Funnily enough, John Elliott got started on the history of Spain via Catalonia. Before that, he had traveled across the Iberian peninsula with a group of friends, riding in a British army truck and sleeping in third-rate boarding houses or under olive trees.
It was the 1950s and poverty was everywhere on display, but what really captured the imagination of this historian – who won the Prince of Asturias Award in 1996 – was Spanish people’s dignity in the face of so much need, hunger and ignominy. “A tremendous dignity,” he recalls about those days. “Together with the grandeur of places like the Prado Museum.”
I am optimistic by nature. But not everything in this world is rational
Fast-forward to today. Spain seems, in many ways, to have leapfrogged the 20th century, moving from the 1800s straight into the 21st century. From secular backwardness to modernity, all at the speed of light. “Historians like myself who write about this countrymade the same mistake,” he says. “We were unable to predict the enormous change that took place from 1978 to the present. We did not analyze the impact of the desire for reconciliation that comes from having suffered through a civil war.”
Elliott calls himself a historian because he dislikes the word Hispanist. But at age 87, he has agreed to speak at the Cervantes Institute’s inaugural session of Tribuna del Hispanismo, a quarterly discussion panel that will feature other leading foreign scholars of Spanish history such as Paul Preston, Ian Gibson and Stanley Payne.
“I think that the history of Spain has suffered tutelage from outside: a sort of feeling of superiority from which it might be deduced that we foreigners know this history better than yourselves. And that is not the case,” notes this Regius Professor Emeritus at Oxford University.
Contrary to what is believed, political and economic centralism do not coincide in Spain
Elliott’s area of expertise is the period ranging from the 15th to the 18th centuries, and there are very few aspects of it that he is not familiar with. This includes Catalonia and the revolt that King Felipe IV suffered there, and in Portugal, in 1640. Elliott’s first study on Spain, which he wrote in the 1950s, versed on this topic.
“It was one of the most serious episodes of his reign. Today’s grievances partly stem from there,” says Elliott.
In 1640, under the Count Duke of Olivares, a Catalan republic was proclaimed that lasted all of one week, with initial support from France that was suddenly withdrawn, and with economic agents up in arms. If we change those three elements for a unilateral declaration of independence, a Europe that does not support the schism, and the business exodus taking place in Catalonia right now, very little seems to have changed in four centuries.
Sir John Huxtable Elliott trained at Cambridge and taught at Oxford, and has given the world a wealth of knowledge about modern history and the Spanish empire. His many works of reference include The Revolt of the Catalans: A Study in the Decline of Spain, 1598–1640. Elliott is currently working on an exploration of the parallels between Scotland and Catalonia.
“I understand the reasons that may have led to this,” says Elliott. “Especially after the Franco years. But failing to appreciate the incredible change that has taken place both in Spain and in Catalonia over the last 40 years is a tremendous mistake.”
Elliott feels there are other elements that explain why things are what they are today.
“Education, for instance. With their devolved powers, throughout the 1980s, under (longtime premier) Jordi Pujol, generations have been exposed to a falsified version of history, a manipulation with nationalist tendencies. They have deliberately concealed the parts where it would have been fair to talk about the progress that’s been achieved.”
But Spanish nationalism has not helped either, says the historian, who recommends recognizing diversity as a factor that makes everyone richer. Elliott believes that Catalonia and the Basque Country, above all, should be recognized as nations, but he also thinks that in the effort to offer them more economic and cultural powers back during the democratic transition, some regions may have gotten a little too much. Nor is a federal structure a good option: “In Spain it would be too artificial, it won’t do.”
Elliott believes the federal structure would not be a good option in Spain as it is “too artificial”
Elliott’s latest book will go on sale in the fall of 2018. In it, he compares the cases of Scotland and Catalonia, and finds several differences.
“One difference is that, contrary to what is believed, political and economic centralism do not coincide in Spain. They do in Britain. London is the capital on both fronts, whereas in Spain, Madrid is the political center in terms of decision-making, but Barcelona has been the economic capital for centuries.”
The manuscript is not finished, however. “I’m still missing half of the last chapter. It’s very suspenseful these days, the end is being written.”
Is he optimistic about the outcome? “I am optimistic by nature. But you need to take into account that not everything in this world is rational.”
Our political drama goes into the next round. Catalonia´s indenpendence and the deposition of the Catalan government. Our attempts to reach the moon shere failed miserably in the mean while. To much resistence and to thick forrest in the worlds between. “Be patient and insist in progressing.” the Master said. There is some shadow work to be done. Deep darkness around us.
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Sleeping outside in the cold. It was terrifying dark and quiet, but nothing else would happen except the sensation of danger. The Master said, we my enter the path to Jesod (one of the darkest paths of the Tree of Life) in our attemps to open a light channel for Catalonia.
The recovery of universal communication is still our main goal. The split is not our desire, but many think that would be the solution.
Nice weather out there today. Discussion what to do with the Catalan crisis. They sacrifice everything for one idea, the Master said, but may its it worth it, because there is a revolution lurking against the establishment. The ambitions of some people up there who have made their plans for the world is inconceivable. At this Friday 27/10/17 pivot decisions will be be made, both in Madrid and Barcelona. Will we stay neutral and watch like the old towers of the Colserola mountain range, from where the locals were warmed of Muslim Slave catchers and pirates in the late middle ages?
Some weeks ago i went into the woods and found tree men within an old ruin of a chapel. One was older with a beard. The others call him Master. Me too after speaking with him. They all invited me into their little gathering.
How can i help? he asked me. “I am looking for the way.” i said smilingly but also uncertainly. He smiled back. “You don´t need more words and books, do you?” “No i don´t.” i answered. “Then you are on the right place, in the mids of the woods. We recreating Christianity from the scratch. If you want to serve and be a pioneer, then you are welcome.”
Yesterday i spend a night on a hole Templar side, our commandery plateau. It was cold, dark and silent. The wind was gone. The stars were shining. Here was a Knight Templar Army riding through the sky, when P. was fasting and praying for a week, in order to assure her of the protection of the place. I was shaking in fear, when i felt strange energies approaching, maybe only in my fantasy. In den morning at seven the night was still dark, but the morning rised up some twenty minutes later. We have to go down deep for finding the gold of the Creator in this moment. the lines of Gold in the eart – the golden ley-lines – will serve to clean up the dark corners in the depts and on the surface of this planet. AA Michael assisted in this. Everything has to shine and the fire of this moment will burn you and me, until we are ready to join God the Trinity again in the great endeavor of Creation. May all living beings be blessed.
The historical record proves that the independent classical denomination of 1st century Ancient Catholicism, as preserved by the Knights Templar, constitutes the original source and foundations of the 12th century Independent Church Movement, the derivative 19th century Old Catholic Movement and Reformed Catholic Movement, and the resulting early 20th century Liberal Catholic Movement:
Only 6 years after the Vatican grant of ecclesiastical sovereignty to the Order of the Temple of Solomon, in the Papal Bull Omne Datum Optimum of 1139 AD, the Templar denomination of Ancient Catholicism (which the Knights Templar recovered from the historical Temple of Solomon) served as the precedent and basis for creation of the 12th century Independent Church Movement:
In 1145 AD, Pope Eugene III granted autonomy as a “cathedral chapter” to Bishops in Utrecht, Netherlands, which marked the formal beginning of the “Independent Church Movement”.
Pope Eugene III was the first Cistercian to become Pope, who trained at the Cistercian Monastery at Clairvaux, and was loyal to his close friend and mentor Bernard de Clairvaux  , the patron Saint of the Templar Order. The Templar Order was founded specifically as a mission for the Cistercian Order of Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, to recover the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon as the earliest foundations of Catholicism .
These facts prove that the Independent Church Movement was established as part of the original 12th century founding strategies for the Templar Order, and was intended to include the recognized denomination of Ancient Catholicism of the Knights Templar.
In 1215 AD, the Vatican’s Fourth Lateran Council established the acceptance of “independent” Churches (Canon 3), recognizing “their jurisdiction” (Canon 5), and confirming the autonomy of “cathedral churches” (Canons 10-11) to independently create their own Bishops (Canon 23), thereby recognizing them as Independent Churches .
In 1520 AD, Pope Leo X issued the Papal Bull Debitum Pastoralis(“Pastoral Duty”), which confirmed the right of Independent Bishops to perform Episcopal consecrations without a Papal mandate, and making the independent Clergy immune from Vatican judiciary jurisdiction, thereby upgrading the ecclesiastical independence of Utrecht. This grant was obtained by Philip of Burgundy, the Bishop of Utrecht, who was a Teutonic Knight (knighted in 1491 AD) and thus a leader of cultural Templarism .
Throughout this period of development of the Independent Church Movement (1145-1520 AD), Utrecht was a sovereign possession of the Teutonic Order under its Prince Grand Masters (for approximately 114 years from ca. 1466 AD until 1580 AD) . The Teutonic Order was essentially a branch of the Knights Templar, founded in the Templar stronghold of Acre in 1190 AD  (under sovereignty of the Templar Principality of Antioch for 61 years from 1129 AD).
These facts prove that the Independent Church Movement was established by autonomous leaders of cultural Templarism, and is an authentic part of Templar heritage, and also evidence that it was intended to include the classical denomination of Ancient Catholicism as preserved by the Knights Templar.
In 1870 AD, the Independent Church Movement became the foundation of the “Old Catholic Movement”, when an estimated 50% of all practicing Catholics, led by the Independent Bishops of cultural Templarism, split from the Vatican Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church:
The Old Catholic Movement began primarily in opposition to the Vatican Council’s declaration of the new dogma of “Papal infallibility” in 1870 AD . The dissenting minority consisted of 20% of Bishops, although they were Bishops of strategic influence in key countries, such that they represented a following which averages 50% of all practicing Roman Catholics . As a result, the Old Catholic Movement was directly led and founded by an estimated 10% of Vatican Bishops, meaning that half of dissenting Bishops actually split to branch into Old Catholicism , taking with them half of the Catholic Faithful worldwide.
In 1871 AD, the Old Catholic Congress declared “Adherence to the Ancient Catholic faith… [and] the constitution [substance] of the Ancient Church”, with “rejection of the new dogmas”, as “preparation of the way for the reunion of the Christian confessions.” 
In 1879 AD, the “Reformed Catholic Movement” was established by the Irish Roman Catholic Bishop James O’Connor (1823-1890 AD), together with a group of Clergy who left the Vatican to be Independent Bishops. The Reformed movement was founded as embodying traditional Catholic practices, characterized by some Protestant and Evangelical doctrines of direct communion through the Holy Spirit .
In 1889 AD, the Declaration of Utrecht, by the Independent Bishops of the Old Catholic Movement, continued only the older version of classical Catholic doctrines as they were before 1054 AD (prior to the First Vatican Council), such that this derivative movement became popularly known as “Old Catholicism”.
The Declaration preserves “the primitive Church” of early 1st century Christianity as “the undivided Church of the first thousand years” (Article 1), and continues “the doctrine of the primitive Church” (Article 4), “in harmony with the teaching of the primitive Church” (Article 5), thereby “maintaining the faith of the undivided Church… especially the essential Christian truths professed by all the Christian confessions [denominations]” (Article 7) as “the doctrine of Jesus Christ” (Article 8).
The Declaration of Utrecht actually does not use the phrase “Old Catholic”. Rather, it specifically recognizes the “historical primacy… of the Ancient Church” (Article 2) and “Ancient Catholic doctrine” (Article 6). 
The 19th century “Old Catholic Movement” has its original founding roots in the 12th century Independent Church Movement driven by the Templar denomination of Ancient Catholicism; Its Congress adopted the “Ancient Catholic faith” of the “Ancient Church”; Its Declaration specifically refers to the “Ancient Church” as “Ancient Catholic”. For these compelling reasons, many scholars alternately (and interchangeably) refer to this derivative movement as “Ancient Catholicism”.
In 1892 AD, the original 12th century Independent Church Movement was brought to North America by the Jacobite Old Catholic Bishop Joseph Rene Vilatte.
In 1908 AD, the derivative 19th century Old Catholic Movement was brought to the United Kingdom by Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew (French Roman Catholic Priest, made Doctor of Divinity by Pope Pius IX, first Old Catholic Bishop of Great Britain).
In 1916 AD, the “Liberal Catholic Movement” was established to revive and promote the more ancient heritage within the Independent Church Movement and Old Catholic Movement. This tradition of Liberal Old Catholicism was founded by Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew, Bishop James Ingall Wedgewood (British Anglican, Sorbonne doctoral scholar), and Bishop Charles Webster Leadbeater (British Anglican Priest), based upon scholarship of esoteric Christianity from the Theosophical movement of 1875 AD, inspired by the ancient Egyptian priestly traditions and sacred wisdom underlying Christianity. Therefore, Liberal Catholicism was specifically based upon the original denomination of Ancient Catholicism as preserved by the Knights Templar. The Liberal Catholic Movement is the most widely recognized tradition within Old Catholicism 
As a result of all of the above facts, the Templar denomination of Ancient Catholicism is the earliest original source of, and the underlying foundations and basis for, all Independent Churches and Old Catholic Churches. For this reason, the Ancient Catholic Church from 1139 AD is historically and canonically the only Pontifical Catholicate which unifies and represents the Independent Church Movement from 1145 AD, the derivative Old Catholic Movement from 1870 AD, the related Reformed Catholic Movement of 1879 AD, and the resulting Liberal Catholic Movement from 1916 AD.
The apparent paradox of a Pontifical authority for “Independent” Churches is resolved by the original and authentic principles of doctrinal freedom, liturgical freedom, and autonomy for all of its member Churches. This allows the Ancient Catholic Church to serve as an international presence advancing the collective interests for the benefit of all its Churches in communion with the canonical Pontificate.