Martinism A spiritual, mystical, and magical organization that has been derived and fused into the Martinist Order from the system of Martinez de Pasqually and the philosophy of Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin.

The essential principles of Martinism are much older than any organizations bearing that name. Earlier organizations that embodied these principles practiced under other esoteric names. Martinism was forged out of the practical degree work and magical basis of Pasqually’s Order of Elus Cohen, or Elect Priesthood, and the “inner way” or speculative mysticism of Saint-Martin. The modern form of Martinism was also greatly affected by PAPUS (Gerard Encausse) and his associates, and it evolved into the Martinist Order.

Martinism was influenced by the Freemasonry movement of France in the 18th century, and essentially was initiated by Pasqually through his Masonic connection. Pasqually was born in Grenoble, France, around 1727; his full name was Jacques de Livron Joachim de la Tour de las Case Martinez de Pasqually. His father held a Masonic patent delivered by Charles Stuart, king of Scotland, Ireland, and England. The powers of this patent were transferable at death to the son, Martinez. This occurred in either 1738 or 1758, marking the beginning of Pasqually’s spiritual mission to develop further mystical orders. As a Master Mason, Pasqually held Freemasonry at the cornerstone of these efforts.

Pasqually developed and formed the Order of the ElusCohen in 1865. He introduced Saint-Martin into Freemasonry and became a teacher to him. Saint-Martin was initiated into the Elus-Cohen in October 1768. Saint-Martin developed his own line of mystical thinking into a speculative mysticism. This “inner way” approach led him away from the Masonic method of the Elus-Cohen to Hermetic and esoteric circles, the teachings of JAKOB BöHME, the Order of the Unknown Philosophers, and the Society of Initiates.

Saint-Martin acquired numerous followers in many countries. With the death of Martinez Pasqually in 1774, and the death of Saint-Martin in 1803, the framework of Martinism continued in the following manner:

• The Society of Initiates of Saint-Martin continued to be transmitted from person to person.

• The occult teachings of Pasqually were transmitted by the continuation of Elus-Cohen and some Freemasons of the Scottish Rectified Rite.

These set the stage for Martinism to incorporate both the Pasqually and the Saint-Martin work and philosophies into the degree or initiatory structure. This was accomplished in 1884 with the drafting of the Constitution by Papus in association with fellow Martinist Pierre Augstin Chaboseau and other initiates, establishing the Ordre Martiniste or Martinist Order. The Martinist Order has continued to evolve. There are several Martinist Orders; the present Ordre Martiniste incorporates much of the original work of the Papus Martinist Order. The degrees of present Martinist Orders consist essentially of the following groupings:

  • Associate
  • Initiate
  • Superior (SECRET CHIEF degrees)

These degrees convey and teach many mystical, magical, and Hermetic principles through their Rituals, rites, lectures, and conventicles. The Martinist Order degree teachings contain the mystical meanings of the great universal truths, Alchemy, thoughts, Numbers, the Kabbalah, and symbolic practices. Upon completion of the three degrees, an initiate can advance to study the practices and workings of the Order of the Elus-Cohen.


The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley Copyright © 2006 by Visionary Living, Inc.