If you’re like me, you might have started “Chapter 60” of House of Cards and wondered if you were watching the right show. The lingering shot of the creepy giant statue didn’t feel entirely out of place, but as soon as the eerie score swelled and the group of figures wearing scarlet cloaks were revealed, I immediately paused to see if I had accidentally started another Netflix show by accident. These dudes were legit doing a fake human sacrifice to a giant stone crow that spoke back to them with what sounded like a Darth Vader voice changer. How had I gotten here??? Well, the joke’s on me, y’all, because it was House of Cards Season 5, Episode 8, and Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) was in attendance, and this is apparently a totally normal thing, because a lot of his political friends were there, too. So what’s the deal with the Eyes Wide Shut-esque secret society? Here’s what we know.
What’s it called?
No, it’s not Bohemian Grove. This secret society is known as Elysian Fields, a name that can be traced back to Greek mythology. In the mythology, Elysian Fields is known as Elysium, or the “paradise of the heroes“, a conception of the afterlife that exists separate from the realm of Hades and is reserved for mortals who carried some relation to gods and heroes or were chosen by them. It’s basically their 5-star version of heaven – you can indulge in whatever you like, so it makes total sense that D.C.’s most powerful men would want such a retreat.
So what’s Elysian Fields all about?
“Invitation only, unless, of course, you invite yourself.” It’s basically just a place for important men (and men only! No women or presidents allowed!) to hang out in the woods with fellow total elitists and put schemes into place that might help them down the road. “They gather here to seek God between the branches of these magnificent trees,” Frank tells us. “They eat together, they piss next to each other, and they carve up the world like a Sunday roast. This is where the real power is.” There’s also a lot of chanting, fake human sacrifice, what seems to be Handmaid’s Tale cosplay, no technology allowed, and normally-dressed cater waiters who are probably trying to come up with an excuse to leave.
Why is Frank there?
The results of the election have come down to one state, and the power that these men hold could easily help sway the last needed votes in his direction and ensure that he is reelected president. He spends most of his weekend there schmoozing and giving speeches. You didn’t think he was there for the camaraderie, did you? This is a man who is solely made up of plans. This white privilege circle jerk could not be more of Frank Underwood’s scene if it tried.
Is it a real place?
From what exists on the interwebs, it appears to be a no, but there are apparently a fair amount of these kids of elite membership groups still running around in the woods today. The aforementioned Bohemian Grove is one that allegedly has been called home by a long string of Republican presidents, and even boasts a motto strikingly similar to that of Elysian Fields: “Weaving Spiders Come Not Here”. (Elysian’s is “Buzzing Bees Do Not Sting Here”). It seems as though this is the closest inkling we have of such a society, and House of Cards clearly took a leaf out of Bohemian Grove’s book.