The Illuminati was a secret revolutionary society founded in Bavaria in the 18th century, which sought to destroy monarchies, the Church, and the ownership of private property – along with creating a social utopia where everybody was equal and free love was a human birthright. But is the Illuminati still active today – sparking wars, civil disorder and revolutions, all with the aim of establishing a one-world government?
On May 1st, 1776, university professor, Adam Weishaupt (1748-1830), founded the Order of Perfectionibilists, which later became the Illuminati or “enlightened ones”. From Bavaria, Weishaupt’s family were of Jewish ancestry, but the young Adam was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith.
After his father died, when Adam was seven, he was fostered by a German aristocrat. Although educated by priests, he mostly taught himself using his foster father’s extensive library.
Among other subjects, the young Weishaupt studied the ancient Greek Eleusian Mysteries, which revolved around the esoteric doctrines of Greek philosopher Pythagoras. Even at this young age, Weishaupt was contemplating the founding a secret society based on the teachings of pagan mystery schools.
As a young man, Adam Weishaupt became a lay professor in canon law at a Jesuit-run university. Unsurprisingly, due to his radical views, he came into conflict with the priests at the university.
By 1774, Weishaupt became involved with Freemasonry. But was unimpressed, feeling that the masons didn’t grasp the occult significance of their own teachings.
Around this time, his own secret society, the Order of Perfectibilists, became the Order of the Illuminati, also known as the Society of the Hidden Hand.
At first the Illuminati had only five members. All however were radical thinkers. And within a few years the society grew to 2,000 members, eventually spreading all over Bavaria and into the Austria-Hungarian Empire and across to France and Italy.
Although a revolutionary movement, the Order of the Illuminati’s members hailed from the middle and upper classes. All were intellectuals and more than a few were disillusioned members of the ruling classes. There were aristocrats, dukes, princes, and barons, as well as doctors, teachers, lawyers, judges, priests, and professors – plus members of the police and military.
This was somewhat strange considering Weishaupt’s order was so radical in scope. Its avowed aim was to create a pacifist utopia with no social inequality whatsoever. It was against European royal families (and monarchy in general) and the ownership of private property. The Illuminati was also at odds with the idea of national identity, along with religion of all kinds, particularly the power of the Roman Catholic Church. Rich landowners were another of the order’s targets, due to them keeping peasants in servitude and poverty.
The basic premise of the Order of the Illuminati was for people to live in social harmony in communities based on peace, free love, and spiritual wisdom – and for all all elements of society to be predicated on intellectual and scientific knowledge.
On becoming an initiate of the Illuminati, members vowed to despise and resist the Church (religion), the throne (monarchy) and to crush the God of the Christians, along with destroying all the “kings of the Earth.”
New recruits were called “minervals” after the pagan goddess of wisdom known as Minerva. The goddess’ symbol was a wreath of oak leaves surrounding an owl which sat on an open book.
NOTE: Some contend that the order continues to operate today and that the giant statue of an owl at Bohemian Grove, California – where the power brokers of the world (from leading male politicians to business magnates) meet once a year – is a representation of Minerva and the Illuminati. Of course, the “Bohemian Club”, as it is known, could be no more than a highly prestigious gentleman’s club, and the owl statue no more than a reminder that global affairs require a great deal of wisdom to manage.
Weishaupt believed that humanity needed to be redeemed and a “state of perfection” restored – one that supposedly existed before the Fall when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. This redemption would come by following the teachings of the pagan mystery schools.
Unlike the Freemasons, both men and women could join the Illuminati. Members could hold any belief or religion they wanted and sexual freedom was considered a human birthright.
Weishaupt was also a dab hand at marketing, setting up the Illuminati along the lines of a pyramid selling scheme. New members were expected to recruit others into the order, and were encouraged to join the Freemasons to network and presumably poach its members for the order.
As the Illuminati grew, Weishaupt set up agents throughout Europe to gain access to prominent politicians, priest and cardinals, along with nobility and royalty. These agents reported back to Weishaupt, quite possibly with information that could later be used to blackmail and control the powerful people of the time.
By now, Weishaupt apparently decided that his anarcho-libertarian, come socialistic, utopia couldn’t be achieved by peaceful means, and he allegedly began plotting to overthrow the monarchies and governments of Europe.
It didn’t take long before his revolutionary plans were exposed. The whole thing clearly rattled the ruling classes as they banned all secret societies, not just the Illuminati, which they considered to be a rogue branch of Freemasonry.
In 1785, Weishaupt was duly dismissed from his university post and sent to live out in the countryside with a state pension, which considering his stated aims was a lenient form of punishment.
Perhaps because of this leniency many commentators over the years have claimed that the “hidden hand” of the Illuminati was not only behind the French and American revolutions of the 18th century, but continued to be exerted after Weishaupt was exiled to the countryside, insisting that the order simply went underground. And because Weishaupt lived for another 43-years, apparently in obscurity, many speculate the the Illuminati not only survived but escaped any further prohibition.
It should be noted that such ideas are in the realm of conspiracy theory and are not accepted by reputable historians. Nevertheless such rumors continued to abound into the 20th century, with speculation that the Illuminati were behind the Bolshevik Revolution and the fall of the Romanovs in Russia in 1917, World Wars 1 and 2, and the rise of communism and fascism in Europe in the 1920s and 30s.
Such ideas never went away and continue into the 21st century. Conspiracy advocates believe that the Illuminati will back any political group, doctrine or social movement – left or right – to further the aims it set out in the 18th century. They contend that the order has been behind numerous events in geopolitics, sparking wars, civil disorder and revolutions, all with the aim of establishing a one-world government.
The hidden hand of the Illuminati is seen behind the contrasting ideologies of globalism, from neo-conservatism and multiculturalism to environmental movements and green politics. And it is even considered that the order was behind the 1960s hippy movement, “permissive society”, and the new age spiritual movement.
Other alleged fronts for the Illuminati involved so called “shadow government” groups, such as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission, founded by David Rockefeller in July 1973.
Whether any of this is the case or not is up to you to decide. But the truth is there is no tangible evidence for the continued existence of the Illuminati. It’s merely conspiracy theorists “connecting the dots” and making 2+2=5. And in these days of earning revenue from page views, pushing Illuminati plans for world domination makes conspiracy buffs money, plus having a reasonable sized following boosts their egos. And if there isn’t money in it, belief that the Illuminati still exists is down to obsession and perhaps an element of autism.
To sum up, the Illuminati certainly existed in the 18th century. But there isn’t one scrap of evidence to suggest it continued beyond that time.