St. Martin became more and more disengaged with ceremonial magic of the Elect Priests and began to wonder if all the magic circles and ritual elements were necessary to experience the presence of God. St.-Martin saw one’s spiritual path as an internal work, which he called the “way of the heart”.
St. Martin believed that Christ was the Word or the Gnosis as written in the gospel of St. John, and this Word was with Man in the beginning, but had been lost. Only through recovery of this lost Word could Man be whole and Reintegrated into the presence of God. . St. Martin began to publish his philosophy under the pen name the Unknown Philosopher. Not only did St. Martin have dislike for the ritualized working of the Elu Cohen, he also began to question the necessity of ritual in a Masonic setting as well. In July of 1790, he left Freemasonry in order to focus on his contemplative “Way of the Heart” until his death in 1803.
The three-degree system of modern Martinism borrowed Masonic symbolism, such as the pillars of Solomon’s Temple, and added Kabbalistic and Gnostic emphasis to lead the Initiate into a deeper understanding of the nature of Polarity as it occurs in both Nature and the mind of Man. There was also some borrowing from the Mark Master degree in order to gain a deeper appreciation of the True Meaning of the Stone that the Builders rejected as a symbol for the Christos. This rebirth in Martinism is a part of a larger cultural movement of the time referred to as the Occult Reformation.
James E Frey 32° classifies himself as a gentleman of the old world, which means he is known to stand in the great forests reciting poetry to fair-haired damsels while wrestling bears for sport. He is a District Education Officer for the Grand Lodge of Illinois, a Past Sovereign Prince of the of Danville AASR, member of the Oak Lawn York Rite, Medinah Shriners, Royal Order of Scotland, Quram Council Allied Masonic Degrees and initiate of the Golden Dawn Collegium Spiritu Sancti. He is also a guest lecturer on Occultism and Esoteric studies in masonry for the R.E.B.I.S Research Society.