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Templar Heresy

A Story of Gnostic Illumination

James Wasserman, Keith Stump, Harvey Rochman


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A tale of initiation, adventure, and romance set within the medieval Crusades

• Shares in novel form the mystical rituals and techniques of the Nizari Ismailis (the legendary Assassins) communicated to selected Knights Templar during the Crusades

• Shows how the Gnostic traditions of the Cathars and Nizaris were blended to become the core of the “heretical” doctrines for which the Templars were later condemned

• Sheds light on the contemporary conflict between Islam and the West and offers a natural path of reconciliation between these disparate cultures

Set within the dramatic tableau of the medieval Crusades, this story of initiation, adventure, and romance follows members of the Knights Templar and Assassins as they discover a mystical tradition with the potential to unify, protect, and liberate humankind--the very heresy for which the Knights Templar were later condemned.

The tale begins with a young Persian student, Sinan, as he witnesses his teacher deliver the heretical Qiyama proclamation, seeking to abolish Islamic religious law in favor of a more mystical approach to spirituality. After completing his initiation into the revolutionary doctrines and practices of the Assassins--also known as the Nizari Ismailis or Hashishim--Sinan is appointed head of the Nizaris in Syria.

Years later, after Sinan has become a wise and respected leader, he encounters Roland de Provence, a young member of the Knights Templar. Impressed by his courage and intelligence, Sinan selects him for initiation into the Nizari tradition. As readers follow Sinan and Roland through the process, they experience firsthand the transmission of these secret teachings and the paranormal, even magical powers of the Assassin adepts. Roland braves hashish journeys, mystical rituals, and divine epiphanies, as well as sexual awakening at the hands of Sinan’s beautiful consort Aisha.

When Roland completes his education with Sinan, he vows to share the Nizari teachings with his fellow Templars. However, he is met with strong opposition from his Templar commander, and factions within the Order quickly arise. As we follow Roland to southern France, we witness how he blends the Cathar and Nizari traditions to form the core of the “heresy” for which the Templars were later arrested and condemned. Now an outlaw, hunted by his Templar brethren, Roland is forced to choose between the beliefs with which he was raised and the realizations of his own personal truths.

Bringing to life the historical truths of his expertly researched bestseller The Templars and the Assassins, James Wasserman artfully traces the evolution of the Western Esoteric Tradition during the fertile cultural interactions of the Crusades. His story also sheds light on the modern conflict between Islam and the West--which began a thousand years ago--and offers a natural path of reconciliation between our disparate cultures.

Praise For Templar Heresy: A Story of Gnostic Illumination

“An erudite, gripping novel of one man’s journey, set during the tumultuous Crusades, where a series of totally unexpected twists and turns leads to a subsequent initiation process, creating extraordinary transformative changes, forever altering his perception of himself, the world, and those around him. This fascinating account parallels a far greater universal theme--that of a profound spiritual quest of heart and soul, of timeless wisdom and raw courage, where definitions and boundaries change, new doorways open as others close, where peace is valued and challenges are met, and longstanding cultural ‘mythconceptions’ on both sides undergo a dramatic metamorphosis--never to be the same again! A riveting read, the kind you can’t put down . . . a panacea for a battle weary world.”
— Karen Ralls, Ph.D., The Templars and the Grail

“James Wasserman has risen to the challenge of the daunting task of making medieval history, and especially esoteric history, entertaining and compelling. Things were so very different then, but some things never change. Wasserman has located the spiritual Gnosis in relations between a few remarkable Templars and the survivals of the antique Gnosis in Syria and Languedoc. Templar Heresy is a story of personal illumination the reader can easily share because it is clearly, sincerely, and excitingly expressed.”
— Tobias Churton, author of The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians

Templar Heresy is a unique tale of spiritual growth and initiation-- words that have been so abused of late they seemingly have little meaning. In his rescuing of these sacred terms, Wasserman creates a teaching tool of vital importance. Unlike similar books, loosely wrapped in a historical veneer or vague spiritual teachings (often channeled from a past life), Templar Heresy is rigorous in its spiritual content and historical context. Readers cannot come away unchanged--as Templar Heresy will teach you about the past, the present (and possibly give a glimpse of the future), as well as authentic spiritual initiation. It will also teach you something about yourself. Readers be warned!”
— Mark Stavish, director of studies for the Institute for Hermetic Studies

“Historians struggle to strip away the dark veils of the ancient days and reveal just a glimpse of the panorama of life in the distant past. The attempts are frequently pallid portraits of times that cry out for a rich palette of many tones with the deft hand of an artist. In Templar Heresy, James Wasserman gives us just such a vivid portrait of the burgeoning disparate movements of the medieval Crusades--from the infamous cult of Assassins to the Order of the Knights Templar. The evolution of the Western esoteric tradition is revealed as we follow the lives of Sinan the Assassin and the Templar Roland de Provence through these journeys of Spiritual Aspiration and Realization, Betrayal and Persecution, Love and Reconciliation. This is history imbued with the colors of life that only life can reveal. Templar Heresy is a dramatic tour de force not to be missed.”
— J. Daniel Gunther, author of Initiation in the Aeon of the Child

“Wasserman’s style is delightful. He reminds me of classical French authors like Alexandre Dumas the younger. Moving straight ahead with his story, he wastes no time with excessive explanation while providing a real study of the political circumstances of the period. This book brings together accurate and insightful historical investigation with well-written and intuitive storytelling.”
— Georg Dehn, editor of The Book of Abramelin: A New Translation

“Wasserman’s Templar Heresy reads like a colorful and addicting novel while deconstructing everything you thought you knew about the Templars and the history of Western civilization. To say that it offers new and disturbing insights on today’s geopolitical realities would be a gross understatement. Highly recommended.”
— Lon Milo DuQuette, author of The Key to Solomon’s Key

Templar Heresy invites us to consider that a mystical or esoteric explanation of our own times is the only one that makes any sense. Wasserman tells the story of the Templars in a fictional way but also with a sense of the context of the times--there are both real and invented characters, both real and invented events. There is magic and mystery and esoteric philosophy; in these pages we see that Muslims and Christians may have more in common with each other than we ever realized. Templar Heresy is a treatise on that struggle between ignorance and knowledge--not just from an intellectual perspective but from a spiritual one. It forces us to confront the whole concept of ‘heresy’ and to find that inner heretic in our own souls.”
— Peter Levenda, author of The Lovecraft Code

“With the tumult between the West and the Middle East as part of our daily news cycle, James Wasserman has conjured up a riveting narrative that is as pertinent to today’s world struggles as it is a romantic and evocative adventure of a bygone era. Wasserman casts the adept’s spell, sweeping up the reader onto a magic carpet ride of Assassins and Templars, heresy and intrigue, rituals, hashish, initiation, and sexual exploration. The tale explains much about the cultural cataclysm that marks every aspect of our contemporary world.”
— Peter Seals (Frater Puck), host of Thelema Now!

Destiny Books, 9781620556580, 224pp.

Publication Date: August 8, 2017

About the Author

James Wasserman (1948-2020) was the author of several books, including The Templars and the Assassins, The Secrets of Masonic Washington, The Mystery Traditions, An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar, and The Temple of Solomon. A longtime student of the occult, the United States Constitution, and the writings of the Founding Fathers as well as a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis since 1976, he lived in New York City.

Keith Stump is a religious scholar and documentary screenwriter who spent many years in the Middle East studying the beliefs, history, and culture of the world’s great monotheistic faiths.

Harvey Rochman is an international financier and film producer who envisions global media advancing human consciousness.