The Peladan brothers
Adrien Peladan (1844 - 1885) - Josephin Peladan (1858 - 1918)
Chronological biography of Dr. Adrien Peladan by Dr. Robert Séror:
1844 – Birth in Nîmes, Gard, France, on June 18th.
1869 (25 years old) - Studies at the Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier.
1869 (25 years) - Traitement homéopathique de la spermatorrhée, de la prostatorhée, de l’hypersécrétion des glandes vulvo-vaginales et des diverses formes de ces affections. (Thesis in the city of Lyon: Homeopathic treatment of spermatorrhea, prostatorhea, hypersecretion of vulvo-vaginal glands and various forms of these affections. Paris, In 8, 98 pages.)
1875 (31 years) - founded a magazine: The Homeopathy of Families and Doctors.
1878 (34 years) - Published at Baillière: Traitement héroïque de la gravelle au moyen de médicaments spécifiques (Heroic treatment of gravel using specific drugs) (Baillière, 1878).
1885 (41 years) - Death
I quote my friend Dr. Olivier Rabanes: ... “His death is a tragic episode of the distribution of homeopathic medicines by a doctor: Peladan swallows a trituration of strychnine in 1 ° decimal to try it in front of a patient. He dies immediately.
Controversy ensues with the manufacturer: the pharmacy W. Schwabe: “This one may not have taken enough precautions before delivering such a potent toxic that obviously should have been diluted before use.”
1886 - Posthumous publication of his work: Anatomie homologique. La triple dualité du corps humain et la polarité des organes splanchniques (Homologous Anatomy. The triple duality of the human body and the polarity of the splanchnic organs) (Baillière, 1886)
The Sar Mérodack Joséphine Peladan, pseudonym of Joseph-Aimé Peladan (or Péladan), a French writer, art critic, and occultist, was born in Lyon on March 28, 1858, and died in Neuilly-sur-Seine on June 27, 1918.
Coming from a family of farmers and traders, Joseph-Aimé Peladan, who would later choose the name of Joséphin, was the son of Louis-Adrien Peladan, a journalist at the magazine La France littéraire,and founder of “La Semaine religieuse.” His elder brother, Adrien, a future doctor and scholar, taught him early all kinds of knowledge and, from childhood, he traveled to Avignon or Nimes. He manifested an independent spirit that required him to be expelled from high school for calling a professor an atheist, then expelled again from the minor seminary of Nîmes.
He became an employee at the “Faillelle credit” in Paris, and traveled to Rome and Florence, where he discovered with great excitement the Quattrocento and Leonardo da Vinci. Back in Paris, he published a short story, “Le chemin de Damas” (The Damascus Way), and joined the novelist Arsène Houssaye as an art critic.
In 1884, he met Leon Bloy and Paul Bourget. Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly wrote the foreword of his novel, Le Vice Supreme (The Supreme Vice) in 1884. This book, full of romance and occultism, depicts the fight of secret relentless powers trying to destroy humanity, and resolutely opposes Zola's naturalism, of which the author said: “this Pig-Zola, this pig who is at the same time a donkey.” This manifesto brought Peladan an immediate celebrity at 26 years old. Jean Lorrain nicknamed him “the white pelican.” He became angry with Léon Bloy, spent two days in prison for neglecting to regularize his military situation, and published a very large number of texts including, in 1888, his most famous book, Istar. He chose the title of “Sar” and the Babylonian name “Merodack.”
Peladan, whose knowledge was more brilliant than solid, was quick to escape the discussions that put him in the hot seat. He was intoxicated by the success of his book, The Supreme Vice for the curiosity he was creating in the salons, where he was trying to shine.
Peladan was eccentric in his personal habits and clothing preferences. He used the seven fragrances corresponding to the seven planets but with an emphasis on eucalyptus. He wore gray-skinned gloves and a broad collar of lace without a tie, wrapped around his neck, wide enough to receive a large bunch of violets.. He draped himself in a black Arabic cloth of camel’s hair, filamented with gold threads, in old blue velvet, booted of buckskin. Finally, like Absalom, he was hairy, with a beard anointed with cedar. His unique appearance made him the target of caricaturists and comedians. He was nicknamed “the Magus of Epinal,” the “Sar dîne à l'huile” (French joke on the name “Sar”), “Platon du Terrail” or “the pedaling Sar.” Rodolphe Salis chose to call him “Artaxerfesse.”
When Peladan discovered Wagner, he went to Bayreuth wearing a white coat, a sky-blue tunic, a lace jabot and suede boots, with an umbrella held by a shoulder belt. If Wagner's widow refused to receive him, this did not prevent him from publishing Wagner's operas in French with his annotations “as therapeutics to detoxify France from its materialism.” Without false modesty, he declared: “I conquered, by force of talents, perhaps of genius, the right of my full thought, whole, and before all.”
In 1887, Peladan founded the first Martinist lodge in Paris, rue Pigalle, with Papus, who probably initiated it, and Stanislas de Guaita.
Order and Salons of the Rose-Cross
It is because of his brother Adrien (1844-1885), one of the first French homeopaths, that Josephin Peladan joined a branch of the Rose-Cross in Toulouse.
In 1888, Peladan, with Stanislas de Guaita,founded the “kabbalistic order of the Rose-Cross” which also had Papus and Charles Barlet. Pretending a refusal of operative magic, he broke away from the group in 1891 to create the “Order of the Catholic and aesthetic Rose-Cross of the Temple and the Grail.” In 1892, he composed the formula “Ad Rosam per Crucem ad Crucem per Rosam, in ea eis gemmatus resurgam - Non nobis non nobis Domine, sed nominis tui gloria soli, Amen,” which takes up a Templar motto by adding to it a Rosicrucian tone. This formula would be repeated later by other Rosicrucian movements.
The following year, he organized the first Salon of the Rose-Cross, from March 10 to April 10, at the gallery Durand-Ruel. It was a big success. Sixty artists took part, including a number of talented painters and sculptors (Ferdinand Hodler, Fernand Khnopff, Jean Delville, Carlos Schwabe and Antoine Bourdelle). Twenty thousand Parisians and the all-Paris worldly and artistic, including Stéphane Mallarmé, Emile Zola, Paul Verlaine, and Gustave Moreau, came to visit it, to the sound of the “Prelude of Parsifal and Trumpet Rings” composed by Richard Wagner.. Several Salons of the Rose-Cross would follow from 1892 to 1897. Several students of Gustave Moreau, such as Georges Rouault, or those who would become Nabis, participated, although some artists like Edward Burne-Jones, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Gustave Moreau declined the invitation.
These Salons remain one of the major events of the last decade of the 19th century; they stand for the renewal of idealism and reflect a spiritual trend that drives the great movements of art of the early 20th century.
Peladan's ambition was to uproot ugliness from the modern world, thus opposing the materialism surrounding it. As such, he was a spokesman for the Symbolist movement. He wrote several manifestos that testify to a great artistic culture and a striking aesthetic, Refutation of Taine, that accompanies his major work, The Idealist and Mystic Art (Paris, 1894). Advocating a re-sacralization of art and life, Peladan deliberately opted for a transfer of religion to art, in the purest Baudelairian tradition. His tone, the symbols chosen for the Rose-Cross, do not really belong to an esotericism that has often been caricatured, but manifests a will to oppose the trivial. If Peladan often used a polemic or lyrical tone, revealing his passionate character, it is in the service of sincere convictions and a defense of the greatness of art that he considered at risk in his time.