A Brief Summary of his life and work
Victor Blanchard (1878-1953) was, between the two World Wars, the Sovereign Grand Master of the Martinist Order and Synarchy, under the initiatic name of Paul Yesir. In addition he was an important functionary of the government administration, rising to become head of the general secretariat for the Members of Parliament of France. He was a close collaborator of Papus, with whom he organised the Spiritualist Congress of June 1908. For a short time linked with Guenon, he dissolved this alliance after the affair of the "Ordre of the Temple Renove". Lastly he was a disciple and great admirer of Saint-Yves d'Alveydre. According to Jean Mallinger (Sar Elgim), "his knowledge of magnetism, and the sacred literature of Ancient Egypt were remarkable".
After the First World War, Blanchard did not recognize the Grand Mastership of Jean Bricaud as the head of Martinism, and with some old members of the first Supreme Council, founded his own Martinist Order and Synarchy, on the 3rd January 1921. In the absence of well established rules regarding the nomination or succession of a Grand Master (the Martinist Order having been founded by Papus himself), it is impossible to say whether Bricaud or Blanchard was the legitimate Grand Master. There were other differences that existed between the two Martinist Orders. Bricaud, who tended to place himself in the tradition of the Elect Cohens and Pasqually and Willermoz, reserved entry to his order to men who also had to be Master Masons, thereby continuing the attempts by Teder to link Martinism with Freemasonry. Blanchard remained a practitioner of esoteric syncretism as practiced by Papus, and in a similar manner allowed women to join and did not require the Masonic qualification. Blanchard linked himself with Saint-Yves d'Alveydre: and he therefore added to the title of his order the epithet "Synarchy". No doubt, that by working at the secretariat of the Members of Parliament, he aspired to influence the course of political events by his occult activities, and by disseminating the ideals of synarchy.
Victor Blanchard was also a Mason in the Grand Orient of France where he was a member of the Grand College of Rites as well as being a dignitary in a number of other occult orders: "L'Eglise Gnostique Universelle" of Bricaud, (under the name of Tau Targelius) and "L'Ordre Kabbalistique de la Rose-Croix", both organisations being directed by Lucien Mauchel (known as Chamuel - who passed away in 1936). One should note that both these organisations are distinct from "L'Eglise Gnostique Catholique" and "L'Ordre de la Rose Croix Kabbalistique et Gnostique" which were directed by Bricaud, then by Chevillon. Victor Blanchard was also a member of the Order of the Lily and the Eagle (who in their higher degrees convey the initiation of the Rose-Croix of the Orient) where he was Commander from 1918, the Polaire Brotherhood of which he was President from 1933, and the Pythagorean Order in which, thanks to the links created by the FUDOSI, he obtained the fourth and last degree: "Archonte of the Arts and Sciences '. He was one of the most enthusiastic founders of the FUDOSI, which allowed him to continue the international action he commenced with Papus in June 1908, and conferred a new legitimacy with regard to Chevillon, who as Bricaud's successor he did not acknowledge. He was one of the three Imperators appointed in 1934 with special jurisdiction over Martinism and the countries of the East (Sâr Hieronymous (Emile Dantinne) being Imperator for Europe, and Sâr Alden (Ralph M. Lewis) being Imperator for the USA). Augustin Chaboseau replaced him as Imperator in 1939.
BLANCHARD vs. BRICAUD
Jean Bricaud consecrated Victor Blanchard as Bishop on 5th May 1920. In spite of this consecration Blanchard" attitude to Bricaud soon became violently hostile, judging by the following passage by Robert Ambelain (Le Martinisme 1946,p150) where one also finds elements which undermine Jean Bricaud's legitimacy of transmission from Teder, "who made fun of Bricaud, "disciple of Vintras" and reproached him for having created the Church of Carmel of Elias, and the Johannite Church, (well before the Neo-Gnostic Catholic Church) and for "play acting the priest."
"Regarding Bricaud's alleged rights to Grand Mastership of the Martinist Order there are also several witnesses I can remember. One of the witnesses is still living here in Paris (Tr. Note - this was in 1946). Brother Nicholas Choumitsky (from whom Ambelain received the Russian filiation), of an Old Russian Martinist family. pupil and disciple of Charles Barlet has told me: I returned to France in 1919. Teder had died. I asked Chacornac Snr, who was therefore the Grand Master of the Martinist Order, and he answered: It is Blanchard. I therefore made contact with Blanchard. A meeting was organised between Bricaud and Blanchard. It took place in a cafe.
Blanchard arrived with some members of his Supreme Council. Bricaud arrived alone, bringing with him a document, framed in glass, which claimed that Teder had nominated him as his successor. Blanchard became violently angry, and after examination of the document, the unanimous opinion was that it was not authentic. Bricaud left the impression on those attending of being superficial and lacking any depth. I then turned to Charles Barlet and asked him who was the true successor of Teder. He smiled and said that Martinism was "a circle whose circumference was everywhere and the centre nowhere." He intended by this that it did not have a Grand Master. Afterwards Madame Detre (Teder's wife) told me that her husband could not have designated a successor since wasn't at all intending to die! According to her he died following a magical ritual.
In any case a document remains which places Bricaud's succession in a strange position. It is mainly to advise the dignitaries of the Order Martiniste of Teder's death. The original document still exists in the Archives of the Order Martiniste. It is signed Jean Bricaud 33 90 95 President of the Supreme Council and Grand Master General of the Order. It is published so the dignitaries of the Order were advised of the death of Teder, and that Bricaud had referred to himself as Grand Master General in his place, they were therefore not consulted. There was none amongst them who had elected Bricaud to the Grand Mastership. And since Teder had not nominated anyone, as can be seen, the result was a little too immediate.. The Grand Councils of Italy, Spain, and of Great Britain, cut off their relations with the Supreme Council of Lyons. A great number of French Martinists joined Blanchard and his Martinist Order and Synarchy, others remained isolated and rejoined Augustin Chaboseau's Traditional Martinist Order, twelve years later.
OPENING ADDRESS TO THE MASONIC AND SPIRITUALIST CONGRESS IN 1908
Victor Blanchard was the secretary general of the Masonic and Spiritualist Congress in 1908. In his opening discourse he referred to it as "the first autonomous Congress of Occultism " and expressed in conclusion the hope of seeing all the French Masonic Rites coming to reinforce " the army of knights of Christian idealism."
Here is a passage which exemplifies his thought:
"The doctrine which now excites your curiosity so much is not new, whatever the critics of the history of philosophy may say.
If we refer to purely historical documents, it is in the most famous Sanctuaries of India and Egypt - inheritors of the traditional Wisdom of the black races, Atlantis and Lemuria, that OCCULT SCIENCE was born.
From there esotericism spread to China, Iran, Chaldea, Palestine, Greece, Rome, the Gallic countries, Germany and all over the face of the Earth.
Let us not forget that this philosophy, at once human and divine powerfully inspired all of the founders of the great ancient religions, among them Ram or Lam, Confucius, Krishna, Zoroaster, MOSES, and Buddha. It is from it that that the celebrated legislators of passed ages drew their wisest institutions. It is from this sublime source, that the majority of poets, philosophers and sages of antiquity and of modern times drew the best part of their great and brilliant ideas. One rediscovers it hidden beneath the literal text of all the Holy Scriptures of the East and West, in the parables of Jesus, right up to the Epistles of St Paul. It was held by certain fathers of the Church, the Gnostics, Troubadours, Trouveres, Alchemists, heads of medieval guilds, and the intellectual elite of the Templars, who having escaped torture and bloodshed, transmitted it later through the intermediaries of the Rose-Croix, Freemasons, and Martinists.
HERMETICISM is the scientific, philosophic, religious and social synthesis of the past, present and will be, without doubt, that of the future.
The theologian, philosopher, the savant, doctor, moralist or sociologist should make the effort to study occultism where alone they will find together with the best solutions to theological, cosmological, anthropological and sociological enigmas, as well as the elements which will revivify their current knowledge, and how to regenerate the human body and soul and of the whole of society.
The historian, author and artist will also profit from these slightly abstract studies. The first will discover the explanation of many obscure and troubling facts; the second will easily penetrate the higher sense of apparently absurd ancient myths and eastern fables, and will be better able to decipher the mysteries of the human soul. The third will be able to contemplate without tiring, the different forms which reveal the Supreme Beauty in this world as in the other planes of the manifested Universe, and consequently will be able to give them more adequate physical expression than those which have been produced before.
As for those who are tormented by the deeply anguishing problem of life after death, they will be soon understand through exposure to our doctrines, we hope, the rational certitude through experience of the immortality of their conscious and spiritual principle, they will understand that Divinity wants the best for all its creatures, and that the Heaven, Purgatory and Hell of the naive theologians are nothing more than the physical and moral situations in which our soul finds itself throughout the course of its eternal career . They will know that Reincarnation, taught in the ancient mystery schools, just as it was in the original Christian Church, and in modern initiations is one of the multiple means employed by the Sovereign Bounty (or Supreme Good), in order to hasten the animical, intellectual and spiritual evolution of each one of us. They will see that man works out unceasingly through the conditions, which must preside over successive lives in time and space. They will recognize that human beings are all united to each other not only in actions, but also in words and above all in thought. It is by these means that they will prepare consciously the Coming on Earth of the True Fraternity and of the Reign of the Holy Spirit, or of Science allied to Faith, of Reason united to Intuition, a lasting and celestial fusion which the Feast of Pentecost symbolizes so well."
( Note: The Feast of Pentecost, in 1908, fell on 7th June, the opening day of the Congress.)
BLANCHARD, THE FUDOSI AND THE POLAIRES
The Polaire Brotherhood is not generally known in the English speaking world but since this article is about Victor Blanchard ( who was its president from 1933) it is appropriate that we present some basic information regarding its origins, beliefs and activities.
According to the legend of its foundation, the Polaire Brotherhood had its origin in the meeting between Mario Fille, and the mysterious hermit Father Julian in 1908 in the hills north of Rome. Father Julian gave Mario Fille a sheaf of old parchments which included a divinatory method called "the oracle of the astral force ", to which he at first gave little interest because the method was painstaking and lengthy. Twelve years later he made the acquaintance in Egypt of his fellow countryman and musician Cesare Accomani, who became very enthusiastic for this method founded on numerological principles. The method consisted of phrasing one's question in Italian, adding one's name and the maiden name of one's mother, turning them into numbers and making with them certain mathematical operations. After several hours work a series of numbers emerged and these were retranslated into letters giving a cogent and grammatically correct answer to one's question. The Oracle never failed to behave with perfect reliability, although the answers were sometimes in English or German. Fille was obedient to Father Julian's command - he alone possessed the key to its use. They both experimented with the oracle and noted its efficacious powers and that it allowed them to enter into communication with the "Esoteric Rosicrucian Centre in the Himalayas", directed by the "Three Supreme Sages" or the "Little Lights of the Orient" who proposed to prepare them for "the coming of the Spirit under the sign of the Rose and Cross". This was in response to one of the first questions posed to the Oracle - "Who are you?" In 1929 the oracle gave them the mission of of reconstituting the Polaire Fraternity whose "members were dispersed in the 15th century through hatred of the True Light" and indicated to them that the site of the re-establishment would be Paris. In 1930 the manifesto of the Polaires "Asia Mysteriosa" signed by Zam Bhotiva (Accomani's pseudonym) was published and a temple was installed at 36 Junot Avenue in Montmartre.
Father Julian disappeared in 1908, but had continued to deliver his messages through the intermediary of the oracle; and through it revealed he was an emissary of the Great White Lodge of the Himalayas. Then on the 8th April 1930 Father Julian made his last communication and announced his imminent death. The first Polaire Bulletin appeared on 9th May 1930, which was going to convey the messages of Father Julian in the most modern manner. In a stunning coincidence, the Neapolitan occultist Giulano Kremmerz (whose first name is the Italian form of the name Julian) founder of the Fraternity of the Myriam, who never until now has been cited in relation to the Polaires fell into a coma on 7th May 1930 and died on the 16th May 1930, after having predicted his own death.
Accomani and Fille associated themselves with many influential personalities such as the journalists Ferdinand Divoire and Jean Dorsenne, the writers Jean Marques-Riviere and Maurice Magre and the synarchic occultists Jeanne Canudo, Vivian du Mas and Victor Blanchard. Rene Guenon also associated himself for a short time in their enterprise. One also finds the names of some other high initiates of the Fraternity: Henri Meslin du Champigny (Gnostic Bishop under the name Tau Harmonius), Mgr Lesetre (Roman Catholic Bishop), Prince You-Kantor of Cambodia, Jean Chaboseau (son of Augustin Chaboseau).
If the Polaires thought of themselves as recipients of the Boreal tradition of Thule, and this is where they derived their name, in what manner was it connected to a "Polar" tradition and what was its mission: e.g. Jean Marques-Riviere the journalist in his forward to "Asia Mysteriosa " mentions that both Emmanuel Swedenborg and the early 19th century visionary Catherine Emmerich had believed in a Spiritual center in Tibet or Tartary " This center has as its mission or rather its reason for existence , the direction of the spiritual activities of the Earth".
The Bulletin of the Polaires, 9th June 1930 explains:
"The Polaires take this name because from all time the Sacred Mountain, that is the symbolic location of the Initiatic Centres, has always been qualified by different traditions as "Polar". And it may very well be that this Mountain was once really Polar, in the geographical sense of the word, since it is stated everywhere that the Boreal Tradition (or Primordial Tradition, source of all traditions) originally had its seat in the Hyperborean regions.
The ceremonies were particularly stunning, the adepts met in hooded robes. The inner history of the Fraternity is little known - their archives having been confiscated by the Nazis. It seems there were many problems in discovering the Grand Master whom the oracle announced was to soon arrive. Following a new announcement from the oracle some Polaires rushed to Montsegur and Lordat where they excavated vainly to find the Grail and the Albigensian Treasure. The Fraternity was a member of the FUDOSI in 1937 and 1938 and it was in its temple in avenue Junot that the Convent of August 1937 took place.
The Polaires tried to protect France using their magnetic powers but it seems the Second World War destroyed all their efforts and the Fraternity seems not have survived.
Victor Blanchard was expelled from the FUDOSI, according to Jean
Mallinger. The reason cited is that on 14th July 1938 he
auto-consecrated himself as the Universal Grand Master of the
Rose-Croix and of all the initiatic orders of the entire world. He sent
a proclamation to each Grand Master of the Federation, which requested
allegiance, and recognition of his new dignity. As a result some
members also left the Martinist Order and Synarchy (amongst them George
Lagreze (Sar Mikael) and Jeanne Guesdon (Sar Puritia). Many of them
joined Augustin Chaboseau's Traditional Martinist Order. He was also
replaced in all of the other high offices he held. Only the Polaires
and the Martinist Order and Synarchy remained loyal to him. However he
was later reconciled with the FUDOSI at the convent of 1946, but was
not re-appointed as Imperator.
Maconnnerie Egyptienne, Rose-Croix et Neo Chevalerie: Gerard Galtier, Ed du Rocher 1989
L'Occultisme en France: L'Eglise Gnostique; Rene Le Forestier, Arche Milano 1990
Arktos the Polar Myth: Joscelyn Godwin, Thames and Hudson 1993
(Thanks to Bro. Elias Ibrahim for this article)