Hundreds, if not thousands of orders of secret societies have existed over time. Many Europeans participated in these societies during the 1700s, from skilled workers to nobility. This prompted European governments and the Catholic Church to act because they looked down upon secret societies.
In 1738 Pope Clement XII prohibited all Catholic followers from joining secret orders. Religious organizations and governments discouraged Europeans by alleging followers of secret orders to practice Satanic rituals and performed acts of sodomy.
Secret societies acted in their namesake way to preserve their commitment to the individual’s freedom. Fostering rational thought, the scientific method, and ideals of equality, their longevity was due to their secrecy. Establishing an orderly organization and tolerating all types of religious beliefs, these organizations would eventually challenge monarchies across North America and Europe. French, British, and later American free-thinkers including Franklin, Voltaire, and Washington were all well-known members.
Oculists, a less well-known secret society, were not mild about their zeal for freedom and disdain for authority. Calling for the death of everything that stood between an individual and their natural rights to a free life, it included insurrection. The Oculists’ manuscript preceded America’s Declaration of Independence, by three decades – perhaps the original renunciation of tyranny. As a result of this radical agenda, the Oculist needed secure file transfers of all their activities and rituals.
Their written code, the Copiale, undisclosed to the world for well beyond 260 years, described their ceremonies and bond to one another in their common quest for freedom. It spelled out their brotherhood of respect for all free-thinking organizations. Lodge meetings gave them time to debate, think and challenge authority without fear of religious or political prosecution or suppression. With extreme, privacy came tightly held encryption – most of which is still a mystery.
Oculists used Roman characters with the regular cadence of a continental language to create their code. Certain Roman characters like “E” specifically stood for spaces, not letters. Symbols might have represented individual characters, but are almost always translated into words. As a result, their writings were nearly impenetrable to those outside the order. Investment Advisors Secure File Share uses the latest encryption methods to create similar unbreakable security.
Oculists ciphered Copiale symbols so uniquely to stand for numerals in addition to characters and words that modern-day ciphers still struggle to unlock the code’s complete meaning. What occurred behind closed doors and the document transfer within the Oculists’ meetings will likely remain a secret forever.
The Oculists’ organizational history is equally shrouded. Prior to their code, the group was nearly unheard of. Friedrich August von Veltheim in April 1775, a count who led the Oculists, had multiple memberships in many secret organizations including the Order of the Golden Poodles. Upon the passing of von Veltheim, his will led his son to a trunk with Oculists’ items. The will permitted his son to open the trunk and reveal the items upon a designated duke’s approval.
Von Veltheim used satirical references, including his Order of the Golden Poodles, to cover for the then-unknown Oculist organization. Using symbols to signify numbers instead of letters and creating a hybrid Latin, German and Copaile language, von Veltheim created a further level of secrecy. Ceremonial events were so guarded that regular members were not included. Everything, including exclusive ceremonies, was encoded in the text such as the inclusion of skulls, coffins, and disrobing rites.
Since secret societies were illegal according to the Catholic Church, a fine line had to be held between saving your organization’s culture and not violating any Church or legal decrees. To avoid debilitating intense accusations, permitted rituals were implemented to cover unaccepted rituals, especially from the Church.