By Vincent Bridges (02/20/03)
We have progressed from the prophecies of Nostradamus to the astrology of a synthomorphic goddess’ birth, awakening and death, and yet we have taken only the first few halting steps into the labyrinth of synchronicity and strangeness surrounding the space shuttle disaster. Sensing greater wonders still to be found in the grisly deaths of seven of the planet’s brightest minds, let us arm ourselves with the irrational and plunge ahead toward the beast at the epicenter of the maze.
Mr. Prellwitz’ account of his encounter with the goddess Columbia concludes with a climactic confrontation between the goddess and President Weishaupt in which Weishaupt is freed from alien lizard-like beings who are controlling him. In this one metaphor, we glimpse the true genius of Prellwitz’ vision. In the realm of the collective unconscious, any symbolism with juice is fair game.
The introduction of Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Bavarian Illuminati, takes us around another corner of the maze, and strange as it may seem, we can now begin to sense a larger pattern. Suddenly, the bare facts of history, the esotericism of the founding fathers, the creation of a faux goddess identified with the new republic, the care lavished on the installation of the statue on the Capitol Dome, and the number synchronicities concerning the space shuttle Columbia’s last flight, loose their solidity and became vague wisps of mysterioso steam marking the passage of the illuminati elves as they arrange and re-arrange reality for their amusement, and our amazement.
And so, ever vigilant for the whisper of the elves and the sharp burnt metal tang of mystery on the breeze, let us go even deeper into the labyrinth.
Perhaps the most curious part of the creation of the goddess Columbia is the immediate and passionate association of the archetype with George Washington. Phyllis Wheatley wrote her poem while Washington was still a simple member of the Continental Congress from Virginia. Washington however was a Master Mason of the Alexandria 22 lodge, chartered as a Scottish Rite, Royal Arch Temple in the tradition of the French lodges founded by the Chevalier Ramsey. This branch can only be called “illuminationist,” that is expressing a connection to or sympathy with Rosicrucian or Illuminati philosophy. Its practices and initiations, spiritually, would be more along the lines of what today would be called ceremonial magick. Washington would have felt right at home in a Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn Temple circa 1900.
This Illuminationist connection brings us to the aforementioned Adam Weishaupt and the Bavarian Illuminati. Weishaupt, a professor of canon law at the University of Ingolstadt and a former Jesuit, had an illumination over the night of February 1st/2nd 1776. This flash of insight led to the founding, on the 1st of May 1776, of the Order of the Illuminati, a secret society within the secret society of Masonic Orders. By 1785, when they were banned by the government of Bavaria for plotting the overthrow of all the crowned heads of Europe, starting with the Hapsburgs, they had infiltrated Masonic groups in a dozen countries, including France, Britain and the fledgling United States of America. No one knows precisely what happened to either Weishaupt or the Illuminati after that.
This of course is a very good thing for the conspiracy theorists. More outright nonsense has been written about the Illuminati than any other such secret society. Which is a shame, because its real history is quite extraordinary enough. An unbiased look at the documents we do have from Weishaupt and his fellow travellers reveals something quite different from what most of the Illuminuts have been prattling about.
From Weishaupt’s early writings, we find an amazing awareness of the pagan mysteries, particularly those of Eleusius and the Kabiroi of Argos and Samothrace, as well as familiarity with the theories of Pythagoras. We even have a draft for a secret society based on those pagan mystery schools done by Weishaupt while a student at Ingoldstadt. After graduating and a brief stint in the College of Jesus, Weishaupt found his way in 1774 to a neo-Templar Masonic Lodge in Hanover. While not overly impressed by the quality of the vibe at the local lodge, its superiors soon passed Brother Adam on to the Head of the Order, one Johann Augustus Starck.
Starck was a key figure in the neo-Templar revival of the mid 18th century. His patrons included such royal figures as Gustav III of Sweden and Frederick the Great of Prussia. Under his influence, Frederick of Prussia founded several occult societies in the late 1760s. One of them, The Knights of Light, practiced magick and alchemy, and used the grade name Illuminati for an adept. Around the time Phyllis Wheatley addressed her poem to George Washington, Weishaupt met Starck and was initiated into his peculiar blend of neo-Templar illuminism.
Peculiar because Starck claimed to have met, and been initiated and instructed by, a group of Catharist Templars surviving in southern France. From them Starck learned that the original Templars inherited their occult wisdom from an secret society of Essenes in Jerusalem who were in fact identical with the Cathars of southern France. Starck’s Cathars however were a pagan goddess-worshiping cult, who hated the Roman Church because it stole the true identity of Christ, held by them to be St. John. It was this magickal blend into which Weishaupt was plunged by his initiation, and to his credit, he seems to have risen to the occasion.
His illumination on the night of 1st/2nd February 1776, the ancient pagan feast of Imbolc, is our first clue. To clinch it, Weishaupt founded his order, called originally the Order of the Perfectibilists as nod to his Catharist sources, on the 1st of May, Beltane in the pagan calendar. And to make the point even more obvious, the holiest day of all in the Illuminati order is The Feast of St. John on June 23rd/24th, mid-summer night’s eve in the northern latitudes and marking another pagan feast, that of the summer solstice.
Curiously enough, due to the calendar change in the mid 18th century that added 11 days, what in the Old Style was June 24th is now in the New Style July 4th. Since the Declaration of Independence was not signed or ratified or anything else but approved as a draft on July 4th, we might wonder at how it became Independence Day. The more likely choices include August 2nd, when the signings began, or July 2nd when Independence was actually voted upon, or even January 17th when the document was presented, completed and signed, for ratification by the Congress.
This has led some conspiracy theorists to call July 4th Illuminati Day, and some have even gone so far as to claim that Weishaupt immigrated to America and whacked Washington while he was working out back of Mt. Vernon on his private hemp patch and took his place, resulting in Weishaupt as our first president. Needless to say this is one of the more imaginative fantasies generated around the Illuminated, but it does, in a mythic sense, have the ring of truth.
July 23rd/24th 1776 was the first official meeting of the original five members of the Order of the Illuminati. On the New Style date of July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the draft of a resolution on Independence written by a committee of five, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert B. Livingston. All five were Masons, and three, Franklin, Jefferson and Adams, had deep overt and covert connections with the illuminist underground of the day. To complete the synchronicities, the completed and signed Declaration of Independence was submitted to the Congress for ratification on January 17th, 1777, and two of the five, Jefferson and Adams, died on the same day, July 4th, exactly 50 years later.
Washington was also thoroughly familiar with, and probably quite sympathetic to, the basic concepts of Illuminism as preached in the Masonic Lodges of the day. Alexandria 22, Washington’s home lodge, was affiliated with several German Illuminist lodges, including the neo-Templars of Johann Starck. It’s French connections led through Lafayette and the Comte de Mirabeau, both prominent Illuminists, back to the Templarisms of the Scottish Chevalier Ramsey. Although we can’t say for sure – the records are incomplete – Washington’s election to Master Mason status in Alexandria 22 may have reflected this new Illuminist shift of focus.
But even more than Washington, it is Thomas Jefferson, the main voice behind the Declaration of Independence, who connects Illuminism, and pagan goddess worship, with the beginning steps toward the creation of the goddess Columbia. The Federalists prior to the election of 1800 quite correctly branded Jefferson an Illuminati sympathizer, if not stooge. Their evidence was flimsy, and probably meaningless in any case as the anti-Illuminati forces did not completely understand the Illuminist agenda, but Jefferson, along with Franklin and Washington, did indeed have such connections and inclinations.
Jefferson was also friendly with Phillip Freneau, who popularised the idea of Columbia as the Goddess of Freedom in the 1780s and 1790s. And Jefferson was instrumental in having the US Capitol building designed as the Roman Parthenon, complete of course with a goddess on the dome. The goddess Minerva, in a form very close to that of Columbia, appears on the seal of the University of Virginia, designed by Jefferson. The Great Hall of the Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress, which houses Jefferson’s books, is a miniature shrine to the goddess.
If there is one piece of art in all of Washington that sums up the basic illuminist idea behind the goddess Columbia and her role in America, it is in the top of the dome of the U.S. Capitol; a fresco entitled “The Apotheosis of George Washington,” painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865 soon after the dome was completed. The central grouping in the highest part of the dome depicts Washington being taken up to heaven, done by Italian artist Brumidi in a style strongly reminiscent of paintings of the Assumptions of Jesus or Mary Brumidi had previously painted in the Vatican. In this case, it is not angels of God who accompany Washington in his assumption, but the female figures of Liberty and Victory. Surrounding these three figures are 13 female figures representing the original 13 states. Around the edge of the dome are painted 6 groups of figures representing war, commerce, marine, agriculture, science, and mechanics. Included in these groups of figures are the gods Mercury, Neptune, Ceres, Minerva, and Vulcan.
Aside from the obvious paganisms, there are two fascinating illuminati clues here. The first is Victory, the Samothracian mother goddess of the Kabiroi, who often shows up alongside Columbia. Weishaupt and Starck thought her to be the original Mother Goddess on which all the pagan mysteries were based. The second is that numerical arrangement of figures. If we take the six figures of the outer rim and multiply by the 13 figures on the second rim, we get 78. Among the papers seized by the Bavarian government in 1785 was an alphabetic code based on three times 26, or 78. This is also the number of cards in a Tarot deck, leading this type of code to be called the Tarot Cipher.
This is not to say that the United States of America is an illuminati plot, and by no means am I saying that the Illuminati control any part of the US government. But it is a fact that the Founding Fathers had such inclinations and that somehow those aspirations were transmitted through the years into many of official Washington’s finest works of public art. Call it an accidental conspiracy if you like, a synchronicity born of similar inclinations and understandings concerning the meaning of “America” as the New World for the New Age.
Weishaupt’s view of a perfect society is very similar in many respects to Adams, Jefferson and Washington’s view of America. Weishaupt foresaw a utopian world state where property, authority and nationalism had been abolished. In this pre-Eden natural state, mankind would join in the brotherhood of man, based on free love, peace, spiritual wisdom and equality of classes and sexes. At the spiritual center of this society was the great goddess of Freedom and Reason. One of Weishaupt’s French followers, the Comte de Mirabeau, would preside during the revolution in Paris over the enthronement of a new Goddess of Reason in Notre Dame de Paris, newly renamed the Temple of Reason.
And so, Weishaupt’s ideas and influence seems to have had a profound effect on the creation of the goddess Columbia, and the general iconography of the archetype of America. In the immediate post-revolutionary era, this is not surprising given the many and well-documented connections and sympathies between the Founding Fathers and the illuminist underground. What is surprising is that these ideas and practices continued intact through the 19th century. Crawford’s original design for the Capitol had Columbia wearing a Phyrigian cap, the symbol of illuminated status conferred in the adeptus major grade of both Starck’s neo-Templars and Weishaupt’s Perfectibilists. And someone worked out very carefully the astrology of the monument’s installation on the Capitol Dome back in 1863.
Wouldn’t that same person, or group of initiates, have also worked out the future astrology of Columbia? Did they see the moment of awakening on the fall equinox of 2002? And even more important, did they see the moment of danger on January 23rd 2003?
Perhaps they did, because there is one curious clue that takes us directly into the number synchronicities of the illuminati elves themselves. The statue of Columbia was first displayed to the public on the Capitol grounds on October 23, 1862. Added together, 10 + 23 = 33, and 1 + 8 + 6 + 2 = 17. Now, 17 is a very curious number, as we will get to in a moment. But first, the mystery of 23 “skidoo.”