Martinism is the mystical tradition started in 18th century France by
Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin. After the death of his mentor
Martines de Pasqually, he discovered the writings of
Jacob Boehme, whom he called his 'second master'. He turned away from the
theurgy of the
Ordre des Chevaliers Maçons Élus Coëns de l'Univers in favour of the Way of
the Heart. He personally initiated several influential people into his Intimate
Society, or Society of Friends.
After his death in 1803, this initiation and his teachings and ceremonies
were propagated in small circles. In 1888 two young students who were both
initiated in this tradition,
Augustin Chaboseau and
met each other in medical school and they decided to bring all Martinists
together. To this end they created a mystic school, the
Ordre Martiniste. This movement was very successful and in 1891 a Supreme
Council of 21 members was formed. Papus was elected first president of this
council and grand master of the order. Under his tireless leadership the order
grew rapidly and around 1900 there were hundreds of members in many countries.
In 1905, the Tzar Nicholas II of Russia invited Papus to Tsarskoïe Selo to ask
for advice upon the deep domestic difficulties he was facing with
The first World War was disastrous for the Order. Papus died on the
battlefield while fulfilling his duties as a doctor and many other leaders of
the order died too. After the war, the order was as good as extinct and the
surviving members went into different directions. Many French Martinists
Karl Wilhelm Naundorff's claims to the French throne. They joined the
movement and formed the
Ordre Martiniste et Synarchie (OMS).
Augustin Chaboseau got together with
Victor-Emile Michelet and
Lucien Chamuel (the other two surviving members of the original Supreme
Council of 1891) to bring new life to the order they had began together with
Papus. In order to emphasise the difference they felt between the traditional
martinism they had to offer as founders of the original Martinist Order and the
many new groups that had sprung up, they gave the name
Ordre Martiniste Traditionnel (OMT) to their movement. Victor-Emile Michelet
was elected grand master and Augustin Chaboseau succeeded him in 1939 until his
death on January 2, 1946. Though he had received his Martinist initiations in
Ralph Maxwell Lewis was asked by the OMT in 1939 to bring martinism to the
U.S.A. and he was given the necessary charters and other documents.
The second World War was as disastrous for the Order in Europe as the first.
The Nazi regime suppressed all 'occult' groups and many Martinists died in
concentration camps. The OMT in Europe and its American branch, the
Traditional Martinist Order (TMO) still exist, but are reserved exclusively
for members of the
Rosicrucian Order AMORC. Martinism is now fast growing in popularity and
with the advent of Internet many new orders have grown worldwide.
Martinist philosophy is based on the "Treatise on the reintegration of
Martines de Pasqually and the writings of two of his students: Louis-Claude
de Saint Martin and
Jean-Baptiste Willermoz. The teachings focus on Christian mysticism, Jewish
The Martinist system constitutes of three degrees, called Associate, Initiate
(or Mystic) and S...I... (Supérieur Inconnu). Referring to the third degree,
called the Martinist initiation "a small legacy of two letters and a few
points". For this, Martinists are sometimes called the six-point brothers.
R+CMO, a Martinist order, claims that it has access to a fourth degree which is
List of Martinist orders
List of prominent Martinists