My Templar Way

‘My Templar Way’ 
By Linda Berthelsen, RTO, KTFA, GPTFA

First published in Templar History Magazine, 2008 ~ Adapted 2018

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Long before Dan Brown opened Pandora’s box of Rosslyn Chapel mania, I was a devotee of its mysteries and symbols. My heart knew I was a mystic long before my conscious mind could express it. Long before I found my passion for learning, I was preparing for a very unconventional turn of events, which would become the focus of my Templar studies. For many years I searched for a way to become a Knight Templar. This blog post tells the story of how I came to be a Templar.

In 2003, just when I had resigned myself that it was not possible for any woman in the United States to become a Knight Templar with equal rights as men, I had a surprising experience that gave me new hope. But it didn’t happen the way I thought it would happen. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such unexpected events, nor did I expect my heart’s arrow to hit such a target!  And all these years afterwards, I am grateful for the ups and downs relating to this journey.

For several years, I wrote a column for Stephen Dafoe’s Templar History Magazine. My first article, entitled ‘The Templar Way’  related the story my journey to Scotland, England and eventually, Austria, and the strange familiarity of the Alps when I first landed in Austria. Little did I know what would happen in those mountains and within the walls of 1000 year old castles!

Paulo Coelho speaks of the heart as a companion and close friend in his book, The Alchemist.  He says that the heart may remain silent for years and then begin to whisper or even forcefully prophecy. The heart is irrational yet honest while the mind is rational but not always honest. The mind can be hoodwinked but not the heart! As the mind imagines, so the heart experiences.

For example, we choose our marriage partner  but the heart chooses who we fall in love. We also may choose how we earn a living but the heart chooses its own interests and passions. Well, I could never have guessed in a million years the surprises waiting for me  in the second half of my life.

As I wrote in a previous post, My Templar journey began when I stepped inside St Matthias Church in Budapest, Hungary. I remember standing inside the church stunned by the exquisite Byzantine mosaics, the gothic architecture and some oddly fearsome Templar impressions that rushed through my psyche as some sort of memory trigger. A holographic drama spontaneously began to project on an inner screen of my mind’s eye of battles, secret meetings, candlelight rituals, swords, clashes, interrogations and torture.

Although I had never given serious thought to the Crusades before, I could sense that something important had shifted inside me. Even though I was not aware of it, from this point onward, both heart and mind joined as partners to carefully bring my outer life into conformity with my inner life.

I returned to daily life in Texas with a new desire to study Templar history. This was certainly an unusual choice, but I stepped across the threshold into a world of intrigue with a history veiled in symbols. Although I was certainly not aware of what lay ahead, I chose to answer the call when the quest was offered to me. My heart’s Treasure Hunt had begun!

At the beginning of this quest my imagination conjured images from conventional history books of Templars, with everything from out-of-control warrior monks with nasty habits to mystical wizards who plotted the ruin of organized religion with the Infidels, none of which included women. I learned however that the heart could find its way through the foils of conflicting opinions and skewed facts… even without the benefit of a physical teacher… into a place where philosophy, liberal arts and science translate into spirituality.

In Timaeus, Plato described the soul as neither male nor female. Therefore, I deduced that if the soul is androgynous and the heart is seat of the soul, then the heart must also express itself as both male and female. Why then would it not be possible and even admirable for a woman to follow the Templar Way?

Yet with each passing year, I found that I wanted to do more than read about the old Templar ways and the mystery schools of the ancients. I yearned to participate and to experience the beauty of friendships and spirituality I had heard of and read so much about. The dilemma was that I could find no such organization that seemed to fit my heart’s criteria.

How this larger plan was to fit into my life, as a busy American with duties of wife, mother, educator, musician and volunteer, was both a challenge and a gift. Very early  I learned that Americans think differently from Europeans in many ways, with valuable perspectives that I was eager to understand. The lessons I learned could sometimes not be translated or even transposed into American culture. I learned that patience, perseverance, and trust in the ultimate good in my everyday life would help me to achieve my heart goals by keeping me grounded in actions that connect me to others through love.