Paul Sédir

translated by Gareth Knight


Paul Sédir was one of the most important figures of the late 19th century occult renaissance in France, and yet he remains very little known in the English-speaking world. Born Yvon Le Loup in 1871, the young Breton moved to Paris and took up occultism as a teenager under the patronage of Papus (Gérard Encausse). Blessed with an exceptional memory and intuition, he embraced a diversity of paths and quickly rose through the ranks of a wide range of esoteric fraternities, authoring a number of books. From his home in Montmartre he held weekly open discussions on occultism and was well known for his exceptional knowledge and powerful presence. In later life, a significant mystical encounter led him to resign from his occult activities and focus solely on a Christian mystical path.


Adopting the name Sédir (an anagram of ‘désir’), he began writing his important work Initiations around 1901, and expanded it gradually over the following twenty-five years until his death in 1926. It follows the ‘initiations’, both occult and mystical, of a Paris doctor and his strange friend Andreas, nuanced by the enigmatic background presence of Theophane, the true healer. Presented in a deceptively simple narrative form, it distils and encodes a lifetime’s esoteric and mystical knowledge in a way which serves as a very real initiation for the perceptive reader.


Gareth Knight brings the benefit of 60 years’ experience in practical occultism to this new translation of Sédir’s work. He has translated a number of French esoteric texts, as well as being a renowned author in his own right.

Paul Sédir (2 January 1871–3 February 1926) was born Yvon Le Loup in the town of Dinan in Brittany, the son of a Breton father and a German mother. His family moved to Paris soon after, where he grew up to be a clerk at the Bank of France. His interest in the occult began at an early age, and he became an associate of Papus and an initiate of several magical fraternities, including the Qabalistic Order of the Rose Cross and the Martinist Order. A meeting in 1897 with the extraordinary mystic and healer Maître Philippe changed the course of Sédir's life, and he chose to abandon his occult activities and focus on a path of Christian mysticism. He was the author of a large number of books and papers, most of which have never been available in English, as well as translating the works of Jacob Boehme into French.

Gareth Knight is one of the world’s foremost authorities on ritual magic, the Western Mystery Tradition and Qabalistic symbolism. He trained in Dion Fortune’s Society of the Inner Light, and has spent a lifetime rediscovering and teaching the principles of magic as a spiritual discipline and method of self-realisation. He has written around fifty books covering topics as diverse as Qabalah, history of magic, Arthurian legend, Rosicrucianism, Tarot, Faery, the Inklings (Tolkien, C.S.Lewis et al) and the Feminine Mysteries, as well as several practical books on ritual magic. He has lectured worldwide and is a regular contributor to Inner Light, the journal of the Society of the Inner Light, and Lyra, the Avalon Group journal.


The magical fraternity founded by Gareth Knight in 1973 is now run by his daughter Rebecca, and known as the Avalon Group.