Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Discovery: The Ultimate Source of
Faux-Albert Pike’s ‘Luciferian Doctrine’ Instructions

Léo Taxil, ‘The Great Swindler’

Most people who’ve spent time on the Internet researching the Fraternity have run into the claim that Albert Pike, a 19th century leader in the Scottish Rite and other branches of Freemasonry, was a Satanist—and that all Masons are as well. This accusation often comes accompanied by an extended quote from instructions that Pike supposedly sent to Scottish Rite operatives in Europe, emphasizing that an alleged ‘Luciferian doctrine’ was the core of “Palladian Freemasonry,” the truly secret society that, it was claimed, was hidden within the Fraternity. This quote is usually given as follows:

That which we must say to the crowd is—We worship a God, but it is the God that one adores without superstition.
 To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees—The Masonic religion should be, by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian doctrine.
 If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay (The God of the Christians) whose deeds prove his cruelty, perfidy, and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion for science, would Adonay and his priests, calumniate him?
 Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also God. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two Gods: darkness being necessary to light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive.
 In analogical and universal dynamics one can only lean on that which will resist. Thus the universe is balanced by two forces which maintain its equilibrium: the force of attraction and that of repulsion. These two forces exist in physics, philosophy and religion. And the scientific reality of the divine dualism is demonstrated by the phenomena of polarity and by the universal law of sympathies and antipathies. That is why the intelligent disciples of Zoroaster, as well as, after them, the Gnostics, the Manicheans and the Templars have admitted, as the only logical metaphysical conception, the system of the two divine principles fighting eternally, and one cannot believe the one inferior in power to the other.
 Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy; and the true and pure philosophic religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil.

Could it get any more damning (literally!) than this? Albert Pike, revered as the leader of the Scottish Rite, saying things like “Lucifer is God”? Saying that “the Masonic religion” is based on “Luciferian doctrine”? This passage is reproduced on hundreds of websites, as evidence that Freemasonry is Satanism, whether the poor Masons know it or not.

But it is all a forgery.

Although the passage is sometimes ignorantly cited on websites as if it were in Pike’s real-life masterpiece, Morals and Dogma, the quotation comes from another source entirely. The passage, as I quoted it above, is from pages 220-221 of the 1933 book Occult Theocrasy, by Edith Starr Miller, Lady Queenborough; the book is a classic example of the wild and wooly sector of conspiracy theories, full of anti-Masonry and anti-Semitism, to boot. Miller stated that this was her translation from a French book by noted anti-Mason, the journalist Abel Clarin de la Rive, La Femme et l’Enfant dans la Franc-Maçonnerie Universelle [in English: Woman and Child in Universal Freemasonry], published in 1894. I own a copy of de la Rive’s book, and I can testify that this passage occurs therein. But the question has long been asked, what exactly was de la Rive quoting?

I have just identified the ultimate source for the ‘Luciferian doctrine’ passage. It is the 1891 book, L'Existence des loges de femmes affirmée par Mgr Fava, évêque de Grenoble, et par Léo Taxil [trans.: The Existence of the Lodges of Women Affirmed by Monsignor Fava, Bishop of Grenoble, and by Léo Taxil]. The book is supposedly edited by ‘Adolphe Ricoux,’ just another pseudonym for Taxil. Below, I show the title page of the book, and the pages (pp. 93-95) on which the ‘Luciferian doctrine’ passage occurs. (Click on the images to see them larger.)

Title Page, The Existence of Lodges of Women Affirmed ... by Léo Taxil.

The fourth and fifth paragraphs start the quote given by Miller, "That which we must say to the crowd is ..."

The third and fourth paragraphs continue the quote by Miller: "If Lucifer were not God ..."

From the top of the page through "ALBERT PIKE, 33°" concludes the quote given by Miller.

 In 1897, Taxil publicly confessed to a roomful of journalists that he had pulled off an immense anti-Masonic and anti-Catholic hoax over the preceding two years, during which he published thousands of pages about the supposed orgies held under the auspices of the entirely fictitious Palladian Freemasonry. During his confession, he specifically stated that he himself had written Pike’s supposed instructions—although Taxil did not specify where he had published them, if indeed they had been published at all. This discovery of Taxil’s now quite rare book proves definitively that Taxil had indeed written the instructions about ‘Luciferian doctrine,’ and where he published them.

Why This Matters

Why does any of this matter? As it happens, some elements of the anti-Masonic community have disputed the idea that Taxil was the actual author of the instructions about the Luciferian doctrine. As the highly anti-Masonic website Freemasonry Watch (“Help us take a bit out of Freemasonry”) stated, in reference to the Luciferian doctrine passage quoted in Miller’s book:
NOWHERE in ANY of Freemason Taxil’s writings does the [Luciferian doctrine] quotation appear, in whole OR part. If it did believe us the Freemasons would have the Taxil writing which included it plastered from one end of the Net to the other. We challenge the Freemasons to produce ANY document written by the anti-clerical Freemason Gabriel Jogand (Leo Taxil) that includes the [Luciferian doctrine] quotation!
Well then: So much for that. With this discovery, we now have the Luciferian doctrine quotation firmly placed within the published writings of Léo Taxil. That should put this issue to rest permanently.

(Note to Freemasonry Watch: This Freemason has taken up your challenge—and met it. I now challenge you to retract your statement as I have quoted it above, and to state that the Luciferian doctrine instructions have been clearly tied to Taxil.)

Coda: Why So Long?

One might ask, why has it taken so long to pin this tail on Taxil’s donkey? Such are the vagaries of books and their audiences. de la Rive’s 735-page doorstop of a book, in all its sensationalistic detail, apparently made its way into the hands of more readers, such as Miller. Perhaps the book’s lurid cover had something to do with it.

Cover of de la Rive's Woman and Child in Universal Freemasonry.
How could a publisher beat that cover for sensationalism? Baphomet pushing the lovely “Eve” through the Masonic pillars, almost onto the tell-tale mosaic pavement of the Lodge, Eve dressed in a blasphemous parody of a Masonic apron displaying “L” for Lucifer. The triangle at the top of the cover proclaims Freemasons as “Forerunners of the Antichrist.” The scrolls on the pillars Jachin and Boaz promise stories of Lodges of Adoption (that is, Lodges for women) and “Luciferian Triangles,” and juxtapose stories implying conjugal relations with stories about Masonic funeral parlors. So: Religion, secret societies within secret societies, sex, and death. When it comes to selling books, it simply doesn’t get better than that combination. (Is that Dan Brown chuckling that I hear?) Whatever they paid the artist for the cover illustration, it wasn’t enough.

They must have sold so many copies that it’s no surprise it came to the attention of Miller in England, or that enough copies were floating around that, in our day, it’s been made available online.

In turn, Miller’s Occult Theocrasy brought de la Rive’s quote from Taxil to the English-speaking world, where it has been a staple of the fringe area of the conspiracy community for over 80 years.

Taxil’s original book, on the other hand, is just over 100 pages in length—called “a pamphlet” by A. E. Waite—and has the most boring cover possible.

Cover of The Existence of Lodges of Women ... by Léo Taxil.

My guess is that this book sold relatively poorly. This may account for its rarity; on WorldCat, an online catalog of the world’s libraries, I was only able to find two copies in the entire Western hemisphere. (Just to make it available to scholars, I plan to issue a reprint edition through my Masonic publishing company, Free-Masonic Media. “Like” us on Facebook to receive a notice of its publication.)


This discovery glues the origin of the Luciferian doctrine myth quite firmly to Léo Taxil himself. This myth—a libel on all Freemasons, actually—is very much alive today. I have some suggestions for what we as Masons might do about that, which I make in a manuscript currently under consideration at a major Masonic publication. (Watch this blog for an announcement of my article’s publication, wherever that might be.) In the meantime, please feel free to share this blog post with people who still labor under the burden of ignorance when it comes to the false claim that Masons are Satanists.

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[The image of Léo Taxil originally appeared on the front page of the French newspaper Le Frondeur, issue of April 25, 1897, which reported Taxil’s confession. The image was later reproduced in a German publication, whence it made its way into Wikipedia Commons. It is in the public domain.]

(Copyright 2015 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.)

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Illuminati

Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Bavarian Illuminati

As I write this blog post, it is Friday, May 1st. The first day of May is a date that means different things to different people: to some, it is just a calendar date; to others, a day for folk celebrations of spring and summer. But May the First is also the anniversary of the founding of an organization that has proved to be even more famous in its death than during its life, a group about which more falsehood has been published than perhaps any other. To some, the group is a historical footnote. To others, it is the hidden power behind every throne, even today—and supposedly the secret masters of the Masonic fraternity.

So it is that today’s blog post is, if not in honor, in acknowledgement of the establishment of that fascinating and sinister organization: The Bavarian Illuminati, founded on this date in the year 1776.

The group was revolutionary in origin, seeking to overthrow the power of aristocracy and monarchy in favor of a form of government resembling democracylargely through assassination, or so they planned. The group also sought to overthrow the political and social power of the Roman Catholic Church, in favor of instituting reason and logic as principles by which to govern the world and educate humankind. 

The Illuminati were originally known as Perfectabilists, reflecting their belief that people could achieve a sort of perfection through rigorous devotion to reason and logic, rather than through supernatural means (such as the atonement of Christ).

The Illuminati was a truly “secret society,” in that it tried to keep its very existence secret. The Illuminati infiltrated dozens of Masonic lodges in central Europe, where they sought to recruit members whom they hoped to lead, through a system of ritual degree ceremonies resembling Masonry, from a position of belief in God (a requirement for membership in regular Freemasonry) to a position of atheism, devoted to the overthrow of monarchy and church. The leadership of the group believed that, to further this endeavor, any means were justified, including political assassination.

To understand the Bavarian Illuminati, it is important to understand the political context of their times. American-style democracy had not been invented, and people throughout central Europe in particular were ruled by absolute monarchs who essentially held power of life and death over the people they governed. Dissent was crushed. In addition, the major church of the period held a significant degree of political power; in religious matters as well as political ones, dissent was not tolerated. The emphasis that the Illuminati placed on freedom of thought and expression was very appealing to some people, including even members of the aristocracy, and German literary figures such as Goethe and Herder; reportedly, the Illuminati reached a membership of about 2,000 during the decade or so of its existence.

The Illuminati were strong on rhetoric, but weak on action. They assassinated no one, despite their “ends justify the means” ethics. However, when their aims became known to the governing authorities, they were crushed by the rulers of several countries, beginning in 1784. By the early 1790s, for all practical purposes the Illuminati had ceased to exist.

And it was then, after the group known as the Illuminati died, that it really got to work.

The Strange Afterlife of the Illuminati

The late 18th and early 19th centuries were a time of monumental social change—which meant, not only positive changes like the rise of democracy, but also social disruption that was experienced very negatively by many thousands of people. In the mid-18th century, before the Revolutionary War, many American colonists considered themselves loyal to the British crown; after the war, thousands of these people left their homes and businesses and moved, to Canada, England, and elsewhere, leaving behind thousands of relatives and friends who were quite unhappy about losing their connections.

Loyalists and their relatives were not the only people who were less than happy with the American Revolution. A lot of clergy of “established” churches (that is, churches formerly supported by the government) were troubled by the withdrawal of financial support, which they took to be an attempt to undermine religion generally. Overall, many people in the new United States—echoing even greater numbers of people in Europe, still under the power of Crown and Church—were troubled by the direction that the new Republic was taking, in denying aristocrats and clergy their former privileged position in government.

Thus arose the rumor that the inspiration of the new Republic was actually the Illuminati. In the 1790s and thereafter, American clergy preached sermons from their pulpits against the supposed influence of the Illuminati in the United States. Books originally published in Europe alleging the ongoing Illuminist conspiracy, such as John Robison’s Proofs of a Conspiracy (1797), were widely read in the United States, and fanned the flames of what amounted to hysteria. The first novel by the first American to make his living as a novelist, Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland (and his unfinished Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist) involved the role of an Illuminati agent in America impersonating the voice of God to convince a man to murder his wife and children. In the real world, Thomas Jefferson himself had to answer charges that he was an Illuminatus.

It gets better. The 1970s-era Illuminatus! trilogy of novels, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson (two editors at Playboy magazine), put forth the rumor that Adam Weishaupt left Europe, came to the United States, murdered George Washington and actually took Washington’s place as first President of the U.S. Incredibly enough, there are those who believe today that this actually happened!

No, it gets even better. Current proponents of way-out-on-the-fringe conspiracy theories—people like Jim Marrs, Texe Marrs, and David Icke—say that the modern world is under the secret control of the Illuminati even today. For Jim Marrs, the Illuminati are political powers; for Texe Marrs, they are Satanists; for David Icke, they are reptilian space aliens. (No, I am not making this up.) All of this is furthered by the appropriation of the name and supposed symbolism of the Illuminati by some current entertainers, who use it to give themselves the sheen of power that attaches to the paranoid version of the Illuminist legend.

The Illuminati have been the scapegoat of American politics (and, to some extent, European politics) for the last 200 years. The horrific excesses of the French Revolution were blamed on the Illuminati. The suppression of American Freemasonry in the first half of the 19th century was, in part, based on fear of the Illuminati. In our day, particularly since the middle of the 20th century, the Illuminati have been blamed for everything from AIDS and the Great Recession to the flouridation of public drinking water. (Google “Illuminati” and you'll see what I mean.)

And it’s all a pile of hooey. The Illuminati died out in the late 18th century. They are kept ‘alive’ in the minds of ignorant people today because we, as a society, have done such a poor job of teaching critical thinking skills.

There is a cost to all this wild-eyed attention given to the Version Two-Point-Paranoid of the Illuminati. By projecting all of society’s problems onto some supposed All-Powerful Others, people perpetuate the myth that they themselves are not responsible, either for creating society’s problems, maintaining them, or trying to solve them. Today, the myth of the Illuminati lets people off the hook for taking charge—of their lives, of the political process, of their own destinies.

I hope that my Masonic brothers will spread the truth about the Illuminati, and lead the way in following the Enlightenment-era maxim that should guide all Masons, and all people, “Follow Reason,” in evaluating conspiracy theories, and in approaching the very real problems that our society faces.

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[The image  of Adam Weishaupt was obtained through Wikipedia. The artist is unknown, but the image is in the public domain.]

(Copyright 2015 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.)