The Home Coming.
I had the good fortune of growing up in a house that had previously belonged to a Dutch artist. The man had migrated to the outer regions of the English County of Essex and took up residence in a tiny hamlet called Canvey Island. The artist built the house out of timber in what was known as the New England style or what looked like a very large bungalow. The style is uncommon in England, but it is well established in places such as Nova Scotia that share the same wet terrain and harsh climate as that on the island. The building was rendered with cement and stones that were painted with a white lime wash. The result was well weathered exterior that resembled many of the older buildings in the vicinity. Our dwelling consisted of two levels a downstairs and an attic that had been converted into living quarters for visitors and tourists. The facade was traditional and it had a heavy red front door painted in bright red. A red and white rose sat above the architrave with a lion’s head either side. There was a pretty flower garden and a pathway that was lined with spring bulbs. There was also an English cottage garden to one side of the house and a vegetable garden to the other. A weather cock was fixed to the chimney and a sundial sat in the patio near the front doorway. A small paddock at the back was home to an old horse named Kitty who had been rescued from the knacker’s yard, she had a black cat and an English sheep dog for company. At the back of the building there was also a chicken run and an orchard. The fence was covered with wisteria and morning glory. In Summer my grandmother collected the flowers, dried them and kept them locked away in her bedroom cupboard for medicinal purposes as she suffered badly from rheumatoid arthritis. The buildings colours, shape, form and aspect melded with the grey skies and bleak Autumn clouds. The home was miniscule against the open landscape and I thought it meagre compared to the homes of my relatives, nonetheless, it was quirky, artistic and appropriate. The island was a daunting place to live and the house had survived all forms of adversity, winds, storms and severe floods. Every morning there was a lowland mist over the escarpment that took many hours to disperse and this gave rise to a host of legends, ghosts that occupied empty houses, the headless man who lived in the mainland castle and visited on winter nights and the mysterious gatherings of pagans in the woodlands, covens of witches that were said to dance naked around a fire on the Solstice. Some people believed the stories of witchcraft and some thought they were just mischievous whims that emerged with the consumption of local ale, but none would go out into the woodlands at night for fear of a terrible fate. Inside the house there was a large portrait on the wall of the hallway, it was an image of Saint George killing the dragon, it was meant to demonstrate chivalry.
The interior of the house had been decorated by a master craftsman who had moulded wood into sacred figures and animal replicas with each figure placed on the point of the compass, north, south east and west. The artist had created a masterpiece in the form of a museum of his own paintings, a superb rendition of traditional Dutch landscapes decorated the walls and were framed by wooden mouldings. Everything was painted in pale tones of apricot and green to show off the luxuriant works of art. It was the colour scheme of grand palaces and someone with an astute imagination. There were verdant slopes and canals in the paintings and fully rigged sailing ships perched upon the causeways ready to set sail for a voyage far away. The setting was romantic and it was to fuel the vivid aspirations of childhood. I wanted to set said on one of those rigged ships to the other side of the world. On closer inspection the paintings there were highly detailed, tiny people were going about their business, men on horseback could be seen scouring the countryside for unknown treasures, mothers were nursing their babies and animals were lazing on the slopes. The entire house was a magical time warp.
It was the wall paintings that prompted my mother to buy the house; they reminded her of her childhood home, a rambling old Victoria mansion full of clutter and precious colonial memories of previous generations. My grandfather had served in India and brought home a bounty of exotic furnishings and wares for my grandmother.
The year was 1954, I was six years old when my family moved into the Canvey Island house and I lived there for just under nine years, until my father died and my mother sold the house to a developer. The house and the great artworks were bulldozed to make way for new modern buildings.
The year is 2018 and I am prompted by a lucid dream to think about my life on Canvey Island and in particular the interior of the house I grew up in. I began learning Nidra Yoga to help with the recall of memories. Nidra Yoga is a form of meditation carried out through the imagination, but it has much deeper realms that can be experienced with the appropriate procedures. Nidra Yoga accesses the unconscious, much like psychoanalysis it can tap into what some people call a cellular memory. There is much discussion needed on the issue of cellular memory; it remains contentious; but all will be revealed.
In my lucid dreaming I remembered the house I called home and the grand paintings. I could ponder the colour schemes, the furnishings, the piano and the family silver. I also recalled my grandmother’s porcelain and the old Victorian black marble clock on the mantlepiece. One ornament in particular had occupied my thoughts, it was a bronze statue of Saint George pulling on the reigns of his rearing horse. It was a large object, one of a pair, but the other had gone missing some years before. The replica of St. George had belonged to my grandmother’s grandmother and like everything else it had been handed down through the family over many years until it reached the hands of my mother who prized it above everything else.
Every child of a British family is told the story of Saint George. It was told to me by my uncle who was named after Saint George. Uncle George lived on a beautiful country estate and I spent some of the happiest days of my childhood exploring the wooded vales and his enormous ponds full of Koi fish. His wife, my aunt made the best caraway seed cake in the country. St. George is the patron saint of England and is best-known for the popular tale in which he slays a dragon. Thus, St. George is most commonly depicted as a knight mounted on a horse and in the process of spearing a dragon. This image has inspired many artists over the years, and has been portrayed on various coats of arms. The dragon according to my grandmother was originally the serpent of and the female principle. When George killed the dragon that was a symbol of absolute power over knowledge, especially the knowledge that had long been womens’ business, such as the events of birth, nature and medicine.
Saint George is believed to have lived during the latter part of the 3rd century AD and served as a soldier in the Roman army. Most sources said that he was born in Cappadocia, an area which is located in modern day Turkey. The parents of Saint George are said to have been Christians, and he inherited his faith from them. It has been claimed that after the death of Saint George’s parents returned to their hometown in Palestine, taking the saint with them.
Saint George then joined the Roman army, but the persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian at the beginning of the 4th century AD troubled Saint George so he resigned from his military office as a sign of protest. When the emperor’s order against the Christians was torn up by St. George, Diocletian was furious. In an attempt to force St. George to renounce his Christian faith, he was imprisoned and tortured by the emperor’s men. The saint, however, refused to reject his faith. Seeing that their efforts were of no use, St. George’s jailers had him dragged through the streets of Diospolis (known also as Lydda) in Palestine and beheaded.
Through my lucid dreaming I was able to make a number of connections between my old home and a life of some decades. I learned how to interrupt my dreaming journey and hold onto old memories. Jerusalem came to mind every time I thought about the Dutch paintings. I could find no explanation for this connection, I just kept dreaming and hoping something would turn up that would shed light on my quest to understand my childhood environment. Weeks and months passed. While there were many features of my childhood house that became familiar some features escaped me. I could not remember the details of the landscape paintings on the walls, they were large, they were precious, but their detail remained a mystery. Nonetheless, something inside caused me to persist in exploring the hidden memory of this intricately detailed art. I knew the paintings were significant and I needed to know why so I worked for some time on perfecting my lucid dream recall.
Eventually, when I closed my eyes and followed my breathing I could see images of the paintings and two in particular would eventually come closer into my vision. Suddenly, I found I could skirt the surface of the paintings with a keen eye, perhaps more astutely than any regular spectator of great paintings. There was one moment when I actually found myself in the middle of the painted landscape as if it were so familiar to me I might have just stepped out of a door and onto a gently rolling hillside. I could almost feel the breeze through the trees and the mild warmth of the sunlight that came with a Spring morning. The works were signed, but I could not read the signature, this frustrated me and my impatience through a shroud over the scene. In a later dream I focussed on the perspective and the wonder of the creation, then something dissolved the outside world to the point where a particular object caught my eye. It was very small, what seemed at first nothing more than a collection of tiny white blobs. The object was much more than blobs.
In one of the paintings there was a small round, white church perched on a hill in the distance and although small it was the focal point of the work. I honed my mind’s eye in for a closer look. The building glowed amongst the green trees like the sparkle glows from the wands of fairies pictured in childrens’ books. It reminded me of the light in a Caravaggio painting. I remembered seeing the Caravaggio painting of David with the Head of Goliath (1610), into which he painted his own face onto the severed head of the slain giant. I went regularly to the museums and I often had nightmares about severed heads. Perhaps like the artist I would experience a psychological disconnect, the artist had a troubled life and perhaps too I would have a troubled destiny. The Caravaggio painting was commissioned by the Knights of Malta, with the tacit assent of the Roman Curia, the governing body of the Holy See. Caravaggio died at the age of 38 some said from Malaria, but others claimed he died at the hands of the Knights of Malta as revenge for attacking one of their own. Caravaggio was a pretty wild individual who had a penchant for creating enemies. He was subjected to a violent attack in Naples in 1609 by unidentified assailants which left him grossly disfigured. In contrast his works were objects of great beauty. Some experts have suggested that the Vatican tried to cover up the truth of Caravaggio’s death. After finding fame in Rome he suddenly had to leave the city in 1606 after he was involved in a brawl in which a man was killed. He eventually wound up in Malta, the headquarters of the Knights of Malta, where he was made a member of the order. He was expelled by the Knights on the grounds that he had become a foul and rotten member of the order and he was imprisoned in a castle dungeon. He was released under mysterious circumstances and fled to first Sicily and then Naples. He was heading to Rome in the hope of obtaining a papal pardon for the murder he had committed when he died.
The light on the rolling hills of the Dutch paintings spoke to me of a history surrounding the Knights Templar. I was invited by the voice in my lucid dreaming to pursue the small white church that had caught my attention so on the following day I went to a library to look for documents on small round white churches that resembled the one in a painting. Oddly, I found the very church I was looking for with unexpected ease. What surprised me was the church that I had believed was sitting in the English countryside was not English at all, nor was it Dutch. In fact, it was located on the island of Bornholm in Denmark. The church was built in 1160 to honour Saint Lawrence otherwise known as Laurentius (Latin) who lived between 31 December AD 225 –10 August 258. He was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome, Italy, under Pope St Sixtus II who were martyred in the persecution of the Christians that the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered in 258. The Church of Saint Lawrence was a main seat of the Knights Templar. The Danish version of Lawrence is Lars and round churches primarily served as refuge sites in a case of attack. for the Knights Templar churches were more than just churches they were impenetrable to the weapons of hostile armies and the Templars build many of them in strategic places over the course of the Crusades.
What was so special about these Templar churches is written into their design. While searching through library documents I would learn more about the Templar churches. Before attacking the main Church the intruders had to pass the outer fortification wall around the churchyard. People entered the churchyard through the square gate tower which served as a bell tower. Journalist and writer Erling Haagensen believed that round churches of Bornholm and their location were specially selected to form a five-pointed star. Haagensen considers that these fortified churches were built as safe storage sites for supplies of crusaders to Eastern Baltics. Two independently made geophysical studies by Haagensen confirm that under the church is located a large cavity. This would not be something out of the ordinary, many medieval churches have crypts.
I spend days, weeks and months looking at the blueprints of churches said to be built by the Knights Templar hoping to find information with respect to my little round church in the painting. I learned that the round church was believed to represent eternity. I had heard of the magic circle, but thought it was just a place where magicians did tricks to amuse people. The magic circle is a space marked out by the practitioners of the arcane and used for many religious and nature based rituals. The circle is said to contain an energy and thus, once drawn, becomes a sacred space. Circles are used for protection, they can be imagined or drawn out in chalk or dirt or embedded into the architecture of buildings. Sound waves and other vibrations will bounce off the hard edges of a circle as in a dome, of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. These sounds and vibrations are said to replicate that of the universe and our own making. These ideas were not new to me. In the 1960s, like many other young people I had joined I the Cultural Revolution where the circle’s spiritual significance was based on the mandala and yantra visible in many Eastern religions.
In order to know why my church was significant I had to relive my own memories of my grandmother casting the magic circle. In my lucid dreaming A voice spoke to me and asked if I could remember the day the that my grandmother drew a circle in the dirt, put a spot in the middle and told me to sit there. I did sit there, I sat there for ages not knowing what to expect. Was this a punishment? Had I done something wrong? My grandmother had strange ways of punishing children if they were naughty, they had to sit in the garden and count the birds or watch the growth of a blade of grass. This was the true knowledge of alchemy. If they were very naughty they had to take bread to a murder of crows, ask their forgiveness and vow never to do the same again. My grandmother believed people should not punish people, nature punishes people. Anyway, I was seated in my circle when a flash of lightening flew across the sky. I sat transfixed, but unafraid. I knew my grandmother had created a safe space for me so I trusted my fate. I sat through a fierce storm and when my grandmother asked me if I was ‘alright’, I told her the circle had protected me. It was then I learned that circles cannot protect anyone, they merely cause people to be mindful and to protect themselves. Such was the wisdom of a young child. Sadly, most children lose that wisdom when they grow up.
There are many techniques for casting a circle. The practice is ancient and usually associated with rituals. The most common feature of these circles is that a boundary is traced around the working area and the four cardinal directions are marked out, sometimes using four candles. In ceremonial magic the four directions are commonly related to the four archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel (or Auriel). Uriel means El/God is my light. The angels mentioned in the older books of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) are without names. Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230–270) even asserted that all of the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon.
Uriel means God is my Light, whereas Phanuel means Turn to God. Uriel is the third angel listed in the Testament of Solomon, the fourth being Sabrael. Other ceremonial traditions have candles between the quarters, i.e. in the north-east, north-west and so on. Often, an incantation will be recited stating the purpose and nature of the circle, often repeating an assortment of divine and angelic names.
The Knights Templar organization was structure around inner circles. They appear to have consisted of three levels of knights as follows:
- The first level consisted of the publicly known Knights Templar who performed Templar duties throughout Europe and elsewhere in the world.
- The second level was comprised of the lesser known Knights Templar who were responsible for teaching and maintaining the purity of the organization’s spiritual techniques.
- The third level of the Knights Templar was unknown to the public. The third level of knights were members of the legendary Inner Circle of the Knights Templar who safeguarded and used the priceless treasures from the Ark of the Covenant.
The ancient term Priceless Treasure used to describe the benefits one receives from sacred teachings. Priceless is a term used to describe something that is beyond material wealth. Priceless Treasure refers to spiritual wealth. In this case, the term Priceless Treasure refers to the sacred teachings and techniques that had been carved into the Stones of the Covenant by Moses and others.
History tells us that in the 12 century the Inner Circle of the Knights Templar, recovered the Ark of the Covenant that had been buried in 588 BC before Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. All knights who became members of the knighthood, known in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries as the Knights Templar, were taught certain of the spiritual techniques carved upon the Stones, or Tablets, that were carried inside the Ark of the Covenant. As select knights progressed in their spiritual abilities, they were taught higher and higher levels of secret, spiritual techniques.
There are three main levels of spiritual techniques that were used by the original members of the Inner Circle and that are used today by their descendants. Basic Techniques which were taught to all Knights Templar. These techniques were taught in a special knighthood ceremony. Basic Knights Templar Techniques include a sitting prayer/meditation, an activity prayer/mantra and centring, mindfulness, or emotional/mental energy balancing techniques.
Intermediate Techniques include the activating of one’s Angelic and Archangelic energy levels, or Light Bodies, as well as special Healing Techniques. Intermediate level techniques were taught to those Knights Templar who were ready to advance into levels of Enlightenment.
Advanced Techniques were taught to those few Knights Templar who were selected to become teachers of the Knights Templar Techniques. Masters level Techniques were the special techniques used by the original members of the 12th century’s Knights Templar Inner Circle and they remained highly secret.
According to the Evangelical belief the Knights Templar degrees mock the Christian ceremony of consuming the body and blood of Christ whereby the fourth higher level initiate drinks 5 symbolic libations (or toasts) during his Templar Order initiation ceremony. The first 4 are taken out of a goblet; the libations being to the memory of (1) King Solomon our ancient grand master (2) Hiram King of Tyre; our ancient grand master (3) Hiram Abiff the widows son, who lost his life in defence of his integrity (4) Simon of Cyrene, the friend of our Saviour, who bore his cross, and fell a martyr to his faith.
The fifth, and supreme, Knights Templar libation is made unto the unknown and is performed in the vilest manner imaginable; an actual human skull-cap is placed in the hand of the candidate and he is caused to sup the content of such from this mystic cup. The fluid that is consumed from the top part of this human skull is normally bitter wine. Such is employed to vividly impress important occult teaching to the initiate. The candidate is told, “Pilgrim, the fifth libation is taken in a very solemn way. It is emblematical of the bitter cup of death, of which we must sooner or later, taste.”
Much controversy surrounding the activities of the 12th century Templars. Evidence given in the historic trials after the movement collapsed suggest that the Templars engaged in bizarre sexual rituals that included kissing various parts of each other’s bodies and the worship of the decapitated and preserved head of their leader Hugues de Payens (c. 1070 – 24 May 1136) who was the co-founder and first Grand Lodge… Later Latin sources call him Hugo de Paganis. In English works he often appears as Hugh de Payns, in Italian sometimes as Ugo de’Pagani. He was sometimes referred to as Baphomet, which may have been a miss spelling of Mohamed. The decapitated head is pictured in the Caravaggio painting David with the Head of Goliath (1610), which affirms the between the artist and the Templars of Malta. A common theory put forward by scholars at the Smithsonian Institute suggested that in the 12th century when the Knights Templar reached Jerusalem they witnessed the advances of the Muslim religion which were far superior to their own in Christianity so they decided to convert to Islam. As a consequence, rituals carried out by the Knights Templar were said to include the defacing and spitting on the Christian images of Christ.
Between the time of my first inkling to search for the meaning of the Dutch paintings and the many hours spent in the library reading about the Knight Templar I had to consider why I wanted to pursue my search. After reading about the ritual worship of a decapitated heads and the drinking of wine from skulls, I began to wonder where this journey would take me, especially since some of my own family members were Freemasons, an organization known to stem from the Knights Templar.
When the Templars built their many churches they were a replication of the laying of foundations for a spiritual understanding of themselves. The first stone is laid in the northeast and represents initiation into the First Degree. It was a practice that would be carried on by the Freemasons to this day, but what did it really mean? It did not take long to realize that my home was somehow implicated in the Templar beliefs.
I had yet to discover the other similarities between my home and the buildings of the Knights Templar, which also included houses and cottages. The Knights Templar had immense influence and hundreds of small stone cottages and wooden buildings had the stamp of the movement, the trend would continue when the Templars morphed into the Freemasons. Templar’s buildings generally had some insignia, but some also had secret passages. The house at Canvey Island had two secret passage. One was behind a cupboard door, which had a hidden stairway leading to the attic and an external staircase as an escape route. The other was a trapdoor which led to under the house, a kind of crypt that was packed full of tin trunks, items that had been moved from my grandmother’s old house in the Roman City of Colchester. While searching through the now mounting number of documents I found that there was a distinct and interesting connection between the sparsely populated Island and the City of Colchester, I wasn’t sure what it was. I would have to go back to my state of lucid dreaming.
 Knights Templar degree exposed – Secret Societies Exposed www.evangelicaltruth.com/knighttemplar-htm
 In the early 1990s he produced TV series but in 2000 he published a book “The Templars Secret Island”, written together with explorer Henry Lincoln.
 Nick Squires, Rome 4:33PM BST 02 Apr 2012 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/9181383/Caravaggio–was-killed-by-the-Knights-of-Malta.html