Von Halles neues Templerbuch
Adam Michaelis: The best offence is a good defense- Judith von Halles interpretation of the Templar trial and demisein Druckversion mit Layout hier 2. Version
The Anthroposophical author Judith von Halle’s new book on the Templars, Die Templer, bd. II, contains an unconventional, fervent and ingenious defense against the slander of this holy Christian order during and after the process that led to its downfall. We have every reason to believe that Judith von Halle has the best of intentions in her undertaking, and that she is seriously concerned about the accusations of heresy and profanity directed at the knights and their spiritual tradition. This has led her to a new interpretation of the whole context, starting from Rudolf Steiner’s various comments on it and using her own special means of spiritual investigation. She has thus reached a somewhat coherent picture and understanding, which – so very characteristic of her production – contains several unexpected and radical features, although it is by no means consistent or in alignment with all the historical facts. In some respects it is even alarming. The purpose of this paper is to point out some of these last aspects.
Since Judith von Halle has such a controversial and polarizing effect, many factual discussions of her production tends to become personal and a matter of belief and support or the opposite. But the question of the templar trial is simply too spiritually important and charged with evil motives to risk this kind of primitive confrontation. Nevertheless the issues at hand and Judith von Halle’s extraordinary contribution have to be discussed and elucidated. She has put them forward, they carry a weight and an effect, and she is responsible for this action. Any person in the public has a right or even a duty to respond if that person has a qualified and reasonable meaning or judgement to offer. But in order to avoid the aforementioned trivial quarrel over persons and identities, we have chosen to proceed in an unusual fashion. We understand thus Judith von Halles book with its ideas and arguments as the product of a mind, which is of course her own mind, but could also be viewed as any mind in the human community, since we all live here minding not only ourselves, but also each other! What once was in Judith von Halles mind is now in our mind, and we cannot help it. Perhaps we are not like-minded or completely even-minded, but neither are we mindless in this regard. We do mind! And so we propose to understand the following discussion as if no mind in particular has put forward this interpretation and was using some kind of intuition and intelligence in the process. When any mind produces something there are always some impersonal structures and forces involved, collective dynamics and so on. Intelligence is not solely a personal possession and faculty. Then, one way or the other, we are now in a situation where some mind has introduced something in our mutual mind. Let us try and follow the intelligence that did so closely, and see where it leads us – how it can change our mind.
The intelligence that organized the whole argumental context in question is quite characteristic when you get to know it. It works in a certain way, following specific patterns. It uses for example well-placed surprise and sensation, but also suspense. But one feature is even more unique to it. You can be certain to find some hidden and central determinant or descriptor that can change your mind subtly in a certain way. In this context the determinant is not concealed though, on the contrary. We shall explain why later, but the fact is that the determinant is here the most evident and crucial element in the context.
The most controversial issue in the Templar trial is of course the idea of a heretic ritual deconsecrating the holy cross or the holy host. This is also the pivotal point in the discourse here, and where we find the open determinant. It is stated that the Templars were using a ritual involving the element of a deconsecration of these holy symbols. This ritualistic element was carried out voluntarily and in full consciousness investing both the I and the consciousness soul in the act by highly initiated Templars. Only it was not meant to be an actual deconsecration. It served a spiritual-didactic purpose (eine Imprägnierung) in that it enlightened the individual Templar of the consequences of an unconscious surrender to the forces of Lucifer and Ahriman. Because the act was carried out in this way and by these individuals, it is a significator for the tradition, its spiritual signature.
Exactly here lies the determinant and descriptor for the whole argumental context and implication. And so we have to take a very, very close look at this determinant, since there is an extraordinary intelligence at work here that can and will change our mind.
The exact expressions used are: “Die erste imaginierte Handlung: die Bespuckung des vor Ihnen stehenden Kreuzes.” (The first imagined action: the spitting on the cross standing before them, p. 108) “Die zweite imaginäre Handlung … die Verfluchung der Hostie” (The second imagined action … the cursing of the host, p. 110-11) “Erst durch diesen rituellen Akt.” (First through this ritual act, p. 114) “Aufeinanderfolgenden imaginierten kultischen handlungen.” (Successive imagined cultic actions, p. 115).
We see here that the word used suggests an action or an act – something actively done by the person – in a ritual, cultic setting, but not carried out physically, only imagined. We are to believe, that this procedure and activity (within the didactic context) represented the quintessence of the tradition’s spiritual purpose. It was a confrontation with the unconscious scruples (Anfechtungen) and temptations (Versuchungen) fueled by the evil powers, and in both cases it lead to a momentary overshadowing of the consciousness of the individual, first by Lucifer, then by Ahriman (p. 109, 111). The determinant is precisely this subtle and complex description of a voluntary and conscious act of desecration out of this purpose.
If we accept the description and explanation on face value – what then? Then, the intelligence elaborates cleverly, the Templars, who were on trial because of the first ritual procedure and accused of heresy and deconsecration, actually confessed to something true under the extreme torture – if only a partial truth, since they concealed and/or never had a chance to explain the real context, which was never meant to be public in the first place. The meaning was twisted by the evil interrogators, who had preconceived and much more negative ideas, and heard what they wanted to hear. This was never an act of heresy, and the Templars were never heretics or guilty of unchristian behavior. The intelligence can then explain many things and fit many pieces together on this assumption that exonerates the Templars completely. And so we are offered a strong defense and an idealized view of the Templars and not least their grandmaster, verging on romance.
We might then use our common sense and other criteria. The problem is of course that this intelligence is singular, and that the understanding comes from one mind, and one mind only. It is not corroborated by anything else – by no other mind and by no facts whatsoever. It is a mere construct of one, single mind. On the other hand there are many historical descriptions and sources contradicting this construct. They refer to a similar ritual, but in quite a different context – as part of a more or less irregular and late admission procedure on the general level of the order. Any one can look up the relevant historical sources (See for instance Barbara Frale, The Templars, p. 170-75). This explanation is consistent with the fact, that these kinds of identical confessions came from a much larger and varied segment than the narrow and closed group of high initiates that supposedly used the former ritual stipulated by the intelligence.
And if we consult the mind, intuition and intelligence of Rudolf Steiner, he says the same thing: “Das Kreuz wurde vor den hingestellt, der Templer werden wollte, und ihm wurde gesagt: Du sollst dieses Kreuz jetzt verleugnen, um es später zu verstehen, erst ein Petrus werden, erst wie Petrus, der Fels, der den Herrn verleugnet hat, die Lehre verleugnen. Das wurde als eine Vorschule dem zukünftigen Templer beigebracht.” (GA93, p. 149) (The cross was held up before the would-be Templar and he was told: You must deny the cross now so as to understand it later; first become a Peter, first deny the scriptures, like Peter the Rock who denied the Lord. That was imparted to the aspirant Templar as a preliminary training.) And we find another reference here, where Steiner describes the ordinary Templar living a devoted and self-sacrificing life in the order, confronted with scruples and temptations: “Er sah in der Vision, wie die menschliche Seele fähig werden konnte, zu verunehren das Kreuzessymbolum, zu verunehren die heilige Handlung der Konsekration der Hostie.” (GA 171, p. 126) (He saw in vision how the human soul could become capable of dishonoring the symbol of the cross and the holy ritual of the consecration of the host.) This was the “images of temptation” forced out in the torture, which had been preconfigurated by the interrogators in their manuals. But they were not a result or content of any specific ritual. They were an existential experience. Rudolf Steiner: “Dadurch war etwas ganz Merkwürdiges im Kreise der Templer vor sich gegangen; etwas ganz großartig Gewaltiges war dadurch im Kreise der Templer vor sich gegangen, ohne daß diese Templer gekannt hätten die Regeln der christlichen Initiation durch etwas anderes als durch den Opferdienst.” (GA 171 p. 124) (Something quite remarkable and powerful had thus entered into the circle of the Templar Order without their having known the rules of Christian initiation other than through sacrificial service.)
Finally we can easily find inconsistencies and self-contradictions in the argumentation offered to us by the intelligence. For example Rudolf Steiner is used and quoted like this on page 124: “Man hatte die ganze Katechisierung so eingerichtet, daß selbst der Großmeister des Templerordens unter der Folter gezwungen worden ist, aus dem Unterbewußten heraus diese Zugeständnisse zu machen.” (GA 171, p. 129). (The catechizing had been so well organized that even the Grand Master of the Order had been tortured into making these subconscious avowals.) But if he had made these confessions on the basis of the proposed ritual, then it was not any unconscious material, but something completely conscious and clear to him! On the next page 125, the grandmaster is then admired for telling only the (partial) truth even under torture. But a truth is something you know!
We see then that even if the intelligence is desperate and ingenious in its attempt to prove the determinant and descriptor with arguments, it has the historical facts and prominent minds against it, and it is not even consistent in its reasoning. But then we are obliged to investigate the urge and source of this intelligence. If its explanation and proposition is evidently false on inner and outer grounds, what does that imply for the determinant? We shall have to look even closer at it, when the described ritual is nothing but a construct or a fiction of one mind.
We use a phenomenological approach. We try to identify ourselves with the fictive Templar using this ritual in the described manner and feel what he feels. But in the moment we try to imagine that we are spitting at the holy cross or cursing the holy host, we are thrown back in horror! This is not an action we can identify with under any circumstances! Our mind is then automatically focused on that intelligence (and one mind) that suggested this fictive imagination to us (and any reader). The argument, that you can only experience the temptation from Lucifer and Ahriman, if you go through with this action, seems strangely twisted! We can easily understand and feel what it means to deconsecrate and deny the cross and the host – to reject Christ and His deed – without this actual action. There is a moral integrity and conscience in us that suffices for this purpose. We urge any other mind to question this in the same way! And then it becomes clear to us that the intelligence actually was interested in our action for its own purpose – that what we were told was a twisted lie! The intelligence wanted to see, if we for some reason could be fooled to do exactly that, which we intended (or were told) to avoid in the future: To actually deconsecrate these holy symbols and deny Christ. When we examine its motives and explanations, they disintegrate. There is nothing substantial, rational, coherent or moral there. Only a will. A will to change our mind. And we see, that even if we accept this imaginative procedure in our thought or in principle, we have actually done it in a sense that is spiritually unsound. Furthermore we find the described and suggested consequence of the action – a momentary overshadowing of either Lucifer or Ahriman – extremely dubious and wonder, what this intelligence is playing at.
Now, we know that the trial and demise of the Templars were ultimately the work of a cruel intelligence that opposes Christ and wants human minds and souls to do the same thing. If we follow the historical sources there was some kind of admission ritual that seemingly implied a deconsecration, but never in that fundamental way the interrogators understood it. Rudolf Steiner agrees with us. He says, that the scruples and temptations many Templers had fought with and defeated in their life of devotion to Christ was intensified by this evil intelligence and forced upon their consciousness and identity under extreme torture. And so they confessed to something only some of them had not even remotely done in an admission ritual and many of them had defeated existentially. In this way, a black magical potential was built up, which this intelligence has used against all of humanity, changing its mind and weakening the I. This was the second episode with that intelligence, and now we face the third and lasting episode.
We have followed the intelligence carefully, which tried to make us accept its explanation of the Templar trial. We can see how it is attempted. We are to identify ourselves with an elitist notion of spirituality like the one we find in a secret society, a lodge or so – something high and elevated. Again we notice the strange twist that we are in fact prompted to do exactly that, we are told not to be doing. We identify with some fictional and highly initiated Templars overcoming a Luciferic temptation and are falling into one in our real existence, driven and tempted by this intelligence. In the same way we notice greed for spiritual importance and meaning and fear of meaninglessness and unimportance and so on, when disposed to the machinations of this intelligence, and we can easily detect the Ahrimanic temptation too in arrogance, gloat and so on. Actually all of what this intelligence describes in the context as something that was overcome is subconsciously flowing into our mind by suggestion.
And we realize – the intelligence that deconsecrated Christ and human life and sacrificed the Templars in a magical ritual, now tries to impose the very same idols and machinations on us – while seemingly defending the integrity of the Templars. Those poor humans were tortured to confess to a deconsecration of Christ and forced to identify with the intentions of this intelligence, but here are we, under no pressure other than from the mere suggestions and temptations from it, being lured to take that precise action in our own inflated and complacent imagination, which they were accused of illegitimately and tortured for. And we are ashamed of ourselves and feel our own disgrace and emptiness.
This makes us think a little further. What black magical potential is the worst? The physical torture of so many Templars being induced with these idols – or the voluntary, inflated, comfortable, smug identification with the highly initiated Templars (or any one like that) offered so freely an easily by this intelligence at the expense of the tortured Templars in order to flatten our I even more.
As said, we have followed this intelligence and identified it as Asuric and Luciferic. Then of course we knew and were not surprised, that this intelligence had to catch up with itself on this issue. It had to use it to twist truth even more. The intelligence has studied one of the contemporary spiritual traditions that have an affinity with the Templars, and it knows how to push the right buttons on all levels – here, there and everywhere. In this context it for example uses the animosity against the Catholic Church and then also identifies the grandmaster with the apostle Peter – what a joke, what an irony! Then it wants us to believe one single mind against all other evidence and quit our own intelligence and reason, so that we do not even try to think consistently over what it proposes. We are going to defend the honour and integrity of some Templars by doing that comfortably they were tortured for not doing, and we are existentially next to nothing compared to what they had to endure and hold up their faith against! We play with imagination and they offered their lives. What a shadow of shame our moral smugness casts everywhere.
And now we know too, why the determinant and descriptor this time was put right up into our face by the intelligence. Because, in this case it refers directly to itself and its own history! Then and now comes together in situ. So if it wants magical license for what it is doing, disintegrating our flat egos even more through the cheap new Lucifer model, there can only be the slightest of veils between truth and lie. It has to be blatantly open and evident, and at the same time pull us by the nose.
It comes down to this. Either you believe the intelligence that offered the ingenious defense. Or you believe the intelligence that now sees this as an offence. Or you make up your own mind and see if your intelligence can find any convenient place in the middle.