Sunday, September 16, 2018

No secrets revealed, but great fun anyway

A review of "The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies" 

How long does it take to single-handedly write an entire encyclopedia with hundreds of entries on religious cults, rejected knowledge claims and – above all – secret societies? No idea, but since John Michael Greer is an initiated member of a dozen or more such societies, perhaps not as long as you might think. Let's face it, JMG is something as peculiar as a secret society buff or nerd. Indeed, one of the secretive orders described in his encyclopedia is headed by none other than Greer himself! And no, I won't tell you which one…

Obviously, not everyone will be satisfied by this work. Greer actually reveals pretty few secrets. Nothing on Masons drinking pig's blood from a skull, or Bohemian Grove members sacrificing grandma to the owl god. There is an entry on disinformation, however. Is the author hiding the truth from us? He is a 33 degree Freemason, after all (just 32 degrees, when the book was penned).

Personally, I think the (hopefully true!) information he does convey is sufficiently interesting in its own right to make me forget conspiracy theory for a moment (although I still suspect Skull & Bones of *something* - I mean, both Dubya and Kerry were members). Many of the entries deal with U.S. fraternal societies from the “golden age” of such organizations (roughly the 19th and early 20th centuries), and some of these are very peculiar, to say the least, including one fraternity that smuggled alcohol during prohibition, another which consisted of roughneck gold diggers in California, and yet another which copied American Indian rituals while mostly consisting of White males! The Shriners (a kind of Masonic pranksters) are also included. There are also interesting entries on the Bavarian Illuminati, the Carbonari, the Priory of Sion and other staples of conspiracy theory – the truth behind the fiction is sometimes unexpected.

If Masonic and quasi-Masonic lodges aren't your skull-cup of pig's blood, this may not be what you are searching for, but Greer has included entries on other “alternative” topics as well, such as “The Da Vinci Code”, legends about Atlantis and Lemuria, Theosophy, the John Birch Society, UFOs and the Reptilians (think David Icke). He must have had considerable fun writing this! A good complement to the other general surveys of the hidden, forbidden and prohibited, which I *know* you already have stashed in that coffin on your attic…

No comments:

Post a Comment