The Illuminati simply means “enlightened” there are many branches which are found within the mystery schools and many secret societies. The upper ranks of these branches are the Illuminati. It’s often confused and limited to Adam Weishaupt and the Bavarian Illuminati.
On the first of May 1776 Adam Weishaupt found an organisation first known as “The Order of Perfectibilists (Perfektibilisten)” but became famous as the “Ordo Illuminati Bavarensis”, or the Bavarian Illuminati.
“It was not my intention to doubt that, the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am.”-George Washington Letter, October 24, 1798 (click here for full text of letter)
“I feel the weight of the responsibility resting upon me, for in the Illuminati, to preach is a very small part of the duties to be performed.” – Fundamental Laws A Report of the 68th Convocation of the Rose Cross Order (1917) by Clymer R Swinburne pg. 121
“The great strength of our Order lies in its concealment; let it never appear in any place in its own name, but always covered by another name, and another occupation. None is fitter than the three lower degrees of Free Masonry; the public is accustomed to it, expects little from it, and therefore takes little notice of it.
Next to this, the form of a learned or literary society is best suited to our purpose, and had Free Masonry not existed, this cover would have been employed; and it may be much more than a cover, it may be a powerful engine in our hands. By establishing reading societies, and subscription libraries, and taking these under our direction, and supplying them through our labors, we may turn the public mind which way we will.
In like manner we must try to obtain an influence in the military academies (this may be of mighty consequence) the printing-houses, booksellers’ shops, chapters, and in short in all offices which have any effect, either in forming, or in managing, or even in directing the mind of man: painting and engraving are highly worth our care.”-Adam Weishaupt (from John Robinson’s “Proofs of a Conspiracy” p. 112)
“The Hierarchy in the Illuminati assumed code names, a practice continued to this day by the Hierarchy of Freemasonry. Its purpose is to protect identities in what is a dangerous enterprise. Weishaupt’s code name was Spartacus.” – Scarlet and the Beast by John Daniel
“The rite (Tierdrama) was originally performed by the Order of the Illuminati, founded in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt as an extension of existing Masonic ritual Ten years earlier, Gotthold Lessing had influenced many Germans’ opinions on the limits of die arts with his critical treatise, Laocoõn. The intellectual climate in Germany had reached the point of controversy that in England gave rise to the Hell Fire Club. Passing off the Bavarian Illuminati as a society with a purely political base is a blunder often made by those who naively think that politics and magic ritual do not mix…
…The rites of the Illuminati became the basis of the curriculum of the later Ordo Templi Orientis, founded in 1902 by Karl Kellner and Adolf Wilbrandt A similar curriculum, with strong Rosicrucian overtones, was in the English Order of the Golden Dawn in 1887. The teachings of the Illuminati hold that all is material, that all religions are of human invention, that God is man, and man is God, and the world is his kingdom. ” – Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Rituals, Avon Books 1972
I. Preparatory Class
3. Illuminatus Minor (Lesser Illuminati)
II. Freemasonic Class
1. Apprentice – Fellowcraft – Master (Symbolic Freemasonry)
2. Illuminatus Major (Greater Illumiati or Scottish Novice)
3. Illuminatus Dirgens (Scottish Knight)
III. Mysteries Class
1. Lesser Mysteries
a) Presbyter (Priest)
b) Regent or Princeps (Prince)
2. Greater Mysteries
a) Magus or Philosophus (Magician or Philosopher)
b) Rex or Doceten (King or Docetist)