Key to the Sacred Pattern

31 December 2007

Grail Seekers Media Watch ending 31 Dec 07

Grail Seekers this week:

I thought I’d hold off on doing the news until today this week. It seems appropriate to wrap up the year this way. Once again I’d like to thank everyone out there that has been so supportive of my work this year. I can only hope that next year is as interesting and productive as 2007 was.

I ask my wife yesterday what her New Year’s resolutions were. She, rather curtly, informed me that she did not believe in them. How could I have missed that small fact in the years we had been together? Obviously, I don’t listen as well as I should. So guess what my resolution is this year…

Don’t forget to eat your black-eyed peas, cabbage, hog jowl, and any other food that mystically will bring you good luck for the New Year. Myself, I’m going to warm up some haggis and wish I was in Edinburgh for Hogmanay.

On Audio:

Steven Mehler will talk about the waterways beneath Giza's Pyramids on 1 Jan 08 on the Laura Lee show.

Don’t forget to check out the Oopa Loopa Café interview with Michael Cremo which aired on the 27th.

In the News:

The Royston Caves are in trouble of being damaged by truck traffic. Thanks to My Space friend Crint Eastwood for the heads up on this article.

The Kebra Negast is now available in French. Then again if you’re reading this blog you can read English and wouldn’t need a French version would you?

The “Temple” in London starts a four month celebration of the area’s history.

What exactly was the Star of Bethlehem?

Do these standing stones in the UK align with Orion’s Belt?

On the Web:

The Key of Solomon web site explores the temple and seal of the wisest man in the world.

Blog On:

Speculations about Archbishop Michael Lefebvre and the Priory of Zion just simply won’t die.

28 December 2007

The Holy Grail Has Been Found, Again…

The news hit the streets yesterday, via the Evening Times, that historian and author Mark Oxbrow has put his hat in the ring for discovering the location of the Holy Grail. This marks the third time this year that the Grail has been found. The first was in June when Italian archeologist Alfredo Barbagallo announced that the Grail was in Basilica of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura in Rome. Another location of the elusive Grail came from Ferhat Kanarya. He pinpointed the Grail’s resting place in the Hagia Sophia.

It would seem that Oxbrow has confirmed that Dan Brown was partially right, the Grail is in the Louvre. However, it does not rest under I.M. Pei’s pyramid. Oxbrow theorizes that the Grail has been on display in the Louvre for years, and no one has noticed it. That was until he and his wife visited the Paris museum.

Oxbrow’s Grail is actually the Patene de Serpentine, a jewel encrusted dish dating back in the 100BC to 100 AD range. The dish was used in Saint-Denis during the 15th century when the abbey was used for coronations of French royalty. Oxbrow feels that the use of the dish was the inspiration for Chretien de Troyes early literature about the Grail. "It's impossible to prove 100% that the Patene de Serpentine is the real Holy Grail.

But the Patene is a sacred medieval treasure that perfectly matches every detail of the earliest descriptions of the Grail.” said Oxbrow in the Evening Times article.

For years, Oxbrow has been doing research into the Grail world. In Rosslyn and the Grail , Oxbrow sought to set the record straight about Grail theory and the famous Scottish Chapel. The text takes Grail theorists Andrew Sinclair, Tim Wallace-Murphy, Knight and Lomas, and Baigent and Leigh to task about their claims about the Chapel. I’m curious how Oxbrow’s theory will fair under the same scrutiny he has put the other theorists to.

25 December 2007

Happy Holidays from the Grail Seekers Team

I'd like to thank everyone out there that has shown support for this blog over the last year. All the e-mails and contact I've gotten from you have really made the difference some days between me writing another article and packing it all in. Thank you all so very much for helping me along my own Grail Quest. Have a happy holidays!

23 December 2007

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 22 Dec 07

Grail Seekers this week:

Have a holly, jolly Christmas everyone. I hope Santa brings you all the goodies that your heart desires. I myself ask for a winning lottery ticket, but somehow I don’t think I’ve been that good this year. And please, don’t forget to go out and do something for your fellow man. Even if it’s just a random gesture of goodwill, do something. It’s not that hard to make a small difference in someone’s life.

On Audio:

Radio Rennessence is now presenting their year end RLC extravaganza. According to an e-mail I got from Corjan the special is: “Over an hour of hot debate of Andrew Gough, Philip Coppens, Corjan de Raaf (and his flu) giving an awful lot of details and background information you won't hear anywhere else.”

In the News:

Rosslyn Chapel bans photography in 2008.

On the Web:

Ray H Marr has done a video series on the history of the Knights of St. John. Thanks to Red Ice Creations for posting all the parts of the video in one place.

Blog On:

The Realtravel blog has a travel-log of a visit to Aksum

Codex Celtica takes a look back at this year in esoteric terms.

The La Bas blog asks if there’s a link between French Surrealism and Secret Societies

Futurecult takes a tongue and cheek investigation into the Priory of Sion in Springfield Missouri

EVS-Islands does an Enhanced Vector Shoreline study of Tana Island in Ethiopia

The Illumanati Conspiracy Journal wonders why Jacob Rothschild married into the Sinclair family.

20 December 2007

Rosslyn Chapel to Ban Photography

According to a Scotsman article Tuesday, the officials at Rosslyn Chapel are banning all types of photography inside the Chapel beginning 2 Jan 08. According to the article: “Colin Glynne-Percy, the director of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: "I would hope that people come to see the chapel, not just to video it, so I would expect visitor numbers to be unchanged. The problem is one we have had for quite a while, because the chapel is quite dimly lit and there are cracked and uneven slabs.”

Huh? The problem with this explanation is that visitors will be at the same risk of tipping while looking at the ceiling, or photographing it. While there are areas of the Chapel that has, what I would consider, uneven slabs. Around the Apprentice Pillar, there is a small step up behind pillar. You’d have to be a pretty big klutz to trip over this small step up.

I would think the scaffoldings around the outside of the Chapel would be more of a safety concern. The steps up to the top of the scaffolding are quite steep and can get slick when it rains. There has to be a greater risk of someone falling off this while taking pictures that stubbing their toe on something inside the Chapel.

The Apprentice Pillar at Rosslyn Chapel taken on 15 Oct 07
with a cordoned off area behind the Pillar.

The article goes on to say, “"In the past we have used tape to cordon off some of the worst areas…” When Laura and I were there in October, there was a cordoned off section right behind the Apprentice Pillar. The section had yellow and black caution tape around a piece of plywood behind the Pillar. When I ask the on site tour guide about the area, she had told me “Repairs or some such work going on over there.” After going back through photos other visitors had posted on line, I was able to ascertain that the section was corroded off sometime between 22 Sept and 3 Oct 07. I have not seen any photos of the area dated any later than mine on line, so it still could be there.

This area is also the perfect spot for conducting any type of unobtrusive studies of the Pillar. One could dig down, bore a hole from underneath the Pillar, and insert a file optic camera into the Pillar itself. No one would be with wiser. This would be a rather easy way to put the speculation to rest that he Pillar was hollow and contained that magical treasure everyone is looking for at Rosslyn.

Speculation that the Pillar is hollow generally relates back to a Masonic legend. The story is that before the Flood, Enoch placed a book containing all the antediluvian arts and sciences, and laws of the universe either beneath or inside two pillars. Some have tried to make the connection that this story is a veiled allegory to what is hidden at Rosslyn.

Somehow I think there is more going on at the Chapel than just a concern for safety. Signs posted that said, “Uneven steps proceed at your own risk.” would pretty much release the Chapel of any liability in a lawsuit. So what’s the real motive behind the photography ban? You and I may never know.

19 December 2007

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets Review

The allure of a seeing something on the silver screen is that you are mystically transported out of your everyday life. Reality is suspended and any numbers of worlds open up that are impossible to obtain for those munching on popcorn in the aisles. Our inner Indiana Jones is called to in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. Nicholas Cage reprises his role as Benjamin Franklin Gates, finder of the lost Masonic/Templar treasure in the first film.

The hook this time is a little known group called the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC). The KCG was a very real group of Southern sympathizers that operated as somewhat of a guerilla force during, and after, the Civil War. Modern day treasure hunters have long thought that the KGC horded gold and goods in secret locations throughout the country waiting until the time was right for the South to rise again.

The movie’s treasure trail begins with John Wilkes Booth and another member of the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) seeking the aid of Cage’s great-great-great grandfather Thomas Gates. Members of the KGC have planned the assignation of Lincoln and are hunting for a treasure that will fund a second Civil War. Gates is sucked into their plot by being asked to decrypt a cipher contained in John Wilkes Booth’s diary.

Granddaddy Gates cracks the code and realizes that he’s been duped by the seditious KGC members. Gates burns the relevant pages of Booth’s diary and is shot by a KGC agent for his trouble. Flash forward 140 years and bad guy Ed Harris presents a fragment of the diary to the world, naming the Gates family as the masterminds behind the Lincoln assignation. Feeling the only way to clear the family name, Cage and father Jon Voight is to find the treasure the KGC was looking for. After that the usual globe trotting, treasure hunting high jinx ensue.

National Treasure 2 follows the same formula of car chases, techomancy, and 30 second solutions to hidden history as its predecessor. The film is an easy on the mind, romp into finding lost loot. That’s my biggest problem with the whole endeavor, that it’s easy on the mind. I understand that the key to commercial success is to make a movie accessible to everyone. However, the script writers had a golden opportunity to plant Easter eggs for those historically minded folks out there.

There was a half hearted attempt to do so. The references to Albert Pike, the missing pages of Booth’s diary, and the fictional President’s book of Secrets did give me hope there would be more to sink my teeth into. But when dealing with a film that literally has our hero pull a lever and the entrance to the treasure appears, one gives up hope for any additional complexity. The biggest mystery left to ponder in the film is what’s on page 47 of the President’s Book of Secrets. Oh wait, I know… It’s the hook for National Treasure 3. I guess it is possible to solve some mysteries in less than 30 seconds.

There’s no real reason to pay for this instead of waiting to download it on Amazon Unboxed. That is unless you have nothing better to do this weekend and wish to be inspired to hunt for long lost gold…

A Guide to Masonic Symbolism for the Non-Mason

With this week’s release of National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets and the buzz about Dan Brown’s new book The Solomon Key, discussions on the web will invariably turn their attention to Masonic symbolism. The number of queries relating to: “What does this Masonic symbol mean?” or “What do you think about my theory on where this Masonic symbol derives from?” are already floating my way in an increasing rate.
The topic will stimulate some to do good hard core research into the topic. Others will take flights of fancy and ascribe any number of attributes to the symbols of the Craft. I thought I might head off some of the wild speculations at the pass with a guide to what symbols used in Masonry mean to this Mason. This should help those who have an interest in the topic pick their way around a rather complex subject.

I understand that all of you out there that are detractors of Masonry will rail against what I have to say here. That’s your right.  Please don’t fill my inbox with the usual litany I get when I write an article on my experiences in Masonry. I keep an open mind, but please don’t begin your rail with accusations of being in league with the Devil or tales of goats…

Before we start, what does the Conch Shell have to do with Freemasonry?
A conch shell has absolutely nothing to do with Freemasonry. I thought it would be instructive to use a non-Masonic symbol as a reference point to describe how different aspects of symbolism are used. That gives me an easy way out for being able to talk about Masonic symbols without breaking any of my vows. Confused? Read on and hopefully you won’t be.

Conch Shell Basics
The conch shell has long been associated as the symbol for Key West, Florida. It is unclear when the conch shell was adopted for this purpose, but the conch symbolism is firmly engrained in Key West society. A native might refer to themselves as conchs and the conch even used on the “Key West flag”. It is thought that the legend of the Conch was the background for this symbol of the island, but the exact.  Now back to our regularly scheduled article.

Why Does Freemasonry Use Symbols?
The answer to this question is the same for any group that utilizes visual symbols. Virtually every business, government, organized religion, and social group employs some type of visual symbols. The examples are too numerous to list, but a simple look to the conch for a proof of this point.

All of the aforementioned groups employ visual symbols for one reason; to easily convey a set of complex ideas within a pictogram. The basis for utilizing pictograms reaches back to early written language and art. Pictures were employed to convey ideas. A single symbol became associated with a specific idea or object, and viola; a written language is born.  Chinese and Sumerian are perfect examples of languages that employ pictograms as a written linguistic device. Modern symbolism has developed from these humble pictogram beginnings.

Freemasonry is no different than these pictogram languages. The symbols of the Craft are designed to impart a moral or esoteric meaning. Visual representations of symbols in the first three degrees of Masonry are generally objects that someone, of years gone by, would commonly see. A beehive, an hourglass, a rough cut stone (or ashlar) would be real world anchors that would remind the Mason of their symbolic lesson.

Take our conch shell as an example. A native of Key West is walking on the beach and sees a conch shell lying on the beach. His first thoughts of themselves as a "conch" might very well come to mind first. Their thoughts might then range to their neighbor conchs and the warm fuzzy feeling it gives them to be part of that group. The natural extension of the thought goes to he should be a good neighbor to his fellow conchs.

The same holds true for a Mason when he views any of the symbols he has been exposed to. The symbol reminds a Mason that he should be industrious or kind or benevolent. In this way we are reminded of the many moral obligations we have when living a very real-world life.

So what are you told that symbols mean when you’re a Mason?
Most Masonic symbols are of moral lessons in nature. Specific symbols can range in meaning from time management to everyday mortality. Within a Degree, a Mason is told what each symbol means in the context of that Degree. Some symbols have secondary meanings that show up in other Degree work.  What is missing from the explanations is a historical context for the use of that symbol. There’s plenty of legend and lore surrounding the stories told in degree work, but it is nearly impossible to pin down historically. This would leave plenty of speculation and detective work left to those who seek the meaning in the symbols and lore. The loose ends also make it very attractive to assign meaning where meaning might not exist.

With this in mind, it’s rather hard to think of Masonic symbols being used in any type of “coded” way by Masonry as a whole. I tend to be suspect of anyone who starts out their theories with this mind set. Let’s take a building that has incorporated Masonic symbols into its architecture. An author is making a case that “the Masons” incorporated these symbols into the architecture of the building for an esoteric purpose. I would suggest in cases like this, look at the individual that was responsible for the building’s architecture first. More than likely it was this individual’s motives and esoteric thought that created the building, not the entire fraternity of Masons.

Now, our Key Westerner who is feeling warm and fuzzy after the previous section.  He now considering how best to explain what it means to be a conch to his son. After thinking about all the different aspects of the conch, he can’t come up with a simple explanation. Our Key Westerner is now stymied at how to explain how the conch became to mean all of these things to his 6 year old. The best explanation he can muster is that, “The conch’s meaning been passed along for generations and now I’m telling you what it means.” 

But isn’t that just what they tell low-level Masons? The “higher-ups” really know what the symbols mean.
This statement is a common misconception most hold about the use of Masonic symbolism.  It is true that many of Masonry's symbols can have different applications.  However, all Masons are admonished to find additional meanings to symbols presented in the Degrees in their own way. The funny part is that after I achieved the 32nd Degree, I had more questions than answers about the symbols that had been presented to me.  Masonry follows in the vein of all esoteric educational systems. The onus of application and interpretation of anything that is presented in a Degree is one's own.  The symbols of Masonry become peculiar to each and every Mason.

The individual interpretation premise is the reason wildly varied and broad interpretations exist for Masonic symbols. One gets a true feel for this admonition when referencing 19th century Masonic authors. The speculations of Waite, Pike, and Gould are often taken as authoritative stances on symbolism and their  context within Masonry. Within the framework of each author’s research and beliefs, they assigned their own meanings to Masonic symbols.

The fallacy that many make is that Masonic authors, especially Pike, are a single authoritative representative of Freemasonry. These authors are no more a voice for all of Masonry than I am. Yes, there are men who take on leadership positions in Masonry who do speak for groups of us. These men in leadership positions speak for the group in the same way our elected government representatives speak for their constituents. Sometimes we agree with our representatives, and sometimes we don’t. At the end of the day the legislator is no more, or less, a citizen than fellow that elected him. That means that any Master Mason stands on equal footing with Albert Pike and speaks with equal authority.

This relates back to another common misconception about Masonry. The thought that someone who has done degree work in either the Scottish or York Rites is a “higher up”. I have obtained the 32nd Degree in the Scottish Rite. Does this mean that other Masons who have not gone through the Scottish Rite are somehow less in the eyes of the fraternity than I am?

The answer is no. Once a Mason has obtained the degree of Master Mason, or the 3rd Degree in the Blue Lodge, he is a full Brother. Anyone that chooses to become a part of the Scottish or York Rite has just decided they want to expand their experiences within Masonry. So this doesn’t mean that I can get a 14th Degree Scottish Rite Mason to do my laundry or wash my car.

Our conch takes his son to his grandfather for clarification of the mysteries of the conch. The grandfather looks at the young lad and says, “Son it’s always been that way. But I think the symbol must be linked to that book Lord of the Flies. They used a conch shell in that book. So someone must have read it, lived in Key West and started calling us Westies conchs.” Father and son then go back home thinking the grandfather is a crazy old coot.

So what’s the deal with the symbols on the rings and auto emblems?
Many of the symbols you might see on auto emblems, t-shirts, rings, and other Masonic swag are peculiar to a specific Degree. These symbols take elements a Degree’s story and place them in a Cliff’s Notes visual format. This is especially true in the Degree work of the Scottish and York Rites. Each of the Degrees has their own symbols that are unique to the Degree.

These symbols do incorporate symbols from various esoteric traditions depicted in the Degree. This is an extension of the application of using commonly items and attaching symbolic meaning to them. When a Mason sees a symbol for a specific Degree, it is designed to remind him of the lessons that were taught in that degree. No more, no less.

Getting in their car, our Westie and son decide to go back home. Our favorite conch remembers he has a bumper sticker he hasn’t placed on his car. The sticker is simply the flag of Key West. The father turns to the son and says,” I guess the biggest lesson of the conch is that we should be glad we live in Key West and not Cleveland.”

Wrapping up the longest article ever.
I hope this has given some of you a glimpse into Masonry and the reasons we employ the symbols we use. This is simply an overview of my perspective on Masonic symbolism. Masonry, in some respects, is like a primer for a multitude of esoteric traditions. Each Mason incorporates this banquet into their lives as they see fit. Just try to remember this when thinking that Nicholas Cage might be on to something by fitting the pieces of the puzzle together.

17 December 2007

The Family Life Church versus the Compasses and Square

The Burning Taper reported this week that the Family Life Church in Eglin, IL destroyed a Masonic compasses and square and the cornerstone of a former Masonic Temple the group recently purchased. I must admit that upon hearing the news I was more than a little miffed. Thought of: “How could they?”, “What were they thinking?”,” What do they hate Freemasons so much as to destroy a compasses and square?”, all flooded thought my mind.

I decided that I was in the same trap I rail against at times. Emotion was taking the place of rational thought. A good night’s sleep and a cup of coffee the next morning generally will cure my ruffled feathers. True to form, the day break and caffeine gave me some perspective on the events in Illinois.

The fact of the matter is that the building legally belongs to the Family Life Church. As much as I shutter at the fact the organization would deface a historic building and smash a Masonic Symbol, it is their right to do so. Just as I have the right to set up a pink elephant in my back yard with garden gnomes dancing around it; they have the right to dispose of their property to their satisfaction.

A better solution would have been to have given a local Lodge or the Grand Lodge of Illinois the chance to recover the cornerstone and compasses and square. This solution could have benefited both parties. However, it is obvious that the Family Life Church’s beliefs hold something against Freemasonry. (I’ve attempted to log on to their web site this weekend to view their statements of faith and it’s either down or non-responsive.) The Church’s actions must have been purely symbolic, for whatever motive they have.

What does bother me about their actions is that even if they take issue with Freemasonry, I never believe it’s a good idea to destroy a symbol of the past. That’s their right too. The members of the Family Life Church have every right in the world to believe what they wish. If they choose to believe that the tenants of Freemasonry are opposed to their faith, I’m fine with that.

The question is how wise is it to destroy any symbol on a building that has a historical significance? I would never consider tearing down Auschwitz or an American Civil War Confederate monument. It is not because I hold the tenants of either group in esteem. Quite the contrary, I feel that these symbols should remind us of the atrocities and folly committed by those that have gone before us. These things should never be too far out of sight, or we will never be reminded of the guideposts our ancestors placed for us.

I know there are those that say that the sight of symbols that fall into this category are offensive. I would agree. There is nothing more offensive that thinking about the horrors heaped on Jews in Austria by the Nazis or how seceding from the Union almost cost this country it’s identity. The goal of these places should be to offend. I would rather these places be so offensive to those who look at them, that simply thinking of theminsures their history is never repeated.

The worst I can fault the Family Life Church for destroying something I feel is of architectural and historical import. While I don’t agree with their actions, it was their right to do so. What does it really matter if there is one less compasses and square in the world? As a Mason, the lessons of the symbols are more important to me than any of their physical representations.

15 December 2007

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 15 Dec 07

Grail Seekers this week:

A big thanks goes out to Floyd Mann from the Lost Treasure USA site and Bill Gallagher of the Treasure Hunt Adventure site for the kind words and links to this week’s Templar Dig in Bulgaria article. Now on to the news…

On Audio:

Astraea Magazine’s latest audio interview is with Egyptologist Dr. Nabil Swelim, who says the Bosnian pyramids are real.

Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince will discuss their new book The Sion Revelation on Coast to Coast AM on 15 December 2007

In the News:

A Turkish soccer fan has sued the European soccer governing body, after Italian team Inter Milan’s uniform portrayed a red cross. His complaint was that it looked like a Templar Cross and offended him and other Muslims. I will withhold additional comments for obvious reasons.

The Christian Family Life Church has smashed a Compass and Square on a historical building they own in Eglin, IL. The Burning Taper has done a great job of keeping up with this story until its destructive end. I’ll write something about this after I stop being angry and start rational thought again.

BBC gives a historical perspective on Lisbon’s Jeronimos Monastery, that was built by the Poor Knights of Christ. Conspiracy theorists will note that this building will be used for the signing of the European Union’s Reformation Treaty.

Haaretz tells the story of Crusader’s Vadum Iacob fortress and the archeological work going on there.

An ancient stone circle is found in Sweden.

Why is Aleister Crowley’s disciple Jack Parsons file missing from the FBI’s publicly accessible website?

In Print:

Ouroboros Press announces it will be publishing a book by Masonic historian Angel Millar in the spring of 2008 on their My Space Blog.

On the Web:

The VRmag site has a panoramic virtual tour of Rosslyn Chapel.

On Film:

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets will be opening on the 21st. I have been invited to a special sneak peak on the 19th and will have an advance look at the film that night.

A little more English language news on the Scandinavian film Arn about the Templars.

Blog On:

The Templar Code for Dummies blog reviews Stephen Dafoe's Nobly Born: An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar

Anthony North’s Beyond the Blog asks Who was King Arthur?

09 December 2007

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 8 Dec 07

Grail Seekers this week:

Oh, there’s just news at the present and the hope Santa Claus will bring me all the toys on my wish list…. And an appeal to Wally Temple. If you're still out there, drop me an e-mail. (Oh you know there's more to come on this one if I'm looking for a guy who calls himself Wally Temple...)

On Audio:

Coast to Coast AM, Wednesday, 12 Dec 07: Michael Tsarion will discuss his latest work on the Irish origins of civilization.

In the News:

More mirror image clamor in Da Vinci’s works. Is it an image of God or Darth Vader?

The Vatican finds more things in their closet than Fibber McGee. This time it’s a lost Michelangelo drawing.

The Library of Congress displays a 500 year old map that accurately displays South America. What the real mystery is that the map makers said they based their map on a 1300 year old map of Ptolemy’s.

Did the National Geographic Society screw up the translation of the Gospel of Judas?

Forget Nicholas Cage in National Treasure, Bob Brewer is the real deal.

On the Web:

Callum Jensen writes an article “The Lincoln Cathedral and Rennes-le-Chateau Synergic” on Ellis C Taylor’s site.

The On Line Catholic Encyclopedia looks at the link between the Abbey of Athelney and the monks of Glastonbury.

GNN reprints an excerpt from Jim Marrs’ book Rule by Secrecyabout Nazi occultism and the Protocols of Zion.

Blog On:

The BS Historian is searching for the Elusive Knights Templar

Bob Freeman kills time thinking about the Green Man in Rosslyn Chapel.

Templar Dig in Bulgaria

The news last week of the modern day Templar Organization Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH) will begin excavations in the Russe region of Bulgaria isn’t really news. At least the part about archeological activity in Russe relating to the Templars isn’t news. Back in April, archeologist Nikolai Ovcharov conducted a survey of the area for direct evidence of Templar holdings at the behest of the OSMTH. Ovcharov, the self titled “Indiana Jones of Bulgaria”, came to international attention in the archeological community when he announced coming into possession of a 7,000 year old tablet. According to Ovcharov, the stone contains the world’s earliest example of a written language.

It would now seem that the OSMTH has taken up the role of financing excavations in the Russe region. The OSMTH have dubbed the dig the “Nisovo Project”. Nisovo is a small village near the Romanian border. The above link cites that “remains of closes ancient necropolis where typical Templiers [sic] crosses were found”. So it would seem that we have a good idea where in Russe the excavations are going on. The OSMTH also is considering trying to excavate a Catholic Church in the ancient capital of Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo.

I was able to get a better picture of the Russe area from former history teacher at Memphis’ prestigious Harding Academy, Charlie Milson. After a number of mission trips to Romania, Charlie was able to visit Russe. “It's still an international crossroads and a great place to ford the Danube. A huge bridge is there now; it replaced another that was built in the 1920’s. There are some stone relics of older bridges that lie nearby”, said Milson. This would have made Russe the perfect place for Crusaders going to and from Constantinople to cross the Danube. It is no wonder evidence of the Templars can be found in this area.

Bulgaria would seem to be a treasure trove for those who would just look. Post Communism, the trade in illicit relics in Bulgariais more profitable than the drug trafficking.” “There are ruins all over Romania and Bulgaria one can just walk up to without anyone saying a word. The Communists didn’t have any idea what to do with the sites, so they left them alone”, said Milson.

Another event from the Bulgarian past that was publicized just days before the initial survey was announced could give another clue to what “Project Nisovo” might uncover. The remains of Tzar Kaloyan was laid to rest in an undisclosed Church in Veliko Tarnovo. Kaloyan is a central figure in Bulgarian history for securing the state in wars with Byzantium, Hungary and Serbia. During the late 1190’s, Pope Innocent III was in negotiations with the Tzar to make Bulgaria’s official religion Roman Catholic. The Tzar is also noted in history for capturing Emperor Baldwin of Flanders during the 4th Crusade.

The story of Kaloyan serves as simply a clue to what could be found near Russe. After the 4th Crusades’ sack of Constantinople, the Russe region would have had any number of those returning overland with their spoils in the interior of Europe. What might the Templars squirreled in the region from the riches of Constantinople? Hopefully, if the OSMTH expedition finds anything of note they will share it with the world. At present the Bulgarian branch of the OSMTH has not replied to my request for an interview.


08 December 2007

The Miraculous Templar Diamond

Last month, I cited a press release about the nearly unbelievable story of a diamond having a near perfect Templar Cross in the center of the stone.  Last night, I was able to talk to the diamond’s owner David Rafaeli in depth about his find.

Los Angeles diamond broker David Rafaeli takes a few trips a year to brokerage centers in Antwerp or Tel Aviv.  During one of these trips, David sees and bids on more diamonds than most people will see in a lifetime.  It was on one of these trips to a Tel Aviv auction house in the fall of 2006 that Rafaeli found himself bidding on what seemed to be a standard lot of diamonds.  Before the auction, David had spotted the unusual gem that would become known as the Miraculous Templar diamond in the lot.   “I was the only one that recognized the significance of the diamond”, Rafaeli said.

What is so special about the diamond?  The stone is a 2.73 carat green-yellow diamond containing a  distinctive four-sided, Templar like cross. The cross is formed by a dark spot almost in the dead center of the stone.  The diamond was extracted recently in a South African diamond mine and cut in Israel.  Rafaeli claims that the Cross could not have been manmade. “We have a letter from the GIA [Gemological Institute of America] that states the diamond is totally natural.” a spokesman for Rafaeli said
Since he purchased the diamond, Rafaeli has come to consider that the diamond's center piece was a sacred occurrence.  Rafaeli feels that the Templars recognized that there needed to be a unification of all the world’s religions and were working towards that goal.  The diamond has become a symbol of unification and world peace to Mr. Rafaeli.  The stone is a “story from God if we will only recognize it”, Rafaeli said.

There does seem to be a synchronicity with the diamond’s discovery and recent Templar related events.  Rafaeli thinks that the timing of the discovery only strengthens his claim that the diamond signifies more than just a geological anomaly.   Mr. Rafaeli feels that the diamond signifies “things are starting to happen in the world” and it could be used as a vehicle for humanity to find a common ground.

In keeping with thoughts of brotherhood, Rafaeli would like to find a venue for the diamond to be shared with the world. A number of groups have been contacted about displaying the diamond -  including the Vatican.  At the time of this report, the Holy See has not responded to Rafaeli. 

I wish Rafaeli success in his quest to use the diamond to bring about unification of diverse groups in these troubled times. If the faith Rafaeli places on the diamond’s discovery is any indication of if it’s potential, it very well might have the power to change the world.


01 December 2007

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 1 Dec 07

Grail Seekers since last time:

It’s been an interesting week. The Exonerate the Knights Templar petition has gotten off the ground this week. I’d like to thank RLC Research and Resource site and The Templar Globe for helping get the word out. If you haven’t seen the petition, please check out the above link and sign it if you are so inclined.

Big thanks to Henrik and Fredrik Palmgren from Red Ice Creations who were kind enough to post my review of Longevity and the Grail on their site. It’s a great documentary if you haven’t seen it yet.

And someone sent me a link to a “discovery” regarding sacred geometry this week. I have lost the e-mail. If it was you, please resend the link and I’ll be happy to check it out.

On Audio:

Dreamlands talked to William Henry and sindinologist James Barrett the Shroud of Turin on the 24th.

In the News:

Looks like the folks at RLC Research and Resource site scooped the “mainstream media” on the news of Richard Leigh’s death. Our condolences go out to his friends and family. He will be missed.

A modern day Knights Templar group is funding excavation work in Bulgaria to find traces of the Templars that were once there. More to come on this…

Dan Brown’s new book will “unveil Washington’s Masonic past”. Really Dan, no one has ever thought of that one before…

The Smithsonian magazine follows up on Graham Hancock’s work on the Ark of the Covenant and Ethiopia.

On Film and TV:

September Films announced it is working on a two hour documentary for the History Channel on University of London professor Tudor Parfitt’s work on the Ark of the Covenant. The special should air next year.

Blog On:

The Favorite Pastimes blog reviews the new novel Glastonbury Tor

The Seer blog gives an overview of “Modern Alchemy”.