The Illuminati Degrees

The Order of Illuminati, as devised by Adam Weishaupt, had its own initiatory system and rituals - which bear striking similarities to not only the rituals of Freemasonry but also appear to borrow freely from earlier mystery cults. Ceremonies for the Order were divided into three classes, or stages, with separate degrees in each group.

Stage 1 - The Nursery

Where following the submission of a preparatory essay, the candidate would pass through the following degrees:

1. Novitiate
2. Minerval
3. Minor Illuminatus
4. Magistratus

Stage 2 - Symbolic Freemasonry

In which the candidate would pass through the following degrees:

1.Apprentice
2. Fellow Craft
3. Master
4. (a) Scots Major Illuminatus and (b) Scots Illuminatus Dirigens

Stage 3 - Mysteries

1. Lesser (a) Priest and (b) Prince
2. Greater (a) Magus and (b) King

Secrecy

Novices had to swear a binding oath of secrecy and complete obedience to their 'superiors'. The Order's authoritarian structure also has uncannily close parallels to that of the Jesuit Order. The writer Ellic Howe wrote that the Order was based on "an extraordinary system of mutual espionage”. At the end of every month the Novice had to deliver to his proposer a sealed letter. This contained a detailed report on every aspect of his relationship with his mentor, who sent it unopened and unread to Weishaupt through an appropriate channel. The proposer, in his turn, had to furnish similar information about the Novice. Weishaupt devised printed forms for these 'intelligence reports'. An incredible volume of information had to be supplied ... this mutual espionage was a feature of all the Illuminati grades", he wrote.

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