The Chivalric Vision
Real Chivalry is a state of mind. The hallmark of chivalry is nobility – not of blood, but of character. And what is nobility of character but the mastery of one’s lower traits by the higher, not giving in to base impulses, always striving for the good? In this sense, it is not only a product of the European Middle Ages, but a universal ethical vision.
What is Initiatic Chivalry?
Initiatic Chivalry is the real spirit of chivalry. It is true chivalry. Being an initiated chevalier is a distinction. Having this title means that the person holding it has an added value in itself and has done an inner work. It means also this person brings forward the same ideal that is transmitted through the various books and poems speaking of chivalry (Perceval, Queste du Graal etc...).
Initiatic Chivalry today
Chivalry is a very actual theme in the actual world. We dont fight anymore may be with metallic swords. But fights are always there. But what changes can be the way in which we conduct us. A real knight should have a code of conduct and havinh undergone an inner work.
The Lord of the Manor of Ivinghoe and Chivalry
Being Lord of Ivanhoe/Ivinghoe is as owning a small piece of the history of England and of the western culture.
It is curious that there is a chivalric mission in the title of Lord of Ivanhoe that is not only connected to the work of sir Walter Scott. Almost all the previous Lords of Ivinghoe pertained to chivalric or esoteric organizations and have always developed and followed high ethical and moral ideals.
Historical Lords of Ivanhoe /Ivinghoe with Chivalric and Moral ideals
The former Lord pertained to various chivalric organizations (OSTJ and other ones). He was also an anglican Bishop.
The sixt Baron Bronlow and Lord of Ivinghoe was a famous Freemason – Lord Brownlow was a past Master of the Doric Lodge and Junior Grand Warden in the United Grand Lodge of England.
The First Baron Bronlow, also Lord of Ivinghoe, was also a Freemason.
The actual Lord of the Manor has been initiated in the ideals of the ancient Chivalry to which he gives his Patronage.
The chivalric way to awakening
Always, in every culture, chivalry has been connected to a deeper meaning. A meaning of presence and of connecting the transcendent with the physical reality.
The Samurai in Japan, the martial arts in China share similar views. We find these views also in the core of the chivalric tradition, that is not just a tradition of warriors, it is instead a tradition of educated and elevated persons that ally the fact of being in the physical world, with a higher awareness.
It is an heroic way. Because you have to be "without without blemish and without fear".
Without blemish it means a true knight must be impeccable in every action.
Without fear it means you must be able to look even inside yourself.
In the "Perceval", in the moment in which sir Perceval has not more any fear that the castle in which he is can collapse everything changes. Women arrive and prepare a magnifique banquet.
These ancient tales of chivalry have a deep meaning for personal change.
We will give you some of these symbols below.
The ideal world, is the Grail, the verticality, the axis toward which we direct our action.
The trials of the Chevalier
The peripheral world is war. But through trials we grow. The Parsifal, the various chivalric poems explain very well it. Through the different tournaments and fights we get at another level
Non Nobis Domine, sed domine tuo da Gloriam
God works through us, or if we want to use not religious terms, as religions are always a human construct, we can say that the "Atman" works through us.
The individual personality is not a big issue. And the work of the chevalier is in going back through various trials to the real center.
The alert chevalier
Normal people do things sleeping. A chevalier cannot sleep. He must keep ATTENTION. In the Eastern traditions martial arts correspond to what the deepest real chivalry
In the initiatic chivalry is clear that human love is very difficult. Because people loves what is convenient for them. Obviously a chevalier try to go even in personal relationship beyond that. But for chivalry this term is much more vast. Many of the ancient counts of chivalry that speak of love have also another secret meaning. Ancient chivalric practices included training the imagination to hold the image of the Beloved in the form of one's Lady, since the pure light of the One would be too much to bear. This is similar to what descrbed by the trobadours and to some oriental traditions.
He also can personnally give the "Ordo". The "Ordo" is the real chivalric initation and can be given only from a person that has received it from somebody else.
The Lordship of Ivanhoe and the Epitome of Chivalry
The Lord of Ivanhoe as presented by Sir Walter Scott is the epitome of the Chivalry.
Sir Walter Scott, the year before he started his novel, he had explored some of his ides in an "Essay on Chivalry" for the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1818. "In every age and country valour is held in esteem", he wrote, "and the more rude the period and the place, the greater respect is paid to boldness of enterprise in battle".
But only in the institution of chivalry did military valor combine with religious devotion and romantici love. The love of freedom - both his own and and others - generosity, gallantry, loyalty and a perfect reputation were also essential principles to the knight. These are the values that the wounded Lord of Ivanhoe tries to explain to Rebecca. "But as, in actual practice", Scott admitted, "every institution becomes deteriorated and degraded, we have too much occasion to remark, that the actual devotion of the knights often degenrated into superstition, - their love into lincentiousness, -their spirit of loyalty or of freedom into tyranny and turmoil, - their generosity and gallantry into harebrained madness and absurdity". The Knights Templar in his novel exemplify these degraded qualities, while the Lord of Ivanhoe expresses the imagination of chivalry at its best.
The chivalric initiation, the "Ordo", refers only to this last kind of chivalry.
It is to note that we are independent from any religious structure. From immemoria time the Lord of Ivanhoe/Ivinghoe had the right to adwovson. It means "the right to choose the priest of the parish". The same spirit applies to the knights. Religious devotion refers to opennes to spirituality and trascendence and not to specific structures.
Our Court Baron
Our Lordship combines these ideas with reality. The actual honorific Court Baron has as its goal to boost these ideals collecting individuals adhering to such ideas
Music: Code of Chivalry
The Code of Chivalry
The Code of Chivalry is a moral system which goes beyond rules of combat and introduces the concept of Chivalrous conduct - qualities idealized by the Medieval knights such as bravery, courtesy, honor and great gallantry toward women. The Codes of chivalry also incorporates the notion of courtly love. The Code of Chivalry was the honor code of the knight. The Code of Chivalry was an important part of the society and lives of people who lived during the Medieval times and was understood by all.
In the image on the side: Diagram of the seven vices represented as devils: Superbia (Pride), Invidia (Envy), Ira (Wrath), Accidia (Sloth), Avaricia (Covetousness), Gula (Gluttony), and Luxuria (Self-indulgence), each subdivided, and countered by doves representing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, a knight on horseback (the 'Just Man') with the shield of faith and armed with virtues, and an angel. The armour of the knight and the trappings of the horse are labelled with the names of virtues.
From British Library - Peraldus: Theological miscellany, including the Summa de vitiis
The Code of the Lordship of Ivanhoe
As Walter Scott tells: [g]enerosity, gallantry, and an unblemished reputation [are] necessary ingredients in the character of a perfect knight” and he adds later: “[a]mid the various duties of knighthood, that of protecting the female sex, respecting their persons, and redressing their wrongs, becoming the champion of their cause, and the chastiser of those by whom they were injured, is presented as one of the principal objects of the institution.
The deepest origin of the chivalric code
Real Chivalry is a state of mind. The hallmark of chivalry is nobility – not of blood, but of character.
How something that apparently should only be connected to war assumed a so deep meaning?
This meaning is not only in the western civilization. In the eastern tradition, the Samurais, with their ethics and rules share something similar.
Historically many influences shaped the formation of the chivalric code. Ancient traditions, the influence of the church and the meaning of trascendence.
Being a knight has always been different to be just a warrior.
We make a distinction between horsemen and knights.
We want to shed some light on these traditions. We refer to the deepest esoteric meaning, the true mystery, beyond the mystifications of the modern age.
As Dujols noted: Chivalry, even though it was developed under the Curch's patronage, managed to mislead the power of the official church in these times that a person can understand for exemple reading the horrific portrayal as recounted by the ardent Pierre Damien... The spiritual part of the organization ... preserved in their school some of the mystery tradition of antiquity and conferred these teaching to the organization at large by the intermediary of trobadours and minstrels. These bards, balladeers ... constituted the go between which served as a link between one end to another. They received the doctrine form the higher echelon of the organisation and passed down to lower ranks by means of poems and allegorcal songs. The most intimate meaning of their tales and songs often escaped the audience taht consisted of the steel-bearing gentry, those roughly hewn and crude bastions of dogma. These ironclad warriors of the Corporation took the beautiful stories of the poets literary and drew from them the virtues and heroism that were essential to carry out the secular action that needed to be accomplished.
Chivalry was like a Corporation, with its inner code and secrets. In the Middle Age there was no separation between inner work and outer work. One should reflect the other. The Minstrel and the Trobadour that spoke of chivalry were in same way the soul of the corporation and were very aware of this double reality. The invention of printing has changed our view of the word. But before the invention of printing, writing and transmitting of knowledge was very time expensive as each book should be copied manually. Concentration of meaning was fundamental.
In the Middle Age, as we see clearly in Dante, each writing or poems had several layers of meaning.
In the mysterious medieval tales of the knights, in the various encounters in the woods and fights, in the enchanted castles, the symbols of the secret stages and phases of an inner development based on attention and vigilance are often shadowed.
Form, Power, Strength, have a particular meaning in the Tradition. They refer to a different level of being. The fighter's secret is that physical strength is an expression of the intense potential of a non-physical corporeality to which bodily dynamism serves as a vehicle for expression.
Understanding the symbols of Tradition then opens man to the possibility of growth and unveils both the mysteries of the Kights and the Grail making them understandable.
Grail is a mythical term. Tales about the Grail surface at a specific time in history. It is the same period to which the apogee of the medieval tradition corresponds, to the golden period of the Knightly Tradition. In this legend there are a series of characters that clearly refer to a profound and symbolic Tradition: an allegory of very profound concepts that can be connected to the concept of reintegration to the presence and to the struggle necessary to get there.
Just as in the Far East the Martial Arts hide within themselves the way for the growth of the person and the Awakening, so it is for the internal Tradition of the Chivalry, which represents a way of essentially Celtic and Nordic origin. The stories in this regard - codified in written form in the Middle Ages - can be seen precisely as the means of transmitting this wisdom to populations of warrior origin.
Important themes, expressed in an allegorical and profound way, find correspondence and parallels. Some organizations that actually exists that have collected, at least at the beginning, such inheritances, but the sapiential meaning goes beyond structures and is independent of them: it is for man in its entirety.
Ancient Traditions of Wisdom of the Celtic and Northern peoples merged into the Traditions of Chivalry during the Middle Ages. The Warrior, among these peoples, was consecrated, and his activity had not only a practical but also a magical character. Combat was, as for the Samurai, a way of growth. The preparation was not only physical but also internal. The true Mysteries of which various orders of chivalry have been dealt with is in the moment in which their internal hierarchies have been created and even more ancient traditions have converged there
Our comparison is also with other traditions that have compared the development to achieve awakening to the "art of the warrior". For example in Shantideva's "March to Awakening", the 14th Dalai Lama stated "the best protection against emotions is constant vigilance. The one who possesses it can contact them on the field ... In this fight, if the sword of attention falls you have to collect it quickly "
In the West, the concept of the warrior is represented by the figure of the knight. The institution of the Cavalry was born historically in the Middle Ages, after the great Germanic invasions and for this reason we can suppose a link between this institution and previous Nordic traditions that have also given new life to corresponding Celtic ideas. It is the initiation and organization of a warlike aristocracy based on the gifts of disinterest, courage and honor. Obviously these tradition incorporated also roman traditions. The Chivalric tradition was therefore also an extension of the equestrian orders of the Greeks and Latins. It is known that these equestrian orders contained an inner tradition and symbols inside them, as every roman corporation had.
Its elements, however, are to be understood in a symbolic way. In fact, the chivalric initiation is the moment of beginning of an attitude of awakening, in which man begins to situate himself in society.
It is the beginning of a path of expansion and influence and corresponds to the plan of action in the world.
This mission is accomplished with weapons and with an attitude.
The attitude is one of "Vigilance", which in a symbolic sense means paying attention to oneself and one's actions.
Vigilance is the basic quality for those who want to achieve presence.
The "fierce knight"
A first step in the knowledge of these ancient traditions is the understanding of the concept of "Bersek", the bersek was - and still is - that particular and justified feeling that develops in a fighter following special exercises. The ancient Celts and Germans knew well and appreciated this mental and physical state that allowed them feats impossible to achieve in ordinary time. A particular state propitious to combat and connected with particular rituals of a magical type that implied contact with one's own "fylgja" (soul, inner strength, double) or with parts of it symbolized by animals that are the same chased by the knights in Parsifal. An interpretation can see the seal of the Templars as linked to this idea of the double knight, and therefore to the final phase that leads us to make contact with this double interior of ours. Even if not historically proven so far, this interpretation still has an interior value.
Weapons are the techniques that allow him to enhance his strength. The essence of the knightly mission is combat that is essentially internal in nature. in this there is a similarity with the Islamic vision of the "holy war" which for many mystics is to be considered above all an inner battle and this can explain the Templar contacts with the internal doctrines of this culture. Cavalry is also an aristocratic order. By aristocracy we mean a hierarchy of development that is created as the fight is successful.
In fact, the more you work on yourself, the more you advance
Chivalry is for realizing an ideal, but what is this ideal?
As Gustave Thibon says: "the ideal is not that which is opposed to the real, the ideal is that which is opposed to the lie".
The Grail and the Spiritual Principle
There is a symbolic meaning in the Grail and in the chivalric epic in general. The Grail, so ceaselessly sought, is the spiritual principle, which is connected with the awakening of man.
The last stage of awakening is also called "the assault on the citadel".
The knight is inspired by a superior, divine principle, and transports it to a practical level, applying it to matter. By doing so he achieves the union of two floors.
The same concept is in the Grail, simultaneously physical and union in the physical of the spiritual.
Another characteristic of the knight is that he must be there, be present to defend the field. He must protect the itinerary from anything that could divert it.
Achieving reintegration requires commitment, but the result is beyond any other reality.
The inner Chivalric Work to prepare yourself to the chivalric initiation
To acceed to the real chivalric initiation a preparation is therefore necessary.
The work on which we must start is therefore the path of presence and awareness. The path and the methods of the cavlieri guide you beyond the inner fears because if we are afraid we live in the future and not in the present.
Overcoming fear is a prerequisite for presence. The art of the Knight then teaches you to be yourself in the present.
Other General concepts related to the Reintegration into the Presence. Many researchers claim that "man does not fully utilize his full potential".
In reality the door of the mind is occupied by thoughts, often repeated and useless.
As Dante says: "in the middle of the journey of our life, I found myself in a dark forest, that the straight path was lost".
And similarly the knights fight in the woods and woods. The reason for this is that man is very distant from his natural being and lives in the world of his thoughts and desires instead of in the real world.
It is necessary to begin to train one's horse, meaning with the horse one's more "leaden" nature which is easily pulled by worries.
The secret initiation to the chivalric "Ordo"
The 54th Lord of the Manor of Ivanhoe received also the "Ordo" and can transmit it. This primitive chivalric initiation is clearly described by sir Walter Scott in "on chivalry":
The third and highest rank of chivalry was that of Knighthood. In considering this last dignity, we shall first inquire, how it was conferred...
...each knight could confer the order of knighthood ... The highest potentates sought the accolade, or stroke which conferred the honour, at the hands of the worthiest knight whose achievements had dignified the period.
This "stroke" is of a particular nature. It is simple to be given, but it must be accompanied by certain words and can only be given to a person that
preparatory noviciate and probation had fitted to receive it.
it is in part described later in the same text :
Thus Francis I. requested the celebrated Bayard, the Good Knight without reproach or fear, to make him; an honour which Bayard valued so highly, that, on sheathing his sword, he vowed never more to use that blade, except against Turks, Moors, and Saracens. The same principle was carried to extravagance in a romance, where the hero is knighted by the hand of Sir Lancelot of the Lake, when dead. A sword was put into the hand of the skeleton, which was so guided as to let it drop on the neck of the aspirant.
Sword in reality is not necessary for this kind of initiation, whose gesture can be understood only after having experienced it ...
Read more on the next chapter on Chivalry ...