(1865 - 1916)
3rd Ill. G.P. R+C of the O.K.R.C.
Gerard Anaclet Vincent Encausse, known as Papus (July 13, 1865 - October 25, 1916), was a French doctor and occultist.
Born on July 13, 1865, in La Corogne,Spain, from a French father and a Spanish mother, Gérard Encausse spent his youth in Paris, where he received a doctorate in medicine in July 1894. Before even finishing his studies around 1886, he began to fight a limited view of science by disseminating a doctrine synthesizing various aspects of Western esotericism. Several well-known figures of this time such joined this group,including the chemist Louis Lucas, the mathematician Wronski, the alchemist Cyliani , the Pythagorean Lacuria, the magnetizer Hector Durville, Antoine Fabre d'Olivet, and Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre. Encausse called himself Papus after the name of a spirit of the Nuctameron, attributed to Apollonius of Tyana. The writings of Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin deeply changed him from about 1889. Shortly after, in 1890, he resigned from the Theosophical Society of Mrs. Blavatsky.
In 1891, with Augustin Chaboseau, he founded the Martinist Order, which owes its name to the memory of Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin and J. Martinès de Pasqually. Members from many countries were initiated, including Russia. The official magazine of the Order, L’initiation, was founded by Papus in 1888. Its contributors were those who had worked with him in the various esoteric groups, such as Stanislas de Guaita, Peladan, Charles Barlet, Matgioi, Marc Haven, Paul Sedir, Albert de Rochas d'Aiglun, Lucien Chamuel, and Fernand Rozier. But at this time, the names of Martines de Pasqually, Saint-Martin, or Willermoz were less known than those of Fabre d'Olivet and Eliphas Levi. Paul Adam, Maurice Barres, Victor-Emile Michelet, Peladan, Camille Flammarion, Emma Calve, and Albert de Rochas were among the first renowned Martinists.
Throughout his life, Papus joined many initiatic organizations such as the Theosophical Society of Helena Blavatsky in 1887, the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross of Peladan and Guaita in 1888, the Gnostic Church of France by Jules Doinel in 1892, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1895, the Freemasonry of Rite Swedenborgian (1901) of which he would be the Grandmaster, the Rite of Memphis-Misraim in 1908, and the Ordo Templi Orientis. He had several conflicts with the tenants of the so-called “regular” Masonic lodges, so on June 24, 1908, he organized an international Masonic conference in Paris, attended by representatives of “irregular” Masonic organizations.
On the other hand, in December 1889, Papus created a group organizing researches, courses and conferences on various aspects of Western esotericism, called “the Independent Group of Esoteric Studies” (GIEE) which became the outer circle of the Martinist Order and took the name of “Free Faculty of Hermetic Sciences” in March 1897. The courses were numerous (about a dozen per month), and the subjects were mainly related to Kabbalah, Alchemy, tarot divination, and the history of hermetic philosophy. Papus, Sedir, Victor-Emile Michelet, Fernand Rozier and A. Chaboseau, among others, were the teachers. The Alchemy section was directed by François Jollivet-Castelot, who originated the “Alchemic Society of France.”
This vast hermetic movement, mainly motivated by Papus, nourished the literature and the arts of the time. Péladan, Catulle Mendes, Paul Adam, and Villiers of Isle-Adam wrote several texts for the first issues of the magazine The Initiation. August Strindberg, during his stay in Paris, shared his expertise in alchemy. Young painters such as Nabis also felt Papus’ influence. With Stanislas de Guaita, Papus was involved in the Boullan affair, a feud with Jules Bois and J.-K. Huysmans, in 1893.
As a doctor, Papus was innovative, using homeopathy, dosimetry, and electrotherapy. With his chemist father, he created a health institute on rue Rodier in the IX° district of Paris. This facility specialized in baths, fumigations and massages. He also opened a medical office, on rue Balzac, in Tours.
Papus died in Paris on October 25, 1916, as a result of his service as Armed Forces Medical Major on the Eastern Front during the autumn and winter of 1914. He was buried in the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, at the 93rd Division.