Just last week, I was contemplating various Illuminati symbols as I started reading Dan Brown’s latest novel The Lost Symbol.
Given the content of his last few novels, I’m expecting the subject of Illuminati symbols to play prominently throughout his latest story. However, the first thing that initially struck me was the comment he placed on the first page of the novel.
It essentially said that all of the groups mentioned within the book are real. He went on to list those “real” groups – two of which were the Masons and the Invisible College. In his usual manner, Dan Brown sets the stage for what will be an attempt to create drama around what are essentially very mundane real world groups.
Illuminati Symbols and the Invisible College
There is in fact a real world group called the “Invisible College”, and it relates to the world of Ufology (not the fiction that Dan Brown created in order to generate intrigue throughout his fictional tale). However, in all honesty, I’m a bit put off by Dan Brown’s books and his constant intentional mixing of fact and fiction, while allowing readers to believe that most of his stories are true – in fact writing introductions to his books that suggest as much.
With that said, one conspiracy theory that has always fascinated me – also included within this book – is the Illuminati. This mythical group of elite, wealthy men has been blamed for more of the world’s problems than the devil himself. In fact, many believe that this legendary organization may even have a pact with the devil.
Regardless what you believe – the legend of this group stretches far back throughout the years and intermingles with many very real ancient symbols, rituals and beliefs.
In this article, I’m going to set aside, for now, the issue of whether the group is real. Instead, I would like to examine one of the alleged Illuminati’s most famous symbols that was supposedly used to create the Great Seal of the United States.
An Examination of a Popular Illuminati Symbol
Some of the most popular claimed Illuminati symbols include the all-seeing eye, the pyramid, the obelisk, and the pentagram. The funniest part of Illuminati folklore is that many conspiracy theorists combine symbols from various sects and groups, from occult practitioners to the Freemason rituals, and mesh all of these together and call them “Illuminati Symbols.”
These conspiracy theorists are not basing these claims on fact – they’re simply making it up as they go along – whatever seems to fit into their preconceived ideas is what they run with. Let’s take a closer look at the true history of the alleged “Illuminati” symbols found on the Great Seal that’s printed on U.S. currency.
The All-Seeing Eye and the Pyramid
In 1797, Freemason Thomas Smith Webb used the all-seeing eye as a Masonic symbol, and described it as reflecting the penetrating watchfulness of a higher being (God) which could see even those “words and actions” that are “hidden from the eyes of man.”
The first printing of the all-seeing eye was drawn by portrait artist Amos Doolittle and had the eye within a “semicircular glory.” The eye within or atop a pyramid has never been an official Masonic or “Illuminati” symbol.
Also, the fact that the Masonic image of the all-seeing eye was first used 14 years after the Great Seal of the United States was created flies in the face of claims from conspiracy theorists that the symbol of the pyramid and all-seeing eye was a masonic invention that was infused into the Great Seal. The Seal’s meaning is exactly how it was described by its original creators.
The founding fathers, Franklin, Adams and Jefferson, came up with the idea of using the Eye of Providence. It was actually the 3rd committee and specifically William Barton, a young lawyer from Philadelphia, who came up with the idea for the 13-step pyramid topped by the Eye of Providence the first committee suggested.
The explanation of the symbolism, described by Charles Thomson when adopted in 1782, read as follows.
“Reverse. The pyramid signifies Strength and Duration: The Eye over it & the Motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause. The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words under it signify the beginning of the New American ?ra, which commences from that date.”
In reading Dan Brown’s books, I’m starting to think that he conducted most of his research on conspiracy theorist websites rather than from legitimate and authentic history books and documents.