Before I leap into telling my Templar stories, (& there are many…) I must level with you about what brought me to such an unusual passion. It was not because I discovered some family lineage directly connecting me to the documented original Templars. It was not because I had a Ph.D. in medieval history, or because I lived near a spiritual hot-spot on the planet. Nor was it because I was particularly interested in medieval military feats. It was simply because I was in the right place at the right time… serendipitous time, that is…
I was a Texan, steeped in pioneer modernism, who married a kind, scientifically grounded man. But I said yes to a very unusual impulse. It did not make sense while I was moving through it; nor does it sometimes in present moments. Only in retrospect did I recognize the intricate patterns, recurrences, loving hints of my next move, as benevolent spiritual support as I walk through this life.
So…more than a decade has now passed since I was received into the Templar Order of Austria. More than two decades have passed since I was first introduced to the Templars. Why the Templars, you might ask? Well, for more than two centuries, they were agents of change, societal progress and most importantly, they were associated with mystic sages and thinkers. My personal transformation unfolded through the pages of my research in medieval history, within the context of Templar Studies. But I get ahead of myself.
If anyone needed transformation, it was me! Not because I needed reforming in the traditional sense, but because I was broken…. after following all the rules, and fulfilling my life assignments, I needed release from recurring emotions that no longer served me. Like many others, My soul needed healing from psychological traumas resulting from a rough childhood.
I desperately needed to redeem my faith practices and find inspiration beyond church pulpits. And although I loved sacred music, I felt conflicted by institutionalized religion and sensed there must be alternatives. While others took great comfort in community of faith, I struggled to reconcile my inner aspirations with living in the real world. And then unexpectedly, I discovered a road to my own Jerusalem in the Templars.
My Templar studies over the past twenty years have not followed a smooth line. But then nothing in my life has ever followed a straight trajectory. It feels like it has been all over the place, but it has also been a great awakening inside me. My Templar experiences, travels, and relationships could also be described as mystical, illuminating, seemingly dangerous, unconventional and glorious! But most of all, they have been empowering. One step at a time into knowing myself.
The idea of my Templar studies appeared in 1994, when a wonderful opportunity came my way to travel on a church choir tour of Germany, Austria, and Hungary. I left my daughters (ages 9 & 14) with their dad for two weeks during the summer to sing in lovely old churches. Those spaces resonated with something oddly familiar, and at the same time, it was like I had come home but was singing the wrong tune of modern rhythms and melodies that did not fit into the world of Gregorian chant.
And yet, when we arrived in Budapest, the vibes were once again different and disorienting. Only a few years before, the Berlin wall had come down and Eastern Europe was in early stages of rebuilding their economies. Churches were struggling to reclaim their voices after fifty years of suppression under Russian communism.
One of the churches we visited, however, was St. Matthias, originally dating back to medieval times of the crusades. As usual, we toured the points of interest, admiring the craftsmanship and elaborate feasts for the eyes. When all of a sudden, I gazed up at a stunning gold mosaic mural of knights cloaked in white mantles with red crosses fighting Saracens. When I inquired about the mural, I learned that it was a scene taken from the Crusades, when the Templars protected pilgrims in route to Jerusalem.
To say that the mural affected me deeply was an understatement. I had never heard of the Templars before, let alone knew much of the Crusades beyond cursory attention in world history. But in this moment, bright flashes of vibrant heroes on horseback came to life in my imagination and I felt a strange warmth of inspiration.
Later that same day, I wandered the streets of old Buda, crossed the bridge over Danube River and found my way into the 13th century Church of Mary Magdalene, where I became lost in meditation. I also lost track of time. If it had not been for my friend Kitty using her own instincts to find me, I would have missed the bus, leaving for our next destination! But she did find me and our bus headed for Austria, where I enjoyed being surrounded by the lore of mystic saints and sages, whom I would eventually study in coming years.
The remainder of the trip was filled with a sense of wellbeing that was new to me. I had discovered a small yet vital piece of my personal puzzle, and I was grateful. I returned to Texas with new perspectives and the goal to learn more of mysticism and the historical context in which the Templars lived.
This was my first trip across the pond, but not my last. It was no mere vacation, but a gateway to a new dimension of growing self-knowledge. It was a rabbit hole I would return to time and time again… and what an adventure it has been!
- Expect something spectacular around the corner.
- Curiosity is an asset!
- With patience, most things are possible.
- When the universe is ready, don’t hesitate- say yes!