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The Ark of the Covenant

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The Mystic Connections of the Knights Templar

The Ark of the Covenant



The Ark of the Covenant of the ancient Israelites is believed by some to have been modelled after the ceremonial ark of Isis.



"In Exodus the dimensions of the Ark are given as two and a half cubits for its length, one cubit and a half its breadth and one cubit and a half its height. It was made of shittim-wood, gold plated within and without, and contained the sacred tablets of the Law delivered to Moses upon Sinai. The lid of the Ark was in the form of a golden plate upon which knelt two mysterious creatures called Cherubim, facing each other, with wings arched overhead. It was upon this mercy seat between the wings of the celestials that the Lord of Israel descended when He desired to communicate with His High Priest." - Manly P. Hall, Masonic, Hermetic, Quabbalistic & Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy

"And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee form above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel." - Exodus 25:21-22

"It is possible that the kaporeth [lid of gold or mercy seat] was a later tradition and that it subsequently took the role ascribed to the ark - that is, the sign of the divine presence - in the period after the Exile in Babylon. While the traditions about the sanctuary and the ark are ancient, going back to the period of the Jews' desert wanderings, the descriptions of them were probably written at the time of Solomon and were based on his Temple." - Great Events of Bible Times

"After receiving it [the 'divine blueprint], Moses passed it on verbatim to an artificer named Bezaleel, a man 'filled with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works [Exodus 31:2-4]." "A number of ancient Jewish traditions...asserted that the Ark had contained 'the root of all knowledge'. In addition...'the distinctive gift of the cherubim was knowledge'." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

"According to the Bible, Moses and the priests could communicate with the Lord in the Holy of Holies; his voice was said to emanate from a point in space between the two cherubim over the Ark (Exodus 25:22, Numbers 7:89). - George Sassoon and Rodney Dale, The Manna Machine

"Nobody can tell, or even conjecture, what was the shape of these cherubims [sic]." - Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews VIII 3:4

"...Cherubs were not the angelic little winged infants of popular imagination - they were sphinx-like mythological monsters, part lion, part bird and part man, which are familiar to us now form the art and religious symbolism of the ancient Middle East, and which the Israelites borrowed and adapted for their own religious iconography." - Magnus Magnusson, BC - The Archaeology of the Bible Lands

"A superbly carved ivory plaque from Megiddo gives a rare glimpse of the Canaanite royal court. It shows the king, seated on a throne supported by sphinxes, receiving a victory procession." - Bible Lands

"...The four shrines that had been built to contain the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen...took the form of large rectangular caskets that had originally been positioned one inside the other but that were now installed in separate display cases. Since each casket was made of wood, and since each, moreover, was plated 'inside and out with pure gold', it was difficult to resist the conclusion that the mind that had conceived the Ark of the Covenant must have been familiar with objects like these. "...On the doors and rear walls of each of the shrines [are] two mystical figures: tall and terrible winged women, fierce and imperious in stature and visage - like stern angels of vengeance. These powerful and commanding creatures, placed so as to provide ritual protection for the precious contents of the tomb, were thought to be representations of the goddesses Isis and Nephthys...The deities had their 'wings spread upwards' just like the cherubim referred to in the biblical description of the Ark. They also faced each other just as the biblical cherubim had done. And although they were shaped in high relief on the flat planes of the doors (rather than being distinct pieces of statuary) they were nevertheless fashioned 'of beaten gold' - again very much like the cherubim described in the Bible." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

"There was a tradition that she [Isis] protected the dead Osiris with long feathery wings that, as the Great Enchantress, she was able to grow. Another says that it was with her wings that she attempted to transmit to him the breath of life. Inevitably, she was adopted as one of the protector goddesses in funeral rites and frequently depicted with her sister Nephthys, similarly winged, their plumaged arms entwined." - Richard Patrick, Egyptian Mythology


The Glory

The Ark, with the two tablets of stone "was then installed behind a 'veil' in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle - the portable tent-like structure that the Israelites used as their place of worship during their wanderings in the wilderness." "...Nadab and Abihu, two of the four sons of Aaron the High Priest, who was Moses's own brother...enjoyed access to the Holy of Holies, into which one day advanced carrying metal incense burners in their hands. There... they 'offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not' [Leviticus 10:1]. " - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

"Then from Yahweh's presence a flame leaped out and consumed them and they perished in the presence of Yahweh." - Leviticus 10:2

"The Ark is not only seen as the leader of Israel's host, but is directly addressed as Yahweh. There is virtually an identification of Yahweh and the Ark...there is no doubt that the Ark was interpreted as the extension or embodiment of the presence of Yahweh." - The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible: An Illustrated Encyclopedia

"And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord and died; And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the throne of mercy, which is upon the Ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the throne of mercy." - Leviticus 16:1-2

The cloud "was not always present, but on those occasions when it did materialize the Israelites believed 'that the demons held sway' - and then even Moses would not dare to approach." "According to an enduring folk memory...'two sparks [elsewhere described as "fiery jets"] issued from the cherubim which shaded the Ark' - sparks which occasionally burned and destroyed nearby objects." "Traveling at the head of the Israelite column, the sacred relic was borne on the shoulders of 'the Kohathites' (or 'sons of Kohath'), a sub-clan of the tribe of Levi to which both Moses and Aaron also belonged. According to several legends, and to rabbinical commentaries on the Old Testament, these bearers were occasionally killed by the 'sparks' which the Ark emitted and, in addition, were lifted bodily off the ground from time to time because 'the Ark [was] able to carry its carriers as well as itself....A particularly striking Jewish legend reports an incident during which the priests attempting to carry the Ark were 'tossed by an invisible agency into the air and flung to the ground again and again. Another tradition describes an occasion when 'the Ark leaped of itself into the air'. - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal [Quoting from Ginzburg, Legends of the Jews]

"And the cloud of Yahweh was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Yahweh, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, Yahweh, unto the many thousands of Israel." - Numbers 10:34-6

"Two traditions are here brought together: Yahweh's guidance by means of the cloud, and the significance of the ark's being carried before the people as they marched. The ark was a symbol of God's presence among the people in battle, to give them victory, as is made clear from the words put into Moses' mouth when it set forward and when it rested as well as from the story in Chapter 14 of the Israelites' defeat by Amalekites and Canaanites, when they went to battle against Moses' express command and without taking the ark with them. These words of Moses are clearly ancient. They represent (in their appeal to Yahweh to rise up, at the beginning of a battle) the early concept of the ark, which may well be Moses' own, that it was a representation of the throne or footstool on which the invisible Yahweh rested." - David Daiches, Moses - Man in the Wilderness

"R. Judah, son of Lachish, said "there were two arks, one which abode in the encampment, and one which went forth with them to war, and in it were the broken tables,' as is said, 'And the ark of the covenant of the Lord went.' But the one with them in the encampment contained the roll of the Law." - The Talmud, The Tabernacle - Chapter VII

Festivals of the Arks

"At the great temple of Luxor in Upper Egypt, carved in stone is "a permanent and richly illustrated account of the important 'Festival of Apet' which had been inscribed here in the fourteenth century BC on Tutankhamen's direct orders....In what seemed to be a massive and joyous procession I was able to make out the shapes of several different Ark-like boats being carried on the shoulders of several different groups of priests, before whom musicians played on sistra and a variety of other instruments, acrobats performed, and people danced and sang, clapping their hands in excitement." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

"The Tabernacle of the Law had much in common with the arks or divine tabernacles of the Babylonians and Egyptians, which formed the places of abode of figures of gods or heir characteristic emblems. The ark of Bel, the great god of Babylon, contained the figure of the god, and the king visited it ceremonially once a year. On high days and holidays the ark would be carried in procession by the priest round the city...In Egypt the arks of the gods were kept in chambers specially constructed for the purpose, and the figures of the gods were seated on thrones inside them. The ark of Amun, for example, was provided with doors that were kept bolted and sealed. On certain occasions the king had the right to break the seals, unbolt the door and look upon the face of the god." - Noel Currer-Briggs, Shroud Mafia - The Creation of a Relic? (1995)

"The gods were carried in procession in 'ships', which, as we learn from the sculptures, resembled in form the Hebrew Ark, and were borne on men's shoulders by means of staves." - A. H. Sayce, Fresh Light from the Ancient Monuments (1884)

"Every detail of these complex and beautifully carved scenes reminded me irresistibly of Timkat [baptismal ceremonies to celebrate Holy Epiphany] in Godar [Ethiopia] - which had also involved an outgoing procession (bringing the tabotat [relicas of the tablets in the Ark of the Covenant] from the churches to the 'baptismal' lake beside the old castle) and a returning procession..." "In the space ahead of the tabot several impromptu troupes of dancers had formed themselves - some of mixed sex, some all male, some all female, some dressed in everyday working clothes, some in church vestments. At the center of each of these groups was a drummer, his kebero slung around his neck, beating out an ancient and savage rhythm, whirling, jumping, turning and shouting while those around him exploded with energy, leaping and gyrating, clapping their hands, beating tambourines and cymbals, pouring with sweat as they capered and reeled.
"Now, urged on the trumpet blasts and by shouts, by the thrusts of a ten-stringed begegna and the haunting tones of a shepherd's flute, a young man dressed in traditional robes of white cotton performed a wild solo dance while the priests stood in their place stopping the eager crowd behind them and bearing the sacred tabot aloft. Beautiful in his lithe vigor, splendid in his ferocious energy, the youth seemed entrance. With all eyes upon him he curled the pulsing kebero, pirouetting and swaying, shoulders jerking, head bobbing, lost in his own inner rhythms, praising God with every limb, with every ounce of his strength, with every particle of his being." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

Compare Timkat with the dance of King David when he brought the Ark of the Israelites to Jerusalem:  "David and all the house of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumped [and] played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals...and David danced before the Lord with all his might...leaping and dancing before the Lord." - 2 Samuel 6:5-16

"...There is much evidence of the existence of cultic prophets, or nebiim, in Canaanite religion. In a famous passage in I Samuel, Saul is instructed by Samuel that when he travels to a certain town (Gibeah),he will encounter a band of prophets, coming down from the mountain with lutes, drums, and other musical instruments. The nebiim used such instruments to accompany their dancing: They would dance themselves into a frenzy during which they give vent to ecstatic utterances. Samuel predicted that Saul would find himself swept along by the spirit of God and would begin to prophesy along with men from the mountain. This popular, cultic kind of prophecy not only typified the cult of Yahweh in the 'high places' and in the Jerusalem Temple; it was also associated with Baalism. The nebiim were organized in guilds, and there is reason to think that the great prophets who reformed the religion of Israel themselves belonged to such guilds." - Ninian Smart, The Religious Experience of Mankind.

Bacchants called themselves 'prophets' of Dionysus. Like the worshippers of Dionysus, Semitic ecstatic prophets usually acted not individually but in groups. Jezebel of Tyre's four hundred and fifty 'prophets' of Baal on Mount Carmel, while sacrificing to their god and calling to him for an apparition, danced around the altar, shouted and wounded themselves with knives. Of the four hundred Israelite prophets of Yahweh one while prophesying before King Ahab, fastened iron horns to his head. The woman Bacchants on Mount Laphysitos in Boeotia were called 'horn-wearing' women. - Nina Jidejian, Tyre Through the Ages

"The Ark of the Covenant that had stood in the Holy of Holies, first in the Tabernacle, later in the Solomonic Temple, had disappeared...and the Bible is mute as to its ulterior fate. Prophets and priests, official Jewry in general, stoically accepted the loss; they had the Word of God, they had their covenant with Him, they could do without the wooden chest. Not so the simple people. Unwilling, and almost unable, to believe the truth, they began to spin out yarns, taking as their point of departure certain passages in Scripture. King Josias...had ordered it to be hidden...Where was it hidden?...Non-Jewish sources pretended that the Ark had been carried off to Ethiopia by Menelek, son of Solomon and of the Queen of Sheba." - Helen Adolf, Visio Pacis: Holy City and Grail
The Kebra Nagast is "an account in Coptic and Arabic of how the Queen of Sheba had visited Solomon, by whom she had conceived a son, Menelek, from whom the Ethiopian kings descended. This book was composed in the sixth century AD, probably by a Coptic priest, and was translated into Arabic before the twelfth century, and into Ethiopian in the fourteenth." "In Chapter 17 of the Kebra Nagast Moses is said to have placed a golden pot containing an 'omen' (an omen is the equivalent of 5.1 points imperial measure) of manna together with Aaron's rod along with the tablets of stone. God also ordered him to make a case in the shape of the 'belly of a ship' for the two tablets of the Law. " - Noel Currer-Briggs, Shroud Mafia - The Creation of a Relic? (1995)

"The Abyssinians possess the Ark of Noah...and also the Ark of the Covenant in which are two tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God with the Commandments which he ordained for the Children of Israel. The Ark of the Covenant is placed upon the altar, but is not so wide as the altar; it is as high as the knee of a man, and is overlaid with gold, upon its lid there are crosses of gold; and there are five precious stones upon it, one at each of the four corners and one in the middle thereof....The liturgy is celebrated upon the Ark four times in the year within the palace of the king...on the Feasts of the Nativity, the Baptism, the Resurrection and the Illuminating of the Cross. The Ark is attended and carried by a large number of Israelites, descended from the family of David, who are white and red in complexion with red hair. In every town of Abyssinia there is one church as spacious as it can possibly be. It is said that the Negus was white and red of complexion with red hair, and so are all his family to the present day, and it is said that he was of the family of Moses and Aaron, on account of the coming of Moses into Abyssinia, for Moses married the king's daughter." - Abu-Salih, Churches and Monasteries of Egypt and Neighboring Countries (1173-1208)
"The genuine Ark is supposed to rest at Axum [Ethiopia]; all other churches can only possess replicas. In most cases they are not, however, replicas of the whole Ark, but merely of its supposed contents, i.e. the tables of the Law...In other words: the description of these stone or wooden tablets as tabotat is simply by way of a pars pro toto referring to the most important part of the Ark, the tables of the Covenant." - Edward Ullendorff, "Hebraic-Jewish Elements in Abyssinian (Monophysite) Christianity"

"...According to established etymologies the original meaning of tabot had been 'ship like container'...The Archaic Hebrew word tebah (from which the Ethiopic term had been derived) had been used in the Bible to refer specifically to ship-like arks, namely the ark of Noah and the ark of bulrushes in which the infant Moses can been cast adrift on the Nile." "...During the period of Greek influence in Egypt (from about the fifth century BC) the whole area including the nearby temple at Karnak had been known as Thebai.. Modern Europeans had subsequently corrupted this name to the more familiar 'Thebes'. In the process, however, they had obscured an intriguing etymology: the word Thebai had in fact been derived from Tapet, the name by which the Luxor/Karnak religious complex had been known in the era of Tutankhamen and Moses. And Tapet in its turn was merely the feminine form of Apet - in other words, Luxor and Karnak had originally been named after the great festival for which they had been famous, a festival that had centered upon a procession in which arks had been carried between the two temples....The shape of the Tapet arks had evolved over the passing centuries, gradually ceasing to resemble ships so closely and becoming instead 'more and more like a chest'." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

In the procession of the Initiates of Isis , described by Apuleius, "then followed a chest or ark, magnificently ornamented, containing an image of the organs of generation of Osiris, or perhaps of both sexes; emblems of the original generating and producing Powers." "Children of tender age were initiated [on the island of Samothrace], and invested with the sacred robe, the purple cincture, and the crown of olive, and seated upon a throne, like other Initiates. In the ceremonies was represented the death of the youngest of the Cabiri, slain by his brother, who fled into Etruria, carrying with them the chest or ark that contained his genitals; and there the Phallus and the sacred ark were adored." - General Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma

"The Ark of the Israelites - which was patterned after the sacred chests of the Isiac Mysteries - contained three holy objects, each having an important phallic interpretation: the pot of manna, the rod that budded, and the Tablets of the Law - the first, second, and third Principles of the Creative Triad....When placed in King Solomon's Everlasting House, the Ark of the Covenant contained only the Tablets of the Law. Does this indicate that even at that early date the secret tradition had been lost and the letter of the revelation alone remained? - Manly P. Hall, Masonic, Hermetic, Quabbalistic & Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy






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