This book recounts the investigation of a secret in the south of France. As the investigation developed, it became apparent that this puzzle involved Freemasonry ... and was uncovering a grand conspiracy.
THE QUESTIONS . . .
AND THE CLUES
"Not since Hancock's Sign & the Seal has so plausible and logical a theory been put forth involving the Templars and the Ark of the Covenant. In fact the publication of this book may well see many Hancock supporters changing their thinking, including Mr. Hancock himself." Stephen Dafoe, Grand Historian for the Sovereign Great Priory of Canada Knights Templar
Table of Contents
Table of Illustrations
1. The Knights Templar I
2. The Knights Templar II
3. In the Beginning
4. King Solomon's Temple
6. A Secret Place
7. The Book of Numbers
10. Chivalry and Other Bonds
12. Et In Arcadia Ego
13. Nicolas Poussin
14. The Grail Legends
15. As Above So Below
16. A Priori
17. Journey's End
Appendix I: Dates of Grand Masters, Kings, and Popes
Appendix II: Ancient Measurements and Money
Appendix III: Sequence of Important Events and Dates
Appendix IV: Hebrew Alphabet and Cabalistic Meanings
Like many others I have been curious about the Rennes-le-Chateau area for over ten years, ever since I read Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln. But it wasn't until I read The Tomb of God by Andrews and Schellenberger that I realized that there might be a connection between Freemasonry and a mountain on the northeastern slopes of the Pyrenes in the Roussillon region of southern France. My first thoughts were that perhaps the solution to the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery lay within the Masonic ritual and that likewise the "long lost secret," which all Freemasons are taught to seek, might be tied up with Rennes-le-Chateau. This particular puzzle has literally captured the imagination of millions. The manuscripts, though, which point to a solution were supposedly found in a "hollow column" and this adds a strange Masonic "dimension" to it.
My early discovers quickly confirmed that the location of Pech Cardou is encoded within the Masonic ritual and my first reaction was that I had stumbled onto a Masonic secret from a higher rank than those that I hold. My inquiries in this area soon allayed my fears and my natural curiosity did the rest, driving me over the next two years to a solution of the puzzle. As I progressed with my research and more fellow-Masons became aware of where my findings were going, I was asked more than once, "Why are you doing this?" I am a "middle ranking" Freemason, and this question has caused me more than a little reflection; I have therefore devoted a few pages of this preface to explaining why I have decided to publish my findings.
At an early stage my research was providing evidence that beneath this Masonic ritual encoding of geographic landmarks identifying Pech Cardou, there appeared to be something else equally intriguing. It appears that particular lines of longitude may have been allocated to mark the resting-places of something of immense importance on its journey from the East to the West.
It is strange how this investigatiton expanded from the early discoveries of codes within the Masonic ritual to encompass much of France and particularly Paris. In the process, what had been a background curiosity became the focus of a large part of the last two years of my life. I am, however, convinced that this information is not so much a secret of Freemasonry, but more a secret of which Freemasonry is but a part.
My next comments are of necessity made from the perspective of an English Freemason; I am, after all, English and my Masonic activities come under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England. That a few people who already know of the secret which I have uncovered are Freemasons is beyond doubt, but I suspect that this probably accompanies their membership in Freemasonry, rather than being the result of it. Which brings me back to the question of whether I should publish my findings, which are unavoidably heavily laden with Masonic ritual and symbolism, and this has caused me some self-doubt. It has proved impossible for me to unfold this story without disclosing some Masonic ritual, in fairness, not as much as recent U.K. television programs. My problem is that I come from the "I prefer our ritual to be mysterious" side of the debate. An eminent Masonic colleague put it very well in saying that "our ritual is like a present - it should be nicely wrapped so that it comes as a pleasant surprise to any new candidate." There is, however, a considerable difference between disclosing our ritual, which might indeed take some of the "shine" off the initiation of candidates, and an open debate on our historical origins.
Freemasonry generally is passing through a difficult period. In the U.K. it is currently subject to discriminating laws on disclosure that do not apply to similar organizatitons. In the U.S.A, membership is also falling. Whether these matters are transient or signal the onset of a more profound change for Freemasonry, no one really knows. This investigation will show that the raison d'etre of Freemasonry has been subject to continual watering down, and if you do that to any organization, the membership may eventually question why they joined.
The other problem for Freemasonry, the current public unease that Masonry is a secret society, probably owes much to the "hangover" of the quite proper obsessive secrecy of the war years. In recent times, the senior ruling body of English Freemasonry, The United Grand Lodge of England, has gone to considerable lengths to make Freemasonry more open. Indeed, the second most senior person in English Freemasonry, Lord Farnham, the Pro Grand Master (and the "Pro" is not an abbreviation), recently stated that the only secrets in Freemasonry are the passwords and associated signs given to identify one's status as a Freemason. The problem here is that this openness removes one of the attractions for joining Freemasonry, the boost to one's self-esteem of being admitted to a secret that others don't know.
The concept of Masonic secrecy certainly does not bear the test of time. After the creation of The United Grand Lodge of England in 1717, indeed right up until the first quarter of the last century, public parades in full regalia were commonplace. These parades only stopped because the general population found the sight of hundreds of middle-aged men parading through the streets in aprons a matter of ridicule: plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose.
Symposium (an imprint of Blue Dolphin Publishing), 2001
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