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23 Books for Counterculture Conservatives, Tea Party Occultists, and Capitalist Wizards

6. The Templars and the Assassins: The Militia of Heaven by James Wasserman

Publication Date: April 1, 2001

Official Description:

• An examination of the interactions of the Christian Knights Templar and their Muslim counterparts, the Assassins, and of the profound changes in Western society that resulted.

• Restores the reputation of the secret Muslim order of the Assassins, disparaged as the world's first terrorist group.

• Dispels many myths about the Knights Templar and provides the most incisive portrait of them to date.

A thousand years ago Christian battled Muslim for possession of a strip of land upon which both their religions were founded. These Crusades changed the course of Western history, but less known is the fact that they also were the meeting ground for two legendary secret societies: The Knights Templar and their Muslim counterparts, the Assassins.

In The Templars and the Assassins: The Militia of Heaven, occult scholar and secret society member James Wasserman provides compelling evidence that the interaction of the Knights Templar and the Assassins in the Holy Land transformed the Templars from the Pope's private army into a true occult society, from which they would sow the seeds of the Renaissance and the Western Mystery Tradition. Both orders were destroyed as heretical some seven hundred years ago, but Templar survivors are believed to have carried the secret teachings of the East into an occult underground, from which sprang both Rosicrucianism and Masonry. Assassin survivors, known as Nizari Ismailis, flourish to this day under the spiritual leadership of the Aga Khan. Wasserman strips the myths from both groups and penetrates to the heart of their enlightened beliefs and rigorous practices, delivering the most probing picture yet of these holy warriors.

Why Counterculture Conservatives Should Read It:

Why Tea Party Occultists Should Read It:

Of the five Wasserman books on this list, The Templars and the Assassins, A) Took me the longest to read and process, B) Contains the highest density of information, C) is the most important of his books to read because D) it acts as the bridge tying together his themes and E) providing the most accessible summary and definition of Western Occultism I've yet encountered in my decade of dabbling.

What is Occultism? The mystical rituals developed within Paganism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all integrated together. Wasserman effectively argues that the moment in human history when this started to happen was during the Crusades. Templar Knights took the mystical rituals they acquired from the Assassin communities with whom they had made treaties. They then combined them with their own practices -- this being the basis for the Templar persecution and the end of the order. Templar Knights fleeing then taught and reinvented these practices, which emerged during the Renaissance as Freemasonry, Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, Neo-Platonism, and Alchemy. It was during this bloody transition from the Medieval world of the inquisition to the modern world of the Bill of Rights that the vital link between religious freedom, political freedom, and the right to bear arms appears most obvious.

So it makes sense that Templars and the Assassins would have a companion. The first book introducing the next section -- our celebration of the polemicist in defense of freedom -- is Wasserman's collection of essays, The Slaves Shall Serve: Meditations on Liberty.