The Templars, in the Middle Ages, being more than just soldiers, were builders of a new world, transcending frontiers and religious divisions and opening the way to a vital spirituality which occupied a unique position between the West and the East. They were protectors of pilgrims, byways and sacred places, as well as artisans and inventors; they made the Order into a veritable network of knowledge and action in the service of the spiritual values to which they had pledged allegiance.
The OSTI Templar today: a way of life, of thought and action
The Templar within l’Ordre Souverain du Temple Initiatique (OSTI) today is a man or woman who engages in activities from the viewpoint of trying to build a world that is more equitable and in accordance with the principles of sharing, exchange and brotherhood. To be such a Templar is to embody a spirit of renewed chivalry, through sincere and profound work upon oneself, and through effective action in service to others in the world.
To be a Templar in OSTI, is to regard Mankind in its divine and active manifestation. The Templar both passes through his spiritual development and acts in the real world. He seeks to disregard external appearance through the practice of spiritual introspection. In this way he develops a transformed vision both of himself and the world – which he puts into practice as firm knowledge based upon his interior quest and inspiration.
A motto for an Order dedicated to the service of Mankind
"Nothing human shall be foreign to you"
Since its origin, the founder of OSTI, Raymond Bernard reprised this affirmation and adapted it as the prime motto of the Order. It embodies perfectly the implied involvement of the Templar in the world, today and in the future, developing his profound being in its inner spiritual dimension, whilst respecting the manifold aspects of the human condition.
The Order of the Temple and OSTI
The Ordre Souverain du Temple Initiatique is founded on the Templar ideal of a chivalry in the service of Mankind, having its foundation in the spiritual values which all emanate from the law of Love. It is neither the continuation of the Order of the Temple, or its resurgence but, receiving from a timeless origin, OSTI incarnates a special participation for the world which it draws from a unique and primordial source of inspiration.
A way of awakening and perfection
The Templar seeks to manifest a different way of being, thinking and acting while committing to the path of selfknowledge and to mastership of the ego. To achieve this he endeavours to follow a Moral Code which characterises the depth of his aspiration. This Moral Code clarifies the examination of consciousness; it is an individual aspiration advocated by numerous traditions amongst which we find the Pythagorean path that has been embodied within the Order from its origin.
The Moral Code
Love what is good,
Ignore that which is evil.
Be goodness, justice and compassion,
Be patient, calm and considerate,
Never give way to anger or pride.
Be pure, compassionate and gentle,
Never resort to sarcasm.
Be confident, content and open-hearted towards others,
Do not doubt and never be envious.
Be moderate in all things,
Avoid all excess.
Be humble, kind, modest, generous and respectful to others,
Never be malicious.
Be honest in word and deed, speak the truth,
Never lie and never slander.
Be helpful and considerate in all things,
Never deceive nor betray anyone.
Love and protect life, spread peace and harmony,
Under no circumstances be aggressive.
A mystical Temple
The Primordial Tradition, which one could define as the initial condensation of Wisdom, unfolds during the course of time, through many Permanent Traditions, such as the Temple, to which OSTI is spiritually affiliated. Within this path, the Field of Force – a notion present within the Pythagorean Tradition – manifests itself through an intuitive knowledge that illumines, in its time, all the Templar’s research and activities.
There is no real profound knowledge without initiation. The initiatic process helps each person to reveal his inner charisma – to surpass his limits and to deepen his awareness of the Self. But Templar initiation only achieves its fullest expression through human involvement and this is illumined, as in all traditional Orders, by activities conducted within rituals arranged in three degrees.
A path of knowledge without teachings
OSTI, being a movement of research and fulfilment within spirituality and activity in the service of others, does not distribute any teachings. Its originality lies in the direct participation of its members in community work which appeals to and derives from their personal knowledge and aptitudes. Every Templar thus contributes to the enrichment of all, just as he is himself enriched by the experiences of each one.
A sovereign Order
Having no political agenda and being neither religious or dogmatic, the Order is respectful of the diversity of the personal convictions of those who it receives, and, as long as from that moment they exhibit the spirit of courtesy; it allows each member complete freedom to remain faithful to their previous obligations and to maintain their links to any chosen communities.
A space for the expression of Templar activity
CIRCES, the “Comité d’Initiatives et des Réalisations Caritatives et Sociales”, delivers to the world the actions planned within OSTI. It is consecrated to humanitarian undertakings all over the world in accordance with the changing paradigm which puts human beings at the centre of reflection and action. It is also consecrated to research – and to disseminating this knowledge and learning – in keeping with its original motivation and title: “Cercle International de Recherches Culturelles et Spirituelles”.
A convergence of ideas and action
CIRCES is the vehicle through which ideas and projects converge; it is the crucible where individual and collective actions are detailed. Projects can also emerge from more private Templar research workshops. These activities, at whatever level they are conducted, must be carried out in an atmosphere of openness and respect. It is also possible to organise conferences and colloquia, to aid in the creation of independent associations, to produce publications, to support humanitarian activities, etc.
A reflection on the view of action
No area of thought or action is disallowed, and as each member is free to undertake any activity of personal choice, it is his responsibility and duty, while remaining a Chevalier, to pledge himself to others so that the shared reflection that ensues will transform into mutual activity. A Templar does not just dream of a better world, he endeavours to realise his ideals and acts as a human being perfectly aware of his profound origins.
A way of the Heart
The Law of Love is the foundation for all the action of a Templar in the world. Every time he creates, he improves himself – being conscious that individuals cannot progress alone and that right action flows from a pure heart and a clear intention based upon his ideals.
The totality of the field of human experience
The OSTI is a space for research open to all studies concerning humanity, its nature, its individual and collective existence, its relation to the planet, its relation to the divine and life, and its relation to time and cycles. The possibility is offered for reflection concerning human beings, and intellectual, material or spiritual subjects. Operating according to the mode of an authentic fraternity, freedom of speech, of belief and of individual conviction are guaranteed and indeed encouraged.
A space for discussion and exchange of views
The OSTI is also a space for exchange of views and the sharing of reflections, experiences and projects between people who come from very different backgrounds but who share a common desire to act in a better way
The purpose of research
In a time when the material dimension is often accentuated to the detriment of the spiritual aspects of being, the Order works towards the reconciliation of man with his profound nature. It invites the Templar to deepen his actual quest and to ask himself about how he can aid others to develop, in themselves, that deeper part of their nature for the service of the ideals which unite them. This mode of working is both a catalyst for action and a source of inner awakening.
The work of inspiration
All research begins with an aspiration to go beyond what is known. It often starts from the recognition that what has already been produced on a chosen theme, either currently or in the past, may be complemented by a possible collection of data from available resources or perhaps from internal work in the environment of rituals. This preparation always opens the way to inspirations that contribute to the project in the desired form.
That is what one calls the work of inspiration – it is being active whilst simultaneously receptive to the task undertaken – suggesting that inspiration often favours those who are prepared.
An independent association
OSTI is constituted as a non-profit Association. It is styled "Souverain" because it is independent (i.e. sovereign) of all other movements.
As the head of OSTI, “La Maison Chêvetaine Internationale” (MCI) is organised in two colleges : an Administrative Council, which is the civil organ responsible for everything pertaining to legal and temporal matters, and a Chapter, which intervenes in the spiritual and operative dimensions. Both of these operate under the authority of a person having the functions of President and Grand Master respectively – who is elected by the colleges and confirmed in office by a general assembly.
The two colleges elect their members for fixed-term mandates. Decisions are reached by vote, with the most important (modification to the Rule, approval of the annual accounts and the election of auditors, etc.) being approved by the general assembly.
The Houses (affiliated local groups)
At the local level members form Commanderies or Preceptories, depending on how many are involved. Their organisation and function is undertaken on a voluntary basis. The appointment of their responsible officers, Commanders or Preceptors, is controlled by a series of annual elections that each Group conducts in an independent manner, conforming to the Rule of the Order, which is the same for all countries. Each House elects one or more representatives to attend the annual general assembly.
The work, which is either of a private interior nature or a project related to CIRCES, is conducted by the members under the leadership of an Officer elected from the peer group.
The Moral Code, the Statutes and the Rule
The statutes (Articles of Association) registered with the relevant civil authority define the administrative and legal functions. The Rule prescribes the functioning of the internal activities. The Moral Code is the foundation of OSTI ethics: it unites the operative and initiatic parts of the Order.
The headquarters for OSTI is situated in Paris. It includes rooms for meetings, temples, offices and a library of over 10,000 books and periodicals, current and antique as well as the personal contributions of those who have undertaken research on some specific theme.
Grand Commanderies in the world
The Order operates on several continents within the same concepts of chivalry and the same Rule. The members of a country form a Grand Commandery placed under the authority of a Grand Commander, elected by the members of his territory, which operates completely independently. As long as a Grand Commandery observes the Rule and the regular rituals the MCI will deliver to him Letters Patent legitimising its reference to the Tradition of OSTI. France operates under the direct authority of the MCI.
Grand Commanderies exist in many countries of the world, including : Australia, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Cyprus, Ecuador, England, Gabon, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Panama, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo, USA.
Cultures, knowledge and understanding
The meeting of Cultures outside the divisions of ethnicity, language and religion, reinforces dialogue and opens a unity of the heart. It is in the interest of each Culture, being indissociable from the spirituality for which it is the vehicle, to preserve its identity, to follow its particular evolution and its dialogue with the others : for, to know oneself better is to understand each other better in order to work more effectively together to spread the Templar ideal.
The Traditions and Cultures best suited to each territory or country are thus respected, and each enriches the Order with its specific identity, whilst also developing tolerance and understanding through knowledge.
The financing of a teaching centre in the Tourmodi region of the Ivory Coast.
An electrification project for a village in the Tourmodi region of the Ivory Coast
The creation in 2002 of PRESENCE, an Association which aims to provide assistance to people who have great difficulty reintegrating into society.
Collections and Gifts
Hygiene products for an association aiding people with no fixed home or address.
Caps for an association proposing to create wells and the manufacture of wheel chairs in Madagascar.
Spectacles sent to India and the Ivory Coast.
Clothes, scholastic materials and supplies sent to Congo.
Milk and bread sent several times a year through an organisation looking after children under 5 years in Bogata while conducting recreational activities.
Choral concerts: "Atout coeur" conducted by CIRCES in retirement homes on the Ile de France.
Organising Christmas fêtes for the children of single-parent families (meals, presents, entertainment …).
Scholastic sponsoring for schools and apprentice centres (Madagascar, South India, Kashmir, Tibet, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Guinea, Mali).
Financial contributions for the preservation of local heritage.
Organisation of a day seminar to consider the state of the water supply in the world.
Sending medicine, tents and school books to Haiti following the earthquake in January 2010.
CIRCES, having been accredited to the Conference on the Environment in Rio (1992), presented communications on the economy, education and research.
OSTI was born through the impetus of its founder, Raymond Bernard, from CIRCES (Cercle International de Recherches Culturelles Et Spirituelles), a movement created on 19th February 1988, offering reflection and action in a world in the process of profound transformation.
Raymond Bernard had many responsibilities exercised at the highest level in certain initiatic Orders. His knowledge of the Tradition, the initiations received, the experience gained in the course of numerous trips around the world, the many encounters and the deep friendships, together with the many publications he left for seekers, testify to a life of service to Mankind and to God.
From 1988 numerous workshops and commissions were rapidly formed, working in many varied areas and engaged in joint actions in accordance with the available resources and the perceived necessities.
On 25th September 1988 the inner circle (OSTI) was established affirming that the notion of service could not be separated from its spiritual dimension.
The first cycle of building the organisation took place over 5 years marked by colloquia in France and in the world, alternatively, on subjects concerning the inner work (the Tradition, Pythagoras, Melchizedek, the Grail, etc.) or external (traditional African medicine, traditional Values, Ethics, etc.).
The fusion of OSTI and CIRCES
In 1993, OSTI and CIRCES were amalgamated into a single association – OSTI – thereby clearly affirming the indissoluble link between an oeuvre open to the vibrant spiritual impulses of the day and concrete dedication to the service of Humanity. The same year, the Rule of the Order was formally proclaimed, at Tomar, in Portugal.
A dynamic of service and action
At that date OSTI was finally established. It has matured under the principle of independence granted to each Commandery and Grand Commandery to operate freely within a limited number of members worldwide, whilst keeping a flexible structure capable of adapting to OSTI’s principles of service and respect for the Moral Code and the Rule.
Raymond Bernard (1923-2006)
Raymond Bernard was born on 19th May 1923 in the Dauphiné, at Bourg-d’Oisans. After completing his secondary school studies he went on to the Faculty of Grenoble to study law, interrupted by the war. He was initiated into esotericism by an English Rosicrucian, Edith Lynn, in 1941 and in 1945 he corresponded with Jeanne Guesdon, Grand Master of The Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rose-Cross (AMORC) for France, and then with Ralph M Lewis, the Order’s world leader. He affiliated with the Order in 1948, before being admitted to the Militia Crucifera Evangelica, the Order’s internal chivalric group, in 1952.
The Rosicrucian Order
In 1956 R. M. Lewis appointed Raymond Bernard as an administrator for AMORC and then, in 1959, as Grand Master for the French jurisdiction - which he remained until 1977. Elected to the Supreme Board of AMORC, he became Supreme Legate in 1967. He built up the jurisdiction of French-speaking members, particularly in Africa, encouraged the foundation of hundreds of local groups (Lodges), translated and developed the written teachings in French. He established the Grand Lodge of AMORC for the French jurisdiction at the Château d’Omonville (Eure) in 1973, and founded a retreat-centre for Rosicrucians at the Château de Tanay, near to Lyon. In 1987 he relinquished his function as Supreme Legate.
He was received within the Traditional Martinist Order (OMT) by J. Duanne Freeman, in San Jose in 1959, and R. M. Lewis then conferred upon him the responsibility for developing the Order in France. He integrated the French lineage and was initiated by a relation of Robert Ambelain, Marcel Laperruque, in Toulouse. Then he developed the OMT with correspondence-teachings and local groups (Heptads).
Received as an apprentice in Italian Freemasonry in Rome (1955) he re-joined in the National French Grand Lodge Opera in France where he received the three symbolic degrees (1959, 1960 and 1962). After a long retirement of twenty-nine years, because of his activities in AMORC. He joined the Grand Lodge of France.
In his book, A Secret Meeting in Rome, published in 1969, he described the Templar Initiation he received in 1955 in Rome. He founded the New Order of the Temple in 1970 but retired voluntarily in 1972.
CIRCES and OSTI
In 1988 he created CIRCES, the movement destined to assemble those who wished to work in the world under an ethic of respect. Subsequently he established OSTI, introducing through it the Templar initiatic tradition. He retired from all his functions in 1997 but remained an active member of OSTI until his decease in 2006.
His publications developed his initiatic message. They include : The Secret Houses of the Rose-Croix (1970), Messages from the Celestial Sanctum (1970), Fragments of Rosicrucian Wisdom (1971), New Messages from the Celestial Sanctum (1973), Encounters with the Unusual (1976), Letters from Nowhere (1978),The Cosmic Cathedral (1994), Teachings from the Masters of Knowledge (1995).
Manuel rosicucien, Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, Éditions rosicruciennes, 1980; Maude Illman, Entretien avec Raymond Bernard, L’Esprit des choses, printemps-été 1995; Serge Caillet et Jean-Pierre Chantin, Les marges du christianism, Paris, Beauchesnes, 2002.
Raymond Rernard’s publications may be viewed online at www.tradition-mystique.net
Admission to OSTI is accomplished by a traditional process – a written request, outlining the reasons and motivation for the approach, followed by discussions and an exchange of information. Applications are sent to the MCI or directly to the Grand Commandery.
Requirements for membership
OSTI is open to women and men, and demands no particular knowledge or diploma, title or distinction of any nature whatsoever. It is the aspiration, the sensitivity to the concepts of chivalry and the desire to serve which are taken into account during the process of admission.
Once the member’s reception has been carried out, progress into the interior of the Order is accomplished through three traditional degrees. One distinct assembly, to which admission is by co-optation, works on the Pythagorean Tradition, its mysteries and its virtues.
Freedom to work
All members are unconstrained within their beliefs and convictions, and equally free, within their OSTI affiliation, to involve themselves in the work at whatever level is appropriate to them.
At any moment a member is absolutely free to renounce their membership without providing any justification.
The search for balance
The Order does not aim for a large number of members – the total membership is limited to 1018 members – but it does aim to unite a body of people who are enlivened by the same desire to be active in the world and to think differently about the mysteries of Being, of Life and of Death.