Angels and Demons and The Lost Symbol did not even come close to the true history of the Illuminati. Below is an excerpt
cited that tells of its actual history and what George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had to say about the Secret Society:
THE ILLUMINATI !!
CANDID SHOT OF ME DURING DISCOVERY CHANNEL
INTERVIEW WHERE I DISCUSS THE ILLUMINATI AND THE LOST SYMBOL
S A T O R A R E P O T E
N E T O P E R A
Dan Brown resurrected the Illuminati for his first Robert Langdon novel, Angels & Demons,
like so many others have, as little more than a bogeyman. Using the Illuminati allowed Brown to engage his characters in Enlightenment-style
diatribes about the supremacy of science over religion. In the end (stop here if you haven’t read it), it turns out
that the mysterious head of the Illuminati, Janus, has perpetrated a hoax, and resurrected the name of the Order as a diversionary
tactic to hide his own individual treachery. It’s a favorite Brown tactic – use the bad guy to spout your most
controversial ideas, so you have a back-door escape hatch.
“The brotherhood of the Illuminati is also factual,”
says Dan Brown’s “Author’s Note” in Angels & Demons. Not the way he wrote it, it isn’t.
Brown’s fictional Illuminati was supposed to have been a group of scientists who rebelled secretly against Church dogma
in the 1500’s. According to his story, scientists who failed to knuckle under to Church teachings and demands were arrested,
tortured, branded on the chest with a super-special branding iron identifying them as members of the subversive group, and
their bodies tossed into the streets of Rome as a warning. According to Brown, astronomer Galileo Galilee was a member, and
they met secretly in an underground Church of the Illumination. Eventually, in the 1600s, the Illuminati became dedicated
to the toppling of the Church and Christianity itself. They became Satanists, and were referred to as Shaitan, the Islamic
word for Satan, by the Catholic Church. Breathlessly, Langdon describes them as the “world’s oldest and most powerful
Brown uses a clever device in his books, dressing up old, secret and often fictional societies
to get in his licks against the Church. The history of Catholic abuses, mistakes and injustices is long, exciting and sad
enough, without Brown exaggerating them to an absurd degree. And one thing is for certain: the one thing the Illuminati was
not was “satanic.”
The Age of Enlightenment, a period that lasted roughly throughout the hundred years
of the 1700’s in Europe and America, was an intellectual, scientific and philosophical movement all rolled into one.
It was a time when the scientific method of experimentation and reason replaced the more superstitious attitudes of the Middle
Ages, a time of revolution, scientific discovery and invention. The very term Enlightenment was chosen as a contrast to the
Dark Ages, and light and illumination became a metaphor for knowledge and republicanism (meaning governments free of kings,
popes and their “divine rights”). In fact, late medieval adepts at alchemy or the sciences were sometimes called
“the Illuminated Ones.”
The first group to be associated with the term Illuminati (“Illuminated
Ones”) were known in Spain as the Alumbrados. Appearing in the late 1400’s, not much is known about this sect
of Christian mystics. They apparently believed in trance-like meditation to the exclusion of all other thoughts in order to
commune with God, and they developed decidedly un-Catholic beliefs, such as the notion that female adepts copulating with
priests released souls from Purgatory. Not surprisingly, the Spanish Inquisition came crashing down on the Alumbrados like
a ton of evangelical bricks.
What really brought down the wrath of the Church on the Alumbrados was their belief that
Man could achieve enough perfection through meditation and prayer to become sinless. Where they got into hot water was the
belief that, if you achieved sinless perfection, you would no longer have to fast or even pray, and you wouldn’t have
to deny your physical body anything anymore. Your mind would become divine, so whatever you did with your body was of no consequence.
See if your wife buys that story.
A French group appeared in the early 1600’s known as the IlluminÚs, and they
seem to have been an offshoot of the Spanish Alumbrados. But these groups have no real connection to the Illuminati that is
at the center of so many conspiracy theories today, apart from
the same name.
The Bavarian Illuminati – Short Life, Long Legacy In 1776, just
before the Continental Congress declared American independence from England, on the other side of the world a new “secret
society” that was to become the Illuminati was born in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. First called The Perfectabilists, the group
was the brainchild of a young university professor named Adam Weishaupt.
The man who would found the Illuminati had
an unlikely background for the leader of such a radical organization. He was born in Ingolstadt in 1748. When his father died
seven years later, Adam was placed in the care of his grandfather, Baron Johann Adam Ickstatt, who was curator of the University
of Ingstadt. The University was a Catholic school, and the majority of the administration and teaching staff were Jesuit priests.
kept things in the family, and graduated from the University in 1768. He spent another four years there as a tutor, and in
1772 he was made a full professor of civil law. What makes all of this important in his development is that, a year later,
Pope Clement XIV had an explosive disagreement with the Jesuits, and completely dissolved the Order. As a result, the young
Weishaupt was appointed to the chair of canon (Catholic) law, the first non-Jesuit and layman to have the position in almost
What made his appointment ironic is that Weishaupt was unquestionably anti-Catholic, on the quiet. He spent
years studying the philosophies and beliefs of the free-thinking Enlightenment writers, and had no patience with superstition,
miracles or sacraments. Unfortunately, he was in the sticky situation of earning his livelihood at a Catholic university,
teaching canon law as proscribed by the Vatican!
Spartacus and the Areopagites On May 1st, 1776, he formed
his secret society, with just five original members. Weishaupt had a big goal in mind for such a small bunch. He believed
that a group dedicated to mutual aid, intellectualism and philosophical free thought could help change the world by influencing
the movers and shakers of society.
But a peaceful change was not really what Weishaupt had in mind. In order to change
society, kings and princes, as well as church leaders, all had to be, well, gotten rid of first. These were the foes of his
brand of enlightenment and republican thinking. And, of course, because he and his four young friends saw themselves as being
superior to most of the common herd, they would remain in control of this new, improved society. In addition, at first anyway,
they had no interest in recruiting anyone much over the age of 35 or so, because such “old” men were too creaky
and set in their ways. This would change over time, as they discovered they needed important, well-placed men who were already
in positions of some influence, to infiltrate the military and halls of government.
Because of his position at a Catholic
university, which would undoubtedly be less than ecstatic over one of its professors writing anti-Catholic essays, he and
his organizers communicated using code names. At least two of the other four members, known as the Areopagites, were students at the university, known by
their secret names Ajax and Tiberius. Writing as “Spartacus,” Weishaupt outlined a secret plan to infiltrate the
Freemasons’ lodges, and then overthrow governments of nations and churches, take over the world, and create a new world
order of tolerance and equality.
It was as simple as that.
The name of
the organization itself changed over time, from Perfectabilists, to the Bees, and finally the Illuminati. In code, it was represented by a point within a circle.
The symbol was meant to represent the Sun illuminating all bodies in its orbit.
A Masonic connection? In
1777, Weishaupt joined a Masonic lodge, Munich’s Lodge Theodore of Good Counsel(Lodge Theodore von der guten
Rath), and began looking for like-minded brethren to recruit into his circle of the Illuminati. Unlike the overwhelming majority
of so-called secret societies that sprung up all over Europe in the 1700’s, Weishaupt’s Illuminati was definitely
not preoccupied with occultism, mysticism, esotericism or hidden knowledge. At least, not the medieval, alchemical kind of
stuff that groups like the Rosicrucians were hunting. In fact, anything that seemed to have been influenced by Judaism, Kabbalah,
Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, was not allowed to seep into the Illuminati rituals.
was plenty of was secrecy. An overwhelming stress was placed on the memorization of ciphers – secret writing
codes. As the years progressed, Illuminati members were instructed in how to mix poisons, prepare for suicide in case of discovery,
and even how to construct “infernal machines” in which to hide their secret papers – explosive boxes that
would self-destruct if tampered with. The Illuminati created groups of members who were to infiltrate Masonic lodges and take
control of them. Called the Insinuators, they quickly invaded the membership of Munich’s Lodge Theodore of
Good Counsel, and totally controlled it by 1779.
A friend of Weishaupt’s,
Baron Adolf Franz Friederich Knigge, was a well-known diplomat and Freemason in Bavaria and assisted him with developing ceremonial
rituals for the new Illuminati, based on the Masonic model – sort of. He became a member of the Illuminati in 1780.
Eventually, Knigge crafted 12 degrees in all for the group. There were three degrees for new members: Novice, Minerval
and Illuminated Minerval. With its new structure finally in place, and Knigge’s help in recruiting prominent and influential
members, the Illuminati started to catch on. The German poet Johann Goethe became a member. In a relatively short period of
time, the group attracted at least 2,000 members in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Hungary,
Italy and France.
The Congress of Wilhelmsbad In 1782, a curious event occurred in the town
of Wilhelmsbad, billed as a Congress of Masonry. Freemasonry had developed very differently on the European continent than
it had in Britain and the Americas, and it had taken some strange and sinister turns, especially in the German states. Delegates
came to the conference from Austria, France, Italy, Holland and Russia.
Between the Illuminati’s growing influence
in Masonic lodges on the one side, and another German group called the Rite Of Strict Observance on the other, mainstream
Freemasons were alarmed about the direction these new groups were taking them. Freemasonry had been developed to enhance society
by taking good men and improving their character, making them better citizens. Masonic secrecy was simply a demonstration
of honor among its members. But these new groups were something different, with a militant obsession over secrecy, and almost
no interest in any of that character building malarkey. More than a few disgruntled Masons went home convinced they had to
do something to stop this new movement.
The Illuminati cracks up At the same time, the Illuminati was starting
to crack from within. Weishaupt had become bolder in his professional life, and his Catholic students at the University of
Ingoldstadt were being increasingly subjected to his anti-Catholic tirades. Knigge became convinced that Weishaupt was really
a closet Jesuit spy, and came to completely distrust him. He handed over all of his Illuminati material in 1784 and stalked
out of the order. Other defections soon followed for different reasons.
Several ex-members went to the Duchess of Bavaria,
Maria Anna, with Illuminati documents and a membership list. Confronted with clear evidence of a group that was actively gunning
for their regal positions, she took it to her husband, the Duke of Bavaria, Carl Theodore. As monarch of Bavaria, he quickly
enacted a law forbidding any and all groups, clubs or societies that hadn’t been authorized by the state, and a year
later clarified his position by naming the Illuminati specifically as the group he was really after. Weishaupt soldiered on,
creating a flurry of anti-Catholic and anti-monarchial pamphlets. The Duke at last issued arrest warrants against him and
the Areopagites in 1785.
Weishaupt fled Bavaria to Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg in central Germany, but left behind his incriminating
papers, outlining the Illuminati’s ambitious, if bizarre and downright silly, plans for world domination. They were
widely published throughout Europe to expose the Illuminati and to flush out other members, many of whom were in government,
military and university positions. A large number of them wound up in prison, and more were banished from Bavaria altogether.
The Bavarian Order of the Illuminati died officially in 1785, and its secrets and Evil Plans For World Domination™
were discovered, published and ridiculed, eventually worldwide. It was never popular, and the movement died out completely
by the end of the century. But the phantom of the Illuminati survived in the public’s memory. Because of its ties to
many European Freemasons of the period, the two groups became intertwined in the public imagination.
As for the Illuminati’s
founder, Weishaupt himself became so obscure that the date of his death is not known for certain. Some say 1811, and others
say 1830. He wrote several apologetic treatises about the order over the years. And he promised to never, ever, ever try to
take over the world again. Cross his heart.
Illuminati in America? The life and death of the Illuminati in
Europe has been well documented, and many of the organization’s papers were greatly publicized after Weishaupt fled
Bavaria. But the Illuminati’s time span coincided with the early days of the fledgling United States, during and immediately
after the American Revolution. Trustworthy records of the group’s activities in America – if indeed there were
any – are difficult to come by.
GeorgeWashington was sent a copy of John Robison’s book, Proofs Of
A Conspiracy, warning him of the spread of Illuminism, and
the possible infiltration of Freemason lodges (of which Washington
was a member). He wrote, “I believe notwithstanding, that none of the Lodges in this Country are contaminated with the
principles ascribed to the Society of the Illuminati.” In a follow-up letter he explained that he did not
that, the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary,
no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am. The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the
Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious
principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of seperation)."
It has been alleged by some researchers that
a Columbia Lodge of the Illuminati was started in New York City in 1785. Over the next four years, allegedly, as many as 14
more Illuminati lodges sprung up in the 13 states, including one in Virginia that supposedly counted Thomas Jefferson as a
member. But there is no proof whatsoever that such lodges ever existed.
The supposed Columbia Lodge of the Illuminati
has been claimed to have been the fraternal refuge of New York Governor Dewitt Clinton, newspaper editor and future politician
Horace Greeley, and New York politician Clinton Roosevelt. Roosevelt himself, it has been claimed over the years, used the
philosophy of the Illuminati in his 1841 book, Science Of Government Founded On Natural Law. He was a distant cousin
of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and there are some who claim that the book is a blueprint for both Karl Marx’s
1848 Communist Manifesto and FDR’s socialistic New Deal programs of the 1930’s. Those looking under the
rug for a conspiracy claim that the Illuminati, through Clinton
Roosevelt, created Communism along with FDR’s New Deal programs. And as icing on the cake, it was FDR (who was also
a Freemason, by the way) who put the All-Seeing Eye and the unfinished pyramid on the back of the U.S. one dollar bill. Which
are, as any good conspiracist knows, symbols of the Illuminati. Or the Masons. Or both. We forget which, since the All-Seeing
Eye in a triangle that appears in the U.S. Great Seal actually started out in the Rennaissance as a Christian symbol for God,
and appears in 16th century Catholic church paintings.
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Last month, while in Florence, Professor
Langdon uncovered an ancient parchment that historians now believe may be the work of Leonardo da Vinci. The encoded parchment—bearing the name La Profezia (The
Prophecy)—raised eyebrows when scholars discovered it was signed "LSPDV." (Leonardo's full
name was Leonardo Ser
More intriguing still is the legend
that the visionary Leonardo, in the days before his death, made a powerful prophecy about the future. Could this be Da Vinci's long lost prediction? Historians remain eager to learn what this
parchment says. The code has yet to reveal its mystery, but Robert Langdon is very close to finding the key to deciphering
the message. Leonardo's encoded message consists of 24 symbols. Robert Langdon is certain there exists a key, and he is
working very hard to find it.
The "Sacred Geometry" of the Masonic layout of streets in Washington, D.C., will most likely lead Brown's Professor Langdon to discover that Fort Marcy Park lies along the same
line as that made by the National Mall, which lies between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and that extending
that line almost all the way across the United States would pass directly through the Mormon Tabernacle Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Oddly, the Mormon Tabernacle is closed to the public throughout 2006.) Even
more eerie, a line drawn from the Washington Monument to Rock Creek Park, where the body of Chandra Levy, a attractive Jewish woman who was a federal Bureau of Prisons intern and the secret lover of a Congressman,
was found in 2002, would, if extended, pass through the Scottish Rite Freemasonic Center in D.C., as well as through Freemason's Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Above
Levy's name is handwritten the words "Shari Eli." Perhaps a character name? Chandra is Sanskrit for "light," that which Masons
claim to seek.
One of the strangest pages may be this list of statues and monuments in the Washington, D.C. area, with
perplexing phrases after them:
D.C. Masonic Temple — Irish ale
Jeff Memorial — A fenced in miser
Albert Pike statue — Fresh cad onto a monk
Persephone statue on Capitol — Hi, Israel
Geo. Washington Masonic Memorial — Print a rug, Ben
Washington Obelisk — Accords femmes
Notes: The last one may refer to the Washington Monument.
"Accords femmes" translates from French into "women's agreements."
George Washington and Albert Pike were both Freemasons,
as was Ben Franklin, who may be the "Ben" referenced in one of the phrases. "Ben" may also refer to the character Ben Gates
in the film National Treasure.
The message of the Georgia Guidestones, written
in English, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese, Spanish, and Swahili is:
Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
Unite humanity with a living new language.
Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
Balance personal rights with social duties.
Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.