Transcript of Talk on Sapere Aude #338: ‘Pierre Fournié: What We Have Been What We Are & What We Will Become' 

We have the honour to host brother Michael Osborne who is a practising lawyer independent researcher and author. His Bachelor's and Master's degrees were in Theology at the University of Birmingham, England. At various times in his career he has written papers on both legal and esoteric subjects. He is a member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and ESSWE. He was awarded the prestigious companion of Christian Rosenkreutz award in 2017 for his paper on Martinez de Pasqually. His most recent books are the Lessons of Lyons and the Most Holy Trinosophia, and in addition to the translation we will be discussing today I will share the link where you can find all the books of Michael and I will use the opportunity to remind the audience and those who will be watching this as a recording that there are three or four very interesting discussions with Brother Michael. We discussed most if not all of his books, very interesting ones, and I highly recommend going back to Sapere Aude's YouTube channel or Facebook page where you will find the recordings. You will find them very interesting discussions adding to your knowledge and understanding of the topic that we'll be discussing today. I would remind you that is an independent educational public International platform that welcomes everyone, male and female members and non-members, even though we may come from different jurisdictions and may hold higher degrees in larger jurisdictions, here we come as individuals and everything that we share here is your own opinion and comment, and any question should be treated as your own personal opinions and never be affiliated with the institutions we are a member of.  Of course, on occasions, if not many occasions these opinions may not coincide with the official standpoint of those institutions we are a member of, so once again please bear in mind that we do not represent any institution but ourselves while participating here unless specifically, the speaker emphasizes something about it. I think that's it from me and once again Michael congratulations on the new book. The first translation of the work, and I suppose the first edition of it thus far. My sincere congratulations, it doesn't come easy I know. The floor is all yours and please introduce the guy to us, it's very it's been very hard to find anything in English about Pierre and about his works and so here you are bringing some light about the door.


Well, the first thing to say is it's not my book it's Pierre Fournié's treatise, and all I've done is merely translate it into English. Now, he's a remarkable man and was a close confidant of Martinez de Pasqually, and in French Martinist circles he's more widely known. But in the English-speaking world - as is often the case with the founding fathers of Martinism in particular - it's more difficult to come across his work. So a lot of what I've been doing these past three or four years - as I discovered it – has been trying to make this more widely available for others. Pierre Fournié is no exception, except that I did come across him while reading around Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin and Martinez de Pasqually, because A.E .Waite refers to Pierre Fournié and he comes across as quite a remarkable clairvoyant and mystic. He is mostly known for his visions of Martinez de Pasqually for years after Martinez died, and visions of his parents. There were three separate occasions when Fournié had a vision of Christ. So he's quite a remarkable mystic and esoteric Christian within the Catholic stream. So let's talk a little bit about him.

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First, this isn't him by the way, I don't know what he looked like. This image is of a tonsured priest. Tonsured priests had their hair shaved at the scalp as a sign of piety, and in pre-revolutionary France, they were also entitled to a pension from the state for doing so. He lived to about 87 years old, so I'm guessing that he would have looked very similar to this. So that's what I settled on just as an image.  

Pierre was born in Bordeaux in 1738. it was a busy city of about 130,000 people. There were twelve Abbeys in existence, and the largest Benedictine Abbey in France I believe was located there. Bordeaux was a centre of excellence in the era of the Enlightenment and it was a very progressive city by the standards of the time. There were at least one hundred known Portuguese Jewish families living there and foreign Protestants (not French ones) were tolerated. Provided they didn't wear their vestments or collars in public and so on and so forth they were allowed to go about their business and worship in the city. So this is the general cultural milieu in which Pierre came about. Bordeaux was a huge trading port, the largest in France. It was the centre of Europe's ‘Commerce Triangulaire' (slave trade) at the time but also was a hugely important distributor of produce from the Caribbean and around the world, particularly tea, sugar cane and cotton and so forth. So there was a strong International element present in the city. He wasn't from an affluent family but I gather he was from a relatively comfortable one, what we might call lower middle class perhaps today. Fournié was the nephew however of the Abbott Crozier of The Augustinian Priory Paris, who would have been quite an influential figure in the young Pierre's life. Indeed he was ordained as a Catholic priest at some point, “Abbé” meaning “Father”.  In 1761 he joined a masonic lodge. Freemasonry had a very early start in Bordeaux. One of the first lodges in France was established around 1732 because of the sailors that were coming into the city and by 1761 there were a number of lodges and he joined one. What's interesting about that of course is that it's after the Papal Bull banning clergy from becoming Freemasons. So it didn't it doesn't appear to have bothered him much, and it certainly doesn't appear to have bothered the Church either, at least in Bordeaux.

In 1768 he is approached by Martinez de Pasqually in the street and invited to join the Élus Coën. I've got a quote about that which I'll just quickly read from my Facebook group page because I'm on the computer, these are Fournié's own words

“God granted me the grace to meet a man who said familiarly to me: ‘you should come to see us, we are good people: you will open a book, you will look at the first leaf, the middle and at the end, reading only a few words, and you will know all that it contains. You see walking [about you] all sorts of people in the street; well, these people do not know why they walk, but you, you will know it.' This man whose beginnings with me may seem extraordinary was called Don Martinez de Pasqually. At first, I was struck by the idea that the man who had spoken to me was a sorcerer or even the Devil himself. This first idea was quickly followed by another on which I stopped: if this man is the devil, I tell myself inwardly, then there is a real God, and it is to God alone that I want to go; and since I only desire to go to God, I will make as much of a journey towards God as the Devil thinks he will make me do towards himself. So that I went to M. de Pasqually, and he admitted me to the number of those who followed him.”

Now this tells us a lot about the character of Pierre Fournié: he questions his faith; he often has doubt; he lacks a certain confidence; there's very little hubris and piety but he has the strength to challenge and push himself outside of his comfort zone. This is something that attracted Pasqually and he subsequently becomes very important to the Élus Coën. In 1770 he became Pasquale's secretary, among a number of men but in a personal capacity and that's a role that he continues long after the Élus Coëns are formally disbanded by Las Casas in 1780. Pasqually's mail letters are arriving for some years after death and Fournié is receiving and distributing them to interested parties,  and he continues doing that until at least 1786.

While he was Pasqually's secretary for two or three years he was helping him with the composition of the Treatise on the Reintegration of Beings. One of the ideas that I've mooted is that perhaps um Pasqually is employing Fournié to help with Christian theology, so as to get a good grip on what he wants to actually convey in the Treatise. So there might be another angle to Fournié's role in the early Élus Coën in that regard, because it is an order in a state of change and evolution. By 1771 he leaves Bordeaux to take vows as a clerc du tonsure, and he remains one for the rest of his life. We know this from his treatise and also from his memorial in St. Pancras New Church in London.

In 1775 he began writing his treatise but it was not completed until 1801. He did, I think,  struggle with conveying some of the quite profound ideas and metaphysics in that.  It took him a long time to complete and it was interrupted by the French Revolution. From 1789 onwards it became increasingly more difficult for clerics to operate in France and from 1792 he was forced to flee the country on account of the Reign of Terror.  There really wasn't much of a future there for him; the revolutionaries for instance had confiscated Church property in Bordeaux and Paris and elsewhere, which made it very difficult. Indeed some 300 priests were executed during the reign of terror so it wasn't a pleasant place to be. He got out and settled in Soho Square in London. He lived in two or three properties for the rest of his life in that area as a tenant of diplomatic families and politicians connected to France. Here he completed and published his treatise and died in 1825. He is buried in the vault of the Anglican Church at Saint Pancras New Church in London which wasn't far from where he was living for the last few months of his life in Bloomsbury. In my book, I have some photographs of the outside of the crypt and one or two other pictures for those that are interested.

Turning to Fournié's theology, his metaphysics concentrated on the great battle between the mixture of forces of good and evil that coexist in the corporeal world. We get a flavour of that from his description of his first meeting with Pasqually, where essentially he states there is very much this dichotomy between good and evil in this world and one has to make a choice between one or the other of them. A lot of the Treatise is concerned with a defence of monotheism. His writing tells of a Luciferic being who tries to set himself up as a co-agent or co-creator equal to God. Now, Fournié adopts the ontological argument of Thomas a Kempis which we see in the Imitation of Christ (in fact it's one of the few books he claims to own). He argues God exists since it is first necessary to have an idea or picture of ??something in order to conceive its existence. Fournié reasons that if we refuse to believe in God, it is evident that we will also be unable to know him at all. This, he states, is merely a state of ignorance in opposition to knowledge, or truth. God by definition is infinitely great and thus no other entity can surpass his greatness, therefore, Lucifer as a creation of God cannot be God and this being the case there's no room for two of them. Everything that Lucifer teaches humanity is in error in as much that it conflicts with God's laws and rules. This “mixture” of good and evil on Earth extends beyond the confines of this world into the next. So is quite clear when he says that the world and the universe were created as physical confinement to imprison the forces of evil, Lucifer and his followers.

The creation comes about after the Fall into material matter but the next life is a resurrection into a very similar world to this, and Fournié talks about the sequence of lives in other worlds where evil continues to exist in its formative battle with good. In Martinistic terms, this could be referred to as the reconciliation regeneration and eventual reintegration with God because Fournié's view is that as we practice virtue practice morality so we come closer to the will of God and we can actually then restore ourselves ultimately through successive lifetimes to God. It is not reincarnation, since he talks very clearly about Resurrection into future worlds. He refers to man dematerializing into a non-physical body and as we spiritualize ourselves in the likeness of God,  but this is something that cannot necessarily be achieved in one life, it may take many. He also adopts a stoic morality, so the stoical view that the pursuit of virtue is the only temporal path open to man for his reintegration or reconciliation with God. So for him, the sole objective of this guiding principle is discerning the will of God through which we may finally free ourselves of the influence of Lucifer.

He also talks of the Holy Spirit as of the seven gifts of the Spirit, which are forces which act in opposition to Lucifer and his role in misdirecting man in his rebellion against God, indeed his role in the original Fall of Adam. These seven forces are opposed by what is quite interestingly referred to as Satan, so Satan for Fournié is actually a collective force which descends from Lucifer and is an Unholy Spirit of bad morals and vices which act in opposition to the good actions and virtues which the Holy Spirit imparts. We will come on to this but there are the seven agents of evil in this regard.

The Treatise itself has very few images There's a lot of criticism of Fournié for not putting in chapter headings and breaks, but he's following monastic tradition. Monastic writing would be one long block of text, and repetition consolidates learning. He uses few images there are only three in the entire treatise of some 300-odd unbroken pages of text, and these are as follows:

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I'm not going to talk very much about the middle one and I'm not going to talk at all about the one on the far right. You can learn and read about this for yourselves in his treatise. What I do want to do is primarily focus on the main one here:


I call it the “main one” because although in his treatise Fournié doesn't have chapters and page breaks and so forth, there is one exception and that's a part of his book which he calls “The Explanation of the Image” of four or five pages dedicated to this image (before he goes onto these great metaphysical and sociological arguments about the Creator and the goodness of God, the fall of Lucifer, the establishment of Satan, the fall of Adam and the arrival of Christ which reopens a portal for man to return to God through the practice of morality). So, before all of that happens, he has this explanation of the image. Before we get started on the image and just to set it in context, here it is alongside the Élus Coën seal:


It will make more sense by the time we've finished for those unfamiliar with it. But you can see there are correspondences between the two, and they're not accidental because Fournié was one of the founding fathers of the Order and he came into it very early (in the 1760s). So what I want you to do is spend a moment or two just looking at this image of part symbol and just contemplate what you think it might mean or what it may mean to you and then I'll read you Fournié's own words as an

Explanation. So please just look at it for a few moments …


So he says the fire in the form of the sun which surrounds the image designates God who is without beginning or end.

Again, if you could think about what this might signify within the context of what's gone before …


The large white ‘blood cell' (globule) designates Jesus Christ. The line which starts from the globule by which Jesus Christ is designated and which ends in God, designates the reunion that the human nature of Jesus made with God.



The other line, which also starts from the globule from which Christ is designated, and which crosses the seven white globules placed below it, designates the grace that God granted us by the merits of Jesus Christ. This is to be for the duration of time. It enables us to be saved.


The big black globule designates Lucifer separated from God.


The line which starts from Lucifer and which crosses the seven black globules placed below, designates the insinuations that Lucifer suggests to us.


In the centre of the black globule is a white dot, which is placed under and between the seven white corpuscles and the seven black ones. This designates the sum of men identified with Lucifer. The white dot at the centre of this globule designates the illumination brought to every man by the coming into this world of the Word who is God made man. The seven white globules placed under Jesus Christ designate the Seven Spirits of God who roam the earth as his servants and support all men to do his will. The seven black globules under Lucifer become Satan and designate the seven spirits who roam the earth as his servants. These are the spirits whom Jesus Christ drove out of Mary Magdalene, and who lead all men to do the very opposite of the will of God.


The small white globules which emanate from the Seven Spirits of God are directed against the darts of the seven spirits of Satan and designate the action of the seven [as being] entirely for God. This is an action which balances [and protects] us from the seven spirits of Satan, who are all against the truth of God, so that the action of the seven spirits of Satan never reach us beyond the strength that we have to repel them.

The darts which leave from the seven spirits of Satan, and which are directed against the action of the seven Spirits of God, indicate the action which balances us in the seven Spirits of God, so as not to destroy our free will.


The perpendicular line between the seven and one white blood cells and the seven and one black blood cells has six more or less black globules, which are under an almost entirely white globule placed between Christ and Satan.


This designates the path that Jesus Christ traced for us to ascend by practice in order to arrive in unity with God.


The dart of Satan is turned against him because Christ leaves everyone with the power and free will to either do or not do God's will.


Briefly, we obviously have the Seal of Solomon or Star of David, and many of you will be familiar with the numbering that's applied to it by Fournié. But the Abbé has this to say. The universe was created by “the six and one” and these are the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest. All commands of God. So we have our six-pointed star but a seventh innate within it. Well most of us will be familiar with that these six faces under the centre form two triangles united together, one superior and the other inferior, which is why we represent the universe by the figure as having been really created, constituted or made by six and one of the will of God. So God is in charge of essentially everything; the whole of creation even those aspects which are inferior in it with regard to the number one. The Abbé says the number placed at the top of the higher triangle represents the reality of the eternal existence of the one God by whom all was made or without whom nothing that was made was not made, as to two which is the opposing number in this system (the power of the number two_ is placed at the lower angle of the triangle and brings confusion, disorder, jealousy, contention, enmity, envy, pride, inhumanity, cruelty, theft, lawsuits, war, trouble, and contradiction to the beings of eternal life. These are immortal beings, humans, angels and Archangels who were precipitated by the crime of Lucifer, which consists of a disordered will that he caused by claiming to be equal to God. So, in a sense, the Seal of Solomon represents the coexistence of good and bad, truth and falsity and so on in our terrestrial world, notwithstanding that God is imminent within this mixed universe of good and evil.  

He says all created things are constituted by the number one, and from this, we can discern that this alone suffices to demonstrate that they were all made or created by one God. God is in Heaven, on Earth and generally everywhere. The number one constitutes, in the same way, all possible numbers. Regarding this it should be noted that numbers are really the number one, which is the only really existing number by which we look we touch we speak and we number and of course everything is Go. So in Fournié's system, there can only be one God. Again this is another ontological argument for the existence of one monotheistic God and Creator. There's no place for two gods in this system, so hopefully when we again look at the Elus Cohen symbol here with Fournié's version or interpretation of it on the right, we can begin to see how one may indeed have influenced the other:


They are stylized, particularly the one on the left, but they are essentially the same. Both Pasqually and Fournié were influenced by Emmanuel Swedenborg. Pasqually in particular could well have been a disciple of Swedenborg's. The Swedenborg Foundation has this to say with regard to that system:

“In Swedenborg's cosmology, all of creation has a divinely established order that starts at the very top (the Lord) and extends down through the heavens and the world of spirits until it reaches the natural world, which is the level at which things have physical existence … Each of these levels is a less-perfect reflection of the one above it. Heaven is a manifestation of the Lord, but its inhabitants are not as spiritually pure, and therefore it isn't a perfect manifestation. The world of spirits, the intermediate realm between our world and heaven, is a lower level where there may be both good and evil spirits; because it is so close to the physical world, it resembles our world visually, and so spiritual substance appears as objects we would find familiar. In our natural world, we are so grounded in physical matter that we can barely perceive spiritual realities at all, but our physical reality is still a reflection of what goes on in the spiritual world.” 

Fournié remarks that the key to his clairvoyance lay in the experiences he underwent in the Élus Coën, which did not cease after the Order's disbandment. He continues to meet Pasqually and he sees his late parents, his deceased sisters and another being he says isn't human (neither is it male or female) which accompanies them on their visitations. These visitations take place sometimes on a daily basis or occur weeks or months apart, but they continue for the rest of the Abbé's life. The manifestations were solid.  He also says that he had a visitation or rather a visualization of Christ on three occasions: before, during and after the crucifixion. If you consider the Swedenborgian layering of reality which is very similar and reminiscent to the seven spheres we have in the diagram, we can begin to see how Fournié would or could begin to understand his perception of the spirit world in front of him. So there's a logic, a reasoning and a system going on behind all of this which he discusses in his treatise.  

Okay, that's my presentation. Yes, it is a little short but it's quite packed with thoughts, ideas and images which I hope you've enjoyed as much as my own studies. I'll hand it back to David, thank you.


I would thank you so much for another interesting enlightened lecture. Let me enable everyone's microphone now but I ask you to keep it off unless you are given the floor, uh you know that we're quite flexible with time and that will get to you whether you raise the hand or your question or comments or if you share your comments in the chat same goes for 11 plus viewers on YouTube. Please use YouTube chat room to share your thoughts and I'll pick them for the speaker. Let's start with some questions now everybody's in control of your microphones including Michael yourself and I should borrow a little bit Brother Walter shared regarding the regarding the Tree of Life, kabbalistic Tree of Life, which kind of seems to be corresponding to the explanation you were given … etc. etc. etc. 


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This transcript of a live recording is the copyright (c) of M.R. Osborne, 2023