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The Judeo-Christian

Aspect of Martinism
Christian Bernard, SI
In this excerpt from his book Rosicrucian Reflections, Christian Bernard, Sovereign Grand
Master of the Traditional Martinist Order, presents a thorough introduction to the history and
mystical teachings of the TMO.

f chance has put this book [Rosicrucian It is not the head that we should rack,

I Reflections] into your hands, and if you


have never heard of Martinism, I would
like to offer you a brief introduction to it.
but the heart.
The Martinist uses two books in
this work: one is the Book of Nature and
The following is from a booklet entitled the other the Book of Humanity. Nature
The Light of Martinism; your copy may be is the true horn of plenty for your present
obtained on request from the headquarters state . . . it is in effect the meeting-point of
of the Traditional Martinist Order, by all created virtues. Thus, all these Divine
visiting its website [www.martinists.org], or virtues, ordained by the Great Principle so
via AMORCs website [www.rosicrucian. as to cooperate in our rehabilitation, are
org]. always in existence around us.
The Traditional Martinist Order is This means that God has sown the
an initiatic Order and a school of moral symbols of His wisdom in nature, that
chivalry with its roots in the Western eso- we may find them by ourselves. Nature is
teric tradition. Martinists study the natu- thus an immense reservoir of learning for
ral relationships between the Divine, the the Initiate.
universe, and humanity. If we wish to
understand our true nature, we must look Martinism originated in France and goes
toward the Divine, says Saint-Martin, for back to the eighteenth century, to a period of
we can only read ourselves in the Divine, great political and economic unrest. At the
only understand ourselves in the Divine origin of this movement lie Louis-Claude de
splendor. If we are no longer in a position Saint-Martin and his writings. After his death
today to reach this understanding, it is be- in 1803, the Order kept a low profile until
cause we have made the error of separat- 1888, when it restarted its activities officially.
ing ourselves from the Divine and losing Martinisms history is very eventful and, I
ourselves in the world of appearances, the would suggest, worth taking an interest in.
temporal world. We have, to some degree, While I hold the title of Imperator within
fallen asleep to the spiritual world. Our the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rose
inner Temple is in ruins. Cross, as worldwide head of the Traditional
In our work, Martinists use neither Martinist Order (TMO), I am assigned the
theurgy nor magic, for we conform to the title of Sovereign Grand Master. As such, I
ideal of the Unknown Philosopherto have now had the opportunity of speaking
guide humanity by a natural path to the to my Martinist brothers and sisters for sev-
supernatural. For this, it is not necessary eral decades at conventicles, in Heptads, and
to amass intellectual knowledge, because during Conventions. The Martinist teachings
to progress on the path of reintegration, have their own tone, which complements
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but is different from that of AMORC. From ing that this country should have given rise
among the discourses I have given, I have to two of the greatest avatars humanity has
chosen quite a general one, which obviously known: I am of course referring to Moses and
I have shortened and modified so it is appro- to Jesus. The sacred texts tell us that Moses re-
priate for all. This text is not entirely, there- ceived the Law, the spirit of the Law, and the
fore, the one that my Martinist brothers and spirit of the spirit of the Law. Jesus preached
sisters had the opportunity of hearing, but Life, the Way, and the Truth. Consequently,
they will understand why this is. we cannot fail to recognize that they were
Following this text, you will find an in- both sent to bear witness to the same Light
terview from a January 2010 history maga- and to the glory of the same Divinity.
zine, to complete this brief introduction to If we refer to the histories of their lives
the TMO. as reported in the standard works, we notice
The Judeo-Christian that a very close link between these two ex-
Aspect of Martinism ceptional beings is made by most experts:
both were founders of ethical systems which
There are many who tend to think that far surpass the religious dimension alone. In-
the Martinist path is limited to the traditional deed, Moses is being increasingly officially
principles of original Christianity. This way of presented as the founder of the Israeli na-
seeing things is not incorrect, but it is very tion and Jesus as a philosopher who came
incomplete, because the essence of Martinism to strengthen and bring into general use the
makes it a tradition which brings together moral and civic codes established by his pre-
Christian gnosis and Jewish mysticism. It decessor. I stress the fact that history does not
therefore seems that I should go back over really seek to pit the message of Christ against
certain ideas showing that, at the historical Mosaic thought, but that this is done by the
level as well as the mystical one, the Tradi- religions, which were founded on their own
tional Martinist Order is a Judeo-Christian interpretation. Everyone is aware, indeed,
movement, in the most honorable sense of of the abyss that was dug over the course of
this expression. centuries between the Jewish and Catholic
From an historical point of view, it is im- authorities. Things being as they are today,
portant to understand that the socio-political for reasons which I do not have to go into,
events that made the appearance of Christi- the majority of practicing Jews have chosen
anity possible are connected to the cultural to see in Jesus just one prophet among many,
and moral values already established by Ju- while for their part, Christians seem to have
daism. It is not a chance occurrence that the forgotten that there is more to the Old Tes-
same land, Israel, was the cradle of these two tament than Genesis. Nonetheless, when we
great religions. Jerusalem still remains, today, refer to the works left to us by those who have
the only city in the world where Jews and more deeply explored the mysticism of these
Christians can claim equal justification for two religions, we notice the esoteric link exist-
the deep connections binding them to that ing between Judaism and Christianity. To be
place. What is more, the same thing can be frank, no mystic can deny the clearness of this
said in regard to Islam, since Jerusalem is also link, and if they do, then they cannot hope to
a very sacred place in the heart of Muslims. go very far in their spiritual quest.
From a mystical point of view, the advent From both the historical and the mysti-
of the Christian era could only have occurred cal viewpoint, there does not, therefore, exist
Rosicrucian in Israel, for at that time it was unique in pos- an Old and a New Testament: rather, there
Digest sessing the human conditions making such exists one single Testament, concerning two
No. 1 an event possible. It is therefore not surpris- periods of time which are not opposed to
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each other, but whichquite the opposite of this community. These texts also say that
complement each other at all levels. With this when the Temple of Solomon was destroyed
in mind, I recommend that you read or re- in 587 BCE, the Ark of the Covenant was
read the Bible, working on the basis that it entrusted to the Essenes of Sinai, while the sa-
is made up of two books, the second shed- cred objects from the Temple were passed on
ding light on the meaning of the first, and the to the members of an Essene community liv-
first serving as the cornerstone for the second. ing by the Dead Sea at the same time. These
To make an analogy with Martinism, they texts further say that the Essenes from the
complement each other just like the Book of Dead Sea gave the name Community of the
Nature and the Book of Humanity, which New Covenant to their community, for they
are so dear to Martinists. If the Old and New knew that the Master Jesus would be one of
Testaments have been cemented so tightly to- theirs several centuries later and that his mis-
gether by human hands that they form one sion would be to bring about the changeover
single book, it is obviously because it should between the cycles of the Old and New Testa-
be this way. The Old Testament gives an ac- ments.
count of how to apply Gods commandments It is difficult to establish the authenticity
and thus establish on Earth a kingdom gov- of these claims; however, there are traditional
erned in the name and to the glory of the records which confirm that these two Great
Divine. The New Testament relates what has Initiates were Essenes. In a recent analysis of
to be done at the individual level in order to the Dead Sea Scrolls, some historians have
construct the heavenly counterpart of this established numerous similarities with Mo-
earthly kingdom. saic precepts. The two seem to have a com-
And so we see that the two great books of mon basic philosophy, for we find the same
the Bible form a duality in the expression of references to the oppositions of life as they
the Divine Word. This duality becomes clear are symbolized in the Kabbalistic Tree, par-
if we will just think about the fact that Moses ticularly in what the Essenes described con-
himself announced the coming of Jesus, and cerning the struggle of the Children of Light
that Jesus stated many times that he had not against the Children of Darkness. Everything
come to abolish the law of the prophets, but thus points to the Jewish and Christian tradi-
to fulfill it. It thus becomes clear that Jesus is tions being intimately linked, even if only by
for the New Testament what Moses is for the the single fact that they merge in the ancient
Old Testament. Each was sent by the Great wisdom of Essene thought, which is itself lost
White Brotherhood and, using the knowl- in the Primordial Tradition. It seems obvious,
edge acquired in the Mystery Schools of An- therefore, that two mystic currents which are
cient Egypt, they established the foundations so close cannot be opposed to one another,
of two paths of reintegration, the first at a col- and that those who imply the reverse are do-
lective level, and the second at an individual ing so either through ignorance or through a
level. The mission of Moses was thus to un- deliberate wish to detract from the truth.
veil to humanity the symbolic descent of the The Traditional Martinist Order has al-
I am, and that of Jesus was to show the way ways based its teachings on the esotericism
to follow so that each person would go back of the Bible and, consequently, on the eso-
up again into the Kingdom of the Father like tericism of the Old and New Testaments. It
the prodigal child. is thus a Judeo-Christian mystical Order, in
Certain texts record that Moses was a the most traditional sense that can be given
member of a community of Essenes that had to this description. Having a look at certain
been established on Mount Sinai, and that symbols used during Martinist rituals would
the Law was revealed to him in the temple suffice to illustrate what I say, but I am not
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prepared to do so in this article. Martinists and that any Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, and
will understand what I am referring to and Christian, if truly applying the spirit of
if, as you read these lines, you wish to know their faith, can see Buddha, Muhammad,
more about this, I invite you to join the Moses, and Jesus as different incarnations,
TMO. You should be made aware, though, for different peoples in different times, of
that among the symbols used in this work, one and the same Divine Word.
there are many which are there to be a con-
stant reminder that Jewish and Christian Interview
mysticism constitute the two pillars of the
The Traditional Martinist Order is today
same traditional Temple.
considered the most dynamic Martinist move-
Besides the symbols, the words spoken ment. Present throughout the world, it works via
in the Martinist rituals are also a constant various jurisdictions based on written and spo-
reminder of the Judeo-Christian essence of ken language, each directed by a Grand Master
Martinism. This is why the Divine is called and under the supervision of Christian Bernard,
the Grand Architect of the Universe, to who holds the office of Sovereign Grand Master.
which the Kabbalists used to refer. Along-
side this reference to the eternal God of the A.H.: Christian Bernard, you are the current
Old Testament, Martinists also refer to the Sovereign Grand Master of the Tradi-
Cosmic Christ Ieschouah; that is, a Divine tional Martinist Order. Without going
Force of which Jesus was the earthly incar- into its history, which is dealt with at
nation. We can also call upon numbers to length in this magazine, can you tell us
demonstrate that Martinism imparts Jewish in a few words what the TMO is?
mysticism just as much as it does Christian C.B.: It is by definition a philosophical,
mysticism: you will no doubt be aware that initiatic, and traditional movement
the number 7 is the number of the Old Testa- which goes back to Louis-Claude
ment, while the number 8 is that of the New de Saint-Martin, the eminent eigh-
Testament, and these two numbers play a big teenth century French philosopher.
role in Martinist symbolism. Its purpose is to perpetuate the teach-
The first duty of a Martinist, in her ings he passed on to his students. To-
or his thoughts, words, and actions, is to day, these teachings can be received
implement the virtues demonstrated by in two ways: orally, by attending a
all the Masters who have influenced the Heptad or an Atelier; and in written
moral, cultural, and spiritual evolution of form, by the home-study of material
humanity. Another duty is to contribute to sent out from the Orders headquar-
the coming of a universal religion. Such a ters.
religion can only come about if humanity A.H.: But Louis Claude de Saint-Martin did
manages to understand that all the current not create a Martinist Order as such,
great religions come from a single Tradi- did he?
tion. In this piece, I have confined my-
C.B.: No. In his lifetime, he only taught a
self to the clear link uniting Judaism with
few students, whom he chose cau-
Christianity, but I could have compared
tiously. The tradition is that after his
other religious currents in the same way
death a Circle formed, known by the
and made the same observations about
name Socit des Intimes (Society of
their esoteric unity. Whenever the situa-
Intimates). Those who belonged to it
Rosicrucian tion presents itself to us, it is vital to make
met from time to time and discussed
Digest it known that it is humanitys ignorance
No. 1 the writings of the Unknown Phi-
that sets religions against one another;
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losopher, Martins de Pasqually, and A.H.: It is said that initiation is crucial in
Jakob Boehme. Martinism. What is the truth of this?
A.H.: What do the Martinist teachings deal C.B.: To be considered a genuine Mar-
with? tinist, you must indeed have been
C.B.: In a general sense, they offer an eso- initiated in a Temple by an initia-
teric approach to the major subjects tor who has been duly initiated into
which are characteristic of the Judeo- Martinism, and so on going back in
Christian tradition, such as the ori- time. This initiation has a double
gins of creation, the fall of humanity, purpose: to transmit to the receiver
the reintegration of beings, the true the spiritual influx which makes him
mission of Christ, the science of or her ritually a Martinist; and to
numbers, heavenly symbols, ange- admit the initiate in the traditional
lology, and so forth; the Kabbalah is manner into the Martinist lineage.
studied, as is the hidden meaning of A.H.: But what does that mean for Mar-
the Old Testament and the Apocry- tinists who study the teachings at home
phal Gospels, and much more. and do not attend a Heptad or Atelier?
A.H.: What do you mean when you say an C.B.: They can be said to have access to the
esoteric approach? Martinist teachings, but not to truly
C.B.: To Martinists, it is clear that many be part of the Martinist lineage. They
subjects in both the Old and New can, though, be initiated in a Temple
Testaments have a symbolic and alle- whenever they wish.
gorical dimension. And so if we want A.H.: At first glance, it might be thought that
to understand their deeperand the Martinist teachings are very intel-
maybe their hiddenmeaning, it is lectual. Is this the case?
necessary to go beyond a literal inter- C.B.: It is a fact that Martinist study,
pretation. It is the specific purpose of whether in the oral or the written
the Martinist teachings to decipher form, requires work of a reflective
the mystical truths contained in the nature. But it would be a mistake to
Bible, while also drawing on the ex- think this intellectual procedure is all
egeses and the apocryphal writings. there is to Martinism. We also have
A.H.: Can you give us an example? to learn to feel the emotional aspect
C.B.: According to Genesis, the world was of Martinism. We should recall that
created in six days. It is clear that Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin him-
such a thing is not possible. Similarly, self said in this respect that It is not
humanity cannot stem from an orig- the head that we must rack; it is the
inal couple, Adam and Eve. These heart. What is more, Martinism is
accounts in Genesis in fact equate to often described as the Way of the
ontological, cosmological, and cos- Heart, which is most telling.
mogonical laws and principles which It should also be stated that the
are explained in Martinism. Martinist teachings are every bit as
A.H.: How long are the Martinist teachings? practical as they are theoretical. They
therefore incorporate many experi-
C.B.: They consist of three degrees each ments whose purpose is to awaken
requiring two years of study, before our inner consciousness and thereby
moving on to a final degree called the increase our sensitivity to that which
Circle of Unknown Philosophers. is most divine in us and around us,
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which of course presupposes that we A.H.: What difference is there between Mar-
are spiritually inclined. tinism and Rosicrucianism?
A.H.: Do you have to be either Jewish or C.B.: As I mentioned, the Martinist teach-
Christian to become a Martinist? ings have a Judeo-Christian un-
C.B.: No. Martinism is open to any person dercurrent, which does not mean,
who is interested in Judeo-Christian however, that they are of a religious
esotericism, whether or not they be- character. The Rosicrucian teachings
long to the Jewish or Christian reli- are wider and more universal, in the
gions. For those Jews and Christians sense that they are connected to the
who are Martinists, experience shows Primordial Tradition and transcend
that the teachings they study within all religions that exist or have existed.
the Order enable them to better un- You could picture the Order of the
derstand the ontological foundations Rose Cross as a tree, of which the
of their cornerstone religion. Traditional Martinist Order is one
A.H.: Is the Traditional Martinist Order branch.
open to women? A.H.: And is there a link between Martinism
C.B.: Of course. Women were allowed into and Freemasonry?
Martinism from the eighteenth cen- C.B.: I am not a Freemason, but from what
tury. The same applied at the time of I understand certain Masonic rituals
Papus. are very similar to Martinist rituals.
A.H.: Does the TMO have any political in- This is mainly explained by the fact
volvement? that Martins de Pasqually, initiator
C.B.: No. It is completely apolitical, which of Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin,
is why it has among its membership belonged to Freemasonry.
people whose views are different in A.H.: Do Martinists have the opportunity to
this field, and are even opposite. meet other than at the meetings held in
A.H.: You are also the worldwide head of the the Heptads and Ateliers?
Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rose C.B.: Yes. The TMO regularly organizes
Cross. Why this dual office? Conventicles which are held at re-
C.B.: Because AMORC has been sponsor- gional, national, and international
ing the TMO since the beginning of levels, enabling Martinists from var-
the twentieth century, and 90 per- ied backgrounds to meet and to work
cent of Martinists are Rosicrucians. together. In this respect the TMO is
The Grand Masters of AMORC are a true Fraternity.
all Grand Masters of the TMO as A.H.: In one sentence, how would you define
well. Having joint responsibility for the Martinist ideal?
these two related Orders means that
C.B.: It is an ideal of spiritual chivalry,
the respective activities can be con-
based on the desire to develop wis-
ducted in perfect unison.
dom within oneself in order to make
A.H.: And how many Rosicrucians are Mar- a better world.
tinists?
A.H.: As Sovereign Grand Master of the
C.B.: About twenty percent. This is ex- TMO, what view do you have of the
plained by the fact that not all Rosi- world today?
Rosicrucian
Digest
crucians are necessarily interested in
Judeo-Christian esotericism. C.B.: The same view that I have as head of
No. 1
2014 - AMORC. To be exact, I think that
Supplement Page 6
humanity has gone away from the
Divine and that it risks losing its soul
in its mad rush towards materialism;
it needs to reconnect with a true spir-
ituality, that is to say a non-religious
spirituality, based on the esoteric ter-
nary of HumanityNaturethe Di-
vine, as conceived by Martinists, the
Rose-Croix, and other mystics.
A.H.: What is their concept of the Divine,
then?
C.B.: They see in the Divine the intel-
ligence, the consciousness, the
energy, the force (the name does
not matter) which is at the origin
of Creation, and which manifests
through it according to laws which
are impersonal, unchanging, and
perfect. Indeed, the happiness to
which the whole of humankind
aspires, is to be found in study-
ing and keeping to these laws. But
people must become more aware
of them, and act more in accor-
dance with them.

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