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Legacy of the Bavarian Illuminati - Part 2
Modern Framing and a Timeline of Events
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This is the second of a two-part special feature chronicling the origins, history and legacy of one of the most influential—and misunderstood—clandestine organizations in the world … the Bavarian Illuminatti. Start with Part 1.
Modern New-Age Pop Culture Framing
Below is a rebuttal I found on the internet of the Illuminati written by a New Age liberal champion of the group. Before I dissect the argument, read what its defenders have to say first:
No secret society is more controversial than the Illuminati, yet almost nothing of the truth of this mysterious ancient Order is available in the public record. Propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, paranoia and downright fantasy are rife. Some have even described the Illuminati as pan-dimensional, shape-shifting Reptilians from another world!
The Illuminati have become the peg upon which anyone can hang their favorite and most outlandish conspiracy theories. They are the "men behind the curtain", the "ultimate puppetmasters", fascists, communists, bankers, Jews, monarchists, anti-monarchists, lizards, you name it. They support "big" government, high taxes and the sinister New World Order, based on a single global currency. They want to build death camps and reduce the world's population to one billion souls.
So much for the penny-dreadful nonsense churned out by the simple minded pied pipers of Conspiracy World.
The truth of the real Illuminati is enormously more fascinating. The present Grand Master of the Illuminati has authorized the release into the public arena, for the very first time, of the facts concerning the ancient Order.
Now you can discover for yourself the extraordinary nature of this secret society, its esoteric Gnostic and Hermetic religion known as Illumination, and how it represents the greatest hope for humanity in overthrowing the Devil-worshiping Abrahamic religions and the Old World Order of elite, dynastic families of privilege that run the planet, such as the Bush family, the Rothschilds and the British Royal Family.
It's time to build a meritocratic world, a world free of privilege and religious brainwashing, a world where the super rich are brought down to earth. It's time for a New World Order where humanity can devote itself to its true purpose: creating a Community of Gods, a Society of the Divine. Don't you want to join the greatest adventure in human history? The Illuminati offer nothing less than ultimate transformation, and the truth concerning the supreme object of humanity's spiritual quest - the Holy Grail itself.
Do not read this book if you are a closed-minded Abrahamist or a conspiracy theorist. This material is not for petty, cheap, narrow-minded religious fanatics. We wish our books to be read only by rational, enlightened individuals seeking the truth.
So, if you choose to take your worldview from anonymous posters on Facebook, then this is the take for you.
First; “The present Grand Master of the Illuminati has authorized the release into the public arena, for the very first time, of the facts concerning the ancient Order.”
The Illuminati is often depicted as being ancient and everlasting; however, my research indicates that not only was the Illuminati a short-lived order, but they were but a single clandestine group in a long series of groups that have carried on what author William Stuart calls “Red Masonry” or the fusion of the old Pagan Celtic Religion with the Eleusion Mystery School of ancient Greece. I’m not saying definitively that the group isn’t still around today, but I am certainly leaning that way.
To be fair, there are groups today calling themselves the Illuminati. These modern imitations play on the enduring trope of calling anything and everything clandestine “the Illuminati,” when they often pan out to be little more than grifters (see image below).
In addition to these grifts, there appears to be a recruitment website complete with an E-shop. Forgive me if I doubt that this group has anything to do with the order of Adam Weishaupt from 250 years ago.
Before moving on, I want to address a common argument people make regarding “good and evil”. William Shakespeare (or perhaps Francis Bacon) once wrote:
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
This statement, and similar platitudes, are popular with modern liberals and occult practitioners alike. Aleister Crowley’s declaration of “Do as thou wilt” echoes the same sentiment. What seems to be a liberating and progressive proclamation could also be seen as an excuse to indulge in all manner of unhealthy, self-serving behavior. In case you hadn’t realized, self-serving behavior is a predominant trait of these secret societies that scheme behind the public’s back to shape civilization in their favor.
In addition to all of these variations, there’s a modern revival of the group that seems to exist today in Hollywood, but even this is an artifact of a group that was discovered in a sensational way around the founding of our Nation and has become a sigil of sorts. The Illuminati was a subversive group that wanted to destroy religion and deify the state. They weren’t the only group; they were but one order among a multitude under the umbrella of Freemasonry.
Don’t believe me that the Illuminati isn’t/wasn’t the end-all-be-all of secret societies? Masonic researcher William Stuart has compiled a list of all the secret societies and the years that they were formed under the Rosicrucian “Red Masonry” or “Fratres Lucis” (you could see these as the “Cabal” degrees, as not everyone in Freemasonry is part of the Deep State—some are actually God-Fearing patriots,) the Illuminati being a single order out of hundreds.
As you can see above, there have been various, interwoven societies created to carry out specific agendas in different parts of the globe for many generations. Feel free to google any of these groups; I have and have come across a wealth of information suggesting that these groups have worked hand in glove to achieve countless goals through subversive means over the last few centuries. These groups cannot be simply reduced to the singular term “Illuminati”, especially when you see that the Bavarian Illuminati is but a single group among many.
For this part, I will be pulling directly from a variety of sources. In an effort to keep the notes to a minimum and still provide a thorough citation, the following abbreviations will be applied:
AB - Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, by Augustin Barruel, 1798
VS - Chapter III: The European Illuminati, from New England and the Bavarian Illuminati, by Vernon L. Stauffer Ph.D., 1918
JB - Fire In the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith, by James H. Billington, 1980
NW - Secret Societies & Subversive Movements, by Nesta H. Webster, 1924
JR - Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, by John Robison, 1798
MA - To Eliminate The Opiate, by Rabbi Marvin S. Antelman, 1974 (HIGHLY recommended reading)
CG - The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and The Illuminati, by Conrad Goeringer
TM - A Bavarian Illuminati Primer, by Trevor W. McKeown
MI - The Illuminati and Angels & Demons FAQ - Do the Illuminati Really Exist?, by Massimo Introvigne
February 6. Adam Weishaupt is born (d. 1830) of Westphalian parents [CE] in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. Fittingly, the Weishaupt family name first appeared in Baden and was anciently associated with tribal conflicts around the area. [House of Names: Weishaupt Family Crest]
Weishaupt's father, George, dies. He is turned over to his liberal godfather, Baron Johann Adam Ickstatt (1702-1776), curator of the University of Ingolstadt and a member of the Privy Council. [VS, CG]
While growing up, Weishaupt was educated by the Jesuits and was "accorded free range in the private library of his godfather; the boy's questioning spirit was deeply impressed by the brilliant though pretentious works of the French 'philosophers' with which the shelves were plentifully stocked." [VS] He studies law, economics, politics, history and philosophy; voraciously devouring every book which he came across. [VS]
Weishaupt graduates from the University of Ingolstadt. He serves for four years as a tutor and catechist. [VS]
Weishaupt is appointed as professor of civil law at the University of Ingolstadt. [CE]
Pope Clement XIV dissolves the Jesuit Order.
Weishaupt becomes the first layman to occupy the chair of canon law; the prestigious position had been held by a Jesuit for the previous 90 years. [VS, CE]
Weishaupt marries, against the wishes of Ickstatt. [VS]
Weishaupt is promoted to dean of the faculty of law. [VS]
May 1. Weishaupt founds the Order of the Illuminati with an original membership of five. The Order is secret, hierarchical and modeled on the Jesuits. The original name for the Order was uncertain: Perfectibilists and Bees were both considered, but Weishaupt settled on Illuminati—chosen, perhaps, because of the "image of the sun radiating illumination to outer circles" [JB: 94-95]
The Order was, therefore, always represented in communications between members as a circle with a dot in the center ☉ This symbolic imagery—the point within a circle, the Perfectibilists and the Bees—is also reflective of Weishaupt's fascination with Eleusinian and Pythagorean Mysteries; no doubt learning of this early on having access to Ickstatt's considerable library.
"The Zoroastrian-Manichaean cult of fire was central to the otherwise eclectic symbolism of the Illuminists; their calendar was based on Persian rather than classical or Christian models." [JB: 95] Weishaupt explains: "The allegory in which the Mysteries and Higher Grades must be clothed is Fire Worship and the whole philosophy of Zoroaster or of the old Parsees who nowadays only remain in India; therefore in the further degrees the Order is called 'Fire Worship' (Feuerdienst), the 'Fire Order,' or the 'Persian Order' - that is, something magnificent beyond all expectation." [NW: 201]
Weishaupt constructed the Illuminati calendar to commemorate the date of the Persian King Yazdegerd III (632 AD) [MI] - the Parsees (Parsis) still use the same dating system to this day. Barruel relates how the Illuminati Novice in-training "must … learn how to date his letters, and be conversant with the Illuminized Hegira or Calendar; for all letters which he will receive in future will be dated according to the Persian era, caled [sic] Jezdegert and beginning A.D. 630. The year begins with the Illuminees on the first of Pharavardin, which answer to the 21st of March.
Their first month has no less than forty-one days; the following months, instead of being called May, June, July, August, September, and October, are Adarpahascht, Chardad, Thirmeh, Merdedmeh, Shaharimeh, Meharmeh: November and December are Abenmeh, Adameh: January and February, Dimeh, and Benmeh: The month of March only has twenty days, and is called Asphandar." [AB: 429; emphasis in original]
For the Novice, the letters to his Superior are to be written in cipher: "he must make himself master of that cypher, which is to serve him until initiated into the higher degrees, when he will be entrusted with the hieroglyphics of the Order." [AB: 429] Barruel (p.438) displays the first cipher introduced to the Illuminati Novice:
The Hieroglyphic cipher used in the higher Scotch Knight degrees is also reproduced by Barruel:
Weishaupt is initiated into Freemasonry, in Munich, at the Lodge Theodore of Good Counsel. By the middle of 1779, Weishaupt's "Insinuators" had completely wrestled control of the Lodge and it was regarded as part of the Order of the Illuminati. [VS]
February 8. Weishaupt's wife dies. [VS]
July. Baron von Knigge is initiated into the Order. [VS] Knigge was connected to the court of Hesse-Cassel [VS] and a prominent Strict Observance freemason. He subsequently restructured the Order and recruited many prominent members: "the notion of restricting the field of recruiting solely to the young was abandoned, and this phase of the propaganda was widened so as to include men of experience whose wisdom and influence might be counted upon to assist in attaining the objects of the order." [VS]
By 1784, largely due to Knigge's circle of influence, the Illuminati had "between two and three thousand members." [VS]
July 16. Congress of Wilhelmsbad convened. Probably the most significant event of the era as far as any official coalition between secret society factions:
“At Wilhelmsbad, near the city of Hanau in Hesse-Cassel, was held the most important Masonic Congress of the eighteenth century. It was convoked by Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, Grand Master of the Order of Strict Observance ... there were delegates from Upper and Lower Germany, from Holland, Russia, Italy, France, and Austria; and the order of the Illuminati was represented by the Baron Von Knigge. It is not therefore surprising that the most heterogeneous opinions were expressed.” — Albert G. Mackey.
Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia Of Freemasonry, under "Wilhelmsbad, Congress of …"
"...it was not until the Congress de Wilhelmsbad that the alliance between Illuminism and Freemasonry was finally sealed....What passed at this terrible Congress will never be known to the outside world, for even those men who had been drawn unwittingly into the movement, and now heard for the first time the real designs of the leaders, were under oath to reveal nothing. One such honest Freemason, the Comte de Virieu, a member of Martiniste Lodge at Lyons, returning from the Congre's de Wilhelmsbad could not conceal his alarm, and when questioned on the 'tragic secrets' he had brought back with him, replied: 'I will not confide them to you. I can only tell you that all this is very much more serious than you think. The conspiracy which is being woven is so well thought out that it will be, so to speak, impossible for the monarchy and the Church to escape from it." From this time onwards, says his biographer, M. Costa de Beauregard, 'the Comte de Virieu could only speak of Freemasonry with horror.'" — Nesta H. Webster, World Revolution - The Plot Against Civilization, p. 18.
April 20. Baron von Knigge resigns from the Illuminati. His quarrels with Weishaupt over the direction and management of the Order had reached a boiling point. A certain amount of jealousy was apparent from both parties - though Weishaupt certainly was a Machiavellian, by all accounts. On July 1st, Knigge signs a formal agreement to return all property, rituals and initiations belonging to the Order, and to maintain silence about Illuminati secrets. Knigge was convinced of Weishaupt's Jesuitism; he accused him of being "a Jesuit in disguise." [VS, CE]
June 22. The Elector of Bavaria, Duke Carl Theodore, issues the first edict against secret societies not authorized by the law or the sovereign.
This first edict seems to have been brought upon by ex-member, Professor Joseph Utzschneider, who had quit the Order in August 1783. Just a few months later, in October, Utzschneider along with Grünberger and Cosandey, fellow professors with him in the Marianen (Marienburg) Academy and members of the Order, presented the Duchess Maria Anna with an internal Illuminati document, and a membership list. The Duchess was thoroughly alarmed and passed it on to the Duke. [VS, JR]
February. Some members of the Illuminati appeal to Carl Theodore for an appearance before him to prove their innocence. The offer is rejected. [VS]
March 2. The Bavarian Monarch issues the second edict against secret societies, specifically naming the Illuminati and Freemasonry; shortly after a considerable amount of important documents were concealed or put to the flames. [VS] This second ban was more forceful, it "left no room for evasion." The government enforcers were given weapons to "wage an effective command." [VS]
Weishaupt had already left his post at the University two weeks earlier, obviously knowing about the approaching storm.
"He fled across the border to Regensburg and finally settled at Gotha" under the protection of Illuminati member Duke of Saxe-Gotha. [VS] Thirteen years later Barruel writes, "[Weishaupt] now banished from his country as a traitor to his Prince and to the whole Universe, peacefully at the court of Ernest Lewis, Duke of Saxe Gotha, enjoys an asylum, receives a pension from the public treasury, and is dignified with the title of Honorary Councilor to that Prince."
Judicial inquiries were held at Ingolstadt. Subsequent government measures were taken and some members made formal confessions. A considerable membership was found to be held within the military; officers and soldiers were ordered to come forward and confess any involvement. State officials, professors, teachers, and students who were found out to be members were summarily dismissed. Some were even banished from the country. [VS]
September 9. Utzschneider, Grünberger, and Cosandey make a joint Juridical Deposition before the Elector:
"The object of the first degrees of Illuminism is at once to train their young men, and to be informed of every thing that is going forward by a system of espionage. The Superiors aim at procuring from their inferiors diplomatic acts, documents, and original writings. With pleasure they see them commit any treasons or treacherous acts, because they not only turn the secrets betrayed to their own advantage, but thereby have it in their power to keep the traitors in a perpetual dread, lest, if they ever showed any signs of stubbornness, their malefactions should be made known.- Oderint dum metuant, let them hate, provided they fear, is the principle of their government.
"The Illuminees from these first degrees are educated in the following principles:
"The Illuminee who wishes to rise to the highest degree must be free from all religion; for a religionist (as they call every man who has any religion) will never be admitted to the highest degrees."
The Patet Exitus, or the doctrine on Suicide, is expressed in the same terms as in the preceding deposition.
"The end sanctifies the means. The welfare of the Order will be a justification for calumnies, poisonings, assassinations, perjuries, treasons, rebellions; in short, for all that the prejudices of men lead them to call crimes.
"One must be more submissive to the Superiors of Illuminism, than to the sovereigns or magistrates who govern the people; and he that gives the preference to sovereigns or governors of the people is useless to us. Honor, life, and fortune, all are to be sacrificed to the Superiors. The governors of nations are despots when they are not directed by us. They can have no authority over us, who are free men.
"The love of one's prince and of one's country are incompatible with views of an immense extent, with the ultimate ends of the Order, and one must glow with ardour for the attainment of that end.
"The Superiors of Illuminism are to be looked upon as the most perfect and the most enlightened of men; no doubts are to be entertained even of their infallibility."
"It is in these moral and political principles that the Illuminees are educated in the lower degrees; and it is according to the manner in which they imbibe them and show their devotion to the Order, or are able to second its views, that they are earlier or later admitted to the higher degrees.
"They use every possible artifice to get the different post offices in all countries entrusted to the care of their adepts only. They also boast that they are in possession of the secret of opening and reclosing letters without the circumstance being perceived.”
On October 11, police search Xavier Zwack's residence in Landshut. A number of books and over two hundred letters, between Weishaupt and the Areopagites, were confiscated. The documents were published by the Bavarian government under the title Einige Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordens. [VS, TM]
The evidence discovered at Zwack's residence was considerable: besides the secret communications between the Illuminati Adepts, the authorities found tables containing the Order's symbols and the Persian calendar, membership rosters, statutes, instructions for recruiters, ceremonies of initiation and imprints of the Order's insignia; a eulogy of atheism and a copy of a manuscript entitled Better Than Horus; a proposal for a branch of Illuminism for woman; 22 several hundred impressions of Government seals (with a list of their owners, princes, nobles, clergymen, merchants, etc.), for the purposes of counterfeiting; instructions for the making of the poison Aqua Toffana, poisonous gas and secret ink; "an infernal machine" for the safeguarding of secret papers - apparently a strong box that would blow up, destroying its contents; and receipts for procuring abortion and a formula for making a tea to induce the procedure. [VS, JR, MA: 51, NW: 228, AB: 692-93]
In the space of a few months, in 1786—in order to save face—Weishaupt pens 9 different apologetic pamphlets, most notably: Apologie der Illuminaten, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1786, and Vollständige Geschichte der Verfolgung der Illuminaten in Bayern, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1786. [VS]
As a result of further police searches of Baron Bassus' castle at Sandersdorf, the Bavarian government published more secret documents of the Order: Nachtrag von weitern Originalschriften ... [VS]
August 16. The third and final edict against the Order is put into effect by the Duke of Bavaria.
The former edicts were emphasized:
"… and in addition, to give maximum force to the sovereign's will, criminal process, without distinction of person, dignity, state, or quality, was ordered against any Illuminatus who should be discovered continuing the work of recruiting. Any so charged and found guilty were to be deprived of their lives by the sword; while those thus recruited were to have their goods confiscated and themselves to be condemned to perpetual banishment from the territories of the duke. Under the same penalties of confiscation and banishment, the members of the order, no matter under what name or circumstances, regular or irregular, they should gather, were forbidden to assemble as lodges." [VS]
And after this point, all mention of the Illuminati seems to disappear from the records, though Author William Stuart claims that there have been multiple incarnations of the same agenda, the Bilderberg Group and the Fabian Society being some of the more recent examples.
Hopefully, this short overview shaped by my own personal biases, has helped to shed a little more light on the fact that the Illuminati, as far as we know, existed for a short time and (at least as far as I can prove) isn’t currently meeting at the docks at midnight. Though the aims of Adam Weishaupt and company are still being ravenously pursued and expanded upon by today’s subversive puppet masters, if you use the term “Illuminati” to describe said puppetmasters, you out yourself as somebody who relies on pop-cultural terminology rather than accurate historic record.
Authors Note: This 2-part series was but a taste of the wealth of information contained in the PDF links provided above.
Badlands Media articles and features represent the opinions of the contributing authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Badlands Media itself.
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