This is one of the most enigmatic books of twentieth century French esoteric history. While most of the book reflects a series of meetings between a neophyte and his spiritual master, during which the master elaborates upon the teachings he received from his own Master, what makes the book unique and extremely controversial is the fact that the Master in question is claimed to be a reincarnation of Christ, and his servant – the man who is teaching the neophyte – one of the Apostles. This book has been classified as ‘Martinist’. In this we must be cautious. It reflects the philosophy of a Lyonnais Teacher and Healer who is little known in the English- speaking world: Mr. Philippe Nizier, who departed this world on August 2, 1905, who is buried in a graveyard in Lyon, only a few yards from J.-B. Willermoz, and before the gravestone of his disciple, Jean Chapas, called Mr. Olivier in this book. This extraordinary man accrued an equally extraordinary reputation in his lifetime. Vilified by the authorities and by the medical profession for his miraculous cures, he nevertheless enjoyed a large reputation, not only among the working people of Lyon and the surrounding region, but even the Russian Royal family, where he was the forerunner to Rasputin in tending to the hemophiliac son of the Tzar. Dr. Gérard Encausse – Papus – considered him to be his spiritual teacher, and speaks most fondly of him in several of his books. Indeed, he claimed that it was the influence of ‘Maître Philippe’ that led him to a more contemplative, spiritual approach to his studies, and away from the more ritualistic, theurgic path. And herein lies the problem.
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