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The symbol of the Bohemian Club was also the symbol on the seal of 
Adam Weishaupt's Bavarian Illuminati Order. 

When the Illuminati Order was founded by Adam Weishaupt on May 1st 
1776, the higher grades did not already exist within the Society, 
until 1780. The members who did know the true story of the Order, the 
date of its foundation and the name of its founder called themselves 
the Areopagites (or Conscii). 

The other members were kept ignorant or deluded with myths. They were 
called Novice, Minerval and Illuminated Minerval. The seal of the 
Minerval Assembly was "an owl flying in a star-studded sky with the 
capital letters Q.E.Q.N. (Quantum est quod nescismus)" (Le 
Forestier, "Illuminés" 67). This is translated as "How great is our 

The term Minerval and the symbolism of the seal of their Assembly was 
inspired by the goddess Minerva. Minerva is the Roman name of Athena 
who is the Greek goddess of crafts and the domestic arts and also 
those of war. She was the patron goddess of Athens. Her symbol is the 
owl. She was originally the Great Goddess in the form of a bird. 
Athena is also known as the goddess of wisdom. 

There were so many owls in ancient Athens that a saying of the 
time, "to send owls to Athens," meant taking something to where it is 
already plentiful. The Greeks made the owl sacred to Athena, the 
goddess of wisdom. The Greeks considered them birds of prophecy - 
portents of evil as well as triumph, depending upon the circumstances 
of their appearance.

The stigma of evil and supernatural power persisted through the 
centuries. Many people have feared the bird, some believing that the 
owl's cry foretold death and disaster. Since owls shared a fellowship 
with demons and witches, it was believed that they also had the power 
to ward off other bad spirits. 

The original Illuminati seal had actually nothing to do with the 
unfinished pyramid and All-seeing Eye radiant triangle on the Great 
Seal of the United States.

By 1781, the Illuminati Order recruited many German freemasons and 
also took over Masonic lodges. Freemasonry, especially the Scottish 
rite, exerted an influence on the Illuminati Order. The Order adopted 
a new organization after the Convention of December 20, 1781. Due to 
its Masonic connection, the Illuminati Order became the Illuminated 

The seal of the Illuminated Freemasonry Assembly was a "medallion 
bordered by a double string. In the center was engraved an owl, 
perched on an open book, which was underlined by two crossing laurel 
branches. On the book, one could see four letters: S. (Sigillum), E. 
(Ecclesiae), M. (Minervalis), the fourth being the initial of the 
Illuminati name given to the Colony" (Le Forestier, "Illuminés" 259).

Works Cited:
Le Forestier, René (1914). Les Illuminés de Bavière et la Franc-
Maçonnerie Allemande. Paris: Hachette.


The Great Seal of the United States of America

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