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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 1888 V1 N2 Nov
Initiation 1888 V1 N3 Dec
Initiation 1889 V2 N4 Jan
Initiation 1889 V2 N5 Feb
Initiation 1889 V2 N6 Mar
Initiation 1889 V3 N7 Apr
Initiation 1889 V3 N8 May
Initiation 1889 V3 N9 Jun
Initiation 1889 V4 N10 Jul
Initiation 1889 V4 N11 Aug
Initiation 1889 V4 N12 Sep
Initiation 1889 V5 N1 Oct
Initiation 1889 V5 N2 Nov
Initiation 1889 V5 N3 Dec
Initiation 1890 V6 N4 Jan
Initiation 1890 V6 N5 Feb
Initiation 1890 V6 N6 Mar
Initiation 1890 V7 N10 Jul
Initiation 1890 V7 N7 Apr
Initiation 1890 V7 N8 May
Initiation 1890 V7 N9 Jun
Initiation 1890 V8 N11 Aug
Initiation 1890 V8 N12 Sep
Initiation 1890 V9 N1 Oct
Initiation 1890 V9 N2 Nov
Initiation 1890 V9 N3 Dec
Initiation 1891 V10 N4 Jan
Initiation 1891 V10 N5 Feb
Initiation 1891 V10 N6 Mar
Initiation 1891 V11 N7 Apr
Initiation 1891 V11 N8 May
Initiation 1891 V11 N9 Jun
Initiation 1891 V12 N10 Jul
Initiation 1891 V12 N11 Aug
Initiation 1891 V12 N12 Sep
Initiation 1891 V13 N1 Oct
Initiation 1891 V13 N2 Nov
Initiation 1891 V13 N3 Dec
Initiation 1892 V14 N4 Jan
Initiation 1892 V14 N5 Feb
Initiation 1892 V14 N6 Mar
Initiation 1892 V15 Index
Initiation 1892 V15 N7 Apr
Initiation 1892 V15 N8 May
Initiation 1892 V15 N9 Jun
Initiation 1892 V16 N10 Jul
Initiation 1892 V16 N11aug
Initiation 1892 V16 N12 Sep
Initiation 1892 V17 N1 Oct
Initiation 1892 V17 N2 Nov
Initiation 1892 V17 N3 Dec
Initiation 1893 V18 N4 Jan
Initiation 1893 V18 N5 Feb
Initiation 1893 V18 N6 Mar
Initiation 1894 V22 N4 Jan
Initiation 1894 V22 N5 Feb
Initiation 1894 V22 N6 Mar
Initiation 1894 V23 N7 Apr
Initiation 1894 V23 N8 May
Initiation 1894 V23 N9 Jun
Initiation 1894 V24 N10 Jul
Initiation 1894 V24 N11 Aug
Initiation 1894 V24 N12 Sep
Initiation 1894 V25 N1 Oct
Initiation 1894 V25 N2 Nov
Initiation 1894 V25 N3 Dec
Initiation 1895 V26 N4 Jan
Initiation 1895 V26 N5 Feb
Initiation 1895 V26 N6 Mar
Initiation 1895 V27 N7 Apr
Initiation 1895 V27 N8 May
Initiation 1895 V27 N9 Jun
Initiation 1895 V28 N10 Jul
Initiation 1895 V28 N11 Aug
Initiation 1895 V28 N12 Sep
Initiation 1895 V29 N1 Oct
Initiation 1895 V29 N2 Nov
Initiation 1895 V29 N3 Dec
Initiation 1896 V30 N4 Jan
Initiation 1896 V30 N5 Feb
Initiation 1896 V30 N6 Mar
Initiation 1896 V31 N7 Apr
Initiation 1896 V31 N8 May
Initiation 1896 V31 N9 Jun
Initiation 1896 V32 N10 Jul
Initiation 1896 V32 N11 Aug
Initiation 1896 V32 N12 Sep
Initiation 1896 V33 N1 Oct
Initiation 1896 V33 N2 Nov
Initiation 1896 V33 N3 Dec
Initiation 1897 V34 N4 Jan
Initiation 1897 V34 N5 Feb
Initiation 1897 V34 N6 Mar
Initiation 1897 V35 N7 Apr
Initiation 1897 V35 N8 May
Initiation 1897 V35 N9 Jun
Initiation 1897 V36 N10 Jul
Initiation 1897 V36 N11 Aug
Initiation 1897 V36 N12 Dec
Initiation 1897 V37 N1 Oct
Initiation 1897 V37 N2 Nov
Initiation 1897 V37 N3 Dec
Initiation 1898 V38 N4 Jan
Initiation 1898 V38 N5 Feb
Initiation 1898 V38 N6 Mar
Initiation 1898 V39 N7 Apr
Initiation 1898 V39 N8 May
Initiation 1898 V39 N9 Jun
Initiation 1898 V40 N10 Jul
Initiation 1898 V40 N11 Aug
Initiation 1898 V40 N12 Sep
Initiation 1898 V41 N1 Oct
Initiation 1898 V41 N2 Nov
Initiation 1898 V41 N3 Dec
Initiation 1899 V42 N4 Jan
Initiation 1899 V42 N5 Feb
Initiation 1899 V42 N6 Mar
Initiation 1899 V43 N7 Apr
Initiation 1899 V43 N8 May
Initiation 1899 V43 N9 Jun
Initiation 1899 V44 N10 Jul
Initiation 1899 V44 N11 Aug
Initiation 1899 V44 N12 Sep
Initiation 1899 V45 N1 Oct
Initiation 1899 V45 N2 Nov
Initiation 1899 V45 N3 Dec
Initiation 1900 V46 N4 Jan
Initiation 1900 V46 N5 Feb
Initiation 1900 V46 N6 Mar
Initiation 1900 V47 N7 Apr
Initiation 1900 V47 N8 May
Initiation 1900 V47 N9 Jun
Initiation 1900 V48 N10 Aug
Initiation 1900 V48 N11 Jul
Initiation 1900 V48 N12 Sep
Initiation 1900 V49 N1 Oct
Initiation 1900 V49 N2 Nov
Initiation 1900 V49 N3 Dec
Initiation 1901 V50 N4 Jan
Initiation 1901 V50 N5 Feb
Initiation 1901 V50 N6 Mar
Initiation 1901 V51 N7 Apr
Initiation 1901 V51 N8 May
Initiation 1901 V51 N9 Jun
Initiation 1901 V52 N10 Jul
Initiation 1901 V52 N11 Aug
Initiation 1901 V52 N12 Sep
Initiation 1901 V53 N1 Oct
Initiation 1901 V53 N2 Nov
Initiation 1902 V54 N4 Jan
Initiation 1902 V54 N5 Feb
Initiation 1902 V54 N6 Mar
Initiation 1902 V55 N7 Apr
Initiation 1902 V55 N8 May
Initiation 1902 V55 N9 Jun
Initiation 1902 V56 N10 Jul
Initiation 1902 V56 N11 Aug
Initiation 1902 V56 N12 Sep
Initiation 1902 V57 N1 Oct
Initiation 1902 V57 N2 Nov
Initiation 1902 V57 N3 Dec
Initiation 1903 V58 N4 Jan
Initiation 1903 V58 N5 Feb
Initiation 1903 V58 N6 Mar
Initiation 1903 V59 N7 Apr
Initiation 1903 V59 N8 May
Initiation 1903 V59 N9 Jun
Initiation 1903 V60 N10 Aug
Initiation 1903 V60 N11 Jul
Initiation 1903 V60 N12 Sep
Initiation 1903 V61 N1 Oct
Initiation 1903 V61 N2 Nov
Initiation 1903 V61 N3 Dec
Initiation 1904 V62 N4 Jan
Initiation 1904 V62 N5 Feb
Initiation 1904 V62 N6 Mar
Initiation 1904 V63 N7 Apr
Initiation 1904 V63 N8 May
Initiation 1904 V63 N9 Jun
Initiation 1904 V64 N10 Jul
Initiation 1904 V64 N11 Aug
Initiation 1904 V64 N12 Sep
Initiation 1904 V65 N1 Oct
Initiation 1904 V65 N2 Nov
Initiation 1904 V65 N3 Dec
Initiation 1905 V66 N4 Jan
Initiation 1905 V66 N5 Feb
Initiation 1905 V66 N6 Mar
Initiation 1905 V67 N7 Apr
Initiation 1905 V67 N8 May
Initiation 1905 V67 N9 May
Initiation 1905 V68 N10 Jul
Initiation 1905 V68 N11 Aug
Initiation 1905 V68 N12 Sep
Initiation 1905 V69 N1 Oct
Initiation 1905 V69 N2 Nov
Initiation 1905 V69 N3 Dec
Initiation 1906 V70 N4 Jan
Initiation 1906 V70 N5 Feb
Initiation 1906 V70 N6 Mar
Initiation 1906 V71 N7-9 Apr-jun Damaged
Initiation 1906 V72 N10 Jul
Initiation 1906 V72 N11 Aug
Initiation 1906 V72 N12 Sep
Initiation 1906 V73 N1 Oct
Initiation 1906 V73 N2 Nov
Initiation 1906 V73 N3 Dec
Initiation 1907 V74 N4 Jan
Initiation 1907 V74 N5 Feb
Initiation 1907 V74 N6 Mar
Initiation 1907 V75 N7 Apr
Initiation 1907 V75 N8 May
Initiation 1907 V75 N9 Jun
Initiation 1907 V76 N10 Jul
Initiation 1907 V76 N11 Aug
Initiation 1907 V76 N12 Sep
Initiation 1907 V77 N1 Oct
Initiation 1907 V77 N2 Nov
Initiation 1907 V77 N3 Dec
Initiation 1908 V78 N4 Jan
Initiation 1908 V78 N5 Feb
Initiation 1908 V78 N6 Mar
Initiation 1908 V79 N7 Apr
Initiation 1908 V79 N8 May
Initiation 1908 V79 N9 Jun
Initiation 1908 V80 N10 Jul
Initiation 1908 V80 N11 Aug-2
Initiation 1908 V80 N11 Aug
Initiation 1908 V80 N12 Sep.
Initiation 1908 V81 N1 Oct
Initiation 1908 V81 N2 Nov
Initiation 1908 V81 N3 Dec

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