The Templar Magic Square

I n medieval times, symbolism was everywhere. It penetrated the whole thinking of the medieval man, directed his thoughts and affected his thinking. All kinds of talismans were also abounding, as were magical triangles and squares filled with arcane figures. The best known of these is perhaps the Abracadabra Triangle, in which the said word can be read in many directions.

T he Templars had their own magical square. They did apparently not invent it, though, as it has been found in the excavations in Pompey, too. In it were written the words SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS, which (loosely translated) mean "The farmer (or sower) Arepo keeps the world rolling". This is in my guess is a reference to God, although "Arepo" is a bit vague to say the least.

I n G.R.Hocke: Manierismus in der Literatur, the following description appears. [Submitted by Franz Rodenkirchen]

The farmer (sower) Arepo (sower's name) steers with his hand (work) the plough (wheels). Religious interpretation: God (Sator) rules (Tenet) the creation (Rotas), the works of man (Opera) and the products of the earth (Arepo = plough). Reportedly 13 anagrammatic (latin) sentences have been formed out of the "Sator Arepo..."-formula. The two "Tenet" form a cross. With knight's moves (as in chess), you can get the words "pater noster" and also "AO" which, my source says without further explanation, is the Monogram of Christ. G.R.Hocke also gives the source, where he took his information from: S. Maurice Bouisson: La Magie, Paris 1958, p. 147f.

See the illustration below and figure out for yourself.

The Magic Square

A t first glance it becomes obvious only that this is a Latin palindrome, a multi-directional one at that. Regardless of where you start, you can read the same string backwards and forwards. Considering the scarcity of palindromes in many languages, a multidirectional one is really rare (in fact this is the only such palindrome I know of). Closer inspection may reveal that the letters in the square are enough for two strings, "Pater Noster" (Our Father), with two a´s and two o´s left over. For the meaning of these we must remember that Christ is sometimes referred to as the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, in Christian literature, and the Templars were very aware of this.

I t is left as an excercise to the reader to extract more data from the Square. We will now proceed to inspect the geometrical qualities of the Square. Now, it must be remembered that Masons were held in very high regard in medieval times. This was because the Masons possessed information that enabled them to build the medieval cathedrals, information which they guarded jealously. To continue, you may wish to complete the following steps, using normal, non-virtual paper to carry out the instructions as displays are hard to bend.

  1. Draw a 5X5 square as above, but leave it blank.
  2. Draw exactly the same 5X5 square upon the previous one, but rotated of 45 degrees (+45 or -45, take your pick). You can also join the 8 corners of the squares, which makes then a perfect octagon (which was the shape of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem).
  3. Next, you have to draw a circle centered at the center of the two 5X5 squares with a diameter of the lenght of the 3X3 inner square side times the Golden Section(1.618). This is a bit tricky, but at the end of the day you should have two 5X5 squares at an angle of 45 degrees, and inside the figure a circle that almost touches the inner octagon.
  4. Then, just take a red pen and link some points to find the hidden templar cross, or Cross Patté. Some hints: one of the two crosses is rotated of 22.5 degrees. It touches the golden circle in 8 points.

This is what you should get. Can you see the hidden cross? If not, click here.

T hose readers who master this will very likely be adept at other hermetical puzzles as well and might have had a future in the occult circles in the medieval era.

Armory Bailey Barracks Chapel Dungeon Library Pub

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