The 5 Most Famous Secret Societies in the World

There are countless secret societies in the world, each with its own mysterious agenda and inner workings. But of all the secret societies out there, these five are some of the most famous and well-known.

Each of these societies is shrouded in secrecy and intrigue, with a dark side that is often only hinted at. Whether it’s the Freemasons, the Illuminati, or even the Skull and Bones society at Yale University, these groups have captured the public’s imagination for centuries.

What is a secret society?

A secret society is an organization that has secrets, or hidden knowledge, that members are sworn to keep. They often have rituals and symbols that identify them as a group, and they may meet in secret locations. Secret societies can be formed for many different purposes, including political, religious, or social goals. Some secret societies are known for their involvement in criminal activities, while others are simply social clubs. Many famous people have been members of secret societies, including Presidents George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt.

The 5 most famous secret societies in the world

The Knights Templar

The Knights Templar
The first seal of the Knights Templar.
Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The Knights Templar was a religious order of knights founded in the 12th century. They were sworn to protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, and they became very wealthy and powerful. Hugues de Payens, a French knight, established the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon—also known as The Knights Templar—around 1118. Members vowed to live a life of chastity, obedience, and poverty by abstaining from gambling, alcohol and even swearing while headquartered at Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The Knights Templar was more than just a military force and moral society. After establishing a bank that allowed pilgrims to deposit money in their homes and withdraw it in the Holy Land, they became one of the most wealthy and powerful organizations in Europe.

The Templars’ influence rose to a new peak in 1139, when Pope Innocent II released a Papal Bull declaring that they were no longer subject to taxation and instructing them to answer only to the Pope. The Knights Templar owned Cyprus, a fleet of ships, and offered loans to rulers at the height of their power. However, not all kings appreciated their services.

What Happened to the Knights Templar?

The Knights Templar’s power and influence came to an end in the 14th century. A series of events, including a failed crusade, decreased support for the organization. In 1307, King Philip IV of France accused the Templars of heresy and had many of them arrested. The order was dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312.

Templars Symbolism

Knights Templar Symbol

The Templars were known for their use of symbolism, and much of it is still used today. The two knights on a single horse that is often seen in artwork symbolize the poverty vow that members took. The red cross, often known as the Cross of Lorraine (Croix de Lorraine in French) is a double-barred cross that appears in the arms of the Dukes of Lorraine. The symbol was known as the “Jerusalem Cross” after Godfrey de Bouillon became king of Jerusalem during the First Crusade. When the Knights Templar arrived in Jerusalem, they adopted it as their symbol.

The Freemasons

The Freemasons

The steps of Freemasonry. Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The Freemasons is a fraternal organization that has been shrouded in secrecy for centuries. The Freemasons’ roots can be traced back to the Middle Ages in Europe when most craftsmen were organized into local guilds.

The cathedral builders were itinerant since their work compelled them to move from one city to the next. They recognized one another via indications of their trade, such as the builder’s square and compass in Freemasonry’s current iconic symbol.

The first mention of masons is in the Regius Poem, also known as the Halliwell Manuscript, which was published in 1390. The organization grew rapidly in the 17th and 18th centuries and became a major force in European politics. The Freemasons played a role in the American Revolution and the founding of the United States since 13 of the 39 men who signed the country’s Constitution were Freemasons. George Washington, James Monroe, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Paul Revere were all members of the fraternal order.

freemason symbol
The Eye of Providence is on the dollar bill.

Freemason Beliefs and Practices

The Freemasons have a complex system of beliefs that are based on the principles of equality, brotherhood, and relief. They believe in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. All men are seen as equal in the eyes of God, regardless of their social status or wealth.

The Freemasons also practice philanthropy and support various charities, including those that help widows and orphans. They also provide financial assistance to members who are in need.

The Freemasons have a number of rituals and ceremonies that are performed during their meetings, which are known as lodges. One of the most important ceremonies is the initiation ritual, which is used to welcome new members into the organization.

Freemason Symbolism

freemason symbol

The Freemasons use a number of symbols to represent their beliefs and practices. These include the square and compass, the all-seeing eye, the pyramid, and the beehive.

The square and compass are perhaps the most iconic Masonic symbol. It represents the tools that were used by medieval stonemasons. The all-seeing eye is a symbol of the omniscience of God. The pyramid represents the ancient Egyptian civilization, which the Freemasons believe was founded by one of their own, Hiram Abiff.

The beehive is a symbol of industry and hard work. It also represents the idea of cooperation and working together for the common good.

How Do You Become a Freemason?

The requirements for becoming a Freemason vary from country to country. In the United States, you must be at least 18 years old and believe in a Supreme Being. You must also be of good character and have a good reputation.

In some countries, you must have a specific profession or belong to a certain social class in order to join the Freemasons.

The Illuminati

Illuminati
The initiation of an Illuminatus.
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

The Illuminati is a secret society that is rumored to control world affairs. The name Illuminati comes from the Latin word illuminatus, which means “enlightened.”

The organization was founded in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, a professor at Ingolstadt University in Bavaria, Germany. It was originally called the Order of the Illuminati, but it later became known as the Bavarian Illuminati.

The group’s goal was to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power. The Illuminati also sought to promote reason, liberty, and equality.

Weishaupt was strongly influenced by the Enlightenment’s spread across Europe, as well as Jesuit teachings which he had been a member and the Mysteries of the Seven Sages of Memphis, the Kabbalah, and freemasons. He attracted many Masons from this society, infiltrating lodges with the purpose to recruit some of Europe’s wealthiest and most prominent individuals.

Among the Illuminati’s purported goals were gaining political power and control; abolishing monarchies and Church interference in state affairs; promoting reason, equality, and individualism instead of blind obedience to tradition and authority; ending the feudal system and slavery; destroying all superstitious beliefs, such as those in witchcraft, ghosts, and miracles; promote social mobility and meritocracy instead of inherited privilege, and establishing a system of public education.

The Illuminati’s members took oaths of secrecy and confidentiality and were divided into three classes: the Nursery (novices), the Minerval (apprentices), and the Illuminates (full members).

How The Illuminati Works today

The Illuminati is said to be a shadowy group that controls world affairs. The organization is rumored to control world affairs through a number of fronts, including the media, the financial sector, and secret societies.

The Illuminati is said to be behind a number of historical events, including the French Revolution, the American Revolution, and the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

There is no concrete evidence that the Illuminati actually exists, and it is possible that the group is nothing more than a conspiracy theory.


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Skull and Bones

 Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones is a secret society at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The society is also known as “The Order of Death.”

Skull and Bones was founded in 1832 by William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft. The society is said to be modeled after a German secret society called the Order of the Skull and Bones.

Members of Skull and Bones are known as “Bonesmen.” The society has a membership of about 15 seniors, known as “Bonesmen,” who are chosen each year by a vote of the previous year’s members.

The society meets in a building known as “The Tomb,” which is located on the university’s campus. The society’s members take part in a number of rituals, including the “Skull Session,” in which they sit in a room and discuss current events.

The Tomb
Skull and Bones Society building known as “The Tomb.”

How Do You Join Skull And Bones?

There is no official membership application for Skull and Bones. The society’s members are chosen by a vote of the previous year’s members.

What Are The Goals Of Skull And Bones?

The goals of Skull and Bones are not publicly known. The Society is said to be involved in a number of controversial activities, including the manipulation of the financial markets and the political process.

Presidents William Howard Taft, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush; Time magazine founder Henry Luce; former secretary of state and presidential hopeful John Kerry; Fortune 500 executives, and members of the CIA are only a few of the prominent Skull and Bones members.

Skull And Bones symbolism

 Skull and Bones

The society’s symbol is a skull and crossbones. The skull is said to represent death, and the crossbones represents the crossing of boundaries.

The society is also said to use a number of other symbols, including the number 322, which is believed to represent the year in which Alexander The Great died.

Opus Dei

opus day symbol

Opus Dei is a conservative Catholic organization that was founded in Spain in 1928 by  St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás (canonized in 2002). The name “Opus Dei” is Latin for “Work of God.”

The Roman Catholic Church’s Holy See granted approval to Opus Dei in 1950. It became a secular organization, allowing members to follow the group’s beliefs while still living normal lives. Pope John Paul II established Opus Dei as the first personal prelature of the Catholic Church in 1982. This means that Opus Dei has authority over individuals rather than a particular geographic location. There are male and female branches, and the leadership is currently provided by a prelate elected by its members.

This organization promotes the idea of being a perfect Christian and the implementation of Christian values in both business and society as a whole. Theologically conservative, Opus Dei embraces unquestioningly the church’s teaching authority.

What Are The Goals Of Opus Dei?

The goals of Opus Dei are to promote Catholic teachings and to help its members grow closer to God. Opus Dei has been accused of being a secret society that is involved in a number of controversial activities, including the manipulation of the financial markets, secrecy, cultlike activities, and political aspirations.

In conclusion, these are some of the most famous secret societies in the world. While their goals and activities are often shrouded in mystery, these organizations have exerted a significant influence on the course of history.

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