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For other uses of this term, see occult (disambiguation).

The word occult comes from Latin occultus (hidden), referring to the 'knowledge of the secret' or 'knowledge of the hidden' and often meaning 'knowledge of the supernatural', as opposed to 'knowledge of the visible' or 'knowledge of the measurable', usually referred to as science. The modern term's meaning is often imprecisely translated and used as a term for 'secret knowledge' or 'hidden knowledge', in the sense of meaning 'knowledge meant only for certain people' or 'knowledge that must be kept hidden'. For most practicing occultists, however, it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that cannot be understood using pure reason or material science. The ancient Greek term for occult is esoteric.



Occultism is the study of supposed occult or hidden wisdom. To the Occultist it is the study of Truth, or rather the deeper truth that exists beyond the surface: 'The Truth Is Always Hidden In Plain Sight'. It may be considered by some to be a 'grey' area, perhaps larger than any other in the realm of religion. It can deal with subjects ranging from talismans, magic (alternatively spelt and defined as magick), sorcery, and voodoo, to ESP (Extra-sensory perception), numerology, lucid dreams, or even religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. It is all encompassing in that most everything that isn't claimed by any of the major religions (and many things that are) is included in the realm of the occult. Even qabalah has been considered an occult study, perhaps because of its popularity amongst magi and Thelemites. The 'Wise Men' in the bible who visited the Infant Jesus are said to have been Magi of the Kabbalah. It was later adopted by the Golden Dawn and brought out into the open by Aleister Crowley and his protege Israel Regardie. Since that time many authors have added insight to the study of the Occult by drawing parallels between different disciplines. One of the most notable organizations is Ordo Mentis which created a system of magick from the roots of many different systems and styles.

Direct insight into or perception of the occult is said not to consist of access to physically measurable facts, but to be arrived at through the mind or the spirit. The term can refer to mental, psychological or spiritual training. It is important to note however, that many occultists will also study science (perceiving science as a branch of Alchemy) to add validity to occult knowledge in a day and age where the mystical can easily be undermined as flights-of-fancy. An oft-cited means of gaining insight into the occult is the use of a focus. A focus may be a physical object, a ritualistic action (for example, meditation or chanting), or a medium in which one becomes wholly immersed. The previous examples are but a mere sample of the vast and numerous avenues that can be explored.

The beliefs and practices of those who consider their activities "occult" or part of "the occult" in the more usual western interpretation 'hidden knowledge' (ceremonial magicians, and so on) are generally far from being secret or hidden, being found very easily in print or on the Internet. This ready availability is historically recent and corresponds to a reduced interest in traditional religion and the promulgation by occultists of the perception of the occult as a broad term for a radical alternative to orthodoxy. As there are huge amounts of authors of the occult in the modern age, it is important for the student to question the validity of all books and to cross reference numerous times with other authors on the same subject. 'Beware False Prophets'. Most mass printed Occult knowledge is however, only for beginners. The sourcing of the more in-depth and advanced work can be a 'trial-of-spirit' in itself.


Occultism has seen countless resurgences throughout history. H. P. Lovecraft, Anton LaVey, Gerina Dunwich, Robert Owen Scott Jr. and Robert Anton Wilson have ensured occultism a permanent place in western popular culture.

The Occult and Christianity

Christians view the occult as being anything supernatural which is done, not by God's power, but by the power of evil spirits. Many Christians believe that these supernatural happenings may be potentially harmful to human beings, either spiritually or perhaps even physically. Many Christians believe it is very unwise to get involved in occult practices, such as magick, numerology, the use of Ouija boards or Tarot cards as they consider that there is a risk of real, evil powers being behind any supernatural occurrences involved in these practices.

See also

External links

Look up Occult on Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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