A network of non-authoritarian, decentralized metaphysical and occult bodies, in free communion. The term 'Free illuminism' is used synonymously.
Congregational Illuminism is non-hierarchical and non-authoritarian. This means there is no rank or stratification and there is no central authority or “inner circle”. Congregational Illuminism is based on a bottom-up rather than a top-down model. We feel that all too often has it been shown that strict hierarchies within magical organizations have led to petty politics and useless power struggles. We say, do away with all this, level the playing field and focus on the Work. ~ Tau Dositheos on illumiGnosis
The use of the term 'congregational' in "Congregational Illuminism" was inspired by magician Mort Shapiro. Shapiro worked and continues to work Crowley's Gnostic Mass without cOTO control under the name "Congregational Thelema", and is considered the closest thing congregational illuminism has to a founder. Shapiro has indicated his strong affinity.
Various pre-existing decentralised groups came together in free association to form the congregational illuminist movement as it is today, and continue to do so. However some groups were instrumental in it inception and played the role of early influences on its formation. These include the Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis (EGnU), a group founded by a College of Bishops who choose to celebrate the mysteries as spirituality or religion, but of diverse interests from Thelemic Gnostic, Voudon Gnostic and Eastern Tantric sources.
Congregational illuminism is a term created by Allen Greenfield to describe a pre-existing and emergent phenomena of a decentralised network of groups and individuals interested in illumination working together in free association.
Use of the term was not made without also being mindful of the Congregationalist movement, Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs. The decentralised bottom up nature is said to be traced back to anarcho-syndicalism, to certain Protestant Sects such as the Levelers and True Levelers in Britain at the time of the English Civil War, and denominations such as the Society of Friends.
Other influences on the structure include the democracy of freemasonry as practised in the USA, the 'Golden Path' described in the Dune series by Frank Herbert, the decentralism of the egregore in the Gnostic community and the independent lines of Apostolic Succession.
Free illuminism has compared itself to Free Software and Open Source:
I especially like Richard Stallman’s quote:
"…free software refers, not to price, but to freedom. So think of free speech, not free beer."
And I’m also thinking of free illuminism. ~ illumiGnosis
- Free Illuminism: Intro and contacts
- Congregational Illuminism and Points Chauds Podcast
- Free Illuminism discussion on the KIA forums.