Gérard Anaclet Vincent Encausse, who later adopted the pseudonym Papus, was born on July 13, 1865, in La Coruña, Spain, to a French father and Spanish mother. His family moved to Paris when he was still a child, and there he was educated in the Jesuit tradition. Encausse’s early interests included science, medicine, and philosophy, and he pursued these fields of study with great enthusiasm.
At the age of 20, Encausse became interested in the occult, after attending a lecture by the spiritualist Allan Kardec. This event marked the beginning of his lifelong dedication to the study of esotericism and mysticism. Encausse’s early influences included the works of Eliphas Levi, Helena Blavatsky, and the writings of the Rosicrucians.
Encausse’s formal education included medical studies at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, where he received his doctorate in medicine in 1894. Despite his medical training, Encausse’s interests lay primarily in the study of the occult and esotericism. He became a prolific writer on these subjects and contributed to several occult journals and publications.
Encausse’s early life and education played a significant role in shaping his interests and pursuits, and his Jesuit education and medical training provided him with a strong foundation for his later work in the occult and esoteric fields.
Contributions to the occult community
Encausse was a French physician and a member of several secret societies, including the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Martinist Order. He founded his own branch of the Martinist Order, which combined elements of Kabbalah, Hermeticism, and Rosicrucianism.
Encausse’s most significant contribution to the occult community was his role in the creation of the French occult journal, L’Initiation. The journal featured articles on a range of topics related to the occult, including astrology, divination, and ritual magic. Encausse served as the editor of the journal and contributed many articles himself.
In addition to his work with L’Initiation, Encausse was also a prolific writer. He authored many books on the occult, including Treatise on Practical Magic, The Tarot of the Bohemians, and The Science of Initiation. His writings focused on topics such as divination, Kabbalah, and spiritual development.
Encausse’s leadership in the Martinist Order and his contributions to the French occult community helped to shape the development of occult thought in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His influence can still be seen in the occult community today, particularly in the fields of Kabbalah and ritual magic.
Despite his significant contributions to the occult community, Encausse faced criticism from some quarters for his views and practices. Some accused him of promoting dangerous or unethical magical practices, while others questioned his leadership of the Martinist Order.
However, Encausse’s legacy remains significant. His writings and teachings have continued to inspire and influence occult practitioners for over a century, and his impact on the development of occult thought in Europe cannot be denied.
Theosophy and Hermeticism
Encausse was particularly interested in Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mystical tradition that explores the relationship between God and the universe. He believed that Kabbalistic teachings could provide insight into the nature of reality and the divine, and incorporated these beliefs into his own spiritual practices. In addition to Kabbalah, Encausse also studied alchemy, the ancient practice of transforming base metals into gold, which he believed had spiritual significance and could lead to personal transformation.
Encausse was also influenced by the teachings of Hermeticism, a philosophical and religious tradition that originated in ancient Egypt and Greece. Hermeticism emphasizes the pursuit of spiritual knowledge and the attainment of spiritual enlightenment, and teaches that the universe is governed by universal principles or laws. Encausse believed that Hermetic teachings could provide insight into the nature of reality and the divine, and incorporated these beliefs into his own spiritual practices as well.
Overall, Encausse’s interest in Theosophy and Hermeticism had a significant impact on his own spiritual development and on the development of esoteric thought more broadly. His writings on these topics continue to be studied and revered by practitioners of esotericism today.
Tarot and Divination
Encausse believed that divination was a valuable tool for gaining insight into the unknown and tapping into the subconscious mind. He saw Tarot as a powerful tool for divination and self-discovery, and worked to develop its use as a means of unlocking hidden knowledge and understanding.
Encausse’s contributions to Tarot studies include his book “The Tarot of the Bohemians,” which presents a comprehensive overview of Tarot symbolism and interpretation. He also developed his own Tarot deck, the Divinatory Tarot, which incorporated his own ideas and interpretations of the cards.
In addition to his written works, Encausse was also an influential teacher and practitioner of Tarot. He founded the Martinist Order, a mystical and esoteric organization that incorporated Tarot studies into its teachings, and he helped to popularize the use of Tarot in divination and spiritual practice.
Encausse’s work in Tarot studies has had a lasting impact on the occult community, and his teachings and insights continue to inspire Tarot practitioners and enthusiasts to this day. His ideas on the use of Tarot as a tool for divination and self-discovery have become widely accepted, and his Tarot deck remains a popular and respected tool for spiritual seekers and diviners alike.
Controversies and criticisms
One of the main controversies surrounding Encausse was accusations of anti-Semitism. Encausse was known to have made several anti-Semitic remarks and was associated with the Action Française, a far-right political movement with anti-Semitic tendencies. These associations led to criticism of Encausse and his teachings, particularly in the Jewish community.
Encausse was also accused of fraud by some members of the occult community. Some believed that his teachings were derivative and lacked originality, and that he borrowed heavily from the works of other occultists without proper attribution. These accusations led to a loss of credibility for Encausse among some members of the community.
Another controversy surrounding Encausse was his role in the split between the Martinist Order and the Rosicrucian Order. Encausse was a leader in the Martinist Order and was involved in a dispute with the leaders of the Rosicrucian Order, which led to a split between the two organizations. Some members of the community felt that Encausse was overly confrontational and divisive in his approach to resolving the dispute.
Despite these controversies and criticisms, Encausse’s contributions to the occult community were significant and enduring. He was a prolific writer, with numerous works on Kabbalah, alchemy, Tarot, and other occult subjects. He also played a key role in the development and dissemination of the Martinist Order, which continues to exist today.
while Gérard Encausse faced criticism and controversy throughout his life, his contributions to the occult community cannot be denied. His writings and teachings continue to be studied and respected by many in the field, and his role in the development of the Martinist Order has had a lasting impact on the occult community.
Legacy and influence
Despite controversies and criticisms, Papus had a significant impact on the occult community and esoteric thought. His writings and teachings continue to inspire and influence modern-day esotericism, particularly in the areas of Tarot studies and Hermeticism. His emphasis on spiritual development, universal principles, and the interconnectedness of all things remains relevant and inspiring to many seekers of spiritual and mystical truth.