The books of J Michaud PhD
Introduction by Occult Mysteries
J Michaud PhD wrote six occult books during his lifetime which are almost entirely unknown to contemporary seekers and occultists alike. These six books (shown in order of their publication in the sidebar at right) contain more accurate information about the true laws and principles of occult science than any other books published during the last hundred years. We say this after a lifetime of study of all the very best occult and mystical books, and personal knowledge of the teachings of the various occult orders and groups throughout the world.
Dr Michaud's books were all published by the UMA Press in London between 1939 and 1950, and it is now very difficult to find any printed copies of them. On the rare occasions that copies appear in booksellers' catalogues or on sites like eBay they are priced beyond the means of all but the most wealthy collectors. This is a great pity for these books were never intended as 'investments', but for those genuinely in search of Truth. Such by their very nature are rarely wealthy, for they have learnt the worthlessness of earthly things.
It is for this reason that we have re-published Dr Michaud's books in electronic format, and made them freely available to all at no cost. We are quite sure that Dr Michaud would have done the same had the technology existed to do this in the last century. You can find a complete list of all the author's books in the sidebar at right, together with links to those titles which you can read online. In addition, you can read full reviews of all Dr Michaud's books in the occult book reviews section of our website.
A personal appreciation of the writings of
J Michaud PhD (1884 - 1961)
Guest article by Theodore Baum
I have called this short article an 'appreciation' for two reasons. Firstly, because I have neither the qualifications nor the inclination to write a 'potted' biography of the author. Dr Michaud was a very private man who had a cordial dislike of publicity in any form and a positive loathing for the modern cult of personality which seeks to probe the nooks and crannies of an author's private life in order to 'discover' his or her 'sources of inspiration' and 'motivation', though in most cases these aims are secondary to digging up some salacious titbit or other which will display the less attractive qualities of the subject, the better to sell such biographies to the public who simply adore the washing of dirty laundry and the exposure of skeletons in cupboards. J Michaud was a man like any other and no doubt he had his share of the weaknesses and foibles of humanity. But that is no concern of mine and should be of no interest to genuine occultists and mystics, who above all, should know that earthly personalities are of no importance. It is what a man or woman contributes to the sum total of human enlightenment that matters, not whether their father beat them, as I read in a recent biography of Beethoven!
My second reason for the title of this article is that Dr Michaud never laid claim to receiving divine revelations which proved his great intelligence. This last sentence has a double meaning, and the wise will see its hidden teaching. Rather, like H. P. Blavatsky before him, he simply collected the age-old Truths that once formed one universal Wisdom Religion together, and presented them in a modern way without misleading embellishment or personal interpretations, such as we find all too often in the so-called 'teachings' of so many modern writers on occultism.
I first encountered the books of J Michaud more than forty years ago when a good friend gave me a copy of The Quest of Ruru for my 30th birthday. To say it was a life-changing moment would be an understatement of the first magnitude! It is no exaggeration to say that I had never read anything like it before or since. The beauty of the language, the detailed descriptions of India and Indian life, and above all, the superiority of the esoteric teachings to anything I had been exposed to before, simply took my breath away and set my mind alight.
I should add that I was by no means a tyro in occult or mystical studies when I was given The Quest of Ruru all those years ago. I had, like the subject of John Temple's excellent article on Searching for Truth, been through the occult 'mill' in a very real and personal way and encountered my fair share of charlatans, fake psychics, and not a few 'teachers' who revelled in their ability to make a jolly good living out of the follies of the unsuspecting. Nor was I ignorant of the teachings of many of the (then) major occult orders and groups, having been a member of several 'Rosicrucian' orders and Western Mystery Tradition 'schools'. And whilst I had learned a good deal from these studies, none of it had really struck home; none of it had really touched me at the deepest level. I had hitherto favoured an overly intellectual approach to occultism which my first encounter with the books of Dr Michaud demonstrated all too clearly was not the best way to acquire that inner knowledge which can only be apprehended by the Higher Self.
Unknown and unappreciated Masterpieces
It will come as no surprise to some readers that I devoured the rest of Dr Michaud's books as quickly as I could lay my eager hands upon them, which was not difficult in the early 1970's, but is almost impossible today. I read them and re-read them time and again, until the covers were worn and the pages foxed, and enthusiastically recommended them to all my fellow mystics and occultists. I am sad to say that all too many of them politely declined my recommendations. The few who did actually read one or more, thought them overly 'mystical' and 'ethereal' compared to the far more 'practical' books of a self-styled 'Adept' whose voluminous writings on the magical arts were rather popular at that time. I say 'practical', because a common criticism I heard from the lips of several of these occultists (some of whom were quite 'famous'), was that Dr Michaud's books did not contain any 'ritual work', 'evocations', occult exercises, or anything on the Tarot.
The worst omission of all in one notable magician's opinion was the absence of any practical teaching on the Qabbalah, which was then (and still is in some 'occult' quarters) the summum bonum of the so-called 'Western Magical Tradition'. Though quite why it is regarded as a 'tradition', when the form in which the Qabbalah is taught and studied in the West is based almost entirely on the personal interpretation of one occultist of the early 20th Century, is a question no follower of this school of thought has ever explained to me! The irony is that had any of these critics actually studied the books they dismissed so airily as 'ethereal', they would have found that a discussion of the main principles of the Qabbalah form a significant part of the later part of The Golden Star, albeit in a concealed manner.
As for the other objections mentioned earlier, it should come as no surprise to any serious occultist that practical instruction in the occult sciences can only be given to the tried and tested pupil of a genuine Teacher who is under their constant and personal supervision. That there are exceptions to this age-old law is the main reason why occultism and magic are held up to ridicule on the one hand, and are the cause of untold woe on the other. Dr Michaud was wise enough to present the true facts of occult science whilst carefully veiling their practical application, and no genuine Initiate has ever done otherwise. A point seemingly lost on those who are disappointed not to find any 'spells', 'magical seals', 'words of power' and the similar pet obsessions of those who haven't the slightest clue what real occult science is, or the vast difference between it and the various magical and occult arts.
One famous occultist of the last century who was well-known to Dr Michaud, was fond of saying that one could shout the greatest occult secrets from the house-tops and no one would be any the wiser. As an enthusiastic, and I hope attentive, reader of Dr Michaud's books, I agree with this statement to a large extent, and have come to the conclusion that not only are most readers 'none the wiser' about such secrets after having read his books, but they are mostly unaware that he had any to impart at all! Which is another reason why his books remain largely unknown and unappreciated Masterpieces of occult literature. Yet all of Dr Michaud's books abound with the greatest of occult secrets, often hidden in plain sight in the time-honoured manner of all genuine occult, mystical and sacred writings. Sadly, few ever take the trouble to learn the language of symbolism, allegory and myth within which the Initiates of all times wrapped the great Truths of Life.
Perhaps this is not altogether a bad thing? It did ensure that Dr Michaud's books remained readily obtainable at modest cost for many years when far more 'thrilling' books by the occult luminaries of the last century became ever scarcer and more expensive. It is not also true that every genuine seeker after Truth has to wade through a mountain of recycled rubbish before they learn to recognise the gold among the dross? I know I did. Moreover, one seeker's truth is another's fantasy, and how could it be otherwise when every single one of us is a unique individual with different experiences, different aspirations and above all, a different realisation of Truth at different times in our lives?
These were some of the thoughts that were engendered by the lukewarm (and in some cases hostile!) response from fellow-mystics to the books of J Michaud. In all fairness to these various individuals, many of whom have remained my firm friends over the years, the books they enjoy leave me quite unmoved and unimpressed! Which proves not only that you cannot lead a horse to water and make it drink, but that some folks will insist on drinking water when you offer them wine! And I certainly regard Dr Michaud's six books as wine of the finest vintage, gathered from the Divine fruitage of the Tree of Heavenly Wisdom and distilled into the purest nectar by the fermentation of the author's genius.
Books for the Few: sublime symphonies in words
The Golden Star—the second of Dr Michaud's books—is subtitled 'A book for Initiates', but the appellation could be applied with equal fitness to any of his books. And yet, as we may read in the publisher's notice to the original edition of 1946, this book can "...hold and extend the interest of the novice." This is no easy task for any author to essay, let alone accomplish with the consummate success Dr Michaud has achieved in all his books. This is also what sets them apart from any other occult literature and why they appeal to the Few. The Few being those who, through the occult training they received in previous lives, or in this life, or again through their innate simplicity and purity of thinking, are attuned to the Heavenly harmonies which pour forth with sublime profundity from every inspired word in these extraordinary books.
A good friend once asked me which of the books was my 'favourite'. My answer was "all of them and none of them!" All six books, although differing in the subjects they cover, and composed in a different key, are parts of the same Divine Symphony of Wisdom. To continue the musical analogy Occult Enigmas may be considered as the 'opening movement'; a 'Sonata' or 'Allegro' in words that organises the subjects to be discussed into their proper relationships. It is probably no accident that the authors of this website adapted this book for their occult studies course (there are no such things as 'accidents'!—Ed). The Golden Star, as befits the great Truths it expounds, may be likened to an 'Adagio' or slow movement, stately and sonorous, which gradually conducts the entranced reader from darkness to Light, and thence to ever finer realms of Truth and Beauty, ending at the very Throne of Highest Deity.
This is followed by The Teachings of Li-Wang-Ho which expounds the teachings of an ancient Chinese Sage with the delicacy, grace and refinement which characterises the Chinese mind. This fast-paced story proceeds in small steps, interspersed with poetic touches, romantic interludes and comical episodes; so indicative of a 'Minuet', or 'Scherzo', which typically form the third movement of a symphony. So it is no surprise to find this musical form reproduced in the third of the author's books! The fourth book—The Quest of Ruru—could be considered to be a 'Rondo' rather than another Sonata because it expounds three recurring themes: the contrast and struggle between the lower and Higher selves; male and female; ignorance and wisdom—all opposites which ultimately complete one another. The various episodes in the story repeat these themes in different ways, each of which builds on the next, until we reach the grand finale, when all is harmonised in one Divine Chord of lasting perfection!
Whilst I would not wish to carry my musical analogy too far, it may not be without significance that Dr Michaud's fifth book was Symphonie Fantastique, which he describes as "a symphony in words"!! At the risk of boring any non-musical readers even further, it is noteworthy that a perfect fifth is the musical interval corresponding to a pair of pitches with a frequency ratio of 3 to 2. Three, as many of you will know, is a most significant number in occultism. We have three main principles in man: Higher Mind, lower mind and body. Two, of course, is the first even number and the beginning of duality; Father-Mother, spirit and matter, dark and light, good and evil. So it is no surprise to find these numerological values in Symphonie Fantastique. The principle character in the story is 'Iambus', the "great two-footed serpent," otherwise known as 'Satan', the 'Devil', etc., whom we may well regard as a 'diminished' fifth! His protagonists on the other hand, 'Madelon' and 'Sebastiano', may with every justification be regarded as a 'perfect' pair of 'pitches' in the ratio of 3 to 2, combining as they do the three principles of man in perfect harmony within their two persons. Having said this, I must emphasise that this really is NOT a book about music at all, but about Spiritual Enlightenment and Liberation. It is filled with humour, high drama and contains the most elevated occult and metaphysical teachings which should appeal to every kind of seeker after Truth.
Dr Michaud's sixth and final book was The Book of Sa-Heti. It is no exaggeration to say, as some reviewers have, that it is a 'holy' book in the best and highest sense. It combines all the themes I have touched upon above in a masterly exposition of the true laws and principles of man and the universe, written with such fiery energy that only the densest, most materially-minded, uncultured clod could fail to be moved and enthralled by it. Poetic, mystical and transcendental, it is truly a wafture of perfection; a coruscating fountain of the multi-coloured jewels of Light; each facet reflecting some small particle of the great ocean of Wisdom from which the author has drawn his inspiration—utterly ravishing to the mind and a balm of peace to all the senses. Please do not be put off by the title the authors of this website have adopted for their e-text of the book; no doubt they had good reason for doing so! This is not 'another book about Jesus', nor is it, what one carping reader who got no further than the introduction, called "god-bothering clap-trap for tree-huggers." Not that I personally can see what is so very wrong with hugging trees; they at least may appreciate your kind intentions which cannot be said of every person you may choose to hug!
I would like to conclude this appreciation with a quotation from page 2 of the 9th Vision of The Golden Star, in which we may read: "It will be heard by the dull and the brilliant, the pure and the impure, the stupid and the wise, and those in between such conditions of mind, who all need what they are qualified to take of the shining pearls of Holy Wisdom." If I have succeeded in encouraging just one reader to seek that Holy Wisdom as it is revealed in the inspired prose which flows like a Heavenly river of scintillating jewels from the golden pen of Dr Michaud, I shall be well content.
© Copyright occult-mysteries.org & Theodore Baum. Article added 9 October 2014.
Updated 3 March 2017.