"Among the various Rites which, from time immemorial, have interested those Masons who are the best educated and the most imbued with the intimate conviction that their adherence to our Works must increase the sum of their knowledge, and bring them to the High-Sciences, the Rite of the "Elus-Coheri" is the one which has won over the most pupils, yet carefully preserved the secret of its mysterious works "
Such is the definition given by the Order of Illuminist Masonry, which we found in the Transactions of the Grand Orient for 1804, Book I, Installment 4, page 369. This statement of appreciation, coming from a masonic obedience which never exactly passed for mystical, which later came to expunge the invocations to the Great Architect of the Universe from its Rituals, and slid insensibly from eclectic philosophy into simple politics, has a particular value.
Also, one of the most erudite and impartial historians who concerned himself with mystical masonic Obediences, Gérard Van Rijnberk, tells us that: "one cannot deny that the Order of Elus-Coher constituted a group of men animated by the highest spirituality."4
Another historian, M. Le Forestier, a very valuable specialist concerning matters of occult high masonry, says broadly the same thing, strongly emphasizing the purely altruistic and disinterested character of this Fraternity, more occult and mystical besides, than masonry in the general sense of the word.5
This is why, of all the many "Orders" of illuminated masonry born in France and Europe during the restless current of the XVIIIth Century, none have had an influence comparable to that which entered into History under the common name - and incorrect besides - of Martirism.
Its appearance coincided with that of a strange person called Martinez de Pasqually. Even now the most romantic hypotheses are circulating about his name and his origins. Some say he is from an oriental race (Syrian), and others pretend he is a Jew (from Poland). Martinez de Pasqually was neither one nor
4 "A Thaumaturge of the XVIIIth Century': Martinez de Pasqually (Alcan, 1935). This concerns the book of Gérard van Rijnberk, Tome I, Tome II was published by Derain in 1938. These two Tomes were re-edited in Germany, at Hildesheim, by G> Olms, 1982 - according to G. Tappa.
5 Footnote absent in oroginal: but from the context: Le Forestier René, Occult Freemasonry in the XVIIIth Century, Dorbon the Elder s.d. (1928) - according to G. Tappa.
the other, and his concerned detractors - unless they prefer to use false historic information, which is a serious moral issue - can no longer ignore or hide from the definitive documents that we possess. These are:
1) The Master's Act of Marriage to demoiselle Marguerite-Angélique de
2) The Certificate of Catholicism, dated 29th April, 1772, registered before his departure for Saint-Dominique on the "Duc de Duras".
From these two documents, published by Madame René de Brimont, which were discovered by someone in the archives of the Department of Gironde, we can see that this man was named very precisely:
Jacques de Livron de la Tour de la Case Martines de Pascally.
He was the son of "Messire de la Tour de la Case", born in Alicante (Spain) in 1671, and of demoiselle Suzanne Dumas de Rainau.
He was born in Grenoble in 1727, and he died in St. Domingo, Tuesday, the 20th September, 1774.
None of the preceding patronyms gives us any indication to suppose that he was Jewish. No more that the fact that he also lived for a specific period of his life in Bordeaux in "Jewish Road"! For if living by a ghetto could be proof of religion (and how, logically?), then how can one accept that in Paris, he lived with the Augustinians by the River Seine, without claiming that influence?
Some have put forward the theory that perhaps he came from a Jewish background, and was a converted Jew. We would again argue that history was written in these documents and not by supposition, and that this obstinacy by particular "historians", concerned with the idea that he might be both Jewish and a Freemason, raises strong concerns in us as to their ultimate intentions. The truth is, although ignorant of Hebrew (and he showed that in his works.), he was familiar with the Kabbalah and, like all practitioners of ceremonial magic, drawn to the use of Judaic traditions and material components. But his disciple, the Marquis Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin, who all his life was never apart from a Hebrew bible, was not so disadvantaged and, like him, used Hebrew elements, the basis of the whole Christian religious tradition.
The Signature of Martines (Photograph from a manuscript)
The Signature of Martines (Photograph from a manuscript)
We do not intend to ignore the importance of respecting the fact that all Western magical and Kabbalistic traditions are, for the most part, Jewish, which makes the fanatical adversaries of all transcendental wisdom jump for joy! We simply ask them, in all fairness, to heap the same "discredit" on a religion, with masters and a divine hypostasis, which the majority imprudently claim to know: Christianity.
Let us leave these modern Pharisees, and quickly define once more the history of the Order of the Elus-Cohen (Cohen, in Hebrew, signifies priest).
Martinez de Pasqually spent his life teaching French masons of regular obediences (which had strayed from the correct philosophical systems), and under the exterior guise of a normal Masonic Ritual, a true initiatic teaching, capable of assuming aspects of theodicy, cosmogony, gnosis and philosophy.
In order to have certain concepts already half-formed in a specific intellectual and material discipline, he only accepted regular Masons into his Order, at the grade of "Master" (Third Degree).
But in addition, since it was a fact that important components could also learned through the channel of "profane" life, he established at the base of his system a 'potted' prior transmission of the three ordinary masonic degrees (known as blue, or St. John Masonry).
In fact, one may understand this by the following: the secret reason for this earlier affiliation to masonic mastership resided in the fact that his school was based upon the same legend, or myth, as Freemasonry. Of the Hiram legend, presented without commentary or allusion to its esotericism, Martinez de Pasqually gave a transcendental explanation, a framework for his theogonic system. But he gave the esoteric allusion in the higher Classes of the Order, leaving the legendary presentation - common to all masonic obediences - to the first three degrees.
Martinez de Pasqually traveled mysteriously in one part of France, principally the South-East and the South. Leaving one town without saying where he was going, he would arrive in the same manner, without a glimpse of where he had come from.
Most probably he began his mission in 1758, since in his letter dated 2nd September, 1768, he declares that the Brethren of Aubenton, commissioned officers of the Royal Marine, have been his followers for ten years. Propagating his doctrine, he welcomed adherents in the Lodges of Marseilles, Avignon, Montpellier, Narbonne, Foix and Toulouse.
Yet before commencing his mystical apostolate, he had definitely been masonically active previously.
His father, Don Martinez de Pascally, was holder of a masonic patent in English, delivered to him on 30th May, 1738, by the Grand Master of the Stuart Lodge, with power to transmit it to his eldest son, allowing him "as Grand Master, to constitute and run Lodges and Temples to the Glory of the G .•. AOTa U .•. ".
So it was that Martinez was also the founder in Montpellier, in 1754, of the Chapter "Les Juges Ecossaise". In 1755 until 1760, he traveled throughout France, recruiting followers. In this last year he failed in Toulouse, in the blue Lodges called "Reunited St. John". At Foix, the Lodge "Joshua" gave him a sympathetic hearing. There he initiated a number of masons, and founded a Chapter: the "Temple Cohen".
In 1761, presented by the Compte de Maillial d'Alzac, the Marquis de Lescourt, the two Brothers from Aubenton (and thanks to his familial patent), he was affiliated with the Lodge "La Française" of Bordeaux. There he built what he called his "Particular Temple" (from the Latin particular: part, cell, reduction). Among its members, in addition to the four mentioned above, were Messieurs de Casen, de Bobié, Jules Tafar (ex-major of the "Royal Grenadiers"), Morrie and Lescombard. This Lodge bore the name of "La Perfection Elue Ecossaise". In 1784, this Cohen "Mother Lodge" became "La Française Elue Ecossaise". In March, 1766, the aforementioned Lodge was dissolved. Note that, until this date, Martinez had Father Bullet as his secretary, almoner for the Regiment at Foix, who has the title (employed by the Master for the first time) of "S.I.". We suggest - with some chance of being correct - that it was the sacerdotal character of Father Bullet which afforded him this interior title, of Supérieur Inconnu of the Order, or possibly - if we read the 'I' as a 'J' - of : Sovereign Judge". Martinez de Pasqually must have given him this title as the theologian of the Order! But later on, before his departure for St. Domingo, he gave this title to five of his senior dignitaries. And this would be the doctrinal and interior discipline that these "Sovereign Judges" or "Supérieurs Inconnus" would be led to superintend...We will come across these titles later, under another branch.
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