The Grand Masonic Lodge was created in 1717 when four small groups of lodges joined together. Membership levels were initially first and second degree, but in the 1750s this was expanded to create the third degree which caused a split in the group. When a person reaches the third degree, they are called a Master Mason.
Masons conduct their regular meetings in a ritualized style. This includes many references to architectural symbols such as the compass and square. They refer to God as "The Great Architect of the Universe". The three degrees of Masonry are:
1: Entered Apprentice, this makes you a basic member of the group.
2: Fellow Craft, this is an intermediate degree in which you are meant to develop further knowledge of Masonry.
3: Master Mason, this degree is necessary for participating in most masonic activities. Some rites (such as the Scottish rite) list up to 33 degrees of membership.
Masons use signs and handshakes to gain admission to their meetings, as well as to identify themselves to other people who may be Masons. The signs and handshakes often differ from one jurisdiction to another and are often changed or updated. This protects the group from people finding out how to gain admission under false pretenses. Masons also wear stylized clothing based upon the clothing worn by stone masons from the middle ages. The most well known of these is the apron.
The Rosicrucian order is generally believed to have been the idea of a group of German protestants in the 1600s when a series of three documents were published: Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis, Confessio Fraternitatis, and The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz anno 1459. The documents were so widely read and influential, that the historian Frances Yeats refers to the 17th century as the Rosicrucian Enlightenment.
The first document tells the story of a mysterious alchemist (Christian Rosenkreuz) who travelled to various parts of the world gathering secret knowledge. The second document tells of a secret brotherhood of alchemists who were preparing to change the political and intellectual face of Europe. The third document describes the invitation of Christian Rosenkreuz to attend and assist at the “Chemical” wedding of a King and Queen in a castle of Miracles. Current members of the Rosicrucian Order claim that its origins are far more ancient than these documents.
The authors of the documents seemed to strongly favor Lutheranism and include condemnations of the Catholic Church. Rosicrucianism probably had an influence on Masonry and, in fact, the 18th degree of Scottish Rite Masonry is called the Knight of the Rose Croix (red cross). There are a large number of Rosicrucian groups today - each claiming to be closely tied to the original. Of the two main divisions, one is a mix of Christianity with Rosicrucian principles, and the other is semi-Masonic. The Masonic type tend to also have degrees of membership.
The Order of Skull and Bones, a Yale University society, was originally known as the Brotherhood of Death. It is one of the oldest student secret societies in the United States. It was founded in 1832 and membership is open to an elite few. The society uses masonic inspired rituals to this day. Members meet every Thursday and Sunday of each week in a building they call the "Tomb". According to Judy Schiff, Chief Archivist at the Yale University Library, the names of the members were not kept secret until the 1970s, but the rituals always have been.
Both of the Bush presidents were members of the society while studying at Yale, and a number of other members have gone on to great fame and fortune. The society is surrounded by conspiracy theories; the most popular of which is probably the idea that the CIA was built on members from the group. The CIA released a statement in 2007 (coinciding with the popularity of the film The Good Shepherd) in which it denied that the group was an incubator for the CIA. You can read that document here.
The Vril Society or The Luminous Lodge combined the political ideals of the Order of the Illuminati with Hindu mysticism, Theosophy and the Cabbala. It was the first German nationalist groups to use the symbol of the swastika as an emblem linking Eastern and Western occultism. The Vril Society presented the idea of a subterranean matriarchal, socialist utopia ruled by superior beings who had mastered the mysterious energy called the Vril Force. This secret society was founded, literally, on Bulwer Lytton's novel The Coming Race (1871).
The book describes a race of men psychically far in advance of our own. They have acquired powers over themselves and over things that made them almost godlike. For the moment they are in hiding. They are said to live in caves in the center of the Earth. Soon they will emerge to reign over us."The Vril Society believed that whoever becomes master of the Vril will be the master of himself, of others around him and of the world.
The belief was that the world will change and the "Lords" will emerge from the center of the Earth. Unless we have made an alliance with them and become "Lords" ourselves, we shall find ourselves among the slaves, on the dung-heap that will nourish the roots of the New Cities that will arise.
The Vril Force or Vril Energy was said to be derived from the Black Sun, a big ball of "Prima Materia" which supposedly exists in the center of the Earth, giving light to the Vril-ya and putting out radiation in the form of Vril.
The Vril Society believed that Aryans were the actual biological ancestors of the Black Sun. This force was known to the ancients under many names, and it has been called Chi, Ojas, Vril, Astral Light, Odic Forces and Orgone.
In a discussion of the 28th degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry called Knight of the Sun or Prince Adept— Albert Pike said, "There is in nature one most potent force, by means whereof a single man, who could possess himself of it, and should know how to direct it, could revolutionize and change the face of the world."
This is the force that the Nazis and their inner occult circle were so desperately trying to unleash upon the world, for which the Vril Society had apparently groomed Hitler.
A manifestation of the "Great Work" promulgated by the Adepts of secret societies throughout the ages. The Vril Society latched on to a very old archetype already in the minds of alchemists and magicians, which was only re-interpreted, by Lytton, in light of that age of occult revival and scientific progress.
There is an excellent website dedicated to Illuminati and The Theosophical Society. Please Click here
There is also an excellent website dedicated to Vril society. Please Click here
For Top 10 Secret Societies Please Click here
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