anastasisDi René Guénon (Published in Le Voile d'Isis, Paris, August to September 1929)
Among the attributes of the Orders of Knighthood, and in particular of the Templars, one of the most popular, although in general not of better understood, is that of 'guardians of the Holy Land ". Certainly, if you stick to the outer meaning, is an immediate explanation of what the connection that exists between the origin of these Orders and the Crusades, because for Christians, as for the Jews, it seems that the "Holy Land" does not indicate that other Palestine. However, the issue becomes more complex when it is considered that different organizations in the East, of great initiatory character, as the Assassins and the Druses, also assumed the same attribute of 'guardians of the Holy Land ". Which, in fact, can no longer be of Palestine; d’altronde, it should be noted that these organizations have a large number of features in common with the orders of chivalry and Western, moreover, some of them were, also in historical terms, in connection with the latter.
What are we to understand, therefore, with the term "Holy Land" and what exactly is this role of 'guardians', which seems to be connected with a particular type of initiation that you can call "Knightly», giving to this term a broader scope than you ordinarily do, but that is amply justified by the similarities between the different forms we are dealing with?
Elsewhere, and in particular in The King of the World, we have shown that the expression "the Holy Land" has a number of synonyms: «Terra Pura», 'Land of the Saints ", "Land of the Blessed", "Land of the Living", "Land of Immortality", and that these equivalent designations are found in the traditions of all peoples and which apply principally to a spiritual center whose location is in a certain region can be understood, depending on the circumstances, both literally and symbolically, or in both directions. Each "Holy Land" is also designated by phrases such as: "Center of the World" or "Heart of the World", and this requires some clarification, because, although applied differently, these designations uniforms could easily lead to confusions.
If we consider, for example, Jewish tradition, we see that in the Sepher Ietsirah speaks of "the Holy Palace" or "Inner Palace" which is the true "Center of the World", in the sense cosmogonic; and we also see that this "Holy Palace" is reflected, in the human world, in the residence in a certain place of the Shekinah, which is the "real presence" of God. For the people of Israel, This was the residence of the Shekinah Tabernacle (Mishkan) which, For this reason, and because of this presence, was considered the "Heart of the World", because he was actually the spiritual center of its tradition. D’altronde, this center was not a fixed place from the beginning; when it comes to a nomadic people, as in this case, its spiritual center must move with it, but always remains identical over the displacements. "The residence of the Shekinah – says Vulliaud - became fixed only on the day when the Temple was built, for which David had prepared the gold, the silver, and all that would be necessary to accomplish the work to Solomon (It is pertinent to note that the expressions used here, reminiscent of the assimilation frequently established between the construction of the temple, considered in its ideal meaning, and the "Great Work" of the hermetic). The Tabernacle of Holiness Iehovah, the residence of the Shekinah, is the Holy of Holies, which is the heart of the Temple, which is in turn the center of Zion (Jerusalem), as the holy Zion is the center of the Land of Israel and this is the center of the world " (Kabbalah La Juive, Paris, 1923, t. I, p. 509). It is easy to see that here is a set of extensions to the idea of ​​gradual center, in function of the subsequent applications that are made, so that the name of "Center of the World" or "Heart of the World" is finally extended to the entire Land of Israel as it is regarded as the 'Holy Land'; should be added that, In the same context, it also receives, among other names, that of "Land of the Living". It speaks of the "Land of the Living, which includes seven lands' and Vulliaud notes that" this Earth is Chanaan where there were seven nations " (Kabbalah La Juive, Paris, 1923, t. II, p. 116), which is correct in the literal sense, although it is equally possible a symbolic interpretation.
This expression of "Land of the living" is an exact synonym for "stay of immortality", Catholic liturgy and apply it to the living room of the heavenly elected, which in fact was represented by the Promised Land, Due to Israel's coming in it was to see the end of his tribulations.
More, from another point of view, Land of Israele, as a spiritual center, was an image of Heaven, because, according to Jewish tradition, "The Israelites everything they do on earth is done according to the model of what happens in the celestial world» (Kabbalah La Juive, Paris, 1923, t. I, p. 501).
What is said here to the Israelites can also be said for all the peoples who are in possession of a truly Orthodox tradition; in fact, the people of Israel is not the only one to have assimilated its land to the "Center of the World" and to have it considered as an image of Heaven, two ideas that, rest, are in reality a single.
Using the same symbolism is found among other peoples who also have a 'Holy Land', that is a place where there was a place for spiritual center that they had a role comparable to that of the Temple of Jerusalem for the Jews. In this respect,, the "Holy Land" is the equivalent of the omphalos (cultura greca), which was, also the visible image of the "Center of the World" for the people who inhabited the region in which it was placed.
The symbolism in question is found particularly among the ancient Egyptians; in fact, according to Plutarch, "The Egyptians give to their region name chemia (Kemi, in egizio, means "black earth", designation of which is also equivalent to other peoples, This term is derived from that of alchemy – where al is the Arabic article – which originally designated the Hermetic science, namely, the science priestly Egypt) and compare it to a heart.
The reason given by this author is very strange: "This region is hot and humid, including in the southern part of the lands inhabited, it extends at noon, in the human body as the heart is on the left », because "the Egyptians regarded the East as the face of the world, the North and the South as the right and the left ". In India, instead, the South is referred to as 'the right side' (dakshina); but despite appearances, it is the same thing, as for the right to be understood that that is to the right as you look to the East, ed inversely, for those who are placed in front, becomes easy to consider the same part of the world as extending to its left, as it happens to two people facing one another. These similarities, indeed, are very superficial and the real reason to be quite different, since the same comparison with the heart has been equally applied to all the lands to which was attributed a sacred character and 'central', in a spiritual sense, beyond their geographical location. D’altronde, according to the same Plutarch, the heart while representing Egypt, at the same time represented Heaven: "The Egyptians – he says – depicting Heaven, that could not grow because it is eternal, with a heart set on a brazier whose flame it feeds the ardor " (You will notice that this symbol, with the meaning that is given to him here, seems to be compared to that of the Phoenix). So the heart is, ad time, the hieroglyphics of Egypt and that of Heaven, all the more so when you consider that it is also depicted with a vase, which is then the same as what the legends of the Western Middle Ages had to indicate the name of 'Holy Grail'.
From these considerations it can be concluded that there are many 'Holy Land' special, as there are regular traditional forms because they represent spiritual centers corresponding; but why the same symbolism applies uniformly to all the "holy land" is that these spiritual centers all have a similar constitution, often even the smallest details, since they are as many images of the same single center and supreme, that is, it only, the true "Center of the World", and it is from it that all the others derive their attributes, as part of its nature by means of a direct communication. which is founded on the traditional orthodoxy; while, at the same time, they actually represent the, in a more or less outward, at certain times and places. In other words, there is a "Holy Land" for excellence, prototype of all other; spiritual center requirements for all other centers; seat of the primordial tradition from which all particular traditions are derived for adaptation to such and such other conditions set, such as those of a people or of an era. This "Holy Land" par excellence is the "supreme district», according to the meaning of the Sanskrit term Paradesha, from which the Chaldeans have derived the Pardes and the Western Paradise; it is in fact the 'Paradise on Earth', which is exactly the starting point of all traditions, having at its center the only source from which depart the four rivers that flow towards the four cardinal points. This source is the same as the "fountain of teaching", to which we have repeatedly alluded, and is also the "living room of immortality", how it can easily realize from the first chapters of Genesis. This is possible because the "fountain of teaching 'is identical to the" fountain of youth " (fons Juventutis), since the one who is drinking is released from the temporal condition; d’altronde, essa è posta ai piedi dell’«Albero della Vita» o con la «bevanda d’immortalità» di cui si parla dappertutto sotto nomi diversi. We can not repeat here all issues relating to the supreme center, we have already discussed elsewhere, more or less exhaustively: its conservation, in a manner more or less hidden, depending on the time, beginning to end of cycle, that is from the "Garden of Eden" to the "heavenly Jerusalem" which represent the two extreme phases; the many names by which it is indicated, as Tula, Light, Salem, Agartha; the different symbols that represent, as the mountain, the cave, the island and many more, most of whom have an immediate relationship with the symbolism of the "Polo" or of '' Axis of the World ».
Which, in these representations, we can add the ones that make it a city, una roccaforte, a temple or a palace, depending on the aspect under which it is considered in more detail; and the opportunity, We also remember, in addition to the Temple of Solomon which relates more directly to this topic, the triple circle we mentioned recently as a representation of the initiatory hierarchy of certain traditional centers; as well as the mysterious labyrinth, under a more complex form, is linked to a concept similar, with the difference that, in his case, is especially highlighted the idea of ​​a "difficult journey" towards the hidden center. The labyrinth of Crete was the palace of Minos (Minos), name identical to that of Manu, used to designate the Legislature primordial. On the other hand, by what we say here, one can understand why, in the Middle Ages, walk the labyrinth drawn on the floor of some churches was considered a substitute for the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, for those who were not able to perform it; it should be noted that the pilgrimage is precisely one of the figures of initiation, so that the "Holy Land" is, esoterically, the same thing as' seeking the Lost Word "or the" search for the Holy Grail ». At this point we should add that the symbolism of the "Holy Land" has a double meaning: that refers to the supreme center or center subject, it represents not only this same center but by association, moreover completely natural, also the tradition that exudes from it or that it is preserved, namely, in the first case the primordial tradition, and in the second a certain particular traditional form. Similarly, from the point of view cosmogonical, the "Center of the World" is the original point from which utters the Word creator and is also the very Word. This double meaning is found in parallel, and in a very clear, in the symbolism of the 'Holy Grail', that is, ad time, a glass (grasale) ed book (Gradale the graduale); the latter clearly indicates the tradition, as well as other more directly concerns the state corresponding to the actual possession of this tradition, namely the "Edenic state" when it comes to the primordial tradition; and he who has reached such a state is, thereby, reinstated in Pardes, it is possible to say that his home is now in the "Center of the World". In this regard, it is important to remember that in all traditions, places symbolize essentially states. On the other hand, we note that there is a clear relationship between the symbol of the vase or bowl and that of the fountain, we've talked about before, and we have also seen how, for the Egyptians, the jar was the hieroglyph of the heart, vital center of being. Finally, remember what we have already said on other occasions about the wine, as a substitute of the Vedic Soma and as a symbol of the doctrine hidden; in everything, in one form or the other, it is always the 'drink of immortality "and the restoration of the" primordial state ". It is not without reason that here juxtapose these two symbols, because of their close similarity shows that when we talk about 'cavalry of the Holy Grail "or the" guardians of the Holy Land ", with these two expressions must be understood exactly the same thing.
It remains to explain, as far as possible, to what constitutes the proper function of these "guardians" function that was, particularly, that of the Templars: Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, to indicate the "guardians" of the supreme center, uses the expression "Templars dell'Agartha»; the considerations which we shall show the accuracy of this expression, of which the author himself, perhaps, had not fully grasped the meaning.
To understand its meaning, necessary to distinguish between the holders of traditional, that have the function to store and transmit, and those, to varying degrees, they receive only a communication and, we could say, participation. I primi, who are the custodians and stewards of the doctrine, remain at source, which is exactly the same center; hence the doctrine is communicated and distributed to the different degrees of initiation hierarchically, according to the current represented by the rivers of Pardes, or, if you want to report to the figure which we examined, according to the channels that, from the inside to the outside, connecting together the successive belts that correspond to these different degrees. All who participate in the tradition, therefore, nothing has come to the same degree, or perform the same function. It is also necessary to distinguish between these two things, which, although generally correspond to a certain extent, however, are not closely united, since it can happen that a man is intellectually qualified to achieve higher degrees but this is not suitable to perform all functions in the organization initiatory.
Here we will consider only the functions and, from this point of view, we say that the "guardians" are at the limit of the spiritual center, understood in the broadest sense, or last city through which this center is, while, separate and in contact with the "outside world". Accordingly, these "guardians" have a dual function: on the one hand are properly the defenders of the 'Holy Land', in the sense that forbid the access to those who do not possess the qualifications required in order to access, thus forming what we have called a "outer cover", in the sense that they conceal from the profane gaze; for the other to ensure they, however, some regular relations with the outside, as we will explain later.
It is clear that the role of defenders and, to express themselves in the language of the Hindu tradition, a function to Kshatriya, namely each initiation 'chivalry' is essentially adapted to the very nature of the men who belong to the warrior caste, cioè degli Kshatriya. It is derived from what the special characters of this initiation, the particular symbolism that it uses, and, in a particular way, the intervention of an affective element, explicitly indicated by the word "Love"; we have already explained adequately on this topic, so that we can dispense with it here. But, in the case of the Templars there is something more to consider: although their initiation was essentially 'chivalry', as befitted their nature and their function, they had a dual character, at the same time military and religious, and it is the way it should be if they were, as for several reasons we think, of the "guardians" of the supreme center, where the spiritual authority and temporal power are united in their common principle, and where the imprint of this meeting is transmitted to all that is directly connected. In the Western world, where the spiritual has taken on a distinctly religious, the real "guardians of the Holy Land", until they had an existence in some way "official" had to be of the knights who were at the same time the monks, and this is what in fact were the Templars.
This leads us directly to the second function of the "guardians" of the supreme center, function which consists, as we have said, ensuring some external relations, and especially in maintaining links between the Primordial Tradition and traditions secondary and derived. To make this possible it is necessary that, for each traditional form, you have one or more organizations set up according to this same form, to all appearances, but composed of men who have become aware of what is beyond all forms, ie the single doctrine that is the source and the essence of all other, which is nothing but the primordial tradition. In a world in Judeo-Christian tradition such an organization had, in a natural way, have to sign the Temple of Solomon; this, d’altronde, having ceased to exist long been materially, then that he could not have a meaning all ideal, being only an image of the supreme center, as is every spiritual center subject; the etymology of the name Jerusalem shows quite clearly that it is only a visible image of the mysterious Salem Mechisedec. If such was the character of the Templars, to fill the role assigned to them, which was related to a particular tradition, that of the West, they were to remain connected externally to the shape of this tradition, but, at the same time, have the consciousness of true doctrinal unity made them capable of communicating with representatives of other traditions: it is this that explains their relationships with certain organizations in the East and especially, com’è naturale, with those that it played a role similar to their. This place, one can understand, moreover, such as the destruction of the Temple by the West has led to the breakdown of regular relations with the "Center of the World"; and it is from the fourteenth century that it is necessary to trace the detour that would inevitably lead to such a rupture, deviation that has been growing gradually to the present day. However, you can not say that every link has been severed in one blow; for a long time it was possible to, in una certa misura, maintain relations, but only in a hidden way, through organizations such as the Holy Faith or 'True Love', or as the "Massenia the Holy Grail" and no doubt many more, all heirs of the Order of the Temple and for the most part connected to it by means of a more or less direct filiation. Those who kept this spirit alive and that inspired these organizations, never themselves constitute any body defined, are called Rosicrucians; but there came a day when the same Rosicrucian had to leave the West, whose conditions had become such as to prevent their action could still practice, and it is said that at that point they withdrew in Asia, reabsorbed in some way in the supreme center of which were as an emanation. For the western world there is no longer a "Holy Land" to guard, because the way that leads to it is now entirely lost; how much longer such a situation? And it is possible to hope that, prima o poi, communication can be restored? These are the questions to which it is not for us to answer: apart from the fact that we do not want to venture any prediction, the solution depends only on the West itself, since only by returning to normal conditions and finding the spirit of his own tradition, he still has within it the possibility, the West will be able to see reopen the road that leads to the "Center of the World".

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