Sunday, September 16, 2018

The wild side

A review of "The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies"

This is John Michael Greer's “ultimate” encyclopedia about secret societies. However, it also contains a good number of entries dealing with rejected knowledge claims, religious sects and cults, and even political organizations.

Some people believe that the book covers too many subjects, but it's precisely this “wild” aspect which I like about it. Thus, many of the secret orders exposed in this book aren't occult or political, but strictly fraternal or even burlesque. Shriners may like being included in an encyclopedia alongside UFOs and the Hell Fire Club, while Odd Fellows and Elks probably won't. I also suspect that Marxists and anarchists may be rubbed the wrong way due to the inclusion of the First International. Well, aint that just tuff? Greer has also included an entry on the almost unknown Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA), an initiatory group headed by himself!

While the main purpose of the book is presumably to show off the author's detailed knowledge of “secret” fraternities, it can also be useful to those interested in the occult and rejected knowledge. Be warned, though, that Greer isn't particularly objective, and isn't above “dissing” (or commending) the groups and traditions he writes about. In contrast to many other writers on sensationalist topics, Brother Greer doesn't believe in “The Da Vinci Code”, the Priory of Sion, the Illuminati conspiracy or the shape-shifting reptoids from the fourth dimension. Somebody might get a bit suspicious upon finding out that the author is, ahem, a Scottish Freemason and has included an entry on disinformation…

As I said, I love the wild side of the “Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies”. I have the edition with the black cover, by the way.
It feels more secretive that way.

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