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Cercle International de Recherches Culturelles et Spirituelles

Cercle International de Recherches Culturelles et Spirituelles

Cercle International de Recherches Culturelles et Spirituelles (International Circle for Cultural and Spiritual Research) is a French initiatic association founded early in the twentieth century, one of a number of magical esoteric orders inspired by the Templar tradition. In the years following the French Revolution of 1789, several groups arose claiming a lineage from a secret surviving Templar order. Over the succeeding decades the number of such groups claiming Templar roots has multiplied.

Cercle International is grounded in the idea that each era (defined by astrological ages) is unique in the way that the cosmos impact human consciousness. The previous Piscean era was keynoted by Jesus and his admonition to love one another. The keynote for the present era, the Aquarian, is the search for personal integration, in a manner previously modeled by mystics and sages. In this era, mysticism will become common.

In attempting to assist people in finding personal integration, Cercle International emphasizes that each individual must find his/her own path (rather than following a predetermined course) and that the discovery and following of the path can be enhanced by the insights of modern psychology. Thus, rather than presenting a single course for its members to follow, Cercle International offers a variety of techniques among which a member can pick and choose. The following of the spiritual path is placed within the overall acceptance of several ideals: chivalry, world peace, and the reduction of human suffering. Each member is encouraged to find the best way to bind these values into reality in his/her daily life.

The organization has several levels at which members may become involved. At the innermost level are several colleges, structures to focus research on the arcane sciences, the mundane sciences, and the creative sciences. There is also an inner Order of Sovereign Templar Initiates that focuses upon what are understood to be the traditional teachings of the Templars.

Cercle International is headed by the Grand Master, currently Fr. Raymond Bernard. There are national organizations in various countries and an English-speaking division, CIRCLES International, headquartered in Plainfield, Indiana.

Sources:

Bernard, Raymond. The Secret Houses of the Rose-Croix. London: Francis Bacon Lodge, 1981.

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