The Templar Initiation: Baphomet
Much has been said, often inappropriately, about the Templar initiation. However, I don’t think that the Brother mason, just because he has chosen to walk his path in that Institution rather than in another, can have any advantages from a perfunctory description of the "supposed", as experts call them, Mysteries of the Order of the Temple.
Nevertheless we can look at the Alchemic Seal hidden under the image of Baphomet with the eyes of researchers.
The last Adept to pass it on in its correct interpretation was Fulcanelli. I suggest that the mason who is truly interested, but has little knowledge of the hermetic and alchemic language used among the initiates of the time, would briefly look for the interpretation of these symbols in the treaty by the above mentioned Adept called: The Philosopher’s Abode and the hermetic symbolism in its relationships with the sacred art and the esotericism of the Great Work.
Another information that I can add is on the alchemic elements present in the Seal:
The Universal Creating Spirit, the Opera Solis et Lunae, Water and Fire and the element Sulfur associated to Mercury (plastic Element, Psyche).
These elements geometrically re-arranged in the right order of priority lead to the comprehension of the archetype of the Universal Church which the Templars aspired to.
The etymology of the word Baphomet is derived from Bapheus, dyer, and mes, messenger; therefore the Latin term can be translated in profane language as dyer of the matrix, with reference to the symbolic baptism of Metis, baphe meteos, the baptism of naturing nature or baptism of Light or Fire. Baphe dyer and the verb metis, to pick, reap, harvest, also express the virtue of mercury (the mobile element of psyche) or the Moon of the Wise men, ability to pick up and receive. Therefore we are talking about the Grail containing Eucharistic wine, liquor of Spiritual Fire, vegetative liquor, living and vivifying introduced into material things. (op. cit.)
Perhaps it is superfluous to underline that still today to say "Templar or Rose Cross" doesn’t indicate an ornament or a cloak, but rather a rigorous method for interpreting a life; those among them who wanted to wear the Masonic insignias never actually felt only masons. The understanding of the diversity of purposes in their intentions might have a certain importance for the esotericist.
On the contrary, the Templar, covered in his armor and accompanied by his sword, hides in the Masonic Order in order to preserve and keep the ideological integrity of his Rule, but without sharing it with anyone, let alone those that like to "dress up" as Templar, and living his own initiatory conscience very cautiously after what he went through. When the Rose Cross has intervened, he has done so in the view of a general strategy, in order to reduce from the inside, with logical and scientific interventions, the deviations caused to the Tradition of the White Brotherhood, by personalistic and sectarian conductions and addresses, aimed at materializing and vulgarizing (simplifying by reducing) those concepts that allow the Lesser Brothers the access to the metaphysical Path that is obviously invisible and inexistent for certain minds only aiming at possessing the concrete ephemeral.
To the eyes of the careful Master Mason, though, there are certain indelible psychological and moral features that betray (in the good sense, of course) the modern Templar and Rose Cross that might seat next to him in the Temple and in the Lodge; I’d like to describe them with a few quick strokes.
A Master answered my question by saying: in order to understand the ability of a master or a guide, don’t pay attention to what he says, neither to how much science he possesses, but observe his disciples outside and inside the Temple; their words, their actions and their behavior will be the proof of the value of that Brother.
Paraphrasing that instruction, I might say about the laic Initiate: observe the partner that he/she has chosen, the harmony in his family and the fruit of his work in the Order and outside It, because the visible result will be the real value of that Initiate.
The characteristics of the modern Templar, now laic, which can be recognized from the outside, are the vow of poverty, which expresses itself in the detachment from profane metals and rank gratuities except for those destined to him by his own life and offered naturally by his Brothers and companions of the profane journey.
The vow of chastity manifests itself in the laic Initiate in limiting his (carnal) "acquaintances" to his life partner, which he will have had the clarity of mind to chose for her characteristics that make her suitable to the spiritual ideals that they will be able to develop together, in their role, in communion and with equal rights. Ideals that they will pass on to their children and Lesser Brothers as new citizens of the great Brotherhood of the "New Jerusalem" (allegory that symbolizes the Paradise or Garden of Eden, the metaphysical and ideal capital of a Nation of men re-generated to the inner and spiritual Light, symbolic seat of the Universal Brotherhood, which lives in the heart of men and fights to manifest itself through them, shadowing the World of Chaos. This is the Nation of shadows and the vale of tears that can be man’s Purgatory or Hell, depending on his actions and choices).
Christ said: «if you want to access the House of the Father, take your Cross and follow me».
The devotee and warrior always understood perfectly this teaching; he has followed it with absolute devotion and discipline, without dodging any trial that he finds on his way.
Make yourself responsible for the burden of this life and don’t try and avoid it. Accomplish completely the duties expected of you because they are the debt of your Soul. Enjoy the good you deserve as credit to your Soul and, if you can, share your joy with the weaker or less fortunate Brothers. Once you’ve drank all that was in Your sweet and bitter Cup (see the initiation to the degree of Apprentice) you will be able to access the rest of Your abode, the House of the Father.
These are some of the short passages of the Catechism which the Templars were introduced to during the second initiation of the "Obedience".
The extreme operative mobility behind the silence, the constant will and determination in reaching the goals are the manifest symptoms of the man who chose that solitary path enlightened only by the certainties that he has learnt to recognize from his Masters, in himself and his Brothers.
Contacts with the middle-eastern Brotherhood and with the Monasteries of the Mount Athos encourage the recognition of one’s own historical and Christian culture in the Rule, in the One Brotherhood and in the comprehension of the Cosmic Symbol of the Cross where, fixed with the four nails of the four elements, the Master smiles at him.
The philosophical Cross and the four nails that symbolize the four elements of the Body of manifestation where is crucified the Soul of the Initiate in his Work of a life at the Service of the Humankind.
The Templar, still today, respects the Rule of not calling himself as such. Neither he uses and shows knick-knacks, rings and symbols that show him as being such to the curiosity of people. Those are to be considered "procedures in use to profane people".
Elaboration of the Holy Shroud on electronic sheet
Geometrical representation of Man (the Christ) fixed to the Cosmic Cross, connected to the Wheel of Revolutions.
«Learn to know all but keep yourself unknown» (R&C)
The Bro. Rose Cross usually works in the order by invisibly "benefitting" the mind of the Brothers of the Light of comprehension of the Mysteries, because by doing so he makes possible, for that "prepared" and "ready" mind the alignment with the Soul (the Triad), which is the premise to the great initiatory mutation.
Availability, knowledge and science blend together in a divulger and in a natural Guide (master); thanks to his own psycological adapability, he is able to tune in with all the languages, thoughts and interpretations that the mind of man has been able to create, and to communicate simply to those ‘mouth-ear’ minds, an answer and a support to all their incomprehension, trouble and labors, up to the only initiatory secret acknowledged with the term of: Door of Initiation, and which is in actual truth a point «in Man».
This is the meaning of the Bro. Rose Cross that speaks a hundred and more languages.
As a scientist of Matter and Spirit, he emanates, in the initiatory modesty that characterizes the Confraternity, the Light of comprehension, in the fusion of the horizontal and vertical arms of the Cosmic Cross (Matter-Spirit) in equal measure, to all the Brothers who are able to knock and ask, obeying the teaching: «by recognizing you will be recognized».
The main work which the people belonging to the Confraternity are prepared to carry out is to fight the anthropomorphic mystification proliferated in Europe and the vulgarization of the Sacred Science that covered the divine concept. By keeping the concept of sacred covered by geometric forms and numbers, like in the Ancient Tradition, they tried to preserve them for the mind of the lesser initiate, from the degradation of a representation with human characteristics, a habit become usual in the lower and uneducated Castes of the profane society, in the public and cult images.
But this is an "evil" that comes from a distant past.
Xenofon, feeling deeply uncomfortable in front of these mystifications of gods with human features and characteristics, felt compelled to write:
«One God there is mids gods and men supreme; In form, in mind, unlike to mortal men.
But men have the idea that gods are born, and wear their clothes, and have both voice and shape.
But had the oxen or the lion hands, or could with hands depict a work like men,
Were beasts to draw the semblance of the gods, the horses would them like to horses skitch, to oxen, oxen,
and their bodies make of such a shape as to themselves belongs.»
Xenophon, Clement of Alexandria, Strom V/14, 110.
The opportunity offered to the Lesser Adept that crosses the threshold of the Initiatory path, hidden in the Masonic Floor in the re-constitution of the 32+1 levels of the Pyramid of the Scottish Rite, is to develop entirely inside oneself the ability to understand the language of knowledge, but never completely materialized, inherited from Hebraism and its symbolism (3rd Aspect, activity) and to join it with western spiritualism (6th Aspect, devotional) which, still unable to create its own "dry and solar" initiatory path, and jealous of the prerogative achieved, doesn’t spread or share what it holds, but defends the access to it by using the force of its own astralism.
The blending of the concrete knowledge of the Mysteries (the Earth) with the devotional idealism of the west (Water) opens the path of the Gnosis or direct knowledge of the metaphysical (Air) which, crossed with the enlightened will by the Ego of the initiate (Fire) leads to the completion of Man in the Greater Initiation (Spiritual Light).
From the fusion of these four Powers originates the Man "that dominates the Elements with his balance". This is the re-veiled meaning in the expression of the following Symbol.
The Cross of Jerusalem is also, in an esoteric interpretation, the distinctive mark among the Bros. Quattor Coronati.
It is the symbol of the Initiate who with his balance dominates, balancing them, the Four Elements that make the Matter.
The image that follows is an example of the geometrization, devoid of physical and human characteristics, of the divine concept in the presence of the three-fold manifestation of the Will of the One in our universe.