Martinez Pasqually and le Chevaliers Elus Coens

Out of the Illuminates of Avignon developed within the french Freemasonry a mystical-theosophical order founded by Jacques de Livron Joachin de la Tour de la Case Martinez de Pasqually (or Martinez Pasqually for short.) Pasqually was born in Grenoble in 1727. His inclinations towards mysticism made him join freemasonry, and he became Master mason in Montpellier around 1754. He was also supposed to have established a chapter of the Scottish Rite (Les Juges Ecossais) . Pasqually tended very early towards speculative masonry. He made extensive travels through France in the years 1755 -1760, and met many masons that were fascinated by his thoughts. His ideas had by the time of 1760 gained enough resonance among freemasons that it allowed him to establish a lodge called "Temple des Elus Cohen(Coên). The members were known as "La Perfection Elue Ecossise". The Lodge blended with the mother lodge 'La Francaise' in 1764 under the name "La Francaise Elue Ecossise" It received recognition by the regular Grand Lodge of France in 1765. This made it much easier for Pasqually to recruit new members for his Elus Cohens.

The inflation of new Highgradesystems within french freemasonry around the year 1766 led the Grand Lodge to prohibit these systems. The Grand Lodge asked Pasqually to shut down his "La Francaise Elue Ecossise". He thereby lost his freemasonic basis, but filled with an urge to again receive acceptance by Grand Lodge he travelled around France and met with masons of a very high standing. Thereby he again received license to go by Grand Lodge, but only for a short while. When The Grand Lodge of France received notice of the Elus Coëns system's occult nature, it was prohibited all over France. Strangely enough: Even more masons became interested in his system after this prohibition! Pasqually reorganized the whole system, and established as substitute for a Grand lodge in 1767 a "Tribunal Suverain". Pasqually constituted himself as 'Grand Suverian', and established the Bacon de la Chevalerie as 'Substitut Universel'. The members of the 'Tribunal Souverian' named themselves "Supêrieur Inconnu" -Unknown Leader. This term is also used by the Strict Observance and Gold-und Rosenkreuzsystems.
The members of the Order was called le Chevaliers Elus Cohens(or Coëns) de l'Univers. The name Cohen is a french version of the Hebrew word "Cohanim" : a name for the highest class of priests in Jerusalem in biblical times. They believed they descended directly from Aaron, the brother of Moses.

Pasqually met Saint-Martin in Foix in 1768, and Saint-Martin joined the Eulis Cohens shortly thereafter. Saint-Martin was enormously influential in reorganizing the Eulis Cohens.
Due to an ever increasing amount of internal conflicts and strides within the Order, Pasqually left for Port-au- Prince on Haiti in 1772. After a few years, he had established a Tribunal Suverian on the island. His cousin, Armand Caignet de Lesterê , was constituted as 'Substitut Universel' . In practise it thereby existed two Tribunal Suverians and two substitutes in the order. A Lodge was established in Port-au-Prince, and another in Lêogane. The lodges in France received in the following years more complete formulas for magical evocations and procedures for the higher degrees of the system. In October 1773 Pasqually sent a "Repertoire gènèral des noms et nombres en jonction avec les caratères et hièroglyphes" to France. This was a general grimoire or outline of a system of correspondences to be employed in the invocation and evocation of sprits. In 1774 he constructed a particular initiation rituals for ladies of the order. Pasquelly died in Port -au- Prince in the year 1774. His grave has never been found.

Pasqually had named his cousin Lestère his successor, but the death of the Grand master led to a schism in France. The group in Haiti, which was called "Temples Cohens de Port-au-Prince et de Lèogane", functioned up until 1780. Lestère died in 1779, and his successor was Sèbastian de las Casas. He dissolved the order in November 1780 after a unsuccessful attempt to gain influence over the European branch. He resigned as Grand master in august 1780, and requested the members of the order to join either the Strict Observance or the Philalethes. We find traces of activity up until 1784, but most authors on freemasonry seems to suggest that the original order died out with Casas. I have recently come across sources that give hints to a continuation of the Eulis Cohens in Haiti by the hand of Francois Jean-Maine, who founded the voudoun -Masonic order of La Coleuvre Noire.

The Grade structure of the Eulis Cohens:
The system was based on three classes with nine degrees, and also a fourth class with a sub degree. The first class was called "Maconnerie symbolique" (Symbolic masonry) or "ordinaire" , and in it were the three degrees Apprenti, Compagnon and Maître.
The second class was called Classe du Poche, and contained the degrees Apprenti, Compagnon and Maitre-Elu Coën.
The third class was called "le Degrès du Temple", and contained the degrees Grand Maitrê Elu Coën, or Grand Architecte and Chevalier or Commandeur d'Orient or Grand Elu de Zorobabel.
In the fourth, secret Class was the content of the Rèau-Croix grades comprised.
An initiate of the Rèau-Croix grades was also entitled to carry the name "Très Puissant Maître" (T.'.P.'.M.'.) , a term we also find amongst the later Martinists. Another term was the Grand Elect of Zorobabel, a biblical term that refers to the widow of King Jojachin, Serubabel. A good deal of the system within the Eulis Cohens seems to be based on legends of the Old Testament. The name of the second Class of degrees, Classe du Poche, also give hints to Blue Masonry.

The "Grand Architects" of the Order performed magical operations to drive away 'The Forces of Darkness' To be able to perform these 'Operations', the member of the order had to go through an *ordination'. Through the Most Mystical Master (Très Puissant Maître), the member received empowermnet to perform the magical rituals that were to take place in the Temples -the "Chambres d'Operation".
The esoteric content of the grade of "Grand Elu de Zorobabel" was based on the Eleusian Mysteries. It prepared the candidate for the secret Class "-le Classe Secrète". Saint-Martin called this grade "Grand Rèau-Croix" or Grand-Rèau". The original significance of this grade according to Pasqually was through magical evocations to establish contact with the highest realms of the Spirits of the Eulis Cohens. When the Grand Architect had driven the demonical forces away from the sphere of the Earth, it lay in the hands of the Rèau Croix to attract the Celestial Forces, and transport these forces into the mundane Aura. These forces were brought down by either visual or acoustic manifestation through the Rêau Croix, in order to create a link to the original image of man. and thus integrating it within each individual soul. This philosophy was the main goal of Pasqually's teachings.

As original sources of the Eulis Cohens lies:
1) Pasqually's handwritten text: " Traitè de la Rèintegration des Etres dans leurs preières propriètès, vertus et puissances spirituelles et divines".
2) the handwritten Rituals and catechisms of the Order,
3) the correspondence between Pasqually and his followers, especially Jean-Baptiste Willermoz from Lyon.

The Traitè contains Pasqually's Secret Doctrine, which was delivered to members of the Rèau-Croix degree. It is the doctrine of the Fall of the Angels, the fall of mankind into the material realm, the secret esoteric history of the Cosmos , the esoteric role of the evil and demonic forces, and finally of mankind's possibility of returning to the glorious, original shape. These teachings are developed in the rituals and catechisms, and furthermore supplied with legends. In his letters, Pasqually give examples of his conversations with spirits and angels.
Pasqually's sources are of Gnostic, manicheistic and Catharistic origin fused with elements of hermetical and christian-kabbalistic mysticism typical of Knorr von Rosenroth. He may also have used Arabian-chaldean texts. There might also be a connection to the teachings of Emmanuel Swedenborg. Pasqually's teachings were also of a sexual-magical nature, largely connected to phallisism.

Gèrard van Rijnberk:Un Thamaturge au XVIII. siècle Martines de Pasqually.
Paris and Lyon 1935 & 1938
Robert Ambelain:Le Martinisme .Paris 1946
Robert Amadou:Trèsor Martiniste .Paris 1969
The works of Franz Xaver von Baader. Aaalen 1963.
Renè Forestier: La Franc-maconnerie, occultiste au XVIII. siècle el l'Ordre
des Elus Coëns .Paris 1928