- Emma Slattery Williams
- BBC History Revealed
The Illuminati is a name given to both a real society formed 245 years ago and a fictional one.
The fictional one has fueled conspiracy theories for years, with people claiming that it is a secret and mysterious global organization whose intention is to take over the world, as well as being behind some of the biggest revolutions and murders in history.
But who really were the Illuminati and did they really control the world?
This is what we know about one of the most attractive secret societies in history.
1. What were the original Illuminati?
The Order of the Illuminati or the Illuminati was a secret society formed in Bavaria (now part of modern Germany) that existed from 1776 to 1785; its members originally referred to themselves as perfectibilists.
The group was inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment and was founded by canon law professor Adam Weishaupt. Wanted to promote educating reason and philanthropy and opposing superstition and religious influence in society.
Weishaupt sought to change the way states were run in Europe, removing the influence of religion on government and giving the people a new source of “enlightenment.”
It is believed that the first meeting of the Bavarian Illuminati took place in a forest near Ingolstadt on May 1, 1776. There, five men established the rules that would govern the secret order.
Over time, the group’s goals focused on influencing political decisions and disrupting institutions such as the monarchy and the Church.
Some members of the Illuminati they joined the masons to recruit new members.
A bird known as the ‘Minerva’s owl’ (Minerva is the ancient Roman goddess of wisdom) eventually became its main symbol.
2. How are the Illuminati related to the Freemasons?
Masons are a fraternal order that developed from the guilds of stonemasons and cathedral builders of the Middle Ages.
In some countries, especialmente en EE.UU.There has historically been a certain paranoia about Freemasons; In 1828, a single-issue political movement known as the Anti-Masonic Party was even established.
Because the Illuminati originally recruited Freemasons, the two groups have often been mistaken for each other.
3. How could you join the Illuminati?
To join the Illuminati, you had to have the full consent of the other members, possess wealth and have a Good reputation within a suitable family.
Additionally, there was a hierarchical system for Illuminati membership.
After entering as a ‘rookie’, you would graduate as a ‘minerval’ and then an ‘enlightened minerval’, although this structure became more complicated, requiring 13 degrees of initiation to become a member.
4. Did the Illuminati use rituals?
They used rituals – although most remain unknown – and used pseudonyms to keep members’ identities secret.
However, thanks to seized secret documents, if you know how newbies could move up a notch within the hierarchy of the Illuminati:
- they had to compile a report on all the books they owned,
- write a list of your weaknesses,
- and reveal the names of the enemies they had.
The rookie then promised to sacrifice personal interests for the good of society.
5. What is the all-seeing eye?
The “Eye of Providence,” a symbol that resembles an eye within a triangle, appears on churches around the world, as well as on Masonic buildings and the US dollar bill.
In addition to being associated with Freemasonry, it has also been associated with the Illuminati as a symbol of the group’s control and surveillance of the world.
Ooriginally it is a christian emblem, “the all-seeing eye” has been used in paintings to represent God’s watchfulness over humanity.
In the 18th century, it began to be used in new ways, for example, in Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, an illustrated version of the human rights document adopted by the National Constituent Assembly of France in 1789.
In that case, it represents an instrument of paternalistic reason, policing the newly democratic nation.
There is no official link between the all-seeing eye and the Illuminati; the connection assigned to it is probably due to the fact that the original group shared similarities with the Masons, who used the image as a symbol of God.
6. Did the Illuminati take over the world?
Some people believe that the Illuminati control the world today, which is to say that they are so secretive that few know it.
As many members of the Order of the Illuminati infiltrated the Freemasons and vice versa, it is difficult to judge the success of the Illuminati, but most historians believe that the original group only managed to have a moderate influence.
7. Were there any famous Illuminati members?
By 1782, the Illuminati had grown to around 600 members, including German nobles such as Baron Adolph von Knigge, who, as a former Freemason, helped shape the organization and expansion of the group.
Initially, Weishaupt’s students were the only members, but doctors, lawyers, and intellectuals soon joined.
In 1784 there were between 2,000 and 3,000 Illuminati members. Some sources say that renowned writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also joined, but this is disputed.
8. Why did the Illuminati disappear?
In 1784, Karl Theodor, Duke of Bavaria, prohibited the creation of any type of society not previously authorized by law and the following year passed a second edict, expressly prohibiting the Illuminati.
During the arrest of alleged members of the Illuminati, compromising documents were found (defending ideas such as atheism and suicide) in your possession, as well as instructions for carrying out abortions.
This cemented the belief that the group was a threat to both the State and the Church.
After that, the Order of the Illuminati appears to have disappeared, although some believe it continued to live.
9. What happened to Adam Weishaupt?
Adam Weishaupt was eventually stripped of his post at the University of Ingolstadt.
After being exiled from Bavaria, he spent the rest of his life in Gotha, Thuringia, and died in 1830.
10. Why did the myth of the Illuminati endure?
From the moment they dissolved, conspiracy theories about the Illuminati began to take hold.
In 1797, the French publicist and Jesuit priest Abbé Augustin Barruel suggested that secret societies such as the Order of the Illuminati had spearheaded the French Revolution.
The first US president, George Washington, wrote a letter the following year saying that he believed the Illuminati threat had been averted, adding further fuel to the idea that the order still existed.
Later books and sermons appeared condemning the group, and the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was falsely accused of being a member.
11. Why do people still believe in the Illuminati today?
The idea of a world-dominating Illuminati has never quite disappeared and still creeps into popular culture.
In 1963, a text called “Principia Discordia” was published, promoting an alternative belief system known as ‘Discordianism’. Calling for anarchism and civil disobedience perpetrating deceptions, his followers included the writer Robert Anton Wilson.
Some Followers of Discordianism they sent fake letters to magazines claiming that events like the assassination of US President John F Kennedy had been the work of the Illuminati.
Wilson later published a book with Robert Shea, “The Illuminatus! Trilogy“which became a cult hit and inspired a new genre of conspiracy fiction, including Dan Brown’s novel (and subsequent film)” Angels & Demons. ”
The Illuminati were also connected to Satanism and other ideals who were a long way from those associated with the original Bavarian group 18th century.
12. What is the New World Order and how does it connect with the Illuminati?
Those who believe in the theory of a New World Order believe that an elite group of people is trying to rule the world.
In addition to the presidents of the United States, several pop stars have been accused of being members, including Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Both have denied the claims.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.