Ritual & Doctrine of the Illuminati

Monday, August 12th, 2013 | Primary Documents

Well, the cat’s out of the bag. Jeva Singh-Anand, Josef Wäges, and Illuminaten scholar Reinhard Markner have been collaborating on an English translation of the ritual work of the Illuminati. All the rituals will be featured, from the Novice degree all the way to lesser and greater mysteries, including Regent and Provincial directives, Epopt and Doceten degrees. Conservatively, I’d estimate that the total amount of pages will be over five-hundred at the very least. This amounts to the most significant English translation of primary material in over 200 years.

Joe Wages has been assiduously collecting all of the original writings of the Illuminati with a view toward just such an endeavour. His hard work, dedication, personal funds, and especially the translating talent and hard work of Jeva Singh-Anand have finally paid off. All of this, combined with the knowledge and expertise of Markner, is really something to behold. Hats off all around – great work guys!

Jeva Singh-Anand has posted on his site, a taste – Illuminatus major – of what to look forward to. Please read and link.

As far as the ritual itself, I’m not qualified to comment. I’m not a mason myself, so I can’t assess where or whence it came from. Joe Wages, however, has come to the conclusion that a lot of the ceremony derives from the Strict Observance rite, which Knigge had much knowledge and expertise.

The good thing about this material being published for the first time in English is the fact that all of us will have the originals to look at. We can then judge it on our own level of understanding of the masonic milieu and popular philosophy of the 18th century.

The conspiratorial aspects, I’ll interject, are plainly seen for those who look closely.

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45 Comments to Ritual & Doctrine of the Illuminati

Jeva
August 12, 2013

Thanks for your kind words. Working feverishly, as those dark rings under my eyes grow wider and wider …

Illuminati Rex
August 13, 2013

That is excellent news! I can’t wait

I hope LeForrestier got enough of it right that I don’t have to redraw all the rituals I have so far…

Terry, what are the “Doceten degrees”? Is that the Regent degree or were they able to track down the Magus and Rex rituals?

Illuminati Rex
August 13, 2013

I just realized, it’s probably Priest and Regent. I’m pleased nevertheless.

I am myself confused whether the Illuminati Priest wore a red hair clip, or if he wore a “Phrygian” caps.

One of many details I’m looking forward to!

Terry Melanson
August 13, 2013

Yes, it was indeed a Cap of Liberty. The tradition, however, goes way further back than the Jacobins. It was common on German and Dutch coins (medallions etc) for hundreds of years, and America, France (and the Illuminati) drew from its antiquity symbolism. Barruel and Robison were aware of the long-standing tradition as well. It’s why they didn’t try and connect the Illuminati to the Jacobins solely based upon it. They knew that both societies would have a common interest in appropriating it for themselves.

Doceten is the Rex or Man King. It’s called the Doceten (or Docet) degree because some of the philosophy is drawn from docetism, known as the first of the Christian heresies. I discuss it briefly in my book. It was a gnostic belief, and is closely associated with metempsychosis.

All the degrees will be translated - Magus-Philosophus as well. It’s complete. The last greater mysteries were published only recently by Hermann Schuttler.

Terry Melanson
August 13, 2013

“Diesen Freiheits-Hut musst du nie mit einer Krone vertauschen mögen!” in the Philo und Spartacus book.

Freiheits-Hut or freiheitshut: literally “Liberty cap”; “chapeau de la liberté” per Le Forestier as well as Barruel. Not sure on the page numbers for the latter two.

Illuminati Rex
August 13, 2013

Very informative, thanks Terry.

That is truly excellent. As we have learned from Perfectibilists: The 18th Century , only a limited few ever got to read the Rex degree.

I can’t believe LeForestier actually wrote “chapeau de la liberté” and I missed it. The word “barrette” had me stumped. But then I knew that the Priest sat in on Dirigens Initiations “nu-tête” which implied that it was a sort of hat, not a hair pin.

There are benefits from working directly from the German, isn’t it?

Terry Melanson
August 13, 2013

Found it: Le Forestier, p. 292.

Ya, it would be nice to pick up a German book and be able to read seamlessly. But then there’s also the issue of the Fraktur typefaces being used back then and the mingling of different dialects. It is magnitudes more complicated than say French to English. I can pick up a French book, for instance, from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries and understand quite well what I’m reading. The language has been consistent for a long time. The same can’t be said for German, or Scandinavian countries.

Illuminati Rex
August 17, 2013

I was afraid this would happen… Discrepancies (possible) between Le Forestier and AWM’s translation. I just posted a comic depicting the Illuminati Major initiation. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you’ll notice, I drew the door behind the Master’s table on the wall. From Jeva Singh-Anand, Josef Waeges and Reinhard Markner’s translation:

3. The lodge room is completely draped in black. On the floor of the room can be seen a strong, locked door. This lodge represents the vestibule of the Scottish Lodge. Before the door, the Grand Master sits behind a table draped in black,[…]

(bold emphasis mine)

Le Forestier doesn’t specifically say on the wall, but he does specify that there are no carpets and that the Master’s table is in front of it. (so does AWM) The candidate stands between the Master’s table and the Warden’s table. If it’s on the floor, then it would be hidden from the candidate’s POV.

I’m sure there are a lot of diagrams that I will have to redraw once I finally get this book in my hands. (I already had to change hairpins for bonnets. (and indecently, “liberty caps” was highlighted in my Lefor copy. I’m not sure why it didn’t make my final notes…) I’m still confused about whether the birdman in the Minerval painting was standing on Medusa’s head or a burning sun, but that might be a Weishaupt versus Knigge thing)

Meanwhile I think I can muster up enough German to look up if the word “floor” is indeed in the original German. And yes, Terry, I did notice the initials after Markner’s name. It’s just my nature. Lol (I’m pretty certain it’s yours as well)

I found this stash of links in the David Icke forum. Although, I haven’t gone one by one to see if they are all authentic. I’ll have to see if the door was indeed on the Fußboden. ;) It’s quite possible that I interpreted Le Forestier, or worst… It’s possible that Le Forestier himself was wrong. (Le Forestier p.266)

Hopefully this won’t happen too much. I’m trying to finish coloring the Illuminati Dirigens degrees this evening and I already have the Priest and Regent ready to go. (I also had to redo the Dirigens cipher to be exactly like Barruel’s, not an easy task for someone with no experience with font creation software) I think I will stop there until I have Ritual & Doctrine of the Illuminati in front of me.

All I have so far on Magus and Rex is from Robison and Di Luchetti. Di Luchetti mistakenly put the Magus degree as the top degree instead of Rex in the chapters he had on his site. (Illuminati of Bavaria, p.31) I think the sample chapters are no longer online. I also have the link to the Cult of Fire and Zoroastrianism that you yourself made in your book. It’s not enough to fill 4 pages though. lol

Terry Melanson
August 17, 2013

Le Forestier is using the same source(s) as Anand and Wages, except for the scattered references to B.U.M. which stands for Bibliotheque de l’Universite de Munich. The latter source is lost or was destroyed in WWII. The last two greater mystery classes were not discussed in any detail, as they were not published in Le Forestier’s time. But, in general, his translations are as sound as possible. Perhaps when not quoting directly he made minor errors while describing certain scenes in the rituals.

Those links you found on the Icke forum are authentic. They go to the (now defunct) Wages account at Scribd. I forget why they closed his account now, but they certainly kept his large cache of authentic Illuminaten material.

I doubt any reference to the Cult of Fire will be in the last two degrees. It was just Weishaupt speculating back in the late 1770s on what would be ideal for the final degrees. Influences from masonry, Knigge, and others probably changed his plans somewhat. I have copies of degrees here in the original German (from Schuttler’s old website), did some machine translations years ago and I don’t remember anything about Zoroastrianism or fire worship. It’s much more philosophically oriented, and, as far as I remember, kind of boring, in the same way that reading certain types of philosophy can be dull sometimes.

Terry Melanson
August 17, 2013

The paragraph you referenced, in the original German, is this:

“Das Logenzimmer ist ganz schwarz behängt. Im Grunde des Zimmers sieht man eine starke verschlossene Thür. Diese Loge soll also den Vorhof der schottischen Loge vorstellen. Vor der Thür sizt an einem schwarz bedekten Tisch der Obermeister mit dem geheimen Secretair zur linken Hand. Die beyden Oberaufseher unten gegen ihm über an einem andern Tische, und zwischen denselben der Introducteur. Die übrigen Brüder zu beyden Seiten an ihren Pläzzen. Alle tragen die schottische Schürze und schwarze Mäntel. Der Obermeister und die Oberaufseher führen Hammer. Sonst trägt niemand ein Ehrenzeichen. Es ist auch kein Tapis oder sonst etwas zu sehen. Der Secretair führt das Protokoll. Auf dem Tische außer dem Ritualbuche etc. nichts als die Schürze für den neuen Bruder, und ein runder Spiegel mit einem Stiel. Auf des Obermeisters Tisch stehen vier Leuchter, auf dem Tisch der Oberaufseher gleichfalls. Sonst sind keine Lichter im Zimmer. Rechter Hand neben dem Obermeister aber hängt ein brennender Mond im ersten Viertel.”

It’s from Faber’s book (Der ächte Illuminat oder die wahren unverbesserten Rituale der Illuminaten) and used to be online. Here’s the page from the Wayback machine.

Illuminati Rex
August 18, 2013

Thanks Terry, you’re a time saver!
Here’s what google gave me for the relevant part:

The lodge room is all black hung. Basically the room you can see a strong sealed Thür. This lodge is so imagine the forecourt of the Scottish lodge. Before the door sizt on a black table bedekten the foreman with the secret secretary to the left hand.

I will have to ask a German speaker to look at the original, but it doesn’t seem to specify the door being on the floor. Nor does it say it’s on the wall. I just assumed. (being a door and all)

Like I’ve mentioned above, if the door is on the floor behind the table, then it would be hidden from the Candidate. Since the room is only decorated in this fashion for the initiation, it seems a waste of an important symbol.

Terry Melanson
August 18, 2013

You make good points. A door on the floor doesn’t make sense to me either (especially when the word “floor,” it seems, doesn’t appear in the text). I wouldn’t change anything in your drawing until further clarification.

Josef Wäges
September 4, 2013

The translation is wrong. Rex is correct that the background or possibly backdrop is essentially a locked door. The draft will be changed.

Nathan
October 4, 2013

I work with a collection of rare law books. The other day I discovered in the collection a basic handbook on jurisprudence that may have been part of Weishaupt’s personal library. The book matches the type that a lawyer of Weishaupt’s time and training might have kept in his collection. And it’s signed by a man of the same or similar name. So far, I haven’t been able to authenticate the signature. (I’m on furlough so I should say that I’m asking out of personal rather than professional curiosity.) have you seen or do you have access to an image of Weishaupt’s signature as it appears in informal contexts? The previous owner’s name is fairly scribbled on this book. But it says clearly enough Ioannis Adam Weishaubtt. Did you notice the alternate spelling of the surname? That’s how it appears in the book. Thought you might be able to help. All the best, N

Terry Melanson
October 5, 2013

Weishaubt, or Weishaupt? Two different names.

Nathan
October 5, 2013

No, that’s the thing - Weishaubtt. Weishaupt and Weishaubt are variant spellings of the same name. Likewise, obviously Weishaubtt (if that’s the right reading of the inscription). I’m not that worried about small variations in spelling since the formalization of German orthography was still underway in the late 18th C, as in English. Also, fact is, Weishaubtt may not be the right reading of the inscription in the book - it may actually read Weishaupti(genitive, masc. sing.), since the inscription is in Latin (Joannis Adami Weishaubti is one way to make sense if it). I have not seen Weishaupt’s papers, nor do I even know enough about the subject to know what of them, if anything, survives. Thought you might have. If you have an image of his signature, I’d be grateful. All the best, N

Nathan
October 6, 2013

After a little digging, I found a source that shows that as a young man Weishaupt used the spelling Weishaubt (until 1770-71 or so). http://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Geschichte_des_Illuminaten-Ordens/Weishaupts_geistige_Ausbildung_und_Charakterentwicklung_bis_zur_Ordensgr%C3%BCndung His Doctordiplom shows Weishaubt. “Die Schreibweise des Namens Weishaupt ist hier noch Weishaubt, entsprechend der Orthographie jener Zeit, es wurde auch z. B. das Wort überhaupt: überhaubt geschrieben, einige Jahre später schreibt Weishaupt seinen Namen in Briefen, wie noch jetzt üblich mit p.” Which suggests that if the book in the collection I work with was Weishaupt’s, which is not yet clear, he would have acquired it in his student days. Any idea what happened to his personal belongings after his death?

Best, N.

Terry Melanson
October 6, 2013

Very interesting.

If copies of his signature still exist, the person that would have access to it would be Reinhard Markner. Joe Wages is in regular contact with him; he left his email in comments at this site more than once, so here it is again: jwages99@yahoo.com

Another avenue to persue would be the Thurn und Taxis Hofbibliothek. They have a painting of Weishaupt in the collection as well as Weishaupt’s godfather’s (Johann Adam Freiherr von Ickstatt) library. The young Weishaupt spent much of his formative years in Ickstatt’s library, and perhaps some of the books belonged to him or at least contain examples of his signature. After Ickstatt’s death the large collection of over 4,200 books was sold to the Thurn und Taxis court library in 1777.

Terry Melanson
October 13, 2013

His signature is displayed here:

At the 22:33 mark. And much clearer at 22:45.

Steve
November 30, 2013

OMG, you guys are so awesome. I cannot believe the dearth of actual source material about the original Illuminati available to the anglocentric monolinguistic type such as myself :P

Thank you so much for your work on this most important of projects, after reading the information you have posted I cannot believe that the original order of the Bavarian Illuminati is so unrepresented in popular histories of Europe and especially works pertaining to analyze the major influences in European Political and Social movements. How can one write a history of Communism and its precursors without giving the Illuminati a mention? …but I have read many and not found one as yet. Also there is so much speculation about the Illuminati in the conspiroblogosphere that it makes my head pop and my rational side scream out in pain; so many people parroting the most ridiculous unreferenced opinions as fact. If there is in fact a subversive group interfering with world events currently that traces its roots back to the actual Illuminati I’m quite sure much of the noise created by parroted assumptions only does scholarly penetration of the subject a disservice; but who can stop uncontrolled paranoia in an age like that we live in?

I will definitely buy a copy of this book as soon as it is available, and will get the word out about its availability as soon as it is available as I have many acquaintances who thirst for real information on this topic.

Also, have you guys ever heard about a group called the Ancient Order of Druids from Newburgh, New York state that popped up around 1800? It was linked to the Theistic/Deistic Society in New York through primary characters such as Elihu Palmer, and there is a book on the history of Newburgh I came across (ref below) where their anti-Christian exploits in that town are notorious and given mention, and the author also states specifically that they were an offshoot of the Bavarian Illuminati promotion the ‘Age of Reason’. They formed out of a Reading Society (sound familiar) that met in a house that also had housed a Masonic Lodge/meeting room, and what is important about Newburgh of course is that it was the longest home of General Washington’s encampment during the revolution, and it was inhabited by all the French officers such as Lafayette during their stay in the US. I am quite sure through my own research that they may have brought a form of Scottish Rite (or at least strict observance) across the Atlantic with them, and that this direct form may have survived in association with this group that simply re-branded themselves as a reading society and also an Ancient Order of Druids later on. Their relation to the New York Deistic Society is riveting. If you think about it, Deism would fit very very well into a system worked around the vague but naturalistic skin of a Druidic revival cult. Would love to hear your opinion on this.

There is a researcher called Dr. Thomas N. Baker who is writing a history of deism in the US who wrote a piece entitled: Speculations on the Genealogy of Deism in New York, 1700–1850 …it is well worth the read.
…a WebCite link for this is as follows;
http://www.webcitation.org/5vjjE7fhE
…the book he is writing centers specifically around this Druid group in New York and its place within US Deism so I am itching to get hold of a copy when it is published, however being fellow researchers you might be able to get hold of him in order to pick his brains or collaborate.

The history of Newburgh I am referring to can be found on archive.org at;
https://archive.org/details/cu31924028824781
History of the town of Newburgh
- Ruttenber, Edward Manning, 1825-1907

Page 258 is a summary of the Masonic lodge/s and the druid association.
Pages 59-101 cover the history during the revolution and just after, but the most relevant pages relating to the Illuminati connection are Pages 87-89 and Pages 98-99.

DEFINITELY WORTH A READ IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY COME ACROSS THIS INFO!
Thanks for all your work and research, keep it up!

Terry Melanson
November 30, 2013

Joe Wages looked into the Deistic societies quite a bit and managed to obtain primary material. See the interview I did with him here (particularly the last question).

They also came to my attention while writing my book Perfectibilists: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati. I utilized primary material and the latest scholarly research from French and German that has been ongoing unbeknownst to the Anglophone market. One contribution I have made is to go over all the known members (over a thousand) of the Illuminati one by one to trace their footprint in history - 448 biographies are included in the book as well - to assess whether there was real continuity in the original Order or not. A few individuals are quite interesting in what they would later go one to become, but the Order itself as an organization definitely disappears in the 1790s.

One thing I discovered was that there was a member of the Illuminati named Francois-Antoine Lemoyne Daubermesnil (1748-1802). He was only confirmed to have been a member only recently when the diary of the second-head of the Illuminati, J. J. C. Bode, was rediscovered and published for the first time in the 1990s. Daubermesnil was an important founder of the cult of Theophilanthropy (Theophilanthropie) and the Culte des Adorateurs. He and Paine were its promoters in France in the late 1790s. Paine exported these beliefs back to America and Theophilanthropy thrived in the deistic societies there for a time.

In real terms there wasn’t any direct influence on America from the real Bavarian Illuminati. Deism and Enlightenment principles had an effect on the Illuminati just as it did on Freemasonry and revolutionary societies in general; shared philosophical beliefs of many radicals during the Enlightenment (on both sides of the Atlantic). Furthermore, out of all the bonafide members I investigated only one had actually gone to America. No lodges were set up there, no secret affiliations either. They were interested in establishing a colony in America early on in the 1780s (as the interview with Joe Wages makes clear), however nothing became of it.

Steve
December 1, 2013

Terry, I had already bought and read your book and recommended it to others. It really brings to light some of the most interesting aspects of the order, and the fact you had included all the bios was awesome and will be very helpful for others researching the history of the late 1700’s.

When you say “the Order itself as an organization definitely disappears in the 1790s”, do you mean simply the name “illuminati” or the organization itself? Weishaupt seems to have been clear that he wanted it to be known by various and differing names to purposely turn it into a chameleon; the fact that he used the name Philadelphians is interesting as it was obviously (IMO) a pun on the constitution of the US being signed in 1776 in Philadelphia. Also in regards to Skull and Bones, it cannot be proven that it is merely a copy of the Illuminati’s M.O or whether it is a legitimate continuation, but based on what I have read about the bones rituals and setup it is almost impossible to tell them apart on the main features. The relationship between Weishaupt and the Saxe-Gotha and the fact that they ended up becoming the most powerful royal house in Europe, and still are, is in my mind perhaps no coincidence. The revolutions that rolled across Europe deposing royal houses seemed to take out all the other competition who weren’t allied with them, and now the Windsors (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha/Oldenburg) sit at the top of the Masonic food chain as lords and sovereigns of English Masonry surely it is a little suspect? The fact that Weishaupt announced his philosophy to be the deposition of all Crowns when he found refuge with one of Europes finest princelingdoms can only mean that it was to be used against ‘all other’ crowns except the one his Synarchy was designed to work for?

I don’t know, but if you ask me, the statement that his particular organization died out completely in the 1790’s should be delivered with the caveat that chopping one of the heads off of a hydra only causes multiples to grow back in its place, and J.J.C.Bode and perhaps whoever he handed the reins over to after he passed away looks like a great place to start. Bodes interest in publishing the works of Lawrence Stern like Tristram Shandy is very interesting indeed.

One thing however that really opens my eyes is the place that the Phrygian Cap plays in the actual Illuminati ritual, and then of course it became the rallying symbol for the French Revolution right afterwards, and also many in South America. Maybe a coincidence … probably not, IMO.

Terry Melanson
December 1, 2013

Caveats all around. There’s nothing definite about a secret society whose sole purpose is to remain secret and infiltrate all strata of society to further its own objectives. I shouldn’t have said definitely, and as you know I don’t definitely state anything about the ultimate fate of the Illuminati in my book either.

More investigation needs to be done, in a serious manner, and by people who don’t automatically dismiss conspiracy simply because it is in vogue now to deride such research.

I tried to point the way in my book and the “Philadelphes” is probably one of the most promising. I don’t think it coincidence that the Illuminati chose it as a secret within a secret, that Buonarroti joins a lodge that owed its existence to Roettiers de Montaleau (himself a member of the Illuminati Philadelphes) and which had embedded within it another secret society by the same name who would go on to conspire and plot alongside the Carbonari and other socialist revolutionaries, or that Charles Nodier wrote of the Philadelphes as the prime mover in the background directing the conspiracies. All this was known before, except for the fact of Bode’s Illuminati Philadelphes, and his insinuation of Montaleau etc.

I agree that Synarchy was the model of Weishaupt’s Illuminati, if indeed the real meaning of the term denotes rule (or cryptocracy) by secret societies.

What I meant by the 1790s is that after Bode’s death in Dec 1793 it is nearly impossible to document whether the Illuminati in its original intended form continued in any tangible manner. Jan A.M. Snoek points the way toward another avenue of research, which I quoted in my book and here as well:

When Bode died in 1793, Reinhold took over. The Order was now re-christened the ‘Bund des Einverständnisses’ [or Einverstandenen]. Together with Schröder, Herder, Goethe, Hufeland and others, Reinhold continued the reform-project, which eventually resulted in the famous Schröder Ritual of 1801, which was of great influence on German freemasonry. Schröder’s ‘Engbund’, which continued until 1868, can be regarded as the last continuation of the original Order of the Bavarian Illuminati.

The only problem with that is it bears no resemblance to the conspiratorial purpose of what Weishaupt intended, besides reforming masonry along simpler less-occult lines.

Re:Phrygian Cap

I’ve investigated the history and use of the Liberty Cap. It was used in America before the Illuminati even existed and it was from the American revolution that the French revolutionaries started using it. Further, it goes way back in Europe itself and was really a continuous symbol in use since Roman times. Coins from the 15th century and 16th century bearing the symbol are quite numerous. In other words, you would expect the Illuminati to use it just as you would the Jacobins and the American revolutionaries before them.

Josef Wäges
December 2, 2013

So a couple of comments:

1. The Ancient Order of Druids was the third Deist Club that Palmer started. The first was John Fitch’s “Universal Society in Philadelphia. Palmer wrecked it when he advertised for his sermon against the divinity of Christ, and was barred from entering the hall to give his lecture. I have the Constitution for the Universal Society and it’s bylaws. It was to be a debating society to attract the common man in the style of the National Assembly and there was to have been a public school for children of the members. One could lecture publicly before an audience or anonymously through a bust on the other side of the wall of the audience styled as an “oracle” It was open to all faiths, but in correspondence between Fitch and Palmer, this was a bit of a ruse as the main goal was to raise up Deism and point out the absurdity of all “revealed faiths”. After Palmer’s blinding during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793, he was reduced to evangelizing Deism as his primary means of income. He set up theistical societies patterned after the Universal Society in Augusta, Newburgh, New York City, Philadlephia and then Boston; in that order. There may have been other’s but this is all I have evidence for.

Josef Wäges
December 2, 2013

2. The Phrygian Cap aka the Liberty Hat was originally a symbol of a freed slave. It goes back to the custom in Roman times of placing a cap on a former slave when he received his freedom. This is the same context the Illuminati use it in in the Regent degree. Its also the same context that it was used in during the French Revolution. The bohemian Club uses the Owl aka Pallas-Athena aka Minerva as a symbol of knowledge and wisdom, just as the Illuminati used it for the same purpose. Both of these symbols are from antiquity and have been used by many other groups throughout history for exactly the same reasons. They are not connected in anyway, other than their meanings which date back to antiquity.

Josef Wäges
December 2, 2013

I wish there was some evidence of the Illuminati continuing on but there just isn’t. Bode’s trip to Paris in 1787 was primarily to reform masonry. The Lodge of Les Amis Réunis was a hot bed of research into the occult sciences. Bodes trip was to spread the two Masonic degrees of the Order as a reform to their system. He also wrote for a paper for the convent of 1787 that the origin of Freemasonry was the formation of the Grand Lodge of 1717. I can go further if necessary.

Terry Melanson
December 2, 2013

The essay to the Philalethes was in response to questions asked of everyone who was to attend. They read it to the conclave since he didn’t make it in time, as you know. Apparently it was received well. Anything other than the original degrees from England (and especially the so-called Masonic sciences) Bode attributed to a Jesuit conspiracy in order to con Protestants back into the fold of Rome. I’ve only read a description of what the essay contained from the works of Charles Porset. He said it’s in the Kloss archive. Is there a complete copy of it anywhere accessible? Perhaps Bonneville’s “Jésuites Chassés De La Maçonnerie, Et Leur Poignard” was a direct rip-off of Bode’s essay?

Steve
December 3, 2013

Once again thanks for all your research guys. As regards to the Phrygian Cap, I knew it was used in Europe previously as the sign of a freed slave (Mithras, Men, Sabazius, Cybele remnants etc…) but thought it had died out as a symbol after the dark and middle ages and popped up again only at the French Revolution (ie, coincidental with the Bav. Illuminati rising), so it is interesting to know that it rose back into use during the renaissance well before it popped up at the Revolution/s, i didn’t realize that.

It would be interesting to know what happened with that Druid group in Newburgh though as it formed within a masonic lodge that had none other than Charles Clinton (from the political family) as a Past Grand Master in 1779 when it drops off the map. As you know, John Wood in his ‘Colombian Illuminati’ diatribe (which is seriously interesting) mentions the Clinton Faction and its importance in New York politics and corruption etc… What is interesting about that particular Lodge is that it was formed in 1788 and the Charter was never turned in. Almost all Lodges that shut up turn in their charter, but this never happened with ‘Steuben Lodge No.18′. The lodge was named after French Baron Steuben who was stationed in Newburgh with Gen Washington during the Revolutionary War, and he was one of the main French Freemasons present in the camp. I believe this particular lodge was operating under a Rectified Scottish Rite or an old form of Strict Observance, and the fact that its charter was never turned in is really interesting … did it go ‘dark’? Meaning was/is it still an active private mother lodge operating a Rite completely detached from regular US York / Scottish Rite Masonry?

The Clinton’s played a very serious part in the lead up to the Civil War so I find this subject fascinating.

Steve
December 3, 2013

Correction: I meant to say above that Charles Clinton was a Past Master (not Past Grand Master) of Steuben Lodge No.18 and the last mention of the lodge was in 1797 (not 1779).
I need to proof read better before clicking submit :)
The history on this Lodge is very hazy, and if anyone has any links to any primary material they know of on this particular Masonic Druid group or Steuben Lodge No.18, I would love to know. Thanks.

Jeva Singh-Anand
December 6, 2013

I just finished translating the Illuminatus Rex degree, and regarding an “occult Illuminati agenda,” I can now confirm what you have said all along, Terry: that the Illuminati were not an occult society, like the Martinists, Golden Dawn, O.T.O., etc.

The degree draws from neo-platonism and ontology (i.e. ~500 B.C. Greek philosophy concerned with concepts such as relative truth vs. absolute truth) and it acknowledges in a cursory manner that there are “more things between heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.” However, its main point is providing a rationale for the immortality of the soul and the existence of God.

This is definitely hardcore metaphysics — but metaphysics in the academic sense, not esotericism in the popularly understood sense.

A person deeply steeped in occult and esoteric practices would certainly find many valuable gems in this degree (especially since occultists through the centuries have used neoplatonism as a quasi-scientific rationale for their beliefs and practices), if he were to ignore the degree’s main argument and the overall context established by all the other degrees.

Jeva Singh-Anand
December 6, 2013

Ouch! Yes, “im Grunde” is definitely not the floor, but the background — chomping on some humble pie right now.

Jeva Singh-Anand
December 6, 2013

fixed it.

Terry Melanson
December 6, 2013

According Markner’s co-editor on Die Korrespondenz des Illuminatenordens, Monika Neugebauer-Wölk: “The Greater Mysteries completed the whole structure, firstly the grade of Magus or Philosophus, and as the supreme and last revelation of the Order, the grade of Docetist. With this explicit reference to Docetism, the founder of the Illuminaten placed his Order in the tradition of Gnostic heresy [→ Gnosticism]. The text of the supreme mystery-grade shows Weishaupt to be the agent of a rigorously bstract, enlightened form of esotericism. In 1999 Martin Mulsow analysed the Docetist grade in terms of the history of philosophy for the first time, placing it in the tradition of Hermetic ‘left-wing Wolffianism’ from an 18th-century vantage-point. Here, on a Sensualist basis, Weishaupt developed the prospect of a higher knowledge after death. The centrepiece was the doctrine of metempsychosis, the notion of the transmigration of souls [→ Reincarnation] as the Pythagorean journey of the dead.” (Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, 594)

Jeva Singh-Anand
December 6, 2013

That’s why I wrote “metaphysics in the academic sense, not esotericism in the popularly understood sense.” One could argue that discovering eternity when contemplating a grain of sand is an “esoteric” process, just as meditating on the symbolism of the cross may result in an insight into God’s love for humanity (to use a Christian analogy) that is too profound to be expressed in human words. But this is not the esotericism of popular culture (i.e. tarot cards, crystal gazing, spell casting up to and including bizarre and disturbing things like gold making, concocting the “homunculus,” and conjuring demons).

Here is why Dr. Neugebauer-Wölk and I are not likely to see eye to eye on this issue (I have had the same argument with contemporary Illuminati revivalists who use the “Illuminati-brand” to simply repackage old Golden Dawn material or whatever their personal flavor of occultism may be):

1. In occult/esoteric orders, the subject matter discussed in this degree is generally placed at the beginning of their curricula. The idea that infinity is so much larger than what we can perceive with our five senses, our finite understanding, and during our comparatively short lifespan that certainly there must be things we cannot begin to imagine, is generally the “hook” used to attract potential initiates and dues paying members, not its most closely guarded secret.

2. The material in this degree was meant to be purely speculative, and Weishaupt cautions in this very text that “it would be ridiculous” (es wäre auch lächerlich) if people wished to speak and act according to the principles outlined in this degree lecture. This material was intended only for those who had withdrawn into a life of higher contemplation, people who were exclusively dedicated to pushing the envelope in the area of human thought and consciousness. This lecture was not meant to dazzle fresh converts with mysticism; it was meant to provide the order’s elite with food for thought, since this elite was supposed to occupy itself purely with speculative endeavors from this point on. This is pretty much confirmed by Knigge’s description of the order in “Philo’s Reply … ,” which, barring his whitewashing of his part in the Weishaupt-Knigge conflict (and a few other things), is a fairly accurate outline of the Illuminati.

3. While this degree does flirt with Hermetic philosophy, it does so at a purely speculative, but not applied level; there is no progressive Hermetic praxis throughout the degree structure, and this is why it would not be accurate to classify the Illuminati as a Hermetic order. A member of the Illuminati was not expected to perform the “Liber Resh vel Helios,” “Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram,” or any esoteric practice that may have actually existed at the time, on a daily basis; he was supposed to write research papers and tolerate the fact that his character was constantly being scrutinized by a committee of proverbial mother-in-laws (I’m sure it must have felt that way to some), and in theory, this was supposed to make him a more educated and moral man, and a wiser one, too. Whether the degree asserts actual metempsychosis as a philosophical or theological truth or merely draws significant parallels to it is something that should be discussed in more detail once it is published in its final form. The same applies to whether Weishaupt’s statement “… so mag dann gar wohl die große Pythagorische Reise bestehen“ (the great Pythagorean journey may be real, after all) is merely an illustrative metaphor or a central tenet meant to be taken literally.

The Illuminatus Rex Degree certainly does push the envelope as far as challenging the commonly agreed-on everyday reality as we perceive it with our five senses is concerned. An occultist may find a quasi-scientific rationale for his practices. However, a psychological researcher will have equally firm ground to stand on when he claims to have found the first stirrings of cognitive psychology. Likewise, someone studying the history of scientific thought may claim that this provides the basis for developing technologies that may render the unseen visible, e.g. radar and thermal imaging technology – to open up the possibility that these technologies would not be forever impossible.

Or it could simply be that Weishaupt was telling his Rex degree initiates that as fresh-baked full-time philosophers, they were supposed to push that envelope as far as possible, and in the following 38 bullet points, he showed them exactly how far.

Terry Melanson
December 7, 2013

You probably should read Mulsow whom she cited: Martin Mulsow, “Vernünftige Metempsychosis: Über Monadenlehre, Esoterik und geheime Aufklärungsgesellschaften im 18. Jahrhundert”, in: Monika Neugebauer- Wölk (ed.), Aufklärung und Esoterik, Hamburg: Meiner, 1999, 211-273

One has to have a grasp on various philosophers during the period, such as Wolff and Leibniz in particular. “Hermetik” or the “Esoterik,” in turn, has to be understood in the context of an eclectic 18th century popularphilosophen. I don’t pretend to understand fully, but Weishaupt falls back on certain notions from Wolffianism and Leibnizism (and others) as matter of course. I realize there are people out there who study it for a living and are more qualified to pass judgement on a purely philosophical piece set in a particular time and place and influenced by particular notions totally foreign to most of the general public today.

I think it will be great to have the Docetist degree in English (and the rest as well). In German however, it has been published already and studied by people who are quite aware from where Weishaupt had cribbed his ideas. In my opinion - and to others more qualified than I - calling the degree “Docetist” is a dead give-away on how it is to be interpreted.

Jeva Singh-Anand
December 7, 2013

As I read Neugebauer-Wölk’s “Aufklaerung und Esoterik,” I see that her definitions of “esotericism” and “Hermeticism” are drawn very carefully and avoid what I have referred to as the “popular” (I should has said “pop culture”) definition of the term. She also points out that Hermeticism includes a body of philosophical doctrines as well as a set of occult disciplines, like astrology of magic.

Esoteric and Hermetic doctrines can be found in the degree, but not as neatly classifiable as such as those seeking for occult secrets or an occult conspiracy (like the one conjured up in the “Satanic panic” of the 1980s) would have it. This will become clear once the degrees are published. Philosophy nerds will definitely have a lot of fun with it, as Weishaupt takes his audience into some fairly abstract realms of thought but in the end always returns his reader to terra firma.

But things like magic, astrology, and spirit meetings cannot be found in this degree at all.

Jeva Singh-Anand
December 7, 2013

*or magic

Terry Melanson
December 7, 2013

I think you expect that other people are expecting a certain thing. I don’t think it’s necessary to even worry about them. The Golden Dawn and OTO members of the world. Their understanding of esoteric history has been proved to be flawed a long time ago.

Jeva Singh-Anand
February 26, 2014

The thing is that it’s dang near impossible to have a facts based discussion about the historical Illuminati and many people still consider folks like Schnoebelen, Zagami, and Dice experts on the topic. I don’t need to tell you how a three-sentence paragraph can claim some outrageous things and it can take an extraordinary amount of research to fact-check it — especially when some people bank on the fact that their audience is monolingual.

One of these days I’ll tell you all about my adventures with MoCHIP, Gerry Weber, and the Saudi death chip …

Terry Melanson
February 28, 2014

It’s never going to change. “Illuminati” is a loaded word and it always will be. If anything it has gotten worse over the years now that it’s being associated with the music business.

The only solution is to keep sites like ours online and hope that those who want legitimate info about the historical Illuminati will find them, learn from it and tell others.

Jeva Singh-Anand
February 28, 2014

In the meantime, most English speaking academics continue to avoid the topic like Kryptonite. Hopefully, the translations will change that.

Anthony
March 13, 2014

According to your website the Illuminati used the symbol of the dot within a circle?

Am i correct in thinking this symbol was used in the Almanach de Gotha to signify children from Morganatic marriage’s ?

Do you think there is a credible link?

Terry Melanson
March 13, 2014

I have no idea what you’re talking about. Please be more specific and provide an exact reference.

The circumpunct (Circled-dot; dot within a circle) was indeed an important symbol for the Illuminati - in particular, it was used in internal correspondences for the Order itself instead of writing the word “Order”; similarly, when referring to a lodge, instead of writing the word, a square symbol was used instead.

The symbol has a long history within Freemasonry, hermeticism, rosicrucianism, alchemy and astrology. It’s the alchemical symbol for gold but more anciently has always represented the sun.

For Weishaupt, however, his use of the symbol most certainly derived from the Monad symbol of the Pythagoreans, which was elaborated upon by Gottfried Leibniz in his Monadology of 1714. Weishaupt was greatly influenced by Leibniz and also revered Pythagoras and the ancient schools of wisdom. Look to what it meant to both Pythagoras and Leibniz and you can be sure that it was in this context that the Illuminati had used it.

MithrandirOlorin
June 2, 2014

Before I go and read pages on page of Illuminati Rituals. Are any a sort of play telling a mythical story like the Third Degree of Freemasonry?

Jeva Singh-Anand
June 29, 2014

I’m not exactly sure what the circumpunct has to do with royals marrying people of lesser rank. Terry’s explanation is the one that fits.

Some of the degrees do indeed tell a mythical story, but the higher degrees really philosophical lectures.

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