to bestow 
ethical treasures upon a brotherhood in proud Albion, the 
home of the boldest intellects ; to formulate the ideas, and 
to point out the way for a league which — after its trans- 
formation — was destined to embrace the noblest of all 
nations, and being brought to perfection by them, ordained 
to influence the whole of humanity. 

The spread of mysticism in Austria and Hungary 
during the last century was astoundingly rapid ; 
according to one authorityj- about five per cent, of 
the entire population belonged to the Freemasons, 
Rosicrucians, and other allied societies. 

The vast majority of these Lodges must, he 
thinks, have been secret, for at the death of the 

* James Anderson, D.D,, whose work was published in 1723, 
under the title The Constitutions of the Freemasons ; containing the 
History, Charges, Regulations, etc., of that Most Ancient and Right 
Worshipful Fraternity, for the use of the Lodges. A second edition, 
revised, was published in 1738. 

f Freimaurer ; Heft. I., p. 10, ed. by von Andr^e. Gotha, 


Empress* only three legitimate and perfect Lodges 
existed. That is to say, only three Lodges in 
which Freemasonry as such existed without any more 
extended search into occultism. Another authority, 
Dr. Otto Henne-am-Rhyn.-f promptly doubles 
this number, saying that there were 20,000 mystic 
students in Vienna. As this writer was an avowed 
enemy of mysticism, his views may be taken as not 
likely to exaggerate the numerical value of occult 

In Austria mysticism had been aided by the 
kindly interest taken in such subjects by the Emperor 
Francis I. He had protected and favoured a very 
remarkable man called Seefels — or Sehfeld — a 
Rosicrucian and Mason, who had an alchemical 
laboratory at Rodaun, a small village about a 
mile from Vienna. This man was loved and 
respected by the whole neighbourhood for his 
kindliness, as well as feared for his powers, which were 
most remarkable. Seefels is mentioned by Schmieder 
in his valuable History of Alchemy, J as one of the 
" Seven true Adepts " who should appear in Europe 
in the course of the century. Schmieder also gives 
some very interesting proofs of his powers. But in 
spite of the Emperor's protection he was seized by 

* Maria Theresa, wife of Franz I., and the mother of Joseph II. 
of Austria. 

+ Henne-am-Rhyn (Otto), KuUurgeschichte des Zeitallers der 
Aufkldrung, v., p. 244. Leipzig, 1878. 

X Schmieder (C. C), Geschichte der Alchemic, pp. 527-542, 1832. 


the police and placed in the fortress at Temeswar in 
Hungary. A careful study of Schmieder's work 
would more than repay any student who desires to 
have evidences for occult powers made certain by 

The following interesting notes* are quoted as 
showing the connecting link between the Continental 
mystic Masonry and England, of which but little has 
been heard in the outer world. 

In a German tract, printed about 1803, and bound up 
with another tract of Fessler's, called Geschichte der 
Freimaurerei, occur the following startling statements, which 
I give to Masonic students for what they are worth. 

1. The Templars worked with the so-called "Magical 
Brethren " at an early period of their existence. 

2. A Rosicrucian MS. states that at Cologne, with the 
motto, " non omnis moriar," this Magical Union was created 
there in 11 15. 

3. A MS. of Michael Mayer's still exists in the Uni- 
versity Library at Ley den, which sets forth that in 1570 the 
Society of the old Magical Brethren, or "Wise Men" was 
revived under the name of Brethren of the Golden Rosy 

4. It is asserted that in 1563 the statutes of the 
Brotherhood were, on the 22nd of September, at Basle, at a 
meeting of seventy-two Masters of Lodges, revised, set forth, 
and printed; that the Lodges of Swabia, Hesse, Bavaria, 
Franconia, Saxony, Thuringia, and those on the Moselle 
acknowledged the headship of the Grand Lodge of Strass- 
burg. That in the eighteenth century the Lodges of 
Dresden and Nuremberg were fined by the Grand-Master of 
Strassburg, and that the Grand Lodge of Vienna, of Hungary, 

* See The Kneph, vol. iv., 3. August, 1884. "Masonic Notes." 


and Stirrmark, the Grand Lodge of Zurich, which ruled the 
Swiss Lodges, referred to the Mother Lodge of Strassburg 
in all difficult and doubtful matters. 

To these notes by a " Masonic Student " the 
following editorial note is appended : 

There can be no doubt that the Theosophical and 
Magical Union above mentioned did exist as an organised 
Secret Society. The correspondence of Cornelius Agrippa 
von Nettesheim shows that he was a member of such a 
secret society, and it is further asserted that when he was in 
London he established a branch of it in that city. Fludd, 
as showing that secret societies existed in the Universities, 
has the passage "notwithstanding any allegiance which I 
may have vowed by a ceremonial Rite to Aristotle* in my 
youth." These societies used the double Triangles, or Seal 
of Solomon, and in the ruins of one of the old Temple Pre- 
ceptories in France was found a copper medallion with the 
Lamb surmounted by this Cabalistic symbol. 

Two points in this interesting note can be corro- 
borated by further evidence. The Rosicrucian MS. 
mentioned in para. 2, is also mentioned on page 56 of 
a most valuable German book (to which reference has 
already been made) by Friedrich Gottlieb Ephraim 
Weisse, or Magister Pianco ; it is called Der Rosen- 
^reutzer in seiner B/osse (Amsterdann ; 1781). Some 
extracts from it will not be without interest, for it 
refers to the older body of " Wise-Men," who were 
known as the " Unknown Heads " of many of the 

* Says Accelleros (Dr. Karl Rossler) : "The Gnostic principles 
were spread under the form of Aristotelean Philosophy at Paris and 
elsewhere." — Die Freimaurerei in ikrem Zusammenhange mit dm 
Religioneti der alten Aegypter, der jfuden und der Christen, II., 
p. 63. Leipzig, 1836. 


small societies. The conditions of entrance are 
briefly given as follows : 

3. Whosoever wished to be admitted to the secrets, 
and afterwards to be initiated, must be a man of honour 
and of true spiritual power; and he must be already of 
considerable learning ; for only those were accepted, of 
whom it could be hoped that they would be of great 
service to the Sacred Alliance. . . 

10. The Initiates wore a triangle, symbolical of the 
three qualities of the Demiurgos — Power, Wisdom and 
Love. . . . 

The Masters of the second secret were Masters in the 
knowledge of all nature, and her forces, and divisions. 

11. They were called Philosophers or the World- Wise. 
Their science was called the World- Wisdom. . . . 

12. These World- Wise occupied themselves in secret. 
No one knew where they met, or what they did. 

14. But they had also secret sciences known only 
to the highest among them — called Magos, Mage, or the 
Wise Master, who taught the people of Divine things. He 
could do things which appeared quite supernatural. * 

The author, speaking of the relation of Masonry 
to this older and more secret body, says : 

Those Brother Masons (of the highest degrees) knew 
that they owed their brotherhood to the Initiations of the 
old Wise-Men ; that the great part of their (the Masons') 
knowledge came from Them, and that without Their help 
they could do nothing, f 

In another passage he says : 

Long before the year 11 18, there was a society which in 
the mysteries of the ancients took the place of the last and 

" Op. cit., pp. 28, 30-32. t Op. cit., p. 54. 


youngest grade, and which had the same position with the 
Tempelherren, who had adopted it with the other teachings 
of the Wise Ones. — They were the novices from all time. 
As in the time of the Inquisition against the Templars no 
one knew anything about the lower and last grades, and 
those who belonged to them had no public connection with 
them and thus lived without attracting any attention, they 
were overlooked in the cruelties of the time. One did not 
think of them. As the members of the Templars who 
escaped were few in number and died one after the other, 
the remaining members drew together to form a bond of 
friendship, to which end they drew up certain rules. This 
new society appeared in different forms and under different 
names. Cross Society or Brothers of the Cross, Noaites, and 
in later days adopted the name of Freemasons. 

Length of time and the involved issues consequent 
thereon made those initiated into the Mysteries at length 
perceive that they must introduce an entirely different 
organisation into the community, in order to bring it into 
line with Christianity. 

Those associates who still remained over from the 
collapse* of the community of Initiates, and who were 
scattered about the world, began to make fresh projects for 
a general union. They took the laws of their community 
and the laws of the Christians, which are known under the 
name of the Bible, into a real assimilation. They began to 
institute a parallel between the books of Moses and the 
memorials of the Magi, and from all this they evolved a 
kind of association, provided with certain laws, which could 
fit in with the Christian. 

The association was, as is always the custom with 
innovations, in the beginning somewhat dark and involved ; 
it was saddled with various meanings and names, which it 

* The writer is referring to the persecutions of the " Magian 
Brothers," who followed Manes the Reformer. 


would be quite unnecessary to repeat here, but which were 
all of short duration, so that the first ones called it the 
association of Magi and its members the Magi Brotherhood 
and associates. And this first association was formed in the 
year 1115 and lasted till the year 11 17, though it underwent 
changes from time to time. The Crusaders had given rise 
to many societies and orders amongst the profane, and 
associations had sprung up which had quite differing 
objects. Amid innumerable ones there arose in the year 
418 the Knights, with whom the Magi Brotherhood united 
and shared their principles and secrets with them. 

The writer speaks " as one having authority" and 
knowledge also. 

Turning to the particular date mentioned in the 
notes from The Kneph, we find that about this period, 
or a few years earlier, the first documentary evidence 
of the appearance of the Asiatische Briider is men- 
tioned by the Baron Hans Ecker von Eckhoffen in 
his treatise, Authentischen Nachrichten von den Rilter- 
und Briider-Eingeweihten mis Asien (Hamburg ; 
1788). These writings, he says, date from 15 10; 
showing that a body of mystics was known at that 
period ; these Knights of Asia also called themselves 
the Knights of St. John, and it is a curious fact to 
notice that one of the Masonic records which has 
caused an infinity of discussion, and also of dis- 
sension, amongst Masons, is the celebrated " Cologne 
Record " which is dated 1535, and in which an Order 
of St. John is noticed. This charter has been a 
veritable bone of contention between materialistic 
and mystic Masons, and much polemical literature 


has been published on the subject. The mystics hold 
it to be true on external and internal evidences ; while 
the materialists reject it, as they reject all such 

In the record there is the name of Philip 
Melancthon — the friend and co-worker of Martin 
Luther — who appears as a Brother in the Order of the 
Freemasons. This document bears witness also that 
a secret society was known in various parts of the 
world, which existed before 1440 under the name of 
the " Brotherhood of St. John," and since then, and 
up to 1535, under the title, the " St. John's Order of 
Freemasonry" or " Masonic Brotherhood." 

This Society* was reformed and re-arranged in 
the year 17 17, the generally accepted modern date of 
the materialistic and non-mystic Masons. It became 
more atheistic in its views, and more democratic 
in its tendencies. Amongst other deeply interesting 
matter, the "Charter of Cologne" contains the 
following passage : 

The Brotherhood, or the order of Freemason Brothers, 
bound together according to St. John's holy rules, traces its 
origin neither from the Templars nor from any other spiritual 
or temporal Knightly Order, but it is older than all similar 
Orders, and has existed in Palestine and Greece, as well as 
in various parts of the Roman Empire. Before the Crusades 
our Brotherhood arose ; at a time when in consequence of 
the strife between the sects teaching Christian morals, a 
small number of the initiated — entrusted with the true 

* The present Freemason body. 


teaching of virtue, and the sensible exposition of the secret 
teaching — separated themselves from the mass.* 

According to the record, the following reason was given 
for the adoption of the name : The Masters of this confeder- 
ation were called the St. John's Brethren, as they had chosen 
John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Light of the World 
. . . as their original and example, f 

There is a curious similarity between this docu- 
ment in its phrasing and style, and the remarks made 
in the book by Weisse, in his Der Rosenkreutzer in 
seiner Bl'dsse, some passages of which have already 
been summarised. 

Yet another well-known Masonic authority bears 
witness to the value of the Cologne Record. Thus 
Mackenzie writes : 

The documents are still preserved in one of the Lodges 
at Namur. They have been very hotly debated. On the 
one hand, Oliver, Reghellini, and some others treat them as 
authentic, and the antiquaries of the University of Leyden 
certify that the paper on which the register of the Lodge at 
the Hague is written is of the same kind as that used in 
Holland in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Now 
this register refers to the Charter of Cologne as being 
in existence, so that the fraud, if a fraud, is two centuries 

Our chief interest in all this detailed evidence lies 
in the ever-recurring testimony that it bears to that 
older Fraternity, which was the inspiring body at the 

* Freimaurer Lexicon, Gi.^\^&{]. Q,.). Berlin; 1818. 
+ J. G. YxxiA^i History of Freemasonry, p. 721. Translated from 
and German ed. with preface by G. von Dalen. London ; 1866. 
% The Royal Masonic Cydo^eedia, ■^. 126. London | 1877. 


back. But we must now turn to some of the Societies 
which had " Unknown Heads," as given in our list. 

J. M. Ragon, in his Orthodoxie Maqonnique, gives 
the following interesting account of one of these 
bodies, more information on which will be added from 
other sources. 

Order of the Architects of Africa, or the African Brothers 

This Order was composed of educated and well- 
principled brothers. Their lodges, in Europe, were all 
closed, excepting perhaps that of Constantinople (at 

Only one of their Grand-Masters . was known ; this was 
the councillor of war, Kbppen. 

Their first degree offered a more extensive and complete 
instruction than all the degrees of the Scotch systems together. 
They said that the Lodges of St. John neglected the great 
end, and that instruction was hardly to be had there, and 
that the Strict Observance did not know the grounds of the 
continuation of the Masonic Order. They occupied them- 
selves with hieroglyphics, especially with those relating to 
Freemasonry, which they sought to know well. They made 
a mystery of their goal up to the seventh degree, which 
could only be gained by zeal, perseverance and discretion. 
Their secondary occupations were the sciences, especially 
history and antiquities, the study of which they considered 
indispensable for the true Freemason. 

Their first degree was symbolically called the Architect 
or Apprentice of Egyptian secrets. 

They called themselves the Africans,* because their 

* This tradition came from Egypt and passing along North Africa, 
swept over into Spain, and was at the foundation of the great Arabic 
mystic development which has made Spain immortal. The true name 


studies began with the history of the Egyptians, in whose 
mysteries they found indications of Freemasonry, although 
they placed its origin much later, as to which the Crusades 
gave them no light. 

Their customs were simple and noble. They never laid 
any stress on decorations, aprons, ribbons, jewels, etc., but 
they liked a certain luxury, and sententious inscriptions with 
a sublime but hidden meaning. In their assemblies they 
read treatises and communicated to each other the result of 
their researches. 

Their banquets were simple, decorum prevailed, and 
instructive and scientific discourses were given at them. 

Admissions were given without any fees. Earnest 
brothers who fell into distress received much assistance. 

They have published many important documents in 
Germany on Freemasonry. 

This Order was established in Prussia, in 1767, with the 
assent of Frederick II., called the Great. 

Its degrees, to the number of eleven, were divided into 
two temples, viz. : 

First Temple. 

1. Apprentice. 

2. Companion. 

3. Master. 

Second Temple. 

4. Architect, or Apprentice of the Egyptian secrets 

(Manes Musae). 

5. Initiate in the Egyptian secrets. 

6. Cosmopolitan Brother. 

7. Christian Philosopher (Bossinius). 

8. Master of the Egyptian secrets, Alethophilote 
^ (Friend of Truth). 

of this African tradition is Manichseism, and in the Church of North 
Africa the Gnostic teaching lived for many a century : and among the 
Copts the tradition yet endures. 


Higher Degrees. 
9. Armiger. 

10. Miles. 

11. Eques. 

The Grand Chapter gave each year, during the life of 
Frederick II., a gold medal of 50 ducats as a prize for the 
best treatise or discourse. 

In 1806 only one Chapter of this system remained, that 
of Berlin (' Constantinople '). 

On the supposed Origin of the Order, Ragon 

writes as follows : 

When Frederick II. came to the throne, seeing that 
Freemasonry was no longer what it had been, and 
appreciating what it might be, he conceived the plan of an 
Inner Order which might at the same time take the place of 
a Masonic Academy. He made choice of a certain number 
of Masons capable of comprehending his ideas, and charged 
them with the organisation of this body. Among these 
were to be noticed the brothers Stahl, de Gone, Meyerotto 
and du Bosc. They instituted the Order under the name 
of an extinct society. The Architects of Africa, and estab- 
Hshed statutes in accordance with the views of the King, 
who on his side granted privileges, and in 1768 had erected 
in Silesia, by his architect Meil, a building specially designed 
for the Grand Chapter, and endowed it with an ample fund, 
with a choice library and rich furniture, the whole being of 
an elegance worthy of the Order and of the King. 

This Order, without pretending to dominion, teaching 
tolerance, professing the primitive principles of Free- 
masonry, and making a special study of its history, 
prospered in silence and in complete freedom. Its chief 
statutes were to fear God only, to honour the King and to 
be discreet, to exercise universal tolerance towards all 
Masonic sects without ever affiliating itself to any. It was 


for this reason that they never submitted to the act of 
obedience of the Baron de Hund, notwithstanding all the 
entreaties that were made to them to do so. In the 
admission of candidates they observed the strictest caution. 
It is said that Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick was refused 
because he meddled with sectarian affairs. They devoted 
themselves to active researches into the history of the 
mysteries, of secret societies and their various branches, and 
cultivated the sciences, chiefly mathematics. In their works, 
carried on often in Latin, reigned morality, a high tone, 
a solid and unostentatious teaching. 

Their library and their archives obtained through the 
protection of the King and of persons of distinction, among 
others the Prince von Lichtenstein at Vienna, some real 
treasures of manuscripts and documents, which no Masonic 
branch can boast. (Dkouverte sur le Systime de POrdre des 
Architectes Africains, Constantinople. Berlin ; in 8vo, 51 pp., 
1806.) This article is taken from the Masonic library of 
the very kind brother, Th. Juge.* 

Few monarchs have more thoroughly protected 
the Mystic Schools within the Masonic body than 
Frederick II., King of Prussia, well named "The 
Great." Not onl}- did he protect them, but he also 
actively sympathised with them. While still Crown 
Prince, he was initiated as a Mason at Brunswick in 
August, 1738, and was from that period the staunch 
protector of the Masonic Fraternity ; nor did he omit 
to penetrate very deeply into the early traditions of 
Masonry, far more so, indeed, than many who have 
fewer duties to engage their time. 

Frederick the Great was, however, by no means the 

* Ragon, op. cit. , pp. 239, et seq. 


vague and dreamy mystic of popular representation ; 
his Academy and Schools were the centres of the 
most brilliant intellects of the period, while the 
choice of his friends, literary, philosophical, and 
mystic, testifies to the breadth of his knowledge, 
and it also illustrates the manifold sympathies of 
his nature, both as soldier and mystic, philosopher 
and scholar ; though not saintly, by any means, 
he was thoroughly appreciative of ideals that were 
beyond him. 

His sympathy with mystics is evidenced by his 
selection of a librarian, for he gave that post at the 
Royal Public Library in Berlin, with the title of 
Academician, to Dom Antoine Joseph Pernetty (or 
Pernety), a man who had been a Benedictine monk,* 
but having become — like many others — dissatisfied 
with the Order, he applied to the Pope for a 
dispensation from his vows. This was no obstacle in 
the eyes of the King, deeply interested as he was in 
the researches of this well-known Hermetist and 

That the opinions of Dom Pernety were publicly 
known is demonstrated by a writer of the period, 
who says : 

A remarkable trait in the character of this Acade- 
mician was, that he believed in the philosopher's stone, 

* Benedictine Monk of the Congregation of Saint-Maur, Abbot of 
Burgel in Thuringia, Librarian of the King of Prussia : author of Les 
Fables igyptiennes et gricques devoileis et riduites au mime Principe, I^ 
Dietionnaire Mytho-Hermitique, and other treatises on Alchemy. 


the mysteries of the Cabala, apparitions, patagonians, 
witcheries, enchantments, the race of giants, etc. But, 
notwithstanding this inconceivable and ridiculous weakness, 
he was beloved by everyone, and the more as, to his 
other excellent qualities, he joined that of the most perfect 
discretion in regard to such affairs as were at any time 
confided to his secrecy ; never did a word from his lips 
give room for the smallest explanation or disagreement.* 

Such is the comment on this mystic's character 
by one who, while adverse to his opinions, neverthe- 
less renders justice to a personality which some 

Dom Pernety was for some time in personal 
relationship with M. de St. Germain ; and later on, 
he founded the Acad^mie des Illumines d' Avignon, 
which was essentially Hermetic in its aims, and had 
also a close connection with the Swedish system. 
This was a secret body, but it was also under the 
general Masonic regulations. It was also in close 
union with the followers of Martinez Pasquales, and 
that bond has been kept up, for some of the treatises 
written by Dom Pernety are now being published by 
the Martinists in America. To pursue this interesting 
topic would, however, lead us too far from our 
" Afrikanische Bauherren " and their protector, the 
King of Prussia, with whom our attention is at 
present engaged. 

The most succinct account of the opinions held by 

' Original Anecdotes of Frederic 11. , JCing of Prussia, translated 
from the French of Dieudonn^ Thiebault, Professor of Belles-Lettres 
in the Royal Academy of Berlin, II., p. 383. London, 1805. 


the leading Freemasons in Germany at this juncture 
is given by Findel, who, although a pronounced 
antagonist, shows very lucidly the underlying mystic 
basis on which the outward Masonic forms were 
supported, and it is of value to these researches to 
quote his testimony in full, illustrating, as it unwit- 
tingly does, the hypothesis put forward, namely, that 
all the societies similar to the African Brothers, the 
Fratres Lucis and others of like calibre, were but the 
outward manifestations of hidden forces which were 
attempting to indoctrinate the whole Masonic body 
with true spiritual, mental and moral mystic know- 
ledge. Says Findel : 

The Grand Lodge of Germany* further assumes,! that 
in the Building Fraternities J of the Middle Ages, besides 

* This Lodge " Zu den drei Weltkugeln " (The Three Globes) was 
established by Frederick II., who was its first Grand Master. It 
became the Grand Mother Lodge of Germany in 1744. It was also 
the protectress of the mystic element in Masonry for many years. 

+ Findel had been disputing the point held by the "Grand Lodge," 
viz. , that the links of true Masonry are to be found not in England, but 
in Scotland. 

J " It has been argued with much force and apparent truth, that 
the building art was, in times of remotest antiquity, regarded as sacred, 
and existed under special concession and care of the native priesthood 
where it was practised, but this allegation cannot be accepted without 
qualification." Fort (George F.), TAe Early History and Antiquities 
of Freemasonry. Philadelphia, U.S.A., 1875, p. 363. And again, 
Mr. Fort tells us (p. 374) that in the years 643 and 729, " the 
inhabitants of Como had already attained to so high a degree of 
.skill as to be designated Magistri Comacini, or Masters of Como." He 
further points out that their knowledge was obtained firom the East, and 
directly from Byzantium, and then goes on to say " the secret arts thus 
obtained by the Teutonic races were perpetuated in fraternities or 
Guilds, whose existence ascends to the oldest forms of Germanic 


their art, a secret science was carried on ; the substratum of 
which was a real Christian mystery, serving as a preparatory 
or elementary school and stepping-stone to that and the St. 
John's Masonry, which latter was not a mere system of 
moral philosophy, but closely allied and connected with this 
mystery. It was conceded, that the Freemasonry of our 
days (St. John's Freemasonry) sprang from the Building 
Fraternities of the Middle Ages, but at the same time 
asserted that in the early ages there existed a secret society 
which strove to compass the perfecting of the human race, 
precisely in the same manner, and employing similar means, 
as did the Swedish system, which in fact only followed in 
the wake of its predecessor, being concealed in the Building 
Fraternities, so that our society did not rise from them, but 
made itself a way through them. The secret science, the 
mystery, was very ancient indeed. This mystery formed the 
secret of the Higher Degrees of the Rite, which were not 
merely kept hidden from the rest of the confederation, but 
also from the members of the inferior degrees of the system 
itself. This mystery was fully confirmed by documents, 
which the Grand Lodge of Germany had in its keeping. 
. . . . This secret legend is the same as that of the 
Carpocratians, which is that Jesus chose some of the 
Apostles and confided to them a secret science, which waS 
transmitted afterwards to the priests of the Order of the 
Knights-Templars, and through them to the Building 
Fraternities, down to the present Freemasons of the 
Swedish Rite. . . . The Swedish system teaches that 
there have been men of all nations who have worshipped 
God in spirit and in truth, and surrounded by idolatry and 
superstition have yet preserved their purer faith. Separate 
from the world, and unknown to it, this Wisdom has been 
preserved by them and handed down as a mystery. 

In the time of the Jews they had made use of the 
Essenes, in which sect Jesus was brought up, and had spent 
the greater part of His life. Having been instructed by 


Him in a more perfect knowledge of Holy things, they had 
amidst persecution taught in silence that which had been 
committed to their keeping.* At the period of the Saracens 
and the Crusades they were so greatly oppressed that they 
must ultimately have sought for protection from without. 
As fate, however, would have it, seven of them, Syriac 
Christians, pursued by unbelievers near Bastrum, were 
rescued by the Knights-Templars, and afterwards taken 
under their protection. When they had lived there for a 
certain time they begged for permission to dwell with the 
Canons or Prebendaries of Jerusalem, as the life there led 
agreed better with their own inclinations and habits. This 
was accorded them, and Andreas Montebarrensis effected a 
union of these Syrians with the Canons, to whom, out of 
gratitude, they imparted all their science, and so completely 
did they make the priests of the order the depositories of 
their secrets that they kept them and handed them over to 
others under certain conditions. 

Thus, this secret knowledge, which was continually being 
added to, lived on in the very heart of the Order of Knights- 
Templars till its abolition. The clergy were dispersed with 
the persecution that ensued, but as the secular arm did not 
touch them as it did the Knights, they managed to rescue 
many of their secret writings, and when the Knights sought 
refuge in Scotland, they founded a chapter at Aberdeen, the 
first Prior of which was Petrus de Bononia. The science 
was disseminated from this place, but very cautiously, first to 
Italy, then to the extreme North (Sweden and Russia) and 
France. In Italy Abbot Severin had been the guardian of 
the True Science, t 

* Compare with this statement, that a comparatively small body of 
men had received the inner teaching, and had a mission to hand it on, 
what was quoted about the "World- Wise Men" in the Theosophical 
Review, xxiii. 354. 

+ Findel (J. G.), History of Freemasonry, translated from the 
second German edition, by C. von Dalen, pp. 316-318. London, 1866. 


Findel quotes all this histoiy in a purely sceptical 
way, with adverse remarks of his own of doubt and 
derision. Nevertheless the history of this ancient 
secret teaching is true, and it coincides in its details 
with accounts which come to us from other sources. 
In order that the " Hidden Sources " may thus be 
more clearly kept in view, we will quote the words of 
a well-known Masonic writer, Mr. Lawrie : 

Although it will be acknowledged by every unbiassed 
reader, that Freemasonry has a wonderful resemblance to 
the Eleusinian and Dionysian mysteries, the fraternity of 
Ionian architects and the Essenian and Pythagorean 
associations, yet some may be disposed to question the 
identity of these institutions, because they had different 
names, and because some usages were observed by one 
which were neglected by another. But these circumstances 
of dissimilarity arise from those necessary changes which are 
superinduced upon every institution, by a spirit of innov- 
ation, by the caprice of individuals, and by the various 
revolutions in civilised society. Every alteration or im- 
provement in philosophical systems, or ceremonial institu- 
tions, generally produces a corresponding variation in their 
name, deduced from the nature of the improvement, or 
from the name of the innovator. 

The different associations, for example, whose nature 
and tendency we have been considering, received their 
names from circumstances merely casual, and often of 
trifling consideration ; though all of them were established 
for the same purpose, and derived from the same source. 
When the mysteries of the Essenes were imported by 
Pythagoras into Italy, without undergoing much variation, 
they were there denominated the mysteries of Pythagoras ; 
and, in our own day, they are called the secrets of Free- 
masonry, because many of their symbols are derived from 


the art of building, and because they are believed to have 
been invented by an association of architects, who were 
anxious to preserve, among themselves, the knowledge 
which they had acquired.* 

The Dionysia, or Mysteries of Bacchus, were intimately 
connected with those of Ceres and perhaps still more with 
Freemasonry, says Mr. Lawrie ; the rites came from Egypt, 
and there according to Plutarch Ceres was the Egyptian 
Isis, and Bacchus was Osiris. 

The Dionysian artificers or architects were an association 
of scientific men, who were incorporated by command of the 
Kings of Pergamus into a corporate body, some three hundred 
years B.C. They had the city of Tecs given to them. The 
members of this association which was intimately connected 
with the Dionysian mysteries, were distinguished from the 
uninitiated inhabitants of Teos, by their Science, and by 
words and signs by which they could recognize their 
Brethren of the Order. Like Freemasons they were 
divided into Lodges which were characterised by different 

From some circumstances which are stated in these 
inscriptions, but particularly from the name of one of 
the Lodges, it is highly probable that Attalus, King of 
Pergamus, was a member of the Dionysian Fraternity. 

Such is the nature of that association of architects, who 
erected those splendid edifices in Ionia, whose ruins even 
afford us instruction, while they excite our surprise. If it be 
possible to prove the identity of any two societies, from the 
coincidence of their external forms, we are authorised to 
conclude that the Fraternity of the Ionian architects and 
the Fraternity of Freemasons, are exactly the same; and 
as the former practised the mysteries of Bacchus and Ceres, 

* Symbols derived from the art of building, were also employed by 
the Pyth^oreans, for conveying instruction to those who were initiated 
iotp their fraternity. See Proclus in Eucl. lib. XI. def. 2, etc, 



several of which we have shown to be similar to the 
mysteries of Masonry, we may safely affirm, that, in their 
internal as well as external procedure, the Society of 
Freemasons resembles the Dionysiacs of Asia Minor. 

The opinion, therefore, of Freemasons, that their Order 
existed, and flourished at the building of Solomon's Temple, 
is by no means so pregnant with absurdity, as some men 
would wish us to believe. 

We have already shown, from authentic sources of 
information, that the mysteries of Ceres and Bacchus were 
instituted about four hundred years before the reign of 
Solomon ; * and there are strong reasons for believing that 
even the association of the Dionysian architects existed 
before the building of the Temple. 

It was not, indeed, till about three hundred years before 
the birth of Christ, that they were incorporated at Taos, 
under the Kings of Pergamus ; but it is universally allowed, 
that they arose long before their settlement in Ionia, and, 
what is more to our present purpose, that they existed in the 
very land of Judea. 

The difference in the ceremonial observances of these 
institutions, may be accounted for nearly upon the same 
principles. From the ignorance, or superior sagacity of 
those who presided over the ancient fraternities, some 
ceremonies would be insisted upon more than others, some 
of less moment would be exalted into consequence, while 
others of greater importance would be depressed into 
obscurity. In process of time, therefore, some trifling 
changes would be effected upon these ceremonies, some 
rites abolished, and some introduced. The chief difference, 
however, between the ancient and modern mysteries, is in 

* According to Playfair's Chronology, the Temple of Solomon was 
begun in 1016 and finished in 1008, B.C. The Eleusinian mysteries 
were introduced into Athens in 1356, B.C., a considerable time after 
their institution. 


those points which concern religion. But this arises from 
the great changes which have been produced in reUgious 
knowledge. It cannot be supposed that the rites of the 
Egyptian, Jewish, and Grecian religions should be observed 
by those who profess only the religion of Christ ; or that we 
should pour out libations to Ceres and Bacchus, who 
acknowledge no heavenly superior, but the true and the 
living God.* 

The connection-f- of the Afrikanische Bauherren 
with the Templars and their secret traditions is 
common to all those mystic associations I who 

* Lawrie, (Alexander), TAe History of Freemasonry, drawn from 
authentic sources of information, with an account of the Grand Lodge 
of Scotland, p. 28 et seq. Edinburgh, 1804. 

t They have both a common bond in Manichzeism, the Templars 
were ' ' Sons of the Widow " in the earlier times, as well as the African 
Brothers. Both bodies again hold the Egyptian line of tradition, and 
were versed in its grand symbology and hieroglyph. — Lenning (C). 
Allgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei, I., p. 7. Leipzig, 1863. 

X " There is no portion of our annals so worthy of investigation as 
that which is embraced by the middle ages of Christendom when the 
whole of Europe was perambulated by our Brethren, in associations of 
travelling artizans, under the name of ' Free and Accepted Masons,' 
for the purpose of erecting religious edifices. There is not a country of 
Europe, which does not at this day contain honourable evidences of the 
skill and industry of our Masonic ancestors. I therefore propose, in the 
present article, to give a brief sketch of the origin, the progress, and the 
character of these travelling architects. Clavel, in his Histoire 
Pittoresque de la Franc-Mafonnerie, has traced the organisation of these 
associations to the collegia artificum, or colleges of artizans, which were 
instituted at Rome by Numa, in the year B.C. 714, and whose members 
were originally Greeks, imported by this law-giver for the purpose of 
embellishing the city over which he reigned. These associations existed 
in Rome in the time of the Emperors. They were endowed with certain 
privileges peculiar to themselves, such as a government by their own 
statutes, the power of making contracts as a corporation, and an 
immunity from taxation. Their meetings were held in private, like the 
esoteric schools of the philosophers. Their presiding officers were called 


claimed, like them, to have deeper truths and more 
spiritual knowledge in charge for the human race. 

Seeing, then, that the African Brothers have this 
link with other mystic bodies, we can investigate the 
details of their system with interest, and we find that 
the members of this school were almost without 
exception learned men and persons of position and 
rank, often selected by the King as suitable members. 
Devoted to mystic research, in general they paid the 
closest attention to symbolism and hieroglyphs. 

The description given of them by Ragon differs 
somewhat in detail to that given by Lenning, which 
runs as follows : 

The double character of the Order confirms what we 
know about the tendency and ritual of the first four grades. 
They are as follows : 

Grade i. Pupil of the Egyptian secrets (Menes Musae).* 
Here the doctrines of the true Religion, as concealed under 
the hieroglyphs which were already in the Egyptian 
Mysteries, were brought forward for the pupil. The first 
degree shows already that Moses was held as an important 
teacher of these doctrines even to the Egyptians. 

Grade 2. The Initiates of the ^gaeic secrets. Here 
Moses was presented as one of the greatest of the Wise 
Men of the world, who instructed the Jews in the 

" magistri." They were divided into three classes, corresponding with 
the three degrees of Freemasonry, and they admitted into their ranks as 
honorary members persons who were not by profession operative 
Masons. Finally, they used a symbolic language drawn from the 
implements of masonry, and they were in possession of a secret mode of 
recognition." — Mackey's Lexicon of Freemasonry. Charleston, 184S, 
p. 316- 

* Ragon gives " Manes" where Lenning uses " Menes." 


doctrines of religion from his knowledge of nature and the 

Grade 3. The Cosmopolitans (or citizens of the world) 
had for its object the necessity for self-knowledge, because 
most ethical teachers failed in teaching this, for they 
depicted all human nature as being utterly corrupt, while 
instead of this, human nature was capable through self- 
knowledge of, and self-respect for, its destiny, of becoming a 
great instrument for the work of God. 

Grade 4. The Christian world-wise men (or Bossonians) 
— was the expounding of the intimate connection between 
man and the world, so that to call each of them the 
' Temple,' and to call Christ the Foundation Stone was the 
True Religion. 

Grade 5. Was practically that of the Alethophiles, or 
Friends of Truth, which was identical with the society of 
that name, and whose tendency is expressed in the name. 

After these five, or lower student-grades, there follow 
three higher, or inner grades, of which, however, only the 
names are known in the outer world. According to what is 
told, they were the same as the Freimaurerei Ritterwesen. 
. . . The names are variously given and are of but little 
consequence, this Order was never a very large one, for the 
qualifications as to learning and education were somewhat 
restrictive at that period. It appears to have had its Lodges 
in Berlin, and also in Oberlavsitz ; there were some of the 
same Lodges in Cologne, Worms, and also in Paris under 
the guidance of a certain Kiihn. He came into contact 
with Baron von Hund and his system of 'The Strict 
Observance' of which Von Koppen was a devoted 

The brief mention of the highest grade, the 
Knights of Silence, or Everlasting Silence, is 

* Lenning (C), Allgemeines Handimch der Freimaurerei, pp. 7-8. 
Leipzig, 1863. 


interesting, for it has reference to an edict which was 
published from the "Unknown Heads" suspending 
all studies and all work for a time — the limit of time 
was not specified. There will be more, however, to 
be said on this point at a later date. The Minister of 
War, Herr von Koppen, was aided in his work of 
organisation in the African Brothers by Herr von 
Hymmen, a Councillor of Justice in Berlin ; both men 
were Rosicrucians, and von Hymmen was an adherent 
of the Baron von Gugomas, another celebrated mystic 
in the last century. 

Von Koppen and von Hymmen published the 
well-known work. Grata Repoa, or Initiation in the 
Ancient Secret Society 0/ the Egyptian Priests* 

Another leader of this confraternity was Karl du 
Bosc, one of the chamberlains at the Prussian Court. 
He was also connected with the Rosicrucians and 
some of the other mystic sects. It confirms the 
accuracy of our hypothesis when we find all these 
public ofiRcers working harmoniously in different 
organisations, aiding all for the general weal, knowing 
well that each Society represented, as it were, one 
facet of the precious stone of truth which lay hidden 
securely beneath the surface. 

Turning now to the links which connect the 
African Brothers with other mystic fraternities we 
shall find the Deutsche Ritter, or Kreuz-Herren, akin 
to them ;' the origin of the last-mentioned association 

* Crata Repoa, oder Einweihungen in der alien geheimen 
Gesellschaft der Aegyptien Priester. Berlin, 1770. 


can be traced back to the year 1 190, where their 
history is closely allied with another interesting 
body, viz., the Maltheser-Ritter, or Knights of Malta ; 
coalescing again with these we find the well-known 
Johanniter-Ritter, or Knights of St. John, whose 
history is so intimately interwoven with the Johannite 
Masonry, dedicated as it was to the two St. John's, 
the Baptist and the Evangelist. 

Further, we find a curious secret sect existing in 
Africa of which Mollien gives a most interesting 
sketch. He calls this sect " Les Almousseri," and 
connects their community with the Freemasons as 
follows : 

In Foutatoro, and among the Moors, there exists a sort 
of freemasonry, the secret of which has never been revealed ; 
the adept is shut up for eight days in a hut, he is allowed to. 
eat but once a day, he sees no person excepting the slave 
appointed to carry him his food ; at the end of that period 
a number of men in masks present themselves, and employ 
all possible means to put his courage to the proof; if he 
acquits himself with honour he is admitted. The initiated 
pretend that at this moment they are enabled to behold all 
the kingdoms of the earth, that the future is unveiled to 
them, and that thenceforward heaven grants all their 
prayers. In the villages where persons of this fraternity 
reside, they perform the functions of conjurors, and are 
called Almousseri. One day Boukari told me, after attesting 
the truth of what he was about to say by the most solemn 
oaths, that being in a canoe with one of these men, there 
fell such a heavy shower of rain that he would not depart ; 
yielding, however, to the wishes of the Almousseri, he set 
sail ; " torrents of rain fell on all sides," added Boukari, 
"but our bark remained perfectly dry, and a favourable 


wind swelled our sails. I asked this Almousseri to explain , 
his secret, but he answered that if he revealed it his brethren 
would infallibly destroy him."* 

From many sources it is evident that scattered 
communities -f- with mystic knowledge, existed in 
various parts of Northern Africa. Such communities 
having nothing to do, of course, with the fetish- 
worship of the negro tribes, but adhere to the 
Egyptian tradition of mystic teaching, for they are 
off-shoots of the Manich^an and Coptic teachers 
who spread the secret doctrines of Manes in Northern 
Africa ; his disciples carried on this line of work 
immediately after his death. They kept up also a 
communication with the mystics in Europe, for M. de 
St. Germain at one period of his travels was in 
Northern Africa. 

Some reference has been made to the fifth grade 
of the African Bauherren system, namely the 
" Master of the Egyptian Secrets " ; " Alethophilote " 
or " Friend of Truth." This grade is given as the 
eighth by Ragon,J and Lenning in his encyclopaedia 
says : 

There appears to have been some connection between 
this grade and the little known society of the "Aletho- 
philotes " in! Berlin. This is probably the earlier sect which 

* MoUien (G.), Travels in the Interior of Africa, translated from 
the French, edited by T. E. Bowdich, p. i6i. London, 1820. 

t These communities were chiefly Moors and Arabians, and we 
touch the Sufite mystic tradition along this line. 

X See The Theosophical Review, xxiii., 358. 


is alluded to sometimes, and it was founded, so far as is 
known, by the Graf von Manteuffel in 1736.* 

The details of this system will be of interest to 
students, as it throws some light upon the older 
association, of which very little is told ; they are 
given by Kundmann as follows : 

I. Let Truth be the sole aim of your understanding 
and of your will. 

II. Consider nothing true, consider nothing false, if 
you are not convinced about it by adequate reasons. 

III. Be satisfied with this, that you know and love the 
Truth ; seek to impart it, that is to make it known and 
agreeable to your fellow-citizens. He who buries his 
experience, buries a thing which has been committed to 
his care for the furtherance of the glory of the Highest ; 
and he thus diverts its use from humanity, which might 
have profited therefrom. 

IV. Do not deny your love and help to those who 
know the Truth and are seeking it themselves, or who are 
honestly trying to defend it. It would be too disgraceful 
and contrary to the actual vocation of an Alethophilote 
(Friend of Truth) if you were to deny protection and 
defence to those whose object is one with yours. 

V. Never contradict a truth when you see that you are 
being overborne by others whose insight is more keen than 
yours. An Alethophilote would be unworthy of his name if 
he undertook to combat the Truth out of pride or conceit, 
or from any other unreasonable cause. 

VI. Be pitiful with those who either are ignorant of 
the Truth, or who have incorrect perceptions of it ; instruct 

* Lenning (C), AlUgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei, i., 15. 
Leipzig, 1863. 


them without bitterness, and seek to bring them into the 
right way solely by the strength of your arguments and by 
no other way. You would disgrace the Truth and make it 
appear suspicious if you were to fight for it and defend it 
with any other weapons but those which Reason gives into 
your hand.* 

It is an interesting, but somewhat difficult, matter 
to understand the reason why such bitter war was 
carried on against bodies of men with tenets so high 
and aims so pure. As each of these semi-Masonic 
sects is investigated the astonishment of the student 
increases at the groundless accusations with which the 
ordinary historian is content. 

In the passage quoted from Findel, he gives the 
traditions and Masonic tenets held by the Grand 
Lodge of Germany, and also by the Afrikanische 
Bauherren, these bodies being practically identical, 
the latter being but a more advanced and occult 
section of the Mother-Lodge. In the passage just 
referred to the Carpocratians are particularly 
alluded to ; this Gnostic sect is of especial interest 
to students of Theosophy, seeing that metempsychosis 
— or re-incarnation — was one of their tenets ; and if 
we summarise a well-known authority on the subject 
we get an identity of view which is remarkable. 

These sectarians called themselves Gnostics. In most 
respects the teaching of their Founder coincides with that 
of Basilides. He held there was one principal virtue from 

*Kundmann, Die hShen und niedern Schultn Deutschlands, p. 769. 
Breslau, 1741. 


whom proceeded all other virtues and angels who founded 
this world ; that Jesus Christ was not born of a virgin, but a 
man truly born of the seed of Joseph, though better than 
other men in integrity of Life. . . Virtue was given Him 
by the Great First Cause whereby He retained the 
recollection of things seen in a former state of existence. . 
. . Metempsychosis and the pre-existence of the soul was 
an integral part of the system.* 

There is much more of interest in the summary 
given for the student of Modern Gnosticism or 
Theosophia, and it can also be readily seen that if the 
tenets of the Carpocratians were held by the African 
Brothers, the Templars and other mystic sects, then 
there was indeed a vital necessity for secrecy and 
silence, since these heretical views brought about the 
destruction of the Templars in the Middle Ages, and 
would have called forth the direst wrath not only 
of the Catholic, but also the Protestant authorities. 

* Blunt (John Henry, D.D.), Dictionary of Sects and Heresies, 
p. 102. London, 1891. See also Mead (G. R. S.), "Among the 
Gnostics of the First Two Centuries," Lucifer, xx. 207. 




The Rite of the Strict Observance. , 

Ancient history is like a night-landscape, over which we 
grope, vaguely discerning a few outlines in the general gloom, 
and happy if here or there the works of a particular author 
or a ruin or work of art momentarily illumine, like a lightning 
flash in the dark, the particular field which we are exploring. 
— Philo about the Contemplative Life, p. 349, F. C. 


Dupes or charlatans ! Such is the stricture of the 
Masonic authorities on the leading spirits of the Strict 
Observance ; but as the student wades through the 
pile of polemical literature which has heaped itself 
round this particular body, he is moved to ask : Is it 
possible that all the honesty and wisdom is with the 
critics ; and is it rational to suppose that in this wide- 
spread development of mystic Masonry there existed 
no one clear-sighted enough to do within the body the 



work which the " enemy at the gate " ever arrogates 
to himself as his special function, the work of healthy- 
investigation ? 

One well-known authority opens fire with the 
following critical broadside : 

Of all the wonderful perversions of Freemasonry which 
owe their origin to the fervid imaginings of our brethren of the 
last century, none can compare in point of interest with the 
system of the " Strict Observance."* . . . The whole system 
was based upon the fiction that at the time of the destruction 
of the Templars, a certain number of Knights took refuge 
in Scotland, and there preserved the existence of the Order. 
The sequence of Grand-Masters was presumed never to have 
been broken, and a list of those rulers in regular succession 
was known to the initiates, but the identity of the actual 
Grand-Master was always kept during his life-time a secret 
from everyone except his immediate confidants — hence the 
term " Unknown Superiors." 

In order to secure their perfect security these Knights 
are said to have joined the Guilds of Masons in Scotland, 
and thus to have given rise to the Fraternity of Freemasons, t 

The trail of the materialistic serpent is traceable 
in his valuable work, although the author is in advance 

* " The mysteries of Mithras were solemnized in a consecrated 
cavern, on December 2Sth, which was the date fixed for the celebration. 
They began from the moment that the priests at midnight saw the 
constellation of Virgo appear, which on setting ushered in the year by 
calling forth the sun, which appeared as a son supporting itself on its 
Mother's lap. 

"Some Masonic Systems have preserved the Magian degree, it is 
the last in the Strict Observance." Acerrellos (R. S.), Die Freimau- 
rerei in ihrem Zusammenhange mit den Religionen der alien Aegypter, 
derjuden, und der Ckrislen, I., p. 293. Leipzig, 1836. 

t Gould (R. F.), Hisl. of Freemasonry. V., p. 99. London, 


of some German critics by giving credit for honest 
motives to one at least of the leaders of this Rite. 
But even with this extension of generosity it is evident 
that " dupes or charlatans " is the summing up by at 
least two-thirds of the Masonic writers in the last 
century and in the present one, of the mental and 
moral condition of the members of the Strict 

The evidences of the position — mental, moral and 
worldly— of many of the members, however, preclude 
such a hasty generalisation, for it should not be 
overlooked by critics who thus stigmatise the students 
of mysticism that more royalties, members of reigning 
families, scholars and officers, belonged to this Order, 
than were enrolled on any other Masonic list. And 
among these princes and grand-dukes were earnest 
students, good and wise rulers, men respected by all 
who knew them both for their judgment and their 
probity. With them we find scholars, nobles and 
officers of high standing, with stainless records ; these 
again cannot be swept up into one category or the 
other, and even allowing for a residue of members 
whose principles were not of the highest, and making 
a generous allowance for such persons, who are found 
in every society, even then there remains too large a 
body of honest members devoted to mystic research 
to allow of any hasty generalisations, and the fact 
remains of a widespread feeling that within Masonry 
was hidden that occult and mystic tradition which is 
the true history of spiritual evolution. 


In reading the merciless and shallow criticisms 
upon those members of the Strict Observance who 
were trying to re-assert the mystic doctrine, it is 
amusing to note the cool assumptions of honesty and 
clear-sightedness which — from their own stand-point 
— appear to have been the sole prerogatives of an 
all-knowing few who had sounded — as they thought — 
mysticism and its supernatural follies with an 
illuminated wisdom that angels might envy. 

Before passing to the system itself, however, it will 
be well to note some of the members who have fallen 
under the " mangling tooth of criticism." We find in 
the year 1774 no less than twelve reigning princes 
were members of this Rite, and in the list which 
follows — in which by no means all the royal members 
are cited — we find that in some cases whole families 
joined the Society. They cannot all have been 
dupes, and they were certainly not charlatans ; they 
were also in too responsible positions for them to 
have taken up with what was doubtful. The list 
stands as follows : 

Karl George, Landgraf of Hesse-Darmstadt. 

Friedrich, Landgraf and Prince of Hesse-Kassel. 

Ludwig, Grand - Duke and Prince of Hesse- 

. Christian Ludwig, Landgraf and Prince of Hesse- 

Friedrich George August, Prince of Hesse-Darm- 

Ludwig George, Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt. 


Friedrich Karl Alexander, Markgraf of Branden- 
burg, Onolzbach and Baireuth. 

Karl I., Duke of Brunswick, and his three sons : 

Friedrich August, Maximilian Julius Leopold, 
Wilhelm Adolf 

Karl, Grand-Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. 

Karl, Prince of Hesse-Kassel. 

Karl, Prince of Courland. 

These are a few of those who joined this much 
decried Rite, and the same class of members may be 
found in Austria, Italy, France, Russia, and Sweden. 
All, moreover, were real lovers of mysticism ; many 
of them were members of the Rosicrucian and other 
allied bodies, all were seeking in various systems for 
the old narrow path which leads to wisdom ; not 
seeking by one way alone, but testing all ways that 
presented themselves. A sketch, therefore, -of some 
of the leading spirits in this interesting Order may 
perhaps be of interest, and it will serve to bring the 
leading spirits more clearly before our readers. 

The most important personage is Charles Gotthelf, 
Baron of the Holy Roman Empire, of Hund and Alten- 
Grotkare, a Lusatian nobleman, born in 1722. He became, 
in 1753, a Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Chamberlain, 
and in 1755 was elected senior of the nobility of Upper 
Lusatia. The seven years' war brought great misfortune to 
him, his estates being occupied and plundered by the war- 
waging armies. He had himself, as an adherent of 
Austria, to flee to Bohemia, where he remained until the 
end of the war. King Augustus of Poland appointed him a 
Privy Councillor in 1769, and Maria Theresa in that yeaa" 


did the same ; but he did not accept the post in Vienna, 
being desirous of accomplishing the contemplated reform of 

He entered the Masonic Order in 1742, when at 
Frankfurt-am-Main. In the next year he is said to have 
estabUshed a Lodge at Paris, and while staying with the 
French Army he became acquainted with the heads of 
a Rite which pretended to be, in its higher degrees, 
the continuation of the famous Order of Knights Templars. 
According to his repeated declarations, maintained even on 
his death-bed, he was received into this Order in Paris by 
Lord Kilmarnock, Grand-Master of Scotland, a Jacobite 
nobleman, on which occasion Lord Clifford acted as Prior. 
He was presented to a very high member of the Order, 
a mysterious personage called only " the Knight of the Red 
Feather." Perhaps this was Prince Charles Edward himself. 
Von Hund supposed him to be the Supreme Grand 
Master of the Order, and was appointed by him coadjutor 
of the Seventh Province of the Order (Germania Inferior). 
Hund visited Scotland also, where he was bidden to raise 
the Order in Germany, together with the then Master of the 
Seventh Province, de Marschall, whom he always con- 
sidered his predecessor. Marschall had founded Lodges at 
Altenburg and Naumburg, but found only in the latter men 
worthy of being led further, viz., to be received into the 
Templar degrees. He did not care for the rest of the 
German Lodges, and on his return to Germany (about 
1751) Hund placed himself in connection with Marschall, 
who, unfortunately, was very ill already, and died soon 

Before his death he destroyed nearly all his Templar 
papers, only a very few of which he had given to Hund. 
He (Hund) hoped to find the missing rituals, etc., with the 
Naumburg Lodge, but was disappointed. He, therefore, 
sent two brethren of that Lodge to England and Scotland, 
in order to acquire the missing documents. They returned, 


carrying with them only a patent to him as Master of the 
Seventh Province, written in cypher, and nothing more.* 

A full account of the working arrangements of the 
Order is given by the writer from whom we sum- 
marise, and he tells us these were changed from time 
to time according to the conditions that arose 
incident upon the constant attacks that were being 
made on this and all other occult societies by the 
group of materialists in Germany, Herr Dr. Blester 
and his colleagues, of whom mention has already been 
made.f and there will be necessity to refer to these 
critics again a little later on. Another interesting 
sketch of the Baron von Hund by Reghellini runs as 
follows : 

In 1756 the wars had caused the Prussian (Masonic) 
Lodges to be abandoned. Baron de Hund, who had 
received the High Templar's Degree in the Chapter of 
Clermont at Paris, on returning to Berlin declared that he 
had been raised to the dignity of Grand-Master of the 
Templars by M. Marschall, who called himself the 
successor of the G .'. G .'. Master-Templars by uninter- 
rupted transmission from the time of Jacques Molay ; that 
Marschall on his death-bed had delegated this high dignity 
to him, and had declared him his successor, transmitting to 
him all his powers and dignities. He did not omit to give 
Hund a list of all the names of the Templar Grand- 
Masters, which must therefore have been a curious contrast 
to the list of the Order of the Temple of Paris. 1 

* This summary is taken from an interesting study on the Baron 
yon Hund, written by a well-known Hungarian mason, which appeared 
in the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, " Transactions of the Lodge Quatuor 
Coronati," No. 2076. VI., part ii., p. 89. Margate, 1893. 

t The Theosophical Review, xxii. p. 431. 


Hund placed himself at the head of the German 
reformers : he persuaded them that his Rite would restore 
Freemasonry .-. to its ancient brilliancy and its former 
splendour; he was even bold enough to establish, at his 
own expense, a Lodge at Kittlitz, near Lobau. At the 
same time he caused a Protestant church to be built. It 
was the Brother Masons of this Lodge who laid the first 
stone ; Baron de Hund placed upon this stone a copper 
plate on which he had his Masonic .-. opinions engraved, 
and if we except that of the continuation of the Ancient 
Templar Order in the Masonry .-. to which he especially 
belonged (for in order to be received into the Rite of the 
Clerks of the Strict Observance he had even become a 
Catholic*) — if we except, as we say, this opinion, we believe 
that his principles were altogether philosophical. In the 
doctrines of his Eques Professus, the eighth rung which he 
added to the Templar ladder of the Strict Observance, he 
maintains that these Pontiffs are the only Priests of the 
True Light, the Worshippers of God, and the disciples of 
the pure doctrines of Jesus and of John.f 

There are very many details about the work done 
by Von Hund in his efTorts to dravir the mystic side 
of Masonry into prominence ; details which can be 
read in the work of any real authority on the history 
of Masonry, and which cannot, for want of space, be 
entered into in these pages. Most of the German 
Masonic authorities, such as Keller, Rebold, Krause, 
Lenning, Findel, and others, concede his personal 
asceticism and moreover his entire honesty of 
purpose, but he is usually summed up as a dupe. 

* This is contradicted by some authorities. 

tReghellini da Schio (Par le F .-. M .-. R .-. da S .-.), La 
Mofonnen'e consider^ comme le Resultat des Religions igyptienne, juive 
et chritiemte, II., pp. 374, 375. Paris, 1833. 


Passing on to another aspect of this much-tangled 
web of Masonic evolution, we find that about 1770 
events of great importance transpired in Germany ; 
Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick had become a Mason, 
and he induced his brother, the reigning Duke 
Charles, and his nephews — the sons of Duke Charles 
— to enter the Masonic Fraternity, and they all 
joined the Rite of the Strict Observance. It was at 
this juncture that there appeared also on the scene 
Johann Augustus Starck, a profoundly striking per- 
sonality from all accounts. 

He had been in St. Petersburg from 1762-65 as 
teacher of Oriental languages, and was also a deep 
student of theology and philosophy. Starck had held 
many public positions of trust and importance, 
amongst others that of interpreter of Oriental MSS. 
at the Royal Library in Paris. He had travelled in 
England, Scotland, Italy and Russia, and was an 
ardent searcher after hermetic and theosophic mystic- 
ism. In St. Petersburg he had come into contact with 
the Melesino System, which was both hermetic and 
theosophic in its tenets. 

Starck held that the mystic traditions of the 
Knights-Templars, derived by them from those still 
older fraternities with whom they had been in contact 
in the East, were preserved amongst the clericals of 
that Order who had cherished their unbroken con- 
tinuity until his days, and he announced that he was 
in communication with certain Superiors, or chiefs of 
the Order. 


Our well-known English authority, writing on the 
Strict Observance, says : 

On February 17th, 1767, some Masons, chief amongst 
whom may be mentioned Von Vegesack, Von Bohnen and 
Starck, founded at Wismar the Lodge of the "Three Lions," 
and added thereto a Scots Lodge, " Gustavus of the Golden 

Shortly afterwards they added a hitherto unknown body, 
a " Clerical Chapter." To these brethren we are indebted 
for the historical fiction (sic) that the Knights-Templars were 
divided into miUtary and sacerdotal members; that the 
latter possessed all the secrets and mystic learning of the 
Order ; and that they had preserved a continuous existence 
down to the eighteenth century. Starck claimed to be the 
emissary of these Clerical Templars, asserted their and his 
superiority over the Secular Knights, and offered, on his 
claims being acknowledged, to impart their valuable secrets 
to Von Hund and his disciples. Starck (1741 — 1816), was 
a student of GSttingen, and a very learned man, an Oriental 
linguist of great attainments, and had held scientific appoint- 
ments in St. Petersburg, Paris, Wismar, and elsewhere.* 

The author of this work — a standard work on 
Masonry — regards Starck as a charlatan, although he 
brings no proofs, other than his assertions, which are 
upheld by many modern materialistic critics, that 
there were no leaders, or unknown Superiors, that the 
tradition was false, and that no real connection 
existed between the Templars and the Masons. 
Unfortunately for many of these critics this tradition 
was not " written in the stars " but preserved on 
stones, and we find the eminent archaeologist Baron 

* Gould^ Hist, of Freemasonry, V., p. 104. London, l88^. 


Joseph von Hammer* demonstrating the connection 
between the Masons and the Templars. He traces 
the Eastern origin of both by means of engraved 
symbols, showing the extraordinary identity between 
those used by the Masons, and those of the Templars, 
and practically makes them identical in their incep- 
tion, that is to say, developed from the same original 
stock of mystic Eastern lore, and when we have to 
sketch the history of the Knights-Templars we shall 
turn to these researches for their monumental records, 
proving the Eastern sources from which the secret 
traditions of the Templars were derived ; justifying 
the claim of all those later societies which based their 
assertions on the same tradition. 

At present we must coniine ourselves to the Strict 
Observance, and so we pass on to what Johann Starck 
says in his own writings on the subject. One of his 
works deals entirely with the accusation brought 
against the Strict Observance and other secret societies, 
namely that they were derived from the Jesuit order.f 

He was particularly attacked on his belief that the 
Knights-Templars could have continued in existence 
for four hundred and iifty years, unknown to the 
world at large. To this charge he replied that 

If he [Dr. Blaster |] had been somewhat better 

* Fundgruben des Orients, V\., p. 445 (Wien, 1818), "Gegenrede 
wider die Einrede der Vertheidiger der Templer." 

t See his long dissertation on the subject in Uber Krypto 
Katholicismus, Proselyten-Macherey,Jesuitismus, Geheime Gesellschaften, 
etc. Frankfort und Leipzig, 1787. 

% Editpr of th? Berliner Monatfchri/t, See above, p. 13. 


acquainted with ecclesiastical history, he would have found 
not only one, but several religious bodies, which under far 
more violent oppression and persecution than those endured 
by the Knights-Templars, have secretly continued to exist 
for a longer period than four hundred and fifty years. 

Starck's view is upheld by a modern writer of 
note, who, speaking of the Templars says : 

Considering how widely the Order had spread its 
branches, obtained possession and afifiliated to itself 
multitudes both male and female amongst the laity all over 
Europe, it would be a mere absurdity to believe that all its 
traditions were swept away at one stroke by the suppression 
of the Templars in the year 1307.* 

Thus we find this view supported a century later 
than the time when Starck penned his defence of the 
tradition. Starck proceeds, moreover, to show how 
many scholars were of the same opinion. He writes : 

How great are the number of scholars "who joined it 
[the Strict Observance] and accepted the opinion that the 
order of the Templars had continued to exist for four 
hundred and fifty years, secretly truly, but uninterruptedly ! 
There are Professor Dahmart at Greifswalde, Eques ab abiete. 
Doctor and Professor Rehfeld, Eques h caprea. Doctor and 
Professor Rolpen, Eques d tribus specis. Professor and 
Preacher Ruhlenkamp at Gottingen, Eques a gallo cantante. 
Professor Schwarz at Reval, Eques d, rota. Professor Eck at 
Leipzig, Eques h, nodua, etc. 

These men are scholars and students holding 
responsible public positions and as such would hardly 
be all fools or charlatans. Space will not permit us 

* King (C.W.), The Gnostics and their Remains, Ancient and 
Medieeval, p. 399, 2nd ed. London, 1887. 


to follow at present all the arguments brought forward 
by Starck, in order to show the absurdity of the 
accusations of Jesuitism, an accusation which was 
freely brought against many of the societies of the 
period ; we must pass on to the condition of the 
society itself, and trace even this but briefly. 

Ragon, in speaking of the Strict Observance, says 
that in Germany a society was formed of Reformed 
Masons, that is to say : 

Approaching more nearly to the true institution than 
the ordinary Freemasons. The study of the Kabala, of the 
Philosopher's Stone, and of Necromancy or the invocation 
of spirits, occupied them chiefly, because according to them 
all these sciences formed the system and the object and end of 
the ancient mysteries of which Freemasonry is the sequel.* 

The studies enumerated in this quotation appear 
to have been carried on chiefly in one of the higher 
grades of the Strict Observance called Clerici Ordinis 
Templariorum. It was this branch that took up the 
study of Alchemy, and which was under the 
particular direction of Starck, Herr von Raven, and 
others, who were entirely devoted to the mystic side 
of Masonry. Ragon gives the following divisions and 
grades into which the System was divided, namely : 







Maltre Ecossais 



' Ragon (J. M.), Orthodoxie Maconnique, p. 210. Paris, 1853. 


6. Templier, divis^ en 3 classes „ . 

, , J- Socius. 

sous les noms de • . 

J Armiger. 

Between 1768 and 1770 the Baron von Hund 

added a seventh grade, which he called : 

7. Eques Professus. 

It is also stated by Ragon* that the largest 
portion of this society became Martinists, and were 
known later by the name of the " Knights of the 
Holy Sepulchre." This change was made at the 
convention at Lyons, which took place in 1778. The 
Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick and the Baron von 
Raven also joined this division. Another group took 
the name of the " Beneficent Knights of the Holy 
City," and amongst them we find the two mystics, the 
Comte de St. Martin and Willermoz. 

It will be better to add here a few details about 
the Knights Templars, since they are so intimately 
connected with the Masonic Order just mentioned ; 
details which will also serve to show the inner aspect 
of their tradition. Much has been written about 
them and their history — from one aspect — is better 
known than that of almost any other mystic organ- 
isation, but the fact of a secret teaching is not 
sufficiently clear. That there was a secret doctrinef 

* op. (it. , p. 230. 

t If these fects already point to the existence of secret statutes in 
the Order of the Knights Templars, this will also be proved by a 
number of other notes and finally substantiated by some quite positive 
statements which are most explicit. 

A great number of witnesses, who give information on the 


amongst the Templars is shown by Neaf* ; he points 
out that the Knights Templars considered that the 
Roman Church had failed in its ideal, and that when 
the terrible persecutions fell upon them that they 
divided and joined two different associations, one the 
body of Freemasons and the other a body named the 
Johannites. Another writerf points out the con- 
nection between the Templars and the Bogomiles, 
who were the Manichasans of the Balkan Provinces, 
and the Gnostics of the early Christian period and 
their descendants, the Cathari of the mediaeval ages. 
Dr. SimrockJ suggests a deeply interesting idea with 
regard to the connection between the tradition of the 
Holy Grail and the secret teachings of the Templars ; 
he appears to consider that the Grail tradition, which 
is drawn in some parts from the Apocryphal Gospels, 
is the basis of the secret teaching of the Templars. 
Some of the early sources of the tradition are given 

ceremonies of admission in question refer the same to certain definite 
phrases which describe them. It then furthermore transpires that these 
secret statutes were not only received by means of oral tradition but also 
existed in manuscript form. Gervais de Beauvais saw at one of the 
Heads of the Orders, a little book with the Statutes of the Order of 
1 128, which was shown without thinking, and he knew that the 
same man had also possessed another book about which he was very 
mysterious and which he "would not show anyone for all the world." 
Prutz (Hans Dr.), Geheimelehre des Templherren Ordens, p. 45. 
Berlin, 1879. 

* Naef (F.), Recherches sur les Opinions religieuses des Templiers, 
pp. 25 to 41. Nismes, 1890. 

t Loiseleur (Jules), La Doctrine SecrHe des Templiers, pp. 35, 48. 
Paris, 1872. 

X Simrock (Dr. K.), Parzifal u. Titurel, Rittergedichte von 
Wolfram von Eschenbach, I., 497. Stuttgart und Tubingen, 1842. 


by the author of Sarsena, and also the connection 
between the Templars and the Essenes. 

All these links are of importance if we wish to 
understand the close connection between these various 
organizations, and also how one developed out of the 
other. Another writer says : 

Taking the rules of their Order and of the Christians in 
equal division, they (the Kabalists) began to draw a parallel 
between the books of Moses and the records of the Magi, 
and formed from all this material a new Brotherhood into 
which they imported certain rules that could exist together 
with those of the Christians. During the Crusades there 
were several orders of widely different views ; and among 
numerous others in the year 1118, the Knights of the 
Temple, with whom the Magi joined themselves, and to 
whom they imparted their principles and mysteries. The 
fall of the Templars and the entire demolition of the Order 
by the Council held in Vienna in 131 1, is due to the fact 
that all the knowledge which we may consider as part of the 
Wisdom of the ancient Magi, and also the Natural Sciences, 
had at this time begun to be lost. There is one section of 
Freemasons which finds in Freemasonry the restoration of 
the Order of the Knights Templars, and the systems of the 
Great German Lodge and that of the Swedish Brothers are 
certainly pre-eminently connected with the former. 
According to this system, and in especial according to all 
the various systems which obtain in this particular Order, 
Freemasonry is a mystical conception of the principle 
doctrines of Christianity, the slain Master no other than the 
Christ ! And here the question fairly arises, had the teachings 
of the Christ in truth mysteries, unsearchable, incomprehen- 
sible doctrines, which were only to be made comprehensible 
to a small number of specially chosen disciples, and 
were not the Essenes that body among whom He had 


learned those mysteries, for the Essenes demanded of those 
initiated, moderation, justice, avoidance of injury, love of 
Truth and detestation of evil ; holy water belonged to the 
ritual of admission to their highest grade, and John said 
" Repent and be baptized." Christ who led the blameless 
life, suffered himself to be baptized. Does not this lead us 
to the almost certain conclusion that Christ, and even more 
John, were initiated members of the Essenes? Were 
sufficient documents available to prove the historic truth of 
this statement, it would be perfectly obvious why John (the 
Baptist) who bled for Truth and Goodness, should have been 
chosen as the Patron of the present Order and of nearly all 
that precede it. The keeping of John the Baptist's Day as a 
Festival by the Freemasons is adduced in confirmation of 
this idea that the Freemasons had for over six hundred 
years identified themselves with the " Johannrittern '' and St. 
John the Baptist had been chosen Patron by both Orders. 
And as it is certain that much of the ritual of the form of 
Reception means something quite other than that which 
has been substituted latterly, it may very easily be that 
there is some truth in this assertion. For it is just as little true 
that the Freemasons identified themselves six hundred years 
ago with the " Johannrittern " as that they now crown the 
Master, Hiram, in the Lodge in real earnest. Christ, as has 
been said above, founded no secret society, and yet He gave 
out His teaching only by degrees as regarded its inner 
significance, for he said " I have many things to say unto you, 
but ye cannot bear them now." After His death the pure 
doctrine was falsified by additions, but yet it may be possible 
that its pristine purity and simplicity may have been 
preserved, and where else than in some kind of Order ? In 
the early Christian Church there was a disciplina arcani, and 
in this manner were the mysteries transmitted among the 
few, and even in the time of the Crusades there were still 
living descendants of the Essenes. The Order of Knights 
of the Temple was founded in the year 1113 by Gottfried 


von St. Omar, Hugo de Paiens, and seven others whose 
names are not known. They consecrated themselves 
to the service of God according to the form of the Canoni- 
corum Regularium, and took solemn vows before the Bishop 
of Jerusalem. Baldwin the Second, in consideration of the 
office of these seven servants of God, lent to them a house 
near the Temple of Solomon. They bound themselves (as 
we are told by the author of the book called Die theoretische 
Bruder U.S.V.) with certain Essenes who formed a secret 
society consisting of virtuous Christians and true seekers 
after Truth in Nature, and learned also their secrets. That 
the Templars had mysteries in their keeping is beyond 
contention. The Order had secret ceremonies of admission, 
gloried in possessing such, and for this reason several of its 
members endured martyrdom. The Order of Knights 
Templar contained many of the best and most far-seeing 
minds among the parents of Freemasonry ; and, as is well- 
known, there were whole branches of Freemasonry specially 
devoted to the restoration of the Templars. And the 
Johannine and other systems taught this descent, even 
before the "Strict Observance" became generally known, 
which insisted on the restoration of the Templars as the 
highest aim of the mysteries. If we consider closely the 
similarity between the customs of both Orders we shall find 
that the Reception and other ceremonies of the Order of 
Freemasonry relates to that of the Knights of the Temple 
exactly in so far as to enable us to say with positiveness that 
the Freemasons preserve in their midst the mysteries of the 
Templars and transmit them. That the Templars possessed 
secrets is witnessed by the evidence in their procedure : the 
Freemasons claim the like procedure for themselves, for 
from grade to grade the Aspirant is told that later he shall 
experience yet more. More what? Also a secret. Nine 
Brothers founded the Order of the Templars ; the chief 
and hieroglyphic number of the Freemasons is three times 
three. The Templars held Divine Service in places which 


were interdicted. By the strictest observances they reserved 
these for themselves (or set these aside) they appealed to the 
rights of their forefathers. 

In the general organisation, Roessler tells us : 

The Brother Templars were, according to their statutes 
as Hospital Brothers divided into three classes : i, into the 
class of the serving who, without distinction, nursed sick 
pilgrims and Knights Templars ; 2, into that of the spiritual 
Brothers destined for the service of pilgrims ; 3, into that of 
Knights who went to war. 

We find in the Instructions of the Chevalier d'Orient 
where are celebrated the foundation of the Knights 
Templars and the spread of their teachings in Europe the 
following declaration on the matter is given : 

" Eighty-one Masons* under the leadership of 
Garimonts, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, went, in the year 
1 150, to Europe and betook themselves to the Bishop of 
Upsala who received them in very friendly fashion and was 
consequently initiated into the mysteries of the Copts which 
the Masons had brought with them ; later he was entrusted 
with the deposit of the collection of those teachings, rites 
and mysteries. The Bishop took pains to enclose and 
conceal them in the subterranean vaults of the tower of the 
' Four Crowns ' which at that time, was the crown treasure 
chamber of the King of Sweden. Nine of these Masons, 
amongst them Hugo de Paganis, founded in Europe the 
Order of the Knights Templars ; later on they received 
from the Bishop the dogmas, mysteries and teachings of the 
Coptic Priests, confided to him. 

" Thus in a short time the Knights Templars became 
the receivers and depositors of the mysteries, rites and 

* " These Masons are always in the figurative sense Knights of the 
Cross who had been admitted to the mysteries of the working in the 
mystic Temple, and to the religion of the Children of the Widow. " 


ceremonies which had been brought over by the Masons 
from the East — the Levites of the true Light 

" The Knights Templars, devoted entirely to the sciences 
and to the dogmas brought from the Thebaid, wished, in 
course of time, to preserve this doctrine in solemn fashion 
by a token. The Scotch Templars served as pattern in the 
matter, they having founded the three degrees of St. Andreas 
of Scotland, and adapted them to the allegorical legend to 
be found in the instructions referred to. 

"Scotch Templars were occupied in excavating a place 
at Jerusalem in order to build a temple there, and precisely 
on the spot where the temple of Solomon — or at least that 
part of it called the Holy of Holies — had stood. During 
their work they found three stones which were the corner 
stones of the Solomon temple itself. The monumental form 
of these excited their attention ; this excitement became all 
the more intense when they found the name Jehovah 
engraved in the elliptical spaces of the last of these stones — 
this which was also a type of the mysteries of the Copt — the 
sacred word which, by the murder of the Master Builder, 
had been lost, and which, according to the legend of the 
first degree, Hiram had had engraved on the foundation 
stone of Solomon's temple. After such a discovery the 
Scotch Knights took this costly memorial with them, and, 
in order eternally to preserve their esteem for it, they 
employed these as the three corner stones of their first 
temple at Edinburgh."* 

Our author further tells us that : 

The works began on St. Andreas' day; and so the 
Templars who had knowledge of this fact, of the secret of 
the three stones, and of the re-discovered word, called them- 

* The legend of these three stones has a striking resemblance to 
that of the three mysterious stones which the Nymphs found and 
brought to Minerva — the Goddess of Wisdom. 


selves Knights of St. Andreas ; they appointed degrees of 
merit in order to attain, and these are present in the 
apprentice, companion, and master degrees known under 
the name of the Little Master-Builder, the Great Master- 
Builder, and the Scotch Master. 

By the instruction common to all Knightly Orders the 
Crusaders were under obligation to make many journeys 
and pilgrimages where, as is said, they had to see themselves 
surrounded by dangers. Therefore they founded those 
degrees in order to recognise each other and to assist each 
other in need. For these journeys they took signs, words, 
and particular touches or grips, and imparted to all Brothers 
a principal sign in order to find help in case of a surprise. 

In order to imitate the Christians of the East and the 
Coptic Priests, these Knights preserved among themselves 
the verbal law which was never written down, and took care 
that it should remain concealed to the initiated of the lower 
degrees. All this is preserved with exactitude in the 
philosophic rite of our days, although this rite does not 
precisely seek to derive its origin from the Knights 

The Knights Templars united the possessions of the 
Old Man of the Mountains under their rule, as they had 
perceived the supernatural courage of his pupils, they 
admitted these into their order. Some historians have thus 
come to the opinion that the Knights Templars had been 
induced themselves to accept the institutions of those 
admitted. Gauthier von Montbar was acquainted with 
these teachings, and transplanted them into Europe. 

All these circumstances were very detrimental to the 
religion of Rome ; it lost many of those who had belonged 
to it; more .especially many Crusaders who were sojourning 
in Syria, Palestine and Egypt, where all the forms of belief 
of the first Christians were preserved and tolerated by the 

Eastern Christians regarded the dogma of the unity of 


God as a mystery and saw in it a divine manifestation. 
They, therefore, only imparted the knowledge thereof at 
initiation which they held very secret. They practised the 
morality commanded by the Son of Mary, but did not 
believe in his divinity ; for all those who followed Gnostic 
and Kabalistic traditions considered him to be their Elder 

The Knights of the Cross who had come to know these 
dogmas and mysteries of the Christians of the East, were 
obliged, when they had returned to Europe, to hold this 
initiation still more secret, for the mere suspicion of such a 
faith would have been sufficient to bring these new religious 
professors to the rack and the stake.* 

We will now pass on to some of the religious and 
philosophic views held by the Knights Templars 
which are summarised from the Abbe Gr^goire and 
which show the link with the Gnostic teachings. 

The Order of the Temple is cosmopolitan ; it is divided 
into two great classes : i, the Order of the East ; 2, the 
Order of the Temple. 

The Order of the Temple sprang from the Order of the 
East, of which ancient Egypt was the cradle. The Order 
of the East comprised different orders or classes of adepts. 
The adepts of the first order were at once legislators, 
judges, and pontiffs. 

Their policy was opposed to the propagation of meta- 
physical knowledge and the natural sciences, of which they 
made themselves the sole depositories ; and whoever should 
have dared to reveal the secrets reserved for the initiates in 
the order of the sacerdotal hierarchy, would have been 
punished with most dire severity. They gave to the people 
only unintelligible emblems constituting, the exoteric 

* Accerrelos (Roessler, Dr. Karl), History of Freemaionry, 
l^ipzig, 1836, II., p. Sseisej. 


theology, which was a compound of absurd dogmas and 
extravagant practices tending to give more ascendency to 
superstition, and to consolidate the government. 

Moses was initiated in Egypt. He was profoundly 
versed in the theological, physical, and metaphysical 
mysteries of the priests. Aaron, his brother, and the other 
Hebrew chiefs became the depositories of these doctrines. 
These chiefs or Levites were divided into several classes, 
according to the custom of the Egyptian priests. 

Later on, the Son of God was born into the world. He 
was brought up in the Alexandrian school. Filled with a 
spirit altogether divine, endowed with the most marvellous 
intelligence, he succeeded in attaining all the degrees of 
Egyptian initiation. 

On returning to Jerusalem, he presented himself before 
the chiefs of the Synagogue, and pointed out to them the 
numerous alterations that the Law of Moses had undergone 
at the hands of the Levites ; he confounded them by the 
power of his spirit and the extent of his knowledge ; but 
the Jewish priests, blinded by their passions, persisted in 
their errors. 

However, the moment had come when Jesus Christ, 
directing the fruit of his lofty meditations towards the 
universal civilisation and welfare of the world, tore down 
the veil which hid the truth from the people, preached the 
love of one's neighbour and the equality of all men before 
the common Father. Finally, consecrating by a sacrifice 
worthy of the Son of God the heavenly doctrines which he 
had come to spread, he established for ever on the earth, by 
his gospels, the religion inscribed in the Book of Eternity. 

Jesus conferred on his disciples the evangelical 
initiation, caused his spirit to descend upon them, divided 
them into different orders, according to the custom of the 
Egyptian priests and Hebrew priests, and placed them under 
the authority of St. John, his beloved disciple, and whom he 
had made supreme pontiff and patriarch. 


John never quitted the East ; his doctrine, always pure, 
was not altered by the admixture of any other doctrine. 

Peter and the other apostles, on the contrary, carried 
the teachings of Jesus Christ to distant peoples ; but as they 
were often forced, in order to propagate the faith, to 
conform to the manners and customs of these different 
nations, and even to admit other rites than those of the 
East, slight variations and changes crept into the different 
gospels, as well as into the doctrines of the numerous 
Christian sects. 

Down to 1 1 1 8, the mysteries and the hierarchical order 
of the Egyptian initiation, transmitted to the Jews through 
Moses and afterwards to the Christians through Jesus Christ, 
were religiously preserved by the successors of the apostle 
John. These mysteries and these initiations regenerated 
through the evangelical initiation or baptism formed a 
sacred deposit which, thanks to the simplicity of primitive 
customs from which the brothers of the East never departed, 
never underwent the slightest alteration. 

The Christians of the East, persecuted by the infidels, 
appreciating the courage and piety of those valiant crusaders 
who, sword in one hand and cross in the other, flew to the 
defence of the holy places ; doing justice, above all, to the 
virtues and the ardent charity of Hugh of Payens, con- 
sidered it their duty to entrust to hands so pure the 
treasures of knowledge acquired during so many centuries, 
and sanctified by the cross, the teachings and the ethics of 
the Man-God. 

Hugh was then invested with the patriarchal apostolic 
power, and placed in the legitimate line of the successors of 
John the Apostle or Evangelist. 

Such is the origin of the foundation of the Templars, 
and of the introduction amongst them of the different 
modes of initiation of the Christians of the East designated 
by the name of Primitive or Johannite Christians. It is to 
this initiation that belong the various degrees consecrated 


by the rules of the Temple, and which were so much called 
in question in the famous but terrible action brought against 
this august Order. 

Jacques de Molay, foreseeing the misfortunes that 
threatened the Order, appointed as his successor Brother 
Jean Marc Larmenius, of Jerusalem, whom he invested with 
full patriarchal apostolic authority, and with magisterial 

This Grand Master passed on the supreme power to 
Brother Theobald, of Alexandria, as is evidenced by the 
charter of transmission, etc. 

Let us come finally to the Levitical doctrines : — God is 
all that exists ; every part of all that exists is a part of God, 
but is not God. 

Immutable in His essence, God is mutable in His parts, 
which after having existed under the laws of certain 
combinations more or less complex, live again under laws 
of fresh combinations. All is increate. 

God being supremely intelligent, every one of the parts 
which compose Him is endowed with a portion of His 
intelligence, in virtue of its destiny, whence it follows that 
there is an infinite gradation of intelligences resulting from 
an infinity of different compounds, the union of which 
forms the entirety of the worlds. This entirety is the Great 
All, or God, who alone has the power to modify, change, 
and govern all these orders of intelligences, according to the 
eternal and immutable laws of an infinite justice and 

God — infinite Being — is composed of three powers ; 
the Father, or Being ; the Son, or action ; the Spirit, or 
mind, proceeding from the power of the Father and the 
Son. These three powers form a trinity, a power infinite, 
unique and individual. 

There is but one only true religion, that which acknow- 
ledges one only God, Eternal, filling the infinity of time 
and space. 


The Order of Nature is immutable ; therefore all 
doctrines that any one would attempt to build up on a 
change of these laws would be founded only on error. . . 

Eternal life is the power with which every being is 
endowed, of living in his own life and of acquiring an 
infinity of modifications by combining himself unceasingly 
with other beings, according to what is ordained by the 
eternal laws of the wisdom, the justice and the infinite 
goodness of the supreme Intelligence. 

According to this system of modification of matter, it is 
natural to conclude that all its parts have the right of 
thought and free-will, and therefore the power of merit and 
demerit ; hence there is no longer anything of what is 
called inorganic matter ; if, however, any must be admitted, 
where is the limit, for instance, among mineral, vegetable, 
and animal substances ? 

However, the high Initiates do not profess to believe 
that all the parts of matter possess the faculty of thought. 
It is not thus that they profess to understand their system. 
They certainly admit a series of intelligences from the 
elementary substance, the most simple molecule, or the 
monad, up to the reunion of all these monads or of their 
compounds, a reunion which would constitute the great All, 
or God, which, as the Universal Intelligence, would alone 
have the power of comprehending Itself But the manner 
of being, of feeling, and of using the intelligences, would 
be relative to the hierarchical order in which they found 
themselves placed ; consequently the intelligence would 
differ according to the mode of organization and the 
hierarchical place of each body. Thus, according to this 
system, the intelligence of the simple molecule would be 
limited to seeking or rejecting union with certain other 
molecules. The intelligence of a body composed of several 
molecules would have other characters, according to the 
mode of organization of its elements, and the higher or 
lower degree that it occupied in the hierarchical scale of 


compounds. Man, for example, among the intelligences 
which form part of the earth, would alone have that 
modification or organization which would fully give the " I " 
consciousness, as well as the faculty of distinguishing good 
from evil, and consequently which would procure the gift 
of free-will. 

Such is a summary of the version given by the 
Abb^ Gregoire* of some of the inner philosophy held 
by the Knights Templars. There is a distinctly 
Eastern tone of thought in even these few fragments, 
fragments which indicate quite clearly to many 
students the sources from which these traditions were 

The Strict Observance ejideavoured to recon- 
stitute a Gnostic teaching when it sought to revive 
the Traditions of the Templars. 

* Grfgoire (Abb^), Histoire des Sectes Keligieuses, II., pp. 292 
et seq. Paris, 1828. 


The Singing Messengers from East to West. 

Oh, these are voices of the Past, 
Links of a broken chain. — Procter. 

Mysterious songsters of the Middle Ages, mes- 
sengers who were burdened — by right of the royal 
gift of song — with a knowledge that transcended that 
of their fellow-men — such were the Troubadours, who 
formed an integral portion of the mystic thread, and 
thus served in the weaving of the glorious traditions 
of eastern arcane lore into the young web of the 
western child-life. 

Much has been already set down by many 
competent writers on this most complicated and 
interesting period of the Middle Ages ; here and 
there some few frankly acknowledge that in the 
study of the writings and poems of the Troubadours, 
traces of hidden knowledge on their part become 
revealed, a knowledge which pertains to some more 
ancient tradition than that of the Catholic Church, 


It is these traces that must be collected, in order to 
demonstrate that these " Messengers of Love," as 
they were often termed, were inheritors of a 
" Kingdom of Heaven " — a mystic heaven, indeed, 
of pure doctrine, noble life, and holy aspirations. 

It is but slightly that we need touch on their 
general history, for the outer aspect of their work can 
be easily followed by students ; our chief attention 
must be centred on the most important part of their 
mission, and the part but little known in the general 
world, namely, that of their work as spiritual teachers, 
their secret language, and above all their secret 

Rossetti* in his valuable book gives many proofs 
of the existence of a mystic language in the " Secret 
Schools," and of the " double " and even " triple 
language" used by these Troubadours in com- 
municating with each other. These details must be 
investigated if we desire to arrive at any clear 
comprehension of the extent to which these Secret 
Schools were organised and developed during the 
Middle Ages, and on this point Rossetti writes as 
follows : 

The existence of such a style of language is an 
historical fact affirmed by many, and denied by none; 
it is a not less notorious fact that the persecuted sect 
conformed in public to the language and ceremonies of 
the persecuting religion ; while they give in secret to every 

* Rossetti (Gabriele), Disquisitions on the Anti-papal Spirit which 
■broduced the Reformation, \\, 112, 170. London, 1834. 


sentence of that language, and to every act of those 
ceremonies, an arbitrary and conventional meaning, cor- 
responding with their own designs. There is scarcely a 
contemporary or succeeding historian who does not tell 
us that the Patarini, or Cathari, or Albigenses, were Mani- 
cheans ; and we know that Silvanus, one of the successors of 
the murdered Manes, so artfully used that doctrine " that it 
seemed all drawn from the Scriptures, as they are received 
by catholics. He affected to make use of Scriptural phrases 
and he spoke like the most orthodox among us, when he 
mentioned the baptism, death, burial or resurrection of our 
Lord Jesus Christ." And he and his proselytes did all 
this so cunningly that "the Manicheans seduced numbers of 
people; and their sect was considered by the simple-minded 
to be a society of Christians, who made profession of an 
extraordinary perfection.'' These are the words of the 
Abbe Pluquet {Diet, des Hirh., art.. Silvan and Manicheans), 
who traced the existence of this sect in Italy as far back as 
1022, when many of them were discovered and burned for 
the love of God. Let us hear the same author describe the 
actions of later sectarians after other innumerable examples 
of inhuman cruelty. "The Clanculars were a society of 
anabaptists who taught that on religious subjects it was 
necessary to speak in public like other men, and only in secret 
to express the thoughts.'' And the Albigensis and Mani- 
cheans show the best means of succeeding in this design 
with the following fact. 

Persecuted incessantly by the remorseless Inquisition, 
one of their chiefs had recourse to a cunning device. He 
knew that he and his friends were accused of refusing to 
worship the saints, and of denying the supremacy of the 
Romish Church, and that they would be forced to make a 
profession of faith and to swear by the Holy Mary to have 
no other religion than that of the Holy Church. He was 
resolved not to betray his inward sentiments, but he desired 
if possible, to escape death. " O, muses ! O, high genius ! 


Now vouchsafe your aid ! " He shut himself up in a cave 
with two aged females of his own sect, and gave the name 
of Holy Church to the one and Holy Mary to the other, 
" In order, that, when the sectarians were interrogated by 
the Father Inquisitors, they might be able to swear by the 
Holy Mary that they held no other faith than that of the 
Holy Church." Hence, when we desire to estimate properly 
the devout and holy things written in those times, we must 
first consider who composed them ; and thus we shall be 
able to reconcile the frequent contradictions which are 
apparent between the verses and the actions of the 
Troubadours and Trouveurs."* 

It is remarkable that this Secret language should 
have remained so little knowrn, since it gives a clue of 
almost unmeasured importance to many a hidden 
mystery in the Troubadour life of the Middle Ages. 
It is to Eugene Aroux that wre owe the largest 
debt of gratitude for unveiling this Mysterious bye- 
way of Mystic Studies ; he denounces, with the wrath 

* Rossetti, Gabriele, Disquisitions on the Antipapal Spirit which 
produced the Reformation, ii., 113-115. London, 1834. 

Another writer makes the following comment: — "D'apr^s les 
ideas de M. Rossetti, il y aurait encore dans les poesies de Dante et de 
P^trarque, ainsi que dans les romans de Boccace, quelque chose que ces 
hommes n'ont jamais entierement exprini6 dans leurs ecrits latins. II 
semblerait, a entendre le nouveau commentateur de la Divine Comedie, 
qu'une grande et ^ternelle verity, partie de la bouche des Orph^es, des 
Thales, des Pythagores, et bondissant d'echo en echo jusqu'a nous, par 
I'interm^daire des proph^tes, de Platon, des Sibylles, de Virgile et de 
Bo^tius, a ^te recueillie enfin, tenue voiMe, mais exactement transmise 
aux generations modernes, par une succession de sectaires, comme les 
manich^ens, les templiers, les patarins, les gibelins, les rosecroix, les 
sociniens, les swedenborgiens, les francs-ma9ons, et enfin les carbonari. " 
— Del^clure (E. J.), Dante Alighieri, ou la Poisie Amoureuse ; pp. 
605-606. Paris, 1848. 


of a good, but bigoted Catholic, the teachings of 
Dante, and he unveils for us the real reason of his 
wrath : and from his stand-point he is right, Dante 
was not an Orthodox Catholic ; he was a true Mystic, 
and his Church was composed of all those great and 
liberated souls who have existed in every clime : 
without distinction of race, religion or caste. Aroux 
draws the attention of the Student to the following 
important points : with relation to the real views 
of Dante, thus he says, in commenting on the Poet : 

Though we may seem to have gone back quite beyond 
the deluge, it is evident that we are really completely in the 
Middle Ages. And in fact, though people may talk to us 
of the origin of the human species and of its dispersion over 
the earth, the question is really that of the starting-point of 
the Manichean-Gnostic doctrine and of its course from East 
to West. Let the following lines be carefully considered : 
" We do not readily believe that men were, immediately on 
the confusion of tongues, dispersed all over the world. The 
root of the human race was first planted in the countries of 
the East, then our race spread itself by putting forth 
numerous shoots on one side and another, [like] palm-treks, 
and it finally reached the extreme boundaries of the West, 
whence it resulted that rational throats quenched their 
thirst for the first time at the streams of Europe, at some at 
least, if not at all. But whether they were foreigners 
coming there for the first time, or whether, born in Europe, 
they had returned there, they brought with them a triple 
language. " 

Here is the text of this passage, so singular as it is, 
understood in a literal sense : 

'■^ Ex prmcedenti memorata confusione linguarum non 
leviter opinamur per universa mundi climata . . . tunc 


homines primuni fuisse disperses. Et cum radix humana 
propaginis principaliter in oris orientalibus sit plantata ; 
nee nan ab inde ad utrumque per diffusos multipliciter 
PALMiTES. Nostra fuit extensa propago ; demumque ad 
fines ocddentales protracta, unde primitus tunc vel totius 
EuropcB, vel saltern quadam, rationalia guttura pot- 
averunt. Sed sive adven^e tunc primitus advenissent, 
sive ad Europam indigence repetissent, idioma secum 
trifarium homines attulerunt." 

However little it may now be remembered that, 
according to Dante, those only are men who make use 
of their reason, others being brutes in his eyes ; that, 
further, he has taken care to explain to us in the Vita 
Nuova that the name of palms, palmieri, was affected by 
those who had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, it will be 
acknowledged that the true meaning of this- passage is quite 
different from that which we have given it, and that it 
conceals another which is as follows : 

Our doctrine had its origin in the East ; its votaries, 
constituting the true human race, were not at first spread 
all over the earth : it was by slow degrees that our Sectarian 
race, nostra propago, multiplied itself with the help of Syrian 
pilgrims, palms palmieri, who brought the light to the 
confines of the West, and then rational throats, men using 
their reason, quenched their thirst at the streams of Europe. 
These missionaries of the sect being either Orientals or 
Europeans returning to the country of their birth, they 
brought with them a language of three-fold meaning, 
allegorical, moral, and mystical. 

To reject an interpretation so plain and so thoroughly 
in accordance with all that we have previously seen, it would 
have to be explained how it could have come into Dante's 
head that men were born in Europe, when no rational throat 
had as yet drunk of its streams, that these Europeans had 
been to the East to learn a triple language, to bring it back 
into their own country, which no doubt had one of its own, 


and that the human race born in the East had to people the 
West, already inhabited by men, whether rational or not. 
Now this explanation is none of the easiest. 

It is always the case that these importers of the triple 
language are divided into three bands, having each their 
own idiom ; to one was allotted the South of Europe, to 
another the North, to the third the part of Asia and of 
Europe occupied by those who are now called Greeks, quos 
nunc Grmcos vocamus, as if they did not bear this name ages 
ago. But let us explain : here it is a question of the 
refugees of the Sect, of the Sinon of the party, whom we 
have seen so ill-treated in Hell, who are also spoken of in 
the Monarchy under the name of Greek pastors. These 
hold to white and yellow, as one of the aspects of Lucifer ; 
they have one foot on the European soil of the Catholics, 
the other on the Eastern land of the Manicheans, and, 
which is very disturbing, they understand for the most part 
the artifices of the conventional vocabulary. The three 
idioms were then subdivided in each of the regions men- 
tioned ; but those of the north, such as the Hungarians, 
Slavs, Teutons, Saxons, and English kept the monosyllable 
is as the sign of their common origin. For the rest of 
Europe there was a third idiom, " though it may not be 
perceived that it is triple, licet nee videatur trifarium.'' 
Among the inhabitants of this region, " some say, as 
affirmation, oc, others oil, and others again si ; that is to say, 
Spaniards, French, and Italians. But what proves the 
common origin of their idiom is that they use some of the 
same words to express many things, such as Dieu, del, 
amour, mer, terre, vivre, mourir, aimer, and others besides. 
[God, heaven, love, sea, earth, to live, to die, to love.] " 

Dante knew very well that the Spaniards did not use oc 
as an affirmation, that they used si like the Italians, but he 
desired to call attention to the chief centre of the 
Albigensian doctrine, to the land of the langue d'oc, and 
not venturing to name Toulouse, he made use of this very 


visible artifice, especially when it is recognised that the 
words which he mentions as revealing the common origin of 
the language in the three countries are precisely those which 
the sectarian poets so frequently use in their mysterious 

Aroux further explains that these " importers " of 
the " triple language " were divided into three bands, 
each having its own idiom : one set traversed the 
South of Europe, another the North, another the part 
of Asia and Europe occupied by those novi^ called 
Greeks. Then Aroux breaks out in wrath : " They 
have one foot on the European soil of the Catholics, 
the other on the Eastern land of the Manichaeans." 

But it is from another of his interesting worksf 
that we get the most intimate details about the 
organisation of these Troubadour heretics, and their 
spiritual teaching ; the passages are so important 
that it is better to give them in full. 

The eminent professor § whom we follow untiringly 
because he is an authority on the subject, had no suspicion, 
when making researches into the elements composing the 

* Aroux (Eugene), Dante HirHique, Rivolutionnaire ei Socialiste, 
Rivilations d'un Catholique, p. 388. Paris, 1854. 

+ Aroux (E.), Les Mysteres de la Chevalerie, pp. 161-169. Paris, 

J The phrases "True human race " and "Sectarians " are generally 
applied to Mystics, also to the Manichaeans, Albigenses, Troubadours, 
Palmers, and Palmieri ; it meant those men and women throughout the 
world, of every nation and in every clime, who were seeking the inner 
life in its true sense ; and who will be the " first fruits " of the 
" Redeemer," in the mystical sense. 

§ Aroux is here referring to Fauriel (M.P., Paris), whose works on 
the Proven9al literature have been so often quoted in these pages. 


personnel oi Provengal literature, that he was digging into 
the archives of the Albigensian Church. So it is, however, 
as will be shown by a rapid estimate of these elements in 
the light of common sense. One may believe with him that 
previous to the Xlth century there were in the south of 
France men, who under the name of jesters, joculatores, 
made it their profession to recite or to sing romantic fictions. 
But it was precisely because the apostles of the dissenting 
doctrine found this custom established in the countries 
where it had survived the Roman domination, that they 
eagerly adopted it for the furtherance of their propaganda. 
For just as they excelled in turning to account the heroic 
traditions, the religious fables of the various peoples in order 
to engraft their ideas on this national foundation, they 
displayed exceeding skill in adapting themselves, according 
to times and places, to the manners and customs of the 
countries in which they carried on their ministry. Thus 
they became mi?inesingers in Germany, bards and skalds in 
Scandinavia, minstrels in England, trouvires in northern 
France, troubadours and jugglers in ancient Aquitaine, 
giullari, men of mirth, in Italy — leaving everywhere monu- 
ments of their genius and a most popular memory. 

The missionaries of the heresy certainly preached the 
religion of love long before the time when William of 
Poitiers spoke of them, towards iioo, by the name of 
Troubadours, for before winning over the higher classes of 
society, their doctrines must have taken a long time to 
filter through the lower ranks. 

At the time of the complete organization* of the 
sectarian propaganda, that is to say from 1 1 50 to 1 200, the 
most brilliant period of Provenjal literature, Faiiriel rightly 
distinguishes different orders of troubadours and jesters. 

* This was just before the most deadly persecutions began. There 
was an extraordinarily extended organization of this so-called heretical 


the very necessity of things having obliged their division 
into two distinct classes. The one in fact addressing 
themselves more especially to social parties, singing only for 
courts and castles ; the other, appealing more to popular 
instincts, composed for public places, for the mercantile and 
working classes, for the country population. We have said 
that the former were the dissenting bishops, combining the 
qualities of the Perfect Knights and the Perfect Trou- 
badours. We have explained how, having no less courage 
than skill, knowing how at need to employ cunning, and 
giving constant evidence of a patience and humility proof 
against everything, they were of the type of Renaud de 
Montauban, the chivalrous figure in contrast to Maitre 
Renard, the symbolical representative of the Roman clergy. 

The latter, no less useful on account of the recruits that 
they unceasingly made amongst the most numerous classes, 
amongst those who had most to suffer from clerical 
oppression and exactions, furnished the model of the 
knights errant, as also that of the wild knights [" chevaliers 
sauvages "], personified in the romance of which Guido the 
Wild is the easily to be recognised hero. 

Lastly, above these two orders of knights and trou- 
badours, there was that of the barons and feudal lords, who, 
having embraced the Albigensian faith, having become its 
protectors or godfathers, carried on the propaganda in their 
own way and in their own social sphere. These men often 
cultivated poetry, and used it to impress on the nobility, 
and still more on the bourgeoisie, ideas hostile to pontifical 
omnipotence. Not only did they encourage the people to 
shake off the theocratic yoke by setting them the example, 
but they further upheld them and resolutely took up their 
defence against prelates, inquisitors and legates, the Estults, 
Galaffrons, giants and necromancers that abound in the 
romances of Geste. Thence, we have that heroic personage 
Roland, in contrast to Master Issengrin ; that son of Milo, 
whose powerful words, under the name of Durendal, made 


an enormous breach in the granite of the mountains, a 
breach through which an invasion was made on to Spanish 
soil, where it could exclaim, long before Louis XIV., " The 
Pyrenees exist no longer ! " 

These noble sectaries, of the type of the chivalric 
Roland, were, as a matter of fact, feudal lords, true knights. 
As such, they did not hesitate to confer in case of need, in 
accordance with the ideas of the time, and especially in 
masonic [? " masseniques "] lodges, the order of knighthood 
on distinguished members of their communion whom 
religious or political interest drew into foreign countries. 

On another side, observe how generously certain 
German Emperors — such as a Conrad, an Otho, the two 
Fredericks — once came down into Italy, lent themselves to 
bestowing the order of knighthood on the bourgeois of 
Milan, on merchants and bankers of Genoa and Florence. 
For them it was a means of recruiting their forces against 
the papacy, and of strengthening in Italy an opposition 
which they well knew to be not simply political. And 
Dante also is careful not to forget the families who 
quartered on their shields "the arms of the great baron," 
vicar of the Emperor Otho; and it is with pride that he 
recalls the promotion of his great-great-grandfather Cac- 
ciaguida, knighted by Conrad. 

As to the jesters, properly so-named jesters of song, of 
sayings, of romance, as they were called — they must be 
distinguished from the mimic jesters, that is to say, from the 
mountebanks and buffoons. The clerical jesters were, as 
has already been said, evangelical ministers, still subject to 
the preliminary discipline of the priesthood. Holding the 
rank of deacons in the sectarian church, they were with 
regard to the pastors to whom they were attached, in a 
position analogous to that of squires to knights, and it is 
under this title that they figure in the romances. 

If distinguished troubadours are spoken of, and, among 
others, Giraud de Borneil, as always accompanied by two 


jesters, it is unquestionably that these troubadours were 
Albigensian bishops, whose dignity and functions required 
the assistance of two deacons. This is why it is said of 
them that " They never went on a tour (episcopal) without 
having both of them in their retinue." 

It would be a great mistake to think that the first 
comer could be admitted to the functions of a jester. 
Fauriel will tell you that it was necessary to have "an 
extraordinary memory, a fine voice, to be able to sing 
well, to play well on the accompanying instrument, and 
also to have a knowledge of history, of traditions, of 
genealogies. Several jesters indeed are cited for their 
historical knowledge." The learned member of the 
Institute thinks that this knowledge could not have 
been very great, at a time when all history was 
reduced to barren chronicles; but is it quite certain that 
their blunders, their anachronisms, their confounding of 
personages, countries, and dates, may not be voluntary? 
Would they not on the contrary be a proof that their know- 
ledge in this respect was much greater than one is willing 
to suppose ? As to the genealogies, it is a question of those 
of Geste's romances. 

Besides the jesters attached to the person of the bishop 
or of the mere pastor, were those who, having already 
completed their probation, went forth, furnished with the 
recommendation of the one or the other, to give instruction 
or carry consolation into courts and castles. It was these 
who were called elder sons [of age? " fils ma/eurs"\ 
deacons of the first-class. The others, designated younger 
sons [under age? "fils mtneurs"\ performed the same 
functions in towns and villages ; but for the most part 
their own special aptitudes marked them out for the kind 
of service expected from them. 

These two classes of one and the same priesthood were 
recruited from all ranks of society, on the sole condition of 
uniting to a true vocation the natural gifts and the know- 


ledge necessary for success in so difficult and dangerous 
a mission. 

One curious matter, to state precisely,- would be how 
many personages came down into these poetic classes from 
a station generally considered superior. Nothing was more 
common in the 12th and 13th centuries, in the countries of 
the Provengal tongue, than to see knights, castellans, canons, 
clerics, become troubadours or simple jesters. Several of 
the most distinguished among both had begun by being 
considerable personages in society. Peyrols had been a 
knight ; Pierre Cardinal was born of a noble and wealthy 
family ; Pierre Roger had been a canon at Clermont ; 
Arnaud de Marueilh had been a clergyman, and the 
famous Arnaud Daniel was a noble who had received a 
first-rate education. Assuredly these men did not consider 
that they were lowering themselves by embracing the 
apostolate, but on the contrary were raising themselves in 
their own eyes and in those of their brethren. The 
mysterious Sordello was a noble lord. 

Moreover, how should knights such as Sordello, such as 
the Dauphin of Auvergne and so many others, have 
hesitated to become troubadours out of zeal for their faith, 
when kings like Richard of England and Peter of Aragon, 
powerful suzerains like William of Poitiers, had declared 
themselves professors of the Gay Science ; when they 
added their voices to those of the servants of love, to exalt, 
in interests perhaps less religious than poUtical, the 
mysterious and Perfect lady who under various names — as 
star, flower, light — was appealed to, to cast down to hell the 
Roman she-wolf, to crush the pontifical serpent? The 
Infamous dates not from Voltaire. 

Just as episcopal mandates, days for the sermons of 
preachers, and the order of the offices, &c., are affixed to 
the doors of churches, so did the troubadours give out 
their notices in the castles by a kind of poetical programme, 
thus making known the lyric, pastoral or romantic com- 


positions which were to serve as the text for their teachings. 
In how many places was not the Divine Comedy thus recited 
and commented on before a select audience ? Fauriel cites 
as a specimen a whimsical piece by Pierre Cardinal, "in which 
the author," he says, "envelops himself in veils of allegory 
of the most fantastic kind till it appears to him unintelligible." 
These veils would have appeared to him transparent if he 
had understood the true composition of the balsam of 

As this famous balsam, the unguent proclaimed by the 
troubadour knight and probably bishop, Pierre Cardinal, 
the unguent which heals all kinds of wounds, even the 
bites of the venemous reptiles (in the orthodox ranks, 
be it understood) — is in fact none other than the word of 
the Gospel ; so also the golden vessel in which it is con- 
tained, the vessel adorned with the most precious stones, is 
none other than the Holy Grail itself, or the book of the 
Gospels, as the Albigenses had adopted and translated it ; the 
golden book, the vessel containing the true light, visible only to 
the initiated, to the professors of the gay science [" du gay 
saber"\ Now, among the romances given out by Pierre 
Cardinal, we find in the nick of time that of Tristan of 
Leonois, so well-known to Dante, and which, celebrating 
the conquest of England by the law of love, should 
have more than one claim to the interest of the people 
of Provence. 

We have seen, on the one hand, that the Albigensian 
clergy, so skilful and so full of zeal, were recruited from the 
ranks of the priesthood as well as from those of the nobility 
and the bourgeoisie ; on the other hand we have become 
convinced, from the interpretations that we have given of 
the decrees of the Courts of Love and of the decisions in 
the amorous casuistry, that ecclesiastics converted to the 
faith of Love could not continue their cure of souls in the 
parish where they had performed their vicarial functions. 

What then became of those fresh recruits enrolled under 


the banner of heresy when once dispossessed of their cure 
or of any other sacerdotal function ? 

Like the other aspirants to the sectarian priesthood, 
they went into seminaries or lodges to receive instruction ; 
then, having become deacons or squires, having undergone 
tests and given the required pledges, they were admitted to 
the rank of Perfect Knights, or Perfect Troubadours. 
Having thus graduated, they started in the character of 
missionaries or of pilgrims of love (" pellegrini d'amore ") as 
Dante says, sometimes undertaking long and dangerous 
journeys. And so we find traces of them everywhere, from 
the icy north and the depths of Germany even to the east, 
in France and the low countries, in England, Spain and 
Italy. Then it was that, in the symbolical language of the 
faithful in love, they were called by the name of Knights- 

Preaching the doctrine of love, the true law of the 
Redeemer, their mission was to redress the wrongs of 
Rome, to take up the defence of the weak and oppressed ; 
they were also represented and celebrated as the true 
soldiers of the Christ, the champions of the poor, attacking 
under all their forms the monstrous abuses of theocratic 
regime; as comforters of the widow Rachel, that Gnostic 
church so cruelly tried by the pontifical Herod ; as the 
devoted supporters of the sons of the widow, those humble 
members of the " massenie " of the Holy Grail ; as the 
terror of ogres, dragons, and giants. 

Fauriel must then believe in them, writing : " It is 
unquestionable that in all the countries in Europe in which 
there were Knights, there was one particular class known by 
the title of Knights errant ; " and he cites in proof of this 
the tax which was levied upon them in 1241 by Henry III. 
of England, who was in great need of money and would 
naturally turn to his best allies to obtain it ; would he 
necessarily call them by their true name of Albigensian 
missionaries ? 


" It is in the poetical monuments of southern France, 
he adds, that I find the most ancient traces of knight- 
errantry. What may be gathered from them as a whole, is 
that the condition of Knight errant was rather accidental and 
transitory than fixed and permanent.'' Where else indeed 
than in Provence could one find more traces of their 
pilgrims of love since Provence was their native soil ? And 
was it not the least that could be expected, after the trials 
of a wandering life, that these zealous missionaries, called 
back to sedentary functions, might rest after their prolonged 
fatigue ? 

Contrary to the romances which represent them as 
always solitary, and running about in search of adventures, 
" the Provencal poets depict them to us as usually travelling 
several together, and to all appearance temporarily asso- 
ciated for some enterprise or common quest." Yes, indeed ! 
Exactly like the missionaries of our own times, and they were 
always accompanied by their socius, whom the Troubadours, 
their colleagues, turned into their squire. 

One of the most illustrious among these knights-errant 
— an authentic personage, at least as a Troubadour — was 
Raimbaud de Vaqueiras, whose platonic amours with 
Madame Beatrice, who called him her beautiful knight 
("beau chevalier"), are extremely curious, but would make 
too long an episode. We will merely say that Boniface, 
Marquis de Montferrat, whose sister Raimbaud's Beatrice 
must have been, was one of the nobles of the south of 
Europe who most especially occupied the attention of the 
Troubadours, for the very simple reason that, sharing their 
faith, he sheltered under his protection the Vaudois, whose 
cradle was in the valleys of Piedmont. 

Other knights are mentioned at the same period in the 
historical monuments of the south of France and of the 
Catalogue, under the name of the " Chevalier Sauvages "■ — 
Wild Knights. The romance entitled " Guido, the Wild," 
presents the poetical personification of these guides or 


pastors of Alpine districts. He figures in Ariosto's "Roland," 
which we shall probably annotate some day, with some heroes 
whose symbolical value is not more difficult to estimate. 

An article of certain constitutions of James I., of Aragon, 
who wanted to treat with Rome, forbade in 1234, the making 
of Wild Knights; another article, says Fauriel, "seems to 
establish a connection between this class of Knights and the 
jesters ; it prohibits the giving of any gratuities to ^. jester or 
to a Wild Knight." I can well believe it, and such a 
connection was a matter of course. Was not the jester the 
squire, the socius of the Wild Knight, and the King of 
Aragon wishing to give pledges to Rome, how could he 
separate them in the prohibition he was issuing ? Would 
not the gratuity given to one have been given to the other ? 
The Wild Knights had in reality the closest relations with 
the Knights errant ; like them they were ministers of the 
proscribed worship, forced to disguise their character 
carefully. They differed from them on one point only, and 
that was that instead of going to a foreign land to catechise 
and convert the orthodox population, they had to fulfil 
their own ministry in their own native country. Further, 
instead of exercising sedentary functions in a single 
parish, they had to move over a much more extensive area. 
They were obliged to go up hill and down dale, in Alpine 
districts, to carry the words of peace and consolation to the 
isolated populations, who were too few in number to have a 
resident pastor ; and also to those whom persecution or the 
stake had deprived of their own. 

Unlike the ministers of towns, boroughs and castles, the 
gentle knights, as titularies of this or that church, their lady- 
love — they themselves were the pastors of the woods and 
mountains, compelled, in order to feed their sheep, to travel 
through the wildest districts ; hence the name given to them 
by their co-religionists, who caused it to be taken, like so 
many other conventional terms, outside their church, in a 
totally different sense. 


The most bitter feeling on the part of the Catholics 
was aroused from the fact that the teachings they 
denounced were so closely allied to those inculcated 
by themselves, and that the lives of the heretics shone 
out as stars against the blackness of the mediaeval 
monastic life.* Indeed, the majority of the higher 
classes became Troubadours, and when prevented by 
persecution from speaking, they took refuge in song,-]- 
and treated their subjects sometimes seriously, some- 
times lightly, but ever was there, as we have seen, a 
dual meaning in La gate saber, or the "Art of loving ": 
for the true " union of love," as Aroux points out, 
meant the attachment of the " Perfect Chevalier " to 
the " celestial chivalry," for such were those knightsj 
called who gave themselves to the service of the 
" Holy Grail," or the " Mystic Quest," i.e., to the inner 
service, or initiation, of their secret body. They 
were indeed : 

The soldier-saints who, row on row, 
Burn upward each to his point of bliss. 

The perfect passion of self-sacrifice was theirs, 
and moved those men of the Middle Ages to martyr- 
dom and suffering in their zeal for the spreading of 
the knowledge of the mystic doctrine. Such, for 

* Lecky (W. E. H., M.A.), History of European Morals, ii. 217. 
London, 1877. 

t Thus we have the " Bible" of Guiot von Provins ; and the whole 
cycle of the " Grail legends." 

X Wolfram von Eschenbach was one of these. 


instance, was Peter Waldo* who became the founder 
of the powerful groups of Waldensians.-j- or the 
" Poor of Lyons," a secret body with masonic 
connections. He was first attracted to serious 
subjects by a Troubadour who was reciting a poem 
in the streets of Lyons — a chant in favour of the 
ascetic life ; Waldo invited the Troubadour in, and 
from that time became one of them. 

We must here digress from the mystic aspect, in 
order to give a slight outline on the general organi- 
sation, which can be taken from Baret's admirable 
work on the subject ; { he gives a chart of the chief 
School of Troubadours as follows : § 

The School of Aquitaine 
The School of Auvergne 
The School of Rodez 
The School of Languedoc 
The School of Provence 

The general compositions of the Troubadours 
may be classified under the following heads : 

" The Gallant," " The Historical," " The Didactic," 
" The Satirical," and the purely " Theological " ; then 

* See Gilly, D.D. (W. S.), The Jfomaunt version, of the Gospel 
according to St. John; from MSS. preserved in Trinity College, 
Dublin. Introduction, pp. xc. xcix. 

t Also called Valdes, Valdernis, Valdensis, and then Waldensis. 
*" X Baret (Eugene), Les Troubadours et leur Influence sur la 
Littirature du Midi de t Europe, p. 64. Paris, 1867. 

§ These are the French Schools only ; Germany, Italy, Austria, 
and the Danubian Provinces contained as many. 

All these were again 
sub-divided into 


further, others we may term " The Mystical," or even 
" Hermetic " ; the " Satirical " were often Theological 
from an essentially belligerent standpoint. Baret 
emphasises the fact that theological matters occupied 
the attention of the Troubadours much more than 
history. Nostradamus enumerates several works of 
this kind.* In the Vatican Library, says Baret, there 
are four anonymous treatises which belong to the 
Provencal Literature. 

But the object which was the special search of the 
Inquisition was the translation of the Bible into the 
Catalonian tongue, and very carefully was this work 
concealed ; for the organisation of these mystic 
schools was admirable and their Bishops and Deacons 
were disguised as Troubadours. Throughout Spain, 
Germany, Italy and Central Europe, this powerful 
" secret organisation " extended with its mystic 
traditions. Aroux, in connecting the Troubadours 
with the Albigenses on one side, links them also to 
the Manichaean religion on the other, that most 
pernicious — according to the Roman Church — of all 
heresies, because the most vital ; -f- and, indeed, 
nothing but the wholesale bloodshed undertaken by 

* There is one of importance, TraiU sur la Doctrine des 
Albigeois et Tuschius, by Raoul de Gassin. 

t Says Lea : " When to Dualism is added the doctrine of trans- 
migration as a means of reward and retribution, the sufferings of man 
seem to be fully accounted for. . . . Manes had so skilfully compounded 
Mazdean Dualism with Christianity and with Gnostic and Buddhist 
elements, that his doctrines found favour with high and low, with the 
subtle intellects of the Schools, and with the toiling masses." Hist, of 
the Inquisition, i. 89. London, 1888. 


the Dominicans could have crushed out its public 
organisation ; still, it lived again in other forms and 
under other names, and when Rutherford and other 
writers connect the Manichaeans with the Freemasons 
they are touching a deeper truth than perhaps they 
know. As the above-mentioned writer points out, 
the Troubadours and the " Steinmetzen or Bridge- 
Builders " were connected, and " among them, 
too, the Freemasons found ample occupation " ; 
this is accurately true, for from Manes* "the 
widow's son," descends the tradition which was 
common to Troubadour and Freemason ; their 
hieroglyphs were in many cases identical and the 
signs common to both. Manes went into Egypt 
and brought back from thence the ancient tradition, 
he who was crucified for reforming the Magian 
Priesthood, became the originator of the powerful 
symbolic phrase used among " the sons of the widow " 
with its corresponding sign. It is this tradition 
which underlies the well-known societies of the 
Knight Templars, the Fratres Lucis, the Asiatische 
BriJder, and many others who have kept alive the 
mystic teaching, and handed it on. 

From the death of Manes, 276 A.D., there was 

* Mani — or Cubricus — was the pupil of Terebinthe (who was after- 
wards called Buddas). He was an Egyptian Philosopher, and from 
him Manes received the Hermetic tradition ; Manichseism was based on 
the Ancient Babylonian religion with Christian, Persian and Egyptian 
elements introduced. The Gnostics who joined the Manichjean stream 
were the Basilideans, Marcionites, and Bardesanites. See Beausobre 
(M. de), Histoire critique dt Manichle, 2 vols. Amsterdam, 1734. 


an intimate alliance* — even a fusion — with some of 
the leading Gnostic sects, and thence do we derive 
the intermingling of the two richest streams of 
Oriental Wisdom : the one, directly through Persia 
from India ; the other, traversing that marvellous 
Egyptian period, enriched by the wisdom of the 
great Hermetic teachers, flowed into Syria and 
Arabia, and thence with added force — garnered 
from the new divine powers made manifest in the 
profound mystery of the blessed Jesus — into Europe, 
through Northern Africa, finding a home in Spain, 
where it took deep root. From this stock sprang 
into full flower that richness of speech' and song for 
which the Troubadours will live for ever, Manichseans, 
who sang and chanted the Esoteric Wisdom they 
dared not speak. 

Next we see them dispersed in sects, taking local 
names, — separated in name only, but using the same 
secret language, having the same signs. Thus, every- 
where they journeyed, and, no matter by what name 
they were called, each knew the other as a " widow's 
son," bound together on a Mystic Quest, knitted — by 
virtue of a secret science — into one community ; with 
them came from the East the chivalric ideal, and they 

* Says Lea: "Of all the heresies with which the early Church 
had to contend, none had excited such mingled fear and loathing as 
Manichseism." And again : " The Manichseism of the Cathari, 
Patarins, or Albigenses, was not a mere speculative dogma of the 
schools, but a faith which aroused fanaticism so enthusiastic that its 
devotees shrank from no sacrifices in its propagation." Lea (H. C), 
op. cit, i. 89. 


chanted of love and sang of heaven : but the love was 
a " Divine Love," and their heaven was the wisdom 
and peace of those who sought the higher life. As 
Aroux* says, the chief object which dominated the 
work of these " Trouveurs " [Troubadours] was 
Chivalry — " not the feudal, fighting, iniquitous 
Chivalry, as corrupt as it was ignorant," but that 
tone of thought which is well termed mystic, and 
which sees in all life only a manifestation of the 
Divine power ; they fought for the purity of their 
ideal against the ever-increasing corruption of the 
Roman Church. 

A word must here be added on the origin of 
chivalry which is mistakenly supposed to be of 
Christian inception. Viardot says : 

In recalling what Christian Europe owes to the Arabs 
with regard to knowledge, we must not omit what she owes 
to them with regard to manners. The high civilisation to 
which they had attained bore its natural fruit, and the 
Arabs were no less distinguished by the advance and the 
gentleness of their manners than by the extent and variety 
of their knowledge. The humanity, the tolerance that they 
displayed towards conquered nations, to whom they gener- 
ously left their possessions, their religion, their laws, and 
-mostly their civic rights, bore a striking testimony on this 
point, which was thoroughly confirmed by their whole 

* Aroux (Eugine), Les Mysterh de la ChevaUrie, pp. 69-71. 
aris, 1858. 

"Every Knight has the power to create Knights. There is in 
the hand and in the sword of every Knight a power (I nearly wrote ' a 
fluid,' but I did not dare) which is really capable of creating other 
Knights."— Gautier (L^on), Chivalry, its. Henry Frith, p. 223. 
London, 1891. 


history. This high civilisation appeared under two chief 
aspects — gallantry in private manners, chivalry in public 
manners. Gallantry (as we will call the delicacy of social 
relations) arose among them from the extreme reserve 
imposed on the two sexes, from the severity of the laws and 
of opinion, in fine, from the cultivated mind of the women, 
who knew Jiow to inspire love and to command respect. 
In all social relations, in all family customs, the Arabs 
showed extreme austerity. "Those people," they said of 
the Spaniards, " are full of courage, and endure privations 
with fortitude; but they live like wild beasts, washing 
■ neither their bodies nor even their clothes, which they only 
take off when they fall into rags, and going into each other's 
houses without asking permission."* 

Chivalry was the virtue of warriors. Founded on justice, 
it corrected the abuses of force, which is the right of war ; 
founded on humanity, it tempered the excesses of hatred, 
reminding men of their brotherhood even in the midst of 
combat ; it was a kind of association or confraternity 
between men of arms which drew together and united all 
its members when politics or religion separated them, and 
which imposed on them noble duties when all rights were 
disowned. Chivalry was the most powerful correction of 
feudalism by giving to the weak and the oppressed, 
protectors and avengers . . . 

Bravery, however, the sole virtue of German soldiers, 
was neither the only one nor even the first, required of an 
Arab Knight. Ten qualities were indispensable to give him 
a right to this name, namely : goodness, valour, courtesy, 
poetry, elegance of speech, strength, horsemanship, skill in 
the use of lance, sword and bow. f 

* " O believers ! enter not into a strange house without asking 
permission to do so." (Xoran, Sour. XXIV., v., 27). Jos. Conde, 
Part I., cap. 18. 

t "Fue muy buen caballero, y se decia de (A que tenia las diez 
prendas qu6 distinguen ^ los nobles y generosos, qu6 consisten en 


This " Celestial Chivalry" — Aroux demonstrates 
— was derived from the " Albigensian Gospel," whose 
" Evangel " or " Gospel " was again derived from the 
Manichaean-Marcion tradition.* These Albigenses 
were identical with the Cathari, and the Troubadours 
were the links bearing the secret teaching from one 
body to another. " Thus one sees them taking every 
form : by turns, artizans, colporteurs, pilgrims, 
weavers, colliers . . . deprived of the right to 
speak, they took to singing." 

It must be remembered that simultaneously with 
the inflow of this Manichaean Oriental wisdom into 

bondad, valentia, caballeria, gentileza, poesia, bien hablar, fuerza, 
destreza en la lanza, en la espada, y en el tirar del arco." (J. Conde, 
perto II., cap. 63.) 

He was an excellent Knight, and it was said of him that he 
possessed the ten accomplishments that distinguish nobles and 
honourable men, which consist in goodness, valour, horsemanship, 
courtesy, poetry, excellence of speech, ability, skill in lance, sword, and 
in drawing the bow. 

The word "gentileza" or " gentillesse," which has greatly 
changed in meaning with the lapse of time, means charming manners, 
the good tone of a man well born and well bred, of one whom the 
English call a gentleman. Viardot (L), Histoire des Araies et des 
Mores d^ Espagne, ii., pp. 197, 199. Paris, 1851. 

* Lea (H. C), op. cit., i. 92 : A further irrefragable evidence of 
the derivation of Catharism from Manichaeism is furnished by the sacred 
thread and garment which were worn by all the Perfect among the 
Cathari. This custom is too peculiar to have had an independent 
origin, and is manifestly the Mazdean kosti and saddarah, the sacred 
thread and shirt, the wearing of which was essential to all believers, 
and the use of which, by both Zends and Brahmins, shows that its 
origin is to be traced to the prehistoric period anterior to the separation 
of those branches of the Aryan family. Among the Cathari the wearer 
of the thread and vestment was what was known among the inquisitors 
as the ' haretictts indutus ' or ' vestttus,' initiated into all the mysteries 
of the heresy." 


Spain, there had been the same development in Italy 
from Sicily, and all through the Danubian Provinces 
into Hungary, over the Caucasus to Russia, and along 
the shores of the Caspian Seas ; just as the legend of 
the Holy Grail was everywhere, so also was this 
stream of thought, for the two were one. 

The most prominent public development takes 
place, as we see, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, 
but the enormous spread of the teaching was the 
result of centuries of quiet work. Travel was slow, 
and nearly all communication was from person to 
person. Hence when we see in the twelfth century 
the " flowering of the plant," it must be remembered 
that this result was the work in each country of small 
bands of — even isolated — travelling mystics who were 
true missionaries in life and heart. 

To turn to another aspect it is curious to think of 
the Troubadours as authorities in dress and etiquette. 
Rutherford says : * " They prepared the youth of both 
sexes for society, and they drew up rules for their 
guidance therein," and then he gives a most interesting 
quotation from a Troubadour, Amanieu des Escas, 
who instructed a young man of rank while he was a 
Page or Esquire as follows : " Shun the companionship 
of fools, impertinents, or meddlers, lest you pass for 
the same. Never indulge in buffoonery, scandals, 
deceit, or falsehood. Be frank, generous, and brave ; 
be obliging and kind ; study neatness in your dress, 

* Rutherford (John), The Troubadours, their Loves and Lyrics, p. 
4. London, 1873. 


and let elegance of fashion make up for plainness of 
material. Never allow a seam to remain ripped and 
gaping ; it is worse than a rent ; the first shows ill- 
breeding, the last only poverty, which is by far the 
lesser evil of the two. There is no great merit in 
dressing well if you have the means : but a display of 
neatness and taste on a small income is a sure token 
of superiority of spirit," etc., etc. There is much more 
of the same kind, but this citation serves to show how 
eminently practical was the advice given to the young 
men in olden days. 

Very bitter and violent were the attacks made 
upon these men by the monks, who were jealous 
of the real purity and asceticism of these heretical 
Troubadours, and who were infuriated at the publicity 
given to their own misdeeds ; such an attack is 
graphically described by Huefifer in his thoughtful 
work on the Troubadours. The writings of "Izarn 
the Monk," for instance, he well describes as a " strik- 
ing specimen of monkish effrontery " and he proceeds 
to criticise the " unctuous self-laudation " of his work, 
the Novas del Heretge, or the Tale of a Heretic, a 
dialogue between the author and a Bishop of the 
Albigeois sect. 

" The opening lines," says Hueffer, "are important 
to the historian of theology. They prove that the 
Neo-Manichsean heretics believed, or at least were said 
by the Catholics to believe, in something very like 
metempsychosis. ' Tell me,' the monk begins, ' in 
what school you have learned that the spirit of man, 


when it has lost its body, enters an ox, an ass, or a 
horned wether, a hog, or a hen, whichever it sees first, 
and migrates from one to the other until a new body 
of man or woman is born for it ? . . . This thou 
hast taught to deluded people, whom thou hast given 
to the devil and taken away from God. May every 
place and every land that has supported thee perish ! ' " 

It is curious and suggestive to find that St. 
Francis of Assisi had been a Troubadour ; Gorresf 
speaks of him as a '' genuine Troubadour," and there 
is no doubt that he and some of his Franciscans were 
at one time members of the heretical Cathari : indeed 
it is questionable whether he was at any time an 
orthodox Churchman, though — ^like that other 
Troubadour, Dante — the Church has ever claimed 
him as a " faithful son." 

x\ few words must now be devoted to what may 
be termed the general position of the Troubadours, 
the place and functions of some of them at least. 
Among the most illustrious of the Troubadours was, 
Alfonso the Second, King of Arragon (1162-1196). 
Ticknorj says : " From 1209 to 1229, the shameful 
war which gave birth to the Inquisition was carried, 
on with extraordinary cruelty against the Albigenses,, 
a religious sect in Provence, accused of heresy, but 
persecuted rather by an implacable political ambition.. 

* Huetfer (Francis), TAe Trotidadours, p. 32. London, 1878. 

+ Gorres (J. ), Der Jieilige Franciskus von Assisi, ein Troubadour.. 
Strassburg, 1826. 

J Ticknor (George), History of Spanish Literature, i., p.p. 284. 
285. 1849. 


To this sect — which in some points opposed the 
pretensions of the See of Rome, and was at last 
exterminated by a crusade under the Papal Authority 
— belonged nearly all the contemporary Troubadours, 
whose poetry is full of their sufferings and remon- 
strances.* In their great distress, the principal ally 
of the Albigenses and Troubadours was Peter the 
Second of Arragon, who in 1213 perished nobly 
fighting in their cause at the disastrous battle of 
Muret. When therefore the Troubadours of Provence 
were compelled to escape from the burnt and bloody 
ruins of their homes, not a few of them hastened to 
the friendly Court of Arragon, sure of finding them- 
selves protected, and their art held in honour, by 
princes who were at the same time poets." These 
passages and the accompanying notes are of import- 
ance to students, for they show how intimate a part 
was played by the Troubadours in the religious 
movements of the period ; and how they were 
instruments in keeping the mystic teaching alive, 
and in handing on the Wisdom of the East clothed 
in this, its latest, poetical disguise. 

In Germany also the Troubadours dwelt in high 
places, for, according to M. de Saint-Peloie, the Baron 

* The following note is given by this author : " Sismondi (Hist, 
des Frattfais, Paris, 8vo. torn. vi. and vii. 1823, 1826), gives an ample 
account of the cruelties and horrors of the war of the Albigenses, and 
Llorente (Histoire de F Inquisition, Paris, 1817, torn, i., p. 43), shows 
the connection of that war with the origin of the Inquisition. The fact 
that nearly all the Troubadours took part with the persecuted Albigenses 
is equally notorious. Histoire Litt. de la Franu, torn, xviii., p. 588. 


Zurlandben had just (1773) found a MS. in the library 
of the King, containing the sonnets of princely Trou- 
badours, written about the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries. Among these royal writers were the 
Emperor Henry VI., Conradin, King of Bohemia, and 
other Princes, Electors, Dukes and Margraves. 

The emotional life of the young European nations 
was largely educated by means of the chivalric 
romances, based, as they were, on the highest religious 
and mystic teaching ; and later, in 1400-1500, the 
Celestial Chivalry was the great standard set before 
the people, as a national ideal. 

Says Ticknor :* " Religious romances were written. 
. . . in the form of Allegories, like the ' Celestial 
Chivalry,' the ' Christian Chivalry,' ' The Knight of 
the Bright Star ' " ; and this author remarks that the 
object of that interesting book — the Celestial Chivalry, 
written by Hier6nimo de San Pedro (at Valencia, in 
1554) was to drive out of the world "the profane 
books of chivalry." 

The titles he uses are worth attention, the first 
part being called " The Root of the Fragrant Rose " ; 
the second, " The Leaves of the Rose." The names 
are suggestive, for it was just at this period, when, 
owing to bitter persecution, the Cathari and Albig- 
enses were nearly exterminated,-]- that the Rosicrucians 

* Ticknor (George), Hist, of Spanish Literature, i. 220, 221. 
London, 1849. 

+ " By order of the same Fran9ois I. , his General Almeida extirpated 
with a cruelty unusual even in those times, the remnant of the Albigenses 
still lurking in the villages of Provence, a sect, it should be remembered. 


began to revive the same old Eastern tradition, and 
the blessed Christian Rosencreutz turned his steps 
eastwards, and in Arabia spent three years fitting 
himself for the work to come. 

The Rose was one of the ancient traditional 
mystic symbols, re-adapted by the Rosicrucians, 
and used, indeed, by all sectaries and mystics 
Aroux* asserts that the famous Roman de la Rose\ 
was not only a satire against the Pontifical Court, 
but also the apotheosis of heresy, for it contained 
the Hermetic Science under the guise of a religious 

RossettiJ is as emphatic about this symbolic 
language, and Warton § gives us the following 
suggestive hints : " In the preface of the edition [to 
this poem,] printed in the year 1583, all this allegory 
is turned to religion. The Rose is proved to be a 
state of grace or divine wisdom, or eternal beatitude, 
or the Holy Virgin to which heretics cannot gain 

of genuine Manichseans, transplanted thither from the East at a com- 
paratively recent date. As Manichseans, they would naturally have 
preserved the symbols and tokens for mutual recognition so much 
in vogue, as history and existing monuments attest." King M.A. 
(C. W.), The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 399. London, 1887. 

* Aroux (Eugene), Dante, HMtique, R&volutionnaire et Socialiste, 
p. 83. Paris, 1854. 

t Begun by Guillaume de Loris — a Troubadour — 1260, finished by 
Jean de Meung, Poet, Alchemist, and Astrologer. It is a Hermetic 
treatise of much value. 

J Rossetti (Gabriele), // Mistero dell 'Amor Platonico del Medio 
Evo, ii. 411-414. London, 1840. 

§ Warton (Thomas), Hist, of English Poetry, II., p. 149, note d. 
London, 1840. 


access. It is the White Rose of Jericho 

the Chemists made it a search for the Philosopher's 
Stone." There is ever a mystery in the crucified 
Rose, typical of light and glory springing from 
the blood of Adonis, himself Dionysus, the best 
of heavenly beings. Endless are the exquisitely 
beautiful and refined symbolic meanings of the sacred 

Thus as we study the Troubadours it becomes 
evident that an enormous under-current of secret 
teaching was being carried on, and Rutherford 
gives us some important hints on this point which 
have been previously noticed* but may again 
be usefully referred to since they illustrate this 
particular fact and verify much that is said by 

The body of the learned in the Middle Ages — or the 
inner circle of that body — seems to have formed a secret 
society, whose purpose was to keep as much knowledge 
as possible confined to itself, after the manner of the 
Druids, or of the Egyptians and Chaldaen Sages; when 
compelled to put the more occult portions of their scientific 
acquirements into a more permanent form they adopted 
one perfectly unintelligible to the vulgar. Some wrapped 
up their more valuable secrets in parables, others threw 
them again into the shape of illuminations, and others 
again adopted the device of Roger Bacon, who, giving the 
name of an important ingredient of gunpowder in an 
anagram, rendered the whole receipt for the composition 
of the substance a complete mystery to the uninitiated. 

* The Theosophical Review, xxiv. 202. London, 1899. 


It has been said that Rutherford has allied the 
Troubadours with the Freemasons, and the latter 
body has an undoubtedly Manichaean tradition. For 
confirmation on this point we can refer to what is 
said by a very well-known Masonic authority,* whose 
knowledge about Masonry is unquestionable : 

Sons of the Widowf — a powerful society founded by 
Manes, a Persian slave .... and continued to 
the present day; it consisted of two degrees: i. Auditor. 
2. Elect. It was at peace under the Mother of the 
Emperor Anastasius (A.D. 491-518), but was persecuted 
by Justin. In the course of time, its agents secretly 
instigated the Crusades; but being betrayed, had to 
veil their mysteries under many names. In Bulgaria 
and Lombardy it was known as the Society of the 
Paterini, in France as the Cathari and Albigenses, and 
from it originated the Hussites, Wyckliffites, and Lollards. 
The Dutch sect of the Family of Love also sprang 
from it. 

Such is the statement of a high Mason on this 
connection, corroborating the links that have already 
been outlined, and many more might be instanced, 
showing that all the tenets of these mediaeval sects of 
Troubadours are traceable to Gnostic and Mani- 
chaeistic doctrines. Very wonderful is the part filled 
by the " Messengers of Love " in the spiritual evolution 
of Europe during the Dark Ages. Martyrs many, 

* Mackenzie (Kenneth R. H., ix°), The Royal Masonic Cycloftedia, 
p. 768. New York, 189S. 

t This term is applied to the Albigensian Troubadours ; and it was 
employed amongst themselves. 


and Saints not a few — such will be the roll-call of the 
Minniesangers, Troubadours, and Bards of these 
olden days, when in the future the Ancient Wisdom 
once more reigns supreme. 



And like a flying star 
Led on the gray-haired Wisdom of the East. 

I saw the spiritual city and all her spires 
And gateways in a glory like one pearl — 
No larger, tho' the goal of all the Saints — 
Strike from the sea ; and from the star there shot 
A rose-red sparkle to the city, and there 
Dwelt, and I knew it was the Holy Grail, 

Which was an image of the mighty world. 

— The Holy Grail and The Passing of Arthur, 


The legend of the founding of the City Spiritual — 
the Kingdom of the Holy Grail* or San Greal — is so 
interwoven with myth and superadded tradition that 
to trace its origin is as difficult as to see through 
a dense fog the delicate outline of some fair gothic 

* See The TheosophiccU Seview, xxiii., pp. 9-16. Hardcastle 
(Miss A. L. B.), "The Secret of the Holy Grail." 



spire whose lofty head towers beyond the mists 
towards the blue heights above. But as we gaze with 
straining effort, slowly through the gloom line upon 
line reveals itself, and finally the whole structure 
takes form most definite before us. Thus is it with 
the priceless " Legend of the Holy Grail," and as we 
trace it back from Western lands to its Eastern 
home, gradually from the mists of time's obscurity 
there stands revealed once more the glorious tradition 
of the Wisdom Religion, another messenger from 
East to West bringing the ancient mystic teaching 
from the old worlds to the new. 

In this case the gracious message is vestured, not 
as usual in religious forms, but veiled in garb of 
chivalry, so that it may, perhaps, in this new 
presentation more readily touch the hearts of men, 
and draw them to seek for the Kingdom Spiritual, 
the " house not made with hands, eternal in the 

Gathered round the " Holy Grail" are the Knights 
— the Guardians of the " Grail Kingdom," led by 
Titurel,* the mystic King, to whom is entrusted the 
charge of the Holy Teaching. Then later we find 
the Knights Templars taking up the sacred mission.-}- 

* Hammer-Purgstall (Baron J. von), Fundgruben des Orients, 
vi. 24., n. 33. Vienna, 1818. 

+ See Naef (F.), Opinions religieuses des Templiers, p. 36. 
Nismes ; 1890. " The cult with which this mysterious chalice is 
surrounded far surpasses in grandeur and exaltation the worship paid 
by the Church even to the most sacred relics, and it is just this exalta- 
tion of mystery and of holiness which unveils so clearly the symbol and 
the allegory." And again p. 38, "In the Grail does one not see the 


But everywhere and always is there the inner doctrine 
for the few who seek the Holy Grail, for it is invisible 
to all but those who form the " Ingesinde " * (inner 

The chief function of the Grail Kingdom was to 
supply a constant type of a divinely governed 
Society, a Society ruled from the inner and spiritual 
planes, and to train in "the kingly art of ruling" 

striking symbol of Mystic Wisdom (Sagesse mystique) and of the 
communion which is established between God and man?" 

* J. Rutherford writes ( Tlie Troubadours, their Loves and Lyrics, 
p. 43. London, 1873) : 

"The body of the learned in the Middle Ages — or the inner 
circle of that body — seems to have formed a secret society, whose 
purpose was to keep as much knowledge as possible confined to itself, 
after the manner of the Druids, or of the Egyptians and Chaldean 
Sages ; when compelled to put the more occult portions of their scientific 
acquirements into a permanent form, they adopted one perfectly 
unintelligible to the vulgar. Some wrapped up their more valuable 
secrets in parables, others threw them again into the shape of illumina- 
tions, and others again adopted the device of Roger Bacon, who, giving 
the name of an important ingredient of gunpowder in an anagram, 
rendered the whole receipt for the composition of the substance a 
complete mystery to the uninitiated. 

" Our reading shows us that much more was known to the few, 
six or seven hundred years ago, than modern savants are inclined to 
think. Strange and startling glimpses of this knowledge flicker over 
the pages of the poets and romancists of the Middle Ages. Selecting 
but two examples from many, we may remark that no one could have 
written that passage in the Inferno of Dante (Canto xxxiv., lines 70-84), 
descriptive of the transit of Virgil and his follower through the centre 
of the earth, who was not well acquainted with the leading principles of 
the theory of gravitation, as elaborated by Newton. Nor could any 
one have evolved from the depths of his internal consciousness a 
passage so singularly anticipative of the discovery of America as that 
contained in Stanzas 228-230 of the twenty-fifth canto of the Morgante 
Maggiore — precisely the Canto in which it is said that the author, Pulci, 
was aided by the erudite Marsilio Ficino." See Canti (Cesare), GU 
Eretici d" Italia, i. 178. Torino, 1865. 


leaders for such communities as needed them. It 
was destined to be a practical civilising power as well 
as a Palace Spiritual, not a passive force only, but 
active and powerful for the suppression of all evil on 
earth. Titurel* is the type and ideal leader round 
whom revolves the whole of Mystic or Celestial 
chivalry .-f- The Grail kingship is indeed the paradigm 
of the highest perfection, " the goal of all the Saints," 
but the goal cannot be reached except by the con- 
quest of the lower nature ; every human being must 
struggle and must suffer ere he sees 

those shores 
Where tideless sweep the waves of time 
Hard by the city of the Saints of God. 

Let us now trace the origin of this time-honoured 
tradition, the stock from which developed all the 
" Arthurian " legends, all the " Graal-sagas " of 
Germany, and the " Romans " of Provence. Two 
dominant variants of the earliest traditions have come 
to us. 

I. The Grail as a Secret Gospel J or Tradition. 

* There are two Titurels ; the poem Titurel of Wolfram von 
Eschenbach ; and, later, Der Jiingere Titurel, by Albrecht von 
Scharffenberg, written about 1270. An interesting notice on the subject 
is given by Vilmar (A. F. C), Geschichte der deutschen National- 
Literatur, 147, Marburg u. Leipsig, 1870. 

+ Chivalry was divided into Heavenly and Earthly orders during 
part of the Middle Ages, especially in Spain. 

t Aroux (E.), Les Mysteres de la Chevalerie, p. 166. Paris, 1858. 
Paris (A. Paulin), Les Jiomans de la Table Ronde, Addenda to p. 102. 
Vol. I. Paris, 1868. Helinandi Op., Ed. Migne, Patrol., Vol. CCXII., 
col. 814. Fauriel (C. C), Histoire de la Polsie Provenfale, ii. 332, 
et seq. Paris, 1846. 


2. The Grail as a Mystic Cup* with miraculous 

Both variants are of vital interest to the Theoso- 
phic student ; we must here, however, confine our- 
selves to tracing. 

I. The earliest sources of the Grail Legend. 

II. The history of Titurel, the type of divine 
kingship and spiritual knighthood. 

III. The links which prove this popular mystic 
legend to be part of the Great Wisdom Tradition 
which is guarded by the " Masters of Wisdom " yet 
on this earth. 

The Origin of the Tradition. — I. 

This can be definitely followed through Arabia to 
India ; for according to a large number of author- 
ities,-f the tradition is mainly Eastern in origin, 

* Burnouf (Emile) writes as follows: "La vraie legende du Vase 
Sacr^ est celle qu'on pent suivre dans le pass^ en remontant d'aujourd'hui 
meme par les textes chr6tiens, grecs, perses et bouddhiques jusqu' aux 
hymnes du V^da, oil elle trouve son explication.'' Le Vase Sacri et ce 
qu'il contieni — dans I'Inde, la Perse, la Grece, et dans I'Eglise chr^tienne 
avec un appendice sur le Saint-Graal, p. 189. Paris, 1896. 

* The Theosophical Review, xxiii. pp. 12-15. London, 1899. 
Hammer-Purgstall (Baron J. von), Fundgruben des Orients, vi. p. 24. 
Rio, L' University Catholique, i. p. 241. 

t Rosenkranz (Dr. Karl), Handbuch einer Allgemeinen Geschichte 
der Poesie, ii., 84. Halle, 1832. Hagen (F. H. von der), Heldenbilde 
aus dem Sagen Kreisen, II., iii. 8. Breslau, 1823. Simrock (Dr. 
K.), Parzifal und Titurel, p. 484. Stuttgart und Tubingen, 1842. 
Bergmann (Dr. F. G.), The San Great ; an Enquiry into the Origin 
and Signification cf the San Greal. Edinburgh, 1870. Bartsch (Karl), 
Wolfram von Eschenbach — Parzifal und Titurel, pt. i. p. xxiv. 
Leipzig, 1870. Vilmar (A. F. C.), Geschichte der Deutschen National- 
Literatur, i. 129-130. Marburg and Leipzig, 1870. 


especially that of the Gral-king and Founder, with 
which are linked most intimately those of Parsifal 
and Lohengrin. Rosenkranz divides them as follows : 
Titurel is Oriental in its inception ; Parsifal is Gallic 
(from Anjou) ; and Lohengrin* is Belgian. 

The most sympathetic and interesting version 
perhaps, is that given by Gorres-f- in his introduction 
to the translation of the oldest MS. which is in the 
Vatican Library. This manuscript was seen by von 
Hagen,! who gives an interesting account of it in his 
letters ; another sketch of the Gral-saga, but less 
sympathetic, is given by Dr. Bergman in a small 
pamphlet printed in 1870. From all these various 
sources must be gathered the important fragments 
which will help us to find those details which are a 
necessity to the student for a clear understanding of 
the real meaning of this grand old legend. 

Our attention must first be directed to what may 
be termed the " setting " of the tradition, that is to 
say the channel by which it comes to the Western 
world. The record of Titurel was first made 
known by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a Troubadour 
of a noble but poor family ; born within the 

* The history of Lohengrin, or Garin-le-Loherain was first treated 
by Hugo Metullus, in 11 50. 

+ Gorres (Joseph), Lohengrin, ein altdeutsches Gedicht nach der 
Abschrift des Vaticanischen Manuscriptes, von Ferdinand GlSckle 
herausgegeben. 1813. 

Koberstein (A.), Grundriss zur Geschichte der Deutschen National- 
Literatur, p. 50- Leipzig, 1830. 

X Hagen (F. H. von der), Briefe in die Heimat, ii. 305. 
Breslau, 1818. 


last thirty years of the twelfth century, he died 
about 1220 ; his monument was still existing at 
Eschenbach in Bavaria in the fifteenth century. He 
was one of a brilliant circle of Troubadours or 
Minnesanger* who at that period were gathered at 
the then famous Court of Herman, Landgraf of 
Thuringia. Wolfram began a history in verse of 
Titurel, the old Gral-king, which was however left in 
an unfinished and fragmentary condition at his death. 
Then about the year 1 270, Albrecht von Schaffenberg 
wrote a poem upon Titurel which for long passed as 
the work of von Eschenbach. It was called Der 
Jungere Titurel, to distinguish it from the original 
poem of Wolfram. Speaking of it San Martef 
says : 

Titurel — two fragments to which, according to the 
opening lines of the first piece, this title has been given, 
should according to Wolfram von Eschenbach's own 
assurances have formed part of a history of Sigune and 
Schiantulander, for it stands in close relation to Parzifal, 
the material having been drawn from the same source — 
remained unfinished. That work, however, and especially 
the sayings of the Holy Grail contained therein, aroused 
such excitement, that after Wolfram's death an unknown 
poet decided to write, in strophe form, the history of the 
Gral and its race of kings (Titurel), in accordance with the 
same source. . . . This also remained unfinished until 

* Trouvires in Northern France ; Troubadours in the South of 
France ; Minnesanger in Germany ; Skalds or Scalds in Norway; Bards 
in Wales and Ancient Britain. 

t San Marte (A. Schulz), Leben und Dickten von W. v. Eschenbach, 
xiv. Magdeburg, 1 836. 


about 1270, when a certain Albrecht completed it. This 
so-called Jiingere Titurel and the Parzifal, both of which 
come frpm the same source, contain pretty well the whole 
history of the Holy Grail and in many passages they 
supplement one another. * 

These form undoubtedly the most authentic 
versions of the Gral legend, but there is another 
line of tradition written down by Chrestien de 
Troyes, which eliminates the Oriental and gives 
the purely Christian version of the vision of Joseph 
of Arimathaea. Of this Wolfram was cognisant, 
or, as Nutt-f tells us. 

He knew Chrestien's poem well, and repeatedly refers 
to it, but with great contempt, as being the wrong version 
of the story, whereas he holds the true version from Kyot|: 
the singer, a "Provenzal," who found the tale of Parzifal 

* The fragments of " Titurel " written by Wolfram were first made 
known by Docens (l8io). They are in Karl Lachmann's edition of 
Wolfram v. Eschenbach (1833). The only edition of the Jiingere 
Titurel, which exists in a good many MSS., is that of Hahn (1842). 

+ Nutt (Alfred), Studies on the Legend of the Holy Grail, p. 6. 
London, 1888. See The Theosophical Review, xxiii. 10. 

X Many materialistic critics have tried to disprove the very existence 
of Kyot (or Guiot de Provins), and further have tried to prove that the 
tradition was invented by Wolfram. But research shows definitely that 
at this very period there was a Jongleur, or singer, of this name. He is 
mentioned by the Abb^ de la Rue in his Essais historiques sur Us 
Bardes, les Jongleurs, et les Trouvires, i. 216. Caen, 1834. In this 
passage is mentioned a Satire written by Guiot de Provins ; Rosenkranz 
also mentions him in his Handbuch einer Allgemeinen Geschichte der 
Poesie, ii. 114. The same conclusion has also been arrived at by San 
Marte in an interesting article " Der Mythus vom Heiligen Gral," which 
appeared in the Neue Mittheilungen aus dem Gebiet historisch antiquar- 
ischer Forschungen. Herausgegeben von dem Thuringisch-Ssechsichen 


written in a heathen tongue at Dolet (Toledo) by Flegetanis, 
a heathen, and who first wrote concerning the Grail, put it 
into French, and after searching the Chronicles of Britain, 
France, and Ireland in vain, at length found the informa- 
tion in the Chronicle of Anjou. » 

Later on we shall see why it was found in 
these chronicles to the exclusion of the rest. The 
basis of the Christian legend is from the Gnostic 
tradition, and said to have been founded on the 
Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, which was trans- 
lated into Provengal verse, a " mystical Gospel " in 
every sense, says Paulin Paris,* who, in referring to 
the MS. in the Vatican, further writes : " This latter 
text was of great antiquity and evidently mystical, 
showing a profound knowledge of the Apocryphal'l' 
Gospels containing the secret teachings of the 
Eucharist." J This of course refers to the Christian 
aspect, and had to do with the Christian arcane 
doctrines, but this aspect must be left for treatment 
at some future time. 

A digression, however, must be here made, the 
subject of which is so intimately interwoven with the 

Verein fUr Erforschung des Vaterlandischen Alterthums. (III., pt. 
iii., pp. 1-40). The author identifies the supposed mythical Guiot von 
Provence with the historical character Guiot von Provins (the town in 
Brie ?) which is called Proruts by Wolfram. 

* Paris (A. Paulin), Les Manuscrits franfois de la Bibliothique 
du Roi. Paris, 1848. Vol. vii., p. 377. 

t " Books v^ithdrawn from public perusal, or in other words, 
hidden or secret." See Mead (G. R. S), " The Secret Sermon on the 
Mountain," The Theosophical Review, xxiv. 26. 

JSee Fauriel (C. C), Histoire de la Poisie Prm/ettfale, iii. 5. 
Paris, 1846. 


mystic foundation of the Grail tliat it is necessary to 
go into some important details in order to form a 
clear conception of the many forces which were at 
play during this epoch. 

It has been said that Wolfram von Eschenbach,* 
the writer of Titurel, was a Troubadour, and according 
to some authorities Guiot (or Kyot) de Provins was a 
Jongleur. Who, then, are these Troubadours and 
Jongleurs who played a part so important in the 
so-called dark ages ? On another occasion we hope 
to take up this subject separately, forming as it does 
an important link between Eastern mysticism and 
Western development ; it will be enough for the 
present to cite one important Catholic writer, who 
makes a very clear statement as to the hidden 
functions of these Troubadours.-}- Says Aroux : 

The Troubadours, hostile to Rome, were, to say the 

* Mysticism was "in the air" at this epoch; in Calabria the 
Abbate Gioachimo di Flor was preaching his Evangelic EUrno. 
Educated at the Court of the Duca di Puglia, a pilgrim to the Holy 
Land, a monk at Mount Tabor, he became a mystic and was according 
to Canti deeply tinged with Buddhistic views (Gli Eretici d' Italia, 
i. 120-135. Torino, 1865). He had a large following. A quantity 
of important writings were left by this great mystic. His prophecies 
were known even in England, for we find an English Cistercian, 
Rudolph, Abbot of Coggeshall, coming to Rome in 1 195, had a 
conference with him, and left an account of it (Mart^ne, Amplissima 
Collectio, V. 837), and Felice Tocco (VEresia nel Medio Evo, i. 
261-409. Florence, 1884) writes : " The works of Joachim were 
printed at Venice in the years 1517-19, and his life was written by a 
Dominican named Gervaise in 1745. A full summary of his opinions, 
and those contained in Tie Everlasting Gospel, may be found in Natalis 
Alexander's Ecclesiastical History, VHI., pp. 73-76." 

+ Aroux (Eugene) Dante, Hiritiqtie, Rivolutionnaire et Socialiste ; 
Rivilation cPun Catholique sur le Moyen Age, p. 14. Paris, 1854. 


truth, the journalists of the period ; and in this way con- 
stituted one of the powers of society and took up sides 
for republican liberty in the towns of the south, for the 
feudal suzerainty and its patrons — that is to say chivalry — 
against the church or authority. ... for chivalry 
itself had become a machinery of war on the side of the 
Albigensian* heresy. 

Strange and striking statements, but they can be 
tested and verified by testimony from all sides. 
Through these secret mystical channels came pouring 
the old teachings from the East, and Wolfram von 
Eschenbach and Guiot de Provins were but instru- 
ments or channels for that tradition. 

A few words must here be said about Guiot, or, as 
Wolfram von Eschenbach calls him in his German 
tongue, Kyot. As we have seen from the Abb^ de la 
Rue, he was a Jongleur, and Aroux has given a clue 
as to the real metier of the true Jongleur at that 
period. He appears to have been a native of the 
Duchy of Anjou, and was not a noble but a lay 
commoner, for Wolfram terms him simply Meister. 
Guiot studied literature and philosophy in the south 
of France in the Province of Saint Giles — a centre 
of Albigensian mystic tradition, and in constant 
communication with northern Spain, which was 
permeated, at this period, with Arabian mysticism. 
He also studied for some time in Spain at Toledo 

* The mystic doctrines of the Albigenses will be treated later. 
They believed in re-incarnation and other fundamental theosophic 


under the learned Arabian philosophers, to whom the 
Western world owes a heavy debt. Meister Guiot le 
Provengal found at Toledo an Arabian book compiled 
by an astrologer and philosopher named Flegetanis,* 
containing the story of the Holy Greal. This volume 
was written in a foreign character, of which Guiot 
was compelled to make himself master. After 
reading this Guiot began to search the records of 
other countries, Brittany, France, Ireland, and he 
found the legends of this in some old Chroniques 
(f Angevin (Anjou). These he used as corroboration, 
and introduces the Western elements into his history, 
but, as Warton and Gorres both insist, the scene 
for the most part is laid in the East, and a large 
proportion of the names are of Oriental origin. 
Then, again, the Saracens are always spoken of with 
consideration ; Christian knights enroll themselves 
under the banner of the Caliph,f and no trace of 
hatred is to be found between the followers of the 
crescent and the cross. Speaking of the widespread 
development of this mysterious legend, or tradition of 
the Holy Grail, Gorres % says : 

From the waters of the Ganeas (Ganges) in the land 

* Flegetanis was both an astronomer and an astrologer. Both 
Gorres and Warton (Thomas Warton, The History of English Poetry, 
Vol. I., London, 1824) consider that Flegetanis is a corruption of the 
Arabic name Felek-daneh, an astronomer. 

t It can be proved from various sources that there was a friendly 
interchange of visits between the Caliph at Cairo and the Templars. 
(King, C. W., The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 418. London, 

X Lohengrin, p. ix. 


of Tribalibot, that is Palibothra* in Tricalinga, the Sanskrit 
name of the Ganges Provinces, it has spread itself over the 
Caucasus, or as the poem more correctly says, Kukkhasus, 
or again, as Titurel says, Kaukasus, where the red gold 
grows, from which the heathen weave many a beautiful 
coat (Wat) and over the mountains Agrimontin, where 
the warm Salamanders weave their glittering uniform amid 
the fire-flames' dance, and where the Queen Gekurdille 

Everywhere can be found the tradition of a sacred 
cup.f and it is said by Flegetanis, who had carefully 
recorded the result of his nocturnal studies at Toledo, 
that this mysterious cup J with the name of Graal 
emblazoned on it was left behind on earth by a band 
of spirits § as they winged their way to their celestial 
abode. This holy vessel is delivered by an angel to 
Titurel, at whose birth an angel had announced that 
God had chosen him to be a defender of the faith II 

* " Pitaliputra (Palibothra des Grecs) qui est aujourd'hui Patna." 
Burnouf, op. cit. p. 109. 

t In the Persian tradition a similar miraculous and mystical vessel 
was given to Jemshad, the pattern of perfect kings, in whose reign the 
Golden Age was realised in Iran. He was the favourite of Ormuzd 
and his legitimate representative on earth ; he discovered the " Goblet 
of the Sun " when digging the foundation of Persepolis, and from him 
it passed to Alexander the Great. It is a symbol of the world. See 
Burnouf (Emile), Le Vase SacH et u qu'il contient. Dans Vlnde, la 
Perse, la Grice et dans PEglise chritienne, p. 189. Paris, 1896. 

X In Grecian mythology Apollo, or Helios, rises out of a golden- 
winged cup. 

§ BIavatsky(H. P.) The Secret Doctrine, ii. 379 : " The beneficent 
Entities who . . . brought light to the world, and endowed 
Humanity with intellect and reason." 

II The Gnosis, or Wisdom Mysteries. 


and the guardian of the Sangreal. He became, in 
fact, one of the custodians of that Secret Wisdom 
which has been left in the charge of the elect, the 
group of humanity's perfected sons. 


The Origin of the Tradition. — II. 

. . . The Grail, throughout all Ages, may never by man 

be known, 
Save by him God calleth to It, whose name God doth know 

And the tale shall be told in all lands .... 

Parzival, translated by J. L. Weston, i. 162. 

We must trace the history of the World-Religion, alike 
through the secret Christian sects as through those of other 
great religious subdivisions of the race ; for the Secret 
Doctrine is the Truth, and that religion is nearest divine 
that has contained it with the least adulteration. Our 
search takes us hither and thither, but never aimlessly 
do we bring sects, widely separated in chronological order, 
into critical juxtaposition. There is one purpose in our 
work to be kept constantly in view — the analysis of religious 
beliefs, and the definition of their descent from the past to 
the present. 

Blavatsky (H. p.), his Unveiled, ii., 292. 

It is now necessary to add some more important 
details to the question of the origin of the tradition 
of the Holy Grail. Too much care cannot be given 


by students to the most fundamental portion of this 

It has already been said that many German* and 
French writers, in their zealous efforts to prove the 
Grail tradition to be a myth, have made efforts to 
disprove the existence of Guiot von Provins, but 
owing to the careful researches of San Marte-f- there 
is evidence of his existence so conclusive that no 
further doubt can remain ; in the review from which 
we quote he gives a careful resume of the evidence, 
and he has made a thorough study of Guiot's Bible, 
which was written as a denunciation of the priests of 
that period, and of the iniquities of the Roman 
Church : " Guiot was, without doubt, a learned man, 
and had been a monk as well as a courtier," says San 
Marte, from whose article the following summary is 

He was present in the year 1184, at Mainz, at the great 
court day of the Emperor Frederick I., at which the French 
nobility were also present in great numbers. He further 
assures us that he had seen the Hospitallers at Jerusalem ; 
the information he gives us as regards the Knight Templars 
in Syria will consequently rest likewise on first-hand 
observation. In the EastJ he saw King Araalrich of 

* Lachmann (K.), Wolfram von Eschenbach, xxiv., and Gervinus, 
Deutsche National Literatur, i., 358, 1835, are both of this opinion. 

t San Marte (A. Schuiz), "Wolfram von Eschenbach and Guiot 
von Provins " ; Germania, iii. 445. Wien, i860. 

X This fact that Guiot von Provins was himself in the East, that he 
was, moreover, a Troubadour, gives us those links which were needed 
to prove the direct connection of this Grail Tradition with the Eastern 
Wisdom ; as a Troubadour he was one of the Secret Society already 


Jerusalem, who died in the year 1 1 73, in the flower of his 
age and his glory. But in the year 1147 there was the 
second, and in the year 11 90 the third Crusade .... 
it may be inferred from his writing that he journeyed into 
the Holy Land, not as a warrior, but in the retinue of a 
Prince or Baron, and we learn that Guiot was also in the 
monastery of Clairvaux,* and moreover, when he wrote his 
Bible he had already worn the black cowl for more than 
twelve years ; thus his denunciations would rest on personal 
observations, and not on any mere gossip or scandal. 

Guiot shows himself, in this writing, to be a man 
of scholarly education, of penetrating mind, keen 
observation and full of biting sarcasm. His com- 
parisons and examples are of incisive acuteness, he 
has an exact knowledge of the Bible, and brings 
forward passages from the Scriptures in confirmation 
of his judgment, and in justification of his reproaches 
of the clergy. To quote again from San Marte : 

His language is incisive and severe 

pouring out his noble anger, galling blame and bitter 
sarcasm, over priests and nobles, higher jind lower clergy, 

mentioned both by Rossetti in his Disquisitions on the Anti-fapal 
Spirit which produced the Reformation, (ii., 115. London, 1834), and 
by Aroux ; see The Theosophical Review, xxiv. , p. 207. San Marte 
added a footnote stating that he was preparing an edition of Guiot's 
Bible and Lyric Poems, in French and German, to which Professor G. 
Wohlfart was adding notes. 

* S. Bernard of Clairvaux was one of the Church Mystics of the 
twelfth century ; he gave the first rules to the Order of the Knights- 
Templars, the regulations having been arranged at the Council of 
Troyes in 1 1 18. The great Abbey of Clairvaux was one of the chief 
centres of education at this period. S. Bernard considered the con- 
templative life as the highest, and he was himself a contemplative 


and over pretended erudition, he nevertheless loves to add 
that, of course, there are glorious exceptions. . . . We 
perceive in hitn a mind which, formed in the school of life, 
has seen and experienced much ; a man who with keen 
vision and solid judgment watched and weighed the crimes 

of all positions He very clearly distinguishes 

genuine piety from the hypocritical appearance of holiness — 

the true faith from professional sanctity Truth 

is for him beyond all else ; it is his light. 

Such is the judgment of this well-known German 
author upon the man through whom the tradition 
comes. Miss Weston, another authority, says : 

Such a man would have been thoroughly familiar with 
the legends that had gathered round the early Angevin 
Princes, as well as with the historical facts connected 
with their successors ; he would have come into contact 
with the Order of the Knights Templars .... he 
would be familiar with many a legend of precious stones, 
the favourite talismans of the East, and would know 
the special virtue ascribed to each. ... In 
fact, if we will allow the existence of such a writer as a 
travelled Angevin might well have been, we shall find all the 
principal problems of the Parzifal admit of a rational 
explanation. Even the central puzzle. Wolfram's representa- 
tion of the Grail, is explicable on such a hypothesis. We 
know how very vague Chretien's* account of the Grail is ; 
how much in the dark he leaves us as to Its outward form. 
Its influence and its origin. A writer before Chretien is 
scarcely likely to have been more explicit ; what more 
likely than that a man long resident in the East, and 
familiar, as has been said above, with Eastern jewel 
talismans, and the legends connected with them, when 

* Troyes (Chretien de), Li conte del Graal. 1189. 


confronted with this mysterious Grail, of which no definite 
account was given, yet which apparently exercised a 
magical life-sustaining influence, should have jumped to the 
conclusion of Its, at least partial, identity with the precious 
stones of the power of which he had heard so much ? 

Then later on the same writer says : 

To sum up the entire question, the drift of the internal 
evidence of the Parzival seems to indicate that the author 
of Wolfram's Source was a warm partisan of the House of 
Anjou,* sometime resident in the East, familiar with the 
history of the House whose fortunes he followed, and with 
much curious Oriental lore, and thoroughly imbued with 
the broader views of life and religion inspired by the 
crusades. That he wrote his poem after 11 72 seems most 
likely from the connection between England, Anjou and 
Ireland noted in Book IX ; . . if we grant the 

correctness of the Angevin allusions to be found in the 
earlier parts of the poem, we must logically grant that these 
two first books, and as a consequence the latter part of the 
poem which agrees with them, are due to the French source 
rather than the German redaction ; that it was Kiot (Guiot 
de Provins) who introduced the characters of Gamuret, 
Belakane, Feirefis and LIhelein; that to Kiot is due the 
first germ of the ethical interpretation amplified by Wolfram. 
It was probably in a great measure owing to the 
unecclesiastical nature of Kiot's teaching, and the freedom 
with which he handled the Grail myth, that his work failed 
to attain the popularity of Chretien's. When the Grail 
legend was once definitely stamped with the traditional 

* He was in the retinue of Fulk of Anjou, who, in 1129, became 
the son-in-law of Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, and eventually became 
its King. There is, however, a much earlier connection of the House 
of Anjou with the East, for in 987 Fulk Nerra, or Fulk the Palmer, 
went to Jerusalem. See Croniques des Comtes cF Anjou, par M. Emile 
Mabille, p. Ixxviii. Paris, 1856. 


Christian character which it finally assumed and retained, 
the semi-pagan character of Kiot's treatment would cause 
his version to be regarded with disfavour by the monkish 
compilers of his day.* 

There is no difficulty in perceiving that the 
Christian version has become the more popular, 
almost to the extinction of the Oriental tradition, 
but the suggestion here made by the w^riter is of 
importance — for Guiot, having been in contact with 
the Secret and Mystical Societies in the East, would 
certainly bring that doctrine into his work, which 
accounts for what Miss Weston terms the "uneccle- 
siastical nature of Kiot's (Guiot) teaching." 

It is an important fact for the students of this 
tradition to bear in mind, that the Roman Church 
monopolised and adopted this Legend of the Holy 
Grail, laying stress upon the version given by 
Chretien de Troyes, ignoring its Oriental descent, 
and popularising the idea that the Legend was 
founded on a purely Christian basis ; hence many 
of the contemporaries of Wolfram von Eschenbach 
were writing solely from the Christian standpoint ; 
but we have also many writers who took a broader 
view, and who recognised that the tradition had 
descended from some earlier doctrine. In San Marte 
(A. Schulz), for instance, we have a German scholar 
of profound research adopting practically the same 
view as that of Eugene Aroux in his Mysthes de la 
Chevalerie, to which book reference was made in the 

* Weston (Jessie L.), Parzival, ii. 191, 197, 198. London, 1894. 


last number. We must now summarise some impor- 
tant passages from this new source, relating as they 
do to the same view, namely, that the Legend of the 
Holy Grail is, in truth, part of the mystical tradition 
of those so-called heretical sects, the Albingenses, the 
Cathari, and others of that date, descendants of 
the older Gnostic Sects. Says San Marte : 

The conflicts of the Hohenstaufen with Rome bear 
witness to the strength of this movement in Germany ; 
princes, knights and poets accepted* it with fullest 
consciousness [of its significance]. Guiot's Bii/e, and other 
similar writings, the Proven9al poets, the numerous heretical 
sects of Southern France, of Northern Italy and Spain prove 
the same thing regarding these countries. Among the 
Waldensians there even gradually arose, under the influence 
of the Provencal poets, a literature, the content of 
which was chiefly spiritual, and which, in a poetical 
form, made the peculiar principles of the sect current 
and familiar among the people.f We may mention the 

* The writer is referring to the enormous spread of these mystical 
and heretical teachers. See San Marte (A. SchuU), "Wolfram's 
Parzival und seine Beurtheiler," in Germania, vii., p. 60. Wien, 1862. 

t This was the secret language to which Aroux refers so often. In 
one passage he says : " Let the Philologists make as much outcry as 
they will, our old Troveurs knew more about it than they do, and when 
they adopted certain names they thought far more of the hidden mean- 
ing than of the actual etymology, for which they cared very little " ; 
again, referring to the well-known legend of Amadis, " the Knight of 
the Lion," he adds : " We may easily recognise him, by these 
various signs, as a ' Poor-man of Lyons.' Like his colleagues, this 
Apostle of the Albigensian Gospel leaves Aquitanian Gaul, 
his own country, to go into Spain and win over that country to 
the Religion of Love, as in other romances. What gives an 
account of his acts and deeds is the journal, the record of his 
apostolic feats, of his triumph over the agents of Rome. What could 
be easier to recognise ? Amadis, the ' Perfect Knight of Lyons,' under 


celebrated didactic poem, written about 1180, La nobla 
Leyczon, which leads up to Waldensian through sacred 
history, and other poems such as La Barca, Lo novel 
Sermon, Lo novel Confort, Lo Payre Eternal, Lo Desprecza 
del Mont (Contentio Mundt) and L'Avangeli de It quatre 
Semenez, which deals with the parable, Matthew xiii. 5, of 
the different seeds. They all possess peculiarly strong 
anti-papistic elements and belong to those products of 
anti-hierarchy, which transplanted the conflict against Rome 
from ecclesiastical domain to the ground of popular life. 
How wrathful is Bernard of Clairvaux against Abelard ; * 
he says that, thanks to him, the street-boys of Paris are to 
be heard discussing the doctrine of the Trinity ! It was a 
storm which raged through the whole of western Christendom 
in all strata of the population, a process of fermentation 
which, originally repressed by force, repeated itself in the 
Reformation and forced itself to the forefront. When, 
therefore, Reichel t reproaches me with having introduced 
far more theological elements than the poem itself justifies, 
into my interpretation of the oracle of the Grail and of 
Parzival's refraining from questions, I reply that, on the 
contrary, not nearly enough of the theology of the twelfth 
century has been applied to the understanding of our poem, 

disguise of person and language is enamoured of the beautiful Oriane. 
This name, derived from the East, also indicates the close connection 
established between the local Vaudism and the oriental Albigensianisni 
typified by the beautiful lady, Flower, Rose, Star of the East. All 
light, all good, was in this literature reputed to come from the East." 
Aroux (E.), Les Mystires de la Chmalerie, pp. 175, 176. Paris, 1858. 

* One of the Scholastic mystics, a heretic, and condemned by the 
Pope about 1140; he opposed the view of those who extol the faith 
that yields an unreasoning assent, without examination, to whatever is 
heard. See Blunt, D.D. (J. H.), article, "Schoolmen"; Dictionary 
of Sects and Heresies, p. 530. London, 1874. 

t Reichel, Studien au Wolfram's Parzival, p. 6. Wien, 1858. 
San Marte (A. Schulz), Parzival Studien, Heft ii. Halle ; Waisenhaus, 


and my attempt to examine it from that standpoint is only a 
first beginning on those Hnes. 

For that which we now after the lapse of centuries can 
only laboriously and yet imperfectly discover about the 
explanation of the external historical phenomena of those 
religious conflicts — all that surround the then existing world 
like a fiery atmosphere in which it breathed, and which 
penetrated all the pores of its life, the elements of religious 
discord which can now hardly be understood and methodi- 
cally arranged by the scholars who make the subject their 
special study — was formerly in the minds and mouths of the 
masses and urged them on to action ; and if the poems* of 
that period afford us in almost every other respect a faithful 
mirror of contemporary phenomena in action and thought, 
the same must be true of a work which has a predomina- 
tingly religious tendency, that finds expression even in the 
first two lines [of the poem]. 

It is very desirable that the Church historians of to-day 
should, in their writings and academic lectures, pay greater 
attention than they do to the investigations and the treasures 
which have been brought to light in the ever-increasing 
study of the early German and French literatures, indeed 
they would then find much which preceded and led up to 
the Reformation, and would recognise more clearly the 
forms taken by the dogmatic theses in the practical faith 
and opinions of the people, and the special expression 
which they there received. For there is a difference 
between the doctrinal formulation of an article of faith 
and its acceptance and transmission by the laity. 

The position taken up by Wolfram, whether Guelph or 
Ghibelline, Apostolic -Evangelical or Roman- Hierarchic, 

• The poems of the Troubadours, which contained the mystical 
teaching, as we have seen from Aroux, in his Mystires de la Chevalerie, 
and also from Rutherford in his Troubadours, their Loves and Lyrics, 
p. 43. London, 1873. See for quotation. The Theosophical Review, 
xxiv., p. 202. 


must determine the standpoint from which his poem must 
be judged and understood. And even if we condemn the 
poet as a heretic, we must not demand of his poem that it 
should teach what he rejects,* but in order to do it justice 
we must enter into his religious tendency, which it brings 
quite clearly and candidly to light. In view of the historical 
situation and the religious stream of tendency at the end 
of the twelfth century the intention of our poet can no 
longer be open to doubt. He wished, namely, to depict 
in the institution of the Templars a Christian brother- 
hood,t a kingdom of the faithful and the elect of the 
Lord, without a Roman hierarchy, without a Pope and a 
privileged priesthood, without ban, interdict or Inquisition, 
where God Himself, through the revelation of the Grail, is, 
in the spirit of the pure Gospel, Ruler and Judge of His 
people. He considered the real priesthood to belong to the 
individuals struggling towards a true knowledge of God, not 
to an exclusive class, however highly he may have esteemed 
the latter; finally, he borrowed from the order of the 
Templars, at that time still flourishing and immaculate, 
the poetical symbol of the ideal constitution of this 

This idea, plainly heretical from the Roman point of 
view, necessarily implied that the Kingdom of the Grail, 
which alone led to salvation, stood in quite as sharp a 
contrast to Roman orthodox Christianity, as represented by 
the existing visible Church, as it did to paganism ;J but it is 
a fine trait in the poet that he is neither led away into open 

* This is precisely what the dogmatic Christian writers have tried 
to do by eliminating the Gnostic traces, and the yet more eastern 
sources of the grand old tradition. 

t This is the true Christian Brotherhood open to every Soul, the 
Elect of Humanity, that " Communion of Saints " of which the Great 
White Lodge is the sole earthly representative. 

i Even San Marte, in spite of his frankly acknowledged change of 
position, is still bound by the obsolete views about paganism. 


polemic against the ruling Church nor into fanatical hostility 
to Paganism. There is, therefore, small ground for astonish- 
ment at the facts ' that no trace is to be found in the poem 
of any subordination of the Templars to clergy or Pope,' 
that Parzival attains to the kingdom of the Grail without 
any ecclesiastical mediation, and that he did not gain the 
crown of martyrdom in the conflict, as the fundamental 
thought of the poet logically demanded.* 

This fundamental thought, however, is not based on the 
Dictatus Gregorii VII. nor on the saying of Innocent III., 
^ Papa vert Dei vicem gerit in terra,' but directly on the 
Gospel and on the saying of the Apostle : ' But ye are a 
chosen generation — a royal priesthood — a holy nation — a 
peculiar people ; that ye should show forth the praises of 
Him who hath called you out of darkness into His 
marvellous light ' ; t which saying is repeated almost 
literally in strophes 44 and 45 of Wolfram's Titurel-frag- 
ments. It is, therefore, inadmissible to regard the Grail as 
'a Christian relic,' to make it the representment of 
the pre-cosmic genesis of Evil, and to speak of 
' the spiritual side of the poem ' as ' weighed down 
by the fetishism of the impersonal relic ' ; this view 
could only arise through the introduction of evidence 
regarding Lucifer's fall and the Holy Grail much 
later than Wolfram's poem, or which — in the cases when 
this [evidence] is earlier, he does not himself introduce, and 
which, therefore, must be treated as non-existent in the 
criticism of our poem. Wolfram makes no special allusion 
to the dish of CsesareaJ used in the Lord's Supper, never 
speaks of Joseph of Arimathea, nor does he mention the 

* See Studies, I.e., pp. 30 et seq. 

1 1 Peter, ii., 9, 10. 

X The " dish of Caesarea " belongs to the other version, Joseph of 
Arimathea, by Sires Robiers de Borron, which was " englisht" in 1450, 
by Henry Lonelich. See The Grand St. Graal, from Furnivall's 
edition. Early English Text Society. Trubner, 1874. 


Stone of the Grail having been originally in the crown of 
Lucifer ; on the contrary, according to him, it is the lapis 
exilis,"^ the Stonef of the Lord, which at the beginning of all 
things was with God. 

The symbolism of man as a stone, is the idea that 
is being expressed by the writer ; an ancient idea, 
and one that is found in almost every religion. 

There is one beautiful tradition connected with, 
this legend of the Grail, supposed to have had its 
origin in Great Britain, and therefore of peculiar 
interest to us. It is said to have been inscribed in 
the Chronicles of Helinandus, who was " well-known 
at the time the Romance was written, not only as a 
historian but as a Troubadour, at one time in high 
favour at the Court of Philip Augustus, and in later 
years as one of the most ardent preachers of the 
Albigensian Crusade." J He lived aboiit 1229. The 
passages here summarised are from Paulin Paris" 
charming work ; the marvellous vision was revealed 
to a hermit in Britain about 720, and runs thus : 

On Holy Thursday of the year 717, after concluding; 

* Writers vary in their spelling of the stone ; Lapis, Lapsit or 
Jaspes, exilles, exiUxor, exillis, and other variants are given. Lapis: 
Electrix is given by William Hertz in his Parzival, pp. i6o, 528. 
Stuttgart, 1898. He draws attention to the fiery and life-giving- 
properties of the stone. This to some students of Theosophy will be a 
valuable suggestion. 

t In the old symbolism, " Man," chiefly the Inner Spiritual Man, 
is called a "stone." Christ is called a corner stone, and Peter refers to 
all men as "lively" (living) stones. Blavatsky (H. P.), The Secret 
Doctrine, ii. 663, 3rd edition. London, 1893. 

J Evans (Sebastian), The High History of the Holy Grail, II., 
p. 293. London, 1898. 


the office of the Tenebrae, I fell asleep, and presently 
methought I heard in a piercing voice these words : — 
" Awake ! Hearken to three in one, and to one in three ! " 
I opened my eyes — I found myself surrounded by an 
extraordinary brightness. Before me stood a man of most 
marvellous beauty : " Hast thou rightly understood my 
words ? " he said. " Sire, I should not dare to say so." " It is 
the proclamation of the Trinity. Thou didst doubt whether 
in the three Persons there were only one God, one only 
Power. Canst thou now say who I am ? " " Sire, my eyes 
are mortal ; Thy great brightness dazzles me, and the tongue 
of man cannot give utterance to that which is above 

The Unknown bent towards me and breathed upon my 
face. Thereupon my senses expanded, my mouth was 
filled with infinity of speech. But when I would fain have 
spoken I thought I saw bursting forth from my lips a 
fiery brand which checked the first words I would have 

" Take courage," said the Unknown to me ; " I am the 
source of all truth, the fount of all wisdom. I am the 
Great Master, he of whom Nicodemus said : ' We know 
that thou art God.' I come, after confirming thy faith, to 
reveal to thee the greatest secret in the world." 

He then held out to me a book which could easily have 
been held in the hollow of the hand ; " I entrust to you," 
he said, "the greatest marvel that man can ever receive. 
This is a book written by my own hand, which must be 
read with the heart, no mortal tongue being able to 
pronounce the words without affecting the four elements, 
troubling the heavens, disturbing the air, rending the earth, 
and changing the colour of the waters. For every man 
who shall open it with a pure heart, it is the joy of both 
body and soul, and whosoever shall see it need have no fear 
of sudden death, whatever be the enormity of his sins." 

The great light that I had already found so hard to 


endure then increased until I was blinded by it. I fell, 
unconscious, and when I felt my senses returning, I no 
longer saw anything around me, and I should have taken 
what I had just experienced for a dream, had I not still 
found in my hand the book that the Great Master had 
given me. I then arose, filled with sweet joy ; I said my 
prayers, then I looked at the book, and found as its first 
title : This is the beginning of thy lineage. After reading until 
Prime,* it seemed to me that I had only just begun, so 
many letters were there in these small pages. I read on 
again until Tierce, and continued to follow the steps of my 
lineage, and the record of the good life of my predecessors. 

Beside them, I was but the shadow of a man, so far was 
I from equalling them in virtue. Continuing the book, 
I read : Here beginneth the Holy Grail. Then, the third 
heading : This is the beginning of Fears. Then, a fourth 
heading : This is the beginning of Wonders. A flash of 
lightning blazed before my eyes, followed by a clap of 
thunder. The light continued, I could bear its dazzling 
brightness no longer, and a second time I fell unconscious. 

How long I remained thus I do not know. When 
I arose, I found myself in profound darkness. Little by 
little, daylight returned, the sun resumed its brightness, I 
felt myself pervaded by the most delicious scents, I heard 
the sweetest songs that I had ever listened to ; the voices 
from which they proceeded seemed to touch me, but I 
neither saw them nor could I reach them. They praised 
Our Lord, and repeated : Honour and glory to the 
Vanquisher of death, to the source of life eternal. 

Having repeated these words eight times, the voices 
ceased; I heard a great rustling of wings, succeeded by 
perfect silence ; nothing remained but the perfumes whose 
sweetness entered into me. 

* Six o'clock in the morning. Tierce corresponds to 9 ; Sexte, 
Nones, and Vespers to noon, 3 o'clock and 6 o'clock. 


The hour of Nones came, and I thought myself yet at 
the earliest dawn. Then I closed the book and commenced 
the service for Good Friday. We do not consecrate on this 
day, because our Lord chose it for His death. In presence 
of the reality one should not have recourse to symbol ; and 
if we consecrate on other days, it is in commemoration of 
the real Sacrifice of the Friday.* 

As I was preparing to receive my Saviour, and had 
already divided the bread into three portions, an angel came, 
took hold of my hands and said to me : " Thou must not 
make use of these portions until thou hast beheld what I am 
about to show thee.'' Then he raised me into the air, not 
in the body but in the spirit, and transported me to a place 
where I was immersed in a joy such as no tongue could tell, 
no ear could hear, no heart could feel. I should speak no 
untruth in saying that I was in the third heaven, whither 
St. Paul was caught up ; but that I be not accused of vanity 
I will merely say that there was revealed to me the great 
secret which, according to St. Paul, no human speech could 
utter. The angel said to me : " Thou hast seen great 
wonders, prepare thyself to see still greater." He carried 
me higher yet, into a place a hundred times clearer than 
glass, and a hundred times more brilliant in colouring. 
There I had a vision of the Trinity, of the distinction 
between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and of 
their union in one and the same form, one and the same 
Deity, one and the same power. Let not the envious here 
reproach me with going against the authority of St. John 
the Evangelist, in that he has told us that mortal eyes never 
will or can behold the Eternal Father, for St. John meant 
the bodily eyes, whereas the soul can see, when it is 

* " For where the truth is, the symbol should be put in the back- 
ground. On other days we consecrate in remembrance of his being 
sacrificed. But on that day of Good Friday he was veritably sacrificed ; 
for there is no meaning whatever in it when the day comes on which he 
was actually sacrificed." 


separated from the body, that which the body would 
prevent it from perceiving. 

While I was thus contemplating I felt the firmament 
trembling at the sound of the loudest thunder. An infinite 
number of heavenly Virtues surrounded the Trinity, then 
fell down as if in a swoon. The angel then took me and 
brought me back to the place whence he had taken me. 
Before restoring its ordinary covering to my soul, he asked 
me if I had beheld great marvels. " Ah ! " I replied, " so 
great that no tongue could recount them." " Then resume 
thy body, and now that thou hast no longer any doubts as 
to the Trinity, go, and receive worthily Him whom thou 
hast learnt to know." 

The hermit, thus restored to the possession of his body, 
no longer saw the angel, but only the book, which he read 
after he had communicated, and which he laid in the 
reliquary where was kept the box for the consecrated wafers. 
He locked the coffer, returned to his binnacle, and would 
not touch the book again until after he had chanted the 
Easter service. But what were his astonishment and grief 
when, after the office, he opened the reliquary and found 
that it was no longer there, though the opening had never 
been unclosed ! Presently a voice spoke these words to 
him : " Wherefore be surprised that thy book is no longer 
where thou didst lay it ? Did not God come forth from the 
sepulchre without removing the stone from it ? Hearken 
to what the Great Master doth command thee ! To-morrow 
morning, after chanting- mass, thou shalt break thy fast, and 
then thou shalt take the path leading to the high road. 
This road will lead thee to that of the Prise, near the 
Perron. Thou shalt turn a little aside and take the path 
towards the right which leads to the cross-roads of the 
Eight Paths, in the plain of Valestoc. On reaching the 
Fountain of Tears, where the great slaughter formerly took 
place, thou wilt find a strange beast commissioned to be 
thy guide. When thy eyes lose sight of him, thou wilt 


enter into the land of Norgave* and that will be the end 
of thy quest, t 

This vision is perhaps one of the most spiritual 
expressions of the Grail legend that can be found, 
and whoever the hermit was to whom the angel came, 
or the chronicler who wrote the vision down, the 
imagination of the person was pure and holy, and the 
teaching has the ring in it of a high and holy truth. 

Yet one more version of this many-leaved book 
must we glance at before passing on. We have seen 
the Gnostic Eastern tradition, and the purely 
Christian, now must be seen the Druidic, or the 
so-called pagan tradition. Mr. Gould says that there 
exists a " Red Book," a volume of Welsh prose begun 
1318 and finished in 1454, which contains "a Welsh 
tale entitled Pheredur, which is indisputably the 
original of Perceval." This book is preserved in the 
library of Jesus College, Oxford. 

Pheredur is mentioned as well in the Annales 
CambricB, which extend from the year 444 to 1066. 

Mr. Gould says : 

Pheredur is not a Christian. His habits are barbarous. 
The Grail is not a sacred Christian vessel, but a mysterious 
relic of a past heathen rite. 

Taliesin ben Beirdd, the famous poet says: "This 
vessel inspires poetic genius, gives wisdom, discovers the 

* I have not discovered a trace of any of these names of places ; 
I am much inclined to think them disguised. 

t Paris (A. Paulin), Romans de la Table Ronde, i., pp. 156-162. 
Paris, 1868. 


knowledge of futurity, the mysteries of the world, the whol^ 
treasure of human sciences." 

That this vessel of the liquor of Wisdom held a 
prominent place in British mythology is certain from the 
allusions made to it by the bards. Taliesin, in the descrip- 
tion of this initiation into the mysteries of the basin, cries 
out, " I have lost my speech ! " because on all who had been 
admitted to the privileges of full membership secrecy was 
imposed. This initiation was regarded as a new birth ; and 
those who had once become joined members were regarded 
as elect, regenerate, separate from the rest of mankind, who 
lay in darkness and ignorance. 

This Druidic mystery was adapted to Christianity by a 
British hermit a.d. 720. . . . It is likely that the 
tradition of the ancient druidic brotherhood lingered on and 
gained consistency again among the Templars. Just as the 
Miles Templi fought for the holy sepulchre, so did the 
soldier of Montsalvatsch for the Holy Grail. Both orders 
were vowed to chastity and obedience, both were subject 
to ahead, who exercised regal authority.* 

One more link with the ancient Wisdom Religion 
is forged for us by another author, one perhaps more 
sympatheticf and he connects the Grail-cult with that 
Gnostic body named " Mendaeens '' or the " Christians 
of St. John " ;| this is a point of extreme interest to 

* Baring-Gould (S), Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, pp. 617, 
622-3-4. London, 1881. 

+ Simrock (R., jr.), Parzival und Titurel, p. 776. Stuttgart und 
Augsberg, 1857. 

t See Blunt (J. H.), Dictionary of Sects and Heresies, p. 309. 
London, 1874. He says: "An ancient Eastern Sect found in Persia 
and Arabia, but chiefly at Bussara . . . who profess to be Mendai- 
Ijahi or disciples of St. John the Baptist ! They are called ' Christians 
of St. John ' by many European writers, and Sabians or Tzabians by the 
Mahometans. " 


Students of Theosophy, for it makes a direct con- 
nection between the legend of the Holy Grail and the 
" Order of the Knights Templars," who were so closely 
allied with this body. 

Mackenzie,* moreover, includes the "Johannite 
Christians," as he terms them, among other bodies 
connected with Masonry, and indeed many of the 
Masonic Lodges were dedicated to St. John the 
Baptist, and looked on him as their patron saint. 
Simrock builds his theory on the solid fact that Prester 
John, a mysterious Priest-King of the East (with 
whom we shall deal next time), was himself a leader 
of one of the Gnostic Sects, a heretic of course ; but, 
as the author points out, the Grail Legend is too 
intimately interwoven with him for him to be left out. 
It is to Indiaf indeed, that the Grail goes when the 
western world becomes too cold for worship, too dead 
for ideals to stir it to a higher life. 

* Mackenzie (R. R. H.), The Royal Masonic Cyclopadia, p. 386. 
New York, 1877. 

t Weston (Jessie L.), Parzifal, ii., notes 184, line 589, p. 223. 
"The belief in a Christian Kingdom in the East, ruled over by a king 
who was at the same time a priest, was very widely spread in the 
middle ages, but it is very curious to find it thus connected with the Grail 
Legend. Simrock takes this connection to be a confirmation of his theory, 
that the Grail Myth was originally closely connected with St. John the 
Baptist. According to Der Jiingere Titurel, a poem which, professedly 
written by Wolfram and long supposed to be his, is now known to be 
the work of a certain Albert von Scharffenberg, the Grail, with its 
guardians, Parzival, Lohengrin, Konwiramur, and all the Templars, 
eventually left Monsalvasch and found a home in the domains of 
Prester John, but the story seems to be due rather to the imagination of 
the writer than to any real legendary source." 




The History of Titurel. 

The fairest of old men ancient whom ever his eyes had seen, 
Grey was he as mists of morning. 

Parzifal, i. 137, by Jessie Weston. 

Apd the Grail, it chooseth strictly, and its Knights must be 
chaste and '^vx&.—Ibid., i. 283. 

To the founding of the Palace Spiritual, and to 
Titurel, the noble ancestor of the Grail-Kings, our 
attention must now be turned. Many and varied are 
the versions which may be found of the history of 
this Grail-Race, and each interpretation of its 
traditional history differs according to the writer's 
sympathy with and comprehension of the mystical 
history of the human family. Few and far between 
are those clear-sighted critics who recognise, in this 
fascinating tradition of Oriental generation, a link 
which relates the outer life of man to its hidden basis, 
and sets forth the type of an ideal life which had its 


inception on this earth when the " Sons of God " still 
trod its paths, and the " Children of the Fire-mist " 
had not withdrawn from the outer world, but yet 
dwelt among the children of men. 

From the despised mental dust-bins of the " Dark 
Middle Ages" — as they are termed — precious gems of 
rarest literary worth are being disinterred, of quality 
so pure, with richness so wondrous, that the geniuses 
of the 19th century show poor and forlorn when 
measured by the power and mental strength of their 
predecessors of that despised time. No peers are the 
modern poets of those noble singers who created the 
chivalric virtues in the hearts of the men and women 
of their time, and who sent their burning words 
ringing through the centuries fraught with love ideals 
both pure and true, and religious fervour at once self- 
sacrificing and humble. Their ideals of noble man- 
hood and pure womanhood are still the ideals of the 
present time, for the " Legend of the Holy Grail " is 
yet potent, nor can time destroy its " infinite variety." 
Titurel, the Perfected One, who 

Like a flying star 
Led on the gray-haired Wisdom of the East, 

is in modern days deemed to be but the poetical 
creation of a more than usually fertile -brained 
troubadour of the Middle Ages ; but it is the 
chronicle of this first spotless Grail-King which must 
now be studied, for he was the type of the model 
ruler, pure in life, just in action, living for his people, 


with his heart set on a higher kingdom than his 
earthly realm. 

The most detailed description of the descent and 
genealogy of Titurel that we can briefly summarise is 
given by a group of German authors* in a careful and 
laborious study of the " Jiingere,"f which runs as 
follows : Among the princes who gathered round 
Vespasian at the siege of Jerusalem were Sennabor, a 
Prince of CappadociaJ and his three sons, Parille, 
Azubar and Sabbilar. After the fall of the city 
these three brothers went to Rome, and were 
overwhelmed with gracious gifts by the Emperor. 
Parille received his daughter Argusilla § for wife, 
and some provinces in France were also given to 
him. To the brothers Azubar and Sabbilar were 
given Anschowe (Anjou) and Kornwaleis (Cornwall). 
To Parille and Argusilla was born a son whom they 

* Hagen (Dr. H. von der), Docen (B. J.), Busching (J. G.), 
Museum fur Altdeutsche Literatur und Kunst, i. , 502 et seq. Berlin, 

t Scharffenberg (Albrecht von), Der Jiingere Titurel ; circa 1270. 
Vilmar (A. F. C. ), Geschichte der deutschen National-Literatur, i, 147. 
Marburg u. Leipzig, 1870. 

t Cappadocia was at this time a Roman Province. Sennabor is 
rendered by some authorities as "Senbar." Says San Marte : "The 
first forerunners of Christianity in the West were demigods ; and in 
Asia is rooted the main stem of the Senaboriden. (B6readen) Senebar 
der Reiche — Senber, in Arabic a sage — he came from Cappadocia, from 
the Caucasus, and Colchis, whence Odin also brought his bloody 
worship." See "Der Mythus vom Heiligen Oral" in the Neue 
Mittheilungen aus dem Gebiet historisck antiquarischer Forschungen. 
Herausgegeben von dem Thuringisch-Sachsichen Verein fUr Erforschung 
des vaterlandischen Alterthums, III., iii., 5. 

§ Sometimes given as Orgusille. 


named Titurisone, who became the stem of the Grail- 
Race. Parille tried to reform and Christianise his 
pagan provinces, which had fallen into degraded 
superstitions, but he was poisoned by the people and 
Titurisone reigned in his place. 

He married Elizabel of Arragonia, and the royal 
couple went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There 
it was they received the prophecy about the great 
future of the son who should be born to them. He 
was to be under the special protection of God, 
and he would be dowered with great gifts. His 
name was to be formed from those of his father and 
mother ; thus Titurel was he called, which includes 
a part of Titurisone and Elizabel. He grew in grace 
and in " favour with God and man." In him was 
embodied the true type of the ideal Knight, noble, 
pure, tender and chivalrous. Such was Titurel, 
the first Grail-King ; and — say some accounts — 
he conquered the rebellious heathen of Auvergne 
and Navarre, with the help of the Proven5als, and 
the people of Aries and Lotheringen. These com- 
bined forces — so runs the tradition — conquered the 
Saracenic union, and put down the degraded remnants 
of the old Druidical worship. It was after these long 
struggles were completed that Titurel was bidden to 
prepare and build the Temple for the reception of 
the Holy Grail — that perfect treasure which was to 
be entrusted to his charge. Amongst the " powers " 
and "gifts" with which Titurel was dowered was that 
of " length of days," for when the temple was builded, 


and he was commanded to marry, in order that the 
Grail-Race might be continued, Titurel had reached 
four hundred years of age. The site where the Sacred 
Shrine, or Grail -Temple, was to be founded was 
shown to him by an angel-guide ; so carefully 
secluded was the spot, that it could not be discovered 
but by the aid of a higher Power. 

It is without doubt on the far side of Pyrenees* 
that we find this legend most deeply engrafted, 
though the name of its abiding place is differently 
rendered by various writers. Thus the name Mon 
Salvdsch^ or Mont Salvat, may from its wild and 
inaccessible position only mean the uncultivated 
mountain, Mont Salvatge or Sauvage. It is said 
that between Navarre and Arragon there is still a 
place named Salvaterra. 

The site of the Temple was shown to Titurel, and 
the " Invisible Helpers " brought him materials for 
the building ; the description is marvellously elabor- 
ate, full of symbolical detail, | entirely oriental in its 
whole construction, both material and ideal, but it 
cannot here be given, as our sketch is limited to 

* Says Gorres : "The Temple of Mont Salvatsck stands in Salva- 
tierra, and not as people thought in distant Gallizein, but in Arragonia 
just at the entrance into Spain, and close to the Valley of Ronceval and 
the great road which leads from France towards Gallicia and Cotn- 
postella." — Lohengrin. Koblentz, 1812. 

+ Sometimes called San- Salvador, or Salvez. 

X See Boisser^e (Sulpiz), Uber die Besckreibung des Heiligen Grab. 
Munich, 1834. Also Transactions of the Munich Academy, i. 30. The 
description is in the Jiingere Titurel, edited by Hahn, strophe 311, 
1842. San Marte (A. Schulz), Leben und Dichten Wolfram's von 
Eschenbach, ii., 357. Magdeburg, 1836. 


Titurel himself. When the building of the Temple 
was completed he was four hundred years old, but 
such was the power of the Holy Grail that he looked 
— says the tradition — only forty. And now he 
gathered around himself that goodly company of 
knights— the Knights of the Temple Holy— and 
gradually their influence and their power spread into 
other lands ; first Arragon and then Navarre were 
drawn to this spiritual society, then followed 
Catalonia, Grenada and Gallicia ; the chief town 
of this great alliance was concealed in the forests 
on the boundaries between Navarre and Arragon, 
on the ridge of the Pyrenees. The centre of the 
spiritual supremacy of the new faith reached from 
Gallicia beyond Provence, towards Burgundy and 
Lorraine. All of this was done during the four 
hundred years of Titurel's reign. San Marte speaks 
of it as a " similar institution to that which existed in 
the Pythagorean Alliance." 

The Sacred Grail was enshrined in the Temple, 
and the instructions to the King and his knights 
appeared on its surface, remained there for a while, 
then faded slowly away. And now was given the 
order for Titurel to marry, and the wife chosen for 
him was Richonde, a maiden consecrated to God. 
Her father's name was Frimutelle, a king of a 
Spanish province ; messengers were sent to her, 
and she came to Mon Salvatsch accompanied by 
a great suite of maidens and of warriors, 
all of whom returned to Spain except those 


whom the Grail ordered to remain. Titurel 
had to select two hundred knights from amongst 
those who came ; moral qualifications alone fitted 
them to enter the service of the Grail. Two children 
were born to Titurel. His son Frimutel, who married 
the daughter of the King of Grenat, became the next 
Grail-King, and they had five children — Amfortas, 
who succeeded him as Grail-King ; Herzeloide, the 
mother of Parzival ; Treverizent, the hermit ; Tchoy- 
siane, and Urepanse. This was the male line. The 
daughter of Titurel married Kailet, King of Spain, 
the capital of which was, at this time, Toledo, and 
this marriage connected the Kings of Spain with the 
Kings of the Grail-Race. It must be remembered 
that it was at Toledo that the manuscript on the 
Holy Grail legend was found by Flegetanis, the 
contents of which gave the Eastern sources of this 

By daily contemplation of the Grail Titurel's life* 
had been prolonged for five hundred years, and when 
he knew his forces were beginning to fail him, he 
gathered his children round him to instruct them on 
the spiritual significance of the Holy Grail. 

Thus he taught : no one may ever see the Grail 
but the elect ; those who do not live a holy life, and 
guard themselves in purity and from all strife, are not 
fit to gaze upon that holiness ; no tongue may ever 
tell the Grail's true form. 

* In Persian history the life ofjemshad was extended to nearly 
seven centuries from a similar cause. 


Titurel also instructed his knights as to the inner 
meaning of the symbols and ceremonial they used, 
particularly the spiritual significance and power of the 
twelve precious stones. He sorrowed that his son 
Frimutelle had not been " called " by the Grail 
to be the Grail-King. Shortly after this, we are 
told, the name of Frimutelle appeared on the 
Grail, and then followed the names of the Knights 
who were to enter the Grail service. Titurel 
was also warned that his son, and his grandson, 
Amfortas, would suffer bodily injuries, as the result 
of their ungoverned natures. Finally, Titurel died 
in India, more than five hundred years old.* Of 
his journey thither we know nothing, but the 
tradition runs, that there is a " waiting place,"-f- 
whence the return of these knightly souls is expected, 
in that region of peace, where they dwell and watch 
over the human race. Thus passes the Founder of 
the Grail-Kingship from our immediate view ; he had 
but to strike the keynote of a higher purity and a 
nobler manhood, and his work in the material world 
of that period ended. 

He still holds, we are told, communication with the 

* One of the few definite dates is given to us by Gorres in his 
Lohengi-in, p. Ixiii. where, speaking of Lohengrin's death, he says : 
" It was known now to the murderers who this Prince was .... 
they became monks . . . these events took place five hundred 
years after the birth of Jesus Christ." 

tHere we have a clear and most definite hint given that the 
doctrine of re-incarnation was taught by this Troubadour, who is hand- 
ing down the Secret Wisdom of the Holy Grail. 


world, and occasionally despatches a faithful champion to 
grant assistance in cases of momentous need. There also 
the Grail maintains the sanctity of its character, and 
becomes at once the register of human grievances and 
necessities, and the interpreter of the will of heaven as to 
the best mode of redressing them. 

Immense stress is laid on the necessity for a 
perfect purity, but so corrupt did the court grow, that 
at one time only the infant children of Perceval and 
Lancelot, and the daughter of Gawain, v/ere con- 
sidered worthy to step within the sacred shrine. 

Warton speaks quite frankly in his book of 
"esoteric doctrines" which belonged to the "heathen 
world" (sic), and which have been transplanted into 
Christendom, a new name having therein been given 
to the old teachings of the East.* 

But we must pass on to the other aspects of this 
legend, and one of the most curious is the connection 
traced by many authors between the Holy Grail and 
the traditions of the Knights Templars.f 

* Warton (Thomas, B.D.), T/te History of English Poetry, i., 85, 
London, 1824. 

t " Le Temple du Graal une fois bati dans les Pyrte^es, Titurel 
institua pour sa defense et pour sa garde une milice, une Chevalerie 
sp^ciale, qui se nomme la Chevalerie du Temple, et dont les membres 
prennent le nom de Templiens, ou de Templiers. Ces Chevaliers font 
voeu de chastet6, et sont tenus ^ une grande puret6 de sentimens et de 
.conduite. L'objet de leur vie, c'est de d^fendre le Graal, ou pour 
mieux dire, la foi chr^tienne, dont ce vase est le symbole, contre les 
infidHes. Je I'ai d^ji insinu^, et je puis ici I'affirmer express^ment, il y 
, a dans cette milice religieuse du Graal une allusion manifeste i. la milice 
des Templiers. Le but, le caract^re religieux, le nom, tout se rapporte 
entre cette derni^re Chevalerie et la Chevalerie id^ale du Graal : et I'on 


Aroux, is very definite on this point : 

"It must be acknowledged," says he, "that the romances 
of the Sangreal (the legend of which is borrowed from the 
Apocryphal Gospels) composed, according to an essentially 
Albigensian idea, in glorification of the Templars, mark the 
period when the poets of the South felt the need of pro- 
curing auxiliaries in the North."* 

It is Aroux to whom we are chiefly indebted for 
the secret thread which guides us through much of 
the tangled maze of the struggles of the mystics 
during the Middle Ages. He points out that the 
Holy Grail was a mystic Gospelf as well as the Holy 
Chalice, containing a mysterious power. Another 
GermanJ thinker connects the legend of Titurel with 
the origin of the Masonic Orders, and the early 
Ritter-Orden in Germany. It is Herr Doctor Simrock 
who has given us much detail with regard to the 
tradition of the Holy Grail and its connection with 
the " Order of the Knights Templars " ; it is his view, 
and that of other serious students, that that Holy 
Grail tradition, which is termed by Aroux the " book 
of the Gospels," was in reality the Secret Doctrine of 
the Templars, for which they suffered so bitterly. 

a quelque peine a comprendre la fiction de celle-ci, si I'on fait abstraction 
de ['existence r^elle de I'autre." Fauriel (C), " Romans Proven9aux," 
Revue des Deux Mondes ; Premiere sitie, viii. 185. Paris, 1832. 

* Aroux (E.), La Comidie de Dante, i. 39. Paris, 1857. 

t Aroux (E.), Les Mystires de la Chevalerie, p. 166. Paris, 1858. 

X Rosenkranz (Karl), Doctor der Philosophie, zu Halle. Uber den 
Titurel und Dante's Komodie mit eitur Vorerinnerung iiber die 
Bildung der Geistlicken Ritter-Orden, pp. 52-7°- Halle a. Leipzig, 


Founded in 1118 on the base of the old Society of 
the Magian Brothers, drawn together by the same 
guiding powers, the Templars did but develop the 
ideal seed which Titurel had sown. Let us see what 
Simrock says on these points. 

It seems our duty to bring forward here that which has 
already been shown to hold good as regards this view. 
Fauriel, who finds in the Templeisenthum — or the Knight- 
hood of the Grail — that there is only a play on the Knights 
Templars, appeals to the evidence given by the power and 
the riches which that Order had already obtained in 
Southern France and the South-East of Spain, but 
especially in the Pyrenees, where since the founding of the 
Temple-lands as the first in Europe, 'by Roger III. Graf von 
Foix, castles, churches, temples, and chapels had rapidly 
increased. San Marte lays stress on the agreement of the 
name as well as on the different rules and customs of the 
Order which coincided [with those of the Grail] : for 
instance the Templars at the Lord's Supper, diverging from 
the Roman Liturgy, made use of the opening words of the 
Gospel of St. John, which change also occurs at the baptism 
of Feirefis ■* but he bases his arguments chiefly upon the 
heresies of which the Templars are known to have been 
accused : the worship of certain idols .... their 
belief in spirits and demons, which recall the " Heavenly 
Host " [around the Grail] — angels who, according to 
Trevrezent's statement had to serve the Grail as they 

* Baptism had a much deeper meaning among the Gnostic sects 
than among the orthodox church people. A " true baptism is only that 
which takes place in the living water ; " and again, speaking of S. John 
the Baptist, " He . . . baptised with the living baptism and 
named the Name of Iiife." Brandt (A. J. H. W.), Die Manddische 
Religion, ihre Entwickelung und Geschichtliche Bedeuiung, pp. 98 and 
100. Leipzig, 1889. It was an Initiation into the Real Mysteries, 
and is so still. 


hovered around it. The fact remains, however undecided 
[to San Marte] whether the accusers took their incriminating 
charges from the Romances of the Grail, or from the scraps 
which had been pubUshed of the real teachings of the 
Templars.* Other authorities t think that by these 
Templeisen are to be understood the Knights of San 
Salvador de Mont Real, who were, however, founded at 
a much later date, in the year 1120. Another Knightly 

* Simrock (K. Dr.), Parzi/al und Titurel, Rittergedichte von 
Wolfram von Eschenbach, p. 793, third edition. Stuttgart 11. Augsburg, 


t Hagen (Dr. H. von der), Docen (B. J.), Busching (J. G.), 
Museum fiir Altdeutsche Literatur und Kutist ; i., 507. Berlin, 1809. 
Shallow J. (J. Y. A. Morshead), The Templet's Trials, p. 62. London, 
1888. " M. Loiseleur considers that the Temple compiled its heresy 
from the principles of three contemporary sects — Bogomiles, Euchetes, 
Luciferians. The actual history of these sects, however, rather gives 
one the impression that each was suggested to some heresiarch by some 
particular phase of that Manichaean feeling which always existed in 
Bulgaria or Asia Minor." Mignard (Monographic du Coffret de M. le 
Due de Blacas, Paris, 1852), proves that the Templars were Cathari — 
another name for Albigenses — who believed in the doctrine of reincar- 
nation. Says Aroux : " How did Walther of Aquitaine, how did the 
romance of Perceval, the Perfect Knight of the Saint-Graal, accurately 
translated by a Templar — Wolfram vpn Eschenbach, after the poem of 
the Troubadour Guiot — become transplanted into Germany, if the 
Proven9al missionaries had no relations with that country, if their 
romances, their symbols were not understood there ? . . . . Who 
but themselves and their disciples conveyed thither the ideas and 
romances of chivalry, and by turning to account the national 
traditions, worked on the foundation of the ancient sagas and im- 
pressed on the modern ones the very visible stamp of Albigensianism ? 
Traces are again to be found not only in Europe, but even as far as 
Asia. True Knights errant of the Church Militant, in open war (but 
more often war secret and hidden) with Roman Catholicism, they 
journeyed unceasingly .... sometimes they went as bearers of 
secret messages or were charged with transmitting verbally important 
information from Prince to Prince." Thus was the secret mystical 
teaching preserved through the dark ages. Aroux (E.), Mysth-es de la 
Chevalerie, p. 189. Paris, 1858. 


Order was founded at this period, who wore a "five- 
pointed star " upon their breasts ; they were the 
Knights of Monfrac in Castille and Knights of Mongoia, 
on Mont Gaudii in Catalonia. There had, moreover, been a 
close connection between the Order of the Templars and 
the House of Anjou, for a tax on his dominions for the 
benefit of the Templars had been imposed by Fulk. V. of 
Anjou, on his return from Jerusalem in 1120. It is, how- 
ever the learned Baron von Hammer-Purgestall* who gives 
the most detail on the connection of the Templars with the 
Holy Grail, by tracing its history from the identity of 
hieroglyphs which he found on the old churches and buildings 
in the Danubian Provinces. He unfortunately is for ever 
trying to find the most unsavoury interpretation for all the 
ancient symbolism ; with his views we are not concerned, 
but to the work of research which he carried on with such 
ability we are profoundly indebted. His statement is very 
decided, for on p. 88, in note 33, of his article, he says : 
The whole poem T8 Titurel, is nothing but the allegory of 
the Society and the doctrines of the Templars. 

Upon these details we cannot dwell, for we must 
trace the passing of the Holy Grail to India, and this 
will bring to view another mysterious personage, whose 
name was Prestre John — a man about whom legends 
were rife in both East and West during . the early 
Middle Ages. Colonel Yule speaks of his history as 

* Hammer-Purgestall (J. Baron von), " Mysterium Baphometis 
Revelatum ; seu ftatres militise Templi, quS Gnostici et quidem ophiani, 
apostasiee, idololatrise et quidem impuritatis convicti per ipsa eorum 
monumenta." See Fundgruben des Orients, vi. p. 3. Vienna, 1818. 
Nell (M. von) writing on Hammer's " Baphometum," says that Hammer^ 
insists that the Cup of the Holy Graal is Gnostic, and of the same set as 
the Baphometo of the Templars, which all have Gnostic-Ophite 
symbols on them. But Nell says they are theosophical and alchemical : 
in both cases these authors trace the Grail legend to hereticail sects, 


" that of a phantom taking many forms."* The 
so-called apostate Nestorians, and the personage 
called Presbyter Johannes, appear to have been 
Manichaean Buddhists ; the country of Prestre John 
was Indian Tartary, and the real Prestre John was 
the Grand Lama, the incarnation of Wisdom or 
Gnyana.f Every authority joins in admitting that 
there was some mysterious and powerful individual of 
this name, some identifying him with Gengis-Khan.J 

* Yule (Col.) : see sub voce, Encyclo. Brit. 
" Prestre John " seems to have been the title of an office, for the 
periods of time at which we hear of this curious person are various. 
The person who succeeded to the position took the designation Prestre 

t Sir John Maundeville, an old knight, writing in the fourteenth 
century, relates (Cassell's National Library, TAe V^ages and Travels 
of Sir John Maundeville, p. 169) the following: "This Emperor 
Prester John takes always to wife the daughter of the great Chan, and 
the great Chan also in the same wise the daughter of Prester John. 
For they two are the greatest lords under the firmament. . . . And 
Prester John has under him Seventy-two provinces, and in every 
province is a king, all which kings are tributary to Prester John, and in 
his lordships are many great marvels, for in his country is the sea called 
the Gravelly Sea. . . . Three days from that sea are great 
mountains, out of which runs a great river which comes from Paradise, 
and it is full of precious stones without a drop of water. . . . 
Beyond that river is a great plain, and in that plain every day at sunrise 
small trees begin to grow, and they grow till midday, bearing fruit ; 
but no man dare take of that fruit, for it is a thing of fairie. . . . 
This Emperor Prester John when he goes to battle against any other 
lord has no banners borne before him, but he has three large crosses of 
gold full of precious stones, and each cross is set in a chariot full richly 
arrayed. . . . And when he has no war but rides with a private 
company, he has before him but one plain cross of wood, in remem- 
brance that Jesus Christ suffered death upon a wooden cross. And 
they carry before him also a platter of gold full of earth, in token that 
his nobleness and his might and his flesh shall turn to earth. And he 
has borne before him also a vessel of silver, full of noble jewels of gold 


We must now return to the Grail Legend and 
trace the connection which is therein made between 
this cryptic entity and that tradition. 

" The passage of the Grail to India," says San Marte, 
"and the transformation of Parzival into Prestre John is 
important for us to notice; according to the version of 
Wolfram, this curious and interesting person is the son 
of Urepanse,* hence a cousin of Parzival ; no details are 
given to us about this mysterious personage, whose 
existence, however, cannot be denied. The Monk Wilhelm 
von Rubruquisjt passing through the East about 1253, told 
of a ruler in the northern regions of India, in 1057, called 
Ken-Khan. The Turks sought his help against the Chris- 
tians. The Nestorians called him King Johannes. Interior 
Asia was peopled by numerous sects ; besides the Nestorians 
were the Jacobites, Monophysites, and the Zaboer or 
Johannes Christians. All travellers of the thirteenth 

and precious stones, in token of his lordship, nobility and power . . . 
the frame of his bed is of fine sapphires, blended with gold to make him 
sleep well. This Emperor Prester John has evermore seven kings with 
him to serve him, who share their service by certain months. " 

* Urepanse was one of the grand-daughters of Titurel. 

t In the account of the travels of Rubruquis, in the Geography of 
the Middle Ages, Book III., p. 270, London, 1831, we read : "There is 
reason to believe that the Nestorians had penetrated into China as early 
as the sixth or seventh century, and carried into that kingdom the 
civilisation of the Bactrian Greeks." Rubruquis says, that in his time 
they "inhabited fifteen cities in Cathay. . . . The Nestorians of 
Tartary had imbibed the specious doctrine of the transmigration of 
souls." They then told him of a child about three years old who could 
write and reason, and who stated " that he had passed through three 
several bodies." William de Rubruquis — or more properly. Van Ruys- 
broek — was a Minorite Friar, from a village of that name near Brussels. 
He started on his travels in 1253. He also said (p. 273), "that he had 
been told by Baldwin de Hainault at Constantinople some facts about 
the direction of the rivers in Tartary which he afterwards found to be 


century speak of a widely-spread Christianity in the East, 
and the information thereof may have come to the West 
with the first crusade — confused with vague intelligence 
about the Hierarchy of the Dalai Lama, of whom Kiot 
may have heard."* 

Writing on the " Disciples of St. John," Madame 
Blavatskyf says : 

Glancing rapidly at the Ophites and Nazareans, we 
shall pass to their scions which yet exist in Syria and 
Palestine, under the name of Druzes of Mount Lebanon ; 
and near Basra or Bassorah, in Persia, under that of 
Mendaeans, or Disciples of St. John. All these sects have 
an immediate connection with our subject, for they are of 
kabalistic parentage and have once held to the secret 
"Wisdom-Religion," recognizing as the One Supreme, the 
Mystery-God of the Ineffable Name. Noticing these 
numerous secret societies of the past, we will bring them 
into direct comparison with several of the modern. 

Our object is not to write the history of either of them ; 
but only to compare these sorely-abused communities with 
the Christian sects, past and present, and then, taking 
historical facts for our guidance, to defend the secret 
science as well as the men who are its students and 
champions against any unjust imputation. 

One by one the tide of time engulfed the sects of the 
early centuries, until of the whole number only one sur- 
vived in its primitive integrity. That one still exists, still 
teaches the doctrine of its founder, still exemplifies its faith 
in works of power. The quicksands which swallowed up 
every other outgrowth of the religious agitation of the times 

* Neue Mittheilungen aus dem Gebietc Historisch- Antiqttarischer 
Forschungen, ii. 36. 

t Blavatsky (H. P.), Isis Unveiled, ii. ; pp. 289, 290. New York, 


of Jesus, with its records, relics, and traditions, proved 
firm ground for this. Driven from their native land, its 
members found refuge in Persia, and to-day the anxious 
traveller may converse with the direct descendants of the 
" Disciples of John," who listened, on the Jordan's shore, 
to the " man sent from God," and were baptized and 
believed. This curious people, numbering thirty thousand 
or more, are mis-called "Christians of St. John," but, in 
fact, should be known by their old name of Nazareans, or 
their new one of Mendaeans. 

The poem entitled Der Jungere Titurel* deals 
most minutely with the passing of the Grail-Kings to 
the realms of Prestre John ; and in this work it is not 
Parzival around whom the chief interest is grouped, 
but Titurel and his race, as they follow the Founder ; 
then — when the darkening of the spiritual fervour 
begins, and the falling away from the standard of 
purity grows more general — then with prayer and 
fasting do the few sorrowing knightly souls, the 
Templeisen, make preparations to return to that East 
whence had come their early inspiration. Led by 
Parzival they pass from West to East. The 
description of the kingdom of Prestre John far 
surpasses, however, in splendour that of the Holy 
Grail. There, we are told, the whole of nature is 
sanctified ; it is a land free from crime, perfidy, 
scoffing, and lack of faith. 

Prestre John is described as a man holy before 
God and man, perfect in virtue, and glorified with 

* Scharffenberg (A. von), Der Jungere Titurel, 1270, line 5893 
et seq. 


humility : he gives honour to Parzival, who comes 
bringing the Holy Grail to its Indian home, and the 
Priest-King of that land offers his crown and kingdom 
to the king of the Grail-Race ; Parzival desires, in his 
humility, to give himself to the service of Prestre 
John, and finally it is the Grail which decides the 
noble strife of these two great souls. The decree was 
given that Parzival should accept the kingship, but 
his name was to be changed into that of Prestre John. 
Then was fulfilled a prophecy, formerly made by 
an angel, that Prestre John should receive a son who 
should be a more powerful ruler than himself But it 
was also decreed that Parzival should only wear the 
crown for ten years, since he was not entirely purified 
from the sin that his mother, Herzeloide, had died of 
grief for him. As San Marte* points out, the sin 
was entirely unintentional on his part ; nevertheless, 
it was still unexpiated and stained that spotless- 
purity of a perfect life which was demanded of every 
knight who entered the service of the Holy Grail. 
Thus it appears that even a more perfect condition 
was required in the office of the Priest-King Johannes 

* San Marte (A. Schuk), " Vergleichung von Wolfram's Parzival 
mit Albrecht's Titurel in Theologischer Beziehung," Gtrmania, viii., 
454. Wien, 1863. This writer also remarks in the same inter- 
esting article that " the poem appears as a mirror of those religious 
movements at the end of the twelfth century which were struggling 
towards freedom from the compulsion of the Church .... the 
fundamental appreciation of both poems, 'Titurel' and 'Parzival,' is 
only obtained by comparing them from the theological standpoint. . 
. . Titurel is full of learned and varied reminiscences brought from 
afar.'' Op. eit. supra, pp. 431, 423, 


than in that of the Grail-Kingship. The holders of 
both offices were nominated by the Holy Grail. 

The Links of the Mystic Chain. 

The strongly Eastern tinge that characterises 
this tradition may be noticed in many different 
points. The knowledge, for instance, of the occult 
properties of precious stones and metals and their 
powers ; the stone that enables the wearer to make 
himself invisible, the condition being that he should 
do nothing dishonourable, Then we have the 
mysterious land of mist, where people* are neither 
dark nor light, but have lost all ordinary human 
colour. Again, there is the magic column brought 
from India, in which all that happens for miles 
around is represented ; and one of the most important 
links is the clear reference made to reincarnation in 
the belief held that Titurel and his knights may 
return, and that the Perfect King still holds com- 
munication with the earth and its sorrows. 

The moral and mystic teaching of the Grail 
tradition is the most vitally interesting to the student 
of Theosophy and Mysticism, for the resemblances 
between the present laws of spiritual development 
and those given to the Knights of the Grail are 
strikingly identical : The knight who watched 

* Some of the Kamalokic planes might be thus described. 


the Grail — the highest office— had to be entirely 
pure ; all sensual love, even within the bounds 
of marriage, was forbidden ; one single thought* of 
passion would obscure the eye and conceal the 
mystic vessel ; the only marriage that was permitted 
amongst those who stepped on to this " Path " was 
the marriage of the King, and even that was not 
based on personal attractions or attachments ; the 
Grail alone decided whom the Grail-King should take 
as wife. Not for himself, not for gratification, but for 
the service of the race was he to marry. 

As we search into the mystic chalice symbolism 
of the Grail myth does it not become clear that we 
are face to face with a symbol of man : man who is 
the temple of the Holy Spirit. The chalice or cup is 
but another way of denoting the " coats of skin," the 
" veils " or " vestures " which garriient man on earth ; 
robes woven by the nature powers, in which and 
through which the divine spark has to dwell, until in 
process of time the vestures or chalice become 
permeated through and through by the divine light 
within. Says one writer on this subject : 

" In that marvellous relic of Gnostic Philosophy called 
the Pistis-Sophia, the three vestures of the Glorified 
Christos or perfected man — what we may all be in some 
future birth — are thus described : 

" And the Disciples saw not Jesus because of the great 
light with which He was surrounded, or which proceeded 

• One single thought about the past that thou hast left behind 
will drag thee down." Blavatsky (H. P.), Tht Voice of the Silence, 
p. 23. London, 1892. 


from him. For their eyes were darkened because of it. 
But they gazed upon the Light only, shooting forth great 
rays of light. Nor were the rays equal to one another, and 
the Light was of divers modes and various aspect, from the 
lower to the higher part thereof, each ray more admirable 
than its fellow in infinite manner, in the great radiance of 
the immeasurable Light. It stretched from the earth to the 
heaven. ... It was of three degrees, one surpassing 
the other in infinite manner. The second, which was in 
the midst, excelled the first, which was below it, and the 
third, the most admirable of all, surpassed the other twain." 

The Master explains this mystery to His Disciples as 
follows : 

" Rejoice, therefore, in that the time is come that I 
should put on my Vesture. 

" Lo ! I have put on my Vesture and all power has been 
given me by the First Mystery. Yet a little while and I 
will tell you every Mystery and every Completion ; hence- 
forth from this hour I will conceal naught from you, but in 
Perfectness will I perfect you in all Completion, and all 
Perfectioning and every Mystery, which indeed are the End 
of all Ends, and the Completion of all Completions, and 
the Wisdom (Gnosis) of all Wisdoms. Hearken ! I will 
tell you all things which have befallen me. 

" It came to pass, when the sun had risen in the places 
of the East, a great Stream of Light descended, in which 
was my Vesture."* 

The vesture of the Self in its perfect glory is of a 
purity of transcendent perfection. No mortal stained 
with earthly passion can gaze upon that garment of 
the soul. 

And as the upward striving soul struggles to free 

*Mead (G. R. S., B.A.), The World-Mystery, pp. 102, 104. 
London, 1895. ■. 


itself from the bondage of the lower bodies and their 
subtle forces, and as it purifies one vehicle after 
another pertaining to the three lower planes of 
matter, finally it reaches that step on the Path 
whereof the substance is perfect purity, and the soul 
perceives that " Light vesture" which is the garment 
— spoken of in theosophic terms as the buddhic body 
— veiling the divine mysterious Self 

This is the great reality which is typified by the 
Holy Grail, the symbolic Cup or Chalice, the first 
container of the Holy Life of the Logos. In all 
religions is this myth to be found ; truly an " outward 
and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." 
Titurel had told his knights that no tongue may ever 
tell the Grail's true form. This shows that some 
mystery was concealed behind the outward symbolism 
of the Cup and Chalice, or Gospel. 

Burnouf says : " In spite of the difference produced by 
the influences of the place, the study of the legend of the 
Vase permits us to understand and discover that esoteric 
teaching which has never ceased to animate or ensoul the 
five great Aryan religions. This theory — which in the 
Christian churches was transmitted under the name of the 
Secret Doctrine, disciplina secreti — is of a Fire as the 
universal force under different names, always the same at 
the basis, and manifesting itself by the same words and 

This Fire is the true Spirit of life, the living Word, 

Burnouf (E.), Le Vase Sacri et ce qu'il contient : dans rinde, la 
Perse, la Grece, et dans PEglise Chritienne; avec un appendice sur 
le Saint Graal, p. 172. Paris, 1896. 


which inflames the soul of man, and gives it that force 
by which it can conquer the kingdoms of the lower 
world, and, crossing the ocean of births and deaths, 
can finally land itself on the further shore, a holy, 
purified " Son of God," a Saviour of Worlds to come. 
Thus runs the Legend of the Holy Grail. 


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