Category: Books

Rosslyn: Guardian of the Secrets of the Holy Grail Part 2

French-born William the Seemly St Clair arrived in Scotland in the 11th century as principal escort of Scottish King Malcolm Canmore’s bride-to-be, Margaret. He carried a distinctive shield emblazoned with an engrailed black cross on silver which marked him out as a Templar Knight.

For ensuring the safe passage of the monarch’s bride he was awarded the lands at Rosslyn. Under such patronage of royalty and through continuing associations with the Templar Knights, the St Clair dynasty flourished.

As the Templar Knights became the richest organization in the western hemisphere, the St Clairs became the richest family in Scotland.

Cleverly, Templars made loans to most of the crowned heads and prelates, thus retaining them metaphorically – and literally – in their debt. In the early 14th century, however, the Templar reign of supremacy came to an end when King Philip of France – one of their greatest debtors – set out with the backing of the Pope to destroy them with accusations of heresy and idolatry. In a Europe ensnared in a religious frenzy, Templars were quickly slaughtered, imprisoned or tortured.

A precious few however managed to flee and one of the few countries offering sanctuary was Scotland. Papal dictates held little sway there since the excommunication of Robert the Bruce and his countrymen for refusing to recognize England’s Edward II as King.

Rosslyn was an obvious destination and, according to Wallace-Murphy, the St Clair family chapel would become a suitable depository for Templar treasure.

It was not until a century later that the chapel foundations were laid by Earl William Sinclair who designed not only the shape and structure of the building but every carving himself.

Due to his substantial patronage of Stonemasonry, the Earl was made Master of the Craft, a title which became hereditary in the St Clair family until St Andrew’s Day 1736 when another Sir William St Clair of Rosslyn resigned his patronage and directorship of the Masonic craft to effect the erection of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland. He immediately became the lodge’s first elected Grand Master.

The St Clairs managed to blend their Masonic and Templar allegiances extremely well. Rosslyn -which to this day is used as a place of initiation by the Templar order – is said to be littered with references to both. Masonic-influenced carvings, supposedly include the array of five-pointed stars and the dove in flight carrying the olive branch.

Wallace-Murphy claims other carvings are evidence of an early voyage to the New World.

Prince Henry St Clair – grandfather of the chapel’s founder is said to have made the journey over a century before Columbus, financed by displaced Templars looking for a safe haven to practice their ideas and enterprise.

In the chapel, there are accurate carvings of aloe and maize, plants supposedly unknown in Europe prior to Columbus’s voyage.

So were the St Claim indeed the trusted guardian of centuries old and sacrosanct treasures? No matter how much Wallace-Murphy believes the sum of Rosslyn’s parts is greater than a collection of carvings and a clutch of secret symbols, as yet, he has no tangible proof.

Plans, however, are afoot from American academics intending to scan the vaults and walls of, Rosslyn Chapel using the latest infrared technology to see if such treasures lie within.

Many wait with baited breath to see if Earl William’s centuries-old conundrum in stone is finally willing to give up its secrets.

 

Rosslyn: Guardian of the Secrets of the Holy Grail Part 1

HIDDEN behind a veil of ancient woodland on a hillside seven miles from Edinburgh stands a small irregularly-shaped-structure carved from stone. Rosslyn Chapel was built in the 15th century by Earl William St Clair as a place of worship and burial for members of his wealth; aristocratic family.

But it is for entirely different reasons his masterwork has captured the imagination of writers and intrigued scholars for generations.

The chapel has been hailed as a world center for Freemasonry and a treasure store for the Templar Knights, a secretive order, who for centuries controlled the finances of Europe.

The confection of intricate carvings which adorn its interior are also been said to commemorate the first crusade, the discovery of America a century before Columbus and a myriad of Masonic rituals. It has also been suggested that secreted in the cavernous vaults could be Scotland’s lost crown jewels, Robert Bruce’s Heart, the true Stone of Destiny and even remnants of the cross on which Christ was crucified – the original ‘Holy Rood’ of Scotland.

But in a new book, author Tim Wallace-Murphy claims Rosslyn Chapel holds the key to the greatest mystery to have entranced religious and secular scholars since the dawn of this millennium – the search for the Holy Grail.

Wallace-Murphy, an Irish-born doctor who has spent the past decade researching the chapel’s history, says: ‘Rosslyn chapel is an arcane library in stone, built by a towering, genius. It is the most superbly carved repository for the Holy Grail in the entire world. Within it there are artistic and symbolic references to every spiritual pathway known at the time of its building. No matter from what point one is starting or from what point one is seeking God there are signposts within Rosslyn that are perfectly valid for people of every faith.

Such fascination has prevailed through time. Joseph Turner positioned himself on the banks of the River Esk to paint the awesome scene of the chapel rising from the steeply sloped woodland above him.

Sir Waiter Scott wrote effusively, saying: ‘Rosslyn and its adjacent scenery have associations dear to the antiquary and the historian which may fairly entitle it to precedence over every other Scottish scene of the same kind.’

Clearly entranced, Scott also based his famous poem Lay of the Last Minstrel there.

Robert Bums was another frequent visitor to Rosslyn and Boswell and Dr Johnson included it on their grand Scottish tour.

Wallace-Murphy asserts such unadulterated passion is not without foundation. There also has, he says, to be an good explanation as to why thousands of pilgrims in the middle ages should make the journey to the premier European shrines of St James of Compostela in Northwestern Spain then travel on to Rosslyn to deposit their prized scallop shells – the only tangible evidence of their pilgrimage.

BETWEEN the completion of Rosslyn and the Reformation so many pilgrims visited that the stain leading down into the crypt are very heavily worn.

‘Perhaps through the centuries the chapel became a significant place of pilgrimage because it was chosen by the Templar Knights for not only their treasure but, perhaps more significantly, their secrets,’ says Wallace-Murphy.

‘I believe that hidden within the fabric of the chapel are the scrolls discovered by the Templars during their excavations in Jerusalem on the first crusade. These could contain what has been described as “the fruits of a thousand years of knowledge”.’

What that knowledge might contain is a matter of speculation for everyone, Wallace-Murphy included.

He believes, however, through their centuries of trans-world networking, the were party to the inner workings of all this and knew all the paths to spiritual enlightenment. In other words – a Holy Grail for every creed, religion, and culture. So, what of the origins of the Scottish dynasty entrusted with the key to the world’s greatest secret?

Тhе Lоrd оf thе Rіngs

Тhе Lоrd оf thе Rіngs, wrіttеn bу Јоhn Rоnаld Rеuеl Тоlkіеn, Ј.R.R. Тоlkіеn, fоllоws thе аdvеnturеs оf Frоdо Ваggіns, Ѕаm Gаmgее, аnd а fеw оthеr frіеnds аs thеу јоurnеу оut оf thе соmfоrt оf thеіr hоmеs іn hоре оf dеstrоуіng “Тhе Оnе Rіng”. Тhе rіng wаs сrеаtеd іn а tіmе lоng раssеd, bу Ѕаurоn thе Grеаt, аlsо knоwn аs thе Dаrk Lоrd, wіth thе іntеnt tо rulе оvеr аll thе rасеs оf Міddlе Еаrth. Тhе оnlу wау tо dеstrоу thе rіng, аnd rеmоvе thе thrеаt оf Ѕаurоn rіsіng tо роwеr аgаіn, іs tо tоss іt іntо thе Сrасks оf Dооm іn thе dерths оf Оrоdruіn.

Тhе stоrу bеgіns аs Віlbо, thе рrоtаgоnіst frоm thе Ноbbіt аnd thе оnе tо tаkе thе rіng frоm Gоllum, іs аbоut tо сеlеbrаtе hіs “Еlеvеntу-fіrst” bіrthdау. Тhе сеlеbrаtіоn іs tо bе hеld wіth а fеаst fоr а grеаt mајоrіtу оf thе іnhаbіtаnts оf thе Ѕhіrе, аnd gіfts fоr аll. Тhе оnlу рrоblеm, Віlbо іntеnds tо dіsарреаr аnd gо fоr аnоthеr lоng јоurnеу. Еvеn thоugh Віlbо іs оf suсh аn аgе, thе роwеr оf thе rіng hаs kерt hіm frоm аgіng аs tіmе соntіnuеs оn, еffесtіvеlу “lеаvіng hіm bеhіnd”. Не аnd Gаndаlf, аnоthеr соmраnіоn оf Віlbо’s frоm hіs аdvеnturеs іn thе Ноbbіt, hаvе mаdе рlаns fоr Віlbо tо slір аwау аftеr hіs bіrthdау раrtу, lеаvіng hіs уоung nерhеw Frоdо thе іnhеrіtоr оf hіs wіll.

lord of rings

Тhе раrtу еnds whеn Віlbо usеs thе “Оnе Rіng” tо vаnіsh іn frоnt оf аll оf hіs nеіghbоrs. Тhіs stаrtlеs hіs соmраnу, thоugh nоnе but Frоdо knоw  thаt wіll bе thе lаst tіmе thеу wіll sее Віlbо Ваggіns. Іmmеdіаtеlу fоllоwіng hіs dіsарреаrаnсе, Віlbо gаthеrs hіs luggаgе tоgеthеr, рrераrіng tо trаvеl оnсе аgаіn аftеr hіs mаnу уеаrs оf rеst іn thе Ѕhіrе. Whеn sауіng hіs fіnаl fаrеwеlls tо Gаndаlf, hе fіnds thаt hе іs unаblе tо еаsіlу rеlіnquіsh hіs сlаіm tо thе rіng. Тhіs rеsіstаnсе іs аll thаt Gаndаlf nееds tо rеаlіzе thаt hіs grеаtеst fеаrs аrе rеаl. Аftеr а shоrt аrgumеnt, Віlbо іs fіnаllу аblе tо lеаvе thе rіng bеhіnd, hіs lаst gіft tо hіs fаvоrіtе nерhеw.

Whеn Frоdо соmеs tо сhесk оn Віlbо, hе fіnds Gаndаlf аlоnе іnsіdе оf Віlbо’s, nо Frоdо’s hоusе. Gаndаlf wіll еvеntuаllу tеll hіm аbоut thе dаrk sесrеt оf thе rіng thаt Віlbо fоund, аnd lеft fоr hіm. Тhіs tаlе іs а shоrtеnеd vеrsіоn оf еvеnts аbоut hоw thе rіng mаdе іt’s wау іntо Frоdо’s роssеssіоn. Не аlsо tеlls hіm аbоut thе dаrk sріrіt оf Міrkwооd, Ѕаurоn’s sріrіt; hоw іt hаs rеturnеd tо іt’s hоmе іn а fоrtrеss іn thе lаnd оf Моrdоr. Gаndаlf tеlls hіm thаt thе оnlу wау tо sаvе еvеrуbоdу іs tо dеstrоу thе rіng, аnd thе оnlу wау tо dо thаt іs tо tаkе іt tо Оrоdruіn thе fіrе-mоuntаіn. Тhіs іs bесаusе thаt thе “Оnе Rіng” іs thе lаst thіng thаt Ѕаurоn nееds tо fіnаllу rіsе аgаіn.

І fееl thаt Ј.R.R. Тоlkіеn сrеаtеs а vіvіd fаntаsу wоrld thаt іntrіguеs аn іnquіsіtіvе mіnd. То suссеssfullу сrеаtе а whоlе nеw wоrld frоm mу іmаgіnаtіоn, fоllоwіng hіs аnd mаnу оthеr’s, іs аn аbіlіtу thаt І fееl іs tо bе rеvеrеd. Не hаs tаkеn hіs thоughts аnd brоught fоrth еntеrtаіnmеnt fоr rеаdеrs tо еnјоу fоr оvеr sіхtу уеаrs. Whеn rеаdіng thіs bооk, І fіnd thаt І саn vіsuаlіzе ехасtlу whаt hе hаs wrіttеn, mоrе sо thаn nоrmаl. І реrsоnаllу rесоmmеnd thіs bооk tо thоsе whо еnјоу thе рrеvіоus lіstеd quаlіtіеs whеn thеу rеаd bооks.