Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sejarah Priory of Sion versi David A Shugarts

David A. Shugart yang istrinya masih ada hubungan darah dengan George Washington ini, dalam bukunya yang merupakan buku ketiga dalam serial trilogi jawaban untuk DA VINCI CODE dan prequelnya, ANGELS AND DEMONS, menyatakan bahwa Priory of Sion bercikal bakal dari sebuah sub-sekte dalam sebuah sekte (sekte dalam sekte) yang berdomisili di Ephrata, Pennsylvania, Amerika, bukan Perancis. 

Buku ini merupakan, sebuah preemptive response untuk sequel DA VINCI CODE, yaitu THE SOLOMON KEY (waktu itu) alias THE LOST SYMBOL (waktu muncul):


An extreme example of a very mixed-up religious concoction is the famous religious commune at Ephrata, Pennsylvania. It held to genuine Rosicrucian beliefs with form of alchemy, along with German Baptist (Dunker) faiths, Pietism, and even some practices that approached Judaism.

Ephrata’s main strand of religious belief came through a mystic, Johann Conrad Beissel, who needed no next or Bible to preach, but merely closed his eyes and began to spout long, fiercely animated “sermons,” or what would be called “rants” today. He had tried to be a religious hermit several times, but followers kept showing up at his cabin door. So he founded a sect that eventually grew to about three hundred, mostly German religious refugees streaming into Pennsylvania.

Beissel was described as “physically diminutive, emaciated, a living skeleton until his death, but possessed of such of magnetic personality that his influence, benign or malign, was felt by almost all with whom he came into contact.”

Beissel preached strict, total celibacy, so a joiner had to give up any marriage that he or she held. This carried an attraction to certain married women of the area around Ephrata. Thus, on more than one occasion, Beissel was attacked by an angry husband. Other times, a man might be severely disciplined for sleeping with his wife. Members of the order wore white robes and slept on narrow wooden platforms with stone pillows. Like ancient Jews, they rose at midnight to study Scripture and pray, and they adopted Saturday as their Sabbath, getting them in trouble with civil authorities.

Beissel believed in certain Hermetic traditions, including alchemical marriage (philosophically but not sexually), and in his later years he pursued real alchemy, searching for the Philosopher’s Stone. In fact, his tenets were practically straight from Hermetic and Rosicrucian texts. In one legend, man was complete, being both male and female in spirit, before the conflict between the archangel Lucifer and God. Through celibacy, faith, and revelation, the masculine could reunite with the feminine to become a perfect apirit. The members of the Ephrata sect were therefore known as perfecti.

Beissel, raised as a baker by trade in Germany, was in fact a widow’s son, born after the death of his father. It is said that as young man he joined a Rosicrucian chapter that, because the order was banned, had to meet under the guise of Pietist conventicle. His membership became known in Heidelberg where Pietists were persecuted, however, and he was forced to flee, eventually making his way to Pennsylvania. To those Pietists remaining behind Germany, the group that had gone to America was called “the Woman Wandering in the Wilderness.” Beissel intended to join them, but he wound up founding his own sect.

With only rudimentary knowledge of music, Beissel put together his own theory of harmony, wrote about two thousand hymns, and was the fiery choirmaster of the women of Ephrata. He saw music in a Kabbalah-like way, considering the musical notes to be “letters.” Thus, a hymn was a coded form of divine guidance. Music was viewed in “Aeolian” or Pythagorean terms.

All over America, for most of its history, diverse religious groups have frequently seen a reason to proclaim the Second Coming, a new Messiah, or the End of Days. This was not particularly different from Europe and elsewhere, where new Messiahs and Millennia had been regularly announced for centuries. (It is very real, very courant undercurrent among American religious fundamentalists today.)
Ephrata got a taste of this. In 1742, a comet was seen for several weeks in the night sky. The elders were convinced it meant the End of Days, and some of the brethren had to be restrained from killing themselves through starvation. Later, a dispute broke out when an elder detected hints that Beissel was preparing to declare himself a new Christ.

The Beisselianer, as they were known, practiced agapas, or love-feasts, tracing back to the earliest Christians. These were holy celebration in which everyone, including servants and slaves, ate together and gave one another the kiss of peace. Agape is Greek for “love.” Agapa was part of the mason’s mark of the famous Scottish Freemason, Sir Robert Moray (see page 139, Sexual Overtones of Dan Brown).

The Ephrata brethren were followers of the apocryphal wisdom of Sophia – which is Greek for “wisdom” and figures in the plot of DVC, explaining Sophie Neveu’s name. It is a significant part of Gnosticism.


Ephrata was strange enough, but within the commune there arose a subsect that readers of DVC will find downright spooky.

Around 1738, a secret society formed at Ephrata called the Brotherhood of Zion (I kid you not). This has a truly resemblance to the Priory of Sion that figures so prominently in DVC, the brotherhood founded among the Templars that supposedly carries the bloodline of the Merovingian kings, through Leonardo da Vinci to the Illuminati, and continues to Jacques Saunière, Sophie’s grandfather.

At Ephrata, the Brotherhood of Zion consisted of thirteen adepts who built themselves a circular chapterhouse that, it is said, was based on plans handed down from ancient Freemasonry. (In DVC, Dan Brown says the Knights Templars characteristically built round churches.) 
The Ephrata brotherhood was headed by a Perfect Master, or Prior. It thus could be called a “Priory of Zion.”

Later, the nuns of the cloister took on the name of the Order of the Roses of Sharon. Once again, we have the rose as a symbol, almost certainly linked to Rosicrucianism. This would fit perfectly in a Dan Brown setting.

The three-story Zion chapterhouse had a first floor with a refectory and provision rooms, a second story with no windows – just one candle in the center and thirteen wooden cots radiating outward – and finally, an upper floor containing the “mystical chamber, where the arcana of the rite were unfolded.” (Would this make a great setting for a Dan Brown Novel, or what?)

To begin their spiritual journey, the thirteen brothers entered the building and locked the door behind them, then spent forty days in prayer. On the fortieth day they were visited by seven archangels, one of whom handed them a sacred parchment. On the parchment was a “sacred pentagon” containing the Ineffable Name of God. The Brotherhood chose the Virgin Mary as their patroness, and showed their dedication to her by shaving their heads like Catholic monks. In fact, the nuns of the cloister also began to shave their crowns in the same manner, known as a tonsure.

They walked wherever they went, typically single file, so the spectacle of white-robed monks and nuns following Beissel looked to outsiders like a hen and chickens, or a father with his children. Their spare, vegetarian diet left them very skinny, and visitors to their services were struck by the way the powerful harmonies would emerge from a choir of emaciated, like spirit-like beings.

A very spooky legend has it that there are human footprints on the ceiling beams of one of the Ephrata buildings, put there one night at midnight when the Prior and another monk walked on the ceiling.

Although Ephrata seemed very odd to other Pennsylvanians at the time, it wasn’t unique. There were dozens of strange religious communities in a colony that, after all, was intended as a haven for castaway religions. It certainly didn’t stop Ephrata’s commune from becoming a fixture in the area. Members were known for baking pumpernickel bread and sharing it with neighboring towns. In fact, Benjamin Franklin did the early printing work for Ephrata’s hymnbooks and religious tracts and later, it was where foreign translations of the Declaration of Independence were made, to be sent to foreign governments.

But Ephrata was almost guaranteed to fail as a religious experiment. Combining alchemy and mysticism with celibacy is not exactly a winning strategy. But it was part of the ever-changing cultural mixture in the colonies.

David A. Shugart, SECRETS OF WIDOW’S SON: 100-107

Sumber : (mss/s7/a7)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogger Tips and TricksLatest Tips And TricksBlogger Tricks