Mar 7, 2019 in Research


The Illuminati have always been in the center of discussions about the influence of secret societies on historical events. This has caused emergence of different myths and misconceptions. Therefore, it is difficult to determine which information is true and which information is a lie. The aim of this paper is to research the real influence of the Illuminati on their time period as well as the present. In addition, evidence of existence of the order today will be investigated. 

Influence of the Illuminati during Their Time Period

In fact, there were few groups that named themselves “Illuminati”, but the most powerful one was the Bavarian Illuminati. It was created in the 18th century and combined characteristics of “spiritual” and “political” formations. In particular, its members used ideas and occult techniques of Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry to reach definite political objectives so that the Bavarian Illuminati could affect events on the global level. Unlike most other secret societies of that time that tried to satisfy interests of rich people in occultism, the Bavarian Illuminati made efforts to change the world.  Most secret societies tried to hide their activity from others, especially from the state leadership due to their blasting and conspiratorial objectives. One of the rare exceptions was the Egyptian mystery schools that belonged to the Egyptian institution.

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Besides, it is difficult to evaluate the influence of the Illuminati due to different opinions about the date of foundation. Thus, some researchers believe that Adam Weishaupt was the only mastermind of the group and that his formation worked only for twenty years. However, most specialists state that the Bavarian Illuminati belong to a more ancient formation. For example, there is a theory that the group used practices of the Knight Templars of the Middle-Ages. Author of the pamphlet “Masonic Orders of Fraternity”, Manly P. Hall, described the order of the Illuminati as an “Invisible Empire” that has been secretly working on making social changes for centuries. Hall said that sometimes the Illuminati became noticeable in the society, but it was made through various organizations with different titles. He also stated that these organizations had a great influence on the society. For example, they helped to change the educational system in order to affect formation of the society in future (“The Order of the Illuminati: Its Origins, Its Methods and Its Influence on the World Events”). Apart from that, Hall wrote about a “silence” and insignificant amount of information about the activity of secret societies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the Bavarian Illuminati were active. Nevertheless, it is known about their influence on starting revolutions and weakening the Papal and monarchical impacts on the society. In addition, the Bavarian Illuminati are believed to have an impact on the banking system.

To understand whether the Bavarian Illuminati were a part of the “Invisible Empire” mentioned in Hill’s pamphlet and whether the order still works, it is also necessary to analyze the figure of Adam Weishaupt and his secret society. First ideas to create some secret society appeared in his head when he belonged to the Jesuits’ organization. This membership allowed him to learn subversive ways to get a power. Besides, there are also theories that he took part in the work of Jesuits to reduce their influence on the Bavarians. In general, Adam Weishaupt believed that it was better for the world to destroy all religions and governmental organizations and found secretive groups that would work on a global level and would consist of “initiates”.  In order to reach these targets, Weishaupt would have to apply Jesuits’ methods. Later, he learnt about occultism and Hermetism. Soon, Weishaupt realized effectiveness of these methods and Masonic organization in general for spreading his ideas; so, he became a Freemason, but this interest did not last long. Next step was creating his own secretive organization that would unite powerful people with the same ideas who were willing to share them. The main aim of his secretive group was clear and uncomplicated; particularly, they desired to achieve universal happiness through overthrowing rank, hierarchy, and rich people.  Members of the order believed that nations and kings would end their existence without violence and humans from all over the world would become one family. They also hoped that the planet would become a home for reasonable people.

Starting only with five members, the Bavarian Illuminati managed to expand and make powerful connections only within few years. This allowed the group to gain political leadership across the world. This became possible due to many powerful members such as rich manufactures, influential aristocrats, and politicians as well as powerful occultists. There is a theory that such great influence was reached due to a meeting of Adam Weishaupt and Cagliostro, the most influential occultist of the time. The aims and influence of the Bavarian Illuminati were distributed between three primary grades such as Novice, Mineral, and Illuminated Mineral. The initial grade was called “novice”. Its members were not told about political aims so that they could have a real power. On the second grade, individuals knew some information about the order’s objectives and met some of their supervisors. Moreover, they were allowed to have discussions with them. Only on the third grade, people could receive certain tasks to get prepared to do work outside the order and make real changes in the society. Most of the time, they tried to understand how the humankind functioned and how to control it. Later, the Illuminati and Freemasonry decided to make an alliance, which led to an increase of the Illuminati’s influence and attraction of more powerful members such as National Inspectors, Prefects, Provincials, and Deans of the Priests. However, official authorities soon realized the influence of the order and decided to protect themselves from the threat through adopting the edict that banned groups that worked without law authorization. Besides, the influence of the Bavarian Illuminati was reduced due to internal arguments between the order’s leader and powerful members. Moreover, some of the individuals even informed the authorities about the organization and testified against it. The Bavarian government clearly used this possibility to get rid of the Illuminati. In particular, the order was destroyed in the result of violent legislation and criminal cases. Furthermore, some experts believe that this was the end of the order.

However, there are also researchers that state that the Illuminatism had enough time to spread outside Bavaria and connect with Masonic lodges in other European countries. The only change is that they started to work underground and became invisible to the society. Nevertheless, supporters of the second theory say that the French Revolution is the most powerful fact that proves that the Illuminati continued their existence and still had influence on the society. In general, there are few signs of the Illuminati’s participation in the Revolution. First, the Declaration of Human Rights was based on Masonic and Illuminist values. Therefore, its official adaptation demonstrated that the Illuminati managed to achieve their goals at least in France. Second, it was agreed to use a famous order’s saying “Liberté, Égalité et Fraternité” (translated as Freedom, Equity, and Brotherhood) as a country’s new motto.

Even if the Bavarian Illuminati were dead as an organization, their ideas still existed through Fremasons and Rosicrucians and the European continent got many new people who acquired power.  There were experts who told the masses about secret organizations that supported the following changes. For instance, a Freemason called Leopold Hoffman claimed that the Illuminati had a negative influence on his Brotherhood because it was subjugated by them and was forced to serve their aims. He also mentions the role of the Illuminati in the French Revolution, saying that it was started due to their long-term propaganda. Another Freemason who wrote about the active role of the Illuminati was Scottish scientist John Robinson. He informed not only about the influence of the secret group not only in his country, but also in the entire Europe, in particular, the scientist accused Illuminati of the conspiracy against all governments and religions. The church also saw the Illuminati’s secret activity. For example, one French Jesuit priest published a book where he described the connection between the French Revolution and the Bavarian Illuminati. Apart from that, he emphasized that the group’s slogan “Liberty and Equity” means not only fighting against monarchy, but also war against Christ and his altars. This priest also mentioned the threat of Illuminati to further existence of Freemasonry.

However, Illuminati had influence not only on Europe, but also on the United States of America. Thus, the majority of the country’s Founding Fathers were members of certain secret services. For example, they could be the Rosicrucians, Freemasons, or others. Besides, some of them travelled, so they knew about existence of Illuminati, their principles, and aims. During his visit to Paris, Benjamin Franklin became the Grand Master of the Masonic lodge Les Neufs Soeurs that was associated with the Grand Orient of France, which in its turn was believed to be a French subdivision of the Bavarian Illuminati. This organization provided active support for the American Revolution and had influence on the Revolution in France. Moreover, German minister Snyder told George Washington about the desire of Illuminati to overthrow all religions and governments, but the American leader stated that this threat was not relevant for his country. Nevertheless, Washington’s letter to Snyder demonstrates that he knew about the existence of the following secret group and its major values. If he even did not think that such institutions functioned on the American territory, he definitely knew that separate individuals spread Illuminati’s ideas in his country.

Influence of the Illuminati Today

There are different opinions about the form and influence of the Illuminati today. Thus, if to analyze modern secret societies from the esoteric side, such groups as the O.T.O. could be called successors of the Illuminati. Some researchers also say that there are secret orders above open grades of Freemasonry that make the Illuminati. However, their secrecy does not allow getting any reliable details.

As for a political part of the Illuminism, it is much clearer. A concentrated and limiting group has the right to make crucial decisions and rules. International institutions functioning above elected officials design various policies, especially the ones that deal with economic and social life of humans. Moreover, all these policies are used on a world level. In other words, these international organizations and committees became the center of power for the whole planet. The list of powerful organizations includes the Brookings Institution, the International Crisis Group, the World Economic Forum, the Trilateral Commission, Chatham House, the Bilderberg Group, and the Council on Foreign Relations. As for facts proving their connection with the Illuminati, it has been determined that the Bohemian Club has informal meetings of the world elite that have many odd rituals. The group’s symbol is an owl that resembles the one that was on a seal of one of the Bavarian Illuminate’s grades.

Another interesting detail is that all the mentioned clubs unite the most influential officials, businesspeople, and intellectuals with humans who have famous names, but are well known among the masses. The last ones belong to powerful families that received their significant influence in the society due to getting control over the most important areas of modern economies like oil industry, mass media, or banking sphere. They also have connections with procedures changing different aspects of countries. For example, they relate to emergence of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913, which has greatly changed the American banking system and led to its control by few elite corporations.

Finally, there is a theory that today’s Illuminati have been created from the successors of thirteen influential families connected with the Bavarian Illuminati. According to Fritz Springmeier, author of this idea, the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, the Russells, the Reynolds, the Van Duyns, the Astors, the Bundys, the Kennedys, the Freemans, the Li, the Onassis, the Collins, and the DuPonts are these bloodlines.

In conclusion, it is quite difficult to identify the absolute truth about the Illuminati because of their secrecy that has led to emergence of a significant number of disinformation and misconception. However, most facts prove this group had a definite influence on their time period. In particular, it united famous officials, manufactures, noble people, and rich people and these people clearly made their decisions considering Illuminati’s ideas and, as such, they influenced their countries. In addition, there are statements of different famous people who demonstrate the impact of the group on such well-known historical events as the French Revolution or even American Revolution. As for further times, it is also extremely difficult to determine the truth because the Bavarian Illuminati were forced to work underground due to the aggressive policy of the Bavarian government. Nevertheless, modern experts state that the Illuminati are involved in a political domain today. However, all these theories can be only attempts of certain experts to raise their own popularity and make profits on people’s interest to secret societies.


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