A Short Overview of Martinism
Martinism is a philosophical discipline which uses Christian esotericism and mysticism to focus on “the Fall of Man” from his original state of creation and communion with his Divine Source, working to achieve his “reintegration” with that Divine Source.
The tradition started in 1765, in France, with the degree system founded by Martinez de Pasqually, then continued in two varying forms by his protégées, Louis Claude de Saint-Martin and Jean-Baptiste Willermoz. The three primary transmissions of these traditions are:
The Élus Coëns — follows rituals established by de Pasqually, focused on achieving “reintegration” (sometimes referred to as the Beatific Vision or theosis) through theurgic work, including prayers, magical invocations, and other theurgical operations.
The Martinist Way of the Heart — focuses on reintegration via mediation, prayer, and effecting internal changes or spiritual alchemy. Interestingly, during St. Martin’s lifetime, he did not structure this discipline as an order, but more as study groups where these teachings were presented and discussed. Beside the Élus Coëns, the writings of Jakob Böhme heavily influenced St. Martin and his teachings. The formalization of this tradition into a structured order did not occur until the late 19th Century in Paris, as a result of the efforts of Gerard Encausse and Augustin Chaboseau.
C.B.C.S. — “Le Chevaliers Bienfaisants de la Cité Sainte” — after Pasqually’s passing in 1778, Willermoz reformed the Masonic “Strict Observance” rites into the “Rectified Scottish Rite” or “RER”. This order perpetuated degrees that focused on the philosophical aims of the Élus Coëns, without the theurgic operations, while reflecting the Knights Templar theme of the Strict Observance. This forms the chivalric branch of our Ordre.
There are numerous Martinist orders around the world, each with its own culture and influences. The OMS welcomes visiting Martinists in good standing from groups adhering to the Landmarks of Martinism.
We encourage those interested in these disciplines to pursue their own course of research. To that end, we have provided references on our Education page.