The secret school of wisdom the authentic rituals and doctrines of the Illuminati

by Josef Wäges

Paper Book, 2015


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Hersham, Surrey Lewis Masonic 2015


"For more than two hundred years, the world has held a prejudiced view of the Illuminati. Much has been claimed for and against the Order - its name synonymous with secrecy, intrigue, and mystery in the modern context, despite a poverty of concrete evidence in the English language. Little has been said about the factual structure and development through its life cycle. The Secret School of Wisdom - The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati, is a ground-breaking text. It marks the first time that a comprehensive ritual book for the society has been re-assembled. Every degree, its instruction and associated texts, has been included and assembled in chronological order of progression. The reader will be guided along the same path as many of Germany's most enlightened men, as they did in the years immediately prior to the French Revolution. They will ascend from one level of knowledge to the next. Much of this material has never been published, let alone translated into English. Supplemental texts are included to gain further historical insight into the Order. The documents have been checked for accuracy with the original archival texts, and carefully translated into English. The Secret School of Wisdom - The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati is a pioneering text, a full working manual of the Order, and an astounding insight into the world's most intriguing secret society. Discover: * The first book in history to publish the complete rituals of the Illuminati * The doctrine of the Illuminati in their very own words * The regalia and jewels of the Order completely revealed for the first time * The development of the rituals and teachings of the Order * The secret goals of the Order to reform society - exposed in detail * The rituals that went on to become part of modern day Freemasonry The secret signs, grips and passwords of the Illuminati revealed." --Publisher description.… (more)

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Given by Br. Jeff Troccoli, 2018


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LibraryThing member paradoxosalpha
Collecting in English translation a full set of internal documents for the program and ceremonies of the original 18th-century German Illuminati order of Adam Weishaupt, The Secret School of Wisdom is an invaluable reference for responsible researchers of the history of secret societies. The book
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is arranged in a manner comparable to Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn, with a full set of ritual texts in degree order and associated instructional material throughout, almost as if it were a manual for operating the organization in its three ascending "classes": Minerval, Masonry, and Mysteries.

The ritual content is easily the least interesting feature of the book. The Minerval ceremonies are simple and unremarkable. I was a little surprised to learn that a local organization of Minervals was called a "church." The preliminary Masonic rituals have nothing to recommend them over any other versions of the Craft degrees as regards symbolism or execution, and the "Scottish" degrees are only of interest in terms of how they construct Masonic authority and connect with the larger structure of the Illuminati Order.

Far more worthwhile are the various instructions regarding recruitment and supervision within the Illuminati system, constitutional and organizing considerations, and the philosophical lectures of the Mysteries class. Even so, much of this material is pretty tame for latter-day readers, especially considering what great alarm and antagonism it was able to inspire when exposed among its contemporaries. Some of the Order's teachings do promote a critical attitude toward civil and religious institutions, and it is easy to imagine that it would have been a hotbed of republican (i.e. democratic, as opposed to monarchist) politics in the revolution-fostering years of the late 18th century.

These German Illuminati were a forebear order of sorts for Theodor Reuss' Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). He had previously been an organizer for an Illuminati revival, and retained in OTO certain degree titles from the Illuminati. Those who have studied Reuss' system will be able to see continuities in both structure and teachings, some of which even persisted through Aleister Crowley's reform of the order. In particular, the 1903 Reuss and Kellner paper “Von der Geheimnissen der okkulten Hochgraden unseres Ordens“ appears to have been alluding to the teachings of Weishaupt's advanced Docetist degree. More congenial to later conceptions of OTO is the passage in the Sage degree that includes this set of exclamations:

"Procreative instinct! Most sensual, but also noblest of all drives! Antiquity did not misjudge you, revering you in the phallus, the mysteries of Isis and the orgies of Bacchus! And yet our so-called enlightened times have found offense therein! -- Not only do you give us animal life, in you we also find the root of man's true spiritual life, his felicity, and the perfection of his nature!" (365)

This book is hefty, overflowing with materials that will sometimes seem redundant to the casual reader. Although it is well-organized with a robust table of contents, it does lack an index, which fault will limit its ease of use for researchers wishing to return to its often-curious details. I am satisfied to have given it a thorough read, and I recommend it to those with a serious interest in the historical development of esoteric societies.
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