Maître Philippe de Lyon
Maître Philippe was a mystery to his contemporaries and even greater one to posterity. But he was a living embodiment of advanced human capabilities, which he used to heal and serve fellow humans and his altruistic deeds speak loudly enough for the seekers to acknowledge it.
Published on May 27, 2021
I am nothing, absolutely nothing, often said Maître Philippe.
Nizier Anthelme Philippe was born on April 25, 1849 at 3 in the morning in a hamlet of Loisieux, district of Chambéry, in the kingdom of Sardinia, which was not attached to France until 1860. Eldest of a family of five children, his parents were Joseph Philippe (1819-1898), a small owner and cultivator, and Marie Vachod (1823-1899). A few months before his birth, his pregnant mother visited the Curé d’Ars (a saint named Jean-Marie Vianney) who revealed to her that her son would be a very high being. From a very young age, he was known for his “strange powers”, which subsequently were to be developed in him. Mastering his powers came naturally, and from a young age; there is no evidence that he ever studied with or under anyone to refine or control them. In certain occasion, speaking of his childhood and his gifts, he said:
I was not even six years old and already the village priest was worried about certain manifestations, about which I was not yet aware. At the age of thirteen, I acquired the powers to heal, even though I was still incapable of taking account of the strange things that went on inside of me.1
According to his own testimony in 1905, Nizier made his first healing at the age of 13. At the age of fourteen, he left his village, barefoot, to live with his uncle Vachod, established in Lyon as a butcher.
Thirsty for knowledge, he strove to conduct personal studies and apprenticeship in butchery at the same time. He cultivated himself through books, preferably reading popular science works, treatises on popular medicine, plant health, elementary chemistry, also being passionate about religion and the occult.
It was there, at the butcher’s shop, that his gift of healing for the first time became public. One day, when his uncle had seriously injured himself with a hatchet blow, his clerk Nizier Philippe stared at his hand, which was bleeding profusely, and began to pray mentally. He begged God to reattach the thumb detached from his hand. In a few moments, the blood coagulated, the wound healed, and the finger bandaged by the young man quickly re-formed. At the hospital, the doctor on duty, seeing the wound clean and without infection, renounced the traditional stitches, simply placing a protective splint. Word of mouth worked quickly in the neighborhood, and the young butcher clerk was solicited by the neighborhood at the slightest accident.
In 1870, during the war between France and Prussia, Philippe relieved the sick he received in the Perrache district of Lyon. During the same period, he is said to have saved the young Jean Chapas, 7 years old and victim of meningitis, who would then become his disciple in 1883.
In 1872, he decided to open a cabinet in Lyon, where people could come to consult him on an individual basis. The career from butcher to healer had a further advantage: he had wanted to study, but had not been allowed. Eager to study medicine for which he felt a strong vocation, he enrolled as a free auditor at the Faculty of Medicine in Lyon. From 1874 to 1875 he also attended the service of professor Bénédict Teissier at the Hôtel-Dieu.2
It is said that the young man spontaneously obtained many inexplicable healings that intrigued professor Teissier but aroused jealousy among the students and assistants, unhappy to see this empirical encroach on their guarded profession.3 Critics of Maître Philippe deny that he actually attended medical classes at the Faculty. Yet these “inscriptions” do exist. From November 1874 to July 1875, he deposited four registrations for health officers at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Lyon. He was denounced for care activities deemed illegal and his fifth registration was refused in 1875. This was probably because the main line of medicine, then as now, was conventional physicalist medicine, focusing on diagnosis of symptoms and the prescription of a cocktail of pharmaceuticals to diminish those symptoms.4
On October 6, 1877, Philippe married Jeanne Julie Landar, a former patient and the daughter of a wealthy deceased industrialist from Lyon, whom he had cured as his doctors were desperate to save her. This marriage brought him material ease and allowed him to continue his vocation without worries of stewardship. On September 11, 1878, Victoire Jeanne Philippe was born. A second child, Albert, was born on February 11, 1881, but he died only a few months old.
From 1883, Philippe opened a practice in his private mansion at 35 rue Tête-d’Or in Lyon. Every day, he would heal dozens of people who came to ask for healing and relief. Rich and poor would have benefited from his services for more than 20 years and Philippe had the same behaviour with everyone. Whether one was well-off or in precarious situation, he asked everyone to make an effort not to speak ill of his neighbour or to “return good for evil”.
In 1884, Maître Philippe obtained by correspondence the title of doctor of medicine from the American University of Cincinnati in Ohio. His thesis dealt with the Principle of hygiene to apply in pregnancy, childbirth and the duration of childbirth and he used the pseudonym Philippe d’Arbresle.5
In 1886, the Royal Academy of Rome gave him the honorary title of Doctor of Medicine. However, back at home, on November 3, 1887, he was condemned for “illegally practicing medicine”; a second condemnation followed in 1890.
From 1882 to 1888, Philippe was involved in the social life of the commune of l’Arbresle, where his in-laws lived, becoming town councilor and deputy mayor. He was also appointed fire captain of the commune, a title that he kept even though he was not re-elected.
Helping and healing people
Although his medical studies fell short, Maître Philippe’s fame as a healer only grew. Maître Philippe was able to heal far better than most doctors, but through unconventional methods. He was credited with incredible healings, spectacular recoveries, and even was claimed to have resurrected a dead man. Yet his method of healing was purely “spiritual”. Maître Philippe did not touch his patients, he rarely magnetized them. He publicly exercised his priesthood, sometimes in front of several dozen people, including doctors. He simply asked the patient for a moral commitment to reform, and called for God’s help.
During a life entirely devoted to the sick and the poor, master Philippe traveled a lot. He was called in for consultation by some of the famous people of this world. He stayed at the Court of the Czar, treated the Bey of Tunis, exchanged correspondence with other who had come to consult him and whom he had healed.
Dr. Lalande, Philippe’s son-in-law, a member of the Institute, wrote in his memoirs about Maître Philippe:
He attended the hospitals of Lyon, much loved by some and hated by others. He consoled the sick and often asked doctors not to operate on them. Sometimes the patients were cured before the appointed date for the operation.6
Dr. Gérard d’Encausse, who witnessed several of Maître Philippe’s cures, has described how he operated. For instance he witnessed, with two other doctors, when a mother of twenty to twenty-two years old arrived, carrying in her arms a small child of five years old, with a swaying head and glassy eyes. She said to Philippe: My child is dying. And as you saved me ten years ago, I come to ask you to cure my child. Dr d’Encausse and other doctors examined him and discovered a very pronounced case of tuberculous meningitis. The child seemed doomed.
According to Dr d’Encausse, there were always about 80 to 100 people present, when Maître Philippe operated. But he was not at all a “poser”. He was a good-natured person and always made the patients laugh. Then, in front of everyone, Philippe said of the poor little boy the doctors had examined: We can cure this child. Will you all agree not to speak ill of the absent ones for three months? Everyone jumped up and replied that it was not possible. By haggling, they made it to two hours. Well! Philippe said: It’s understood! You will try not to speak badly of others for two hours. The child was in the next room. After two hours, Dr d’Encausse went to get him. He took him by the hand and he went around the room with the child – he was cured.7
Work in Russia
On December 29, 1900, Maître Philippe visited and stayed in Russia for two months at the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich’s invitation. He had met Philippe during mass in Fourvière, the “high town” of Lyon. The priest’s sermon had tackled the notion that the miracles reported in the bible should not be taken literally. After the end of mass, Philippe wanted to speak to the priest and told him he was wrong. May thunder strike this church if I can believe these things, he said. Philippe apparently looked the priest in the eyes, made a gesture and immediately, lightning appeared inside the cathedral, with it striking at their feet, followed by a loud thunder. The display left the Russian noble visibly impressed.8
Philippe also met the Czar and his wife in 1901. He was invited to Russia, an invitation he accepted. There the Czar became is known to have sought out his opinion in all types of matters. On September 21, 1901, Nizier announced to the Czar the birth of a son in 1904, followed by a military defeat and a revolution.9
The Czar asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs whether the French government could after all give him the official degree of doctor. The French government refused. The Czar wanted to give him the title of doctor of medicine himself, but his ministers told him Philippe would have to pass exams.
A jury was assembled and he asked members of the jury for a list of hospital bed numbers. He then began a séance, in which, without even going over to the hospital, he diagnosed each of the sick, and said that they were now healed. The professors went over to the hospital to confirm what he said. On November 8, 1901, Nizier received the title of Doctor of Medicine.10
After the birth of the prophesised child or Tsarevitch, Maître Philippe wrote a long letter in the form of a testament to Czar Nicholas II, informing him of his upcoming disembodiment. He specified that he would leave his earthly appearance on August 2, 1905. He also announced the fall of the Russian Empire in the next decade, the massacre of many Christians and of the whole imperial family. He saw a century of horrors and obscurantism for Russia.
The missive ended with a following prophecy:
After decades of bloody upheavals and great tribulations, a dislocated empire and civil wars, Russia will regain her rightful ruler, the reincarnation and heir of the Imperial dynasty, who will bring her prosperity and peace. I myself will return in the guise of a child, and those who need to recognize me, will do so.11
Maître Philippe’s life view and beliefs
From his own words, which some took great care to record faithfully, a consistent framework can be constructed as to what he believed, and how he believed his healing worked.
First of all, he felt that illnesses were not punishment: If our souls were not ill, our bodies wouldn’t be either. He said God never punished and that all that befell us, was purely happening because of “previous deeds”.
He was a believer in reincarnation and said that certain illnesses could last several lifetimes: The illness needs to be changed into something good. He also argued that our physical appearance was a reflection of our soul, and that we could change our physical appearance if we “changed” the make-up of our soul, i.e. weed out the problems we carried with us from previous incarnations. He argued that Everything is marked in our physiognomy. We bear the mark of who we are. And: A man who battles with courage against his passions can, in three or four years, change his appearance even if he is old.12
To explain his method of healing, he said that he needed to know that person for several centuries, and that he had to let the individual annul his sins. Once, he told a young man the causes of his specific illness, saying: In 1638, you were with a lord, near Saint-Marcellin and then went on to explain that the reason for his illness was what he had done in that lifetime. Such diagnoses imply that he was able to see people’s previous incarnations, as if, by simply looking at some, “the soul’s memory” was somehow downloaded into Philippe’s mind, for it to be analyzed.
He said he could definitely see his own previous lifetimes, stating:
I don’t know whether you believe in reincarnation. You are free to believe in it. What I know, is that I remember having existed, having left and returned and that I know when I will leave again.
The soul is much older than the body, and as such we return in this world to pay our debts, as everything needs to be paid for. I would like it very much if someone here would prove to me that we don’t return*.13
Maître Philippe therefore seemed to link his healing abilities with resolving someone’s “karma”:
You come in front of me and tell me what You have. When you do that, something supernatural happens in you and, If my soul hears your words, you are healed. And to heal the sick, You need to ask God that he forgives your faults and at the same time, The soul is strengthened and the body is healed.
Though he therefore argued there was a form of “self-healing” involved, it was also clear that he acted as a gateway, a medium. So why was he able to accomplish this, and not every other man or woman? The key, it seems, was that he was always positive, and never surrendered to malicious thoughts:
If you could only remain half a day without bad thoughts, words, speaking ill of those not present, not judging people, the prayer you do then will be heard by Heaven. I’ve often said that it is better not to pray than to pray badly, for if you pray after you have done bad to someone and then say I love those around me, you lie and lies are strictly forbidden by the laws of Heaven.
Karma and reincarnation thus featured heavily in Nizier’s framework. He also said that God did not judge us, but we judged ourselves: We have a guardian which registers all our thoughts and our actions. Everything is written down and, at the moment of death, we read that which we have done. Also that We are always responsible for we need to always think before we act. As to why “all of this” was occurring, he answered: When the Father sent us here, he placed in us the desire to acquire; it is from there than the seven deadly sins come. He added: Each sin corresponds specifically to one of our organs. Materialism was therefore seen as the “apple” in the Garden of Eden, trying to seduce us, and we fell for it all too easily. Instead, Philippe proposed to think: In the heart is the thought; in the brain is the reflection of that thought. Thought is distinct from reasoning; a thought is a direct penetration into the light.14
He disagreed with Christianity and how the mere act of baptism reserved a seat in heaven: When a child dies after baptism, it is said it goes to Heaven. But no. It is better to live until the age of 80, as he will have the time to suffer, to have problems, tribulations and that he therefore has been able to pay his debts somewhat.15 As to suicides, he felt that those who commit suicide to end their misery are wrong, for they will need to return to expiate their error and to replace the time they took.
In the end, Maître Philippe seems to have been an urban magician, not stuck in the middle of a distant rainforest or the Siberian steppe, but available on the streets of France’s second city or the corridors of the Imperial Palace. Like the magi of old, he was able to see our soul, and his healing occurred at that level. He said how the body is the mantle of the spirit, it serves to hide it. It was this very ability – which was foremost a state of mind – that set him truly apart from the other “healers” of his time: the academically ratified doctors. None of them ever asked someone how their mind or soul were, or whether they could live with themselves. For Maître Philippe, a healthy mind would maintain a healthy body; focusing on the latter would never lead to any real or lasting healing, no matter how many doctorates he himself or anyone else had hanging on their walls. After all, the old saying was that actions speak louder than words… and that physicians could and should heal themselves. At his first accidental public display at the age of fourteen, that was precisely what he had done. If it had occurred in a swampy rainforest or a bitter cold steppe, the physician magically healing somebody would have been the “academic qualification” that his community would bestow upon him, and which would allow him to be called “Master” – magus – shaman. Indeed, it was precisely what the inhabitants of Lyon saw and did too: he was a “therapeuta”, and hence much more than a doctor.16
Maître Philippes’s sayings, related to his healing methods and life view17
(translated from French)
“It would be better to take a dagger than to use the tongue to do harm. We can only say evil if the person is present; but, as we are not brave enough, we will not”.
“I have come as the good doctor, not to heal those who are not sick, but for those who are suffering and to help those of good will to do not only all that they can, but more than they can. Only doing what we can is not enough.”
“Every meritorious act is, like the rest, marked on our forehead, and no one has the right to judge us since God Himself does not judge. We will judge ourselves”.
“I have given you the means to relieve your brothers. If you had charity, you would get healing from all who suffer. Even if you ask God, with faith, humility and trust, you will get it from him. God Is Love, he gives what we ask of him”.
“Love one another, and I promise you that at your death one thought of you will bring me to you. I’ll be there.”
“Once, only once in my life, I stayed ten days without trials, I had ten days of happiness. So I cried and prayed because I thought I was abandoned from God, and I begged for trials.”
“Since the words that come out of our mouths have life, we must not speak useless words because they are counted. Man is responsible for his words, even if he does not know what he is saying, and later on these useless words will be a hindrance for him. Unnecessary words create distractions when, afterwards, one wants to be attentive. Our ideas have something living in them, and all the useless ideas will later be hindrances.”
“To love one’s neighbor is not so difficult; it would be enough to make real efforts to want it; it is the efforts that are lacking, and what paralyzes them is pride. When we think of our brother before we think of ourselves, we will be on the path to Heaven.”
“One should not be proud of anything. When one lives in pride, one makes little progress whatever one does; one walks on a horizontal or descending line. Selfishness is the root of all vices; pride is a branch of it. When pride grows, there comes a time when the individual becomes stupid.”
Jean Chapas (1863-1932) was Maître Philippe’s closest disciple. In 1870, Maître Philippe is said to have saved the life of Jean Chapas who died when he was only 7 years old. In 1903, Maître Philippe announced in the sessions that his disciple Jean Chapas will succeed him in the cures until 1922.
Philippe had also other disciples, which also included Paul Sédir, Cyril Scott, as well as Jean de Rignies – even though the latter was only born in 1917 (he died in 2001). De Rignies said that one day, the voice of Maître Philippe manifested himself in his spirit. De Rignies said that the manifestation was an awakening, the beginning of a quest, in which he had to find a lost valley with a spring, the traces of an old castle, an abbey, somewhere in the Aude region, and not far from Rennes-le-Château. In the end, he would find this location, in what is now known as the Domaine de la Salz, high in the hills above Rennes-les-Bains, near that magical mountain Bugarach.
Some testimonials on Maître Philippe’s work
At the door of the Church of St. Merri, where the baptism of Son Durville was taking place, there was an old beggar, delicious as a type, covered in rags, with a beard half shaved. Then Philip will stand next to him and, as if talking to himself, he says in the beggar’s ear: I have 10,000 francs in gold and then 5,000 francs in banknotes. The other gasped and looked at him in horror. Philippe, continuing to speak, pointed out to him the place where the loot was hidden. The brave beggar jumped up and immediately went to make sure that his treasure was still in its hiding place.18
One day, a guy came to the Rue de la Tête d’Or to attend a session of Maître Philippe. An assistant asks him:
“Is this for you?”
“For me? So you think I’m as stupid as all these people here? No, I’m not coming for me. I am simply in charge of making a commission and as for me, I have nothing to ask for.”
Philippe, who had heard his answer, looked at him and said:
“Sir, would you come to the next room for a moment?”
There Philippe said to him:
Do you know what you were doing on July 28, 1884, at three o’clock in the evening?.. You were strangling a woman. Don’t worry, I alone saw you, but the police will soon find you. If you want to ask Heaven for forgiveness right away, they won’t find you.
Now this man, who wanted to be strong-minded, fell on his knees and begged forgiveness from Heaven.19
One day, a young woman who was suffering martyrdom, was brought to the consultation on a stretcher, without the boss or any of her assistants being able to accurately diagnose her ailment. She complained of shortness of breath, severe pain in her side and could not fit on her legs, apparently for no reason. Nizier gently claimed that the patient had a double pulmonary embolism. Under the astonished eyes of the boss, his assistants and the hospital staff present at the consultation, the young man simply said to the patient: get up, now you are healed. And the patient stood up, at the moment, relieved of her pains to everyone’s surprise.20
Mercure de France, June 16, 1918 ↩︎