In his two books, "The Occult Underground: The Dawn of the New Age" and "The Occult Establishment," historian James Webb chronicles the rise of an occult intelligentsia as it emerged out of the Renaissance. Webb sees the Renaissance as a spiritually traumatic time in which the spiritual roots of many people were shaken free of Christianity. As a result, they eagerly embraced the pantheistic /materialistic occult traditions â€” Hermeticism, Theosophy, Buddhism, magic, esoteric Kabbalah, alchemy, astrology, neo-Platonism, and Gnosticism â€” sweeping into Christendom at that time. His book, "The Occult Underground" was originally called "The Flight from Reason" because Western man had turned back to occultism â€” the science of magic. Webb's main point is that since the Renaissance, a powerfully influential occult community existing at the highest levels of society has been both the intelligentsia and the real powers behind what has been variously called the Progressive Underground, the Anti-Establishment, and the Counter Culture, the aim of which is twofold: first, the total destruction of the Old Order based on Christianity, and second, the creation of a utopian New World Order which is to rise out of the smoldering ashes of the Old Order.
By the start of the 17th century, an occult counter-tradition had arisen out of which Roisicrucianism (Order of Rosy Cross) was born. In his "Ecclesiastical History" (1755), Professor J.L. Mosheim states that Roisicrucianism,
"...is drawn from the science of (alchemy); and they only who are acquainted with the peculiar language of the (alchemists) can understand its true signification and energy....a Roisicrucian philosopher is one who...seeks for light, or, in other words, the substance called the Philosopher's Stone." (Mosheim,, Vol. II, pp. 164-165)
The Philosopher's Stone is the alchemists equivalent of secret gnosis, the secret energy that would bring the desired change in matter and consciousness.
Esoteric Roisicrucianism had its inception in Germany with the publication of a highly influential manifesto titled, "The General Reformation of the Whole Wide World." This manifesto propounded Roisicrucianism's counter-tradition plans for a future millenial Golden Age on earth, or kingdom of heaven on earth populated by a Golden Brotherhood of Man. In due course of time, various utopian schemes, Marxist Communism, and Hitler's National Socialism grew from this seed.
Roisicrucianism served as a transition betweeen the Renaissance and the Age of Reason otherwise known as the Enlightenment. Christopher McIntosh, a scholar of Roisicrucianism writes that the rejection of the Church together with a passion for science and a yearning for harmony between science and religion and above all the call for a counter-tradition reformation of the whole world are the most integral parts of the secret fraternity of Roisicrucianism which was a transition,
"...between the Renaissance and the scientific societies of the seventeenth century...In its mode of thinking (can be discerned) an early form of the Aufklarung (worldview) which in many respects was seminal to the further development of European science and culture." (From Old Gnosticism to New Age, Alan Morrison, SCP Journal 28:4-29:1)
This Aufklarung refers to rise of English deism in the 17th century that all but openly rejected supernatural Christianity. This was followed by the Enlightenment of the 18th century that,
"came completely out of the closet and launched vigorous, skillful, and sustained attacks on Christianity," said Herbert Schlossberg who added, "Humanism by now had achieved its modern identity as the opposition to Christian faith." (Idols for Destruction, Schlossberg, p. 41)
Enlightenment humanism prepared the way for a number of destructive counter-tradition philosophies and organizations together with revolutionary activism which would serve to build-up to a planned millenial utopia on earth. The prime contenders in this were Liberal Protestanism, Socio-political utopianism, the theory of evolution, comparative religion, the mind-sciences and the Theosophical society and spiritism.
During the 18th century, esoteric Roisicrucianism blended with its secular materialist counterpart Freemasonry, to form the precursor of what in our own time is called occult New Age spirituality. A leading New Age guru, Peter Lemesurier of the highly influential Findhorn Foundation in Scotland has this to say about the convergence of Roisicrucianism and Free Masonry:
"In due course, two streams of idealism---the one extravagently occult, the other more urbanely idealistic (Free Masonry)---were to come together once again in response to an unfulfilled need deep within the human psyche. And the eventual child of the union was to be the modern New Age Movement." (Lemesurier, "The New Age Business: The Story of the Ancient and Continuing Quest to Bring Down Heaven to Earth, p. 178)
In his well-researched book, "Painted Black: The Chilling True Story of the Wave of Violence Sweeping Through our Hometowns," Carl A. Raschke describes anti-Christian humanism as neobarbarism, an attitude that runs all the way,
"down the line from the French radicals of the 1700s, many of whom practiced a discrete and finely cultivated form of satanism, to Lavey himself." "...the Masonic conspiracy and its satanic underpinnings appears to have arisen about the time of the French Revolution as the outgrowth (of a) well-documented effort of more sinister occultists to infiltrate and manipulate established Masonic lodges...Whereas Masonry originally had appealed to "free-thinkers" because of its challenge to...Christianity, the new "magical" Masonry had much the same allure to those steeped in the Enlightenment culture of reason and tolerance...The most notorious sect of magical Masons, often branded the great legendary malefactors behind all world historical conspiracies, were the so-called Illuminati, or "the illumined ones." There is no doubt, said Raschke, that the satanic "illumined ones" not only, "had a significant place in the early modern era, they also had a broad impact that is beginning at last to be appreciated." (pp. 141-142)
Illuminist secret societies quickly spread over and across Europe and even into the United States shortly after its founding. Its aim was to accomplish what alchemists and occultists have called the "great work" as a "social and political undertaking. The magical objective of the Illuminati was abolition of the hated Old Order built on Christianity and the creation of a utopian society that knitted together all humankind. Raschke comments,
"...Illuminist politics were fired by a self-conscious worship of the deepest and most impelling instinctual urgings of the human organism. Only the reign of the violent and repressed would be sufficient to 'liberate' humanity from the tyranny of religion, law, and class domination." (p. 145)
This notion became the basis of revolutionary doctrine from Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and on into our own time with Saul Alinsky and his disciples, such as Hillary Clinton and Obama.
The reign of the violent and repressed (i.e., criminals, homosexuals, lesbians, the envious) said Raschke,
"highlights not just the close connection between nazism and satanism but also the ongoing affinity throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries between occultism, social anarchism, organized criminality, and what has been called the aesthetic terrorism of the cultural avantgarde." (p. 144)
Today the reign of the violent and repressed is manifest within both America's "progressive ruling class" and occult New Age spirituality which forecasts the coming of a millenial Age of Aquarius. New Age relies heavily on the spirit revelations channeled through various Theosophists and spiritists. All together, said Lee Penn, author of "False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion" they form a comprehensive anti-Gospel setting forth a progressive vision of spiritualized totalitarianism that includes praise for Lucifer, the idea that men are gods, hatred of true Christian theism and faithful Judaism, extreme population control and liquidation of all reactionaries.