Edouare Blitz (1860-1915)
and American Martinism
This photo of Edouard Blitz was provided to me, Phillip A. Garver, personally by Edouard Marquis Blitz, grandson of Edouard Emanuel Blitz. Any reproduction of this photo found online was stolen from this site, and is being used without authorization.
Ed., compiled, and translated by +Phillip A. Garver, T. Vincent II, copyright © 2003
"Repeated attempts, for several years past, to secure data or information regarding Dr. Blitz were without result. Inquiries into paths and channels directed by those who knew him in the past proved fruitless. In fact not a trace of his activities, Masonic, professional or private, came to light. It always seemed strange to me that in my 'pokings' in and out of Masonic and occult historical articles that no contact was made with the name of Blitz. From 'stories' that had come to me, Dr. Blitz was philosophically inclined. Maybe, I thought, the Doctor might be the Unknown Philosopher - and this time really unknown - for we have identified many unknown philosophers, so-called, even while still in the flesh. But this possibility has now been shattered through one of those accidental finds which are a joy in the life of the historian."
-- Harold V.B. Voorhis, P.G.C.
The quotation above is from a paper that was delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Grand College of Rites held in Washington, D.C. on 20 February 1943. Mr. Voorhis was wearing the Cordon and Jewel of the Martinist Order which belonged to Edouard Blitz and have never before been worn by anyone but the Doctor - they had been loaned by the Doctor's only child. Lois at the Scottish Rite Research Society has kindly provided us with a copy of that paper. This, along with several letters which Dr. Blitz wrote to Papus and which have been preserved in the bibliothèque de Lyon (grateful thanks to our beloved brother G.T.) have given us at least a glimpse into the enigmatic leader of American Martinism at it the height of its early development and expansion. In addition, we have been in contact with the grandson of Dr. Blitz, Edouard Marquis Blitz, who, aside from several phone calls, has provided us with some invaluable biographical information on the Blitz family, and has generously offered us a photograph of his grandfather.
Personal & Family Life
Edouard Emanuel Blitz was born on 30 May 1860 (some sources indicate May 31) in Ghent, Belgium. At a very early age he entered the Royal Conservatory in Ghent. It is said that talent runs in families ... and Blitz's family is certainly no exception, as will be noted. Aside from his musical education, Edouard was admitted to a Jesuit college and, although he had more of an affinity for the Benedictines, he would not become a member. One can, however, see that he retained his spirituality throughout the rest of his life. He became a dentist, and became quite well-known for his skill. In addition, his talent in music, philosophy and freemasonry became quite renown. From 1904 until his passing, Blitz was very active in the music scene of New York City and even had a studio in Carnegie Hall. Edouard Blitz would also found the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra in Kansas City, Missouri.
While his European origins suited him well for frequent travel and a life in the big city, he would not stay there forever. Edouard Blitz came to America in 1880 while on a tour. The tour ceased suddenly in 1882, and he found himself in Eureka, IL, where he met Mattie Louise Miller. They were married on 1 September 1884.
Mattie, born in Mansfield, OH in 1865, became the Directress of Music at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. The couple would move there to take on faculty positions with the same college - according to the archives at Cottey College, they were listed as faculty from 1895 through 1904. Aside from her remarkable skill as a pianist - some reports indicate that she has studied in Europe under such famous personae as Mendelssohn - Mattie, having grown up around horses, became quite the horsewoman. This additional skill served her well, for while on a trip to Belgium with her husband, she noticed a woman and child who had fallen in the middle of the street in front of a runaway horse and carriage. Reacting quickly and fearlessly, she ran out into the middle of the street and stopped the horse and carriage, knowing exactly what to do. For her heroic act, the Belgian government, approved by Leopold II, awarded her with the Medal of Bravery; making her the first American woman to ever receive this honor.
It was through the comments of a voice teacher, Anna Johnson of New York City, that Cottey College was to gain from the presence of the couple named Blitz. Ms. Johnson suggested to Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard that she consider a full music department. At a concert at Central College she had heard the Blitz couple play, who were then scheduled to go back to Europe for a year's study. Having written, Edouard Blitz responded with the salary they would expect if they came to Nevada, which seemed, to her, rather a lot. But, learning of their New York connections, she consented. They took up residence in "the little house next to Mother Cottey" which is presently where the Ross Library stands. Edouard made quite an impression on this small college while he was there, and his efforts to introduce culture and finesse were not without notice. In an article from 1899 we read:
"The music pupils of Cottey College at Nevada highly entertained a large audience at the First Methodist Church last night with a recital of vocal and instrumental music that would have done credit to professionals.
"The ensemble work of the company of ten musicians playing upon violins, viola, violoncellos and piano, directed by Dr. Edouard Blitz, teacher of violin in the school, was simply grand and called forth repeated encores from the audience. An excellent class of music was rendered, showing the young people are having their musical taste cultivated in the right way."
So many new pupils signed up that Mrs. Stockard 'began to think about adding another wing' - presently the south wing of Old Main Hall.
Unfortunately, Mattie died several years before Edouard, passing to the great beyond on May 27, 1904 in Nevada, Missouri. After her death, Edouard left his employment with Cottey College and returned to Michigan to bury his wife. That following November, Edouard returned to New York City.
In 1885, Mattie gave birth to their only son, Julien Paul Blitz. Following in his parent's footsteps, Julien Paul, also born in Ghent, Belgium, was endowed with the gift of music. He received the degree of Doctor of Music and was a Laureate Cum Laude from the Royal Conservatory of Ghent, being recognized as a master cellist. He was, for a time, the director of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra in Texas, and, like his father did in Kansas City, founded the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In 1919, he would marry Flora Briggs, daughter of Jim and Daisy Briggs. Daisy was a celebrated actress. Flora was a virtuoso pianist, having trained at the Cincinnati Conservatory. The couple frequently performed together, and in 1923 became the first professional instrumentalists to play over the radio in Texas. Julien Paul died in 1951, but Flora lived to the distinguished age of 100, passing on 17 November 1994.
In 1914, Edouard married one Miss Mabel Shriver of Charleston, IL. Mabel was quite a promising soprano. It was, however, only one year later that his health gave way. It was due to an accidental dose of photographic developing solution, Dr. Blitz would die on 10 February 1915. Before his death, he indicated his desire to return to Nevada to consult with a certain Dr. Amerman, who was his intimate friend. To his friend, Mrs. Stockard, with whom he had remained in contact over the years, his last wish was "When all this is over, will you see that I stay here at home?" Still at home, he is buried in Deepwood Cemetery in Nevada, Missouri. His tombstone of red granite bears the inscription: "Dr. Edouard E. Blitz, Born in Ghent, Belgium, May 30, 1860, Died Feb. 10, 1915. To Our Beloved." The news report of his death indicated that he was expected to be buried in New York, and of his personality, exclaimed "He had a worldwide reputation as a violinist and teacher of harmony." Mabel would die the following year, in 1916, and like her husband, is buried in Deepwater Cemetery.
Unfortunately, Edouard Emanuel Blitz would never have the opportunity to meet his grandson, who was born in November of 1922. Edouard Marquis Blitz, like all his family, was infused with the spirit of music. His wife, Mary Lou (again in the famous Blitz tradition) was, herself, a well-known opera singer. Edouard Marquis played 5 years with the Dallas Symphony, 15 years with the Minneapolis Symphony and a honorable 27 years with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In addition, he spent one year as first cellist with the Harkness Ballet in New York City. Again, it is to this distinguished grandson, that we owe much of this information.
It is evident that Blitz's involvement with Martinism came from his knowledge of Freemasonry. Here are many of his credentials: (N.B. - these dates are according to Voorhis)
- Apprentice - 13 November 1883
- Companion - 2 January 1884
- Master Mason - 3 January 1884 - Wm. C. Hobbs Lodge #306, Eureka, IL
- Mark Master - 22 December 1894
- Past Master - 14 March 1895
- Excellent Master - 18 March 1895
- Royal Arch - 23 March 1895 - Oceana Chapter #56, Pentwater, MI
- Royal and Select Master - 23 July 1909 - Oceana Council #27, Pentwater, MI
- Red Cross - 18 December 1895
- Knight of Malta & Knight Templar - 19 December 1895 - O'Sullivan Commandery #15, Nevada, Missouri
- AASR 32° - 21 November 1901 - Western Mo. Consistory, Kansas City, Missouri
In looking at copies of his Masonic Diplomas: the following dates are given:
- Apprentice, Companion & Master - 17 February 1896
- Royal Arch - 11 February 1896
- Royal and Select Master - 25 February 1896
- Knight Templar - 17 February 1896 ( Red Cross & Knight of Malta)
There may be some discrepancy, as well as noticing the quickness of his obtaining recognition. This is more than likely due to the fact that Blitz was already a Mason in Europe, and he was recognized in his degrees and qualities.
Edouard Blitz was also received as C.B.C.S. (Chevalier Bienfaisant de la Cité Sainte, or Knight Beneficent of the Holy City) of the Rectified Scottish Rite of Willermoz in Geneva, Switzerland on 15 May 1901.
What follows is a brief resume of Martinism's first attempt at installation and operation in America, the incredible work of a talented Belgian who lived in America, and the frustration of the lack of support from European esoteric bodies. The corpus of letters from Dr. Edouard Emanuel Blitz to Dr. Gérard Emcausse (Papus) is quite large, so only a selection outlining some major points related to the tradition and its operation in the first era are included. Sadly, we are unable to locate the letters which Papus and Sédir wrote to Dr. Blitz, according to our research and that of his grandson, Edouard Marquis Blitz. I sincerely hope that this information will be informative, and comforting to know that we in the present era are not the first to meet with such frustration.
While a student of medicine at the Sorbonne, in Paris, Blitz studied Egyptology and Hinduism; and he developed a working knowledge of Latin, Greek and Hebrew. For a brief period of time, he was also a follower of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky - of Theosophical Society fame. Then, in 1894, while back in Paris briefly serving as the chief consultant at the Louvre Dental Clinic, Blitz met Papus.
On 20 June, 1894, at the 'Merveilleux' bookstore, Blitz was initiated a Martinist. Only a few days later, Papus, with charter #37, would give Edouard Emanuel Blitz full authority as a Sovereign National Delegate of the Ordre Martiniste to install and develop Martinism in the United States. Then, on the evening of 20 July 1894, in his apartment as 12 rue des Filles Dieux, Blitz received, from Paul Sédir, further documents to assist him in establishing U.S. lodges.
On 27 August 1894, Blitz performed the first Martinist Initiation in the United States.
Having received only the bare essentials, and acting in his capacity as Sovereign National Delegate, Blitz set about developing Martinism for America. In a letter dated 27 October 1894, Blitz informs Papus of his progress. Translations are being made of some of the materials given him by Papus and Sédir, and he has begun writing rituals for the Order to pass the initiations, esoteric knowledge and symbols. For this, Blitz drew upon the writings of Louis-Claude de Saint Martin, of Papus and Eliphas Lévi as well as the Masonic works of Mackey and Macoy. At this time, all the initiates of Martinism were already at least Master Masons. In this letter, Blitz also indicates the words and signs of the degrees intended for use in these rituals.
24 September 1895. Blitz writes to Papus that he believes Martinism should be divided into two Temples equaling 7 degrees, in order to be a more 'complete' rite. He is including elements of Kabbalah, Gematria and numeric symbolism in the initiation rituals and is pleased to have received his Diploma from Sédir as a Licentiate of Kabbalah from the Ordre Kabbalistique de la Rose+Croix. This is the first mention of his interest in considering the OKR+C of deGuaita as the second Temple of the Martinist Order. On a related note, he mentions that the Sovereign Council wants nothing to do with the SRIA in America, finding them to be essentially "living dead".
As of 11 October 1895, the first degree ritual was complete and had been sent to France. It was not Masonic itself, but used a Masonic form and Blitz gives an indication of the proposed symbolic instruction topics for the 2nd degree temple. These would be grades of practical application - particularly in the sciences of Kabbalah and Magic. By 22 November of that same year, Martinism has been established in 16 states: Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, Washington D.C. and the territory of Washington.
Shortly thereafter, Blitz announces that there would be a reunion of SS:.II:. the following year, in August of 1896, the first Congress of the Martinist Order in America. One of the brothers had offered a hotel on the shore of Lake Erie, brother Silliman offered his hermitage in New Jersey, and sister Margaret Peeke, already well-known to all occultists, suggested that they could use her cottage in Tennessee.
Riding the momentum he had created, Blitz writes to Papus, on 8 June 1896, of his desire to place the Ordre Martiniste at the forefront of a confederation of occult societies called the 'Universal Union of Esotericists.' The idea had come to him when, upon hearing of Blitz' passing through town, the Chicago lodge had requested he speak. His impromptu lecture was so well received that he was asked to continue the following day with an interview - which was attended by more than 50 people and included a large number of members of the Theosophical Society. Everyone in attendance was intrigued by the idea and expressed interest in entering into such a confederation. In the same letter, Blitz mentions that he is still awaiting the notebooks of Fabre d'Olivet as well as the rituals of the Eglise Gnostique which had been promised by Sédir. Once again, he mentions his desire to incorporate the OKR+C of deGuaita, and now also inquires about the Rose+Croix Catholique of Péladan. This is, however, primarily for its artistic character, as he doubts is seriousness as far as a tradition is concerned.
On 14 June of 1896 Blitz writes again explaining why he insists on dealing only with Papus. He asserts the importance of a strong leadership that is well-known:>
"Like you, I was born an organizer and I know the folly and deception faced by those in positions of power leading a movement - particularly an intellectual movement; because each member believes he is endowed with an intellect superior to the next and they all believe they have a 'right' to govern. From there, schisms arise..."
We can see why this strong leadership is important. Blitz has accomplished a great deal. This project ... "which I hold near and dear to my heart.. is nearly complete: the enrollment of all our American Societies from the Theosophical Society of America and the T. S. of India ... to the smallest Spiritist group, into the Independent Group of Esoteric Studies... I intend to bring you 50,000 occultists from the United States as well as, a little while later, those from Australia and the Indies."
And Papus was to be the President of this group. Blitz had risked a lot to make this happen, and had to promise: the creation of a journal, monthly meetings, the establishment of a Library, relations amongst all the groups dispersed across the surface of the earth... Following this, Blitz presented Papus with a list both of demands, and of the necessary documents and action on the part of France to make this all happen.
On 26 June 1896, Papus responded with the list of 'Protectors' or the 'Honorary Committee of International Directors':
- His Majesty King Oscar II
- Her Majesty the Queen of Romania
- Dr. Gérard Encausse (Papus) - France
- Dr. von Hartman - Austria, Occultist
- Dr, Lehman-Hohenbert - Germany, Writer
- Dr. Th. Schäfer - Germany, famous Mason
- Edward Maisland - England, Mystic
- Dr. Niels Sjobert - Sweden, Mystic FreeMason
- Dr. Eugène H. Schmitt - Hungary, Sociologist
- H. A. Sabro - Norway, Journalist
- Peter Davidson - United States, Mystic
- Sylvestre C. Gould - United States, Scientist
- Prof. Carl Michelsen - Denmark - Scientist
Papus indicated a few others that he would like to include in addition: Barlet - Sédir - de Guaïta - Joséphin Péladan - Augusta Holmès. Quite a brilliant representation from France!
In April of 1897, Papus received a letter from Blitz with the notice at the top "Absolutely Confidential". It seems that the progress that Blitz had been referring to was even more than any of us had thought could be accomplished:
"My Dear Master,
"I have just received a quasi-official letter from a member of the Sup:. Cons:. 33° for Switzerland, of the Masonic Confederation of Scottish Rites, in response to my letter bridging the topic of a potential union between the Martinist rite and the regular Masonic powers. Never forgetting my ultimate goal... which you know, I have the honor and extreme pleasure of creating my excellent friend Encausse, at least for a period of a few years, as Grand Master of a Regular Masonry, for the grades of Apprentice, Companion and Master! There is, however, one condition: it will be necessary to suspend (at least for the moment) all Masonic studies within Martinist lodges and cease, unfortunately, associating in androgynous (mixed) lodges with women.. Wait, do not be shocked, I will find a way a little later to rectify this error committed by me... One other important condition, Papus must yield to Doctor Encausse in the work that will follow; we will remain in the Occult... but it will be 'occult.'"
What follows is a rather long letter from Mr. Joseph Leclerc, Chancellor in Geneva, offering Blitz some advice as to how to proceed in constructing a Martinist Order. He indicates at one point: "Do you not believe that I would welcome with joy, for example in France, the reconstitution of the province of Auvergne of the Rectified Scottish Rite with Martinism at the summit..." "You see, Very Dear Brother, by what I have just said to you, how the philosophy of our Scottish and Rectified Masonic System approaches that which is proclaimed by the Martinist Order. How could it be otherwise? They are two branches of the same tree..."
"First of all, one must be a Mason and only discuss such matters amongst other Masons...The Grand Orient of France, being materialist, is only recognized by the Grand Orients of Belgium and Italy...but the Ancient and Primitive Rite and the Symbolic Lodge should be, must be consulted... You will initiate into the symbolic grades every Martinist who is not already a Mason, and from its resurrection, no one will be admitted to the high grades of Martinism except Masons...The Symbolic Grades will be paying... and there, they will study the symbolism of the 3 degrees of Masonry and their variants. The Martinist Order as it is today will constitute the high grades and will only be conferred to those who most merit... This Masonry will use the Bible, on which the candidates will take their oath, the ritual will be based upon the York Rite, the oldest and most widespread, modified... You will be installed by the most senior member of the Rectified Scottish Rite, the Venerable Brother Suès-Du-Chemmin whose father was the friend of Willermoz and who was initiated in the same Lodge as Saint Martin..."
In the early months of 1898, Papus asked Blitz for a résumé of his activities. Blitz lays it all out:
"Following many difficulties due to the feminine element, I had to put our most considerable lodge, Lodge Miriam in Chicago, to sleep; this feminine element, rearing it's head from the Theosophical Society, knows nothing of discipline and introduces into our Order a certain taste for frivolity which characterizes our American Sisters; little by little they wanted to seize upon the exclusive government of the lodge, accept persons who were not suitable for the lodge and reject others for no apparent reason. Even more so, the Grand Master wasn't recognized and they were trying to make the Order a purely American institution. So I believed my duty was to intervene and to put the officers of the lodge on notice either to submit, or demit. I asked to see the books and records of the Lodge, and their response was that the Secretary had taken no notes of meetings, no minutes, no verbal proceedings. That sealed their fate and I demanded their charter which I now have in my archives. Following the regrettable advice of Peter Davidson, I have closed the Order to women and ceased all public notices. However, the activity of the Free Initiators is replete throughout the United States... The Order can no longer prosper as an organization, it is doomed to extinction: it is becoming Exoteric, its principles will soon be nothing more than public domain. The time has arrived where at all costs, we must restrict the discretional activity of Initiators."
"Here, in a few words, is what we, here, have decided:
- That the Martinist Rite will constitute a Superior Rite of Masonry. It will be Mystical and Philosophical.
- In order to be admitted, one must have attained at least the degree of Master Mason.
- The privilege of Initiation is removed from Free Initiators except to form regular Lodges.
- Initiation will be paid for by the neophyte, the cost of initiation, of correspondence, of printing, etc. etc. will be too high to be supported by the Members, the most devoted of whom are the least rich; and that will suffice to slow the progressive motion of the Order.
- Mixed Lodges will be tolerated but there will be a separate ritual.
- The Martinist Order will be placed on par with the Scottish Rite.
- That the Masonic character of both ritual and history call for a Masonic organization.
- That "Free Initiators" leads to the vulgarization of the principles of Martinism and attempts to destroy the initiatic character of the society.
- That free Initiation (nonpaying) makes it impossible to have a real organization, or the expansion of the Rite...
"...I see myself forced to ask for the authorization to change the organization of the Rite because I recognize the necessity, I see only the welfare of our Order and the triumph of our ideas, no other consideration guides me..."
Thus, the idea of a Masonic Martinism had begun and would be taken up, shortly before the death of Papus, by Teder, Bricaud and Chevillon, but would be extinguished by Dupont in the 1960's.
Responding to a letter from Papus dated 4 December 1899 where Papus announced his entrance into the Masonic Swedenborgian Rite:
"My Dear Doctor and excellent Friend,
"I have just received your wonderful letter of the 4th of this month. It is with the greatest pleasure that I learn of your initiation into the mysteries of FreeMasonry...But now, my Very Dear Red Brother (ed. note: Frère Rouge - referring to a "Red Lodge" versus a "Blue Lodge" of reception into the first three degrees - the Scottish Rite has its own version of the first three degrees, and these are conferred in a "Red Lodge" - although it is rarely, if ever, practiced.)... it would be prudent for you also to affiliate with the Scottish Rite, or some other Rite whose activity is more well known and which would place you, in the eyes of regular Masons, in a more favorable position. I will soon write to Brother John Yarker, in his double quality as Sovereign Grand Conservator of the Rite 33° 95° and Martinist Sovereign Delegate General... it would be ideal if we could revive the Swedenborgian Rite, graft the Martinist Order onto it and complete the system with the secret teaching of the Grand Profess. There is the triumph of your idea... and mine. We will work on it..."
As of 26 March 1900 we can see the end is near, but not in the direction hoped: [ed. note: unfortunately, not a lot has changed in the last 100 years!]
"My Dear Doctor,
"I've just received your letter dated 10 March, and I feel I must respond. You ask me if it is possible to organize Martinist Groups in America which are not Masonic and WHERE EVERYTHING IS FREE. That is where we began five years ago... You know the outcome... very few (not even 10) [are involved in the Order] to really learn about the Mystic Saint Martin... And don't forget, my Dear Doctor, that I have Nothing, absolutely NOTHING to give to these people to direct them in their work, not even 10 people know French well enough to read the works of the Master in their original language... there is not one translation into English of the works of the Unknown Philosopher... The first year of my sojourn here was particularly difficult having to copy the ritual by hand which I gave away gratis, these famous initiates told me that they did not have THE TIME TO COPY THE RITUAL THEMSELVES... so I copied the rituals for them. It was because of this that I decided to have the Ritual printed, which cost me more than 1000 Francs... It should be known that from the moment we charged $3.50 for the ritual, which must be paid in advance, the number of our Candidates has dropped. $3.50 per copy, which is to say the same price that we Masons pay for a little abridged ritual, of the Blue Lodge, containing fewer pages and of which the binding is vastly inferior than ours... There is also a fee for the diploma, and since last year an annual contribution of one dollar. A fee for initiation will NEVER be demanded by the Grand Council, but I will not object to Lodges asking for the means to pay for the fees of the location, the regalia, etc. We do not have rich members here... NONE OF THE MEMBERS OF ANY USE TO THE ORDER PAY ANNUAL DUES, when I perceive that a Martinist is of good faith, when he works, either if he initiates, or keeps me up to date on his progress, he is sent a bill for his annual dues. To respond to your objection of making Members pay, would you like to know, my Dear Friend, how much, in five years, I have received in annual dues??????? ELEVEN dollars... Among the 500 or so Martinists, there are only ELEVEN, (and that just since last year) who have paid their annual fees... the sale of the Rituals has brought in only a third of the cost of having them printed. Add to that the cost of notices, diplomas, applications, office fees and postage stamps and you will see, my dear Doctor, that it is absolutely necessary to place some limit on a generosity which leads to no good...in France, people are thoughtful, they appreciate a favor, but here, they barely know what thoughtfulness is and you will find people, like a certain Dr. Young of Boston, who want everything for nothing, who refuse to place themselves under the authority of a foreign power like the Supreme Council of France yet still want everything paid for by them... lodge rental fees, regalia, etc. He was probably one of the imbeciles who wrote to you, the first to refuse to submit to a FOREIGN authority, but seeing himself put out the door of the Order, not as a member, but as an Initiator, found himself completely at ease in appealing to this Supreme Council whose authority he refused to recognize. The pretentiousness of this man was so ridiculous that I couldn't even get angry at him... There are about a dozen charters like that floating about the United States. Of those who have them, few have made use, other than serving as some decoration on their office wall. Today, no charter is granted without having received the signatures of 7 or 8 Members and having chosen a President being ready to immediately begin the work. Before, there were Charters but no groups, or those who held a Charter but did not have enough members to meet... Today, there is no more playing nice. They are deceiving everyone: we believe we have a force about us, we publish the number of Martinists in the United States in the hundreds, thousands, even, while in reality, there are scarcely eleven who love Martinism enough to give ONE dollar a year... I'm not afraid to tell you, as I have already, that if you want this institution to live, it must be reorganized and we must introduce the question of finances... there must be money to provide special works not for sale in the windows of bookstores... get the Members of the Order involved a little like the T.S.... We don't have methodical works in English like those of Papus, which warrant an entire library unto themselves... the American disciple has no other alternative than to join the T.S. where there steps are guided, the studies are watched and they will be encouraged to progress. You see the immense disadvantage we work under here, we are laborers who lack the indispensable instruments due to pecuniary resources... For some time now Peter Davidson has not hidden his antipathy for Martinism. How, Great Gods, could you in France have been taken by such an individual??? There are some other dupes here, but the man is rather well known. It is he, with someone named Burgoyne, who created this H.B. of L. and whose shady operations are well known. It was a myth for which Burgoyne (author of 'Light of Egypt') was the spirit. You will recall how, after having demanded and received $500 for his? course on Occultism, he published it for $3.50 under the title of 'Light of Egypt', fragments of an admirable work.... of whom I know the author who was neither Burgoyne, nor Davidson! Abominable thieves, detestable plagiarists... I could be mistaken, but the European spirit is not that of this country, where serious spiritual work is not in the morals, in fact in twenty letters, there are about fifteen that would be better off studying orthography than the occult... Be wary of the letters you get from America, some will complain that the poor in spirit were not received with open arms, others that your Delegate cannot teach them how to Transmute metal into gold, still others that the Grand Council tries to protect the Martinist doctrine from the extravagances of the pseudo-defenders of the 'higher-self', etc. etc... Patience, it has taken us five years to find the right way, but it has been found and now we are engaged upon the path with the certainty of arriving at the goal."
16 October 1900:
"I'm waiting for good news, but... I see nothing arrive. Quite a while ago you promised me a notice about my translation of "Errors" ... I did receive... the study of Master Barlet on "Occult Pedagogy", but that's all..."
23 October 1900:
"...It is true that you have too much to accomplish and that we are living in a century where we do not have the time to sleep on projects if we want to see them realized, even if imperfectly... I dare not entrust my ideas, my discoveries to paper, what I have to communicate to you should not be written..."
In spite of Blitz' frustration, we can see that he was always committed to the work, and continued to provide updates on important matters related to the tradition:
"...a member of the Council has just sent me an admirable work on Gematria... which I will translate if you want it for publication in l'Initiation. It is all there is to know about Kabbalah and I propose the author to receive the grade of Doctor of Kabbalah. We will also soon have from him a complete work on the Hebrew Alphabet, the author is the most renown Kabbalist of our time, and a member of whom American Martinism is most proud. The Kabbalistic Order of the Rose+Croix [O.K.R.C] will honor him with this highest grade... I should point out that this 70 year old man is not merely a 'compiler' but a veritable Kabbalist, fluent in Greek and Semitic languages, with a Doctorate in Medicine from the school of Dr. Burggreave..."
The following is interesting to note, since many have maintained that the true Martinist filiation comes via Russia, but we also recall that Papus, along with Maître Philippe, frequented the court of Tsar Nicholas II, and that for a time, Maître Philippe was the physician of the young hemophiliac Tsarevitch, prior to the infamous Rasputin's involvement. And yet again, we see the continued frustration of Blitz:
2 April 1901:
"Thank you, dear Doctor, for your letter from Moscow... It does not suffice for a member of a society, such as the O.K.R.C., for example, or even Martinism, to merely receive a diploma and a title, but to ignore the doctrine, philosophy, science or theory that is professed. We are not seeking titles, a rank in a hierarchy.... but looking for instruction that is more or less complete... If I had authority over some Rite, or if I were presiding, like you, over a center of Initiation, and I named you my Delegate, I would send you, along with all the requisite documents to operate, all that my Order or my Rite possessed... However, dear doctor, as I'm sure you're aware, that aside from the little summary of a ritual, I have never received the least instruction... Martinism absolutely must possess specific instructions, those to which you alluded in your letters from Moscow, those that Louis-Claude de Saint Martin gave to his personal initiates... you are too lazy to write down what you could show me in 15 minutes [from your own library]... they must exist somewhere other than the astral...Get to work, or just as well, make copies of your archive and I will do it for you... where will Martinism be without its doctrine, without regular practice. It is likely to go the way of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light and a great man other institutions... Let us give the philosophy and doctrine to Martinism... but it must not mix personal ideas with those of the Ph:. Inc:. ... the code must be based solely on the mysteries of the Master and must naturally be divided into 3 parts.
It is very interesting to note the fact that this letter is the first time that Blitz uses the familiar "tu" form in addressing Papus ... all formality has been dropped.
On 27 August 1901, Blitz sent a 'Confidential Memoire' to Papus summarizing the 7 years of Martinism in America and its future, on behalf of himself as the Sovereign Delegate, and the Grand Council for the United States of America. We will consider translating and presenting this memoire in the future. Having not received any response in an unusually long period of time, on 28 October 1901, Blitz writes to Papus indicated that he has had enough of Europe's lack of support:
"This is the final chapter, Dear Doctor, if by 28 November 1901 I have not received a satisfactory response, I will surrender the money, documents, everything. I am sure we will still remain friends, we will not tear each other apart, nor will we bite into one another or dissect one another; you will always be, for me, the restorer of Scientific Occultism, the father of the analogical method, the author of Synthetic Physiology and Philosophic Anatomy, a scholar without limits; but a most detestable organizer, the head of the laziest group of people, who, having no memory, should never make promises that cannot be kept, I would also add to that, you are a man of heart and intelligence, and an artist through and through. This shall be your epitaph, doctor, if you and your Supreme Council have not given me reason by 28 November or before. If the mail is late, so much for Martinism, on 28 November, I will send you my letter of demission which will be irrevocable..."
On 29 November 1901, Blitz wrote a long letter to Papus, but the deadline being met without a satisfactory response fro Europe, the deal was done.
Responding to a letter from Sédir, Blitz writes, on 9 January 1902:
" My Dear Brother, your letter of 22 December 1901 took my by surprise, and ... I ask myself 'what games are we playing here?' You wrote: 'How would I prove that you are correct?' That question along proves that you were not aware of the content of the Report that you reprimand me for sending last August, because if you were, it would be easy to prove me either right or wrong, depending upon how you take my arguments. What proves to me even more that you are ignorant of that Memoire, which I sent addressed to Papus, is that you accuse me of a crime which I specifically avoided at all cost... [giving] Martinism a Masonic tint... [and] about which, my Dear Brother, you are sorely misinformed; on the contrary, it was I who did not want to be party to transforming Martinism into some form of clandestine Masonry!... Finally, in ending this I tell you, that from 1896 or 97 I prayed, begged Papus not to compromise the whole Order by creating some clandestine Masonic Rite; I prayed and begged him to send some teachings for our members... we were promised everything, teachings, a copy of the archives, new degrees, etc... but nothing was ever realized. We finally came to the conclusion that the Order in France is a myth, that the Supreme Council ... functions only in the astral... For my part, I hope that my initiates decide to abandon this new Taxilian Order to permit me to pursue more serious matters. If, however, [the Supreme Council] wants to give the Order a real, solid base... my 'providential documents' will be put to use... in this whole affair, I sought only to work for the good of the Order. There is a limit to everything, I warned Papus a long time ago... patiently waiting for more than 6 years is long enough."
On 13 February 1902, the Supreme Council in France discontinued the post of Sovereign Delegate General for the United States; Edouard Blitz was no longer the director of the Martinist Order in America. Margaret B. Peeke, of Sandusky, OH, was named as Inspector General of the Order for the United States; she directed Martinism in America until her death on 2 November 1908. Following her death, the Supreme Council in Paris replaced her with François L. Gauthey of New York, with the title of Delegate General for the USA. He received his diploma on 19 February 1909. Gauthey, like Blitz, demanded all the documents necessary to facilitate the operation of the Order (letter to Papus dated 2 January 1912) ... but, as usual, Europe seemed insensitive to the needs of the American branch of the Order.
In spite of the efforts of Peeke and Gauthey, the Martinist Order died out in the USA. Martinism would have to wait until 1950 when Philippe Encausse, the son of Papus, would breath new life into the Order. Thanks to his efforts, and the research of many, notably Robert Ambelain, proof was found of a legitimate filiation traceable back to Louis-Claude de Saint Martin and to Pasqually - although most do not have this filiation at present. Most of the Martinist Orders that went their separate ways developed teachings based on the works of Papus and his contemporaries, with the writings of Louis-Claude de Saint Martin present. However, even with these developed teachings, much of the scholarship of Martinism, including many of the works of Saint Martin, and even Papus, have still never been translated into English.
If ever there was an individual in America who could have changed the face of Martinism, it was certainly Edouard Emanuel Blitz. If only he had received the support from Europe necessary to proceed, the possibilities are startling. And yet again, I must agree with Dr. Blitz, in that the lack of support for those few of us in America with a desire and inclination to work the European-based rites is more than frustrating ... his work was not in vain, for his drive and enthusiasm, his dedication even in the face of such seemingly insurmountable obstacles is a lesson to us all.
While perusing the archives of the Eglise Gnostique, I came across a letter written to +Constant Chevillon by a group of Martinist in Massachusetts which tells us a little more about what happened to Martinism in the years after Blitz and before the arrival of Martinism with the new movement inspired by Philippe Encausse and others:
Following the death of Margaret Peeke, the "Mother Isis Group of the Martinist Order" situated in Roxbury, Massachusetts was directed by a Mary M Drury. Upon her death in 1924, the group was led by Martha A. Thompson. Ms. Thompson died in 1925 and a great deal of the archives of the group were destroyed by fire.
As of March of 1935 the group was still meeting regularly, every Sunday at 4 p.m. Their meetings consisted of the ritual employed around 1901, reading of the minutes, regular business, the reading of a lesson or some presentation of an interesting subject, meditation, prayers and some final exercises. The letters of 1935 were to re-gain contact with France, and the Lyon group in particular, asking for recognition and assistance, and for the approval of Idella Henderson as the new leader of the group, to which Chevillon replied positively and asked for details of their meetings (mentioned above) and a list of all members.
Here below are the members of the Martinist Order in America as of 4 March 1935:Third Degree Members:
- Madame Josphine Auld
- Madame Ethel M. Barker
- Mlle. Alice W. Clement - Frère associé
- Mlle. Irene E. Dearden - Frère inconnu (writer of the letter)
- Madame Eliza Duncan
- Madame Idella E. Henderson - Orateur, nominated to be Philosophe Inconnu and to lead the group (she was born 6 January 1864).
- Madame Ethel I. Doe
- Mlle. Elizabeth F. Smith
- Mlle. Minnie Smith
- Mlle. Leonora Taylor
- Madame Jane E. Armstrong
- Mlle. Cecilia M. Brinton
- Mlle. Elizabeth R. Bradbury
- Madame Lena G. Carson
- Mlle. Lilla Elizabeth Kelley
- Mlle. Amelia T.O. Olin
- Madame Nella Skaling
- Mlle. Emma G. Taber