From the Theosophical Writings of H.P. Blavatsky
Part 6 - Knights Templar

compiled by Geoffrey Farthing

hpb seal

The Great Architect illustration from French Bible Moralisee

Page from French Bible Moralisee (c 1235-1245),
British Library, showing Christ as the Great Architect, designing the
universe with the compass of the Freemason.

l Contents and Preface l


The Knights Templar are inextricably associated with both ancient and more recent Masonry. Early in their history some of the Knights were Initiates into the Mysteries. The true Knights lived very sparsely. To avoid persecution they had to perform their ceremonies in the greatest secrecy.

The Knights were founded in 1118 which was just prior to the time Moses de Léon was compiling his version of the Kabala from what material he could find from that originally produced by Shimon ben Yohai at the start of the Christian era. Although this foundation date of the Knights was well into the Christian era the Knights Templar are said to have had a pure version of the Ancient Wisdom, which was preserved into the later years of the order.

It will be noticed that the date of the founding of the Knights was some 600 years before that of the formal beginnings of Freemasonry in London in the 18th century. It was therefore a transitional link from the ancient to the modern forms of Masonry, indicating that whereas the reintroduced version of the Kabala by Moses de Léon was immediately Christianized, the Knights were able to preserve the true doctrines. They constituted an important step in the long process of the development of modern Masonry. As one of the extracts says, they performed their own ceremonies in the greatest secrecy while the ecclesiastical form of worship was carried on publicly.

According to H.P.B., as for the Masons so for the Knights; they have both lost their secrets and now still look for the “lost word”. The Knights latterly suffered the same fate as the Masons at the hands of the Jesuits.

Sir Knights

How many of our inveterate skeptics belong, notwithstanding their materialism, to Masonic Lodges? The brothers of the Rosie-Cross, mysterious practitioners of the mediaeval ages, still live – but in name only. They may “shed tears at the grave of their respectable Master, Hiram Abiff;” but vainly will they search for the true locality, “where the sprig of myrtle was placed.” The dead letter remains alone, the spirit has fled. They are like the English or German chorus of the Italian opera, who descend in the fourth act of Ernani into the crypt of Charlemagne, singing their conspiracy in a tongue utterly unknown to them. So, our modern knights of the Sacred Arch may descend every night if they choose “through the nine arches into the bowels of the earth,” – they “will never discover the sacred Delta of Enoch.” The “Sir Knights in the South Valley” and those in “the North Valley” may try to assure themselves that “enlightenment dawns upon their minds”, and that as they progress in Masonry “the veil of superstition, despotism, tyranny” and so on, no longer obscures the visions of their minds. But these are all empty words so long as they neglect their mother Magic, and turn their backs upon its twin sister, Spiritualism. Verily, “Sir Knights of the Orient,” you may “leave your stations and sit upon the floor in attitudes of grief, with your heads resting upon your hands,” for you have cause to bewail and mourn your fate. Since Phillipe le Bel destroyed the Knights-Templars, not one has appeared to clear up your doubts notwithstanding all claims to the contrary. Truly, you are “wanderers from Jerusalem seeking the lost treasure of the holy place.” Have you found it? Alas, no! for the holy place is profaned; the pillars of wisdom, strength and beauty are destroyed. Henceforth, “you must wander in darkness,” and “travel in humility,”among the woods and mountains in search of the “lost word.” “Pass on!” – you will never find it so long as you limit your journeys to seven or even seven times seven; because you are “travelling in darkness”, and this darkness can only be dispelled by the light of the blazing torch of truth which alone the right descendants of Ormasd carry. They alone can teach you the true pronunciation of the name revealed to Enoch, Jacob and Moses. “Pass on!” Till your R.S.W. shall learn to multiply 333, and strike instead 666 – the number of the Apocalyptic Beast, you may just as well observe prudence and act “sub rosa.” [I.U.I, 29-30]

Templars of Paris

Writing upon this subject, we must hear what Wilcke has to say of these pretensions:

“The present Knight Templars of Paris will have it, that they are direct descendants from the ancient Knights, and endeavour to prove this by documents, interior regulations, and secret doctrines. Foraisse says the Fraternity of Freemasons was founded in Egypt, Moses communicating the secret teaching to the Israelites, Jesus to the Apostles, and thence it found its way to the Knight Templars. Such inventions are necessary . . . to the assertion that the Parisian Templars are the offspring of the ancient order. All these asseverations, unsupported by history, were fabricated in the High Chapter of Clermont  (Jesuits), and preserved by the Parisian Templars as a legacy left them by those political revolutionaries, the Stuarts and the Jesuits” Hence we find the Bishops Gregoir and Münter supporting them. [I.U.II, 381]

French Order of Knights

Turning to Clavel, one of the best Masonic authorities, we read:

“It is clear that the erection of the French Order of the Knight Templars is not more ancient than the year 1804, and that it cannot lay any legitimate claim to being the continuation of the so-called society of ‘la petite Resurrection des Templiers’, nor this latter, either, extend back to the ancient Order of the Knights Templars.” therefore, we see these pseudo-Templars, under the guidance of the worthy Father Jesuits, forging in Paris, 1806, the famous charter of Larmenius. Twenty years later, this nefast and subterranean body, guiding the hand of assassins, directed it towards one of the best and greatest princes in Europe, whose mysterious death, unfortunately for the interests of truth and justice, has never been – for political reasons – investigated and proclaimed to the world as it ought to have been.  It is this prince, a Freemason himself, who was the last depository of the secrets of the true Knights Templar. [I.U.II, 385]

Ancient Templars

Connecting the modern with the ancient Templars, we can at best, therefore, allow them an adoption of certain rites and ceremonies of purely ecclesiastical character after they had been cunningly inoculated into that grand and antique Order by the clergy. Since this desecration, it gradually lost its primitive and simple character, and went fast to its final ruin. Founded in 1118 by the Knights Hugh de Payens and Geoffrey de St.Omer, nominally for the protection of the pilgrims, its true aim was the restoration of the primitive secret worship. The true version of the history of Jesus, and the early Christianity was imparted to Hugh de Payens, by the Grand-Pontiff of the Order of the Temple (of the Nazarene or Johanite sect), one named Theocletes, after which it was learned by some Knights in Palestine, from the higher and more intellectual members of the St. John sect, who were initiated into its mysteries. Freedom of intellectual thought and the restoration of one and universal religion was their secret object. Sworn to the vow of obedience, poverty, and chastity, they were at first the true Knights of John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness and living on wild honey and locusts. Such is the tradition and the true kabalistic version.

It is a mistake to state that the Order became only later anti-Catholic. It was so from the beginning, and the red cross on the white mantle, the vestment of the Order, had the same significance as with the initiates in every other country. It pointed to the four quarters of the compass, and was the emblem of the universe. When, later, the Brotherhood was transformed into a Lodge, the Templars had, in order to avoid persecution, to perform their own ceremonies in the greatest secrecy, generally in the hall of the chapter, more frequently in isolated caves or country houses built amidst woods, while the ecclesiastical form of worship was carried on publicly in the chapels belonging to the Order. [I.U.II, 381-2]

Like Christianity, Freemasonry is a corpse from which the spirit long ago fled. [I.U.II, 388]

n.b.      Following this quotation there is a long letter from Charles Sotheran, a Mason of many degrees, from New York, which all interested in Masonry should read. It contains much of interest to the student of Masonry. The following extract is self explanatory:

We both [Sotheran and H.P.B.] say that all the ancient priesthoods had their esoteric doctrines and secret ceremonies. From the Essenic brotherhood, an evolution of the Hindu Gymnosophists, doubtless proceeded the Solidarities of Greece and Rome as described by so-called ‘Pagan’ writers. Founded on these and copying them in the matter of ritual, signs, grips, passwords, etc., were developed the mediaeval guilds. Like the present livery companies of London, the relics of the English trade-guilds, the operative Masons were but a guild of workmen with higher pretensions. From the French name ‘Maçon’, derived from ‘Mas’, an old Norman noun meaning a house’, comes our English ‘Mason’, a house builder. As the London companies alluded to present now and again the Freedom of the ‘Liveries’ to outsiders, so we find the trade-guilds of Masons doing the same. Thus the founder of the Ashmolean Museum was made free of the Masons at Warrington, in Lancashire, England, on the 16th October,1646. The entrance of such men as Elias Ashmole into the Operative Fraternity paved the way for the great ‘Masonic Revolution of 1717', when Speculative Masonry came into existence. The Constitutions of 1723 and 1738, by the Masonic impostor Anderson, were written up for the newly-fledged and first Grand Lodge of ‘Free and Accepted Masons’ of England, from which body al other over the world hail today.

“These bogus constitutions, written by Anderson, were compiled about then, and in order to palm off his miserable rubbish yclept history, on the Craft, he had the audacity to state that nearly all the documents relating to Masonry in England has been destroyed by the 1717 reformers. Happily, in the British Museum, Bodleian Library, and other public institutions, Rebold, Hughan and others have discovered sufficient evidence in the shape of old Operative Masonic charges to disprove this statement.

The same writers, I think, have conclusively upset the tenability of two other documents palmed upon Masonry, namely, the spurious charter of Cologne of 1535, and the forged questions, supposed to have been written by Leylands, the antiquary, from a MS. of King Henry VI. Of England. In the last named, Pythagoras is referred to as having – ‘formed a great lodge, at Crotona, and made many Masons, some of whom travelled into France, and there made many, from whence, in process of time, the art passed into England’. Sir Christopher Wren, architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, often called the ‘Grand Master of Freemasons’, was simply the Master or President of the London Operative Masons Company. If such a tissue of fable could interweave itself into the history of the Grand Lodge which now have charge of the first three symbolical degrees, it is hardly astonishing that the same fate should befall nearly all of the High Masonic Degrees which have been aptly termed ‘an incoherent medley of opposite principles’. [I.U.II, 389-90]

We have permitted ourselves to say that many French kabbalists have often expressed the opinion that the Oriental School will never be worth much, no matter how it may pride itself on possessing secrets unknown to European occultists, because it admits women into its ranks.

To this we might answer by repeating the fable told by brother Joseph N. Nutt, “Grand Master” of the Masonic Lodge for Women in the United States, to show what women can do if not shackled by males – whether as men or as God:

“A lion passing a monument representing an athletic and powerful figure of a man tearing the jaws of a lion said: ‘If the scene which this represents had been executed by a lion the two figures would have changed places!’”

The same remark holds good for woman. If only she were allowed to represent the scenes of human life, she would distribute the parts in reverse order. She it was who first took man to the Tree of Knowledge, and made him know Good and Evil; and, if she had been let alone and allowed to do what she wished, she would have led him to the Tree of Life and thus rendered him immortal. [C.W.XI, 550]

The books by H.P. Blavatsky from which passages have been extracted are:

1. I.U. ISIS UNVEILED, Vols I and II, all editions same pagination.


3. S.D. THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol III, only in the 1897 edition (this material is in C.W.XII)


Another book which readers might care to read for much information about the craft from a Masonic point of view is:–

5. THE FREEMASON’S GUIDE AND COMPENDIUM by Bernard E. Jones, (George G. Harrop)



First published 2003 by The Theosophical Publishing House, London.
Available from: The Theosophical Society in England, 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA

Theosophical Society in England, Bookshop link

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