The Temple of Solomon and the Knights Templar.

Der im Folgenden abgedruckte Text beruht auf einem Vortrag, den ich am Emerson-College in Sussex (Südengland) 2009 gehalten habe. Er war ursprünglich eine Einheit mit dem zweiten Aufsatz "The Knights Templar and their Meaning for the 21st Century". In dem Buch 'The Knights Templar. Influences from the past and impulses for the future'  sind daraus zwei Aufsätze gemacht worden. Diese Teilung haber ich beibehalten. Der Text des Buches ist hier an einigen wenigen Stellen verbessert worden.

The riddle of the name of the Order – the Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple of Solomon.

An important question concerning the Knights Templar is why the Christian monastic / knightly order took the name of the main Hebrew temple in Jerusalem and a simple answer is that they took the name from the place where they were living at the time. We can ask: why question it as it seems so simple? But an Islamic legend tells us, that the Byzantine Empress Helena found the true cross and built a great church over the tomb and place of Golgotha and at the same time disregarded and denigrated the area of the Temple. Arab Muhallabi wrote, ‘She turned “the Rock” into the rubbish dump of the area, and it passed into oblivion’. It was Caliph Umar, in 638, who gave the order to clean it.[1] It seems, therefore, that the Christians did not appreciate the site.   The destruction of the Temple and its role in the condemnation of Christ had overshadowed the memory of Solomon’s glory. However, the Templars gladly claimed the site and also its name which was the name of a Temple that had been destroyed hundreds of years earlier.

The Knights Templar within the development of monasticism.

Many other Monastic orders that had been similarly established on old heathen sanctuary sites did not take their name from the place.  The first monastery of the Order of St Benedict was established on a Italian hill (c.529) that was the site of the Roman military castellum (or stronghold) of Monte Cassino but originally had been an ancient heathen sanctuary dedicated to the Greek God Apollo. Benedict erected the Altar of John the Baptist directly upon the altar of Apollo and placed an altar of Saint Martin nearby. Benedict did not take the name for his order but the place he chose had a strong influence on his monastery, the Order and even on the whole Christian church. It is symbolic that the walls of his monastery resembled a Roman castellum more than a Christian church and one might say that he built a strong fortress of Christianity.

How did Benedict form his order? Pope Gregory I has given us details of Benedict’s life. The oldest form of Christian life outside Christian communities were the hermits living in Thebes, Egypt. St Anthony (c.250-356) had led a devout life as a hermit influencing others to imitate him. St Pachomius (c.287-346) observed that the life of a hermit did not help develop the full spectrum of human virtues; in particular social development could not take place in isolation. So he advised the hermits to live together, three in one cell. Such cells formed a hut and these huts formed a small village, which was surrounded by a wall. Pachomius advised the hermits to wear similar clothes and to eat together. This was the transition from the hermit’s life to that of monasticism.  

Besides prayer their central tasks were worldly. Ploughing, sowing, stockbreeding, gardening, weaving, craftwork, baking and cooking filled their days and the produce was sold in markets on behalf of the community. The needs of the community were met in this way. None of the monks were priests and so a priest had to be invited to take Mass. Pachomius wanted a deepening and Christianizing of the social sphere; we might say he wished for a “common wealth”.  He did not want a monasticism that was separate from the world.  The monastery was part of the priest’s parish, though a part that influenced him deeply and so he too tried to lead a perfect life. The monks were the yeast in the dough of the human community.

The monks in St Pachomius’ community received no theological education and most of them only knew a little of the Gospels and perhaps some fragments from the Old Testament. Any education they had received had been gained previously, and further development was reliant on individual initiative as there were no schools within the communities. The influence from the community was purely moral and not intellectual - their hearts blossomed but not their intellectual life. Thus the monks had a deep influence on the souls of the people in their surroundings but little or no influence on intellectual debate.

Monks were not committed to Pachomius’ communities for life and they could leave when they wanted. Some left the community, travelling alone and trying to lead a holy life; some of them succeeded; some didn’t.

Born about 480 into a noble family, St Benedict first ‘studied’ jurisprudence in Rome. He soon left the city and began to lead a hermit’s life in the mountains. Pope Gregory tells us that a monk with the telling name Romanus gave him the necessary clothing and brought meals to his cave. This ‘friend’ seems to have been his spiritual guide. After some years monks from a nearby monastery asked Benedict to become their abbot. He followed the call - and failed! The older monks could not endure the strictness and earnestness of the regime and even wanted to kill him, so Benedict had to leave the community and return to the mountains near the river Anio where he founded another community in the style of that of St Pachomius. Again there was difficulty with some in this new community which made it impossible for Benedict to remain.       

When Benedict was 49 years old, in 529, he founded the monastery at Castrum Casinum, mentioned above. In the same year Justinian closed the philosophical schools of Athens and many of the Greek philosophers fled to Gondishapur in present-day Iraq.

Benedict destroyed the surviving remnants of paganism with this new foundation and he gave his monks a new ‘rule’. When they entered the Order he now expected them to make a commitment for life. He expected the strict observance of the stabilitas loci, which means they were to stay in the same monastery for life. This was not meant to be tyrannical, but was a means to awaken the heart forces of the monk’s. Like Pachomius’ hermits Benedict’s monks had to wear identical clothes. The rule also demanded a special haircut. They had to remove all the hair from the top part of the head, where the spirit connects to the human body, making the place open and visible. This meant that every Benedictine monk was recognised as such and thus was treated like a monk and always reminded of his vows.

Benedict’s moderate demands concerning daily prayers and rites opened the possibility for the monks to receive a theological education. Benedictine monks had the task to read and listen to readings; Monte Cassino was one of the first monasteries to have a library. Through Benedict monasticism became a lifelong learning and after a while the monasteries became centres of higher study, predating the later universities.

Because of Benedict’s ‘rule’ and insistence on commitment the Benedictine monks became important factors in intellectual life, their word having weight in the intellectual world of the time. This way Christianity not only reached the feelings of the heart but also the questioning mind.

Benedict, who has been called “the last Roman”, thought of his institution in the terms of Roman military life. When monks took the vows, they became milites Christi, ‘the soldiers of Christ’.   One can say that this meant an inner fight against the evil and the fight to find the living Christ. But the whole church became an ecclesia militans, a ‘fighting church’, and it was the task of every monk or clergyman, to fight for the eternal salvation of all human beings.

The Monks made an oath that Benedict called the sacramentum, using the same word that Roman soldiers gave to the oath to their flag. In the Prologue of the ‘Rule’ Benedict defines the purpose of the order: Constituenda est ergo a nobis dominici schola servitii. The word schola originally meant a group of guardians in the palace of the Roman Emperor. The declaration in St Benedict’s rule reads: ‘We have to be an army of guardians, for the service of God’.  The Benedictine Order needed rules like all military troops. Benedict called the rule a lex, sub qua militare vis or ‘the law, under which you wish to serve’. Militare means ‘serve’, a kind of military service, and by this law the monks were strictly separated from the rest of mankind.

His military concept of monasticism perpetrated every aspect of the life of the monks. Even the library was called armatorium which means the room containing the arms or weapons for the fight. The mental side of the fight becomes clearly visible.

In the third century Roman theologians had begun to introduce their thinking, in terms of juridical laws, into the Church. For the Greek Patriarchs Christ was the redeemer or saviour. With his sacrifice everything was completed. It was wonderful news they brought to the people - an eu-angelion. Death had lost its sting. In Rome, however, Christ became the highest judge. One had to fulfil certain terms or conditions to gain redemption. The eu-angelion here became a testament whose writer was dead, and the heirs had to fulfil certain terms to achieve the inheritance. The Romans thought that redemption was not unconditional salvation but that people had to do something to achieve the inheritance. The conditions were moral ones, but Cyprian of Carthage found that there were also other ones: Extra ecclesiam salus non est, ‘There is no salvation outside the church’.[2]

In the sixth century the Romanization of the church took another step. The forces of  Mars penetrated the independence of the Church and the worldly imperial will of Rome and its Emperors went through a metamorphosis, which Robin Macpherson[3] calls an Involution, and became the will to spiritually conquer the world. When a plant goes through an involution, it looses its outer appearance, but bewares its inner possibilities and works on another plane. This involution of the Roman ‘folk spirit’ or ‘Spirit of the Roman people’, is what we observe in the life of Benedict of Nursia and his contemporary Cassiodorus (c.490-583).

Rudolf Steiner tells us that the spiritual background of such outer manifestations lies in the sacrifice of the Spirit, who once was the Spirit of the Roman people. The Archangel relinquished his task for the Roman people and became the leading spirit of exoteric Christianity.[4] The name Roman Catholic Church tells it all. Catholicos is a Greek word meaning ‘for everyone’, but being ‘Roman’ and being ‘for everyone’ seems rather contradictory. The Spirit of the Roman people behaved as if he were a ‘Spirit of Time’, as if he were ‘for everyone’. This Spirit was an Archangel, who worked like a ‘Time Spirit’. This is reflected in the fact that Benedict chose a former military colony of the Roman army as the right place to found his order. This depicts the real evolution in the spiritual world, that lies behind the outer facts.

Ferdinand Gregorovius, the writer of  History of the City of Rome in the Middle-Ages, described Benedict’s work with the following words:

            [The Benedictine monasteries] became for the Roman church what the military colonies             had been for ancient Rome. Scarcely had the Empire been destroyed when Roman       monks penetrated barefoot – the cord around their loins – without any fear into the           outermost Thule and invaded into those wildernesses of the Occident, which the ancient Roman consuls and their legions had not been able to fully conquer.[5]  

With the word Thule he meant the whole North of  Europe outside the former Roman Empire, i.e. Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia, etc. Gregorovius describes the conversion of the Northern peoples as the continuation of the Roman conquest.

Our short voyage through church history has shown us that in the eleventh century the idea that an order had a military task was not new to Christendom; it was normal. But through time the Church Fathers changed the physical fight into an inner or mental one.

What was new was that the Knights Templar combined spiritual combat with worldly combat. Was this some sort of backlash? No it was not. The Templar Knights were not allowed to attack the enemy first. Passions had to be controlled. If not in a declared war, they had to wait until an aggressor had attacked them three times before accepting the challenge. The combination of inner and outer challenge developed the physical body into a spiritualized physical body. 

There are many witnesses who show that the metamorphosis or involution of the Roman spirit, who was taken for a real spirit, was known in the Middle Ages. On a Carolingian ivory plaque we find a scene, that is not found in the Gospels, but was living vividly in the minds of the Carolingian artists and their noble or ecclesiastical Patrons with the result that it was carved many times.

We see on the right of the cross of Golgotha a woman sitting in front of a house or temple. She is sometimes depicted with an aura in the form of city walls and sometimes crowned characterising her as the city of Rome which means the Spirit of Rome. She has a round disc in her hand showing her as ruler ‘urbi et orbi’ i.e. of the city and of the whole Earth. Another woman comes from the direction of the cross carrying a flag, as we know Ecclesia does, and takes the disc from the sitting Roma.[6] This shows that the task of the Spirit of Rome has passed to the Ecclesia, the Spirit of the exoteric Church.


[1] Priscilla Soucek.‘The Temple of Solomon in Islamic Legend and Art‘, included in Joseph Gutmann (ed.), The Temple of Solomon, Archaeological Fact and Medieval Tradition in Christian, Islamic and Jewish Art (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1976)

[2] Letters of Cyprian. Ep.73,21.

[3] Robin Macpherson. Rome in Involution. Cassiodorus’ Variae in their literary and historical setting. Poznan 1989.

[4] Rudolf Steiner, The Mission of the Individual Folk Souls, tr. A.H. Parker (Rudolf Steiner Press London 1970) Lecture of 12.6.1910 (Eveninglecture in Oslo). New edition. Rudolf Steiner Press. Forest Row. 2005.

[5] Ferdinand Gregorovius. History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages, tr. Annie Hamilton (Cornell University Library, 2009).

[6] Wolfgang Seiferth. Synagoge und Kirche im Mittelalter. München 1964. Abb. 5 und 6. München. Staatsbibliothek. Clm. 4452. Coverplate (ca.870) and Paris. Bibliotheque Nationale. Cl. 9383. Coverplate (ca. 900)

Die Kreuzigung Christi als kosmisches Geschehen. Rechts neben dem Kreuz: Ecclesia und Roma. Um 870. Elfenbeinbuchdeckel auf dem "Bamberger Evangeliar". München, Staatsbibliothek. Clm. 4452. Fig. 1 The crucifixion as a cosmic event. On the right side of the cross: Ecclesia and Roma. Ivory bookcover, about 870. München. Staatsbibliothek. Clm. 4452.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London possesses a small Ivory from the 11th century.[1] It shows St Peter dictating the Gospel to St Mark. An angel is standing between them seemingly inspiring Peter. Over the head of the angel are the Greek letters ΠΟΛΙC ΡΩΜΗΙ. The words read Polis Romei and could be translated as ‘City of Rome’. But there is no city to be seen. Therefore, the scholar Paul Williamson[2], who seemingly does not believe in Archangels, feels obliged to explain that there must have been an image of the city on a plate above the extant part. But Polis also means ‘that which gives the order for all’. It was not meant as an abstract political unit but as a living being, so we might translate better: ‘The Common (Spirit) of Rome’. This indicates that people in the early Middle Ages were aware of Spirits of Nations and Spirits of Time, especially the leading and more developed citizens.


[1] Victoria and Albert Museum. 270-1867. - Paul Williamson. Medieval Ivory Carvings. London. pic.12. p.30

[2] Paul Williamson. Medieval Ivory Carvings. London. pic.12. p.30

Der Geist Roms (Polis Romii) diktiert Petrus, Petrus diktiert Markus. 1075-1100. Süditalienisches Elfenbeinrelief. Höhe 13,5cm. London. Victoria & Albert Museum, Inv.270-1867. Fig. 2 The Folk Soul of Rome (Polis Romii) dictates St Peter, St Peter dictates St Mark. 1075-1100 (Williamson). Ivory from Southern Italy. Height: 13,5 cm. London. Victoria & Albert Museum, Inv.270-1867.

The spirit of the place

We have already seen that the place on which Benedict founded his order was well chosen. Because of this the place influenced the new ‘Roman’ Spirit of the Order. The remains of the ancient civilisations, on which he built, gave the picture of the spirit on which he founded his new spirituality. Apollo has been described by Rudolf Steiner as the Greek form of the descending but-not-yet incarnated Christ.[9]  Benedict consecrated Apollo’s altar anew to John the Baptist, ‘who prepared the way ---- for the powers of Christ (to) permeate the existence of  humanity’.[10]

The sites where churches and monasteries were founded were carefully chosen and the earlier history taken into account. Even the form of the place had a special importance. The founding of the monastery of Corvey at the Weser in Germany in the year 821, for example, was on a site that had the form of a triangle. The river Weser flowed along two sides of the triangle, while along the third side a range of hills covered the land. This was taken as a sign that the threefold unity of the deity was living there. Paschasius Radbertus (785-860), who took part in the founding of Corvey, wrote of the form of the site and its meaning for its inhabitants: ‘And if the triangle will be erected, as has been shown, this will be a sign, that those who live there shall ignite the fire of love’.[11]

As Rudolf Steiner often explained the symbolism of the figure of the triangle we can understand what Paschasius, the Carolingian theologian, meant. The symbol resembles a house. The living quarters have a form shaped like a square, whose corners represent fourfold man – the physical body, the etheric body, the astral body and the “I” or self. The roof forms a triangle over the square, which represents the three parts of the human spirit, I or ego, i.e. harmonized thinking, feeling and willing.[12] 

If the three partial parts or members of our spirit shall rule over our fourfold physical or, better said, incarnated being, then this will happen by ingniting the fire of love. The Spirit Self is developed through identifying oneself with an idea. This idea – which we love – becomes our Self. Through this the universal spirit becomes individual, the Spirit becomes Self. Our beloved idea (moral intuition) is universal: everyone can think it and can have insight into it.  On the other hand, the same idea is individual, because we love it – we don’t ask whether someone else loves it: we love it because we love it. Our love has its basis from the depth of ourselves and through the love of the universal idea we start to know not only the universal being of the idea, but also the individual being in our unknown depths. We will be in the future, what we love now.[13]   

All this indicates that there must have been clear reasons for the Templars’ choice of site in Jerusalem and not just chance. The site of the Temple, the Spirit of the place, must have had an important influence on the founders of the Order. While the Spirit of Rome by a transition had become the Spirit of the Roman church, the Knights Templar did not exclude military fighting from their spiritual development. It was kind of a counter-movement. evolution instead of involution.

The Wisdom of Solomon

Why did the Knights Templar choose the place of Solomon’s Temple? When the knights entered Jerusalem the Temple was long destroyed. They knew about the Temple from the Bible and they also knew of the Wisdom of Solomon. Today the highest wisdom is still identified with the name of Solomon.

But what do we know of Solomon’s wisdom? His Book of Proverbs was printed in hundreds of editions in former centuries. Nowadays we say it is part of the so-called wisdom-literature that flourished in the ancient world similar to that of the Egyptian Book of life [14] written in the form of a father’s speech to his son. But these are only formal comparisons which are made without real understanding.

Many modern academics do not believe in the authorship of Solomon, but at the time of the Knights Templar there were many books attributed to him. Albertus Magnus (1200-80) attributed a book In speculo Astrologiae to Solomon. Trithemius of Sponheim (1462-1516) believed in Solomon’s authorship of the ‘superstitious’ and magic books Clavicula Salomonis, Liber Lamene and the Liber Pentaculorum. The Middle Ages thought of Solomon not only as a pious author but as an occult author, an author of Mystery wisdom.

At the beginning of the ninth chapter of Solomon’s Book of Proverbs we read the following: Sapientia aedificavit sibi domum, excidit columnas septem. This strange sentence, which was central for some older occultists, can become a key for an understanding of Solomon’s wisdom. The King James version of the Bible reads: ‘Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.’(Proverbs, 9.1) Solomon speaks of the building of a house and a house is for someone to live in, so who will live in this house? Solomon says: ‘Wisdom has built her house’. The house is built for wisdom. Wisdom is both the builder and the inhabitant. The second part of the sentence says: ‘she (wisdom) has erected seven pillars’ when building her house. If we look once more, we may notice, the seven pillars are not only erected, but also hewn out, which I understand as ‘carved’. During the erection of the house each pillar gets hewn out or carved. It may be that each of them is carved in a different way.

The English translators of the seventeenth century have added a word to the Latin version that they used. In the Latin version ‘wisdom hews out seven pillars’, but in the English Authorized version ‘wisdom hews out her seven pillars’. This is a very interesting addition. Without it one could understand Solomon’s proverb to mean, that wisdom has built herself a house and that the edifice is erected in a beautiful way: it has seven pillars. The word her makes clear that the pillars have something to do with Solomon’s wisdom; they either belong to it or are a part of it. We will see that Rudolf Steiner understands Solomon’s words in the same way that James I., the ‘English Solomon’, understood them.

The wise translator, James I, speaks of wisdom as a female entity. In both versions Solomon firstly speaks of something which has no house or home, then she builds herself a house; the third phase, which he does not mention, would be that she is living in her house. Why doesn’t Solomon mention it?  Is she standing before her house and not entering? Is she unwilling to go inside? Is there a certain moment to wait before going in? He does not tell us. And why did wisdom build herself a house, if she does not go in?  Why does wisdom need a house at all?  In looking repeatedly at this question one remembers that human thinking comes to consciousness by using the house of the body as a mirror. The human mind reflects on itself on the ground of its brain, which the mind has built for itself, and thereby comes to knowledge of itself. This wisdom needs her house not only as a dwelling place but to know herself. Can wisdom stay wisdom, if she does not know herself?   

If we remember that wisdom is a spiritual being then we notice that this resembles a process of incarnation. ‘Wisdom’ incarnates in seven phases by erecting seven kinds of support or props.   We can say the first one is the physical body, it is hewn out in the first seven years of our life. However, the physical body alone would not be enough to attain sensory perceptions. It is necessary to structure the physical body so that it has its own etheric body which is the second pillar that wisdom has to build or hew out in order to know her own essence. This process continues.  

Where can we find the famous ‘seven pillars of wisdom’? Rudolf Steiner gave a description of this some weeks before the outbreak of the First World War. He was speaking in Dornach about the erection of a ‘House of the Word’.  This house had a main hall with seven pillars on each side.  Rudolf Steiner said,

“The human being, as he enters the world, is really a highly complicated being. When he          enters the world he cannot at first stand upright; he crawls, and at the very beginning of  his existence he does not even crawl. Gradually he learns to control the forces which enable him to stand upright. Let me try to make a diagrammatic sketch of this process.”


[9] Rudolf Steiner. Approaching the Mystery of Golgotha, lecture of 5.3.1914 (SteinerBooks 2006) GA 152.

[10]Karl König, ‘St John the Baptist’, in The Mystery of John (Camphill Books, 2000).

[11] Paschasius Radbertus, ‚Vita Adalhardi abbatis Corbeiensis‘, chapter 66; in Prof. Walther Matthes, Corvey und die Externsteine. Schicksal eines vorchristlichen Heiligtums in karolingischer Zeit. (Stuttgart 1982). Allen Cabaniss translates the phrase thus: ‚If it should be elevated upward, it is obligated to enflame those dwelling therein with the fire of charity.’ In Allen Cabaniss, Charlemagne’s Cousins.Contemporary lives of Adalard and Wala (Syracuse University Press, New York, 1967).

[12] Rudolf Steiner. The Mission of the folk-souls, 5th lecture. 11.6.1910, Edition Rudolf Steiner Press 2005, page 93.

[13] For those readers, who do not know the concepts of Rudolf Steiners anthroposophy, I will give a short explanation:

The physical body is the form of what we all see with our eyes of one another. It is the form not the matter. The physical body in itself is a spiritual being, though he is an instrument. He is open to the impulses of the lifeprocesses, of the souls momentaneous ambitions and of the human spirit.

The ethereal body is the sum of those lifeforces, which form, hold and renew the physical body. They grasp the physical body and they bear the human soul and fulfill its will. Individual performances become capabilities of our ethereal body by repetition. Everything we can do “by heart” is done by the ethereal body.

The astral body is perceiving what the physical and ethereal body experience. The astral body reacts with pictures, feelings and impulses. This is what we could call the inner being of man. In this inner being we can find very different feelings and impulses, e.g. greediness, hate, contentment, friendliness and patience.

The I is the educator of the soul. Sometimes it is called the ego, but without the meaning of egoism. The I can open itself to the senses and to the spirit. If the I opens itself to the spirit, it does so, because it adores and loves an idea. The I adores the idea, because the idea is as it is. And the I loves the idea because the I is as it is. Both is true. Therefore the I must be  related to the highest ideas, otherwise it could not love them. When the I loves an idea, the idea becomes a part of the I, a spirit-self is born. Every action of the loving I makes the spirit self stronger. All this can be read more precise in Rudolf Steiners Theosophy.

[14] T.Eric Peet. A Comparative Study of the Literatures of Egypt, Palestine and Mesopotamia (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2007)

Zeichnung der Orientierung des Menschenwesens im dreidimensionalen Raum. Von Rudolf Steiner. Fig. 3 Sketch of the orientation of the human being in the direction of threedimensional space. By Rudolf Steiner.

“Underneath we have the Earth. The human being is at first a horizontal being; then he stands upright – in the vertical position. It is an achievement of man’s nature itself to attain the vertical position but he has the help of all the hierarchies as he passes through the course of his life. What is it that comes to his aid when he stands upright and walks? The forces that work from the Earth out into the expanses of cosmic space. These are the earthly forces. Today physicists only speak of purely physical forces of the Earth – forces of attraction, of gravity and the like.”  

Rudolf Steiner continues: “The Earth, however, is not merely physical body but a being of spirit and soul and when, as little children, we raise ourselves to the upright position and walk, we are uniting ourselves with the forces of  Will rising out of the Earth. The Earth-Will permeates our being; we allow the Earth-Will to flow into us and place ourselves in the upright position - the direction of the Earth-Will. This process is a union with the Earth-Will. But in opposition to the Earth-Will there is a will that works in from all sides of the cosmos. We have no knowledge of it, but yet it is the case that as we raise ourselves to the upright position, forces (from the cosmos) are working in from all sides and we come up against these forces that pour in from outside.”

“This has no particular significance today on the Earth, but during the ancient Moon period it had a tremendous significance. On the ancient Moon, conditions were such that from his earliest childhood man had a different orientation, in that he had to place himself in line with the direction of the Moon-Will.   As the result of this he acquired the first germs of the skull formation. Today we have inherited them, but on the Moon it was a question of acquiring them. In those times man worked in himself against the outer will-forces somewhat in the way a locomotive works when it has to push away snow. He pressed back the will-forces of the cosmos and his soft skull formation compressed itself into the hard skull covering. Today this process is no longer necessary. The skull formation is inherited. It is no longer necessary to build up the skull bones.”

“In the etheric body, however, we still build them, for as we rise to the upright position there is a densification in the head, representing the result of the fight between the forces streaming in from all sides of the cosmos. Thus, when we observe the etheric body, we may say that in his two legs, man builds up two lines of force and works against the forces that proceed from without.  The etheric body is densified and this form arises (fig 4). We raise ourselves upright.  The physical legs have their junction above, but the etheric legs rise still higher.”

Skizze des Aufbaus ätherischer "Lebens-Säulen" in unserem Ätherleib. Von Rudolf Steiner. Fig. 4 Sketch of the building of etheric lifepillars in our etheric body. By Rudolf Steiner.

“As a result of this the etheric head is densified and as a result of the formation of the brain there arises in the etheric body, in our age as well, the densified etheric body. This does not only take place in childhood but as man passes through seven life periods (from the first to the seventh year, from the seventh to the fourteenth year and so on) new lines are formed, lines of different forces which pass upwards. So that when we have reached the age of full and complete adulthood – when we have passed the fiftieth year of life – we have added new pairs of pillars to that first strong pair formed during the first seven years of life.   They appear in the etheric body in different colours. We strengthen our etheric sheath every time we develop these ‘life pillars’ for so indeed they may be called.   After the first period of seven years the first pair of life pillars is completed, at the fourteenth year the second pair, at the twenty-first year the third pair, and finally, with the forty-ninth year, the seventh pair. Each pair of life pillars makes our etheric skull covering more secure.”[15]

Now we can have an inkling of the depth of Solomon’s wisdom. He has a knowledge of the etheric world and especial knowledge of the seven pillars of life or processes of the human etheric body. These correspond to the seven planetary Deities and so the seven pillars of the house of wisdom can become seven doors of perception to the supersensible world. The human etheric body can become the means of re-membering the supersensible etheric world, the world of the plants and planets. The Art of Re-Membering the spiritual world through the sevenfold etheric body was one of the esoteric arts of the Renaissance and the Middle Ages.[16]

Solomon knew how the house of wisdom, the human etheric body had been built. Wisdom was able to get to know itself in this house. This wisdom that has found itself in the house of wisdom can be called Spirit-Self. What is spirit-self some readers may ask again? But now I can say: The Spirit-Self is the sum of the individual free moral intuitions. But these moral intuitions are the air the spirit breathes, the water that refreshens it and the fire that inspires it. They are the life of the spirit-self. Through our free deeds we impregnate the etheric body with our spirit and transform our daily self into the spirit-self or transformed astral body.

And this was the aim of a Knight Templar: to make his body a house of free and loving wisdom itself. His blood belonged to the “I am the I am”.[17]

Solomon knew what was necessary to develop the human body in such a way that it could become the place where the human spirit enters the material world, rests, develops its hidden powers and through this labour gets to know itself. Christiane Schwarzweller has demonstrated that the impact of the Solomonic Temple in Jerusalem was based on its influence on the human etheric body especially from the mighty pillars of Jachin and Boaz.[18] When visitors entered the Temple they had to pass between two pillars. They saw Jachin on their left with a cold red tone and Boaz on their right with a warm blue tone. The etheric movements, through which the visitor received the perception of the two pillars, intermingled with the etheric effect of the pillars. While the red pillar on the left side made the visitors shrink back, they were attracted by the blue colour on the right side. Because of this the human etheric body came into a spiral movement which led to a crossing of the etheric movements in the heart region.   The heart was the centre of human consciousness in the times of Solomon and long afterwards. The influence of the Solomonic Temple on visiting mankind was to strengthen this etheric stream which crossed its own movement. 

This way Solomon discovered and then made the plan of the Temple. But he could not bring it into a physical form. The wisdom and knowledge of Hiram of Tyre was necessary to build the Temple in the physical world.

The Solomonic Temple and the aims of the order

The idea of the Solomonic Temple was to build an edifice to house the name of God. The Temple was not for God but for his name.  It was forbidden to speak this name. Is there any name which one is not allowed to speak? This seems impossible. A name is by definition the word by which we address one another. But there is one exception. No one can speak to another individual and call him or her ‘I’.

The riddle of the name ‘I’ deepens if we ask how each of us can call ourselves ‘I’?  Who is calling whom in that case?  If ‘I’ ask ‘myself’ something: who is putting the question?  Who is hearing the question and who is giving the answer? How can I give the answer if I ask the question?   If I ask I don’t know the answer - but I do know if I answer.

We can explore further. What does it mean when I ask a question? The spoken question is a sign that my inner self is wondering about something. I have noticed that I do not understand something. I have noticed that I long for some idea, something in the world that is missing.  If I say, ‘I don’t know’, I presume there is something to know. But how do I know there is something to know if I do not know what it is? The fact that we have questions shows that we have some kind of glimpse of the answer. The question is the dawn of the answer. The following intuition is the sunrise. The question is a part of the answer, its first semblance.

In terms of Rudolf Steiner’s Theosophy[19] the whole process can be described as follows: the Consciousness-Soul is asking the question. When the answer dawns the Spirit-Self touches the Consciousness-Soul. When intuition enters like a flash of lightning the Spirit-Self enters the Consciousness-Soul and I come to my self. We are asking the question and we are giving the answer. Every time we ask ourselves something and give ourselves the answer it is some kind of awakening of the soul: a self awakening.

The human being’s physical, etheric and astral bodies have been built in order to make this possible. The human body was and is meant to become a ‘House for the (unspoken) name of God’. 

We know the great myth of Paradise with Adam and Eve and the snake which describes how man lost his way. This story comes at the beginning of the Old Testament. At the end of the Old Testament there stands the figure of the predicted Messiah, whom we, insofar as we are Christian readers, identify with the Christ. The whole story between the two events is the journey of the building of a house for the name of God. This is the reason why the Messiah was expected to incarnate in the Jewish race. The Jewish people were building the house of the ‘I’, the house of the name of God. The Temple of Solomon – planned by the king and erected by Hiram of Tyre – had a direct impact on the body of the visitor: through its form, its colours, its measures. The Solomonic Temple was a means of education for mankind.  

The Knights Templar were striving for the same goal. When they said their body belonged to Christ, this meant that they wanted to take each step with the conscious power of the ‘I’ or self.  Their body should become a house or a temple of the name of God. Therefore they chose to live at the place where the Solomonic Temple had been.


[15] Rudolf Steiner, Architecture as a Synthesis of the Arts. Lecture of  28.6.1914,  Dornach. GA. 286 Rudolf Steiner Press, London. 1999.

[16] See: Frances A. Yates. The Art of Memory. London 1966. – Sheila Mackay transports the Art of Memory tot he Garden of Edzell, Scotland. See Sheila Mackay. Early Scottish Gardens. Edinburgh 2001. P.118ff.

[17] Rolf Speckner. Die Ursprungsimpulse der Templer nach Rudolf Steiner. In: Gegenwart. Nr.2/2007. p.10-14.

[18] Christiane Schwarzweller. Der Salomonische Tempel als Einweihungsweg. Hamburg 2008.  S.35-36.

[19] Rudolf Steiner.  Theosophy. [GA9] trans. C.E.Creeger. Anthroposophic Press. Hudson. 1994.

The Temple of Solomon and the Knights Templar
Der Autor zeigt, dass der Tempel Salomos eine Aufgabe gehabt hat, in deren Fortsetzung die Templer wirkten. Ort und Name des Ordens sind nicht zufällig.
Rolf Speckner. The Temple of Solomon and[...]
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