Gérard Anaclet Vincent Encausse - Papus

(July 13, 1865 - 25 October 1916)

      Born at La Coruna, Spain but raised in Paris he was a notable occultist of his time. As a young man he begun to study the writings of Eliphas Levi and gained interest in the occult, Kabbalah and magic. In his time he was a member of many esoteric societies; Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn temple in Paris, Memphis-Misraim and Theosophical Society. He even co-founded his own group, the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Croix. He also become the Bishop of l'Église Gnostique de France, an attempt to revive the Cathar religion. In 1891 he founded l'Ordre des Supérieurs Inconnus, the Order of Martinists that today is his most enduring legacy.

  In the beginning of 20th century he started serving Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra both as physician and occult consultant. There is a myth that he summoned the spirit of Alexander III, the Tsar Nicholas's father who told him that the Tsar would be killed by revolutionionaries. Papus allegedly answered that he can protect the Tsar as long as he is alive by some kind of magical means. Less than a year after Papus died in 1916 Nicholas II was forced to abdicate and later he and his family were executed.

 Aside to his occult interests he was very educated in more conventional sense of the word. He opened his own clinic in Paris after recieving his doctor of Medicine degree in Philosophical Anatomy. He was a very skilled physician, hence his pseudonym Papus (lat. physician). He died from tuberculosis in 1916 in military hospital in France.

   His work was very influential on the turn of the centuries and his books and thought made a mark on the Tarot as we know it today. His book, Tarot of the Bohemians, along with the Pictoral Key to the Tarot (A. E. Waite) are cornerstone works on the subject in the late 19th and the early 20th century.