Papus (Gerard Encausse) (1865–1916) Physician, occultist, and author, known for his work on the TAROT and the Kabbalah and his leadership in MARTINISM. Papus was his pseudonym.
He was born Gerard Encausse on July 13, 1865, in La Corogne, Spain. His mother was Spanish and his father was a French chemist. When he was four, his family moved to Paris, where he was educated in medicine.
Papus was drawn to the occult and studied Magic and Alchemy. In the 1880s he joined the Theosophical Society, but its emphasis on Eastern occultism failed to interest him, and he left. He was initiated into Martinism, and in 1884 he formed the Martinist Order with Pierre Augustin Chaboseau. Papus and Chaboseau also founded the Supreme Council of the Martinist Order, which became the largest Martinist group in the world.
Papus gained fame for his occult knowledge. He evidently loved to found organizations, for he also helped create one of France’s leading magical orders, le Rose + Croix Kabbalistique (The Kabbalistic Rose Cross) and the Independent Group for Esoteric Studies, which delved into ceremonial magic, ghosts, spiritualism, and folklore related to the occult.
Papus served in the medical corps of the French army during World War I. He died on October 25, 1916, of a lung infection.
Of his writings, the best-known is his book on the Tarot, The Tarot of the Bohemians (1889). The English translation was edited by Arthur Edward Waite. Papus’s other notable works are Elementary Treatise on Occult Science (1888), The Divinatory Tarot (1909), The Qabalah, and Systematic Treatise of Practical Magic (published posthumously in 1924).