Don Quijote of the Knights Templar

Copyright 2009, John Manimas Medeiros

Was the lunatic knight Don Quijote (originally spelled "Quixote" in the old Spanish) intended by the Roman Catholic author, Miguel de Cervantes, to be a thinly disguised mockery of the Knights Templar and the "heresy" the Templars came to represent during the Inquisition of the Roman Church?

1) The Knights Templar, for decades the heroes of the Church and the Crusades, became the enemy in the fourteenth century, the enemy of the Pope (Clement V) and King Philip IV of France. Pope Clement V came to despise the Templars both for their rise in political and military power, including naval power, and their apparent support for the Cathars or "Albagensians" of southern France. The heresy of the Cathars included equal treatment of women in Cathar society and open reverence for Mary Magdalene as being the lover or wife and spiritual heir chosen by Jesus himself. This view of Mary Magdalene made her not only acceptable as an apostle of Christ, but in fact his intended First Apostle; not only a respected woman, but the most respected of women, deemed the best person to continue the teachings and practices of Jesus instead of Peter. It would have been easy, three hundred years after Jesus' death, to add the passage to the Gospels declaring that Peter was "the rock" of the Church, the Church that Jesus in fact advised his disciples to not create at the site of the "transfiguration."

2) King Philip IV of France was deeply indebted to the Knights Templar, not only morally indebted but he owed the Templars a great deal of money. He was most likely also not pleased by the apparent alliance that had developed between the Templars and the Cathars, since the Knights appeared to support the idea that Mary Magdalene was a female disciple to be respected at least as much as the historical male disciples. The Cathars were clearly a rather independent people, not only independent of the Pope but potentially independent of the King. The Church wanted everyone to believe that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute whom Jesus would have regarded only as a sinner. The Church did not regard Magdalene as a sinner to be understood and forgiven, but rather as a female rival for the sanctification and spiritual power assigned strictly to Peter and to males. The King and Pope came together in their common hatred of the Templars and Cathars. They did not want the situation to develop where the Templars were the military power openly defending the Magdalene "heresy." The doors of Church power had to remain closed to women.

3) [1307] The Knights Templar were attacked according to a complex plan on Friday, October 13, 1307, with the intent to eliminate them entirely. All Templars were to be arrested, tortured for information, and killed. The goal was to destroy the Templars completely and erase the Cathars from history. The plan nearly succeeded. But the Templars were prepared and some escaped to Scotland, according to "legend" or did they in fact survive to be Knights Templar, and Freemasons, again?

4) 150-200 years later: [April 15, 1452 to May 1, 1519] is the life span of Leonardo da Vinci, usually described as the most intelligent and most skilled man who ever lived. It has been estimated by historians that even though the records we have of his achievements and ideas show him to be a genius who was centuries ahead of his time, we probably have only ten percent of his work. He is associated with the Knights Templar and the Freemasons in two fascinating books: Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln (1983) and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2005). Many other authors associate da Vinci with the Freemasons and or the mysterious Priory of Sion. One allegation, impossible to prove, is that da Vinci was elevated to the highest leadership role in one of these secret societies. There are hints that the most famous European painting in the world, The Mona Lisa or La Jocunda, is intended to be Mary Magdalene or possibly da Vinci himself in order to send a hidden message that male and female are equal. In any case, Leonardo da Vinci is easily viewed as a person who would have been open to the equality of women. He was centuries ahead of the times in the physical sciences, why not also social science? He appreciated all of Nature and could not have despised women or female independence as prescribed by the Church of his time.

5) 100 years later: [September 29, 1547 to April 22, 1616] is the life span of Miguel de Cervantes, author of one of the most famous stories in the world, usually described as the "first novel," Don Quijote de La Mancha. I remember well that this book was the one I read with the greatest attention and concentration in college. I was fascinated by the adventures and misadventures of this colorful and down-to-earth "knight errant" who gave us our common idiomatic criticism of any unrealistic person as being one who is "tilting at windmills." Note that even the phrase "knight errant" is ambiguous, because it means "knight on an errand" but could mean "knight in error." Before Don Quijote was written, most of European culture would have been familiar with the more positive stories of "knights errant" popularized by the troubadours who appeared at fairs and other village performances and celebrations. Singing and reciting poetry in the streets was the "television" of Medieval times. Stories of knights were the Medieval stories of heroes who righted injustices and saved "damsels in distress" or "honorable maidens" from abuse and degradation. At the same time, one may notice that the Knights Templar are associated with a tradition of "chivalry." And what does this word "chivalry" mean? It can be interpreted as referring to a man on a horse, but more specifically to a man "on a white horse," and more specifically still to a man who is the hero of a woman because he protects her from mistreatment and even from being insulted. To be chivalrous means to treat a woman with respect. It means that the man treats the woman respectfully even if she is independent and is not available to him sexually. The respect for the woman, from the man, is hers because of who she is as a person. She is likely to be attractive, but her attractiveness will come from her personal independence and self-reliance, her power and her skill at using her power for good. She is a good person who happens to be female, a warrior in her own right, and she is respected this way and not as a sexual object. That is chivalry. The female is valued as a person, an equal in most respects, though sexually female. But Don Quijote the person is presented as a silly buffoon, a man who is often out of touch with reality and who lives in the world of his imagination, not in the real world. He sees Dulcinea as his "princess," the honorable maiden who wins his heart, but according to the depiction in the story Dulcinea, whose name means something like "sweet one," is in fact a barmaid and most likely a prostitute or a whore. She would certainly fall into the social category that is today designated as a "bar fly," meaning one who frequents bars or taverns and is ready for short-term sexually and sensually intense relationships.

6) Lets take a closer look at Don Quijote and Dulcinea (and Sancho Panza) in this first novel, a detective story, a history, a love story, and perhaps a coded tract of religious dogma. To Don Quijote, knight errant, Dulcinea is his royal princess, a woman of great beauty and distinction, a woman of place and power. Dulcinea is in fact a "farmer's daughter." We know that one of the most famous and common forms of joke or "funny story" is a story of a "farmer's daughter," who is pretty, or ugly, healthy and strong, and sexually available. Dulcinea is also a barmaid. She serves drinks to the crowd of common men at a tavern. She is invited, certainly, to serve her body along with the drinks. She is not necessarily overtly described as a whore, but she is definitely depicted as a common woman whose most likely role in society is to satisfy men with her service to their desires for alcohol and easy sex. Who Dulcinea seems to be really, is exactly the view that the Church propagates of Mary Magdalene (if not today, certainly in the sixteenth century). The Church says Mary Magdalene is a common whore of no significance to Jesus or to Christianity. Dulcinea is a common whore according to the "first novel," but a common whore who Don Quijote, the crazy knight errant, sees as an honorable woman, a princess, his spiritual bride. This then would make Don Quijote not Jesus, but a Knight Templar, a fool who sees Mary Magdalene as an honorable woman, a woman of significance and power. He thinks he is being appropriately chivalrous and is the champion of an independent and powerful female leader, but he is in reality delusional and Dulcinea exists in fact only in his imagination. It has been noted in scholarly criticism of Don Quijote that Dulcinea does not in fact appear physically in the story. She is only described by observers but she is absent from the action. This absence from the real action of the story is certainly consistent with the Church’s total disrespect for Magdalene. Dulcinea, the "Magdalene" in my metaphorical interpretation, may not even exist. She is presented as probably being entirely a product of the imagination of the fool knight. This view of the "fool knight" is the Church policy on Magdalene and the Cathar belief in her discipleship and the equality of male and female in the real church which is the spiritually cohesive nurturing and liberating community.

Note also that in the story, a priest of the Inquisition engages in an open and transparent effort to persuade an innkeeper that the tales of knights are not true. There never where any gallant knights who fought for justice or defended honorable female leaders in the countryside. Note that throughout Medieval times the countryside was the world of the “pagani” or “country folk” who worshipped goddesses as well as gods. It is implied that for a chivalrous man to defend an honorable female leader is nothing more than a married man with children seeking an extra-marital affair. That means of course, committing adultery, the sin for which human civilization often wants to severely punish the female, but is "understanding" of the male’s incapacity to control himself. Remember the parable of the adulteress, where according to ancient Hebrew law an adulteress was to be stoned to death. There is no mention of punishment for the man who "adulterated" with her. Jesus, one will recall, refused to cast a stone, and in fact stated that the only person who could justifiably cast a stone at her would be a person who had never sinned. Obviously, no stones were thrown on that day, nor could any be thrown today.

Further still, even Don Quijote himself is presented as mysterious and unreal and possibly a product of someone's imagination. Cervantes presents the story as being copied from the notes of a Moor, Benengeli. This is certainly an interesting alleged source in sixteenth century Spain, after the Inquisition has expelled all Moors and Jews from Spain, including from the cosmopolitan city of Cordoba, the intellectual, commercial and artistic model for the Italian renaissance. It becomes unclear who created Don Quijote, who was his real father, what is the true source of the story, and therefore how real is Don Quijote, and to continue my metaphorical interpretation, the "first novel" raises the question, in sixteenth century Europe: Who were the true creators, or fathers, of the Knights Templar? And are they real or just imaginary? An interesting thing to say about a real organization that was definitely hired for the protection of European visitors to the Holy Land and by merchants throughout the Mediterranean world to protect money or credit in transit, and ships and the property the ships conveyed. So, to conclude my interpretation of Don Quijote, the story says that the Knights Templar and Cathars, and any man who likes to treat women as respectable equals, is a fool who imagines women are honorable but in reality they are all invisible whores. Such men or "knights errant" who want to protect women are themselves imaginary, unreal men who are out of touch with the reality that every princess is actually a dumb whore barmaid, certainly not worthy to be a disciple of Christ. What do you think about that?

7) [1588] and [1776] The American "founding fathers" -- many of whom can be found by legitimate historical documentation to have been the type of men who consulted with their "founding mothers," included a lot of Freemasons. The Freemasons, if you study their history, apparently survived the massacre of Friday the 13th (October 1307) and rebuilt themselves in Scotland and in England and subsequently all over the world. They may have transferred their secret "treasure" whatever it may be, to the New World. It is clear that if the Templars did anything after 1307 they maintained their ability to fight and they maintained their ability to master the sea. Their navy survived with them, and that raises significant questions about what role they could have played in the destruction of the Spanish Armada and the rise of England, then the British Empire and then the American empire, all in large part by virtue of naval power, and perhaps also by some well designed piracy. Lots of Spanish "galleons" carrying gold and other wealth sank on their trips from Central America back to Spain. Were all of those losses accidental?

First lets take the loss of the Spanish Armada [1588]. Da Vinci was dead. England had a respectable navy, but the Spanish Armada was deemed to be better. The story of Don Quijote, or certainly the enmity between the old Knights Templar and the Church would have been familiar to the educated classes of Europe. The Spanish Armada's trip to England was not only a commercial and political act of war, it was a continuation of religious war. The Church of England, like those damned uppity women, was independent and did not obey the Pope. England was under the leadership of a "whore," known as Queen Elizabeth the First, also known as "The Virgin Queen," perhaps to deny the Spanish allegation that she was a dumb whore (Elizabeth refused overtly to be or appear to be controlled by a man). Well, the supposedly inferior navy of the dumb whore defeated the Spanish Armada. Now I need to tell you something very interesting about that battle and its outcome. Historians today attribute the loss of the Spanish Armada primarily to weather. A storm supposedly made a controlled battle impossible and the Armada, attempting to get to safe harbors, was lost to the violence of the North Sea. This storm certainly played a role, but is it wise to attribute the outcome entirely to the storm, to an "act of God." By the way, if it is deemed to be "an act of God," that means that God did not like the Spanish Armada and the authoritarian Church it defended. To return to history, I once had the benefit of a different interpretation and I regret and apologize that I cannot name the source. This was from a book and or professor of history at Brandeis University. The explanation considers social structures. The Spanish Armada was commanded by captains who rose to their positions because they were the nobility or sons of the nobility of Medieval Spain, a highly class conscious and strictly hierarchical society. Therefore, the captains and probably other officers of the Spanish ships were not really skilled leaders and did not have significant experience as sailors. The English navy was entirely different. The English officers got to their positions through naval experience. In other words, in the English navy one did not get to be a ship's captain because you were the son of a lord or duke, but only because you were an experienced sailor who had the genuine respect of your crew. If this is historically true, one can reasonably conclude that the English navy was in fact a better navy on the day of the aborted battle. Consider another point. It is argued that the Spanish Armada was destroyed by a storm. What kind of navy is destroyed by a storm? Of course they did not have our weather forecasting technology of today, but in the "old days" people had their ways of anticipating the weather. A skilled naval officer would also understand the importance of knowing the "territory" or sea one was about to sail into. Why did the Spanish captains not understand the risks involved in going to meet the English ships in their home territory of the English Channel and the North Sea. Of course the English officers knew the North Sea better than the Spanish, but the Spanish officers had a responsibility to know what they were getting into. The historical record apparently does not say that both the English navy and the Spanish navy were equally damaged. Therefore, I find my view of why the Spanish lost more accurate: the Spanish officers included many who were not real sailors. They were political appointments. They lost because the Spanish officers were white-sleeved fluffies attempting to fight real sailors.

8) [1776] and [1787] After England becomes the master of the seas, their "colonies" include India and the Northeast of North America. At this time the Spanish, still very powerful and still profoundly allied to the Roman Church, are well established in Central and South America, and somewhat established in Florida and the Southwestern quarter of North America. Is the religious war still on? As the "Americans" develop their loyalty to the New World, and grow tired of being governed from a distance, there arises an opportunity unique in world history. Even though the continent is occupied by Native Americans, they can be dealt with however may be necessary. They can be pushed out of the way if they get in the way of the creation of a "continental nation." The unique opportunity is the opportunity to create a new nation, even a new type of nation, a nation that is created by deliberate planning and design rather than being the product of some accidents of history and "royal family" intrigue. This becomes a fortuitous opportunity for the Free and Accepted Masons, and whoever may be the living heirs of the Knights Templar. They have, it appears, an opportunity to create a new and potentially powerful nation that is not allied to the Roman Church and not controlled by the Roman Church and that actually practices a form of "religious freedom." Now the history is complex and torturous in some respects, and it is clear that there were religious "enclaves" and significant religious intolerance in the United States of America both before and after the adoption of the Constitution by the people [1787]. But the new written American Constitution included ten amendments (demanded by the people) that established the Bill of Rights that was and still is one of the most profoundly important documents in human history. The Bill of Rights spelled out concisely the rights of the accused and the separation of church and state and freedom of religious belief as well as freedom of speech. The Bill of Rights raised to human consciousness throughout the world a set of fundamental requirements for a society to implement democratic process. This was truly a revolution. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights can also be seen as an act in the "religious war" that seems to never end, a war between inequality and equality. The history of the United States is complex and the rights stated in the Constitution can certainly be seen as stated while not established, especially in view of slavery and the American Civil War and the long ongoing battle for equal rights for women. However, it is reasonable to see the American Revolution and the American Constitution as being suspiciously consistent with the goals of the Knights Templar and the Freemasons, the goal to be protected from a Church that previously tried to exterminate them by means of a secret military plan and an alliance with a state power (King of France). Has America not also been suspiciously a leader in the development of equal rights and the rights of women? Is it valid to conclude that the United States of America, being a nation that was and still is intended to make the world safe for democracy, was also originally intended to create a nation and possibly a world that would be safe for real freedom of religion, where it would be possible that women also were the disciples of Christ and women are equal and worthy of respect and honorable and capable of leadership? And would such a nation and such a world then make it safe for the Knights Templar to come out of hiding and declare their grief and their grievance over the Church's deliberate and sinfully violent attempt to exterminate them in October of 1307? Can men be so dedicated and determined to right a wrong, to remedy an injustice, as to fight a religious war, both overtly and covertly, for eight centuries? Look at America today. Some say we are witnessing "culture wars." Are we being deceived? Are we witnessing new attempts to discredit the equality of women? Are we witnessing instead a last ditch effort to prevent the Freemasons and Knights Templar from riding out once again, on their white horses, to assert that Mary Magdalene was the lover and spiritual bride of Jesus Christ, and women are equal to men before God? And that women were the disciples of Christ. And that the Gospel and history declare that women brought their caring skills and money and devotion to the first Christian community? And that the Roman Church's disrespect for women is wrong and contrary to the teaching and practice of Jesus Christ?

9) [Today] Are religious wars and commerce wars actually the same war? I read many years ago in a National Geographic magazine a story about an "underground economy" in Italy that included glass manufacturing and other works of art. The Sicilian Mafia is widely known as a secret society of men who earn money illegally through gambling, prostitution and drug trafficking - an underground “secret” economy. They are also suspected of providing the service of removing a person by murder if one can afford the price. They are also known to “launder” money obtained illegally by channeling it as investment capital or false income to legal business operations. This way the profitable but secret criminal activity serves as a kind of capital generator in place of the otherwise challenging prospect of raising capital legally, and having it all on record. It is disconcerting to think that a law-abiding entrepreneur might apply to borrow money from a bank that has large deposits created by criminal enterprises. One wonders about the records of the Roman Church - and other denominations - in terms of income and expenses. We cannot know with certainty how much capital the churches receive from the “faithful” or the not-so-faithful. Church organizations are enterprises that could run an “underground economy” or “black operations” just like the Department of Defense. One might suspect that the economic events of the world, and the wars, occur by virtue of an “under-the-table underground economy” rather than by elected officials. I love all that I have learned from the Gospels, but it is essential to emphasize that Jesus invites us to his teaching. He does not tell us we must believe what we are told and do what we are told or be killed. Jesus invites the listener to explore the truth about both moral and physical reality. The religious wars, the crusades, the jihads, the war to control the money of the world and the minds of the world appears to be going on, and the religious war as a whole is not much different from what it has been in the past. A major issue is whether women are also the disciples of Christ and deemed the spiritual equals of men. This is the issue for both fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims. There are "chivalrous" Christians and "chivalrous" Muslims who believe that women should be treated with equal respect and they act upon that belief. But the war goes on. Fundamentalists played a role in controlling the Republican Party and the administration of President George W. Bush. Religious war was on and visible, not a secret. The Da Vinci Code was produced as a film. What more do you need to see that the religious war is still with us? How much of the world's economy is "underground?" Did we not witness in 2008 the United States Congress authorize giving seven hundred billion dollars to banks and investment firms. Why? Where is that taxpayers' money and what was it used for? Is there only a "military industrial complex" or now also a corporate banking complex? What is the size of all "black budgets"? Is it wise to assume that it is relatively small? What if someone in a position to know told you that the United States Department of Defense spends more money secretly than it spends out in the open? Could that be true? Is that democracy? Or is someone preparing for the next phase of the endless religious war? Following the American Revolution the French Revolution was more cold-blooded in its attitude toward the Church. There was widespread anti-clericalism. Priests were deprived of their property, their authority and their dignity. Some were killed. Which way will we go? Is the control of Jerusalem still a real issue? Why? Why do some Muslims go wild with hatred of "infidels"? Is it wise to base one's attitudes toward others on actions committed by ancestors centuries ago? Wise or not, this is what appears to be happening. We are still in the middle of a religious battlefield. The ongoing "religious war" is fought on all fronts and by all means: elections, commerce, banking, navies, armies, literature, films, radio, television, songs, art, any means that may project the beliefs or power or authority of a faction. One faction wants real freedom of religion, democracy. Other factions want religion imposed, theocracy. You will not be able to be neutral in this war. It can become very big and very violent and powerful on short notice. Be prepared. Do not allow yourself to be deceived. You will not be fighting for something small. You will be fighting for religious freedom and democracy and there will be weapons and money and armies and churches hired to kill you by any means available.

10) Practice your true religion as best you can. Do not assume that others will respect your desire for religious freedom, even in America. You will be called upon, believe it or not, to decide whether you are on the side of the Knights Templar and Don Quijote and Dulcinea and Mary Magdalene, or the Inquisition. By the way, Sancho Panza, in the end, acknowledged the difficulties of Don Quijote, but he decided to stay with him, a knight's eternal companion on the endless quest to right wrongs and protect the princess barmaids of the wild countryside, and ladies, goddesses, healers, warriors and queens - virgin, seasoned or aged. If you believe that knights errant and the Knights Templar might be imaginary, you can remedy that. Be one.

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