Recently the Knights Templar are back in the news again as they have been for about eight centuries. The self-confessed Norweigan mass murderer, Anders Breivik, fancies that he’s one, apparently. Here is what I learned about the Knights Templar when I was writing my memoir, Never Tell: recovered memories of a daughter of the Knights Templar.
The Knights Templar was founded in 1199 to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land and became the most important force in Palestine. There are persistent rumours that, digging deep under the ruins of the temple in Jerusalem (that would be the temple that replaced Solomon’s original, destroyed by the Romans), they came upon a great secret that they carried away. Returning home, they became wealthy and powerful and either did or did not originate Freemasonry, according to your source, and brought about a rebirth of art and literature in Europe. The Hospitaliers, a rival group, campaigned to discredit the Knights, charging them with irreligious practices and egging on Philip IV of France to launch simultaneous attacks on a Friday 13th in 1307 to destroy them. Thus Philip took the opportunity to seize their wealth and power. The pope then finished them off outside of France. Myth and legend and Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) tell us that remnants survived and went underground.
It is very doubtful that a Norweigan mass murderer is privy to the arcane secrets of the Knights Templar, but it seems as though there are esoteric levels of the Freemasons and other “secret” societies that also feel connected to that tradition. My father, for example, had a pin which read “Knight of the Temple Mater”, that is Knight of the Mother Temple. Certainly his club, as he called it, had a number of curious practices and at the very least tolerated, if it did not actually sanction, his unusual parenting style.