T. S. Eliot and the Illuminati

Conspiracy theories abound, to the point that some of them must be true, at least in part. However, most popular theorists’ allegations we have examined are pure baloney (BS), which tempts one to set a rule that: If it smells like baloney, it probably is baloney, but actual testing of apparent baloney is recommended because strange things can be true. Even skepticism deserves skepticism. Such was the case with the conspiracy theory claim that T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) played an active or supportive role in a long-term Zionist-fascist plot to rule the world. Was T. S. Eliot aligned with conspiratorial Illuminati? 

Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, playwright, and publisher with a deep interest in philosophy. To gain sufficient income to support his creative writing, Tom worked for several years as a banker. During those years he was married to the former Vivienne Haigh-Wood, a dancer whose wealthy father was the Royal Academician. Her unabashed “vulgarity” (the word used by some of her contemporaries) was politely described as “exceptional frankness.” The shy, virginal, late-blooming Eliot was drawn to her sexual competence like the proverbial moth. They married quickly, and tragically. 

Eliot lacked the mind of a clandestine operative or back-room conspirator. To the contrary, he was often duped and betrayed by those he trusted. His former professor, Bertrand Russell, attracted to Vivien’s exceptional frankness, invited her and Tom to solve their housing problem by moving in with him. Yet, eventually, lover Bertie and husband Tom both distanced themselves from the destructive wake of hormone-driven madness that her mother bluntly called “moral insanity.” Even feminist author Virginia Woolf described Vivien as a “bag of ferrets,” but while Tom legally separated from Vivien, his integrity and his sympathy for her never allowed him to seek a divorce. 

There is nothing in T. S. Eliot’s background or schooling to suggest that he ever had any inclination towards fanaticism or aggression in any form—e.g., physical, emotional, political, ideological, sexual, or intellectual. In fact, his studies indicate that he was circumspect and eclectic, open to a wide-range of subjects and ideas. There is every indication that he was, at bottom, a conventional-minded man having traditional convictions with respect to religion and literature, a “classicist” who gravitated toward Anglo-Catholicism—hardly radical, reactionary, or subversive. In fact, he shunned his family’s roots in Unitarianism and the Transcendentalist ideals of Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

At the same time, Eliot was not arrogant, in that he did not distance himself from people whose ideas, inclinations, and preferences were unlike his own. He was a joiner in that, from his youth, he joined organizations related to his interests. So, it is possible that he joined organizations that someone today might manage to perceive as connected to some master web of world-domination conspirators. We think the best test of whether he had any kinship with the world-domination mentality is by examination of his works: The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, and religious poems such as “Journey of the Magi.” In none of them do we find even a single indication that Eliot was “illumined” in any way. 

The Waste Land may have societal implications, but it basically masks only the trauma and tragedy of Eliot’s first marriage; there is no coded message of an occult nature as some might imagine. Essentially the same can be said of The Hollow Men. Perhaps the most evidential work is, “Journey of the Magi” because in that poem Eliot reveals his imagined reaction of the biblical Magi to the birth of Jesus. T. S. Eliot had no apparent occult, esoteric, or “illumined” education, orientation, or inclination.

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