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The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry
Written by: Bro. Nathan M. Glover, MM, RAM, KT
11-29-2011

The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

Page. 2

My interest in the Military Orders of the Levant started at a very early age. I have always been captivated
by the Knight’s chivalry, valor in the face of adversity, and moral rectitude. I was particularly encapsulated by the
great Gothic Cathedrals on a trip with my very dear Grandmother to Great Britain. Ever since then I’ve wanted to
know more about, and become more like those Knights in effigy, etched in stone at Temple Church. This led to me
joining the military and ultimately in joining the Craft and the Chivalric degrees therein. I hope this short paper on
the connections I perceive between the Knights of the Levant and the Operative and Speculative Craft will find
resonance with my Brothers and Companions.

I at age fifteen standing next to the effigy in stone and tomb, of a Crusader Knight. Note the crossed legs.

On the subject of the history between the "ancient" Operative degrees versus their "appendant"
counterparts, it is my understanding that the Apprentice and Fellow Craft degree were derived from the operative
stone mason guilds. During the 1600's, these guilds were "co-opted" with honorary or "accepted" members whom
were not actual Masons in the operative sense. Many of these "accepted" Brothers were very much involved in the
Philosophical streams of thought, like Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Templarism, etc, inter alia. Men of the likes of
Desaguliers, Sir Robert Moray, Elias Ashmole, et al., were crucial in the formation, and restructuring of the existing
degrees (Albert Mackey. p. 276-7).

The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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Desguliers.

This said it is my opinion that the operative guilds had always had a VERY close relationship with the
military orders since the time of Crusades. They could be likened to today's Navy Sea Bees, or the Army and
Marines Combat Engineers. They not only built edifices for God sanctioned by the Church, but also offensive and
defensive bulwarks for war (Grand Lodge of Western Australia, Intro to Freemasonry. 2010). I'll come back to this
later! In the old charges (Regius poem) you'll find numerous references to Euclid, and sacred geometry. In other
Masonic poems written before 1717 you'll find references to "the Rosy Cross," such as Henry Adamson’s The
Muses Threnodie printed in Edinburgh in 1638:

"For what we presage is not gross
For we be brethren of the Rosie Cross;
We have the Mason Word and second sight,
Things for to come we can foretell aright".

(Adamson, A. 1638).

The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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What does all of this have to do with the Royal Arch being part of the Blue Lodge you might ask? And why
is it considered the culmination of the ancient craft Masonry? Without violating any obligations and going into the
ritual, the Royal Arch completes the story of Hiram Abiff. It shows the building and COMPLETION of the Temple.
The Master Mason is indeed a full-fledged member, but this does not necessarily mean that he is privy to all the
information of his Craft. The Master Mason is left in a purgatory-like state, only given certain hints, and it is only
through the Royal Arch, (or arguably the 14th degree of the S.R), that he is fully liberated from “ignorance” and
"sublimely raised/erected through knowledge," or, "perfected".

A Royal Arch tracing board.

The first 3 degrees in an occult sense are preparatory grades designed to cleanse the initiate before he is
brought into the holy of holies, and given the "the word which was lost and then found." This is demonstrated by
other ancient initiatory and esoteric traditions, where the initiate is cleansed via the elements; Air, Water, and Fire,
before receiving, or being received, into the "inner temple" (Hall, Manly P. Lost Keys of Freemasonry. 1923). Many
ancient societies had ritual cleansing and baptisms, before the initiate was allowed into the Temple. The ancient
Jews ritually bathed away their sins, before entering the Temple. Likewise in the Orthodox Jewish esoteric tradition,
a man must meet very strict parameters before beginning the study of the Kabbalah. All of these tests, trials,

The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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probationary periods, cleansings, and baptisms, are meant to ensure the quality and purification of the initiate before
being brought into direct contact with the "Great Architect." This isn’t to say that the Blue Lodge degrees are “lesser
than,” or “lower” than the Holy Royal Arch, because without a proper foundation and support an Arch cannot stand!

Let's get back to the relationship between the Templars and the basic Craft lodges. Whether we agree, or
not, that Freemasonry was the vehicle for a survival of the Knights of the Temple, I think we can all agree that the
ancient (Free) Masons had contact with them, as well as others in the Levant building defensive fortifications. After
the first Crusades, we find Gothic Architecture emerging in Europe, which has distinctly oriental aspects. The
Knight Templars' own churches often favored the round architecture of the mosques in the Middle East. Aside from
the building aspects, we find oriental technology in use in Europe immediately after the Crusades with windmills,
medicine, and mathematics.

A medieval era Mosque and Knights Templar Church.

This contact between Europeans and the more technologically advanced Arabic tribes, led to the
Renaissance. In war, adversaries quickly study each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures, in order to
circumvent them to their advantage. This often leads to an explosion of technology (like what was seen after WW2).

The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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These Renaissance figures were studying highly heretical subjects for the time, and discovery could mean
excommunication, or worse, the rack and the flame. The Operative stone Mason guilds must have been a very
tempting venue for infiltration by these personalities, as they were the only people allowed to travel from place to
place freely, and most likely were already known to be sympathetic to the mystical and the esoteric. The operative
guilds must have been rather tolerant towards these characters, due to their own heretical leanings in the form of the
veneration of sacred geometry. Plus, there was already likely a strong relationship between the guilds and military
orders from the Crusades. Ultimately, I think great credit is due to the Arabs, whom directly or indirectly enriched
European culture in many ways! I think this fact is oft overlooked and when viewed with the correct “lens”, may
lessen the hostilities and increase harmony between East and West!

The Breaking of the truce by Reynald of Châtillon.

All of this to say, that the operative guilds always had unorthodox philosophies towards mysticism and
sacred geometry. They were the only ones whom could build the awe-inspiring cathedrals which glorified the power
of the Church. While the Church surely knew of the mathematical heresies involved in the construction of these
churches, it most likely turned a blind eye because they greatly benefitted from it themselves. We know that not all
of the Templars were caught, and the large majority of them escaped and found safe haven in other "monasticmilitary orders," such as the Knights of St. John, the Knights of the Sword Bearers, Knights of Christ, Knights of St.
Andrew, and on and on.

The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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In summary, I've found tangible, yet obscure facts which tie these Templars, and their surviving orders to
the Renaissance figures whom had a great deal of influence on the formation of the Craft as we find it today. All of
this has been much more eloquently expounded on, by others. It is my opinion that the Craft degrees are degrees of
probation, and ritual cleansing, before an initiate is given "the word", or "the key" to the hidden mysteries, and is
allowed to travel further down the path of enlightenment. While the Master Mason degree is the great equalizer, in
my opinion it is not the culmination of the Masonic story and knowledge by far!

The Holy of Holies, King Solomon’s Temple.

The arch in Gothic architecture next to the “flying buttress,” was probably the most important aspect in
raising these sacred houses of worship to the Glory of God! It is my hope that every Mason will consider petitioning
the Holy Royal Arch, for further light in Freemasonry! It truly is a sublime and very special pinnacle of Craft
Masonry!

“key·stone
n.
1. Architecture The central wedge-shaped stone of an arch that locks its parts together. Also called headstone.
2. The central supporting element of a whole.”

The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

Rosslyn Chapel.

Myself with the “Beef Eaters” at the Tower of London.

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The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

Roman Bathes, at…….Bath, England.

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The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

The Rossetta Stone at the British Museum of Natural History.

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The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

Stone Henge.

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The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

To my “Gramma Joy”
Thank you so much for all of your love and support over the years!

Page. 15

The Holy Royal Arch: The Keystone in the Arch of Chivalry and Freemasonry. By Nathan Glover.

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References:

SRIA, (N.D). Masonic Connection. Retrieved on 11-29-2011 from website:
http://sria.info/index.php?option=co...=16&Itemid=134

N.A., (2011). Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon: John Theophilus Desaguliers. Retrieved on 11-29-2011
from website: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/biography/...guliers_j.html

Smith, Carson, C. (N.D). Electric Scotland: Scots and Freemasonry. Retrieved on 11-29-2011 from website:
http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...eemasonary.htm

Hall, Manly, P. (1923). The Lost Keys of Freemasonry: Published by New York : Macoy Publishing and Masonic
Supply Co.

N.A., (N.D). The Grand Lodge of Western Australia: Intro to Freemasonry. Retrieved on 11-29-2011 from website:
http://www.freemasonswa.org.au/About...eemasonry.aspx

Ambelain, R. (2005). Templars and Rose-Croix: Translated by Piers A. Vaughan.

Picknett, L., Prince, C. (1997). The Templar Revelation: Published by Transworld Publishers LTD. (United
Kingdom), and Touchstone books (United States).

Picknett, L., Prince, C. (2006). The Sion Revelation. Published by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.

Hogan, T. (2007). Revelation of the Holy Grail. Published by Tim Hogan.


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