Origins of the Occult

In the paranormal world, it’s not hard to find those who practice or partake in the occult. But what exactly is the occult? What ‘practices’ does it entail and when did the occult originate?

What Does Occult Mean?

Occult can be a bit tricky to define as almost everyone has a different meaning for the word. To put it generically, it often refers to having knowledge of the hidden and knowledge of the paranormal, basically having to do with anything that’s “unnatural,” or anything outside the realm of natural thinking. Oftentimes, occultists find that it means finding a deeper, spiritual meaning or reality beyond the natural and physical sciences. The term is also sometimes assumed to mean knowledge that must be kept hidden and/or is only meant for certain people. Others view occultism as being nothing but evil as they relate it to witchcraft and devil worship. Honestly, it isn’t all black and white.

Where and When Did The Occult Originate?

The term occult sciences developed within the sixteenth century encompassing the practices of astrology, alchemy, and natural magic while the term occult emerged in France in the 19th century, related to French esoteric groups that were connected to occult author, Éliphas Lévi and Papus, populizer of occultism. By the end of the 19th century, the idea of occultism dispersed throughout other European countries. In 1875, it was introduced into the English language by philosopher and Russian occultist, Helena Blavatsky. 

Although occultism relates to abnormal elements and thinking, it does not completely abolish scientific reasoning. Levi decided that he wanted to solve the clash between religion and science, something that he believed could be solved by magic itself. Throughout his studies and struggle to unite the two contrasting ways of life, the distance between them seems to still remain.

Occultism and The Paranormal

The occult is commonly paired with the paranormal. Examples include tarot card involvement, clairvoyance, seances, ouija boards, automatic writing, and many other various elements. Dark arts are also involved with the occult as well, sometimes linking to Satanism. When spiritualism arose, so did the pressure of choosing spiritual sides, due to the spread of dark rituals and cults throughout occultism, giving it a darker, blackhearted tone. Helena created what was called the Theosophical Society (originally in New York City), whose mission was to study occultism and prepare humanity for a shift in direction by the guidance of a “World Teacher.”

Occultism Today

Occultism today still contains a large number of negative practices, but it also contains those who believe it is simply seeing the world in a different way and seeing beyond the normal. The thing about occultism is that it is open for interpretation for anyone and everyone. And during my research journey, I’ve concluded that it’s like a belief or experimentation that still isn’t exactly welcomed in modern times, both misunderstood and everchanging. One thing is for sure when it comes to occultism…it’s full of mystery and intrigue.

Quick note: I created this post because I’m fascinated by the many different layers that come with occultism, though you are free to formulate an opinion for yourselves!

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Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.

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