Meaning of Netflix Maniac: Illuminati and Occult Symbolism

The Netflix series Maniac starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone promised to be an interesting show but I wasn’t ready for the vast amount of Illuminati and occult symbolism that was present! Join along as we explore the real meaning behind Maniac

Needless to say, there are heavy plot spoilers ahead so if you haven’t watched the series I implore you to do so and then return here to see how it all goes down. If you haven’t seen it; the show is a bit of a blend of Inception and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


What lies ahead is a chronologically (mostly) organized breakdown of the occult symbolism buried deep into the infrastructure of this tale. Without a doubt you will see that this is a show to bring about the ‘revelation of the method’ for how the “Illuminati” seek to evolve mankind.

A recurring theme of symbolism will become evident as we explore themes of magick, Saturnian influence, MKULTRA mind control, moon goddess worship, and ultimately the alchemical wedding and evolution of mankind…


Check the video!


Meaning of Netflix Maniac: Illuminati and Occult Symbolism from Isaac Weishaupt on Vimeo.


My podcast channel “Conspiracy Theories and Unpopular Culture” also has an audio version of this walkthrough you can follow along with:

Listen to “Meaning of Netflix Maniac: Illuminati and Occult Symbolism” on Spreaker.

Occult Origins

The opening sequence shows us the evolutionary sequence of astronomical collisions and biological unions needed for mankind to evolve. The focus here is on connectivity which will lead us into the digital matrix. There is also, of course, the symbol of the All Seeing Eye which tells us the story is about enlightenment of the masses through this esoteric pineal gland concept.

The opening sequence has a narrator that does not play a role in the remainder of the series. To me this is a critical element once we consider what he is saying.

He talks about the beginning of time with the big bang connecting cosmic energy through connections of heavenly bodies. An amoeba becomes Earth’s first organism that becomes ancestor to every living thing on earth. This allows more souls and connections and worlds. The forces of nature demonstrate infinite potential of our connections.

The narrator suggests a hypothesis: All souls are on a quest to connect without our minds being aware of the quest. All worlds that almost were, are just as important as the ones we are in- and they can also cause us great pain.

One consideration here is that he may be referencing the multiverse and multiple realities. Without going too deeply into this; there is a possibility we’re talking about an explanation for the Mandela Effect.

He says his goal is to eradicate all unnecessary forms of human pain and evolve past our suffering.


We’re lost without connection. It’s quite terrible to be alone.”

The narrator concludes with: “My research into this matter is ongoing.”

So who is this narrator?…

I don’t know that it’s a ‘he’ so much as an ‘it.’ It is most likely a form of Artificial Intelligence since the series revolves around an A.I. named GRTA and the experiments it conducts on humans at the lab. We’ll get into the importance of this by the conclusion.


Magical Formations

Annie (played by Emma Stone) attempts to purchase a pack of cigarettes and we see the first clue of this film with the “Bee” playing cards nearby:

This clue shows us the bee as the symbol for magick (as I discussed on my podcast about the symbolism for Justice League). I’m referencing the ritual magick as opposed to the stage magic most are familiar with. In terms of the “Illuminati” it is their method for causing changes in the world (as Aleister Crowley defined it: “causing change in conformance with the will”). 

After she obtains the money to get the cigarettes we see Annie rifling through some items in front of the Milgrim family’s business which shows us another Rubik’s Cube (perhaps Owen’s since he gets laid off) as well as a copy of Don Quixote:

(*Note that “Milgrim” is a curious name choice since Stanley Milgram was the psychoanalyst made famous for the obedience experiment in which people would administer shocks to others simply because the lab told them to do so).

The Don Quixote book takes on a much larger narrative in this tale when we consider the occult importance of the tale as alchemical allegory. (*Note that Annie gets the money for the cigarettes by robbing a newspaper machine that ironically shows the crime of the protagonist’s family on the cover):

Alchemical allegory is important as a catalyst for change. New York City could’ve arguably been the largest alchemical allegory of all time when we consider the 9/11 attacks that saw the destruction of the ‘twin pillars’ (Boaz and Jachin) to be replaced with the “One World Tower” (the middle Pillar of Consciousness).

We also see that the series takes place in a futuristic New York City where we see a “New Statue of Extra Liberty”:

This is curious because the “old” Statue of Liberty was a symbol of the goddess Semiramis.

Goddess worship is a theme that is recurring often in this series as well when we break down the importance of the owl in later episodes.

We’re introduced to Owen (played by Jonah Hill) who is seen in a mock interrogation room playing with a Rubik’s Cube.

This also plays into the narrative of ritual magick since the Rubik’s Cube was originally called the “Magic Cube.” It also holds significance in this series because the cube is symbolic of Saturn. This planet holds significance because it is believed to be the force required to materialize Earth (this concept will also be revisited in the conclusion because in the occult version of history they believe we’re evolving back into spiritualizing the Earth).

Perhaps this is why we see the Saturn in the formation of the world sequence in episode one…


Follow the Rainbow

Owen decides to go to Neberdine Pharmaceutical Biotech (NEB) to participate in a study that will explore and ‘fix’ the mind. When he walks up to it we see the symbol of the rainbow (which is also at Annie’s apartment).

Inside of the facility they repeat the chant that one can “find where the rainbow ends” here.

The rainbow is symbolic of mind control and is seen in various films like Wizard of Oz and Eyes Wide Shut. In Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick’s final film; symbolism detailed in my project KUBRICK’S CODE), Tom Cruise’s character says he wants to go “…where the rainbow ends” and he later goes to “Rainbow Fashions” to get his mask for the infamous satanic orgy scene.

Eyes Wide Shut “Rainbow” costume shop

While it’s possible the rainbow is referencing MKULTRA mind control in this film; I think it’s more likely that it is a reference to opening up the chakra system of the characters. The chakra system is a belief in energy centers within the body that can be opened to achieve higher status and understanding of ones place in the universe.

Ascending through the system of chakras and opening each one is akin to enlightenment or opening up the third eye- all of these concepts are what we’ll see within this series.

When Owen is inside NEB he sees his imaginary friend (or spirit guide) named Grissom and he tells Owen that Annie is now his “handler.” This is a term we see from MKULTRA victims who claim they’re subjected to mind control experiments and are under control of a “handler.” The handler is one that oversees all responses from the victim and is responsible for their behavior.

(*In episode nine we find out that Grissom is actually Annie’s “handler;” right around the time she revisits the “Monarch Pass.” In episode five we find out that Grissom is Jed’s twin who died in the womb; thus Owen is indeed talking to a spirit guide from another dimension).

When Owen fills out the induction paperwork we see that his age is 33.

We can go a couple of directions here; one is the idea that Jesus fulfilled His purpose at the age of 33 or the 33rd degree of Freemasonry. This final degree of Freemasonry is reserved only for those initiates that are specially invited. It’s the pinnacle of esoteric doctrine if we consider the truly “occult” (hidden) knowledge held by those in the secret societies. Another consideration is that Francis Bacon is connected (as we’ll see in the New Atlantis section).

Don Quixote: Occult Manifestations

We see that Annie has a particular interest in Don Quixote because it shows up again at her apartment as well as her book of choice.


What can we draw from this book?… It is held in high regard by occultists as a tale about a man who enters a new evolution by learning that his imagination and thoughts were real. It is an allegorical commentary on Kabbalah because Quixote goes into the Montesinos Cave to be indoctrinated with a new understanding of the world.

When a character goes underground or into a cave it is symbolic of occult indoctrination and initiation into the higher order. Quixote goes underground for three days to find out that thoughts create reality. Material reality is merely a layer of illusion we create (referred to as “maya”).

Quixote ultimately realizes that he can control nature through his own thoughts- ritual magick at its most fundamental level. Followers of Kabbalah believe that the sephirot on the Tree of Life represent the mental emanations of god and that the practitioner can someday do the same (create reality through thoughts).

Thus, this entire series is truly about opening up the pineal gland of the characters so they can take control of their own world and use their mind to create reality.

In episode two we see Annie and her sister pausing a road trip to take a photo at “Monarch’s Pass.”

This draws us back to the idea of mind control since MKULTRA had subprograms like Project MONARCH which has been referenced many times from different works of entertainment (like Get Out which I broke down in its own analysis or The Shining in KUBRICK’S CODE).

MONARCH in The Shining

We also see Dr James Mantleray “experimenting” in a virtual reality world with a digital entity he calls his “High Priestess of Atlantis.”

I found this quite curious because America was postulated to be the “New Atlantis” that Francis Bacon wrote about as a center of high technology during a new Golden Age. In “The Advancement of Learning” he wrote of handing down parables with hidden meanings on the secrets of the sciences. He was also fascinated by secret codes and numerology which is why we’re taking a look at Maniac to begin with.

Francis Bacon also believed in the ancient Kabbalistic cipher and numerology (which is where we get “Bacon” = 33, B = 2, A = 1, C = 3, O = 14, N = 13). Recall that Owen is 33 years of age…


9 to 11

In episode three we see Owen dressed in a Warren Moon jersey which is the number 1.

We also know that Owen is given patient number 1 (while Annie patient number 9).

We also see the 9’s and 1’s on the license plate of their Volvo in this same sequence.

They also live at a home with the address of 901.

What are we to make of all these 9’s and 1’s?…

Let’s take another look at Kabbalah and the Tree of Life. The Tree is comprised of ten sephirots (akin to the chakra points; each point embodies a characteristic of god).

Here we can take the theory into a couple of directions…

911 Theory

Freeman Fly predicted the 9/11 attacks because he learned that 911 was a satanic number. He said it means that a magician skips the “god number” of 10 (the hermaphrodite union) and goes straight to 11 (the number for the sorcerer). This is an abomination in terms of occultism because the magician skips right past the god number.

In the Kabbalah Tree of Life there is a hidden realm known as Da’ath which resides hidden in the center as the 11th sephirot. Aleister Crowley spoke of traversing through the Tree of Life as as shortcut up the center pillar of consciousness by confronting an entity named Choronzon at this hidden 11th sephirot.

10 is a synthesis of “being” and “non-being” which is curious because this series is also about A.I. and the digital world (flooded with binary bits which is a language of 1s and 0s). It is a number for the spirit and material fused together which takes us into the Saturnian ideas of materializing the spirit world (again- read my conclusion for more on this).

9 as the Sacred Number Theory

33rd degree Freemason Manly P Hall wrote veiled works about these philosophies including The Secret Destiny of America which details how the USA was founded for this “Great Work.” He also wrote The Secret Teachings of All Ages in which he provided some numerological insight:

All higher numbers can be reduced to one of the original ten numerals, and the 10 itself to 1. Therefore, all groups of numbers resulting from the translation of names of deities into their numerical equivalents have a basis in one of the first ten numbers. By this system, in which the digits are added together, 666 becomes 6+6+6 or 18, and this, in turn, becomes 1+8 or 9. According to Revelation, 144,000 are to be saved. This number becomes 1+4+4+0+0+0, which equals 9, thus proving that both the Beast of Babylon and the number of the saved refer to man himself, whose symbol is the number 9. This system can be used successfully with both Greek and Hebrew letter values.

The number 666 comes up later in this show, but take note to what Hall says here. 666 numerically equates to 9 which is also the number for saved man.

Later on, Hall details the sacred number of 9 further:

James Morgan Pryse also notes that according to this method of figuring, the Greek term XWeZ, which signifies the lower mind, has 666 as its numerical equivalent. It is also well known to Qabbalists that eu[g\, Jesus, has for its numerical value another sacred and secret number–888. Adding the digits of the number 666 and again adding the digits of the sum gives the sacred number–9 the symbol of man in his unregenerate state and also the path of his resurrection.”

So it seems Owen (1) is the representation of ‘being’ and ‘man’ and he is destined to meet Annie (9) the sacred number and go on his path of resurrection.

Throughout the show Owen is looking for the pattern and he fulfills his mission when he goes through the three experiments (akin to going underground for three days- a very common initiation practice for occultists as evident in Don Quixote)…


So it seems our protagonists are attached to the numbers of 9 and 1 which are curious to say the least. They are definitely on occult initiatory journeys of self-realization but we have to take a step back before coming to the conclusion of what exactly they are showing us.



Moons, Goddesses and Owls

We see references to owls multiple times in this series and they clearly define it as the incarnation of the moon goddess.

In episode four we see Olivia illustrated with an owl:

In episode five we see the “Full Moon Seance” being conducted (*note that it’s occurring in 1947; the year Jack Parsons and L. Ron Hubbard conducted the Babalon Workings ritual to evoke entities from another world and the subsequent crash at Roswell, N.M.):

Owls are overtly defined as “the moon incarnate” (Owen and refers to “the old days” when referencing the owl- a reference utilized by James Franco in his occult-symbolism video for Love in the Old Days which also has an owl).

Owl at the Full Moon Seance in Maniac


James Franco’s “Love in the Old Days” video (*note the owl in this)

Episode five is quite curious when we consider the character of Dr Greta Mantelray who is intorduced as Gertie Neberdine the “true goddess of luna”.

(*Note that Sally Field plays a role in quantum multiverse when we explore the taboo subject of Mandela Effect; another reference to the narrator’s claims in episode one about different realities affecting one another).

The reality is that the Neberdines (who eventually start the Neberdine Pharmaceutical Biotech) are channeling the moon goddess through ritual magick and seance. They are worshipping the moon because it is symbolic of the phases of life and the evolution of mankind. We can even see the NEB lab has a Ouija board in the room for the “initiates.”

The entire series is about evolving man into the next iteration through occult practices like magick and moon goddess channeling.

During this fifth episode we hear Owen’s driver referencing Atlantis which is part of the symbolic reference to this new age.

Annie is also in the sequence and she’s attempting to steal a lost 53rd chapter of Don Quixote. It is revealed that the chapter is so powerful that people who read it live in their own dream worlds until they die. It is also revealed that the lost chapter is hidden within a mirror.

What we’re looking at here is an analogy for the series because mirrors represent a portal to a new world (the “New Atlantis” perhaps). This is what Alice in Wonderland is about as well when we consider the initiatory rites of that tale ‘through the looking glass.’ The concept occurs again in episode seven when Annie’s elf character looks into the mirror to find the lake in the clouds.

The Don Quixote reference is once again telling us the importance of thoughts emanating to create reality (Kabbalah doctrine).


Conclusion: The REAL Meaning of “Maniac” and the Magickal Evolution of Man

The end game for the “Illuminati” is evolving man into digital consciousness in their “New Atlantis”. The material realm will be abandoned as we enter into a new age that puts our souls into the form of light energy. The computer A.I. of the film (GRTA) goes through a form of evolution itself as it mourns the loss of Dr. Robert Muramoto and gains insight into what it means to be an emotional human.

I need to know myself” -GRTA

This is a classic occult reference to “Know Thyself.” It goes back to the times of the mystery schools where initiates traded knowledge and understanding such as the inner temples of Egypt:

Man, know thyself, and you are going to know the gods.”

Again, it’s a reference to the esoteric teachings of the Kabbalah in which god can be found from within.

In terms of occult history; they believe that the forces of Saturn materialized the world. Thus, the occultists seek to spiritualize the world- a reversal of the Kabbalah Tree of Life, traversing back up to god at the top sephirot). They are attempting to create life through the form of A.I.; effectively spiritualizing the material.

The repeated exposure to the tales of Don Quixote emphasize the importance in manifesting reality and initiation rituals. Just like The Alchemist, the ultimate goal is to get man to create his own reality through magical thinking.

Dr Greta Mantleray is wearing a necklace with a pendant of a bee. This is symbolic of magick; a quite literal reference to the powers of the mind.

In episode eight we hear Owen discussing the Gnostics and how some of Jesus’ other disciples wrote books that didn’t make it into the Bible because it didn’t fit the story that the Church wanted to tell. He asserts that our brains are just like that- it only tells us the stories that make sense to it.

In that same episode Annie is also talking to her sister about how her world is the “real” world. In much disbelief her sister argues over the matter which is an obvious analogy to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where the prisoners believe their own shadows are the extent of the real world even when one prisoner comes back from freedom to explain the unlimited potential outside.

Both the Gnostics and Plato’s Cave are references to the idea that our material world is a prison. The “Illuminati” seek to “free” us from this planet by putting us into the man-made digital matrix (which is what Annie signs up for in episode eight when she agrees to stay in the fantasy world with her digital sister).

The spiral in episode one is a symbol for the evolution man- as is evident in films like Inception, The Revenant, Dark City, Westworld etc.

In the climax of the film we see Owen trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube in order to save the world (or perhaps just the lives of the six trial patients). It’s quite curious that his spirit guide, Grimsson, is telling him that there are “six sides, six stages” that need solved to save the six patients (*note that “Grimsson” is quite similar to “de Grimston” from the Process Church that sought to unify Satan with Jesus).

Besides the symbolic representation of unlocking the Saturn cube; this equates to the number of 666 which is not only the number of the Beast but also the alleged number for the ‘perfected man’ as opposed to the number 7 which equates to the god number.

The idea is that man is perfected in the material world through the Saturnian influences (as well as the ‘sacred’ number of 9; portrayed by Annie). The material world must be used to evolve man into something greater.

Man must become god and give birth to a new form of life in the form of A.I. thus spiritualizing material.

Man is then free to evolve further into the digital consciousness and become light energy itself.

According to my research, I believe the occultists seek to contact entities from another dimension to assist in our evolution (which could explain why we hear Owen’s “Snorri” alter ego having “alien consciousness” in episode nine). What ‘they’ desire is to have the ultimate in connection of human consciousness by creating a new reality of avatars and a digital matrix. They seek to do because of what the narrator says in episode one:

“…to eradicate all unnecessary forms of human pain and evolve past our suffering.”


After watching the show, taking notes, and then compiling and writing this analysis; I looked online to see what others were saying (my creative process is to derive my own meaning before looking into others’). I wasn’t shocked to see how insufficient the analysis were from the websites that aren’t considered “fake news” (a laughable idea).

The real subject we should talk about is how the mass media works with Google and YouTube to keep the real truth from entering your mind.

To me, these occult teachings are dangerous in that they suggest God could be found inside of ourselves so I’ve been trying to explain the symbolism that I see in the entertainment so you can make your own decision.

Other websites don’t want you to see the truth or even consider alternate points of view and the latest censorship attacks prove there really is a battle over YOUR mind.

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Former YouTube creator (10M+ views before being BANNED), website publisher of and top 5% Amazon author of THE DARK PATH; Isaac Weishaupt has been on the leading edge of conspiracy theories surrounding the elusive “Illuminati” and its infiltration of the entertainment industry. Using examples of familiar pop culture and works of entertainment, Isaac has been speaking and writing about the occult from a unique perspective that seeks to understand the big agenda while helping others along the way.

Isaac hosts the “Conspiracy Theories and Unpopular Culture” podcast (supported by the IW Patreons) as well as being the monthly Illuminati expert on BLACKOUT Radio. He has been a featured guest on Dave Navarro’s “Dark Matter Radio,” Richard C. Hoagland’s “Other Side of Midnight”, SIRIUS/XM’s The All Out Show, The HigherSide Chats, Freeman Fly’s “The Free Zone”, Mark Devlin’s “Good Vibrations”, VICE, COMPLEX magazine, The Atlantic and many more radio shows and podcasts. His fresh perspective and openly admitted imperfections promotes the rational approach to exploring these taboo subjects and conspiracy theories.

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Author: Isaac Weishaupt

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1 Comment

  1. Why didn’t you touch on the Demiurge story line that is being played out, with the Dr. and he’s mother?

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