The Order of the Happy (Ordre des Felicitaires) was founded in 1743 in Paris. One of the first secret societies to admit women as well as men to membership, it may have been inspired by the Mopses, a Catholic secret society of the same kind founded in Vienna five years earlier. Its symbolism was entirely nautical, with candidates symbolically sailing from the Island of Felicity. The degree system included four degrees, Cabin Boy, Captain, Commodore, and Vice-Admiral, and the presiding officer of the Order’s one lodge was titled the Admiral. See Order of Mopses.
The Order gave rise to at least one offshoot, the Knights and Ladies of the Anchor, founded in 1745. Both these organizations sank without a trace sometime in the late 1740s or early 1750s, but they helped inspire the more successful Order of Woodcutters and Adoptive Masonry later on. See Adoptive Masonry; Order of Woodcutters.
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