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In it I explored the Masonic and occult symbolism of the U.S. one dollar bill. I explained how these symbols acted as psychopomps directing the mind of its holder to believe in the power and value of the U.S. dollar. I argued that, due to the nature of our fiat (paper) currency, and the practice of fractional reserve lending upon which our banking system is based, it is the faith of the American public, and that faith alone, which gives the dollar its value.
And this, I explained, is the essence of magic, akin to the alchemical concepts of turning dross into gold.
Furthermore, the way in which our economy causes capital to multiply exponentially is similar to the alchemical idea of creating very much from very little. Such concepts regarding money can be found in the teachings of Freemasonry, as I reveal in my latest book, Solomon’s Treasure: The Magic and Mystery of America’s Money.
But these concepts were not invented by the Freemasons.
They were part of a tradition passed down from the cultures of antiquity, particularly Greece and Judea. Indeed, as I explain in my book, the secret wisdom of how to create and multiply wealth was known to Solomon, and may have been at the heart of his fabled treasure, purportedly discovered beneath the Temple Mount by Freemasonry’s historic predecessors, the Knights Templar.
And as it turns out, our modern system of banking owes even more to the Templars than it does to the Freemasons.
Seal of the Knights Templar.
The Knights Templar were a Catholic military order created towards the beginning of the twelfth century, and towards the end of Europe’s “Dark Ages.” This was a slow, depressing 1000-year from the ruins of the fallen Roman Empire to the rise of Catholic Europe’s Holy Roman Empire.
It was a miserable time because, after the collapse of the Roman economy, the use of coinage on the Continent virtually ceased (the center of world trade having shifted to the Byzantine Empire) and a feudalist economy developed.
A contemporary illustration of the execution of
the Knights Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay in 1314.
With no real money in circulation, Feudalism became the new economic system.
From 476 until the emergence of the “Renaissance” (put by some historians at about 1350 B.C.), peasants worked on large manors owned by nobles, where every effort was made to keep the manor self-sufficient.
On the manor, they produced their own food, clothes, and tools, and paid their taxes in these goods. Everyone lived and died on the same manor, just as their father had done before them. Trade continued in the Byzantine East, but in the West, it was dead.
The only people who were lending out money at all in Europe were Jews. For many years, Jews had been banned from practicing any profession other than money-lending. This was not done just because Jews were “good with money.” The Catholic credo held the lending of money upon usury to be sinful, but since Jews were already damned to Hell in the eyes of the Church, they were encouraged to take on the dirty job of money-lending for the rest of the community.
But when Jews were expelled from many communities, of and on, during the pogroms of the Middle Ages (sparked periodically, when people began to realize how much money they owed to the Jews), these communities lost their money-lenders.
Luckily, however, the Holy See was inspired by God to grant the Knights Templar immunity from this anti-usury injunction.
The Templars, or as they were officially titled, the “Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon”, were, like many other knightly orders which formed during the Crusades, at the forefront of the European struggle to capture and control the Holy Land.
But in addition to fighting, they were also in charge of fulfilling many practical roles for the community – among them, money-lending. The Church allowed the Templars to charge interest on loans at an even higher rate than Jews had been allowed to.
In fact, they were granted a charter that basically established the Templars as a law unto themselves, accountable to no one but the Pope.
Thus they were able to operate autonomously at their various bases throughout Europe. They even had the right to establish their own sovereign country, which is essentially what they were doing in the Holy Land when they helped to create the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
The Knights Templar had a very interesting entrance policy. Not only did new initiates pledge lifelong membership in, and fidelity to, the Order, but they also took very stringent vows of celibacy, secrecy, and poverty.
This last part was most interesting, for it amounted to the ultimate entrance fee:
Considering that their knights were taken from the cream of European aristocracy, the younger brothers of wealthy and powerful heirs, this was quite significant. It allowed them to amass a large amount of wealth and land in a relatively quick amount of time.
They then multiplied this wealth exponentially over the next several decades by investing in various business ventures.
They farmed, manufactured textiles, built roads and hospitals, and engaged in all sorts of trade. They were responsible for numerous technological advances during this time, either through their own invention, or through techniques that they learned through their frequent contact with Arabs, Jews and Byzantines.
Their business ventures had the effect of largely transforming Europe’s economy, paving the way for the mercantilism that was emerge soon in post-Medici Italy, later giving birth to Capitalism in Europe and America.
The Templars’ most significant contribution on this front was in the field of banking, which became their most lucrative industry.
The Templars were, first and foremost, the official guardians of pilgrims en route to the Holy Land. This was supposedly the reason why the Order was created in the first place. In this capacity, they devised a system to protect pilgrims from the “highway robbery” that often made such pilgrimages dangerous. Instead of loading themselves down with gold and provisions, which were likely to be stolen, the pilgrims would simply deposit some money in the form of gold or silver at the Templar preceptory nearest to their point of departure.
From there they would make their way to Jerusalem along a pre-selected route consisting of a series of churches and cathedrals, which were themselves associated with nearby Templar preceptories, each featuring banking services.
There the pilgrim would present the banker with a “chit”:
The pilgrim could then withdraw from the bank at his current location the amount of money he need to pay for his stay at that particular stop on the route, or to make donations to the local churches, and could leave the rest in his “account.”
He could also make direct charges to the account for any goods or services which the Templars themselves were able to offer the pilgrim, as was often the case.
It is thus that the word “check”, or “cheque” entered into the English and French languages. Indeed, a great many Middle English words, especially those pertaining to banking and commerce, seem to have originated in one way or another with the Templars. In the case of “cheque”, it was related directly to the use of the chequerboard clothe which Templar merchants and bankers used to square their accounts – to “check” their assets and liabilities.
The Templars had originally picked up the use of the chequer pattern from their contact with the East, from whence they also learned to play chess, and it is theorized by some authors that it was Templars who originally combined the chessboard (which was not at first chequered) with the chequerboard pattern, enhancing the deep symbolism that the game of chess already possessed.
The use of the chequerboard as an abacus became widespread as mercantilism progressed, and thus the term “exchequer” came to mean “a treasury, as of a state or nation.”
The term “check” may be related to “jetton”, which is the name of the round coins that were often used as tally chips on exchequer boards, representing various denominations of money.
They were introduced by the Templars in France in the mid-thirteenth century.
An illustration of the Exchequor of Ireland at work
shows the use of a chequerboard as an abacus
in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
As the Templars expanded their banking empire, and as they came to control many other staple industries throughout Europe, they quickly became the continent’s most dominant economic influence.
Never before has a single institution used money alone to amass so much worldly power. This power threatened not only the monarchs of Europe (most of whom were now financially indebted to the Templars), but even Pope Clement V, who was no longer was able to hold the Templars under the thrall of his signet ring.
Soon the Templars would become a force that no one could stop, and they seemed to hold allegiance to no one else either – no earthly power, at least.
Their enemies hypothesized that for the Templars to have become so wealthy and powerful in such a short span of time, they would have had to have made a pact with the Devil. With a little investigation, it was discovered that in fact they had.
When the Templars were arrested en masse on Friday, October 13, 1307, on charges of idol worship and heresy, there were found throughout their preceptories various human skulls, and representations of human skulls or severed heads, which appeared to have been afforded certain ceremonial importance.
The symbol of the skull and crossbones, apparently invented by the Knights Templar, was used everywhere throughout their possessions.
Carvings depicting a grotesque goat-headed creature, with a semi-human body at once both male and female, were also found in the Templars’ ritual chambers.
In confessions painfully extracted, many knights admitted that the skulls, the heads and the hybrid creature all represented their secret god, “Baphomet”, whom they worshipped because it “caused the land to germinate”, and also “made them rich.”
Eliphas Levi’s depiction of
Modern occultists, for whom Baphomet is now a potent symbol, see in this idol a representative of the “Universal Principle”, the “Azoth” or “Fifth Element” which to alchemists is the key to turning lead into gold.
This is probably what it meant to the Templars too.
But to their interrogators, the tortured knights were confessing Devil worship, and they were punished accordingly. The Order was disbanded, the Grand Master burnt at the stake, and the offending knights sent to do penance at various monasteries.
The power of the Templars was crushed.
“The Goat of Mendes”
symbol used by the Church of Satan.
Let us return now to the concept of the “Baphomet”, the idol which the Templars said,
These claims, coupled with the fact that the idol was often depicted as a goat with male and female sexual organs, might cause one to think that the Templars had somehow stumbled upon and absorbed the tenets of the cult of the she-goat Amalthea.
This is the creature who purportedly nursed Zeus while he was a babe in exile on the island of Crete, hiding from his father Kronos, who wished to kill him.
Having little thanks for the favors of Amalthea, Zeus had her slaughtered as soon as he was fully grown, and fashioned from her skin an impenetrable shield called the “Aegis.” The word “aegis” or “aigis” literally means “goat-skin.”
Out of one of her horns, he created the “cornucopia” or “horn of plenty”:
So Amalthea was venerated by some cults in much the same way that the vegetation deity known as the “Green Man” was in Celtic culture:
Similarly, Baphomet was so literally associated with money by the Templars that they kept small statuettes of him in their money coffers.
But the Baphomet is reported to have done more for the Templars besides just make them rich. He is also said to have made them “wise.” In fact, it has been shown that Baphomet’s name literally means “wisdom” in Aramaic, if run through the ancient Atbash cipher that was often used by the Templars.
The result is “Sophia”, which was the name used for the goddess of wisdom, who was often revered in Gnostic cults in New Testament times. It was believed in these cults that one could unite spiritually with Sophia by performing certain rites and meditations, and thus one could obtain “gnosis”, or divine knowledge.
Gnosticism was widely practiced in the Roman Empire during Christ’s time. One man widely believed to have been a Gnostic was John the Baptist, the prophet of the New Testament who announced the coming of Christ. John was, after his death, himself revered by a number of Gnostic cults. There were even, by medieval times, numerous underground “Christian” sects called “Johannites”, who believed that John was the true Messiah.
Johannite cults even exist today in the form of semi-Islamic Gnostic sects found in Iraq. It has been charged that that Templars followed this doctrine, and indeed, he was their patron saint, as he is now for Freemasonry.
More importantly, perhaps, he is known to have been beheaded at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and his head, or skull, has become a central Christian icon. This brings into focus the claim of occultist Aleister Crowley that the name “Baphomet”, by itself, without running it through any ciphers, means “Baptist of Wisdom.”
This could easily have been a title for the prophet John.
A Masonic device shows the two Saints John:
the Baptist on the left, and the Evangelist on the right.
The Baptist strikes the Baphometic “As above, so below” pose.
So can John’s head be the skull that the Templars are said to have not only worshipped, but talked to?
Specifically it is said to have “prophesied” for them. The use of a severed head or skull for divination was a common practice throughout the ancient East and even, though secretly, in Judah and Israel during Old Testament times. Such devices were called “teraphim”, and their use was recorded in the Bible.
It seems possible that the Templars could have made similar use of John the Baptist’s head or skull.