Did Marteau believe in Fairies?

Published by Marius on

Paul Marteau only published 1 book during his lifetime, however he did also publish an essay in “Le Comte Gabalis” a book from 1921 by Rene-Louis Doyon (pages LV-LXIII). I have made a rough translation of this text into English below. I was very surprised by its content. His beliefs seem go way beyond the decipherment of tarot cards.

The Esotericism of Gabalis

Not a stone, not a blade of grass in the world, over which no Spirit reigns.

The Kabala.

Is it possible to admit that the work of count Gabalis is serious, deserving the attention of the occultists? To this question, the informed reader will despise the skepticism of the layman, who wants to see nothing, in talks of secret sciences, other than pleasant scrutiny of people and of doctrines, so he can keep such work in mere literal esteem and consideration.

     Why not? I will ask to those, whom the study of the hermetic sciences are not favored. This is what I will try to sketch out.

The works of Montfaucon de Villars is entirely based on the science of elementary spirits. The Paracelsian school, from which the abbot was inspired, classified elementary spirits into salamanders or fire ministrants, sylphs or genies of air and storms, merfolk or demons of water, in gnomes or earthly powers, guardians of caves and treasures. This classification, which corresponds to the four elements, has a terminological nomenclature that I will expose in its barrenness:

     Salamanders rule Fire and Ether, their element is fire, that is to say, hot, radiant matter. Fire has iron and copper as metallic analogies, and as sciences pyromancy (divination by the study of the flame – colors and shapes) and magnetism. These elemental spirits are the most powerful and the most formidable. With the help of sylphs and merfolk, they produce hurricane cataclysms, lightning and raging seas.

     The gnomes have as their element Earth (solid, dry) whose metallic analogy is lead; their sciences are geomancy (divination by observing natural cracks and crevices) and cartomancy. Gnomes inhabit the depths of Earth.

     Air (gas, humidity) is the element of the sylphs; these spirits animate the wind. The metallic analogies to Air is gold and silver and its sciences aeromancy (divination by studying the shape of clouds) and oniromancy  (divination by dreams).

     The element of merfolk is water (liquid, cold). They unleash storms. The metallic analogy of water is mercury; hence hydromancy (there are about ten ways to predict the future with the help of water), and crystallomancy or divination by the mirrors; crystal balls.

     These spirits were not unknown in antiquity and we find them labeled as local deities, genii loci, as fauns, nymphs, woods or sirens.

     In the Middle Ages, which was so conducive for occultism, these were called elves, fairies or goblins[1], gobelinus, goblin (Engl.). Let us also list the genies of the west; the Nibelungens, the white ladies, Nixies, Korrigans, Farfadets, etc…

     Each country´s literature during all times has collected in abundance, assisted by traditions, the exploits of these familiar spirits from East to West, from North to South, the national folklore is all fertile with stories where the intermediate spirits are the protagonists. In Ireland especially, elementary spirits co-mingle actively with the life of the peasants. The authors report these facts while missing their esoteric significance.

     A contemporary of Montfaucon de Villars, R. P. Sinistrari Amena, 0. M. S. F. (1662-1701), a theologian, very curiously examined the problem of their existence from two points of view; observed facts and from Catholic doctrine. His work in Latin, which has remained in manuscript form for 200 years, is significant; “Demoniality and animals incubus and succubus, where it is proved that there are on Earth reasonable creatures other than man, having like him a body and a soul, born and dying like him, redeemed by N. S. J. C. and capable of salvation and damnation” (Paris, Liseux, 1875). Sinistrari describes the nature of elementary spirits and their relationship to man from the point of view of occult science, quite often correctly so. These creatures would be reasonable animals provided with senses and bodily organs, as with man; however, they would differ from man, not only in the more subtle nature of their body, but in matter. Man, according to the scriptures, was formed from the thickest part of the elements, mud (water and earth); these creatures, on the contrary, would have been formed from the most subtle elementary matter or a mixture of them: thus, some would consist of earth, others air, water or fire. “We will admit,” he wrote, “that these beings are born and die; that they are divided into males and females; that they have, like men, senses and passions; that their body nourishes and develops; however, their nourishment would not be coarse like that which is required by the human body, instead a delicate and vaporous substance emanating by spirits of spirits from all that, in nature, abounds of very volatile particles…” The constitution of these spirits would therefore correspond to elements released from matter and their physiological constitution to the theological definition of the geological substance.

     Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d’Argens, in his Kabbalistic letters, 1741, which was put on the Index the following year, on the subject of life given to intermediary beings, cited as an authority, one of Gabalis’ correspondences with Ben Kiber and thus supported his assessment: “There you go, the most hidden mysteries of the Kabala. They are explained very clearly, albeit in few words, in this interview recorded from the writings of a famous writer who would have been one of the most perfect kabalistic philosophers, if he had enjoyed as much discretion as science.“

     In his treatise on nymphs, sylphs, etc., Paracelsus specifies: “We said that these beings could reproduce with men and have children. These children are of the human race because the father being man and a descendant of Adam, plants a soul in them which make them similar to him, therefore eternal. And I believe that the female who receives such a soul with such seed is, like that of the woman, redeemed by Christ. We are not allowed to arrive to the divine kingdom unless we commune with God. Likewise, this female only acquires a soul as long as she knows a man. The superior communicates his virtue to the inferior.”

     It would take a long time to report on extra-human hyphens as well. The ecclesiastical annals of witchcraft are teeming with such cases; an interesting bibliography from Incubi and Succubi exists.

     The great contemporary occultist, Stanislas de Guaita, devotes elementary spirits to many pages of his masterful work “The Serpent of Genesis” and defines them thus: the Animals of the Invisible. “Some of them,” he said, “go far beyond the mental level of higher animals and would bear comparison with man, but with the absence of a sense of morals, an inability to decide the right from the wrong.” He unjustly compares them to the bestial races. However, they are not incapable of affection, and what more, devotion; sometimes a sentiment grows into fanaticism, a love, this or that being has thus just inspired such in man, often without him realizing it. The magicians, who dominate and govern at will, will accomplish surprising marvels through them … Moreover, being capricious and authoritarian by nature, they can easily become dangerous friends, to anyone, who has not been a proper servant through fear or respect, they make detestable masters … They loath to see the energies of nature mastered and enslaved by the scientists or the industrialists and, very often, cataclysms and accidents are triggered by them … The scientist does not act directly from the elements, it is by manipulation of matter that he forces them to come and evolve, according to a plan preconceived by him. The sorcerer however does the opposite …

     For Montfaucon de Villars, the circumstances surrounding his death still give some credit to elementary spirits and nothing can yet invalidate the assertion of their vengeful action. We must remember a terrible lesson, and remember the wise word of Dyonisios in opening the book of Hermes; “fear the light of the sun, lest a ray illuminates for others, what is for your eyes alone”. This advice may appear to be difficult to follow and it can be inferred that the punishment was disproportionate to the importance of the revelation; however Montfaucon de Villars found with his book one of the greatest secrets of the occult: The Power over the Elemental Spirits by man.  

     This handling of the powers of nature, sometimes called supra-terrestrial, sometimes infra-terrestrial, other times more precisely semi-intelligent forces, dominating the animal kingdom, is allowed only to the initiated man, prepared for this power by a spiritual elevation and by ascetic practices. This can result in real power and a beneficial influence by the elements of these powers, in their strength for the benefit of the evolution of mankind.

Wasn’t Villars trying to unveil a most dangerous secret, a reach out onto the great magical arcana? A master of the occult, Eliphas Levi, said that to evoke elemental spirits was to have the power to coagulate fluids by a projection of astral light. But this power thus directed can only produce disorders and misfortunes, it is neither called to do so, nor usable. The spirit is everywhere, it is it, which animates matter; it frees itself from gravity by perfecting its envelope. Forms rise through purification of instincts, towards intelligence and beauty; such are the efforts of the light which the spirit draws to itself; this is the mystery of the generation, of the progressive and universal. Light, says Eliphas Levi, is the efficient agent of forms and of life, because it is simultaneously a movement as well as heat. When it manages to become polarized around a center, it produces a living being, it attracts it in, in order to perfect it, develop the plastic substance it needs; this elemental matter is also earth and water, the Bible rightly names it; the silt of the earth. But light is not the spirit, it is only its instrument, it is man´s first physical celebration of the breath of the divine. God creates it eternally, and man, in the image of God, modifies it and seems to multiply it too.

     If man creates any being objectively, by his will or his power, he accepts a certain perilous responsibility. Montfaucon de Villars, as much by his life as by his main work, has done serious work, on one hand, by revealing the notion of beings who can manifest elements, and on the other hand, by teaching, although in a roundabout way, the means of arousing them without knowing how to make them useful, hence the dangerous practice of magic and the creation of beings harmful to society. This results in a lack of respect for the occult laws and consequently the powers of the divine. That Kabbalists may have triggered a violent response of anger from the indiscreet, nothing is more certain! We can also admit that the unfortunate invocation of Montfaucon de Villars following an misunderstood initiation unleashed upon him forces of which he could not master; only the mystery of his end can record the truth.

     We do not want to end this presentation without reporting on the interesting findings reported by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the “Strand Magazine” (Dec. 1920 and March 1921). For the first time, we can see photographs of elementary spirits appearing in the shape of sylphs. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lends his reputation to the authenticity of the proof; it substantiates the guarantees given by the operator. In support of the documentation published under the title: “The Evidence for Fairies”, five photographic reproductions have been attached. One of them shows a beautiful sylph leaping to hover from the foliage on which she was standing, as she must have done so several times, approaching in successive flights; one of the snapshots shows the instinctive response made by the young girl brushed against by the sylph. The air maiden appears in a costume adhering to her body shape and wears purple wings. Her size may be around ten centimeters. Another photograph represents a young girl in the vicinity of a sylph delicately placed on a leaf of a bush; witnesses say that her wings are speckled with yellow, her clothing is a very pale pink. She offers, in a delicate gesture, a tiny bouquet of bells to the young girl who holds her looking amazed.

     These images were taken in Yorkshire with the two girls. The first test was made with a makeshift device and this for the sole purpose of proving the truth of their statements to their parents who made fun of their experience. It was only later that a friend of the family lent them a precision device and it was under his direction that the reproduced images were taken, with all the guarantees which the author of the article claims.

Paul Marteau

[1] A legend admits that the Gobelin manufactory owes its name to a few follets who originally came to teach workers the design and weave of marvelous rugs.