The Influence of the Illuminati and Freemasonry on German Student Orders (and Vice Versa)

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 | Subversive Movements | 27 Comments

by Terry Melanson (7/1/2010)

Not widely known is the fact that some of the key ideas behind the creation of the Bavarian Illuminati came from a member of a German Studentenorden.

In 1776 Adam Weishaupt confided to one of his students, eighteen year-old Franz Anton von Massenhausen, that he was thinking of creating a secret society (at the University of Ingolstadt) to combat the influence of both the Jesuits and the Rosicrucians. Massenhausen had told Weishaupt that this was good idea, and that he already had some experience in this area. Before matriculating at Ingolstadt, Massenhausen informed his teacher, he had been a member of a student secret society in Göttingen; he went on to describe the manner in which they operated, its statutes, and the attire they wore. Taking this as a model, then, on May 1st 1776 Weishaupt, Massenhausen and three others, formed the Order of the Perfectibilists.1

It is ironic that such should be the case, for afterwards the Illuminati, in turn, had not only infiltrated various educational establishments but student societies as well. As Klaus Epstein explains it:

The famous Karlsschule in Stuttgart (Schiller’s alma mater) had several Illuminati on its staff. The educational movement headed by Basedow taught Illuminati principles, though Basedow himself apparently never joined the order. The University of Göttingen had several Illuminati among its professors, which led Weishaupt to exclaim with surprise that Ingolstadt was giving the law to its far more distinguished North German rival. Tutorial positions offered excellent leverage for working for the future triumph of the Aufklärung: the prominent Illuminat Leuchsenring served, for example, as tutor to the Prussian crown prince who became Frederick William III (though the later conduct of his pupil must have disappointed him).2 The two leading student societies (Studentenorden), the Konstantisten and the Schwarze Brüder, were both infiltrated by Illuminati. The actual influence of the order upon the education of Germany’s youth obviously cannot be quantitatively defined, and statistical calculations of the infiltration of the professorate are equally impossible to make.3 These examples suffice to explain, however, the fact that Conservatives called for a drastic purge of educational institutions.4

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Karl R. H. Frick on The Philalèthes

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 | Freemasonry, Philalèthes | 1 Comment

Gleichen report

Part of a briefing by Savalette de Langes sent to Chefdebien, in order to prepare the latter for his participation at the Congress of Wilhelmsbad. This report is about Baron de Gleichen (1735-1807). A simple cypher within the text identifies him as both an Élus Coëns and a member of the Amis Réunis Philalèthe of the 12 class. The Philalèthes recruited at Wilhelmsbad as vigorously as did the Bavarian Illuminati (of which Gleichen was a member: alias, Pomponatius).

The following sketch is translated from Karl R. H. Frick’s Die Erleuchteten: Gnostisch-theosophische und alchemistisch-rosenkreuzerische Geheimgesellschaften bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts, ein Beitrag zur Geistesgeschichte der Neuzeit (1973), p. 574 ff., originally included as an appendix at the end of McBean and Gabirro, A Complete History Of The Ancient And Primitive Rite (2002). There were a few mistakes with spelling and grammar, etc., so I’ve cleaned it up, while providing annotations, links and illustrations.

In regard to the entire milieu of high-grade Freemasonry during the Enlightenment, the Philalèthes are as noteworthy as they come. The Rite itself - more of a regime - and the Lodge ‘Amis Réunis’ from which it was founded, constituted a clearing house for all things occult or esoteric on the continent and beyond; Savalette de Langes and the Marquis de Chefdebien may even be described as engaging in Masonic espionage. There isn’t a single volume on 18th Century Freemasonry that doesn’t give the major details of the Amis Réunis and the Philalèthes. Members of the rite came not only from France, but from Germany, England, Italy, Austria, Sweden and Russia (and as was shown with the publishing of J. J. C. Bode’s diary in 1994, the Bavarian Illuminati had managed to officially join forces with it just two years before the revolution).

I’ve read more than a few accounts of the Philalèthes over the years, but this report by Frick - about as complete an introduction as as you’ll find - is by far the best.

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Lodge of Les Amis Réunis [The United Friends]

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 | Freemasonry, Philalèthes | 6 Comments

We’ll be mentioning this famous Lodge in Paris in forthcoming posts. What follows is a concise explanation of its operation and makeup (translated from a French Masonic Encyclopedia entry by Pierre François Pinaud).

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Amis Réunis

From 1771 to 1791, this lodge was one of the most prestigious in Paris and was consecrated by the Keeper of the Royal Treasury Savalette de Langes. Initially formed abroad in Rumigny, a small town of Thiérache, by a magistrate of the Parliament of Paris (banished by Chancellor Maupeou), in 1773 the lodge settled permanently in Paris. Savalette de Langes had made the inner circle of the Amis Réunis the social center of modern Freemasonry and cosmopolitanism of the late Enlightenment. Here the elite and and the talented joined together. The orchestra of the Amis Réunis was composed of six musicians of renown, like the composer [Isidore] Bertheaume, the brothers Blasius, the King’s violinists, Boutray of the l’Académie [Royale] de Musique, and either the brothers Breval or Louis Francoeur, the King’s Superintendent of Music.

The Lodge utilized a large space in a house in the Rue Popincourt, built in 1708 by the architect Dulin for the supplier of arms [Nicholas?] Dunoyer. By the time of its dissolution in 1791, Les Amis Réunis counted some 300 members with a further 37 casual brothers and brother servants. It comprised about 12% foreigners, such as the Baron de Beutz, chancellor of Saxony; the Baron de Gleichen, Minister of Denmark in Madrid, Naples and Paris; and Count Stroganoff, a Russian subject. A hundred senior officers or generals decorate the pillars, and about fifteen of their regiment. Painters and sculptors are well represented with a dozen doctors, all members of the Academy of Medicine or professors at the University of Paris - Monge was an assiduous member of the lodge for some years. But the Amis Réunis’ uniqueness is the significant number of its members who belonged to the world of finance: 37% of the Lodge in total, 84 people, were indeed financiers. We count no fewer than 15 bankers or speculators, 13 receiver generals, 7 tax collectors [fermiers généraux], 7 general treasurers including those of the Navy and War, 4 general paymasters, 19 members of the Courts of Finances of Paris, 7 senior officials of the Royal treasury and finally, 11 brothers who were occupied with public finance. On the eve of the Revolution, the lodge of the Amis Réunis had the highest concentration of financiers; a number of them met in groups, or independently, to engage in speculative ventures. We also find Lodge members as shareholders of the arms factory in Charleville, the Water Company in Paris, and the mines at Baïgorry, Decize or Rueil. Another group actively participated in speculation about the dollars held by the bank St. Charles de Madrid. Others are shareholders of the Hudson Bay Company that traded with Canada. Many specialize in international commerce, and others with India or the islands trading sugar and rum, but also the slave trade. At the famous East India Company, one finds Lodge members as shareholders or as administrators. A last group is actively involved in real estate speculation in Paris.

The success of the Amis Réunis in the financial world may be explained by the fact that, in the latter third of the 18th-century, in the absence of public credit, only powerful financiers could undertake large scale financial transactions. Everything is then prefaced upon trust. This leads to the membership of professional lobbyists, and familial networks which are found in the Lodge. The trustworthiness of Masonic affiliation may result in more business, which enables both administrators and profiteers. The Lodge therefore offered a discreet setting for financial conversations and the development of protective relationships; philosophical bonds are then the natural extension in the world of finance.

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The So-Called Schwedenkiste (“Swedish Box”), the Most Significant Illuminati Archive

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 | Primary Documents | 10 Comments

by Terry Melanson (17/6/2009)

Volume XI, "quibus-Licet-notebooks" by Illuminati members of the Saxon-Thuringian territories

Volume XI of the Schwedenkiste: 'Quibus-Licet-notebooks' by Illuminati members of the Saxe-Thuringian territories

After Adam Weishaupt had fled in 1785, the center of activity for the Illuminati shifted from Bavaria to the Duchies of Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Weimar. And while the founder of the Illuminati was content to safely settle down for the long haul at the court of Duke Ernst II of Saxe Gotha, Johann Joachim Christoph Bode (1730-1793) took the reins and assumed the role previously held by Weishaupt.

Through the efforts of Bode and an expanding network of recruits – and under the protection of the Illuminati Dukes Karl August of Saxe-Weimar and Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha – new colonies were established in places like France, Russia and Italy. Bode kept the Weimar and Gotha Lodges Amalia and Ernst Zum Kompass informed of his activities, but the bulk of the evidence of continued Illuminati activity remained in his possession.

Ensuring that whatever they contained would remain secret, upon Bode’s death in December 1793 his literary executor, Illuminatus Christian Gottlieb von Voigt (1743–1819), transferred his deceased friend’s possessions to Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha who had already bought the voluminous papers before Bode died.

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“Master Conspiracy” Redux

Monday, June 15th, 2009 | Illuminati myths | 15 Comments

Seal of the Illuminati-controlled Munich Lodge St. Théodore du bon Conseil (St. Theodor vom guten Rat), c. 1780. Of note, top center, is the owl of Minerva, the symbol of the Illuminati

Seal of the Illuminati-controlled Munich Lodge St. Théodore du bon Conseil (St. Theodor vom guten Rat), c. 1780. Of note, top center, is the owl of Minerva

by Terry Melanson (15/6/2009)

The New American website has posted a slightly redacted version of William H. McIlhany’s 1996 article which appeared in the September 16, 1996 issue of The New American. (The original can be read here, which, in turn, appears to be based on one of McIlhany’s presentations).

I first became aware of McIlhany’s writings on the Illuminati in 2000. At the time I was very impressed by what I read, and immediately realized that his information on the real Bavarian Illuminati was more thorough than most. However, my own knowledge on the subject is a bit more advanced than it was some nine years ago. So with that in mind, here are some exaggerations and/or misrepresentations which struck me as I reread the article at The New American for the first time in years.

“Kölmer” and the Origin of the Lesser and Greater Mysteries of the Illuminati

According to McIlhany, Weishaupt was “instructed by a mysterious occultist named Kölmer.” The only problem I have with this statement is that it is not qualified with “alleged” or “purported.”

The Kölmer legend first appeared in Volume III of Abbé Augustin Barruel’s tome against Philosophes, Freemasons, the Illuminati and the Jacobins. He related it rather tentatively as a rumour going round, and as a possible way of explaining the ostensibly advanced nature of Weishaupt’s mysteries.

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Roots of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Sunday, April 26th, 2009 | Rosicrucians | 37 Comments

by Terry Melanson (26/4/2009)


The Golden Dawn – of Mathers, Westcott, Crowley fame - has gone Web 2.0.

Some of the most revealing posts on their blogs, are: The Golden and Rosy Cross Worn by International Golden Dawn Imperator, David Griffin; The Red and Golden Cross; and significantly, The Sabbatian Qabalah and its relation to the Golden Dawn.

From Griffin:

I wear a cross of pure 24k gold, enameled red, that derives directly from the 18th Century German Rosicrucian Order known as the Gold und Rosenkreutz. [...] The Gold und Rosenkreutz Order, the Rosicrucian predecessor of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is, in fact, the source of origin of entire grade system of the Golden Dawn, as well as the mystic numbers of the grades, mystic titles, symbols, etc.

From “Sincerus Renatus”:

[...][W]hat we see here is a direct Rosicrucian lineage in the Golden Dawn descending from the Gold und Rosenkreutz order through the Asiatic Brethren and the Frankfurt-am-Main lodge Zur Aufghene Morg[e]nroethe, aka L’Aurore Naissante, aka Chevrah Zerach Bequr Aur in Germany.

In my book over the Bavarian Illuminati it was established that the Gold- und Rosenkreutz [Golden and Rosy Cross] were the enemies of the Illuminati and vice versa. Why? 1) They were competitors for initiates; 2) Illuminati were rationalists and outright worshippers of reason, while the Rosicrucians pursued mysticism and theosophy and indulged in all manner of practical occultism (séances, theurgy, thaumaturgy, astrology, sorcery, kabbalistic magic and alchemy), which the Illuminati frowned upon, to say the least; 3) and the fact that the Rosicrucians were also aligned with the obscurantists of religious orthodoxy, the Jesuits, and recruited members from among its ranks.

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Was Carl Jung’s Ancestor an Illuminatus?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 | Illuminati Members | 26 Comments

by Terry Melanson (17/2/2009)

There’s two Illuminati with the last name Jung identified in Hermann Schüttler’s Die Mitglieder des Illuminatenordens 1776-1787/93 (Munich: Ars Una 1991): Franz Wilhelm Jung (1757-1833) and Johann Sigmund Jung (1745-1824).

The latter, it turns out, was probably the uncle to the famed Swiss psychoanalyst’s grandfather, Carl Gustav Jung (1794-1864).

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Some Original Writings of the Order of the Illuminati (pp. 12-26)

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 | Original Writings, Primary Documents | 2 Comments

NB: Superscripted endnotes are my own, while parenthesized footnotes (when encountered) are from the original editors of the collection, c. 1786/87. – Terry Melanson

[p. 12]

VI
Statutes of the Illuminati

As the Society proposes not to abolish the reasonable bonds with which one is subject to the State, but to further strengthen it, our desire is that:

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“Lang” or “Lanz”: Myths about the “Myths”

Saturday, November 15th, 2008 | Illuminati myths | 12 Comments

by Terry Melanson (15/11/2008)

So, I’m browsing through the results of a keyword-search (targeting blogs) that I had previously saved as an RSS feed in Google Reader - “Illuminati.” Usually the results point to sites that abuse the term as a mere descriptor for an overarching, all-powerful monolithic conspiracy. However, once in a while, I occasionally come across at least an attempt not to knowingly butcher the historical record.

The November 12th post at the English section of Illuminaten.org is one such example. But as I started reading “The Bavarian Illuminati: several myths revealed,” it became quite clear that the post is, in fact - word for word - an abridged re-posting of “A Bavarian Illuminati Primer.”

Once I got to the part about Lanz and Lang, I knew for sure.

Here’s what Mason Trevor W. McKeown thinks is the myth/truth:

As an example of the mythology that surrounds the history of the Illuminati, note that Barruel claimed that Lanz, an Illuminati courier and apostate priest, was struck by lightning, thus revealing Weishaupt’s papers to the authorities, but this does not appear to be substantiated. This error was widely reprinted and enlarged on by subsequent anti-masons whose lack of research and disdain for historical accuracy has lead them to confuse Johann Jakob Lanz (d.1785), a non-Illuminati secular priest in Erding, and friend of Weishaupt, with Franz Georg Lang, a court advisor in Eichstätt who was active in the Illuminati under the name Tamerlan.

Barruel mistakenly translated “weltpriester”, or secular priest, as apostate priest and subsequent writers such as Webster and Miller have repeated this error. Eckert renamed Weishaupt’s friend as Lanze and had him struck by lightning while carrying dispatches in Silesia. Miller cited Eckert but renamed Lanz as Jacob Lang and placed the lightning strike in Ratisbon. This is a minor detail in the history but it demonstrates the lack of accuracy often displayed by detractors of the Illuminati.

As nobody has challenged him on these assertions - not even a German site who should know better - I’ll reiterate and add additional information to what I had written back in August 2005. Mr. McKeown is guilty of the same thing he accuses others of: “lack of research and disdain for historical accuracy.”

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Illuminati Sightseeing: Karl and St. Germain at Louisenlund

Monday, November 10th, 2008 | Illuminati Sightseeing | 3 Comments

by Terry Melanson (10/11/2008)

Left: a rare photograph of Louisenlund Tower, while it still existed; Right: an idealized painting of it as it must have looked when Saint-Germain and Landgrave Karl were indulging in alchemical experiments. (Click for a larger view, and a Lightbox gallery)

The estate of (Illuminatus) Landgrave Karl von Hessen-Kassel (1744-1836) was an occult-masonic initiatory retreat. The world’s foremost expert on the 18th-Century Golden and Rosy Cross, Dr. Christopher McIntosh:

The head of the Asiatic Brethren in the 1780s and 1790s was the Landgrave Carl von Hessen-Kassel, one of the most fascinating and influential figures at the time in the world of Masonry, Rosicrucianism and hermetic studies. He not only belonged to innumerable orders and rites, but he was a practicing alchemist and was a friend of the mysterious French alchemist, the Comte de St. Germain, whom he harbored during the last years of St. Germain’s life on his estate Louisenlund in what is now Schleswig-Holstein, which he turned into a great center of Masonic and esoteric activity. The park at Louisenlund (about an hour’s drive northwest of Kiel) was laid out in the form of an initiatic journey that involved the candidate passing through a dense wood finding his way through a labyrinth and encountering various alchemical and allegorical images along the way.

In the park was an alchemist’s tower with a laboratory and a room where Masonic rituals were conducted. There was also a pond with a secret grotto concealed behind a waterfall, in which the most solemn rituals were held. Over the years, unfortunately, most of these symbolic features have disappeared. All that remains of the alchemist’s tower, for example, is this Egyptian stone doorway which was moved to a different position, and cemented into the wall of a stable building where it stands completely out of context. Today this property belongs to a private school.

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