Martinist Interview Showing New Approaches
Sam Robinson interviews Sâr Cœur de la Croix, Grand Master and founding member of the Ordre Martinistes Souverains (O.·.M.·.S.·.)
Greetings friends and regular readers. In my Rosicrucian Reviews we saw the relationship between the Martinist and the Rosicrucians, and found that the Martinist Order is ROSICRUCIAN even though it does not ‘advertise’ the Rosicrucian name. It’s review scored highly in terms of embodying several traditional principles set out in the manifestos, such as silence, Christian mysticism and the way of the heart. But this was not all, it must be said; it carries a real pressence of the Holy Spirit.
Not all Martinist Orders are equal, and I came across the O.M.S, a gathering of lovely mystics who truly embody the Martinist spirit in not only their kindness but also I feel that somethign special is going on inside this Order, and its safe to say this particular branch is being guided.
I just had to get an interview with its founder and help share their story:
SR: What can you tell us about how and why the O.·.M.·.S.·. was founded?
Cœur: A few years ago we became disillusioned with a Martinist order that we were working with. We felt that after a change of management, it had strayed from the principles and stepped away in order to approach Martinism independently on our own. Our first meeting was in Austin, Texas, USA, and brought together six S.·.I·.· from several Martinist orders. We first laid out the general principles we sought to manifest and use as our guide, then began to investigate deeper into the Martinist tradition. It is from this original group that the O.·.M.·.S.·. Grand Council (Grand Conseil des Supérieurs Inconnus or G.·.C.·.S.·.I·.·) was eventually formed.
Taking a wide-angle view, we gathered together all the Martinist materials each of us had access to. We were blessed by our initiators who supplied a wealth of materials for us, materials which we had never been exposed to in our previous orders. We quickly saw just how vast and rich the Martinist tradition was, and also how splintered and fragmented it had become or been presented in certain groups. We began to make a thorough investigation into all of the histories, lessons, and theory documents, as well as to work through and practice every ritual we came across. Over time, we separated the wheat from the chaff, discarding new additions from various orders that perhaps were in the spirit of Martinism, but strayed from its original symbols.
When we began making our first draft of O.·.M.·.S.·. we sifted through dozens of Martinist initiations and began to analyze and cross-reference each one in order to compare and contrast elements such as colors, regalia, hall setups, knocks, oaths, mythologies, etc. We started small, working with our close Brethren as we experimented with initiatory formulas and curriculum, but quickly began to attracting a wider audience.
As our project gained steam, we were blessed to have several Free Initiators, Bishops, and other organizational leaders reach out to us and provided further lineages and additional source materials to research. Our archives now span well over 100 historical initiations brought together from dozens orders and many unpublished 1700’s manuscripts which we have slowly been translating into English. Some of which we discovered ourselves and are not readily available in other Martinist Orders. You might say our formation was blessed to walk this path.
In the finish, we made a goal to utilize all of the streams of Martinism, through research, and by updating and correcting various rituals and practices according to original documents, and now we provide them to the Tradition in order to preserve and revitalize the Tradition.
SR: How is the OMS different from other M.O’s?
Cœur: The O.·.M.·.S.·. has a unique approach to the tradition that balances the historical system in its entirety, and presents a full teaching and experience of each branch within the Outer Order.
SR: Typically what do most Martinist orders focus on?
Well, first let’s start with a bit about the history of modern and historical Martinism. In general, most modern Martinist orders focus purely upon The Way of the Heart or le Voie Cardiaque, under the premise that they are studying the original system of illumination founded by Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, aka The Unknown Philosopher, though this Path was truly founded at the turn of the 20th century by Papus.
This is however just one branch of historical Martinism, with the Élus Coëns and C.B.C.S. often taking a backseat in modern orders. Some modern orders do perpetuate versions of the Élus Coëns and/or C.B.C.S. within their Inner Orders, however our approach has been to marry and unite the streams into a complete Outer Order of learning and practical experience.
SR: Can you tell us more about the practices of the Pasqually, the founder of the first Martinist or Martinezist school?
Cœur: Each of these three Orders or manifestations of Martinism had their own distinct approach. The first manifestation is generally called the Elu Cohens. The original name is quite a mouthful, its: l’Ordre des Chevaliers Macons Élus Coëns de l’Universe (Order of Knights Masons Elect Cohens of the Universe, or simply the Élus Coëns) of Jacques de Livron Joachim de la Tour de la Casa Martinez de Pasqually, or simply Martinez de Pasqually. Pasqually’s father possessed a charter from the Jacobite Prince Charles Edward Stuart that gave him the authority to make Freemasons and found lodges, a right which was transferred to Martinez.
So outwardly it was a ‘masonic order’ but it carried with it regeneration teachings.
Martinez never named a specific teacher, but it is rumored that he had been initiated into a 300 year old mystery-tradition and that his family was involved in the Spanish Inquisition and possessed certain banned documents.
He founded the E.C. in or around 1767, and the Ordre focused on the primitive origin of man based on the Kabbalistic mythos, man’s fall from his first estate and the eventual regaining of his original dignity, right and spiritual powers through purifying prayers, invocations, evocations, exorcisms and reconciliation. This was done through a series of mystical circles.
Regarding the grades, first the Master Mason would begin to study Pasqually’s unique approach to the Masonic myth. In the preparatory degrees of the Ordre (the Porch), the student would relive the first three Masonic grades, augmented with visceral initiatory experiences that illustrated Pasqually’s unique approach to the Kabbalistic mythos. Pasqually’s myth, as laid out in Reintegration of Beings, his one and only book, is not divorced from the traditional Kabbalah of Isaac Luria (the Ari) and the Zohar. However, the initiatory keys provided in the Ordre are necessary in order to fully understand his text, which means operative Kabbalah.
The E.C. students engaged in intense mystical and magical theurgic operations meant to first purify and cleanse the sphere and soul of the Candidate, to wipe away the dross incurred in the Fall of the First Man, followed by invocations to unite with their Good Companion (H.G.A.), and many series of regular conjurations, evocations and exorcisms of the Fallen Spirits in order to cleanse and protect themselves and humanity to prepare for Universal Reintegration.
The E.C. is especially relevant to initiatory history as it was one of the first orders to truly unite Christian Mysticism, Kabbalah, Gnosticism, Ceremonial Magic and Theurgy into a unified, cohesive system. But it’s not magical in terms of mundane magic. The work is pure divine magic, and is very much Rosicrucian in many of its workings. It is the magic of regeneration.
SR: How did Willermoz modify these teachings and what was his approach after Pasqually’s death?
Cœur: Jean Baptiste Willermoz took over the Strict Observance (la Stricte Observance Templière) from Baron Karl Gotthelf von Hundt and reworked the degrees into what became the R.E.R., the Recitfied Scottish Rite or Rite Écossais Rectifié. This order became the official pinnacle of French Masonry in 1778, and provided initiation into the traditional three degrees of Blue Masonry (Entered Apprentice, Companion and Master Mason). Within these degrees, Willermoz began to weave in elements of Pasqually’s Kabbalistic myth, elements that would be fully unveiled at the highest degrees of the Order. The R.E.R. was capstoned with the 4th degree, Scottish Master of St. Andrew (Green Masonry), which continued the traditional Masonic myth with further esoteric and Kabbalistic teachings.
The C.B.C.S. was the “secret” inner order (White Masonry) of the R.E.R. that maintained the STO’s professed direct connection to the Knights Templar and taught Knightly Chivalry and Christian Mysticism through a spiritual knighthood in connection with the Knights Templar.
The 7th and 8th degrees comprised an even more secret “inner, inner order” that revealed Willermoz’ aim to perpetuate Pasqually’s Élus Coëns teachings and his Reintegration of Beings.
Willermoz thus assisted the Martinist Tradition by encoding and safekeeping Pasqually’s theory within the Masonic current, by focusing on Christian Mysticism, Knightly virtues, the Templar mythos, and finally the Kabbalah of Martinezism.
SR: Lastly, most Martinist orders focus upon Saint-Martin, and express that he worked a simpler and direct approach to inner initiation. What can you tell us about this branch?
Louis Claude de Saint-Martin was said to have left the Operative Path of the E.C. behind in order to focus on a more direct, inward path of illumination. While it is evident in his writings and prayers that he practiced and taught inward contemplation, mediation and prayer, there is also evidence that he continued working the Operative Path throughout his life. His final book, Man: His True Nature and Spiritual Ministry, excellently summarizes Pasqually’s myth, while providing additional elements inspired from his study of the Theosophy of Jacob Boehme.
St. Martin was said to work one-on-one with students, and perhaps facilitate a small group of seekers, called at time the Society of Intimés or the Society of Initiés, Intimates/Friends, or Initiates respectively. However, we also possess Operational journals, collections of Sigils, Angelic and Demonic Names, etc. from the handwriting of St. Martin.
SR: What was Papus’ role in the creation of the modern Martinist order?
Cœur: Papus’ (Dr. Gerard Éncausse) was the first to codify this tradition into a three degree Masonic styled system of initiation. Though Papus was inspired by the writings of St. Martin, there is little evidence that St. Martin worked in this manner, despite the great amount of myths perpetuated about the Unknown Philosopher. For these orders, the 1st and 2nd degrees form a preparation for the 3rd degree of S.·.I·.· (Supérieur Inconnu), which encapsulates the core of St. Martin’s theosophy. This first manifestation of the Martinist Order as we know it today tends to focus on a more theoretical approach, with most orders only providing simple meditations, or even giving new operations that include practices such as the Golden Dawn’s L.B.R.P. Our approach to the Voie Cardiaque is to strip down to the historical essence and practices of Martinism and to utilise these as our basis.
SR: How does the O.·.M.·.S.·. go about this as opposed to other Martinist orders?
Cœur: Through the first three grades of the O.·.M.·.S.·., the Candidate gains a full, well-rounded knowledge of the entire Martinist tradition through theoretical studies and practical operations that form the O.·.M.·.S.·. curriculum. This is first seen through the names of the first three grades, I° Associate Élu, II° Initiate Chevalier, and III° Supérieur Inconnu, which respectively reflect the evolution of the tradition through Pasqually’s Élus Coëns, Willermoz’ C.B.C.S., and the Martinist Way of the Heart as inspired by Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, the Unknown Philosopher. All of this still operates on the 3 degree system of Papus, but now utilizes the entirety of the Martinist tradition. Through all these grades, the Candidate experiences an innovative approach to the traditional Martinist myth that binds all three grades together into a cohesive whole. In many ways you are walking in the same steps of L.C.M, following his path to realization by seeing what he saw, doing what he did, and also benefit from Willermoz.
SR: Why did you formulate the learning structure this way?
Cœur: We sought to ensure that our Adepts and Temple Masters are fully conversant in all the historical branches of Martinism, rather than just the common Way of the Heart of most Martinist orders. This is accomplished through their extensive training in the Outer Order, whose initiations and curriculum are drawn from the last 250 years of the Martinist tradition, formed by the O.·.M.·.S.·. Grand Conseil des Supérieurs Inconnus (G.·.C.·.S.·.I·.·) and our archives which span dozens of Martinist orders and original manuscripts from the 1700s.
The I° initiation of Associate Élu brings the Candidate into the traditional Martinist Way of the Heart augmented by the preliminary grades of Martinez de Pasqually’s Élus Coëns, the first and original manifestation of Martinism or Martinezism. The 1st degree curriculum is unique in its comprehensive presentation of Martinist history and symbolism, and the Associate Élu performs traditional Martinist meditations and contemplations on the Regalia, as well as extensive preliminary, practical Operations of the Élus Coëns.
This means you start to learn the traditional history and theory of the Way of the Heart, but also begin to perform practical mystical and magical work meant to free the personality from illusion, purify your soul and sphere, and learn how to invoke Divine Spirits in order to begin reforging mankind’s original link to the Eternal.
The II° initiation of Initiate Chevalier continues the traditional Martinist mythology, augmented by the chivalry of spiritual knighthood from Willermoz’ C.B.C.S system. A deep study is made of the Templar mythos, and the student studies the traditional knightly virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Justice and Will, not only in a theoretical manner, but through mystical prayers and operations. The Initiate Chevalier continues their practical E.C. operations, and performs extensive mystical and magical work, the knowledge of which is reserved for that grade.
The III° initiation of Supérieur Inconnu is the consummation of the Martinist myth, and is the chamber in which the One Mystery of Truth, that which dissolves and unites all mysteries of heaven and earth is revealed. This experiential gnosis has at times been called the Philosopher’s Stone or the Royal Secret. It is the knowledge and realization of this Royal Secret that confirms true Adepthood. At this point, one cycle of the Work is completed, and many choose to pause or end their initiatory work – a natural response to the attainment of Adepthood.
For those who wish to continue, the Inner Ordre is opened to them, and preliminary operations include a unique Rosicrucian approach to the Abramelin Operation, as well as other R+C operations which remain undisclosed until that grade.
Every Adopted S.·.I·.· or S.·.I·.·I.·. is re-initiated through the above grades, so that they may come to the full knowledge we demand of each of our SI’s and Temple Masters. So far, all Adopted S.·.I·.·’s have been happy and excited to rework the grades, due to the extensive curriculum. As a sign of good faith, we also confer upon them their first initiation in the Collège des Supérieurs Inconnus (C.·.S.·.I·.·), the Inner Order of the O.·.M.·.S.·. This first initiation is a consecration and ordination into our Rosicrucian current and lineage.
Once the Candidate passes the O.·.M.·.S.·. S.·.I·.· initiation, they are brought in as a full member of the C.·.S.·.I·.·, and they may receive all of the traditional Élus Coëns and C.B.C.S. initiations, if they wish to deepen their understanding of the history and practice of these systems.
SR: So, you might say the O.·.M.·.S.·. three Martinist degrees are a concentrated form of all that is Martinism. Later you join either the Élus Coëns or C.B.C.S to expand that knowledge if one of those deeply captivates you.
Cœur: Exactly. An S.·.I·.· who has been trained and initiated through our entire Outer Ordre is now fully conversant in all aspects of historical Martinism/Martinezism/Willermozism. If they wish to study those branches in even greater detail, the full traditional system, revitalized by our reconstructions from our Archives including both the Ambelain source materials and other original 1700’s manuscripts, is open for complete study and experience.
SR: How do the gnostic consecrations work with the M.O current?
The O.·.M.·.S.·. G.·.C.·.S.·.I·.· carries all of the primary Apostolic lineages, both Catholic, Orthodox and Gnostic. By Apostolic lineages I am referring to the traditional Apostolic Succession that grants authority to work the Christian Sacraments, Ordain into the Minor and Major Holy Orders, and perpetuate to Christian Apostolica.
Not all Martinist Orders operate these, and their spiritual implication for esoteric Christians is profound! You are actually gaining consecrations that were passed from Christ to his Apostles and these traditionally, within the Christian context, empowered you to operate this spiritual current.
In the context of the Martinist tradition and Gnostic church they serve to help…..
We sought to re-unite the Martinist tradition with the Gnostic church, due to their history of growing together in the French Gnostic revival, and because they naturally belong together. Our Bishops and Priests confer the mysteries of the Minor Orders through our Gnostic branch, Les Chevaliers du Verbe. All members are open to receive these Ordinations.
Much has been written about the traditional Holy Orders of Cleric, Doorkeeper, Reader, Exorcist, Acolyte, Deacon, Priest and Bishop (see Leadbetter’s Science of the Sacraments and the Liturgy of the Liberal Catholic Rite). The O.·.M.·.S.·. operates these in a way that acts as an initiatory and theurgic process that compliments and augments the mythology and core practices of the O.·.M.·.S.·.
Once you have these Ordinations you are empowered to DO WHAT
SR: What kind of response is the O.·.M.·.S.·. getting from the esoteric community at large?
Cœur: In general we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Independent S.·.I·.·s, Free Initiators (S.·.I·.· I.·., S.·.I·.· I.·.L·.·, etc), and Temple Masters have reached out to us for membership and have been happy to “start over” again with our 1st degree of Associate Élu. The O.·.M.·.S.·. does not perform or allow “astral initiations”, nor simply grant a paper of recognition/Adoption, but rather we require all members to receive physical initiation from the G.·.C.·.S.·.I·.· or an appointed representative. It has been amazing to have both experienced initiators and fresh beginners come into our fold, especially when the long-timers receive the mass of materials we present them in our first degree curriculum.
There are of course some individuals who do not agree with our approaches, and it is their right to feel this way. For one reason or another, some individuals will feel threatened by our Ordre. We seek to uphold friendly relations with all Martinists of upright conduct and character, but don’t waste our time with those who do not offer the same, or attempt to cause strife and mischief. The truth always comes out regarding intentions and rumors. So far, we’re happy that for the each negative remark we have received, we have in turn received positive feedback 10x over.
SR: What kind of future do you see for the O.·.M.·.S.·.?
Cœur: The O.·.M.·.S.·. already is growing more rapidly than we ever expected for our humble personal project. But as long as there are Men and Women of Desire who search us for a Path, we hope to be able to provide a vehicle for the development. We have always aspired to the idea of an international union of Martinists that crosses all bounds of orders, styles, lineages, politics etc. This seems to be a rather herculean task, but is always something we are contemplating. It would be amazing to have a group that allows initiators, both of established orders or working independently as Free Initiators, to come together and unify under the principle tenets of Martinism. A place where they could find additional teachings, and perhaps gain strengthened lineages to help progress their own approach to Martinism, in the spirit of universal comradery. Whether the O.·.M.·.S.·. will become and appropriate vehicle for this, another existing group, or if a new umbrella is necessary will be left to the future to unfold for us all.
SR: Thank you Brother, our community wishes your Order much success and interested persons should contact Tau Coer HERE to connect with the O.M.S. Otherwise visit their O.M.S Website HERE as well. Email with Tau Coer here for direct contact.
Filed under: Martinism