Martinus Thomsen and his movement
It has probably been glimpsed, here o there in my writings, that I have been interested in the Danish mystic Martinus Thomsen (d. 1981) and his visions. Here is a post I posted elsewhere this spring for the centenary of what he himself said was the start of his work.
What makes me think of him right now? Well, this week came the ruling in a protracted dispute over copyright that has been going on for more then ten years. An dispute that has divided and chattered the Martinus movement. It’s not strange in itself, that happens in most spiritual environments.
This is not an opinion piece. No solicitation attempt either. A little world surveillance – a VDN label of me, maybe. And my idea of right and wrong in the dispute does not belong here. Let the dead bury their dead. Life goes on.
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Behind this window a hundred years ago, something strange happened. The young dairyman Martinus Thomsen came home one evening, sat down in his wicker chair and soon had some kind of prophetic experience that sent him in an unexpected direction for the rest of his life.
It’s actually remarkable no matter how you look at it. Philosophically, for what he then shared, if you’re laid in that direction. Religious studies. A mystic in our neighborhood with a large production of texts, lectures and “symbol images” over half a century that – until now – has hardly received any attention at all from academia.
Or psychologically. I never met him myself. I became acquainted with Martinus Thomsen and his staggering “cosmology” only the year after he died. But I have met many people who have known him. And he seems to have behaved, no weirdness, no major scandals or extravagances. The picture you get is of a simple, friendly and fun-loving man. Of course, over time, he became a kind of cult leader, with a few thousand loyal followers. But there was never much money involved, no missionary, there was nothing you could become a member of even.
So psychologically, he’s not easy to understand, or explain away, either. To combine the person with his work. A psychotic, or at least disturbed, someone who was driven by a desire to impress and gain power over others, etc. In fact, he seems to have been a rather different new-age-spiritual foreground figure. I always say that this movement is like my spiritual hometown. Nowadays hardly more than that. But I always think of Martinus Thomsen (1890-1981) with warmth.
(The chair is preserved at the Martinus Institute in Copenhagen. The house on Jagtvej 52 is still standing and looks much like then. He himself rests in a small mausoleum at Frederiksberg’s old cemetery.)