Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 16)

In 1723, on the hundreth anniversary of the publication of the First Folio of “Shakespeare” plays, “modern Freemasonry emerged into the light of the public eye with the publishing of The Book of Constitutions of the Free-Masons, written by Dr. James Anderson under authority and by express request from the Grand Lodge.” [1]

The birth of “Modern” Freemasonry is subtly linked to Shakespeare, and it was in Shakespeare’s time that the origins of modern speculative Freemasonry would seem to lie, argues author Peter Dawkins. [1]

Whoever wrote the “Shakespeare” plays is connected with the Rosicrucians, another secret society, as well. In England the Spear-shaker or poet-knight was in particular associated with St. George, the Red Cross knight, and the family emblem of St. George was the Rose of Sharon, thus the Red Cross was also the Rose Cross. (Further background: Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 11), Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of March 1, 2014.)

The connection between “Modern” Freemasonry, the Rosicrucians, and the “Shakespeare” plays is one aspect. But there is an older Freemasonry, known as the “Antient” (Ancient) Rite, which dates much earlier than the time of the Spear Shaker.

On Friday, October 13, 1307, in France, a sudden mass arrest of the Knights Templar occurred. (This is why, even today, Friday the 13th is considered unlucky.) Fugitive Templars who had evaded the mass arrest crossed the Channel into the somewhat more tolerant England. There, secret signs and signals were used by disguised Templars to make themselves known to fellow fugitives and to those who might offer aid. A secret phrase, answered with the key counter-phrase, helped the brothers know one another amid a sea of potential informants. Special guidelines were established, such as a visiting brother was not to enter a new town unless accompanied by a local brother who could “witness” for him (vouch for him to local authorities). And this is as well to be found in the Old Charges of Freemasonry: that a visiting brother is not to go “into the town” unless accompanied by a local brother who can “witness” for him. [2]

“The Templars certainly had the background to create secret signs and signals and would have known that no such system could work without standardization.” Leaders of the secret society established what the special system was to be. The next step was to be certain the secrets not be casually shared. Therefore special oaths were required for all those about to enter into the inner degrees of the fugitive band. One such oath, still today commonly used – “Cross my heart and hope to die” – contains the sign of the cross, making it a religious oath. The penalty for breaking the oath is death: “hope (to die)” signifies that the penalty is freely and voluntarily assumed. In other words, by the sign of the cross, if I break this oath I want to die. [3]

So the Antient Rite seems to predate the Modern Rite, which author Peter Dawkins associates with the Rosicrucians and the Spear Shaker plays. The Modern Rite is associated with “speculative” (philosophical) ideas. The Antient Rite, already in place during the English Renaissance (1575 – 1625, approximately), had more to do with the Knights Templar and their ideas. The Antient Rite is also more associated with Scotland than with England. Some of the fugitive Knights Templar likely sailed to Scotland. On St. John’s Day, June 24, 1314, King Edward II’s troops battled the army of Robert the Bruce, in Scotland, at the Battle of Bannockburn. The Scots would have likely lost the battle, except for the timely arrival of some hundreds of unknown knights who “appeared out of nowhere” and charged directly toward Edward II. The unknown knights wore the Templar insignia of the red cross. Just the sight of what seemed to be the legendary Knights Templar, recognized as ferocious fighters, was sufficient to cause the English to make a rapid retreat. [4]

However author William Francis C. Wigston does not so neatly divide between Antient, Modern, Rosicrucian, and “Shakespeare.” He writes that “It is difficult to distinguish the Rosicrucians from the Templars, as both seem to have been connected.” Gnostic “heresies” are common to both the Rosicrucians and the Knights Templar. “One of the vehicles of this Gnosis was the form of popular tales, with an allegorical meaning well understood by the initiated.” [5]

“By studying and experiencing the Shakespeare plays it can soon be discovered that the author, whoever he really was, expressed in drama everything a Freemason upholds and strives to be.” [1] One of the authors – if not the author – of the Spear Shaker plays was Francis Bacon. Bacon may have been the “Pictor et Architectus (Painter and Architect)” listed as “Brother F.B.” in the Fama Fraternitatis of the Rosicrucians. [6]

——- Sources ——-
[2] Melchizedek Communique, by Brian Redman. 2010. Available from
[3] Robinson, John J. Born In Blood. Lanham, MD: M. Evans, 1989
[4] The Knights Templar of the Middle East, by HRH Prince Michael of Albany. San Francisco: Weiser Books, 2006. ISBN-10: 1-57863-346-X; ISBN-13: 978-1-57863-346-3
[5] A New Study Of Shakespeare, by William Francis C. Wigston
[6] “Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 11)”,


About ersjdamoo

Editor of Conspiracy Nation, later renamed Melchizedek Communique. Close associate of the late Sherman H. Skolnick. Jack of all trades, master of none. Sagittarius, with Sagittarius rising. I'm not a bum, I'm a philosopher.
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One Response to Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 16)

  1. Pingback: Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 17) | Ersjdamoo's Blog

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