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Secret societies

 Ireland's Big Issue 17 May 2019

(Originally published: 03/2010) Throughout history there have been secret societies. Documents verifying their existence date as far back as the advent of recorded history. Even prior to this, anthropologists and archaeologists have discovered artefacts that point to the proliferation of concealed rituals within the context of secret societies operating in cultures all over the world.  - By Samantha Bailie

Secret Societies - a political agenda or innocent recreation?


Throughout history there have been secret societies.  Documents verifying their existence date as far back as the advent of recorded history.  Even prior to this, anthropologists and archaeologists have discovered artefacts that point to the proliferation of concealed rituals within the context of secret societies operating in cultures all over the world.


These societies require their members to conceal certain activities, such as rites of initiation or club ceremonies from the public and are usually required to conceal or deny their membership, and are often sworn to hold the society's secrets by an oath.  Some secret societies are assembled as a means of advancing specific social or political agenda.  Often, the cause of the group is viewed as subversive, radical or revolutionary, thus explaining the need for secrecy amongst members.  Some politically orientated secret societies have eventually devolved into terrorist or criminal organisations, such as the Mafia or the Ku Klux Klan.


There are too many secret societies to explore each one, but we will touch on a few of the most common ones and attempt to unravel why people join and what the possible benefits of membership are on an individual level.


The Freemasons


We begin with the Freemasons, a fraternal organisation with 5 million members worldwide who are well known for their gestures, handshakes and 'passwords' to gain admission to meetings and to identify legitimate visitors.  The signs and handshakes are often changed and updated, to protect the group from people attempting to gain admission under false pretences.


Masons conduct their meetings in a ritualised style and includes many references to architectural symbols such as the compass and square.  There are three degrees of Masonry: 'Entered Apprentice', basically bog standard entry to the group, second is 'Fellow Craft' which is intermediate degree whereby you are supposed to be gaining more knowledge of the Mason life and finally 'Master Mason', which is necessary if you wish to participate in most Masonic activities.


If secrecy, secret signs and handshakes float your boat - forget it unless you are male and have been recommended by up to three current Masons.  Many religions vehemently disagree with the Freemasons and the Catholic Church forbids it and excommunicates members of the church who join, mainly because many claim that the Freemasons constitute a powerful secret brotherhood of darkness that is planning to take over the world.


According to some scholars of the occult, the Masons' "Supreme Architect of the Universe" is none other than Lucifer, who cloaks himself in Masonic literature under such names as Zoraster, Shiva, Abaddon, and other pagan-god disguises.


It is very easy to be suspicious of the Masons due to the fact that a large percentage of the judiciary, justices of the peace and members of the police force are members and many then view this as Masons being above the law, not to mention the fact that recruitment of women in the broad field of law is viewed by some as unfair discrimination since women are not Masons.


Many writers have accused Masons in the world's police departments, and judges presiding over important trials of supporting each other and trampling on the judicial process.  The British author Stephen Knight, in his book 'The Brotherhood' was one of those writers.  He believed the interests of Freemasons meant justice was not done in many cases, meaning innocent people sometimes went to prison while the guilty were set free.  In Knight's view, secret Masonic signs are passed between judge and the accused in the dock, and judges and police officers conspire to ensure fellow Masons are not found guilty.  It must be stressed that this has by no means been proven and is the opinion of Stephen Knight.



Skull and Bones


Yale University's Skull and Bones allows only the elite membership (both Bush presidents were members whilst studying there). Like the Masonic, the Skull and Bones (originally known as the Brotherhood of Death) carry out many of the rituals associated with the Masons.  Members meet every Thursday and Sunday in a place they call 'The Tomb'.  It all sounds rather juvenile, but these are the people who are running the American government.


Like all secret societies the Skull and Bones have been subject to many conspiracy theories - the most popular being that the CIA was build on members from the group (CIA deny this claim).  If ever there was a reason to distrust secret societies, some would state that the biggest example is George W. Bush and his infamous 'Bushisms' making it all the way to Presidency.



The Bilderberg Meeting


The Bilderberg Meeting is probably a little different to the rest of the groups in that there is no official membership.  It's a group of highly influential people who meet every year in secrecy with strong military and government sponsored security.  These guys are no dozers; conferences are kept to five star hotels around the world.  Attendance is by invitation only, so if the idea of five star bliss grabbed you there for a second, forget it if you aren't in the inner circle.  Certain scholars who have studied the makeup of the Bilderbergers insist that the group is controlled by the 10-man Inner Circle of the Illuminati. According to their claims, this secret cabal has painstakingly prepared an agenda for the masses of humanity.



The Ordo Templis Orientis


Just as you thought things could get no weirder, how about the Ordo Templis Orientis?  Again, this group is modelled on the Masonic but under the leadership of the so-called 'Great Beast' Aleister Crowley (sometimes called 'The Wickedest Man in the World") who developed his own religion, if you will, called Thelema.


Thelema has one law: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, love is the law, love under the will."


If this rather strange society isn't weird enough, to obtain membership one must be willing to be put through various degrees of initiation and highly stylised rituals are carried out.  Now, this is when it starts to get scary - rituals include the use of virgin priestesses, children and priests.  Old Egyptian gods are invoked, as is the devil and to top it off, the priestess performs a naked ritual.  You don't see that in the town centre every day.



The Bavarian Illuminati


Then there's the 'Bavarian Illuminati'. The Illuminati do not require a belief in a supreme being which makes them the secret society of choice amongst atheists. Many believe that the Illuminati want to overthrow organized religion.  Some believe there are no Illuminati anymore; however rumours circulate that the Skull and Bones and the Illuminati are one and the same and are managing the main actions of the governments of the world with the goal of creating a One World Government based on humanist and atheist principles


Many people believe that the world is controlled by a secret 'elite' who organise and orchestrate most banking, oil control, government and agendas around the world. Evidence for the existence of this 'elite' has been available for several years to those who research it, but now it's becoming increasingly obvious to "the man in the street" that something is going on. These conspiracy theorists and the increasing number of people reading up in this area believe that a secret unit of people are controlling world leaders, world currency and world events.


If the hypothesis is true - that is, that the majority of our presidents and major world leaders have been put forward for their positions purely because they belong to an ancient secret society such as The Freemasons or the Skull and Bones - it is a scary thought. Especially if, according to conspiracy theorists they are all working to ensure a 'New World Order'; as according to anti-Masonic conspiracy theorists "high-ranking" Freemasons are involved in conspiracies to create an occult autonomous government. They claim that some of the founding fathers of the United States such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin had Masonic symbolism interwoven into American society, particularly in the Great Seal of the United States, the United States One Dollar Bill, the architecture of National Mall Landmarks and the streets and highways of Washington D.C.


Many believe these secret societies are continually plotting and conspiring against us.  Maybe some are, maybe some aren't; it's certainly more settling to believe that these groups congregate purely because they enjoy participating in a tradition, perhaps passed down by their fathers/grandfathers, free of sinister goals.  Possibly many are members of the societies purely because they delight in being viewed as 'holding secrets' or 'belonging' to something they deem important, however, although secret societies may seem harmless to many of us - the fact is, even if they are innocent of any major agendas, the point still remains - a secret society, surely even of the most innocent calibre, will always fall foul of cronyism since any close groups, just as families are biased towards their own members.


So, whether or not you believe that secret societies are where our world leaders and major government members immerge from, and whether or not you believe that these secret societies are all moving towards an end goal - New World Order, or one government - the fact of the matter is, whether or not this is true, one thing remains a constant - where there are secret groups, nepotism, cronyism and bias are a constant!

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