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Periodical: L'Initiation

Summary:  From Pat Deveney's database:

Initiation, L'.
Revue philosophique independente des hautes etudes: Hypnotisme, Force Psychique, Theosophie, Kabbale, Gnose, Franc-Maçonnerie, Sciences Occultes.
1888--1912 Monthly
Paris, France. Language: French. Publisher: Georges Carre / Librairie du Merveilleux / Chacornac / Librairie Initiiatique / Paul Ollendorff. Editor: Papus (Dr. Gerard Encausse) and Georges Montiere, with the assistance of F. Ch. Barlet, Stanislas de Guaita, and Julien Lejay.
Succeeded by: Mysteria-->L'Initiation (1953, revived by Papus's son, Philippe Encausse)
1/1, October 1888-96/12, September 1912. 96 pp. (varies). 10 francs a year in France, 12 beyond. Indexed.

Few advertisements, other than for Papus's own organizations and for books published by Georges Carre. The early volumes are massive productions of c. 300 pages that sold for 3 francs 50 each. Volume numbering changed quarterly while issues, confusingly, were numbered sequentially 1-12 across four volumes.

The journal was the brainchild of "Papus" (Dr. Gerard Anaclet Vincent Encausse, 1865-1916), a Spanish-born physician and demon of energy whose lifelong goal it was to systematize and synthesize all branches of the occult, spiritualism and Freemasonry and arrange them and their teachings hierarchically into ever-more elite groups--all under his own control. He was not an original thinker, but must have had charisma and single-mindedness because he managed to entice practically all of the French occultists from the 1890s until the First World War into his schemes--and these occultists were nothing if not enthusiasts for the occult cause: Papus was the "second" in the famous duel between Stanislas de Guaita and Jules Bois over the Abbe Boullan. He published many books (most of them of the Traite elementaire or Traite methodique sort), and founded, revived or joined one occult group after another: the Theosophical Society (which he first tried to control in France and then rejected because of its emphasis on Oriental occultism); the H.B. of L.; L'Ordre Martiniste (1888, and continuing today, with Papus as Grand Master until his death), L'Ordre Kabbalistique de la Rose + Croix (1888, with Stanislas de Guaita, 1861-1897, as first Grand Master, and Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, Oswald Wirth and Josephin Peladan as co-founders); the Order of the Golden Dawn (Magregor Mathers' Temple Ahathoor No 7 in Paris); L'eglise Gnostique of Jules Doinel (in which Papus became a Bishop in 1893); the Swedenborgian Rite and the "Supreme Grand Conseil General des Rites Unifies de la Maçonnerie Ancienne et Primitive pour le Grand Orient de France et ses Dependances" which was intended to unite all occult groups under the spacious umbrella of the innumerable degrees of the Rites of Memphis and Misraim (themselves to become the substratum of the O.T.O., the Ordo Templi Orientis), with Papus as ultimate superior for France. Paul Vuillaud, who knew many of those involved in the French occult revival, and was familiar with Papus's correspondence, judged him best: "Papus gave the impression of a chief of state who concentrated all of the ministries in himself." Typescript, published now as Histoires et Portraits de Rose-Croix (Milan: Arche, 1987).

Papus and his friend Lucien Chamuel ("Mauchel," d. 1936) founded the Librairie du Merveilleux and its journal, L'Initiation, in 1888--at the precise point when Papus had effectively destroyed Le Lotus, the Theosophical journal begun by Gaboriau and H.P. Blavatsky, and was prepared to channel his energies into occultism pure and simple. In the issues of L'Initiation for April and May 1889, the editors made it clear that the "initiation" intended by the title of the journal meant a "beginning" (from the Latin "initium") and was intended to convey only that its adherents were beginners in or students of the occult--an understanding that galled H.P. Blavatsky at the time and must later have amused those like Rene Guenon and the later French occultists for whom "initiation" meant a metaphysical change of state that occurred upon entry into a traditional "way." In typical "methodical" fashion, the journal was divided from the beginning into a "partie initiatique," a "partie philosophique et scientifique," and a "partie litteraire" and functioned as the clearinghouse and calendar of events for all of Papus's organizations. Its tone, as might be expected from the place and time, was decidedly anticlerical, "republican," secular and mildly socialist. The editorial control was lodged formally in committees governing each "partie." All of the leading lights of the French 1890s up to the First World War participated and published in the journal: Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre (1842-1909), Abel Haatan, Albert Faucheux ("F. Ch. Barlet"), Albert Journet ("Alber Jhouney," 1863-1923), Albert Poisson, Augustin Chaboseau, Carl du Prel, Catulle Mendes, Charles Detre (Teder), "Ely Star" (Eugene Jacob, 1847-1942), Emile Goudeau, Emile Gary, Emmanuel Lalande ("Marc Haven," 1868-1926), Eugene Nus, Leonce-Eugene Fabre des Essarts, George Delanne, George Montiere, Georges Polti, Henri de Rochas, Josephin Peladan (1858-1918), Jules de Marthold, Jules Doinel, Jules Lermina, Julien Lejay, Juliette Adam, Abbe Paul Roca, Lucien Chamuel ("Mauchel," d. 1936), "Matgioi" (Leon Pourville), Edouard Blitz, Jules Giraud ("Numa Pandorac"), Paul Adam, Yvon Le Loup ("Paul Sedir "), Rene Caillie, emilie de Morsier, Rodolphe Darzens, Rouxel, Stanislas de Guaita (1861-1897), Victor Blanchard, Villier de l'Isle-Adam, Rene Guenon, and many others of the time. What the journal made up for in breadth, however, it lost in seriousness and, despite its pretensions, it became a sort of omnium gatherum of miscellaneous occult observations.

The journal was replaced by Mysteria in 1913, and that in turn was replaced (after a hiatus from 1914-1952) by another L'Initiation, which claimed descent from L’Initiation (1888) and its successor, Mysteria, and is sometimes called “new series.” It was edited by Philippe Encausse (1906-1984), the son of Papus (Gérard Encausse), as the organ of his Martinist Order. Contributions by a great number of the scholarly occultists of the post-war period, including Robert Amadou, Robert Ambelain, Serge Hutin, Robert Toquet, et al., and selections from all of the important lights of the original journal, together with historical and biographical articles and notes on them. The journal had a special interest in Saint-Yves d’Alveydre and his work and in the tangled history of the Martinists in the twentieth century. A "third series" began with July-September 1976, and the journal continued until 2012. A successor, L’Initiation traditionnelle, is currently published online.

On the milieu around Papus in the Belle Epoque of French occultism, see V.-E. Michelet, Les Compagnons de la Hierophanie. Souvenirs du Mouvement Hermetique à la fin du XXIX Siecle (Paris: Dorbon-Aine, n.c. [c. 1938]), and on the origins of the journal see Joscelyn Godwin, "The Beginnings of Theosophy in France," London: Theosophical History Center, 1989. Crabtree 1209; Dorbon 6003. BNF; NYPL microfilm. The sequence of important journals involved in the fin-de-siecle French occult revival is:

L'Anti-Materialiste (1882)
L'Aurore (1886)
Revue des Hautes-Etudes (February 15, 1886)
Le Lotus (March 1887)
L'Initiation (October 1888)
L'etoile (March 1889)
La Revue Theosophique (March 1889)
Le Lotus Bleu (March 1890)
Le Voile d'Isis (November 1890)

Issues:Initiation V1 N2 1888 Nov
Initiation V1 N3 1888 Dec
Initiation V2 N4 1889 Jan
Initiation V2 N5 1889 Feb
Initiation V2 N6 1889 Mar
Initiation V3 N7 1889 Apr
Initiation V3 N8 1889 May
Initiation V3 N9 1889 Jun
Initiation V4 N10 1889 Jul
Initiation V4 N11 1889 Aug
Initiation V4 N12 1889 Sep
Initiation V5 N1 1889 Oct
Initiation V5 N2 1889 Nov
Initiation V5 N3 1889 Dec
Initiation V6 N4 1890 Jan
Initiation V6 N5 1890 Feb
Initiation V6 N6 1890 Mar
Initiation V7 N7 1890 Apr
Initiation V7 N8 1890 May
Initiation V7 N9 1890 Jun
Initiation V8 N10 1890 Jul
Initiation V8 N11 1890 Aug
Initiation V8 N12 1890 Sep
Initiation V9 N1 1890 Oct
Initiation V9 N2 1890 Nov
Initiation V9 N3 1890 Dec
Initiation V10 N4 1891 Jan
Initiation V10 N5 1891 Feb
Initiation V10 N6 1891 Mar
Initiation V10 N7 1891 Apr
Initiation V11 N8 1891 May
Initiation V11 N9 1891 Jun
Initiation V12 N10 1891 Jul
Initiation V12 N11 1899 Aug
Initiation V12 N12 1899 Sep
Initiation V13 N1 1891 Oct
Initiation V13 N2 1891 Nov
Initiation V13 N3 1891 Dec
Initiation V14 N4 1892 Jan
Initiation V14 N5 1892 Feb
Initiation V14 N6 1892 Mar
Initiation V15 1892 Index
Initiation V15 N7 1892 Apr
Initiation V15 N8 1892 May
Initiation V15 N9 1892 Jun
Initiation V16 N10 1892 Jul
Initiation V16 N11 1892 Aug
Initiation V16 N12 1892 Sep
Initiation V17 N1 1892 Oct
Initiation V17 N2 1892 Nov
Initiation V17 N3 1892 Dec
Initiation V18 N4 1893 Jan
Initiation V18 N5 1893 Feb
Initiation V18 N6 1893 Mar
Initiation V22 N4 1894 Jan
Initiation V22 N5 1894 Feb
Initiation V22 N6 1894 Mar
Initiation V23 N7 1894 Apr
Initiation V23 N8 1894 May
Initiation V23 N9 1894 Jun
Initiation V24 N10 1894 Jul
Initiation V24 N11 1894 Aug
Initiation V24 N12 1904 Sep
Initiation V25 N1 1894 Oct
Initiation V25 N2 1894 Nov
Initiation V25 N3 1894 Dec
Initiation V26 N4 1895 Jan
Initiation V26 N5 1895 Feb
Initiation V26 N6 1895 Mar
Initiation V27 N7 1895 Apr
Initiation V27 N8 1895 May
Initiation V27 N9 1895 Jun
Initiation V28 N10 1895 Jul
Initiation V28 N11 1895 Aug
Initiation V28 N12 1895 Sep
Initiation V29 N1 1895 Oct
Initiation V29 N2 1895 Nov
Initiation V29 N3 1895 Dec
Initiation V30 N4 1896 Jan
Initiation V30 N5 1896 Feb
Initiation V30 N6 1897 Mar
Initiation V31 N7 1896 Apr
Initiation V31 N8 1896 May
Initiation V31 N9 1896 Jun
Initiation V32 N10 1896 Jul
Initiation V32 N11 1896 Aug
Initiation V32 N12 1896 Sep
Initiation V33 N1 1896 Oct
Initiation V33 N2 1896 Nov
Initiation V33 N3 1896 Dec
Initiation V34 N4 1897 Jan
Initiation V34 N5 1897 Feb
Initiation V34 N6 1897 Mar
Initiation V35 N7 1897 Apr
Initiation V35 N8 1897 May
Initiation V35 N9 1897 Jun
Initiation V36 N10 1897 Jul
Initiation V36 N11 1897 Aug
Initiation V36 N12 1897 Dec
Initiation V37 N1 1897 Oct
Initiation V37 N2 1897 Nov
Initiation V37 N3 1897 Dec
Initiation V38 N4 1898 Jan
Initiation V38 N5 1898 Feb
Initiation V38 N6 1898 Mar
Initiation V39 N7 1898 Apr
Initiation V39 N8 1898 May
Initiation V39 N9 1898 Jun
Initiation V40 N10 1898 Jul
Initiation V40 N11 1898 Aug
Initiation V40 N12 1898 Sep
Initiation V41 N1 1898 Oct
Initiation V41 N2 1898 Nov
Initiation V41 N3 1898 Dec
Initiation V42 N4 1899 Jan
Initiation V42 N5 1899 Feb
Initiation V42 N6 1899 Mar
Initiation V43 N7 1899 Apr
Initiation V43 N8 1899 May
Initiation V43 N9 1899 Jun
Initiation V44 N10 1899 Jul
Initiation V44 N11 1899 Aug
Initiation V44 N12 1899 Sep
Initiation V45 N1 1899 Oct
Initiation V45 N2 1899 Nov
Initiation V45 N3 1899 Dec
Initiation V46 N4 1900 Jan
Initiation V46 N5 1900 Feb
Initiation V46 N6 1900 Mar
Initiation V47 N7 1900 Apr
Initiation V47 N8 1900 May
Initiation V47 N9 1900 Jun
Initiation V48 N10 1900 Aug
Initiation V48 N11 1900 Jul
Initiation V48 N12 1900 Sep
Initiation V49 N1 1900 Oct
Initiation V49 N2 1900 Nov
Initiation V49 N3 1900 Dec
Initiation V50 N4 1901 Jan
Initiation V50 N5 1901 Feb
Initiation V50 N6 1901 Mar
Initiation V51 N7 1901 Apr
Initiation V51 N8 1901 May
Initiation V51 N9 1901 Jun
Initiation V52 N10 1901 Jul
Initiation V52 N11 1901 Aug
Initiation V52 N12 1901 Sep
Initiation V53 N1 1901 Oct
Initiation V53 N2 1901 Nov Partial
Initiation V54 N4 1902 Jan
Initiation V54 N5 1902 Feb
Initiation V54 N6 1902 Mar
Initiation V55 N7 1902 Apr
Initiation V55 N8 1902 May
Initiation V55 N9 1902 Jun
Initiation V56 N10 1902 Jul
Initiation V56 N11 1902 Aug
Initiation V56 N12 1902 Sep
Initiation V57 N1 1902 Oct
Initiation V57 N2 1902 Nov
Initiation V57 N3 1902 Dec
Initiation V58 N4 1903 Jan
Initiation V58 N5 1903 Feb
Initiation V58 N6 1903 Mar
Initiation V59 N7 1903 Apr
Initiation V59 N8 1903 May
Initiation V59 N9 1903 Jun
Initiation V60 N10 1903 Aug
Initiation V60 N11 1903 Jul
Initiation V60 N12 1903 Sep
Initiation V61 N1 1903 Oct
Initiation V61 N2 1903 Nov
Initiation V61 N3 1903 Dec
Initiation V62 N4 1904 Jan
Initiation V62 N5 1904 Feb
Initiation V62 N6 1904 Mar
Initiation V63 N7 1904 Apr
Initiation V63 N8 1904 May
Initiation V63 N9 1904 Jun
Initiation V64 N10 1904 Jul
Initiation V64 N11 1904 Aug
Initiation V64 N12 1904 Sep
Initiation V65 N1 1904 Oct
Initiation V65 N2 1904 Nov
Initiation V65 N3 1904 Dec
Initiation V66 N4 1905 Jan
Initiation V66 N5 1905 Feb
Initiation V66 N6 1905 Mar
Initiation V67 N7 1905 Apr
Initiation V67 N8 1905 May
Initiation V67 N9 1905 May
Initiation V68 N10 1905 Jul
Initiation V68 N11 1905 Aug
Initiation V68 N12 1905 Sep
Initiation V69 N1 1905 Oct
Initiation V69 N2 1905 Nov
Initiation V69 N3 1905 Dec
Initiation V70 N4 1906 Jan
Initiation V70 N5 1906 Feb
Initiation V70 N6 1906 Mar
Initiation V71 N7-9 1906 Apr-jun Damaged
Initiation V72 N10 1906 Jul
Initiation V72 N11 1906 Aug
Initiation V72 N12 1906 Sep
Initiation V73 N1 1906 Oct
Initiation V73 N2 1906 Nov
Initiation V73 N3 1906 Dec
Initiation V74 N4 1907 Jan
Initiation V74 N5 1907 Feb
Initiation V74 N6 1907 Mar
Initiation V75 N7 1907 Apr
Initiation V75 N8 1907 May
Initiation V75 N9 1907 Jun
Initiation V76 N10 1907 Jul
Initiation V76 N11 1907 Aug
Initiation V76 N12 1907 Sep
Initiation V77 N1 1907 Oct
Initiation V77 N2 1907 Nov
Initiation V77 N3 1907 Dec
Initiation V78 N4 1908 Jan
Initiation V78 N5 1908 Feb
Initiation V78 N6 1908 Mar
Initiation V79 N7 1908 Apr
Initiation V79 N8 1908 May
Initiation V79 N9 1908 Jun
Initiation V80 N10 1908 Jul
Initiation V80 N11 1908 Aug-2
Initiation V80 N11 1908 Aug
Initiation V80 N12 1908 Sep.
Initiation V81 N1 1908 Oct
Initiation V81 N2 1908 Nov
Initiation V81 N3 1908 Dec

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