Encausse, Gérard (1865–1916)
Physician and occultist who wrote under the pseudonym
‘‘Papus.’’ He was born July 13, 1865, at La Corogne, Spain, the
son of a French chemist and Spanish woman. At the age of four,
he went to France with his parents and was educated in Paris.
As a young man he spent much time at the Bibliothèque Nationale,
studying magic and alchemy. He became a physician
and also joined the Theosophical Society, but resigned from
it because of its emphasis on Eastern occult teachings.
In 1888 Papus published his Traité élémentaire de science occulte,
the first of a number of books, and that same year
founded the journal L’Initiation (1888–1914). He was an associate
of such other well-known occultists as Joséphin Peladan,
Stanislas de Guaita, and Oswald Wirth and founded the Independent
Group for Esoteric Studies, which attracted a large
number of students of the occult. He later directed the Martinist
Order, based on the teaching of Louis Claude de SaintMartin
(1743–1803).
The many books by Papus cover the whole realm of occult
thought, but his works on the tarot have remained by far his
most popular. Three of his works were edited by his son Philippe
Encausse.
Papus played a part in exposing the famous Leo Taxil hoax
against Freemasonry and the Roman Catholic Church in
France. Notwithstanding his occult activities, Encausse remained
a popular and devoted physician. He served in the
French army medical corps during World War I and died of a
pulmonary infection October 25, 1916.
Sources
Papus [Gérard Encausse]. Le tarot des bohémiens. 1889. Revised
edition as The Tarot of the Bohemians. Translated by A. P.
Morton. Edited by A. E. Waite. London Rider & Son, 1910.
———. Le tarot divinatoire (The divinatory tarot). 1909. Reprint,
Paris Dangles, 1969.
———. The Qabalah. New York Samuel Weiser, 1977.
———. Traité élémentaire de science occulte (Elementary treatise
on occult science). 10th ed. Paris A. Michel, 1926.
———. Traité méthodique de magie pratique (Systematic treatise
on practical magic). 1924. Reprint, Paris Dangles, 1969.
Waite, A. E. ‘‘Papus A Biographical Note.’’ Occult Review 25
(January 1917) 34–36.