The existence of the Order of the Illuminati has to be the most famous controversy in the world. While some completely deny its existence, others believe they are still active today, and that its members are influencing what happens everywhere on Earth. However, the truth might be somewhere in between. While the order was as real as our history, it seems it was only active in the past, in the 18th century. There are countless mysterious facts about the Illuminati, but the next list comprises the most relevant ones.
1. Eye of Providence
The Eye of Providence is one of the mysterious facts about the Illuminati, and definitely the most well known. It has been depicted in numerous ways, but the most notable one remains the top of the pyramid on the $1 bill from the United States. Thus, many link the Illuminati to the founding of the United States. The Eye’s purpose is to represent the fact that God is watching over all mankind. Its origins date back to ancient Egypt with the hieroglyphs, as one of them was the Eye of Horus. The Providence idea was linked to the eye in the Renaissance period, when it represented the Christian Trinity. In iconography, the symbol was used in 1797 by the Freemasons. The details of the rays of light and the triangle appeared in the Mason tradition, and the whole symbol is often spotted by believers in various circumstances.
The term of “Illuminati” appeared sometime at the end of the 15th century, when it was used by Spanish occultists. Back then, only powerful magicians and alchemists who were touched by the light could be called Illuminati. However, other records link the term to a set of certain beliefs named Gnostic dualism, which was not well-regarded by the church. Both origins point in the same direction: the Illumnati did not agree with the church’s beliefs and ways of thinking, and thus decided to create a new method of finding the truth while challenging the old order of things.
Some mysterious facts about the Illuminati can also be noticed in its origins. It seems the order was established by Adam Weishaupt in 1776 in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, a southern province in Germany. Weishaupt was a religious law professor. In just four years, the number of the members grew from five to sixty across five cities. Weishaupt’s purpose was to make a call for republicanism, but using much more interesting aspects, such as brotherhood and supernatural features. His intention was to eventually overthrow both the church and the state. Furthermore, he became a member of the Masons and thus adopted several of their orders and classes. Weishaupt’s order promised its members that they would achieve special abilities or powers by means of occult knowledge communication.
4. Adolf Francis
However, the Illuminati didn’t reach its peak until the Baron Von Knigge, Adolf Francis, got involved. An experienced occultist, Francis was ranked quite high in many secret societies which included the Masons. With his influence over the German and Bavarian noblemen, Weishaupt was able to combine the supernatural with his ambition for revolution. In 1784, the Order of the Illuminati had reached about 3,000 members, and was close to controlling the whole Masonic establishment.
Another of the mysterious facts about the Illuminati is the internal conflict. Ironically, the downfall of the order came because of a dispute between Weishaupt and Francis. It appears that Francis left the Illuminati in 1784, leaving Weishaupt to rule by himself. As a result, he lost not only its prestige, but also the faith of its members. This happened because even after reaching the highest level in order, they did not achieve the promised supernatural communication, and they started to realize they have been deceived.
6. Prohibition of Secret Societies
Thus, many members who were part of the highest level of society denounced the order. Maria Anna, the Dowager Duchess of Bavaria, soon found out as well, along with Carl Theodore, the Bavarian monarch. After being informed that the Illuminati wanted to overthrow the state and church and establish republicanism, Theodore outlawed all secret societies. In 1785, he issued another edict that condemned the Order of the Illuminati.
One of the most mysterious facts about the Illuminati were its rituals. Weishaupt created a combination of several elements from the Masonic tradition, as well as other secret and occult societies. The Rite of Strict Observance was of utmost importance, as it referred to the Masonry reform and the elimination of occult sciences. The members had to pass through seven degrees: apprentice, fellow, master, scots master, secular novice, knight and lay brother.