About thirty miles outside of Lisbon exists a modern day fairytale town called Sintra. Perched high on a mountaintop this small quaint medieval town takes your breath away with its vast views of surrounding Portugal, its castles, and its infamous mansions.
I began my day in Sintra’s main square perusing the treasures at the local Christmas market and dipping into a small specialty store to do some wine and port tastings. One of the many perks of being on holiday is giving into your vices…not having to wait till the clock strikes 5pm to indulge in your poisons. The clerk was exceptionally helpful and I learned a ton about Portuguese wines. I even bought a bottle to bring home for my New Years celebration along with oiled sardines (a local favorite which makes me queasy, but something I have to try!).
From the main square I made my way to Quinta da Regaleira, which absolutely blew my mind. This gothic mansion was originally owned by a wealthy Brazilian man who made his money from sugar plantations. To locals this place is known to be mystical for the owner was a fee Mason and a member of the Illuminati. Walking through the grounds of his mansion, it was explained how the Illuminati held rituals here to welcome new members into the secret society.
The entire grounds were built around Dante’s Divine Comedy. The top of the hill to the bottom of the property represents nine levels of hell, purgatory, and heaven. During these famous rituals, individuals would have to enter the well of initiation that had nine circles down to hell. Once they arrived to the bottom of the well they followed the underground tunnel heading East. Once they were met with sunlight they arrived at a waterfall that represents the paradise of Heaven. Individuals who chose the path to the right were automatically accepted into the secret society. Individuals who turned left were cast from paradise and had to study some more before being put into the initiation ritual again.
According to Dante’s “Inferno” one must be pure to enter the light. Purity means being able to love another person and all beings. Dante said that we must find purity as individuals which will collectively make us pure as a society. For instance, the fall of the Roman Empire was due to the lack of ethics, morality, and love. Dante believed that there were good people to fight the evil, but many of them were “sleeping.” Many of these people do not speak up since they do not believe it will make a difference. How true his philosophy rings home today.
From the tunnels we were brought to an outside alter surrounded by beautiful gardens. This magical place was called the Fountain of Abundance, where members of the Illuminati would come to count their blessings. It was funny that this fountain cropped up for me, for I have been practicing coming at my own life not from a scarcity point of view but from one of abundance. What a difference a persons perspective makes. When looking at people’s lives, it’s fairly easy to see which looking glass they are viewing through. People that see their lives as scarce tend to lead a much harder life. Ones that view it through abundance have more things handed to them. I’m not saying that bad things don’t happen to people who live abundant lives (they absolutely do!), but to them there is always a silver lining.
One of my favorite parts of the grounds was the Catholic Church. It was a very ornate, lovely, and small church…one of the most beautiful and intimate I had seen in all my travels throughout Europe. I would have never written about it, however, I happened to walk down some stairs that brought me underground to another church. This church was barren, with just a small plain alter, and hardly any light. It was creepy down there and so desolate compared to the beautiful church right above it. It turns out that the owner had intentionally built two churches right on top of one another. The bottom church was where he and the other Illuminati members prayed. They realized that true devotion only needs ones faith and ones heart. They held masses for visitors upstairs, who had no clue that the other basement compartment existed.
Many people also did not recognize the pyramid shaped eye that was carved into the ceiling entrance of the church. This eye is the famous symbol of the Illuminati and is even present on our dollar bills in the states, meaning the new world order. The truth is that this society knows more truth and has more wisdom passed down throughout the centuries than we could ever imagine. So much of our fate is out of our own hands. What I wouldn’t have given to be a fly on those walls!