Martinism is one of the currents of the Western Esoteric and Initiatic tradition. It is based upon the teachings of the European schools of classical theosophy and the works of Jacob Boehme (called the “theosopher of Gorlitz”), Johan Georg Gichtel (the “theosopher of Amsterdam”), Emmanuel Swedenborg (the “Swedish theosopher”), Martinez de Pasqually, Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, and others. The word “Martinism” derives from the name of the “theosopher of Amboise”, the French mystic Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin,who summarized these currents of thoughts at the turn of the 18th century.
Considered by many authorities of the19th and the 20th century to be one of the purest branches of the Western initiatic tradition, Martinism has attracted prominent members of fraternal, spiritual, and initiatic movements such as Augustin Chaboseau, Dr. Gerard Encausse known as “Papus”, Eliphas Levi, Henri Delaage, Maria Desraimes and Georges Martin (the founders of Co-Masonry). It also attracted many well-known Masons and Rosicrucians in England, Germany, Belgium, France, and the United States of America as well as prominent theosophists such as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Col. Olcott, Annie Besant, and James Ingall Wedgwood, who in turn initiated Charles Webster Leadbeater and other prominent members in the TheosophicalSociety.
The purpose of Martinismist transmit the initiations and teachings of spirituality that will enable the sincere aspirant to become a “Superieur” or “Serviteur” Inconnu (Unknown Superior or Unknown Servant).These people have dedicated their lives to the service of the Past Masters and of humanity.
Even among Martinists there is much controversy about the actual involvement of Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin in the foundation of any of the Martinist Orders. But, in this day and age, the various Martinist Orders exist only to transmit the regular Martinist Initiation to women and men who have an ardent “desire” for the Light, according to the ancient Western tradition.
”The only initiation that I preach and that I seek with all the ardor of my soul is that by which we can enter into the heart of God and have the heart of God enter into our heart, there to effect an indissoluble marriage.- There is no other mystery to the attainment of this Holy Initiation than to plunge ourselves more and more into the depths of our being and not to loosen our grip until we have managed to extract from it its living and vivifying root.”
Notes on Louis-Claude de Saint Martin by Manly P. Hall.
(From “The Adepts in the Western Esoteric Tradition” – Vol. 4) LOUIS-CLAUDEDE SAINT-MARTIN (1743-1803), French mystic and ritualist, was known as “le Philosophe Inconnu” and some of his works are published under this pseudonym. Saint-Martin came from a family of wealth and gentle breeding. His mother died when he was a small child, but he had a most generous and indulgent stepmother. He was educated in law at the College de Pontlevoy. Though physically frail and given to mental pursuits, he decided to change his career and selected the profession of soldiering. Before entering the army, he became a Freemason, and even as ayoung man was devoted to the study of religious philosophy.
While his regiment was stationed at Bordeaux, he contacted the new system of Masonic rites which had been introduced by Martines de Pasqually. Saint-Martin was initiated into the Elected Priesthood in 1768 and amplified his learning by intensive reading of Swedenborg. In 1771, he resigned from the army to become a teacher and leader in the field of mysticism. He traveled considerably and his ideas were received with enthusiasm.
“It is to Martines de Pasqually,” says Saint-Martin, “that I owe my introduction to the higher truth.”
Although Saint-Martin had been raised a strict Catholic and always remained sympathetic to the Church, his first work, Of Errors and Truth, was placed on the Index. Saint-Martin’s ideal society was “a natural and spiritual theocracy” in which God would raise up men of mark, who would regard themselves strictly as “divine commissioners” to guide the people.
The writings of Saint-Martin were brought to the consideration of Voltaire. In 1787, Saint-Martin went to Italy with Prince Galatzin, then journeyed to Strasbourg, where he further studied the writings of Boehme, translating parts of them into French. Back in Paris, he was arrested during the Revolution simply because he was a gentleman by birth. His affiliations with the Freemasons saved him from the Reign of Terror.
He visited London, where he remained for several months, made the acquaintance of the astronomer Herschel, and contacted the writings of William Law, the great interpreter of Boehme. Saint-Martin never married but had a wide circle of friends and admirers, including many leaders of the intellectual world.
The central concept of Saint-Martin’s mystical philosophy is that man remains divine inspite of the “fall” reported in theScriptures. Within the human being lies dormant a high spiritual quality of which man is not alway sconscious, and which he must develop or release by freeing himself from the illusion of materialism. Saint-Martin died suddenly, presumably of a stroke, while at prayer.
Notes on Martinism by Papus (Dr. Gerard Encausse) The Martinist Order is a Mystical Order.
Martinism is made of all the invisible energies that may be invoked in the search for the Truth.
The Martinist Order does not propose any material advantage: its only purpose is spiritual work .
The Martinist Order is an active center for initiation. It was established with the purpose of disseminating widely the teachings of Occultism according to the ways of the Western Christian tradition.
The principal attribute of Martinismis the respect of human freedom. Another particularity of the Martinist Order is to initiate man and woman equally. A woman is the complement of a man. “Has the soul of a woman not the same source as the one incarnated in a masculine body? ” (L-C.de Saint-Martin). The third characteristic of Martinism is its deep tie with the Christian Tradition. It works for the Christ, who is the source of Light at all levels. ·
Notes on Martinism by H.P. Blavatsky
(From the “Theosophical Glossary”)
A French movement established by the great mystic called the marquis (sic) of Saint-Martin, a pupil of Martines de Pasqually. The movement was first started in Lyon as an occult Masonic Society: le Rite rectifie de Saint-Martin. L-C de Saint-Martin began an officer’s career and later became an ardent disciple of Jacob Boehme…….. He was a trueTheosophist.
Notes on Saint-Martin by Antoine Faivre, professor at the Toulouse State University.
(From the “Mystics of the XVIIIth century”)
…Four great theosophists in France deserve our attention. Let us begin with the most gift done. He also was unknown, for a long time, or better, incorrectly known. He increasingly now appears as one of the most important French philosophers, the greatest theosophist of his time, and one of the best writers of the 18th century.
In countless thoughts of a depth rarely matched, he expresses his faith in Christ, his opposition to the sensualism and the materialism of his time. His style, at the same time original, solid and melodic, has made him one of the best French prosaists ever. If, in the few poems he wrote, Saint-Martin didn’t display any great gift, he seems however unequaled, when he models his reflections on the rhythm of the Psalms; in this style “The Man of Desire” remains a master piece of the French literature. Only La Mennais, later Claudel will display such a strength, such a taste and such a quality.