Tag Archives: Martinism

Review: “The Divinatory Arts” by Papus

Papus (Gérard Anaclet Vincent Encausse, 1865 – 1916), was a leading figure of the French Occult scene at the turn of the 20th century. He authored “Tarot of the Bohemians,” and founded or co-founded the Martinist Order and the Order Kabbalistique de la Rose-Croix. He was also a leading figure in Memphis Misraim and the Gnostic Catholic Church. He was even a member of the OTO, before Crowley got his mits on it.

He was also very briefly a member of the Golden Dawn, i.e. he only ever attended one meeting, and didn’t stay for the whole thing at that.

Despite being the very essence of “Occult,” Papus at one stage went mainstream by penning a series of articles published in Le Figaro, which is now France’s biggest newspaper, although back in 1895 when the articles were written, it had a more populist stance. Still, that would be like if you were to imagine me, Alex Sumner, being employed at a generous salary by The Daily Telegraph to write for it.

Hence, Papus ended up writing about Graphology, Palmistry, Physiognomy, as well as astrology. The content of these articles was necessarily only a brief introduction to the subject matter – understandable as they were intended for publication in a newspaper. This book, is the first time that these articles have been translated into English.

Although this is an interesting reference for someone researching Papus’ life, Papus’ own writing here is far from being the most interesting thing that Papus had ever done, given that he had lived such rich and full life. In that sense, the Translator’s own introduction is actually more interesting from an esoteric point of view. Nevertheless, I did find some merit in reading about palmistry and graphology, which were subjects I had never really touched upon.

I had to laugh at one point at Papus’ blatant chauvinism – he assumes, for example that the only reason a man would study Physiognomy is so that he can dominate any woman irrespective of her temperament. Nevertheless, the book as a whole is a curious piece in the larger jig-saw puzzle of the life of an otherwise great occultist.

The Divinatory Arts by Papus; translated into by “The Three Luminaries” © 2020, ISBN-13: 9798684181795. Available from Amazon.


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Review: “Meditations for Every Week,” by Paul Sédir

Meditations for Every Week,” by Paul Sédir.

At first reading, this appears to be a book of fifty-two meditations which follow a fairly conventional path of Christian devotion. On closer inspection, one notes some curious departures from orthodox Christianity. Why, for example, does the author talk about having past incarnations (Chapter LI, “Insubordination”)? Why does he attach so much importance to St John the Baptist (Chapter V, “The Precursor”)? Why, even do we get this curious comment:

“Esotericism studies, among other problems, the means of producing natural miracles. … We will only have the legitimate right to command Nature when she sees that we are masters of ourselves, when we have followed the school of the Gospel to the end… Before any action, ask the Father for His consent.”
Chapter XXIX, “The Miracles of Jesus.”

Thankfully, one can readily discern the answer in the biographical note, helpfully provided by the translator. Paul Sédir (born Yvon Leloup, 1871) as a young man in his late teens / early twenties became an enthusiastic member of just about every occult society going in Paris in the fin-de-siècle period, falling in with the likes of Papus, Jules Doinel, etc. As such he would have been familiar with Martinism, Gnosticism, the Order Kabbalistique de la Rose Croix and various shades of Rosicrucianism, Egyptian Rite Masonry, etc, etc etc. However in 1897 he met Maitre Phillipe of Lyon, who appears to have had a sobering effect on young Sédir, as he resigned from every order of which he was a member, and devoted the rest of his life to Christian mysticism.

As an aside: Sédir would have been coming up to his first Saturn return when he took the decision to step back from the esoteric societies of which he had been a member, and as such he would naturally felt a desire to re-evaluate his life as he said goodbye to the follies of youth and entered adulthood-proper. Coincidentally, Maitre Phillipe seems to have had a similar effect on Papus himself when the latter first met him: Papus had taken umbrage at Phillipe for some reason, and was about to work some supposedly fearsome black magic on him, when the Maitre “pulled a Plotinus” on him, causing him to drop his magic sword – both literally and metaphorically. Assuming that Maitre Phillipe’s effect on him was similar to that on Sédir, it says a lot about Papus that Martinism was to his former sorcery what Christian Mysticism was to Sédir’s Martinism!

Anywho, the present book – “Meditations for Every Week” – may be summed up as mostly Christian in character, but displaying the vestiges of memories of esotericism – which sums up Sédir’s life-path. From the rather obvious pentacle on the front cover, it appears that the translator intends the book to be most useful to students of Martinism, even though Sédir had resigned from office in Papus’ order. Or in other words: “You can take the man out of Martinism, but you can’t take Martinism out of the man.”

“Meditations for Every Week,” by Paul Sédir. ISBN-13 9798643208631. Available from Amazon.

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The mysteries of Yeheshuah, the Pentagram, Martinism, and New Age fluffy bunny numerology explained in one handy meme.

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July 1, 2018 · 7:18 pm

The Matrix: an occult view

Monica Belluci in Matrix: Reloaded

Monica Belluci in Matrix: Reloaded

News today that some scientists have theorised we may be living in The Matrix. This is based on the idea that the fact that cosmic rays always hit earth with a specific maximum energy of 1020 electron-volts, this somehow implies that this limit is controlled from outside by mysterious beings who are running this Universe as a simulation.

However: just as Neo and his friends had the Agents called Smith, Jones and Brown to spoil their fun, so we have Agents of our own called Thomas Bayes and Pierre Laplace! I.e. in all their theorising, the scientists have not once accounted for how probable it is that these results can also be explained by the Universe not being a simulation.

Nevertheless, this has prompted me to write an occultist’s explanation of the whole deal. The Matrix has been described as a parable of Gnosticism in the past: however, this is a rather superficial analysis. In actual fact,  the viewpoint of the fictional millieu evolves from a Gnostic to a Neo-Platonic setting as the Trilogy progresses – as I shall explain below.

Gnostic Symbolism

The basic premise of Gnosticism is that humans are enslaved within the material universe, which is a prison. The ultimate aim of existence is therefore to defeat the spiritual forces which are enslaving us, escape from the material universe, and re-take our place in the “real” or Spiritual Universe.

At once there are some immediate parallels with The Matrix, to wit:

The Architect is the Demiurge, the creator of the material universe, and hence ultimately responsible for enslaving humankind.

The Demiurge

The Agents are the Archons, who actively work to prevent us breaking out of the material universe.

The Archons

The Oracle is Sophia.



Neo is the Logos, who helps us poor souls break out.

The Logos

The Red Pill is Gnosis, the key whereby to achieve spiritual freedom.



Zion is the Pleroma, the real Universe where everybody is free.

The Pleroma

Neo-Platonic Symbolism

However, this straightforward correlation to Gnosticism was complicated – along with most other things in the Trilogy – by Matrix:Re-Loaded and Matrix:Revolutions. The main problem is the concept of the existence of rogue sentient programs such as The Merovingian and his chums, the Key-Maker, Seraph etc – and ultimately Agent Smith himself. These characters – who exist within the Matrix, but are independent of the forces controlling it and thus follow their own agendas – don’t really have parallels in Gnosticism – but they do in certain Neo-Platonic frameworks.

The Oracle remarks in the second film that these entities are in fact left-overs from previous versions of the Matrix. This basically mirrors the cosmological view espoused by Martinez De Pasqually – the founder of the Elu Cohens and by extension an inspiration behind Martinism – in his Treatise on the Reintegration of Beings. To wit: the so-called Demons of the material universe are in fact spiritual beings that did not fit in nicely in with previous emanations of the spiritual universe. Thus they were consigned to this universe as a sort of prison.

In the third film, this parallel is taken to its logical conclusion when at the climax, the forces of the Matrix, instead of fighting against Neo and friends, ask Neo to defeat Agent Smith, the quintessential rogue sentient program for them. Neo’s prize for doing so is that the war is ended, those that want to be released from the Matrix are freed, and everyone can now play nicely with each other. This is the scenario envisaged by De Pasqually i.e.

Neo becomes “Yeheshuah,” the mystical Jesus, sent to save the material universe.

Yeheshuah, the Repairer

The Architect is still a demiurge-type figure – the “Supreme Architect of the Universe” as De Pasqually has it – but now he has become a Neo-platonic demiurge – i.e. one that is willing to be merciful to the souls of the virtuous who are trapped within the material universe.


Agent Smith – collectively – represents the various Demons, whom “Yeheshuah” (Neo) has to defeat and drive back to ensure that the inhabitants of the material universe (the Matrix) have the chance to achieve their spiritual potential.


Thus, the Matrix Trilogy collectively represents a development from Gnosticism in the first film, to Martinez De Pasqually style Neo Platonism in the third film – with the second film being a transitional mish-mash between the two.


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Magick, Wicca, Witchcraft, Christianity

Magick is an old English spelling of Magic which was revived by Aleister Crowley. He defined it as “the science and art of causing change in conformity with Will.” The crucial word in this sentence is Will. This does not mean any passing fancy, but refers to the great spiritual forces which are driving ones soul. Magick is therefore really about finding your Soul’s purpose – and then giving effect to it.

The concept of True Will is something Crowley took – like most things – from the Golden Dawn. True Will is what occurs when your ordinary everyday conscious Will is perfectly united with your Higher Will – which is your aspiration to that which is highest and most spiritual.

Wicca is a term most associated with the movement first brought to public consciousness by Gerald Gardner in the middle of the last century. It is primarily concerned with worship of the Goddess and God, and the observance of the traditional pagan festivals (Sabbats) and full-moon ceremonies (Esbats). There is now evidence to suggest that what we now know as the modern Wicca movement was founded in the 1920s by former members of the Golden Dawn who believed that they had been Witches in previous incarnations. Gardner did not found Wicca, but he was the first person to actively publicise it. See, for example, Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration by Philip Heselton (which coincidentally I once reviewed in the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition).

Witchcraft is a general term for the historic Witch tradition. Many Wiccans would say that Wicca is Witchcraft, or at least a part or an example of Witchcraft: I do not particularly want to get into an argument upon the matter.

Can a Christian ever practice Magick – and remain a Christian? Certain elements of Thelema and Wicca have a religious character, so in these instances, probably not. However, one should also remember that for 1900 years prior to the 20th century, magick was being preserved and studied by Christian scholars. Not, of course, those who slavishly followed the dictats of the Church, but freethinkers who believed that the Kabbalah was the perfect synthesis between magic, mysticism and religion – even though at times they were persecuted by the mainstream Church for daring to say so.

So for a modern day Christian who is thinking of magick I would say if you are such a Free-Thinker then yes it is possible – you would then find Christian overtones in Martinism, the Elus Cohens, Waite’s Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, Dion Fortune’s Society of the Inner Light, and even in the Golden Dawn.


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