by Terry Melanson

August 05, 2005

from ConspiracyArchive Website



A Metaprogrammer at the Door of Chapel Perilous


Adam WeishauptIn the literature that concerns the Illuminati relentless speculation abounds. No other secret society in recent history - with the exception of Freemasonry - has generated as much legend, hysteria, and disinformation. I first became aware of the the Illuminati about 14 years ago.


Shortly thereafter I read a book, written by Robert Anton Wilson, called Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati.


Wilson published it in 1977 but his opening remarks on the subject still ring true today:

Briefly, the background of the Bavarian Illuminati puzzle is this. On May 1, 1776, in Bavaria, Dr. Adam Weishaupt, a professor of Canon Law at Ingolstadt University and a former Jesuit, formed a secret society called the Order of the Illuminati within the existing Masonic lodges of Germany. Since Masonry is itself a secret society, the Illuminati was a secret society within a secret society, a mystery inside a mystery, so to say. In 1785 the Illuminati were suppressed by the Bavarian government for allegedly plotting to overthrow all the kings in Europe and the Pope to boot. This much is generally agreed upon by all historians. 1


Everything else is a matter of heated, and sometimes fetid, controversy.


It has been claimed that Dr. Weishaupt was an atheist, a Cabalistic magician, a rationalist, a mystic; a democrat, a socialist, an anarchist, a fascist; a Machiavellian amoralist, an alchemist, a totalitarian and an "enthusiastic philanthropist." (The last was the verdict of Thomas Jefferson, by the way.) The Illuminati have also been credited with managing the French and American revolutions behind the scenes, taking over the world, being the brains behind Communism, continuing underground up to the 1970s, secretly worshipping the Devil, and mopery with intent to gawk. Some claim that Weishaupt didn't even invent the Illuminati, but only revived it.


The Order of Illuminati has been traced back to the Knights Templar, to the Greek and Gnostic initiatory cults, to Egypt, even to Atlantis. The one safe generalization one can make is that Weishaupt's intent to maintain secrecy has worked; no two students of Illuminology have ever agreed totally about what the "inner secret" or purpose of the Order actually was (or is . . .).


There is endless room for spooky speculation, and for pedantic paranoia, once one really gets into the literature of the subject; and there has been a wave of sensational "ex-poses" of the Illuminati every generation since 1776. If you were to believe all this sensational literature, the damned Bavarian conspirators were responsible for everything wrong with the world, including the energy crises and the fact that you can't even get a plumber on weekends.

(pp. 3-4)

That short excerpt is perhaps the most honest and succinct introduction to the Illuminati as you'll ever come across. So it is more than a bit ironic that Wilson, throughout the rest of the text, proceeds to perpetuate and expand upon similar myths, and in the process manages to take it to a whole new level. 2 In the end, the Illuminati had mystified Wilson as much as anyone in the preceding centuries.


Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) is an enigma in his own right: an archetypal Trickster in the tradition of Aleister Crowley or Timothy Leary, both of whom he greatly admires. 3


The Cosmic Triger Trilogy is meant to awaken the reader to multiple mind-blowing streams of thought and completely shatter preconceived notions of perception, time and space - much as the writings of illuminists themselves. Herein lies the seed of speculation to the effect that he must surely be in on the conspiracy - some have gone so far as to believe he's the Grand Master (or inner head) of the Illuminati himself. Wilson has always toyed with the accusations, and in typical RAW fashion, he's never denied it outright.


Cosmic Trigger wasn't the first book Wilson dedicated to the theme, however. Two years earlier, in 1975, RAW and co-author Robert Shea popularized the modern wave of Illuminati conspiracies with the publication of the novel Illuminatus! Trilogy. A veritable cult classic, Illuminatus invigorated the underground market and spawned a whole new generation of conspiracy authors. One cannot read any of RAW's material without a healthy sense of humor, though, and Illuminatus is definitely no exception. Written between 1969 and 1971 it reads like a subversive anarchist manual, yet satirical and surreal at the same time. The cut-and-paste job of excerpts right into the flow of dialogue - from books and pamphlets on a wide range of conspiracy theories - probably boosted its appeal from the beginning.


Any researcher investigating the Illuminati today would be remiss not to mention RAW - especially in a book or document purporting to cover the subject in detail. With the exception of Myron Fagan, "Wild" Bill Cooper, 4 the John Birchers and Biblical endtimes literature, the formation of the current mythos surrounding the subject has a lot to do with the popularity of Wilson's books: have you ever seen the Illuminati and the star Sirius mentioned in the same paragraph?


Before plunging headlong into the history of the Bavarian Illuminati, it might be useful to have a look at Wilson's diagram - his interpretation (at the time) of the "occult conspiracy" as it has been transmitted through the ages (Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati, p.188):



New Promethean Possibilities

“European aristocrats transferred their lighted candles from Christian altars to Masonic lodges. The flame of occult alchemists, which had promised to turn dross into gold, reappeared at the center of new "circles" seeking to recreate a golden age: Bavarian Illuminists conspiring against the Jesuits, French Philadelphians against Napoleon, Italian charcoal burners against the Hapsburgs.”

The Bavarian Illuminati originated during an age replete with the growing belief in the acquisition of truth through observation and experience.


The Age of Enlightenment was in full swing and by the end of the Eighteenth Century an explosion of natural philosophy, science, the resurgence of hermeticism and occult experimentation, all competed directly with the traditional teachings of the Church and the Jesuit monopoly in the Universities and Colleges. 5 Numerous ideologies owe an intellectual and political heritage to this period: skepticism, rationalism, atheism, liberalism, humanism, reductionism, modernism, communism, nihilism and anarchism - among the most apparent.


As the Eighteenth Century came to a close Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755), Denis Diderot (1713-1784), Voltaire (1694-1778), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794), Comte de Mirabeau (1749- 1791), David Hume (1711-1776), Adam Smith (1723-1790), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) were famous in their own time.


The instrument of reason became a new faith, no less susceptible to its own breed of dogmatism. The philosophers of the Enlightenment reasoned that the physics of Newton might become applicable in all fields of endeavor: the fundamental cosmic laws of nature could transform society and man himself into a "noble savage." 6


The idea of a "glorious revolution" attained widespread acceptance, but during Weishaupt's time it was still a relatively new concept to link political change with social change. The "imminent revolution of the human mind," promulgated by the "radical Bavarian Illuminists," coincided with Mirabeau's doctrine of a coming secular upheaval and universal revolution. Mirabeau proclaimed Prussia to be the most likely place for the start of the revolution, with the "German Illuminists as its probable leaders."


History records, however, that it was Mirabeau himself who became one of the main catalysts to spark the "fire in the minds of men" during the French Revolution. 7


At about the same time Weishaupt was embarking on an academic career two important figures entered the world stage: Thomas Robert Malthus, 8 born in 1766, a major influence on Darwinism, population control and the eugenics movement; four years later we see the birth of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, in Stuttgart Germany, the inventor of what would become known as the "Hegelian Dialectic."

"For Hegelians," Antony C. Sutton reports, "the State is almighty and seen as 'the march of God on earth.' Indeed, a State religion. Progress in the Hegelian State is through contrived conflict: the clash of opposites makes for progress. If you can control the opposites, you dominate the nature of the outcome"

(Introduction to the 2002 edition of America's Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull & Bones).

Revolutionary radicals were impressed with the proof-of-concept displayed by the ruthless conspirators in France. Malthusian and Hegelian dogma became equally influential for anarchists, communists, the intelligentsia and the new breed of revolutionaries that surfaced in the 19th Century: Young Hegelians such as Bakunin, Proudhon and Marx took up the cause in the "spirit of the times" to "destroy in order to build."




The Bavarian Illuminati: The "Insinuating Brothers" of ☉

“Weishaupt . . . proposed as the end of Illuminism the abolition of property, social authority, nationality, and the return of the human race to the happy state in which it formed only a single family without artificial needs, without useless sciences, every father being priest and magistrate. Priest of we know not what religion, for in spite of their frequent invocations of the God of Nature, many indications lead us to conclude that Weishaupt had, like Diderot and d'Holbach, no other God than Nature herself. From his doctrine would naturally follow German ultra-Hegelianism and the system of anarchy recently developed in France, of which the physiognomy suggests a foreign origin.”

- Henry Martin,

Histoire de France depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu'en 1789, XVI. 533. 9


“Do you realize sufficiently what it means to rule - to rule in a secret society? Not only over the lesser or more important of the populace, but over the best of men, over men of all ranks, nations, and religions, to rule without external force, to unite them indissolubly, to breathe one spirit and soul into them, men distributed over all parts of the world? . . . And finally, do you know what secret societies are? What a place they occupy in the great kingdom of the world's events? Do you think they are unimportant, transitory appearances?”

- Adam Weishaupt,

Nachtrag von weitern Originalschriften, II, pp. 44, 51. 10

A quick perusal on the World Wide Web will show the disparity of opinions and irreconcilable differences about the history of the Illuminati - Bavarian or otherwise.


It's getting better though,

If you never buy a single book on the Illuminati, and just read the internet references cited above, you would have an excellent grasp - much greater than your average conspiracy theorist - on the facts (as we can safely say) concerning the rise and fall of the Bavarian Illuminati. I have taken it a bit further, however.


For the last six months I've engaged in a crash course on the Illuminati and related subjects:

  • absorbing and taking notes from Proofs of a Conspiracy ..., and other internet references;

  • buying Barruel's Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism,

  • Billington's Fire In the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith, Webster's Secret Societies & Subversive Movements,

  • Antelman's To Eliminate the Opiate Vol. 1,

  • Yates' The Rosicrucian Enlightenment,

  • Fulop-Miller's The Power and Secret of the Jesuits,

  • Carr's Pawns in the Game;

...and at the same time consulting other works, in my own personal library, when needed. 12




A Chronological Overview


In an effort to keep the notes to a minimum and still provide thorough citation, the following abbreviations will be applied:


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. 13 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 14 and Pythagorean Mysteries; no doubt learning of this early on having access to Ickstatt's considerable library.


Like most secret societies the basic structure of the Order was divided into classes and degrees, in the following manner:

  1. The Nursery

    1. Preparatory Literary Essay

    2. Novitiate (Novice)

    3. Minerval (Brethren of Minerva, Academy of Illuminism)

    4. Illuminatus Minor

  2. Symbolic Freemasonry

    1. Apprentice

    2. Fellow Craft

    3. Master

      1. Scots Major Illuminatus

      2. Scots Illuminatus Dirigens (Directory)

  3. Mysteries

    1. Lesser

      1. Presbyter, Priest, or Epopt

      2. Prince or Regent

    2. Greater

      1. Magus

      2. Rex or King

"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 15 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. 16 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] 17


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 18 introduced to the Illuminati Novice:


12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24


The Hieroglyphic cipher used in the higher Scotch Knight degrees is also reproduced by Barruel:

The Bavarian Illuminati were set up for "political intriguing rather than in speculation" [NW: 201], the Illuminati became "much more characteristic of a militia in action than an order with initiations." [JB: 95]


Weishaupt's contempt for certain esoteric pursuits - as a "thing-in-itself" - was widely known: "... in Weishaupt's system the phraseology of Judaism, the Cabalistic legends of Freemasonry, the mystical imaginings of the Martinistes, play at first no part at all.


For all forms of 'theosophy,' occultism, spiritualism, and magic Weishaupt expresses nothing but contempt, and the Rose-Croix masons are bracketed with the Jesuits by the Illuminati as enemies it is necessary to outwit at every turn. Consequently no degree of Rose-Croix finds a place in Weishaupt's system, as in all the other Masonic orders of the day which drew their influence from Eastern or Cabalistic 19 sources." [NW: 200]


Weishaupt seems to have shown the most disdain towards the occult pursuits of his own time; of the ancient mysteries he has nothing but high regard. The Insinuators, while in pursuit of potential recruits, "must remark, that there exists doctrines solely transmitted by secret traditions, because they are above the comprehension of common minds. In proof of his assertions he will cite the Gymnosophists in the Indies, the Priests of Isis in Egypt, and those of Eleusis and the Pythagorean School in Greece." [AB: 422]


Ascending the Illuminati hierarchy wasn't so much for the purpose of attaining wisdom as to be "remade into a totally loyal servant of a universal mission." [JB: 94] In a letter to fellow Illuminist, Xavier Zwack, dated Mar 10 1778, Weishaupt had said, "We cannot use people as they are, but begin by making them over." [JB: 94]



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, 20 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"


" 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 21 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 giving 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 Councellor to that Prince."

[AB: 400]

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 every 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:

  1. "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."

  2. The Patet Exitus, or the doctrine on Suicide, is expressed in the same terms as in the preceding deposition.

  3. "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.

  4. "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.

  5. "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.


"They made us give answers in writing to the following questions: How would it be possible to devise one single system of morals and one common Government for all Europe, and what means should be employed to effectuate it? Would the Christian Religion be a necessary requisite? Should revolt be employed to accomplish it? &c. &c.


"We were also asked, in which Brethren we should place the most confidence if there were any important plan to be undertaken; and whether we were willing to recognize the right of life and death as vested in the Order; and also the right of the sword, Jus Gladii.


"In consequence of our acquaintance with this doctrine of the Illuminees, with their conduct, their manners, and their incitements to treason, and being fully convinced of the dangers of the Sect, we the Aulic Counsellor Utzschneider and the Priest Dillis left the Order. The Professor Grünberger, the Priest Cosandey, Renner, and Zaupfer, did the same a week after, though the Illuminees sought to impose upon us shamefully, by assuring us that his Electoral Highness was a member of their Order.


We clearly saw that a Prince knowing his own interests, and wholly attending to the paternal care of his subjects, would never countenance a Sect, spreading through almost every province under the cloak of Free-masonry; because it sows division and discord between parents and their children, between Princes and their subjects, and among the most sincere friends; because on all important occasions it would install partiality on the seats of justice and in the councils, as it always prefers the welfare of the Order to that of the state, and the interests of its adepts to those of the prophane. Experience had convinced us, that they would soon succeed in perverting all the Bavarian youth.


The leading feature in the generality of their adepts were irreligion, depravity of morals, disobedience to their Prince and to their parents, and the neglect of all useful studies. We saw that the fatal consequence of Illuminism would be, to create a general distrust between the prince and his subjects, the father and his children, the minister and his secretaries, and between the different tribunals and councils.


We were not to be deterred by that threat so often repeated, That no Prince can save him that betrays us. We abandoned, one after the other, this Sect, which under different names, as we have been informed by several of our former Brethren, has already spread itself in Italy, and particularly at Venice, in Austria, in Holland, in Saxony, on the Rhine, particularly at Frankfort, and even as far as America.-The Illuminees meddle as much as possible in state affairs, and excite troubles wherever their Order can be benefited by them."


"We are not acquainted with the other Invisibles, who in all probability are chiefs of a higher degree.


"After we had retired from the Order, the Illuminees calumniated us on all sides in the most infamous manner. Their cabal made us fail in every request we presented; succeeding in rendering us hateful and odious to our superiors, they even carried their calumnies so far as to pretend that one of us had committed murder. After a year's persecution, an Illuminee came to represent to the Aulic Counsellor Utzschneider, that from experience he must have learned that he was every where persecuted by the Order, that unless he could contrive to regain its protection, he would never succeed in any of his demands, and that he could still regain admission." [AB: 684-88; emphasis in original]


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 reemphasized,

"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."




Illuminati Membership List: Alias, Occupation, Residence and Associates


Partial List of Known Illuminati: 1776 - 1787


Code Name (Alias)


Circle of Influence

Abel, Jacob Friedrich von (1751-1829)

Pythagoras Abderites

Professor of philosophy in Stuttgart; general superintendent in Urach and Reutlingen

Friedrich Schiller 23

Baader, Ferdinand M. (1747-1797)


Professor, Munich; Physician to the Electress Dowager


Baierhammer, Alois

Zoroaster, then Confucius

Monastery judge in Diessen


Banffy, Count


Governor of Transylvania


des Barres, Karl


Major in the French service


Bassus, Thomas Maria De (1742-1815)


Baron; Court adviser, Munich; printer

Weishaupt; Johann Simon Mayr; 24 Switzerland, Austria and Northern Italy

Bassus, Thomas Maria De (1742-1815)I was lucky enough to find a small write-up on Bassus. Here are some extracts taken from Massimo Lardi, Italianopera correspondent from Coira; Luca Bianchini and Anna Trombetta, Italianopera correspondents from Sondrio; and published in Grigionitaliani Notebooks, July 2000:

"The baron Thomas Maria Freiherr De Bassus was born in Poschiavo, Switzerland, in 1742. He studied jurisprudence at the University of Ingolstadt. Weishaupt (code name Spartacus), who founded the Order of the Bavarian Illuminati, on the 1 May 1776, was his schoolmate. De Bassus practiced for a year as an Adviser of court to Münich in Bavaria. In 1767 he became Patron [Podestà] of Poschiavo, a task already taken from his father Giovanni Maria. He married Cecilia Domenica Massella, from a family of notaries. At the premature death of his father, he inherited the palace of piazza del Borgo in Poschiavo, known today as the Albrici Hotel, in addition to his wealthy possessions in Valtellina and in Val di Poschiavo. After he had engaged the position of legal Assistant in Tirano (in the province of Sondrio, under the power of Grigioni), De Bassus became Podestà of Traona in 1781 and inherited in that period the goods of the German family branch, e. g. the feuds of Sandersdorf, Mendorf, Eggersberg, Harlanden and Dachenstein.

"Entering the Order of the Bavarian Illuminati with the code name of Hannibal, De Bassus had the assignment, like the pseudonym suggests, to spread Illuminism beyond the Alps, above all in the Three Leagues (Swiss) and in the north of Italy. De Bassus acquired a printing company that, with the help of the Illuminatus typographer Joseph Ambrosioni, became the center of the diffusion of Weishaupt's ideas from Poschiavo. The edition of De Bassus (1782) of the first Italian translation of the Werther of Goethe, written by Gaetano Grassi from Milan, was famous."

In 1787, police searches of the Baron's castle turned up incriminating evidence against himself and the Illuminati. He was a great recruiter for the Order. In letters to Weishaupt he boasted of his conquests at Bozen (in the south of Austria), initiating "the President, the Vice-President, the principal Counsellors of Government, and the Grand Master of the Posts." Later, in his travels to Italy, he sends back word of having initiated "his Excellency the Count W…" in Milan. [AB: 605]

Bleibtreu, Karl


Counsellor of the Chamber at Neuwied


Bleibtreu, Leopold


Counsellor of the Chamber at Neuwied 25


Bode, Johann Joachim Christoph (1730-1793)


Privy Counselor, Weimar; musician, composer, music teacher; translator, publisher, tutor

Nicholas Bonneville; Goethe; Gotthold Ephraim Lessing -> Moses Mendelssohn's wife

Bode, Johann Joachim Christoph (1730-1793)Rabbi Marvin S. Antelman declares that Bode was the tutor of Mendelssohn's wife [MA: 76]; very likely true since Bode was good friends with Mendelssohn's publishing partner, Lessing.

Goethe was another one of Bode's good friends, and it was probably through the latter that Goethe was "insinuated" into the Illuminati - he was certainly one of " Goethe's best Masonic advisers." Bode, according to Billington (p.96), was the "decisive channel of Illuminist influence" on Nicholas Bonneville, during his "first of two visits to Paris (June of 1787)" - which, by itself, is enough to support the theory for a real Illuminati influence on the French Revolution. The importance of Bonneville on the ideas and progression of the French Revolution, and on other groups and figures of the time, is fleshed out masterfully by Billington (Bonneville, Nicholas, 12, 25, 35-44, 56, 67, 73, 160, 259; Babeuf and, 83-86 3:234,240; German culture and, 60-62, 112; Illuminism and, 96-97, 99; journalism of, 35-38, 307, 458, 3:233,236; Pythagorean influence on, 100-3; Social Circle of, 33, 39, 42-44, 60, 72, 76, 84-85, 103, 484).

Bronner, Franz Xaver (1758-1850)


A former Benedictine monk who left the monastery to become a teacher, poet and librarian in Switzerland; 26 German-Swiss writer and professor


Brigido, Count Joseph (d. 1817)


Governor of Galicia from 1780 to 1794

Viennese Lodge, The Truthful Harmony; Archbishop of Ljubljana, Ivan Michael

Busche, Georg Baron von dem


Hanoverian Lieutenant-General


Cobenzl, Count Johann Ludwig von (1753-1809)


Treasurer at Eichstatt; Austrian Envoy to St. Petersburg; Court Chancellor, State Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister 27


Cobenzl, Johann Philipp Graf von (1741-1810)

Numa Pompilius Romanus

Austrian Vice Chancellor, successor to W. Kaunitz in the office of Court Chancellor and Vice Chancellor; Foreign Minister 28




High Bailiff at Weinberg in the Electorate of Hanover


Costanzo, Marquis Const. von


Counselor at Munich


Dalberg, Karl Theodor, Baron Von (1744-1817)

Baco v. Verulam (also Crescens 29 )

Grand Duke of Frankfort-on-the-Main; Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, Arch-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire, Archbishop of Regensburg

Mayer Amschel Rothschild; Goethe, Schiller, Wieland

Dalberg, Karl Theodor, Baron Von (1744-1817)Archbishop Dalberg was an emancipator of the Jews. In 1811 he enacted a special law "decreeing that all Jews living in Frankfort, together with their descendants, should enjoy civil rights and privileges equally with other citizens." 30 In exchange for these newfound liberties the Jews had to pay him 440,000 florins; 31 financed by Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 32 at a substantial profit, no doubt. A number of Masonic Jews at the time also petitioned von Karl for the "exclusive right to maintain lodges in the city." 33

According to Niall Ferguson, Mayer Amschel was soon acting as Dalberg's "court banker." During the emancipation of the Frankfort Jews, Rothschild had also advanced him 80,000 gulden "to finance his journey to Paris for the baptism of Napoleon's son." Afterwards, Rothschild assisted him in speculative purchases of land and Dalberg returned the favor by appointing Mayer Amschel to the electoral college of Hanau. Mayer Amschel's son, also named Amschel, continued the relationship after his father's death and advanced 250,000 gulden for Dalberg to purchase horses for the French army. 34

This Illuminated Prince had a spectacular career in the Roman Catholic church. According to the, Archbishop Dalberg was a Priest for twenty-nine years and a Bishop for twenty-eight. At the time of his initiation though he had only been "Coadjutor of Mentz." [AB: 699]

Interestingly, Lord Acton (John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton) inherited the title of baronet from his grandfather, whose cousin had married the only daughter of Karl's nephew Emmerich Joseph Dalberg (Emeric Joseph, duc de Dalberg). 35

Ditfurth, Franz W. v. (1738-1813)


Assessor to the Imperial Chamber of Wetzlar


Dorsch, Anton Josef (1758-1819)

Ptolemäus Lathurus

Professor of theology in Mainz; Professor of Moral Theology at the Episcopal Academy in Strassburg 36


Drexel, Anton (1753-1830)


Libraran at Munich


de Duffrene (Dufresne), Franz Paul


Commissary at Munich


Eckartshausen, Karl von (1752-1803)

Atilius Regulus

Aulic Advisor and Councilor to Karl Theodor, Elector and Duke of Bavaria; Censor of the Library at Munich; Keeper of the Archives of the Electoral House; prolific writer in Munich: Sciences, fine Art, Drama, Politics, Religion and History, Magic and Alchemy

The Court of Karl Theodor; reader's of his numerous literary works - posthumously, and most significantly, A. E. Waite - > Aleister Crowley -> Order of the Golden Dawn

Major details of Eckartshausen's life can be read at, and in the Introduction to Eckartshausen's The Cloud upon the Sanctuary.

Ecker (Egkher), Ludwig Baron von (1757-1826)


Judge at Amberg


Ernst II, Ludwig Herzog von (1745-1804)

Quintus Severus (also Timoleon)

Duke of Saxe-Gotha Altenburg

House of Wettin

Full title: Ernst II Ludwig Herzog von Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg; Weishaupt's protector in Gotha. Barruel (or his English translator, Robert Clifford) calls him "Ernest Lewis, Duke of Saxe Gotha." [AB: 400] 37

Falcke, Ernst Friedrich Hector (1751-1809)


Counselor and Burgomaster at Hanover


Feder, Johann Georg Heinrich (1740-1821)

Marcus Aurelius

Professor of philosophy at Göttingen


Ferdinand, Duke von Brunswick (1721-1792)


Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg; Military General; Grand Master of Strict Observance Freemasonry

Frederick the Great; House of Orange; his Masonic brethren

Ferdinand, Karl Wilhelm (1735-1806)"Illuminated name" gleaned from Barruel, p.699: "This adept is only mentioned under the initials P. F. V. B. (Prince Ferdinand von Brunswig), both when he sends for Knigge, and when he promises his protection to the adept who is to Illuminize England." So it's only a guess as to his alias, but it's a good one. That he was a member of the Order is never in dispute by all sources consulted.

Fronhofer, Ludwig (1746-1800)

Raimundus Lullus

Professor and counsellor in Munich


Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832)


Chief advisor to Karl August, Duke of Saxon-Weimar; poet, playwright, novelist, philosopher, painter, composer, scientist, economist, sociologist, politician

Too numerous to mention

Goethe is one of the most influential literary figures of all-time. He is often described as the "last Renaissance man." Goethe undertook the task to reintegrate the fragmented hermetic doctrines, culminating in his seminal work Faust. Michael Baigent writes, "… behind the encyclopedic scope and breadth of his activities lay essentially the same impetus that had motivated Agrippa and Paracelsus … Goethe was the true heir of the Hermetic magus of the Renaissance, working primarily in solitude and making himself the real subject and object of his alchemical experiment. Goethe not only depicted a Faust figure. As his contemporaries recognized, he was himself a Faust figure, whose fictional depiction of the magus was but an adjunct of his own personal Hermetic quest." 38

Goethe's Faust has put him in the company of Homer, Dante and Shakespeare. Academics praise this work and lecture on the "wide panorama of scenes from the vulgar to the sublime, with passages of wondrous poetry that can be sensed even through the veil of translation." 39 His scientific investigations impressed future generations as well: "Awed by Goethe's literary fame, dazzled by his reputation as the universal man, in decades after his death even noted scientists like Ernst Haeckel early praised him as the bold amateur precursor of Darwin." 40

Carl Jung was another intellectual/mystic in awe of Goethe. Faust for him, throughout his life, was to remain his most sacred book: "I regard my work on alchemy as a sign of my inner relationship to Goethe. Goethe's secret was that he was in the grip of that process of archetypal transformation which has gone on through the centuries. He regarded his Faust as an opus magnum or divinum. He called it his 'main business,' and his whole life was enacted within the framework of this drama. Thus, what was alive and active within him was a living substance, a super personal process, the great dream of the mundus archetypus (archetypal world)." 41 Baigent elaborates: "For Jung, Goethe exemplified the premise enunciated by Hermetic magi of the more distant past, from Paracelsus and Agrippa back to Zosimus and the practitioners of ancient Alexandria - that the alchemist must ultimately be the subject and object of his own experiment, an experiment by which he himself is transmuted." 42

Haeffelin, Kasimir Frhr. von (1737-1827)

Philo of Byblos

Vice-President of the Spiritual Council at Munich, and Bishop in Partibus


Herder, Johann Gottfried von (1744-1803)

Damasus pontifex

General Superintendent, Weimar; philosopher, poet, critic, theologian

Goethe; Hegel; Immanuel Kant; Schleiermacher -> Böckh; Johann Georg Hamann; Karl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar -> University of Jena

Hertel, Jakob Anton


Canon of Munich


Hoheneicher, Franz von Paula (1753-1844)


Counselor and archivist in Freising


Hornstein, Max Frhr. von


Baron, of Munich


Karl August (1757-1828)


Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

Karl Ludwig von Knebel; Goethe; Herder -> University of Jena; Frederick the Great -> "League of Princes"

Karl, Landgraf von Hessen-Kassel (1744-1836)


Prince of the Hesse Royal Family (Prince Karl of Hessen-Kassel); Office of Regent of Schleswig-Holstein; Grand Master of the "Asiatic Brethren"

Mayer Amschel Rothschild -> Nathan Mayer Rothschild -> British East India Company; Princess of Denmark, Mary Hanover (wife); King of Denmark, Frederik V Oldenburg (father in-law); Ephraim Joseph Hirschfeld; Comte de St. Germain; Hans Heinrich von Ecker und Eckhoffen (Magister Pianco); Isaak Daniel Itzig -> Moses Mendelssohn

Karl, Landgraf von Hessen-Kassel (1744-1836)The Asiatic Brethren is an important subject, and crucial to uncovering the occult roots of various secret societies that appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in the 18th Century. In fact, there is an entire site devoted to the subject, called the "Authentic Tradition," which has an unbelievable amount of research on the subject. The "Asiatics" link together Hermeticism, Gnosticism, Rosicrucianism, Templar Freemasonry, Jewish Cabalistic Frankist/Sabbatian occultism and the Illuminati. That our illuminated Prince was the Grand Master of the Asiatic Lodge 43 is significant: it definitively ties the two secret societies together.

St. Germain - Another intriguing connection is that of the famous occultist and alchemist, St. Germain: "[Germain] soon makes another interesting acquaintance - Prince Karl of Hesse-Kassel, Governor of Schleswig-Holstein and ardent Mason and occultist. St-Germain informs his new friend that he will be a permanent houseguest. Karl is reluctant, but finally agrees, and the two settle in Schleswig, where they study chemistry and distribute herbal remedies to the poor. Karl calls him 'the greatest philosopher who ever lived,' and nicknames him 'Papa'.

After five years, the Count catches pneumonia from his draughty lab. He dies on 27 February 1784. Karl is away at a Masonic conclave, but the death is witnessed by his doctor." 44

Maurice the Learned - It is revealing to note the long association of the Hessen-Kassel family to the occult. One particular ancestor is noteworthy. Karl is a direct descendant of "Maurice the Learned" of Hesse-Cassel (Landgraf Moritz von Hessen-Kassel, 1572-1632). Maurice procured the services of Rosicrucians and Alchemists such as Johannes Rhenanus and Michael Maier. The former served the Prince in many capacities, "working first in his chemical laboratory and towards the end of his life as the Prince's family doctor. He was also the author of a number of Paracelsian and iatrochemical texts (e.g. Urocriterium Chymiatricum, Marburg, 1609) and clearly a practising alchemist." 45 As for the latter, Maier was a very important figure and well-connected with many of the leading nobility of Europe and other famous occultists such as Robert Fludd. Maier produced an incredible amount of Rosicrucian/alchemical treatises and became the court physician to Maurice around 1614. 46 Francis Yates also underscores the fact that the town of Cassel is where the Rosicrucian Manifestos were first published (1614 and 1615). 47 Hardly a coincidence, Maurice had already founded the Collegium Mauritianum in 1599, which taught all sorts of advanced arcane studies - while at the same time he controlled "an extensive hermetic alchemical circle." 48 The sudden open appearance of the Rosicrucians and their manifestos - perplexing to most historians - isn't all that mysterious in an environment such as existed under his rule.

Much more research should be done on the House of Hesse as a whole; they appear to be the fulcrum of the most significant major revivals in western occult tradition.

Rothschild - Prince Karl and the House of Hesse represent the strongest connection yet between the Rothschild Dynasty and the Illuminati. The two families had such an intimate relationship that there's a strong possibility for the Rothschilds having at least contributed financially to the Bavarian Illuminati - if only in Karl's name.

Beginning with Karl's father Friedrich (Friedrich II Landgraf von Hessen-Kassel), the Hessen-Kassel Royal Family made a fortune from leasing Hessen-Kassel mercenaries to various monarchies: "Hessen-Kassel contributed 16.000-23.000 men to the Anglo-Prussian army"; "17,000 Hessians fought the rebels in the WAR OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE - Count Friedrich 'earned' 20 million Thalers." 49 "His banker, since 1783, was Frankfurt Jew MEYER AMSCHEL ROTHSCHILD; by clever management of the fund he and his sons made Friedrich's successor, WILHELM IX. (Karl's brother), one of the wealthiest monarchs of his time." (Ibid.; italic emphasis mine, caps in the original)

From the Jewish Encyclopedia: "Mayer [Amschel Rothschild] was a general agent and banker, and traded also in works of art and curios. In the latter connection he became an agent of William IX., Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, who on his father's death in 1785 had inherited the largest private fortune in Europe, derived mainly from the hire of troops to the British government for the putting down of the Revolution in the United States." (italic emphasis mine)

Comparison of both coat of arms.From the very beginning the Rothschild patriarch sought to secure favor with the Hesse Royal Family. In 1769, after a letter of flattery to Karl's brother Prince William, Mayer Amschel Rothschild receives permission to nail a gold-letter sign to his shop, which read: "M. A. Rothschild, by appointment court factor to his serene highness, Prince William of Hanau." (The Rothschilds Part 1) By 1816 after the Austrian minister of finance proposed the Rothschilds receive official nobility, the Hesse Coat of Arms became a key component: "The Rothschilds were asked to submit a coat of arms, which Solomon did: it consisted in quarterly: 1) or an eagle sable surcharged in dexter by a field gules, 2) gules a leopard passant proper, 3) a lion rampant, 4) azure, an arm bearing 5 arrows; in center a shield of gules. The supporters were a greyhound and a stork, the crest a coronet with a lion issuant. […] The eagle alluded to Austria, the lion to Hesse-Kassel." (Jewish Heraldry; bold emphasis mine)

The Hesse-Kassel mercenary blood-money, in turn, became the catalyst for the beginning of the Rothschild family fortune. The Jewish Encyclopedia informs us that Nathan Rothschild was on such good terms with (Illuminati) Prince Dalberg, that Napoleon had made him a member of the Electoral College of Darmstadt in 1810. Meanwhile, the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel (William IX) had already fled to Denmark after the battle of Jena in 1806. He sent his money "to Nathan in London, who in 1808 utilized it to purchase £800,000 worth of gold from the East India Company, knowing that it would be needed for Wellington's Peninsular campaign. He made no less than four profits on this: (1) on the sale of Wellington's paper, (2) on the sale of the gold to Wellington, (3) on its repurchase, and (4) on forwarding it to Portugal. This was the beginning of the great fortunes of the house, and its early transactions may be divided into three stages, in each of which Nathan was the guiding spirit: namely, (1) from 1808 to 1815, mainly the transmission of bullion from England to the Continent for the use of the British armies and for subventions to the allies; (2) from 1816 to 1818, 'bearing' operations on the stock exchange on the loans needed for the reconstruction of Europe after Napoleon's downfall; and (3) from 1818 to 1848, the undertaking of loans and of refunding operations, which were henceforth to be the chief enterprises of the house."

Kapfinger, Georg

Thales milesius

Secretary to Count Tattenbach


Kleucker, Johann Friedrich (1749-1827)

Terentius Varro

Philosopher and theologian, rector at Osnabrueck; author of occult subjects

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing; the Martinist Order; Franz Xaver von Baader

Knigge, Adolph Franz Friedrich Ludwig Freiherr von (1752-1796)


Writer; Freemason

Weishaupt, Goethe, Nicolai; German Masonic lodges; House of Hessen-Kassel

Knigge, Adolph Franz Friedrich Ludwig Freiherr von (1752-1796)Baron Knigge was instrumental to the spread of Illuminism. He was "a man of considerable distinction in his day." [VS] He studied law at Göttingen and was subsequently attached to the courts of Hesse-Cassel and Weimar. [VS] He penned works of "romance, popular philosophy, and dramatic poetry" [VS] and wrote reviews for Nicolai's Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek. 50

He became fascinated with secret societies and, at the earliest age possible, joined a lodge of Strict Observance. He was very interested in the subjects of theosophy, magic, alchemy, and the Rosicrucians. [VS] Strict Observance freemasonry had been started in Germany by Baron von Hund. The "Knights of Strict Observance" swore allegiance to "unknown superiors" and claimed direct descent from the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucians. 51

The Strict Observance lodges created an occult pedigree to attract recruits with the promise of joining an Order of a continuous, ancient descent. Secrets that began in antiquity were more appealing than something only recently devised. Weishaupt understood this from the beginning 52 and had created his own mythical genealogy for the Illuminati, and when Knigge joined the Order he immediately asked Weishaupt for proof. Weishaupt admitted it was only a ruse, but rather than being offended, Knigge - knowing that this was an important part of a secret society's appeal - immediately "proceeded to build one of his own, where the Illuminati were declared as having originally been founded by Noah, and revived after a period of decline by St John the Evangelist." [MI]

Kolborn, Joseph Hieronymus Karl Freiherr von (1744-1816)


Priest, later Bishop; personal secretary to Illuminati Baron Dalberg


Kolowrat-Krakowsky, Count Leopold von (1727-1809)


Vice-Chancellor for Austria and Bohemia


Kolowrat-Krakowsky, Count Leopold von (1727-1809)"Kolowrat-Krakowsky, Count Leopold, b. Dec. 31, 1727, d. Vienna, Nov. 2, 1809, high-ranking state-official and minister, served for 63 years under 4 monarchs. 1869 Vice-Chancellor for Austria and Bohemia, 1871 President of the Hofkammer (Court Treasury) and Chairman of the "Ministerial-, Banco-, Hof-Deputation", 1782 Highest Chancellor and head of the joint financial and political administration of the court, 1792 First Minister of a newly-established central authority, 1796-1808 first directing Minister of State." 53

The higher degrees of the Illuminati were reserved for atheistic teachings. 54 In a letter to Zwack, Weishaupt expresses his doubt about Kolowrat's conversion to the illuminist ideology, worrying that he still clings to a traditional view on religion: "Do put Brother Numenius in correspondence with me," he says, "I must try to cure him of his Theosophical ideas, and properly prepare him for our views." [AB: 505]

Koppe, Johann Benjamin (1750-1791)


Theology professor, Göttingen; writer; Superintendent at Göttingen and afterward at Hanover


Kressel, Baron


Vice chancellor of Bohemia


Kröber, Karl


Governor of the Prince of Stolberg's children at Neuwied


Lange, Franz Georg (b. 1747? 55)


Counsellor in Eidistatt


Lanz, Johann Jakob (1745? 56 -1785)


Secular priest in special service to the diocese (Ger. Weltpriester) in Erding


There's a lot of controversy surrounding this Illuminatus; and he is an initiate as Professor Dülmen confirms.

In 1785 Lanz was struck by lightning, and killed, at the side of Weishaupt in Regensburg. Here's Weishaupt's account of the incident: "When my late friend Lanz was struck by lightning at my side in the year 1785 in Regensburg, what an opportunity this could have provided me to play the penitent and remorseful hypocrite, and thus gain the confidence of my persecutors."

Barruel says "Among his adepts was one LANZ, an apostate priest. Weishaupt designed him as the person to carry his mysteries and conspiracies into Selesia. His mission was already fixed, and Weishaupt was giving him his last instructions, when a thunder-bolt from Heaven struck the apostate dead, and that by the side of Weishaupt. The Brethren, in their first fright, had not recourse to their ordinary means for diverting the papers of the deceased adept from the inspection of the magistrate. [footnote] See the Apology of the Illuminees, P. 62." [AB: 683]

Lanz could very well have been on a mission to carry out "conspiracies into Selsia;" afterall, that is what they did: carry out conspiracies, that's the whole purpose behind the Order!

Illuminati apologists, such as the Freemasons, take issue with the fact that Barruel had called Lanz "an apostate priest," when in fact he was only a "Weltpriester." Minor detail, because Lanz was in fact an illuminatus. The Masons would have you believe the following: "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." (emphasis mine)

"Minor detail" is right! As I said, all that matters is Lanz WAS Illuminati. That there were secret documents found on his person hasn't been substantiated by any historian. But he was struck by lightning, and subsequently died; he was Illuminati; and most likely, he was carrying out some nefarious plot on behalf of his master and brethren.

I don't know why the Grand Lodge of Yukon and BC continue to falsely state that Lanz was "a non-illuminati"; after all, it is at their site that Professor Dülmen's list is published. Exact entry: "x Lanz, Joh. Jakob, Weltpriester in Erding [Sokrates], 89, 99, 101, 268, 392, 400." The "x" denotes a "secure" membership and long association; a double x (xx) represents an "unsecured" membership - they're not sure about the candidate yet, but an illuminated alias was given nonetheless. The reason I have published the present document is to be as historically accurate as possible; the masons profess the same thing, and giving Dülmen's membership list, a correction on their part is warranted.

Lodron, Maximilian Graf von (1757-1823)

Numa Pompilius graecus

Counsellor at Munich


Mändl, Theodor


Court chamber advisor, Munich


Massenhausen, Anton von


Counsellor of the fiscal authority, Munich

Weishaupt and the whole of the Order ("Ajax" was an original member and the Illuminati's treasurer)

Mauvillon, Jakob (1743-1794)

Agesilaus (and also Arcesilas)

Professor in Kassel; French economic philosopher (Physiokrat)

Mirabeau; Baron von Knigge

Mauvillon, Jakob (1743-1794)According to Wikipedia, during a secret mission to the court of Prussia in July of 1786, Mirabeau had made the acquaintance of Mauvillon "whom he found possessed of a great number of facts and statistics with regard to Prussia; these he made use of in a great work on Prussia published in 1788 [De la monarchie prussienne sous Frédéric le Grand]."

Weishaupt's second-in-command, Baron von Knigge, had also struck up a friendship with Mauvillon - to the benefit of the Illuminati. In a letter to Weishaupt, he writes: "I have now found in Cassel the best man, on whom I cannot congratulate ourselves enough: he is Mauvillon, Grand Master of one of the Royal York Lodges. So with him we have the whole lodge in our hands. He has also got from there all their miserable degrees." [NW: 210]

Meggenhofen, Ferdinand Baron von (1760-1790)


Regiments auditor, Burghausen; Captain in the Bavarian service


Metternich, Franz Georg Karl von (1746-1818)


Imperial Ambassador at Coblenz

Prince Clemens Metternich (son) -> the Rothschilds and Henry Kissinger

Metternich was a diplomat, his son Count Clemens Metternich followed in his father's footsteps; very famous in his time and one of the principal negotiators of the Congress of Vienna, he also became involved with the Rothschilds. Interestingly, Henry Kissinger would write his PhD thesis in 1957 on the life of Clemens Metternich, titled A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace 1812-22. 57

Merz, Max Edler von


Envoy in Regensburg; later Secretary to the Ambassador of the Empire at Copenhagen


Michl, Anton (1753-1813)


Ecclesiastic at Freising


Mieg, Johann Friedrich (1700-1788)


Counsellor at Heidelberg


Montgelas, Maximilian Josef Garnerin, Count von (1759-1838)


Bavarian Electorate adviser

Bavarian Elector; Countess von Arco (wife)

Münter, Friedrich (1761-1830)

Spinoza 58

Theologian in Copenhagen, church historian and archaeologist; Danish Bishop


Nicolai, Christoph Friedrich (1733-1811)


Bookseller and publisher, Berlin; founder, along with Lessing and Mendelssohn, of the Bibliothek der schonen Wissenschaften (Library of Fine Philosophy) and the periodical, Briefe, die neueste Literatur betreffend; editor of the journal Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek

Lessing, Mendelssohn, Herder, Goethe, Schiller, Kant and Fichte; and, perhaps most notably for the present study, Adam Weishaupt himself

Nicolai, Christoph Friedrich (1733-1811)Nicolai was the focal point of the German/Prussian Aufklädrung (Enlightenment); and, along with his partners Lessing and Mendelssohn, he was largely responsible for it. Nicolai was undoubtedly Weishaupt's main source for procuring books and journals, and from that acquaintance was likely initiated into the Order himself. Subsequently, the Illuminati would publish many pamphlets, articles and revolutionary tracts through this most important channel.

To stress the importance of Nicolai to the dissemination of ideas during the German Enlightenment it is reported that his journal Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek, for instance, reviewed a staggering 80,000 books in forty years. It was "intended to review (and thereby to expose to as large a public as possible) the entire prose production of the time …" (The Eighteenth Century German "Trivialroman" As Constructed By Literary History And Criticism)

Pappenheim, Friedrich Lothar Ferdinand Graf von (1727-1792)


General and Governor of Ingolstadt


Pestalozzi, Johann Heinrich (1746-1827)


Swiss Educator, Interlaken

Johann Herbart -> John Dewey; Friedrich Froebel

Poelffy, Count


Chancellor of Hungary

Johann Herbart -> John Dewey; Friedrich Froebel

Riedl, Midiael von


Counsellor at Munich


Röntgen, Ludwig


Lutheran minister


Karl Kröber (Agis) makes a revealing report to Areopagites concerning Röntgen: "This week we shall receive a Lutheran minister, who by slight of hand has collected nine thousand florins for the community … As soon as peace is made he is to set of for London, with a multitude of letters of recommendation. The Pr._F_O.B, uncle of the reigning Duke, has promised to second him in that country for the Order. He must slyly Illuminize the English …" [AB: 653] Abbé Barruel says that his copy of the Original Writings Vol. I contained a note in the margins stating that the initials refer to Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick.

Ruedorfer, Franz Xaver (1752-1811)

Livius/Plinius minor

Secretary of the States at Munich

Bavarian Academy of Sciences

Ruef, Kaspar (1748-1805)


Professor at Freiburg


Sauer, Georg Conrad (1754-1797)


Chancellor at Ratisbon


Savioli-Corbelli Alexander Graf von (1742-1811)


Court treasurer Munich

Bavarian Academy of Sciences

Schmerber, Sigmund


Merchant at Frankfurt am Main


Schröckenstein, Friedrich Freiherr von


Domherr (canon or "cathedral gentleman") in Eidistatt


Seinsheim, Maximilian Joseph Graf von (1751-1803)


Vice-President and Treasurer at Munich

Bavarian Academy of Sciences

Socher, Joseph (1755-1834)

Hermes Trismegistus

Curate in Haching; Philosopher and theologian


Sonnenfels, Joseph von (1733-1817)

Fabius - Numa pompilius romanus

Lawyer and writer in Vienna; Law professor at Vienna University for political science; Adviser to the empress 59

Viennese justice system; Joseph II 60

"Sonnenfels was professor of police and cameral sciences in Vienna and together with Justi the major figure in Austrian eighteenth century cameralism. He held several high offices in the Austrian administration and also was involved in the reform of the penal system and in various philanthropic activities. His Grundsätze der Polizey, Handlung und Finanzwissenschaft (2 volumes 1765-67) has been used as an official textbook for decades. Sonnenfels represented 'an improved version of the mercantilist theory... in several respects superior to Justi'" 61

"A son of the Jewish teacher of Hebrew Berlin Lipmann, an outstanding Austrian lawyer and writer; he is an author of excellent textbook Grundsätze der Polizei a Abschaffung der Tortur. His brother František belonged to the greatest benefactors in the town." 62

Stadion, Friedrich Lothar Joseph baron von (1761-1811)


Envoy in Munich


Stadion, Johann Philipp von (1763-1824)


Ambassador at London; Count of Stadion-Warthausen


Stolberg-Rossla, Johann Martin, Count of (1728-1795)

Ludovicus Germanicus also Campanella

Maternal uncle to the Prince of Neuwied


Barruel says that along with Stolberg, the whole Court of Neuwied is under the control of the Illuminati: "and with him may be comprised the whole court, the favorites, secretaries, and council without exception." [AB: 699]

Count Johann Martin Stolberg-Rossla is an ancestor of the current Royal Houses of Hesse and Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Swieten, Baron Gottfried van (1733-1803)


Minister of public instruction; patron of music

Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven; Frederick the Great 63

Tropenegro, Ernst Leopold


Counsellor at Munich


Utzschneider, Joseph von (1763-1840)

Hellanicus Lesbius

Professor and Scientist at the original Munich Institute; entrepreneur, optical instrument maker

Thomas John Hussey, Rector of Hayes, Kent; William Henry Fox Talbot; Sir John Herschel; Carl Friedrich Gauss; King Maximilian I Joseph (cousin of Karl Theodor)

His correspondence with Hussey and Talbot is well-known, as was his business for making telescopes (Reichenbach, Utzschneider und Liebherr). Sir John Herschel, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Bavarian Minister Montgelas (fellow Illuminatus, code name "Musaeus") and King Maximilian I Joseph (cousin of Elector Karl Theodor, who published the edicts against the Order) were among the notables to visit his world famous optical factory.

Along with Cosandey, Renner, and Grünberger, Utzschneider played a major role in the Illuminati's downfall. [VS, JR, CE]

Weishaupt, Adam (1748-1830)


Founder; Professor at Ingolstadt

Revolutionaries for the next two-hundred years

Werner, Erasmus von


Counsellor at Munich


Will, Anton (1756-1827)


Professor, Ingolstadt

University of Strasbourg, Lyon and Charenton

Wundt, Karl Kasimir (1744-1784)


Professor, Heidelberg University; pastor, Wieblingen

Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt (grandson) -> Order of the Skull and Bones -> American Educational Establishment

This member has the distinction of being the grandfather to the experimental educational psychologist, William Wundt. Wundt's methods were grafted onto the American Educational Establishment by three Skull and Bones members: "Daniel Coit Gilman (First President of University of California and First President of Johns Hopkins University), Timothy Dwight (twelfth President of Yale University) and Andrew Dickson White (First President of Cornell University)." (Professor Antony Sutton, America's Secret Establishment; PDF, no pagination, section titled "Memorandum Number Ten: Keeping The Lid On The Pot") The "revolutionary trio" of Bonesmen set off for the University of Berlin to receive post-graduate degrees while the "Hegelian philosophical ferment" was still in full swing. (Ibid.) This would mark the beginning of the plot to turn the education system into a humanistic "experimental laboratory." (See World Government Fronts, Psycho-social Change Agents, for instance)

I credit Sutton for citing Dülmen's work: the source for the majority of the members used to compile the present membership outline. After finding out Wundt had a grandfather in the Illuminati I looked at the basis of Sutton's find: Richard van Dülmen's, Der Geheimbund der Illuminaten. Darstellung, Analyse, Dokumentation (Stuttgart, 1977, p. 269) To my utter astonishment a simple Google search turned up the relevant portions of the book; published at the site of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, along with the accompanying large list of members. According to Sutton, the list is from the "Illuminati Provincial Report from Utica (i.e., Heidelberg) dated September 1782." (America's Secret Establishment; PDF, no pagination; section titled "The Hegelian Influence On Hall")

Robison and Barruel wrote their paltry lists based upon the available information at the time. During the 1790s investigations were still continuing and more material has since seen the light of day - unfortunately most of it still remains in German. In 1918 Vernon L. Stauffer wrote that there were 96 principle works devoted to the Illuminati. I imagine the number of titles is much higher now. At any rate, we owe Professor Richard van Dülmen a debt of gratitude for making the list a part of the historical record. If anyone would like to have the Dülmen excerpts professionally translated into English, please let me know - I will be more than willing to pay for the service.

Zwack, Baron Franz Xavier von (1755-1843)

Cato (also Danaus & Phil.-Strozzi)

Lawyer, Judge; Aulic Counselor, and Counselor of the Regency

Weishaupt (Cato was his closest confidant); Prince von Salm; Count (Baron) Montgelas

Zwack, Simon


Lawyer, Aichad



An Intimate Look inside the Illuminati


By 1787 the Illuminati had enormous tentacles inside every branch of authority in Bavaria and greater Germany.


The sheer size and scope of the conspiracy alarmed the Duke to no end. They had also spread into France, Italy, Austria, Poland and England - even to America, by their own account. In the third year of operation Weishaupt boasts to Zwack that they have more than a thousand initiates. [AB: 596]


Knigge recruits an additional 500 [AB: 649] - mostly masons - very shortly after his initiation in 1780; and by the third edict against the Order the Illuminati were estimated to have between 2000 and 3000 members. [VS]


John Robison compiles an interesting statistic concerning the different lodges and locations: Munich, Hesse (many), Ingolstadt, Buchenwerter, Frankfort, Monpeliard, Eichstatt, Stuttgart (3), Hanover, Carlsruhe, Brunswick, Anspach, Calbe, Neuwied (2), Magdeburg, Mentz (2), Cassel, Poland (many), Osnabrueck, Turin, Weimar, England (8), Upper Saxony (several), Scotland (2), Austria (14), Warsaw (2), Westphalia (several), Deuxponts, Heidelberg, Cousel, Mannheim, Treves (2), Strasburg (5), Aix-la-Chappelle (2), Spire, Bartschied, Worms, Bahrenberg, Düsseldorf, Switzerland (many), Rome, Cologne, Naples, Hannibal, Bonn (4), Livonia (many), Ancona, Courland (many), Florence, Franken Dahl, France, Alsace (many), Holland (many), Vienna (4), Dresden (4), America (several). [JR]


The whole plan for governing the Order is reprinted in Barruel's Memoirs …, pp. 541-78. It entails Weishaupt's instructions to his Regents, Local Superiors, Provincials and National Directors. The international character is stressed in a letter to the National Superiors:

"In every nation there shall be a National Director associated and in direct communication with our Fathers, the first of whom holds the helm of the Order."

[AB: 565]

I have created a graphic based on the system described by Weishaupt:

At the helm of course was Weishaupt, the absolute dictator. In order to maintain complete secrecy he conceived a plan which would have been successful had the initiates carried it through without deviation.


In two letters, first to Zwack and then to Baader, he explains:

"For the present, direct nobody to me but Cortez, that I may have some leisure to digest my speculations, and determine each one's place; for every thing depends on that. My operations with you shall be directed by the following table:


"Immediately under me I have two adepts, into whom I infuse my whole spirit; each of these corresponds with two others, and so on. By this method, and in the simplest way possible, I can inflame and put in motion thousands of men at once. It is by such means that orders are to be transmitted and political operations carried on."

Then to Baader, a few days later, he writes:

"I have sent to Cato a table (schema) showing how one may methodically and without much trouble arrange a great multitude of men in the finest order possible. He will probably have shown it to you; if he has not, ask for it. Here is the figure (then follows the figure).


"The spirit of the first, of the most ardent, of the most profound adept daily and incessantly communicates itself to the two A, A; by the one to B, B; by the other to C, C: B B and C C communicate it to the eight following; these to the next sixteen, from thence to the thirty-two and so downwards. I have written a long explanation of it all to Cato. In a word, every man has his Aide-Major, by whose means he immediately acts on all the others. The whole force first issues from the center and then flows back again to it. Each one subjects, as it were, to his own person, two men whom he searches to the bottom, whom he observes, disposes, inflames, and drills, as it were, like recruits, that they may hereafter exercise and fire with the whole regiment. The same plan may be followed throughout all the degrees."

[AB: 575; emphasis in original]

With that explanation we see the seeds of many revolutionary groups and the way to operate within cells - never apprehending the "unknown superiors" directing them from above.


Despite the confessions of a few Illuminati, secrecy was rigidly imposed and obeyed. From the very beginning, the initiate is thrust into a culture of total surveillance - on himself, his family and associates. We'll begin from the Novice degree to see how this was accomplished.




Insinuators and Scrutators


The initiate is expected to recruit as many members as possible. A "Brother Insinuator" has as an ultimate goal the job of making new proselytes for the Order. Some are specifically giving this task, but as a general rule everyone is obliged and all the brethren are Insinuators with varying success. Moreover, the laws of the Order decree that each Insinuator is the superior over every new recruit he has brought to the cause. In this manner every Illuminatus "may form to himself a petty empire; and from his littleness, emerge to greatness and power." [AB: 415]


From the beginning he is instructed how to judge the character of those he might enlist. This process begins with himself, his immediate family and friends. Each Novice is giving a notebook with tables, which is to be kept and maintained as a journal; he is ordered to write down all his observations.


His undertaking is to assiduously pry,

"into every thing that surrounds him, he must vigilantly observe all persons with whom he becomes acquainted, or whom he meets in company, without exception of relations, friends, enemies, or entire strangers; he must endeavor to discover their strong and their weak side; their passions and prejudices; their intimacies, and above all, their actions, interests, and fortune; in a word, every thing relating to them: and the remarks of every day he must enter in his Diary."

[AB: 416]

A twofold advantage is gained from this information: first, by the Illuminati and its superiors; second, by the adept himself. Barruel eloquently describes the mutual benefit this scheme has for both parties:

"Twice every month he will make a general statement of his observations, and he will transmit it to his superiors. By these means the Order will be informed what men, in every town or village, are friendly or inimical to it. The means of gaining over the one or destroying the other will naturally occur. With respect to the Insinuator, he will learn how to judge of those who are proper persons to be received or rejected, and he will carefully insert his reasons for the admission or rejection of those persons in his monthly statements."

[Ibid. 416]

The Insinuator cannot pursue either Pagans or Jews, and above all he is to "shun the Ex-Jesuits like he would the plague." [AB, NW, VS]


The Illuminati had a particular rabid hatred towards the Jesuits, beginning with Weishaupt's own disdain. A whole covert unit was constructed within the Minerval Academies to publish and disseminate anti-Jesuit material. They even had their own printer in Munich to produce new editions, at their own expense, of propaganda opposing the Jesuits. [AB: 586] Members who are schoolmasters and professors are commissioned to guard against the Jesuits, and to obtain the expulsion of all those discovered. [Ibid. 608]


They had great success in this endeavour, and particularly in Ingolstadt:

"Through the intrigues of the Brethren the Jesuits have been dismissed from all the Professorships; we have entirely cleared the University of Ingolstadt of them."


"The Dowager Duchess has modeled her Institute for the Cadets entirely on the plan prepared by the Order. That house is under our inspection; all its Professors belong to our Order; five of its members have been well provided for, and all the pupils will be ours."

[Zwack, on the progress of Illuminism; AB: 611, emphasis in original]

The trial period for a Novice could last from one to three years, depending on the age of the initiate. Secrecy is instilled from the start as the Novice receives his new alias; his characteristic or adoptive name. He is then tasked to write a history of his new patron, to help him understand the qualities and actions that he is to emulate.


For Weishaupt, Spartacus is an apt alias; for Goethe, Abaris is particularly appropriate as well. 64 The Novice is also let in on the secret names applied to towns and regions.


He learns that,

"Bavaria, the country of their founder, is denominated Achaia; Swabia, Pannonia; Franconia, Austria, and Tyrol are denoted by Illyria, Egypt, and Peloponnesus; Munich is called Athens; Bamberg, Antioch; Inspruck, Samos; Vienna in Austria, Rome; Wurtzburg, Carthage; Frankfort on the Mein becomes Thebes; and Heidelberg, Utica. Ingolstadt, the natal soil of the Order, was not sufficiently denoted by Ephesus; this privileged town was to be decorated with a more mysterious name, and the profound adepts bestowed on it that of Eleusis."

[AB: 429; emphasis in original]

To the Illuminati the greatest of all study was the "knowledge of men." Weishaupt himself became very good at psychology and sociological manipulation. The Insinuator - by this time, his Brother Teacher - will examine everything the Novice has written in his journal; and exercises on ancient authors and the heroes of antiquity will help the Novice in constructing a proper outline of those around him. [AB: 431] All the while he is constantly pressed by his Superiors "to propose those whom he may think fit for the Order."


While studying the art of knowing himself and others, the Novice fills his journal with every detail; his age, occupation, country and place of residence; what he likes to study, the books in his library, secret writings he may possess; his revenue, his enemies, and reason thereof; outlines of his acquaintances, protectors and friends. [AB: 433]


In all, there are seventeen columns to fill, [Ibid. 597] and a second table is subjoined which is reserved for complete descriptions of his family, particularly his father, mother and siblings. 65


The discourse to the next degree says it all:

"for men may be turned to any thing by him who knows how to take advantage of their ruling passions."

[Ibid. 449]

And one might add, by taking advantage of his family's "ruling passions" as well.


Later on, in the Minor Illuminatus degree, Weishaupt admonishes:

"Assiduously observe every Brother entrusted to your care; watch him particularly on all occasions where he may be tempted not to be what he ought to be."

[AB: 448]

Weishaupt is seeking to create the perfect spy in each of them. Upon admission to the Major Illuminatus degree the candidate is told of the code "Nosce te ipsum" (know thyself), and when another Brother pronounces it he is supposed to reply "Nosce alios" (know others). [Ibid. 455]


In this degree, the spying is taken to a whole other level. The candidate is told to scrutinize his inferiors in the form of questions about his physiognomy; his countenance; his gait; his language; his education - and each topic has multiple questions to elicit precise descriptions. The "Scrutators," in order to answer the questions posed, gather the facts when the target least expects it.


Amazingly, they actually go so far as to follow their prey into his bedroom,

"where they will learn whether he is a hard sleeper, whether he dreams, and whether he talks when dreaming; whether he is easily or with difficulty awakened; and should he be suddenly, forcibly, or unexpectedly awakened from his sleep, what impression would it make on him?"

[Ibid. 455-56]

It is also in the Major Illuminatus degree that the candidate delivers up a sealed history of his life. This is then compared with the tables already in the possession of his superiors - the complete picture drawn up of his person. And if it coincides with the surveillance conducted he is then admitted into the deeper mysteries. [AB: 456] By this time the adept is well accustomed to the investigations, and no objection would be forthcoming.


The all-seeing eye of the Order had become habitual.




The "Brethren of Minerva"


I will end part one with a description of the class above that of Novice. The degree of the "Academy of Illuminism," or the "Minerval Schools," was a natural extension of Weishaupt's proclivity to initiate young pliable minds to his cause. It was his wish to establish a sort of "academy of literati" to study the ancients, the art of the scrutator, and to better determine those who had a penchant for the "Mysteries."


By these means, in Weishaupt's words, he can

"discern those who show a disposition for certain special Doctrines relative to Government or to Religion."

[AB: 440]

The statutes of the degree state that it "wishes to be considered only as a learned society or academy," and a Pythagorean ideal is most definitely the aim.


They are called the Brethren of Minerva. The academy is composed of ten, twelve and sometimes fifteen Minervals, and directed by a Major Illuminatus. The Illuminati's calendar is marked holy on the days in which the academy is to meet and they call their meeting place a Church.


The gathering is held twice a month, always on the full moon. The Church is preceded by an anti-chamber,

"with a strong door armed with bolts, which is to be shut during the time of the meeting; and the whole apartment is to be so disposed, that it shall be impossible for intruders either to see or hear anything that is going forward."

[AB: 441]

At the commencement of each meeting, the President reads chosen passages from the Bible, Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, or Confucius. Barruel notes the care taken to give all the works the same weight and authority.


After the lecture, each pupil is questioned on the,

"books which he has read since the last meeting; on the observations or discoveries he may have made; and on the labours or services toward the progress of the Order."

[AB: 441]

There are multiple academies for the Minervals, and in each one there is an appropriate library. The Illuminati supply the books with money from the brethren; from the list of books the candidate has said belong to him, which are extracted from his possession if found useful; and third, by any means necessary - theft and robbery being encouraged. The precious volumes are usually stolen from the courts of Princes, Nobles and Religious Orders.


Periodically lists are drawn up and the brethren are encouraged to procure them anyway they can:

"all these would be of much greater use if they were in our hands. What do those rascals do with all those books?"

[AB: 441]

Each year the Superiors pose questions to the pupils which they are to answer in the form of dissertations. These are meant for public consumption and the Illuminati have booksellers (like Nicolai) who put the works into circulation. [AB: 442-43]


An important symbol for the "Brethren of Minerva" is of course the owl. David Livingstone first proposed a theory to me in the following manner:

In Greece, the dying-god was known as Dionysus, a practice adopted by the Greeks from the worship of Mithras by the Babylonian Magi. Similarly, child sacrifice was also involved in his cult.

Dionysus is interchangeable with Apollo, and Apollo's counterpart is Athene or Minerva, whose symbol is the owl.

Thus the owl became an important Illuminati symbol, and was adapted to the name of one of their grades, the "Minervals".

Likewise, Hegel, who undoubtedly would have been a member, stated:

"When philosophy paints its gray on gray, then has a form of life grown old, and with gray on gray it cannot be rejuvenated, but only known; the Owl of Minerva first takes flight with twilight closing in." - "Preface," Philosophy of Right

And so, the name of the Journal of the Hegel Society of North America is the "Owl of Minerva".

Take note of the mention of Dionysus as being directly linked, through Apollo, to Minerva. The Eleusinian mysteries were revered by the Illuminati above all the Minerva collageancient practices - and Dionysus is associated with the rites performed at Eleusis.


The "Bird of Minerva" has been a symbol for the goddess of wisdom (Athena/Minerva) for thousands of years. Hegel used it, the Journal of the Hegel Society of America employs the symbol, and the Bohemian Club uses it as well.


In the Cremation of Care ceremony, ritualized at the Bohemian Grove, we hear the "Priest" intone:

"O thou, great symbol of all mortal wisdom, Owl of Bohemia, we do beseech thee, grant us thy counsel." 66

Turning to Hegel, according to Jacques d'Hondt in Hegel Secret, Hegel and Schelling "were avid readers of a Journal dedicated to the events in France from a more or less Girondist point of view, Minerva, the title of which found its way into Hegel's Philosophy of Right … The engraving on the first issue of Minerva shows the owl of Minerva, which according to d'Hondt is Masonic but which is also the ancient symbol of Athena, the Greek Goddess of wisdom among other things, taking flight from a basket at the top of a monumental column." 67


The correlation with the Illuminati seems obvious in hindsight, but at the time David suggested the connection, I did not know for sure whether the Minerval Degree was meant to allude to Minerva. It does indeed. Each member of the Academy is called a Minerval, but the whole of the school is called the "Brethren of Minerva."


Moreover, the discourse for initiation into the Major Illuminatus degree - the superiors of the Brethren of Minerva - makes the case concrete:

"Seek faithful co-operators, but seek them not in tumults and storms; they are hidden in darkness. Protected by the shades of night, solitary and silent, or reunited in small numbers, they, docile children, pursue the grand work under the direction of their Superiors. They call aloud to the children of the world, who pass by in the intoxication of pleasure-how few hearken to them! He alone who has the eye of the bird of Minerva, who has placed his labours under the protection of the star of night, is sure of finding them." [AB: 458; bold emphasis mine]

As if this wasn't enough, later in the book, Barruel makes this matter-of-fact statement:

"Weishaupt had adopted the bird of night for his emblem."

(p. 582)


End Notes