Templar Heresy: A Story of Gnostic Illumination

Templar Heresy

A Story of Gnostic Illumination

by James Wasserman

(with Keith W. Stump and Harvey Rochman)

Paperback: 224 pages


ISBN-13: 978-1-59143-225-8

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A doctrinal exposition of the Western Mystery Tradition in novel form.


Set within the dramatic tableau of the medieval Crusades, the Templars, Assassins, and Cathars discover a unifying faith to protect and liberate humankind.

This is a story of initiation and the effects of spiritual growth in the personal lives of its characters. It communicates the inherent dignity of the individual and his and her relationship with the sacred principles of the universe. It traces the evolution of the Western Esoteric Tradition during the fertile cultural interactions of the Crusades.

The characters must choose between the beliefs with which they were raised and the increasing realizations of their own personal truths. Their individual awakenings move them beyond the confines of orthodoxy to an embrace of the essential unity underlying creation.

A concurrent theme is that techniques of self-development may be learned and practiced to help bring about deeper spiritual understanding. A number of such methods are highlighted in this tale.

That an individual is capable of direct spiritual experience presents a revolutionary challenge to both religious and political authority. A passionate and uncompromising search for truth demands the rejection of falsehood and an embrace of the heresy of self-empowerment.

This novel also sheds light on one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. The contemporary conflict between Islam and the West began a thousand years ago. But the Crusades were a manifestation of an even more ancient struggle between the sons of Abraham—as first described in the Book of Genesis. Divine Warriors offers a natural path of reconciliation between disparate cultures.

Mystic truths long reserved within elite secret societies are shared in this story. The reader is offered a rare glimpse into a hidden world whose doors may still be opened by diligent seekers.

James Wasserman is the author of numerous books on spirituality and myth. He is a lifelong member of a secret society patterned after the interaction between the Templars and the Assassins. This is his first novel.

Praise from Readers

What a delightful and riveting story! I was amazed at how eloquently you synthesized so many complex and intricate ideas into a simple and fluid narrative. By following the internal struggles of a single individual the reader is able to digest emotionally the entirety of the social, cultural and historical significance of the spiritual/philosophical transformation of the early Templar Order. Bravo! And the playful intermingling of Thelemic principles makes the story resonate in real time for readers today. I was at times reminded of the solemn mentoring of King Arthur by Merlin in T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. At other moments I was swept up in the mystic imagery of the initiated visions of the protagonist like I haven’t seen since Casteneda or Robert Anton Wilson. I was also reminded of the writings of Joseph Campbell, where he points out how the flowering of the Total Individual in the West was a phenomena seeded by the Levant and emphasized (in the romances of the Renaissance) the “ecstatic meeting of the eyes” where individual, one for another, was even bigger than the Church and Hell! I loved following along with the moral tribulations of Roland as he gradually wakes up to his own Light Within and begins to question authority and think for himself. From my upbringing in the medieval Catholic mindset I personally struggled with in my youth, this book uniquely resonated with me. I love how it extols the virtue of individual courage to move into seemingly dark and dangerous territory for sake of the hidden Light Within. I especially loved the scene where Roland makes his “confession” and both priest and confessor become conduits for the divine will. Thanks for sharing this with me. I thoroughly enjoyed it!”

— Michael Joseph McMahon


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.  Recommended essential reading for readers of “all faiths or none”, 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, PhD., medieval historian and world religions and spirituality scholar, Oxford, UK, and author of The Templars and the Grail;  The Knights Templar Encyclopedia;  Medieval Mysteries:  History, Places and Symbolism;  and Gothic Cathedrals: History, Art, and Symbolism.


Notes from a Heretic:

There are times when it becomes not only desirable but necessary to relate factual information in a fictional way (rather than fictional information in a factual way, which is never okay!).

A lot of ink (and blood) has been spilled – and hysterical claims proposed – over the true nature of the Knights Templar.  It’s one of those historical episodes that often are enlisted by various warring factions to support one idea or another concerning:  the Holy Grail, satanic rituals, the perfidy of the Catholic Church, the heroism of the Cathars, the romance of the eleventh to fourteenth centuries, the conquest of Jerusalem, the Illuminati/Freemason plots to conquer the world, etc. etc.  Unfortunately, a “non-fiction” approach to any of these theories is likely to enflame the reader (usually with very few reliable sources) or anaesthetize the reader (usually with way too many sources).  What is missing from these accounts – earnestly designed to convince the reader of the truth of the writer’s personal opinion about something that happened almost a millennium ago – is context.

The Templar Heresy provides that missing element by telling 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 even esoteric philosophy, in these pages as we see that Muslim and Christian may have more in common with each other than we realize.  What this does is encourage the reader to learn more about the period because a “template” (no pun intended) has been provided, a narrative stream that submerges the reader in the sights and sounds (and ideas) of a time long ago when these things were possible (or, at least, ardently believed to be possible).

The Templar Heresy invites us to consider that perhaps a mystical or esoteric explanation of our own times is the only one that makes any sense.  Rather than expect us to indulge in a fevered hand-wringing over devil-worshipping cults controlling the world – the stuff of Internet conspiracy-porn – it asks us to elevate this fundamental instinct to a higher level. Along with the heavy furniture of the Crusades, the European orders of knighthood, the Assassins cult, and so many other familiar themes we are introduced to a suggestion that there very well may be an “occult” or mystical side to world events – what author James Wasserman refers to as the “Invisible Reality” –  but one that can be appreciated through an elevation of consciousness and the expansion of one’s mental and spiritual capacities to see past the terrifying guardians at the Gate of Knowing: to the realization that what we fear the most may be what we really need in order to survive, and thrive, as human beings.  At the time of the Crusades, Europe both feared and was fascinated by the phenomenon of Islam.  Yet, buried within that carbuncle of suspicion and hatred were the jewels of a civilization that in some ways surpassed that of Europe.  From Islam Europe received tremendous advances in mathematics, medicine, architecture and literature which only served to enrich the continent rather than impoverish it. This was possible due to the meeting of minds that had been open to influences from that Invisible Reality, a Reality that does not discriminate between race, religion, or any other human category.  The 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 maybe to find that inner heretic in our own souls.

Peter Levenda—Author of The Lovecraft Code and Dark Lord