Elite Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Nordics, and Pagans all recognized the importance of rites and rituals in celebration or worship. To solemnize his influence, a Greek politician in 350 B.C. might hire several maidens to press their breasts against his flesh while serving him wine; a Roman Imperial Legate might order pies dusted with the ashes of gemstones; and in a sartorial ritual to protect their nether regions, Viking chieftains wore blue linen underwear.
While the rituals of 18th century European royals amounted mostly to feasting and excessive merriment, the Freemasons were concocting all manner of convoluted rites. Amassing a formidable membership and emerging as one of the world’s most secretive and influential societies (members have included kings and queens, wealthy bankers and business leaders, along with 13 U.S. presidents), the Freemasons elect an elite power-posse, known as ‘Shriners’, led by the ‘Imperial Potentate’. To become a Shriner, you must advance through to the highest levels of Freemasonry and become a Master Mason. With rituals drawn from The Knights Templar, an initiate might be stripped naked, beaten with a hammer, thrust into a coffin, then “resurrected” in front of his peers, who demand his oath.
Since the 1800s the world’s youngest elite have sought membership in such secret societies while at university. The Bonesmen, Yale’s ‘Order of the Skull and Bones,’ boasts several U.S. presidents, the wealthiest CEOs, scores of government agents, and thousands of history’s power- players, as members. There are countless secret, elitist clubs that cater to the highest tiers of modern society – you need only a referral.
The Bohemian Club (est. 1872) is an annual, woodsy assembly of the most notable influencers, including CEOs, journalists, intellectuals, and artists. The Bilderberg conference (est. 1954) hosts some of the most gifted luminaries and academics. In contention with Beyoncé and her girls, it is widely postulated that it is in fact these types of groups that run the world, not through politics, but by establishing self-serving agendas and agreements, all via private discussions and events.
While today’s rich and famous might not invite the city to dine in their courts or partake in Aztec human-sacrificial rituals, they will drop $250K on their child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah. They’ll also seek membership in the most expensive country- and golf clubs, along with other powerful organizations, some of which have their own unique rites and rituals.
To add spice to their lives, the wealthiest might collect exotic pets and fine art, or create their own faux-organic skin products. You might also find them flying around, playing polo, and racing cars. With a penchant for pizazz, the wealthiest continuously seek entertainment and escape. Many of today’s elite have humble practices. Upon rising early, they’ll exercise and put sincere effort into personal projects and hobbies. According to leading universities, the wealthy spend less time on social media, and more time on ‘active’ leisure, such as socializing and travel.
When I partnered with two Hollywood legends, they practiced elegant forms of business, exemplifying the rites of tough, old Hollywood. They sent lavish gifts to partners and enemies, rejected calls from lesser titles, did favors for their betters, and scheduled lunches at popular haunts, simply to be seen. They had personal trainers, visiting chefs, and teams of humble lemmings who provided incessant streams of praise. Their days were filled with five-minute meetings, aggressive squeeze-plays, and Hollywood Reporter exclusives. It was all about ego, press, and power.
My friend and client, one of Thailand’s wealthiest men, takes elegance to an epic level. He diversifies his media portfolio by building five-star restaurants and inviting global leaders to dine with him. Like many celebrities who love home-brews, he once shared his private-label Limoncello, an intoxicating liquor that knocked me to the floor. On another occasion, he cancelled our dinner plans because Prince Charles was in town. He apologized by moving me to a four-story villa, affording me a butler, and hiring a world-renowned tailor to upgrade my wardrobe, a style of apology that’s typical for people of his ilk.
When they’re not actively overseeing the growth of their vineyards, charities, wealth, and influence, some of the planet’s elite go astray. They might join sex clubs like Snctm or former ego-cults like NXIVM. Others might regularly congregate to explore more risqué activities like BDSM, black magic, and mock cannibalism. The more esoteric, erotic, exclusive, or outlandish, the more the rich will flock.
When they’re not sailing on superyachts, meditating on mountaintops, or buying da Vinci scribblings, the wealthiest eventually focus on how, when, and with whom their offspring will breed. By partnering with billionaire pedigree and carefully selecting their child’s spouse, mid- upper-level families can catapult from traditional real-estate investors to remote-island owners, in a heartbeat. This is reminiscent of how the ol’ European thrones established the planet’s hierarchy, which is still very much in play today.
Paul Wagner is an empath-medium and a five-time Emmy Award- winning writer. He studied with Lakota elders in the Pecos Wilderness, who nurtured his empathic abilities and taught him the sacred rituals. He has lived at ashrams with enlightened masters, – including Amma, the Hugging Saint-, and tours the world lecturing on spiritual liberation, lovingly offering intuitive readings and inspirational coaching to help others with self-discovery.
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