According to a handful of late twentieth-century conspiracy theorists, the oldest secret society in the world, founded in prehistoric times to carry out a diabolical plot of world domination and enslavement, culminating in a New World Order scheduled to arrive sometime in the very near future. The Brotherhood of the Snake, according to several recent books, was either founded or taken over by evil forces in Mesopotamia in the year 300,000 BCE. Every secret society in history, according to these same books, is simply a branch of the Brotherhood of the Snake and cooperates with all other branches of the conspiracy, despite careful manipulation of appearances to make it look as though the different branches are distinct and even opposed to one another. See New World Order.
The name of this alleged society, with its reference to the serpent of the Tree of Knowledge in the biblical book of Genesis, points to the origins of the claim in fundamentalist Christian fantasies about Satanism. It may be worth adding that the writers who claim to have detected the Brotherhood of the Snake behind every secret society in history have yet to present any evidence for its existence. See fundamentalism; Satanism.
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies : the ultimate a-z of ancient mysteries, lost civilizations and forgotten wisdom written by John Michael Greer – © John Michael Greer 2006