I understand and accept fully that the human race is harming the natural world by driving species to extinction, releasing long-lived pollutants, changing the climate and poisoning nature.
I understand and accept fully that the human race makes many suffer horribly and die in war, famine, injustice, poverty and oppression, and that we are not choosing to provide a good life for all of humanity.
I understand and fully accept that my own efforts appear unequal to the task of changing these facts.
I swear by the bones of the earth, the roots of the mountains to always treat those who understand and accept fully these Three Truths with dignity and respect, myself included.
You are now a templar of Earth. Display the symbol as you will.
A templar is a soldier, a warrior. But as I said earlier, at this point, and perhaps always, violence is pointless. However, to counteract the struggles and isolation of knowing, seeing and feeling these unbearable truths, I enact the formation of a modern Templar movement.
I don’t do this lightly. You’ve seen me struggling for weeks or months with the pressure to do something, to pick a direction for the energy and awareness pushing me to action. Nothing that I’ve been able to find has had the heft required to make a dent in the problem of how to step operations up. I’ve been pushed further and deeper in my thought, but without the kind of breakthrough that satisfied the times.
So I’ve fallen back on something old, and something that I know works – the guild. Let me tell you why Templars. Freemasonry gave us two major innovations, science and secular democracy. Yet Masonry itself does little which would lead one to think in terms of revolutions in human thought – what it teaches it teaches by good example and symbolic gesture. From these practices come trust and insight, and trust and insight between people can generate all else.
I looked at that example, and thought “I don’t know what to do, but I do know that the people who are doing the best work in this domain are isolated and alone, and share no banner. There’s mutual respect, but in the absence of a shared platform, little mutual aid.” Yet we have not and are not likely to agree a shared platform. Perhaps there is something to a guild, where there is mutual respect and mutual support, but from a much broader and more inclusive foundation.
I’d like to see a situation where those who are most directly feeling the load can turn to each-other, under these bonds of common humanity and recognition, dignity and respect, and see a way past whatever differences they have to help each-other continue their work in the world, towards victory over our destruction of nature, and our destruction of one-another. Where there are differences, there can still be respect and dignity.
It is a big ask to raise a common banner. To pick something as archaic and mystical as a Templar flag and an oath is quaint. Yet I know of nothing else that I believe has the power to solidify what is between people: a political party will not do it, and there is no religion. Many of those who stand strongest on these issues do so from their own personal spiritual foundation, of whatever nature. This is not coincidence – there is vast strength within us.
If you struggle with this knowledge, and are willing to commit to dignity and respect between those who share that struggle in whatever form, you may choose to swear the oath, use the symbol and the name, and commit to always treat those who are fighting the good fight with dignity and respect. This does not mean that we put our differences aside, as the resolution of the problems of the world require us to be clear about such distinctions. It does ask for and engage a higher level of acknowledgment between those engaged in this struggle.
So that’s what I have for you: an oath, a symbol and a name. What you do with them is up to you, but I will be here, under this banner, for the time being.
I am a templar of Earth.
Hail, and welcome.