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The Ultimate A-Z of Ancient Mysteries, Lost Civilizations and Forgotten Wisdom

John Michael Greer

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Book Details
 551 p
 File Size 
 2,472- KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 John Michael Greer 2006 

Behind the ordinary history of the world, the facts and dates that most of us learn
in school and forget immediately thereafter, lies a second, hidden history of
secret societies, lost civilizations, sinister conspiracies and mysterious events.
This shadow side of history has become a pervasive theme in the popular culture
of recent years. In an age of politicians who manipulate facts for their own
benefit, scientists who invent data to advance their careers, and scholars who let
their prejudices all too obviously shape their judgment, only the foolish – or
those with agendas of their own – accept the claims of authority blindly.
Like the Holy Grail of legend, though, the truth behind commonly accepted
realities is easier to seek than to find. Since the 1960s, when alternative visions
first broke through into the cultural mainstream of the western world, the hidden
history of the world has become the storm center of a flurry of uncertainties.
What were the real origins of Christianity, the Freemasons, or the French
Revolution? Do secret societies actually control the world, and if so, what do
they plan to do with it? Does the hidden hand behind history belong to a cartel of
bankers, a Gnostic secret society, the Catholic Church, the benevolent masters of
the Great White Lodge, alien reptiles from another dimension, or Satan himself?
Look at any five books or documentaries on the subject, and you can count on at
least six mutually contradictory answers.
Fortunately, there are pathways through the fog. No secret society is
completely secret, and even the murkiest events of hidden history leave traces
behind. Theories about the shadow side of history have a history of their own.
Current ideas about the Bavarian Illuminati or the lost continent of Atlantis, to
name only two examples, mean one thing in the hothouse environment of the
modern alternative-realities scene, and quite another in context, as ideas that
have developed over time and absorbed themes and imagery from many sources.
Errors of fact and disinformation can often be traced to their origins, and useful
information unearthed from unexpected sources. All this can be done, but so far,
too little of it has been done.
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies is an alphabetic guide to this
shadow side of history, and it attempts to sort out fact from the fictions,
falsifications, and fantasies that have too often surrounded the subject. True
believers and diehard skeptics alike may find themselves in unfamiliar territory,
for I have not limited myself to the usual sources quoted and challenged in the
alternative reality field; the material in this book has been gathered through
many years of personal research, using scholarly works as well as more
unorthodox sources of information. A bibliography at the end, and the
suggestions for further reading following many of the articles, will allow readers
who are interested in checking facts to do so.
Another resource I have used, one that will inevitably raise the hackles of
some readers, stems from my personal involvement in secret societies and the
occult underground of the modern world. I am a 32° Freemason, a Master of the
Temple in one branch of the Golden Dawn tradition and an Adeptus Minor in
another, the Grand Archdruid of one modern Druid order and a member of three
others, and an initiate of more than a dozen other secret societies and esoteric
traditions. The world of hidden history has been a central part of my life for
more than 30 years. I make no apologies for this fact, and indeed some of the
material covered in this book would have been much more difficult to obtain
without the access, connections, and friendships that my participation in secret
societies has brought me.
Many people have helped me gather information for this volume or
provided other assistance invaluable in its creation. Some of them cannot be
named here; they know who they are. Among those who can be named are Erik
Arneson, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Philip Carr-Gomm, Peter Cawley, Patrick
Claflin, Gordon Cooper, Lon Milo DuQuette, John Gilbert, Carl Hood Jr., Corby
Ingold, Earl King Jr., Jay Kinney, Jeff Richardson, Carroll “Poke” Runyon, Todd
Spencer, Mark Stavish, Donna Taylor, Terry Taylor, and my wife Sara. My
thanks go with all.
Note: Readers will notice the occasional use of a triangle of dots instead of an
ordinary period. This is because I have followed the Masonic punctuation
practice when abbreviating Masonic terms.

Table of Contents
Cover Page
Title Page
About the Publisher

The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Hidden History_ The Ultimate A-Z of Ancient Mysteries, Lost Civilizations and Forgotten Wisdom
An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8JB
HarperElement is a trademark of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

first published by HarperElement in 2006
EPub Edition © MAY 2010
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