Never The King

3 Mar

I am something of an antiquarian by avocation, and I like to think that I am working within the academic tradition upheld by such luminaries as Aleister Crowley, Robert Graves and Gerald Gardner.

I feel that it would not be impertinent to suggest that the eminent philosopher Bertrand Russell should also be included in this select company on the strength of his famous A History of Western Philosophy. Although not necessarily for any of his other works, which were of an altogether different standard.

(I should add that I do not necessarily share the views of any of these exalted gentlemen, it is the quality of their work, rather than the nature of their conclusions that I seek to emulate).

In any case, I feel that I should now publicise the fruits of a long and challenging research programme which I have conducted over a period of some years into the origins and nature of an organisation which is now known to initiates by the initials TMG.

Given that this material is intended for the general reader, a little background history is required.

It has been argued that the genesis of this shadowy group lie as far back as the year 711 when the Muslim Berbers began their expansion from North Africa into Visigothic Spain in order to found what they were pleased to call al Andalus.

Personally I feel that this argument is fanciful and that a more credible date for the inception of TMG would be the occasion of the visit of Peter the Venerable to Toledo, in 1142. Having said this, an exact date for the genesis of this organisation is impossible to establish with any precision for reasons that will later become clear.

It was the year 750 when the Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasid Caliphate and a young Abd al Rahman, the last of the Umayya still surviving, was obliged to flee for his life.

By the year 755 Abd al Rahman had arrived in al Andalus, and it was in the following year that he became Governor of al Andalus following a battle fought just outside the city walls of Cordoba.

It is well known that the Islamic tradition of translating, thus preserving and later adding to, the fruits of Classical learning was well established as early as the year 800 CE. (A date by which even the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne could only speak Latin haltingly and whose literacy skills were always limited to reading. He never learned to write).

In 1085 the city of Toledo was captured by the Christians under Alfonso and from that time on became the centre of a relative haven of tolerance on the boundary between Latin Christendom (what we would now call Western Europe) and the Islamicate.

Some historians like to claim that al Andalus or Moorish Spain was an early utopia of multi-faith, multi-cultural and multi-racial integration.

Unfortunately this is something of an exaggeration. It would be more accurate to suggest that Jewish Muslim and Christian communities lived parallel lives in al Andalus with relatively little real friction but equally limited contact between them. Even so, this was preferable to the appalling ignorance and persecution that characterised much of Latin Christendom at the time and which has plagued the world since.

Two of the most notable areas of life where Christians, Jews and Muslims did actively collaborate were in the fields of architecture and in translation, and it is scarcely surprising that the educated men of al Andalus (and regrettably the benefits of education, disposable income and above all leisure were so often limited to men), would have wanted to benefit from this tradition.

Nor is it surprising that such educated men as Latin Christendom could actually boast would have flocked to Toledo as being the most productive and accessible source of this new learning. (There were other routes for the transmission of these works, notably Byzantium, but Toledo was, in those days, clearly the best option available).

These developments were obviously gradual and hard to date with precision. But certainly by the episcopate of Archbishop Raymond of Toledo (1126-1151), Toledo was a well established centre of learning and translation which was fuelling the development of the Universities of Medieval Europe and which would lay much of the groundwork for the Renaissance.

This being the case, a man like Peter the Venerable would have found the prospect of a visit to Toledo virtually irresistible.

Peter the Venerable was the legendary Abbot of Cluny, and is significant, amongst other things, for his role as the friend and protector of Peter Abelard. (A brilliant, if controversial philosopher who was in frequent need of protection. He is probably best known these days in the context of Abelard and Heloise, probably the best-known love story of Medieval History).

Peter Abelard was in particular need of protection from the persistent (some would say rabid) attentions of Bernard of Clairveaux whose militant (arguably bigoted and certainly inflexible) views were consistently opposed by Peter the Venerable.

In any event Peter the Venerable went to Toledo in 1142.

He was a man who was willing and able to see wisdom in the teachings of faiths other than his own Christianity. More than this, he was determined to undertake a wide-ranging project involving the translation of major works of philosophy and science to be found in the Islamicate in order to make them more widely available throughout Medieval Europe.

He was not the first man to think of this kind of programme, but he was a man with the vision, the resources and the practical ability to turn the idea into a reality.

It should also be said that this would have been a bold move on the part of Peter the Venerable. Attitudes were hardening in the mid 12th and early 13th centuries both amongst Christians and Muslims.

The Crusading movement had been initiated by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont on 27th November 1095, with the First Crusade culminating in the mass slaughter in Jerusalem following its capture in 1099. But the concept of Holy War was slowly spreading across Europe to the Christians of Spain. (Also to the Languedoc region where the Cathars were soon to be suppressed and finally exterminated).

Amongst Muslims there was also a growing militancy and a rejection of the liberal views towards the dhimmi (the peoples of the book, essentially Jews and Christians and, by courtesy, Zoroastrians) which were held by the Umayyads. In particular the Berber Almohads were spreading their more militant vision of Islam into al Andalus.

Naturally there was a reaction to these trends amongst academics who could see nothing but good coming from intellectual and cultural links between different religious and cultural groups.

Amongst a small group of these academics based in and around Toledo this reaction took the form of a loose network of friends and colleagues, which gradually, and under increasing pressure from the authorities, grew into first a covert and then a conspiratorial movement.

At some point this group took the name Trimagus. (These days the initials TMG are more commonly used to identify the organisation).

The origins of this name are obscure, and differing accounts can be found in the literature. It may well be a corruption of the Latin tria magi, or possibly tres magistri, meaning three masters, or three teachers. Although, there certainly may also be a connection to Hermes Trismegistus, the semi mythical author of The Hermeticon and founder of the Hermetic Tradition. (These men were academics with a keen interest in language. Word play of any sort would appeal to them, and their earliest records and archives are frequently marred by the most execrable puns, often perpetrated across two or more languages).

The reference to three masters has little to do with the tradition of the ‘Three Wise Men’ of the Christmas story. Members of the Trimagus would have known very well that the number of the Magi is not specified in any of the Biblical accounts of the birth of Christ.

The three masters, or teachers, is instead a reference to the three traditions of Judaism, Christianity and of Islam, also known in TMG circles as The Three Paths.

(It should be remembered throughout the following that members of the TMG were at pains to avoid any taint of heresy. They did not seek to supersede or even extend the existing Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions, they simply sought, as they saw it, to find the common ground that they firmly believed already existed within these faiths).

The founders of Trimagus were of the opinion that these three paths all had the same origin and that they had diverged through a process of error and misinterpretation. It was their aim to reunify these traditions and, by doing so, end for all time the persecution of the Jews and the Crusading wars between the Christians and the Muslims.

Their initial aims were, then, benevolent, but utterly doomed to failure by forces that they could not control.

By 1492 Granada, the last outpost of Islam in Spain, finally surrendered to Ferdinand and Isabella, the ‘Christian Monarchs’, who promptly reneged on the assurances they had offered as part of the negotiated surrender and demanded the conversion or expulsion, on pain of death, of all the Muslims in Spain.

1492 also saw the Alhambra Decree forcing the same choice of death, conversion or expulsion on the Jews of Spain and the subsequent creation of the Spanish Inquisition.

The Spanish Inquisition, it should be noted, was never primarily engaged in the hunting of witches. Instead it was charged with monitoring the conduct of the conversos, or ‘New Christians’ in order to see that they didn’t lapse into their old religious practices. They were also charged with the suppression of heresy and also the prevention of any incursion of international organisations, including the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits.

In this climate the TMG could not prosper and such evidence as we have suggests that by this time they had already relocated their headquarters to the Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

Hamburg was an obvious choice of location for an organisation seeking to avoid allegations of heresy and which also had become covert and international in the nature and scope of its activities.

As a member of the Hanseatic League, Hamburg enjoyed the autonomy and liberties of an Imperial Free City and had strong trade and cultural links across Northern Europe and beyond.

It is not clear from the archival material exactly when TMG turned the emphasis of their activities from religious speculation to more secular, not to mention practical, activities, but a certain number of key historical events seem to have been influential in making this change.

The practical implications of the fall of Constantinople in 1453 were greatly overestimated at the time (and for some centuries afterwards). But having said this, the steady encroachment of Islam into Europe during this period, through the growth of the Ottoman Empire, certainly seems to have convinced the leadership of TMG that reconciliation between Christians and Muslims was impractical, at least for the foreseeable future.

The Reformation and Counter Reformation movements within European Christianity also seem to have convinced the TMG leadership that Christianity itself had become hopelessly fragmented and incapable of unifying itself, let alone achieving unity with any other faith.

It is also true that the sectarian conflicts, which erupted through the 1618 defenestration of Prague into the Thirty Years War, led to a general decline in the influence of religion in European politics.

I should point out that, although the Thirty Years War became essentially a dynastic proxy war between the Habsburgs of Spain against the Bourbons of France over who was going to control Central Europe, much of the savagery of the fighting was fuelled by longstanding sectarian tensions.

When the war finally ended in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia it was on the basis provided by the Peace of Augsburg of 1555. (Best understood in terms of cuius regio, eius religio, the law that authorised the ruler of a country to decide on the faith of its people).

As one TMG archivist has noted, an entire generation throughout the Holy Roman Empire and beyond could have been spared its burden of famine, plague, war and death had the settlement available as early as 1555 only been more readily accepted.

At any rate, by the end of this period TMG was taking a more active role in social, political and economic developments, and they had already adopted the motto Numquam Rex, Semper Scurra, which can be translated as Never the King, Always the Jester. (In Medieval courts the jester wasn’t always just a clown, he was very often also a highly influential advisor. Sometimes, in fact, the only man at court who had the freedom to speak Truth to Power).

In practice this motto refers to the fact that active TMG members are never to be found amongst the very rich, powerful and famous.

Where TMG wish to exert their influence they will do so, instead through the more obscure aides and advisors who always surround law makers and power brokers.

It has also become clear that their favoured approach will not be one of coercion or inducement, but will depend on the presentation of carefully edited information and slanted advice which is designed to encourage the rich and powerful to choose whichever option TMG favours.

There is considerable evidence to suggest that TMG was heavily involved in covert activities in support of the liberation of the Netherlands from Spanish rule throughout the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

There is also reason to believe that, through the Dutch, and later French and English buccaneers of the 17th century, they extended the scope of their operations across the Atlantic and into the New World.

(Buccaneers like Sir Henry Morgan, it should be said, were not pirates. They were; generally speaking, patriots fighting for their country and religious beliefs against the, effectively theocratic, Spanish Empire and they would have carried commissions and letters of marque from their governments authorising their raids. It is also significant that they also carried with them the tradition of political radicalism that often went with non-conformist religion. Many of them would have been, therefore, highly sympathetic to the TMG agenda).

By the 18th Century TMG was well established throughout the courts and parliaments of Europe and the Americas and were making inroads into the capitols of the Orient.

One point that should be clarified here is that TMG is not to be confused with The Iluminati, much beloved of thriller writers and conspiracy theorists though they may be. The real Iluminati consisted of nothing more than a rather childish cabal of grown men who wanted to indulge themselves by playing at secret societies.

The Bavarian Iluminati was founded on the 1st of May 1776 by Adam Weishaupt and the organisation was effectively destroyed by the Secular Edict passed on 2nd March 1785, probably at the behest of TMG.

It wasn’t that The Iluminati could be considered a rival to TMG, far from it. But their attempts to infiltrate and subvert the Freemasons were so inept and so blatant that they were creating a febrile atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia that might, inadvertently, have led to the exposure of TMG activities, hence their suppression.

Since then, TMG activities have been more difficult to trace.

It is likely that they were involved in the highly secret ‘vodka-cola’ deals carried out at the height of the Cold War in an attempt to foster economic relations across the Iron Curtain thereby reducing the risk of nuclear war, but this cannot be proven with any certainty.

There is no basis for believing that TMG had any interest in the assassination of President Kennedy, however. If anything they would have preferred him to have survived long enough for them to complete the task of manoeuvring him into ending America’s involvement in Vietnam. This was a conflict that seriously aggravated Cold War Tensions and also caused lasting damage not only to the prestige of American arms but also to their capabilities for a decade or more.

As it was, the sudden death of President Kennedy launched an ill-prepared Lyndon B. Johnston into the presidency without the benefit of having been privy to Kennedy’s thinking on Vietnam. (Or much else, for that matter, the two men did not get on, their alliance was purely a matter of political convenience). This left him surrounded by Kennedy aides, many of whom were determined that the war should be pursued. (There is significant evidence to suggest that Kennedy, had he lived, would not have followed this policy).

So TMG have had their failures, but they certainly still exist and they still wield considerable influence over world events.

Some say that they greet each other with the letters TMG either verbally or in writing, to which the correct reply is ATJ (That is Never The King, and Always The Jester, respectively). This is not a means of recognition, like a Masonic handshake; rather it is a quick and efficient means for TMG agents to confirm that they are free from surveillance and not acting under duress. Any variation in this parole and countersign greeting is taken as a warning that there has been a breach in security.

TMG have no interest in drug induced mind control techniques, nor do they use pop stars to introduce esoteric symbols into popular culture. Least of all do they care to indulge in satanic orgies or human sacrifice. Unlike Dan Brown’s fictional ‘Priory of Zion’, they would have had no use for a man like Leonardo Da Vinci, genius thought he was, because he would have had no practical value for them. Nor would they be interested in recruiting presidents, prime ministers or tycoons, and least of all would they want to use film or pop stars. These people are much too visible, too egocentric and in any case seldom very bright.


What they seek to do is to maintain a degree of cohesion in human affairs on the assumption that those who take power either through a democratic process or the naked use of power can seldom be trusted to do so.

They are seldom violent and never visible and they never indulge in highly visible assassinations. Where they need to remove someone, they are more likely to arrange a resignation, ‘for health reasons’ or a fall from grace due to criminal charges or some other form of scandal.

In conclusion, TMG isn’t an organisation of the obviously rich and powerful. Such people have no need of a covert network to help them keep in touch, they all went to the same schools and universities, they all go to the same places for their holidays and they all have each others’ private numbers on speed dial.

The real conspiracy does not, then, include the conspicuously rich, famous and powerful. As a matter of fact it controls them through a carefully constructed network built around them. And, of course, you will search the Internet in vain for any reference to them.

After all would you really expect to find these people with a quick Google search?

Inevitably they have left some traces, however.

I will not weary you with the arcane references to be found in the esoteric poetry of Stefan George, instead I will simply refer you to the last line of the 1968 psychedelic anthem I’m the Urban Spaceman Baby by the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band, which is the clearest reference to be found to TMG in popular culture.


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