Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, Vol 14, No 2 (2012)

How to Become a Mage (or Fairy): Joséphin Péladan's Initiation for the Masses

Sasha Chaitow
Issued Date: 13 Jan 2014

Abstract


Immensely prolific, discredited during his lifetime, Joséphin Péladan (1858–1918) constructed a vast, complex, yet coherent oeuvre with the purpose of demonstrating the transformative power of art by manifesting the highest ideals on the material plane, in response to the social decadence he perceived in fin-de-siècle French society. Central to Péladan’s vision was his conception of artists as initiates: select individuals who could bring a small part of the divine into the mundane sphere. In his cycle of novels, La Décadence Latine, his characters represent archetypal ideals facing ontological and metaphysical dilemmas against a background of a dying, corrupt, Western culture. His goal was to inspire his readers to seek a more ideal existence through a form of selfinitiation that he dubbed kaloprosopia, an art of transformation of personality through a life lived as a work of art. His theoretical esoteric works, Comment on Devient Mage and Comment on Devient Fée, respectively written for men and women, were handbooks for self-initiation representing the theory underpinning his novels. A formalized version of this process formed the basis for his Rosicrucian order. By presenting the same idea in different forms—through art, literature, and more intellectually demanding writings—Péladan's intent was to bring this call for regeneration to as wide an audience as possible, and in so doing, to spark a social renaissance.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 ) HTML (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/pome.v14i2.185

References


Abrams, Meyer Howard. Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature. New York: W.W. Norton, 1971.
Beaufils, Christophe. Joséphin Péladan 1858–1918: Essai sur une Maladie de Lyrisme. Grenoble: Jerome Millon, 1993.
Blanning, Tim. The Romantic Revolution. London: Phoenix, 2011.
Busst, A. J. L. “The Image of the Androgyne in the Nineteenth Century.” In Romantic Mythologies, edited by Ian Fletcher, 1–96. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
P. Christian [Jean-Baptiste Pitois]. Histoire de la Magie du Monde Surnaturel et de la Fatalité a travers les temps et les peuples. Paris: Furne, Jouvet, et Cie., 1870.
Dantinne, Emile. L’œuvre et la pensée de Péladan. Bruxelles: Office de publicité S.C. 1948.
Deak, Frantisek. “Kaloprosopia, The Art of Personality: The Theatricalization of Discourse in Avant-Garde Theatre.” Performing Arts Journal 13, no. 2 (1991): 6–21. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3245465
Fabre d’Olivet,Antoine. De l’état social de l’homme, ou Vues philosophiques sur l’histoire du genre humain, précédées d’une dissertation introductive sur les motifs et l’objet de cet ouvrage. 2 vols. Paris: J.L.J. Brière, 1822.
——. La Langue hébraïque restituée et le véritable sens des mots hébreux rétabli et prouvé par leur analyse radicale, ouvrage dans lequel on trouve réunis: (1) une dissertation sur l’origine de la parole; (2) une grammaire hébraïque; (3) une série de racines hébraïques; (4) un discours préliminaire; (5) une traduction en français des dix premiers chapitres du Sépher, contenant la Cosmogonie de Moyse. Paris: Chez l’auteur; Barrois; Eberhart, 1815.
Galtier, Gérard. Maçonnerie Egyptienne: Rose-Croix et Neo-chevalerie. Paris: du Rocher, 1989.
Hanegraaff, Wouter. “Romanticism and the Esoteric Tradition.” In Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times,edited by Roelof van den Broek and Wouter J. Hanegraaff, 237–63. Albany: State University of New York, 1998.
Harvey, David Allen. Beyond Enlightenment: Occultism and Politics in Modern France. Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005.
Lévi, Eliphas. Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie. Paris: Chacornac 1930 [1855–1856].
McIntosh, Christopher. Eliphas Lévi and the French Occult Revival. London: Rider, 1972.
Péladan, Joséphin. Amphithéâtre des Sciences Mortes: I. Comment on devient Mage,éthique; II. Comment on devient Fée, érotique; III. Comment on devient Artiste, esthétique; IV. Le Livre du Sceptre, politique; V. L’Occulte Catholique, mystique; VI. Traite des Antinomies, métaphysique. Paris: Chamuel; Chacornac, 1892–1911.
——. L’Art Idéaliste et Mystique: Doctrine de l’Ordre et du Salon Annuel des Rose-Croix. Paris: Chamuel, 1894.
——. La décadence Esthétique: L’Art Ochlocratique, Salons de 1882 & 1883. Paris: Dalou, 1888.
——. La Gynandre. Paris: Dentu, 1891.
——. Les Idées et les Formes: Antiquité Orientale, Egypte—Kaldée—Assyrie—Chine—Phénicie—Judée—Arabie—Inde—Perse—Aryas d’Asie Mineure. Paris: Mercure de France, 1908.
——. L’initiation sentimentale. Paris: Édinger, 1886.
——. Istar: La Décadence Latine V . Paris: Édinger, 1888.
——. La Terre du Christ. Paris: Flammarion, 1901.
Turner, Victor. “Social Dramas and Stories about them.” In On Narrative, edited by W. J. T. Mitchell, 137–64. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.
van Luijk, Ruben. “Sex, Science, & Liberty: The Resurrection of Satan in 19th Century (Counter) Culture.” In The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity, edited by Per Faxneld and Jesper Aa. Petersen, 41–52. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Wellek, René. “The Concept of ‘Romanticism’ in Literary History.” Comparative Literature 1, no. 1 (1949): 1–23. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1768457

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy