Updated: Feb 20
“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?”
--Johann Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Illuminati
Part 1 ~ Stacie: History and Structure of the Illuminati
In 1776, Johann Adam Weishaupt started the Illuminati in the Elector of Bavaria (modern day Germany), creating one of the most controversial secret societies to date. Weishaupt was a scholar who was inspired by the Age of Enlightenment, which was occurring at the time. Enlightenment was a time in history in which reason became more valued over tradition. In short, people stopped worrying about what had always been and instead focused their efforts on what would make the most sense for humanity. Weishaupt formed a small group that was, for the first two years, called “The Perfectibilists”. The spirit of the secret society was to achieve perfection, or get as close to perfection as possible. In his youth, Weishaupt attended a Jesuit (or Catholic) school, yet he rejected the church. From the beginning, Weishaupt and his followers rejected the notion of religion within their society.
Eventually, the group adapted into the Illuminati, again, harkening back to “enlightenment”. They emphasized knowledge, and they dismissed the current system of governing others, believing that there was a different means of governing that did not include domination. The Illuminati was aggressively anti-monarchy and anti-clerical and instead focused on self-rule. In order to reach the current influencers of the world, The Illuminati focused their efforts on wealthy and/or prominent individuals under the age of 30; the reasoning being that they were not yet set in their ways and more likely to accept the ideals of the organization.
Perhaps there was such an emphasis on not yet being set in one’s ways because of the initiation rituals. I mean, you have to be pretty open to things if blood is involved. Cloaked, hooded people would surround the prospective member and give them a chance to experience “rebirth”. The only way you could truly feel rebirth is by encountering death. Since the Illuminati cannot actually bring people back from the dead (at the time), they had to settle for sacrifices. Some say that the new members were expected to actually murder a human. However, it is also commonly known that they would sacrifice an animal and bathe in its blood. Regardless, this sounds like quite a commitment. I’m not even 30 yet, but I would have to say, I’m definitely against sacrificial initiations.
Illuminati Symbols & Original Ranks
Let’s see how to identify the Illuminati with the following 2 symbols:
Pyramid - This was lifted from the Freemasons. I didn’t explicitly mention this in the last episode because people, myself included, associate this more with the Illuminati. It represents strength and duration. As you may remember, the Freemasons started off as actual stonemasons, meaning they were like modern architects or construction workers. It’s more obvious to me now that the Freemasons would’ve come up with it first, but it is so synonymous with the Illuminati, I wanted to make sure it was included here.
Owl - The owl is a symbol of wisdom in many cultures. Also, the owl often accompanied Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. Side note, Minerva is the Roman name, and Athena is the Greek name. Both of them have little owl pals. The Illuminati were focused on wisdom and enlightenment, and they respected scholarship.
A new member would start off as a Novice. Then, they would work up to a Minerval and then an Illuminated Minerval. This is similar to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degrees of Freemasonry.
Connections to Freemasons
Weishaupt originally wanted to become a Freemason, but he soon discovered that the group did not fulfill his needs for a secret society. In fact, Weishaupt was a Freemason for a short time, but he scoured the lodge for susceptible members who would be willing to join him. Eventually, Weishaupt snagged the mother of all Masons. I have to make it clear that what you are about to hear is a last name, NOT a racial slur. Baron Adolph Knigge (spelled K-N-I-G-G-E). To avoid any confusion, I will just refer to him as “Baron” because I also don’t want to call anyone Adolph. Goodness.
Anyway, Baron was a wealthy and prominent member of the Freemasons. In fact, he was a Third Degree Freemason when Weishaupt met him. Unsatisfied with his success as a Freemason, Baron saw an opportunity to take over and reshape The Illuminati, seeing as though it was a younger secret society than the Freemasons. Being an overachiever, Baron began moving up the ranks of the Illuminati quickly--almost too quickly. Weishaupt attempted to delay his accomplishments in any way that he could, essentially ghosting this guy. Part of the reason was that Weishaupt promised people that if they reach Illuminated Minerval, they would achieve “supernatural communication”, and it would be way easier to prove when there are more and more people that didn’t have that gift.
Baron wasn’t dumb, so he quickly caught on to the scheme, and he struck a deal with Weishaupt to be allowed to make suggestions for the group. Weishaupt agreed, and the following changes were made to the organization:
Rearrangement of the hierarchy
New levels and sublevels would be created beneath the original 3, and they were renamed
Level 1, “The Nursery”, consisted of: the Noviciate, the Minerval, and Illuminatus minor
Level 2, “The Masonic Grades”, consisted of: Apprentice, Companion, and Master, and even further, the Scottish Novice and Scottish Knight.
Level 3, “The Mysteries”, consisted of: the Priest, Page, Mage, and King.
Change the stance on religion
Originally, the Illuminati had a hard stance against religion. This prevented some other prominent people from participating. The Illuminati then became accepting of all religions.
The changes were made, and the group grew in size. In 1784, the Illuminati grew to 3,000 members that spanned over Germany and then Hungary, Poland, and Italy. However, this presented challenges for a “secret” society; they became more prominent than they had originally intended. It was way more difficult to keep secrets and still pass along information effectively. This could be one of the issues that led to the downfall of the Illuminati.
Fall of the Illuminati
To backtrack a little, when I refer to the fall of the Illuminati, I mean the Bavarian Illuminati specifically. Here is what happened to Illuminati 1.0. The group got to be a bit too big to handle, and it’s harder to control your members when you’re not physically in their vicinity. Furthermore, people started to catch on about the lies the Illuminati promised by rising in ranks. Not wanting to be a part of the fallout, Baron jumped ship and disassociated with the organization. It became clear that the church and German leadership was threatened by the mere existence of the group, and soon after Baron left, they banned all secret societies--the Illuminati specifically.
Weishaupt was forced to disband the Illuminati and flee the country. The Bavarian Illuminati was officially dissolved in 1787. Remember, I am specifying here that it was the Bavarian Illuminati that no longer exists. The legacy, however, might still live on today.
Evidence They Are Still Here
Since the Illuminati took influence from the Freemasons and even snatched up some members, it is said that they ended up fleeing back to the Freemasons. The reason the Freemasons were still able to exist was because they were considered more of a fraternity than a secret society. A lot of the imagery overlaps. One of the most famous images that is the most common would be the Eye of Providence, a.k.a. The Masonic Eye and the unfinished pyramid on the back of the U.S. dollar bill.
One reason that people still think about the Illuminati is credited to The Illuminatis trilogy, written by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. In fact, Weishaupt is a character in the series! The books are titled: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and finally, The Leviathan. This is what enlightened people, if you will, to the Illuminati’s potential.
Part 2~ Rachel: How the Illuminati did the French Revolution
When the Illuminati was only thirteen years old, they accomplished something that many thirteen-year-olds have tried but have failed to do: they started a Revolution.
The French Revolution
Accepted version of the Revolution: 1789-1792
Most historians attribute the French Revolution to a perfect storm. Almost everyone agrees that the Enlightenment had something to do with it—I’ll get into the ideas behind the Enlightenment more later, but ultimately it was a shift away from religion and toward rational, empirical thought. Literacy rates were improving while at the same time a major cultural shift was happening. Cafes, salons—not the places where you get your nails done, but just rooms where pretentious people hung out, and yes, LODGES created a new “public sphere,” shifting the cultural center from Versailles back to Paris.
There was also a rapid population growth—the population increased by 8 million people in under 100 years, making France the most populace country in Europe. At the same time, a shift in climate negatively affected crop productions, leaving all these new bebes with hardly anything to eat.
Plus, the ruling class, the Monarchy and the nobility, were shitty people who created a shitty tax code. The brunt of the debts of the state were paid off by taxing the commoners. Not only debts of the state, but the noblemen’s fun money, too! These freeloading asshats who spent all their days shoving cheese into their bouches at Versailles had stipends that came from the crown, paid for by taxes!
Additionally, the ruling class was pretty blasé about the living conditions of the commoners. The phrase “Let them eat cake” was probably not really said by Marie Antoinette, but, according to this version of history, it does reflect the attitude of the monarchy and nobility.
According to the sheeple, all of this added up, until the peasant class basically snapped. On July 14, 1789, revolutionaries stormed the Bastille, which was a state prison and was a symbol of the failing monarchy, and also a place where the insurrectionists could stock up on weapons. This kicked off a war that ended in 1792, making King Louis XVI totally lose his head…but not until 1793.
Much of the accepted version of the French Revolution is part of what really happened. But the truth is that it wasn’t the spontaneous result of a perfect storm. It was the result of careful planning by one Adam Weishaupt, with the help of noted Enlightenment philosophers Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Baron de Montesquieu, and Denis Diderot (to name a few). By the way, “Voltaire” is an anagram! His real name was “Arovet Li” (Arovet the young)
One of the reasons this theory is 1000% credible, I swear, is that two prominent scholars published books a few years after the Revolution claiming and proving that the Illuminati were behind it. What’s striking about this is that neither author knew the other was writing it (one was French and one was British), and both of them followed a similar course of logic to arrive at this conclusion. The books are: Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe by John Robison, the Brit, and Memoires Illustrating the History of Jacobinism by Augustin Barruel, the French guy.
It’s important to note that secret societies were all the rage at this time, including (of course) the Freemasons, who had over 600 lodges by the end of the century. There were also tons of groups that weren’t secret societies, but clubs formed for a specific purpose. One such club is the Jacobins, and they’re who Barruel is talking about in his juicy expose—his was the one titled “Memoires Illustrating the History of Jacobinism.”
The truth of the Revolution hinges on three specific groups: the Jacobins (who non-believers place the entire blame on—of course, because it was manufactured that way; they were designed to take the blame for it), the Freemasons, and the Illuminati.
Like I said, a ton of people were reading the philosophies of the Enlightenment, and Barruel divides his conspiracy into three parts, which includes some of these philosophers: Conspiracy of impiety (boo God), Voltaire’s fault; Conspiracy of rebellion (boo Monarchy), Rousseau and Montesquieu’s fault; and Conspiracy of anarchy (boo society), the Illuminati’s fault. Briefly, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu argued that reason and rationality are important; people, not God, should choose who governs them—so they’re arguing for a republic instead of a hereditary monarchy; we should be tolerant, not enslave people, and keep the church and state separate. Quell horreur!
These absolutely preposterous ideas resonated particularly loudly with Weishaupf, who met with Voltaire and was like, “Hey man, I want to see if these ideas work. I think we should experiment with France.” And Voltaire was all like, “Bro. I got this. Here’s what you do:”
The first thing they had to do was to find a way for the Illuminati to spread the word during a time when free speech wasn’t exactly a thing. People were still getting their heads chopped off for incendiary ideas, so you had to be careful. What better way to spread the word than infiltrate the already established Freemason lodges that were scattered all around the country? It had to be in a sneaky way because the Freemasons had already decided not to talk about politics or religion in their meetings, so members of the Illuminati moseyed on over and were like, “Hey, I’ve always been interested in right angles and aprons!” and they slowly fed their dastardly ideals of autonomy and equality and tolerance to the unwitting brethren of the Freemasons. It can be noted, however, that in 1782, the Illuminati did fess up to their intentions at the Great Convention of Masonry at Wilhelmsbad, then they inducted every attending mason into the Illuminati. So for a while, some dudes were dual wielders of Secret Societies!
Everyone in France knew about the Freemasons, and they still had a reputation of just doing goofy things like talking about magic and rocks. They were the perfect cover for planning a Revolution, but it would also be useful to have their ideas represented out in the open. So they created the Jacobin Club.
The Jacobins were a radical left-wing organization that ultimately took over after the Revolution. They broke bad and formed their own dictatorship and began the Reign of Terror, which was the period after the Revolution where everyone kept getting their heads chopped off. The founders of the Jacobins were apparently Freemasons, but the club was NOT part of the Freemason fraternity. (Note how well the Freemasons maintain plausible deniability. They didn’t associate with the Jacobins, and they claimed ignorance of the Illuminati infiltration.)
By the time the Revolution started, Voltaire had died—being inducted into the Freemasons a mere month before he did, probably to say thanks for all the great event planning—and Weishaupf had been exiled. Voltaire still had influence because ideas never die, and Weishaupf still had influence because he had buddies. It’s these buddies that first tipped off both Robison and Barruel—the two men who uncovered the conspiracy--that the Revolution wasn’t just a spontaneous uprising.
The keystone of both Barruel and Robison’s argument is a meeting the Count of Mirabeau had in Paris. Mirabeau was an early leader of the Revolution, who was a talented and charismatic orator who earned the reputation of being a voice of the people. He was also a Freemason. (Incidentally, after he died it was revealed that he was on the payroll of both King Louis the XVI AND certain Austrian enemies, so he was, like, quadruple crossing.) In 1787, two years before the Revolution, Mirabeau met with Christopher Bode and Baron von Busche—pretty much Weishaupf’s main men. And the three didn’t get together to sample macarons—I’m sure they did, but that wasn’t their main reason. Bode and Busche tasked Mirabeau with disseminating the doctrines of the Illuminati to all 629 Freemason lodges.
Thus, Weishaupf’s French experiment had begun.
The truth is that the French commoners weren’t actually all that unhappy, and they weren’t much concerned about personal freedom or rational thought. Sure, the Enlightenment was happening all around them, but those philosophy books were on the shelves of people with wigs and stockings and over 200 varieties of cheese; they weren’t in the hands of the lower bourgeoise or the commoners, who were happy enough to eat a little bit and be Christian and not think about all the parties they were missing. So what if it was suggested that they eat cake? Cake is delicious!
Until some sneaky bastards came in and told them that they weren’t doing just fine. The Illuminati circulated pasquinades, pamphlets, and satires convincing these happy folks that they weren’t actually happy, basically distilling the ideas of the Enlightenment into ways that resonated with the commoners. Society members rode through towns, whispering to people about how bad guys were hiding in aristocrats’ castles, and how the King was talking shit about everybody and would probably start murdering them any day now.
Just as the peasantry were starting to doubt their own happiness, one of the key Revolution instigators, Louis Philippe II, the Duke of Orleans and also a Freemason, bought up every bit of grain he could. Then he sold it abroad, or hid it, or destroyed it, and probably ate a bunch, which depleted the already meager supply of food. (I can see the last phase of the plan—nobody likes anyone when they’re hangry. (I just made fun of famine, and I’m sorry.)
But as Una Birch writes in Secret Societies and the French Revolution, “Ideas are not suddenly converted into swords. Men must have hammered patiently and hard upon the anvil of the national soul to produce the keen-edged, swift-striking blade of revolution.” The Illuminati did sneakily hammer away at the commoners’ souls, and, by the time the people had had enough, rolled out their established plans of creating a citizen army. This plan was successfully carried out by one Savalette de Lange, former Captain of the Guard and Freemason.
The Evidence (Like, So Much)
Here’s the truth: the peasants simply never would have revolted if the Illuminati hadn’t decided to make them the guinea pigs of their grand experiment. And if you still have doubts, here are some bullet points of evidence:
Key Revolution instigators: Louis Philippe II (Duke of Orleans—the grain guy) and Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, who led the National Guard after the storming of the Bastille, were both Freemasons
An Italian emissary named “Cagliostro” (known as the Priest of Mystery) told the Inquisition following the Revolution that at his initiation into the Illuminati, they said they were gonna try their experimental Revolution on France first, before taking over the world. Well, at least Europe. But they probably had plans for the whole world.
In 1787, two years before the storming of the Bastille, this same emissary wrote a letter from London “predicting” that the French people would rise up, destroy the Bastille and the monarchy and do a bunch of other political stuff that miraculously came true. Way to go, Priest of Mystery! You’re just “predicting” the stuff you heard being planned in the lodges.
A document found in 1789 straight up said that an Illuminati lodge in Paris was largely responsible for the revolution (this was uncited, but I thought I’d share it anyway because what are we? Enlightenment philosophers who demand empirical evidence? No.)
French Revolutionaries wore Phrygian red caps (Illuminati headwear)
The eye in the triangle was found on many revolutionary documents
“Liberty, equality, fraternity” became a French motto, still on public documents and buildings today (it’s a Freemason motto)
Finally, for the most part the Illuminati were predictably secretive about their part in this. But according to Barruel, on August 12, 1792, they all started running down the street, I like to imagine wearing only their aprons, and screaming “Liberty, equality, and fraternity” (the secret words of the Freemasons) And “tee-hee we’ve been planning to overthrow the monarchy for, like, ever! Haha, eff the King, it’s Republic Time, baby!” They only said this out loud this one time in front of Barruel.
Afterward, the Freemasons were very careful to divide themselves back into their independent lodges, so if one of their secrets was discovered, the rest of them could stay insulated from each other and remain safe.
Back then, just like today, most people dismissed the hard work that both Barruel and Robison had done to shed light on this villainous plot. Adam Weishaupt was even tried in court, but they couldn’t make anything stick—obviously not, with all his connections—and the Jacobins remain the scapegoats for rousing all the rabble—and they did! But they did it under the direction of the Illuminati. Like today, the Illuminati worked flawlessly and in secret. First, they infiltrated the Freemasons. Then, they worked together to strong-arm, terrorize, and trick a completely content proletariat into a revolution that changed the world.