Yoga is satanism: its postures are actually demonic invocations. Stephen Hawking was a puppet, pure satanic propaganda to hide the Creator’s idea from the masses. The Big Bang, the theory of evolution, the thesis of the earth’s “rotating ball” and the arrival on the moon are versions of Satanic Masons to distort the Word of God. They are conspiracy ideas that are often denounced on Twitter accounts Deniers taken out of context.
How much genuine belief is there and how much pop wink in those knots that thread these theories into fake news? We dare not, but we do know something: Satanists and Freemasons are the secret societies that in this 21st century – so technological and postmodern – continue to inspire irrational terror in many. But in turn they are a source of fascination and entertainment for many more. After all, honoring invisible brotherhoods and mystery cults is one of contemporary culture’s favorite pastimes. From Stranger Things to La peste – a series about the Sevillian secret society La Garduña -, from the songs of The Cramps to the death metal of the Valencian band Obscure, from Carmen Mola’s novel La Bestia to the best-selling books of Enid Blyton’s The Seven Secrets there are many cultural artifacts that bring us closer to the elusive prism of secret societies. Why?
Positivist, scientific and rational thinking dominates, omitting everything spiritual, the unspeakable, generating varying degrees of skepticism and even hostility, writer Enrique Juncosa reflects in La luz negra. Secret Traditions in Art since the 50s (Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture, 2018). But these efforts cannot destroy this shadow trail: “There is continuity in the secret traditions,” says Juncosa.
camaraderie and secrecy
It seems true. “We are fascinated by the hidden, the invisible, the forbidden. It’s part of human nature,” explains Servando Rocha, a counterculture writer and director of La Felguera, a publishing house “dedicated to exposing the best mysteries of our time under the guise of a secret society,” as they define themselves . itself. For Rocha, people crave camaraderie, stealth, that “powerful sense of belonging to a community of few, an alliance between brothers, another family”.
Illustration of the alleged leaders of La Mano Negra, from the Museo Criminal magazine, dated September 1, 1904.Museo Criminal (La Felguera Editorial Archives)
La Felguera just released Secret Spain. Cults, lodges and secret societies, a magazine case with articles, illustrations, photos and a dictionary about secret societies like Palladium, the Universal Association for the Destruction of the Social Order, The Sect of the Mysterious, The Black Hand or The Lone Stern among many. And as is so often the case, Rocha and his team celebrated the launch of their new publication with a secret meeting.
One night in mid-November, on the Segovia Viaduct in Madrid, under the so-called Suicide Bridge, there was a clandestine act, with secret arrival instructions and a password that cannot be revealed. More than 100 people attended the event and there were people who were excluded from the bidding and wanted to participate.
Surrounded by candles, with a megaphone and illuminated by a strong light that led the participants to the meeting place, they talked about secret societies at this meeting. Minerva García, Vice-President of the Union of Satanists of Spain, was one of the participants at the event. In a phone call he is seen having a great time at the club while warning of that fear – old and blind – that circulates invisibly on the networks and in many other places.
‘Burlesque’ and Blessings
When it comes to Satanism, there are people who “stick to the literal meaning of things and don’t have a pop view on these issues,” says Minerva García. And that’s why blessings come to her via Twitter and sometimes in person. Half laughing, he remembers that three years ago they threw a party in a bar in Malasaña to celebrate the founding of the association. There was music, burlesque dances and red confetti to symbolize a bloody rite. Suddenly, a group of people appeared at the bar’s door “and started praying, throwing holy water at us and performing an exorcism on us,” he explains. Then it seemed to him that he was experiencing one of the moments of his life. He felt “like a member of the Sex Pistols,” but he was continually amazed at the gullibility of those trying to save them from their “fall” into satanic hands. “There are people who believe in the devil. This is happening today, now. It amazes me that people aren’t able to document themselves a bit, don’t get the joke of all this,” he warns.
Minerva García, who defines herself on the networks as “bisexual, feminist, stripper, satanist and trade unionist”, agrees with Bakunin’s interpretation of the figure of Satan, who described the fallen angel as the first rebel, the first freethinker and liberator of the worlds. “You have to live the way you want without harming anyone, believe in yourself,” he explains. That’s why the club wants to promote culture in these somewhat gloomy times: “It seems to be okay to be ignorant in these times. This power to speak and applaud out of ignorance,” he denounces.
She became a Satanist because others made her do it, she says: “I’ve always lived the way I wanted and I’ve freely expressed my opinion, but if you’re a woman and you do that, there are many who always still afraid. ” She is a vegetarian and animal rights activist, but she is accused of animal sacrifices: “There are people who really believe that we do all this!”, She wonders.
Cover of ‘Freemasons and Pacifists’, by Juan Tusquets.Ediciones Antisectarias (La Felguera Editorial Archive)
A sensational fake news
At the secret meeting that November night under the viaduct, one of the legends invoked was that of Leo Taxil. Also known as Docteur Bataille – among many other pseudonyms – Taxil was a prominent French atheist who produced one of the most successful fake news in history: the alleged secret association between Freemasonry and Satanism.
In 1884, through treaties, writings and meetings, Taxil feigned his conversion to Catholicism and deceived the Church by inventing Masonic lodges allied with devilish forces. It was companies like Palladium that warned against their claim to world domination. Taxil’s claims were accepted by Pope Leo XIII – who even granted him an audience – and his conspiracy theories spread across Europe.
One of Taxil’s most elaborate lies was Lucifera, the devil’s high priestess, the first great satanic and masonic woman to bear the name of Diana Vaughan. In reality, Vaughan was the fictional name of Taxil’s own secretary and typist, who convinced her to have a hand in his invention. With the help of a friend, she began writing letters to cardinals and bishops asking for “spiritual help,” and soon received a flood of replies.
Taxil’s inventions didn’t take long to reach Spain. Farce produced countless adherents to his theses, and many religious leaders turned his inventions into violent anti-Masonic tracts.
The hoax continued for fifteen years until, on April 19, 1897, Taxil held a press conference at the Geographical Society of Paris to put an end to his “joke”. Realizing that his revelations about Freemasonry were a lie, that he wanted to laugh at the credulity of the people, he “thanked” the church for their contribution to the success of the deception by providing him with propaganda and funds for his publications . The scandal was so great that the act ended in attempted aggression.
Front cover of the magazine “Mundo Gráfico” dated March 11, 1936. Mundo Gráfico (La Felguera Editorial Archive)
“The French writings were a very early case of guerrilla communications and agitprop that passed off as true what was false. Then the lie emancipates itself and is considered truth,” explains Rocha.
That’s how it went. Years later, Francisco Franco revived the Taxil farce and, under the pseudonym Jakin Boor, wrote various articles on conspiracies between Jews and Freemasons, arguments that led to paroxysm as a dictator with the creation of institutions such as the Special Court for the Suppression of Freemasonry and Communism .
Educated by Taxil’s work and the prejudices against Freemasonry, “we have grown fears, misunderstandings, stereotypes and even a certain stigmatization of Freemasons and Lodges present throughout our history, marked by political struggles,” writes historian Carlos Peláez, Professor and researcher in Anthropology of Social and Cultural Policies at the Complutense University of Madrid, in his book Interview with a Freemason. Perspective of an ignored reality (Editorial Seneca, 2006).
Societies such as El Ángel Exterminador of the 19th century, whose aim was to destroy the ideas of progressive liberalism through intrigue or assassination, were born or developed in Spain. According to the 19th-century historian Vicente de la Fuente
Another clandestine group were the Carbonarios – who, according to legend, originated in Naples and settled in Spanish lands – who arose from the coalmen’s guilds, a society said to use crosses, nails or crowns of thorns in their ceremonies to atone for suffering provoke the powerful – landowners, nobles or kings – for their excesses towards the lowly. It is no coincidence that in 1824, when the embryo of what would later become the Spanish police force was formed, one of its aims was to “haunt secret associations, whether they be parishioners, Freemasons, Carbonari or any dark sect”.
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