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The word, “occult,” is difficult to define. The reason for this is that almost everyone has a different view of what the word means. To some, it represents a fascinating sphere of paranormal activity and mystery. To others, it implies sorcery and dark intentions. Very few people call themselves occultists, yet many are, perhaps without knowing it. Those who do know it, rarely use the term due to an abundance of negativity surrounding the whole concept.
It’s unfortunate that occultism has come to be cast in such dark shadows, because it truly is a place of wonder and offers opportunities to enrich and embrace life in many ways. The key to understanding the realm of the occult is to approach it without fear, bias or a desire to use it for unscrupulous reasons. It is a world of multi-faceted possibilities, like a beautiful gemstone that reveals a different view of the world at every angle.
What Does “Occult” Mean?
In decades past, the word occult dealt with anything that was outside of “natural” thinking. It was a generic term that incorporated almost everything that we now view to be part of the nontraditional spiritual frontier. When I was a kid, my first stop in our public library was always to the books shelved in the 130 section, as defined by the Dewey Decimal System. It was the paranormal and occult category.
130 Section: Paranormal And Occult
There were books on astrology, divination, which included Tarot, the I Ching, cartomancy, or telling fortunes with regular playing cards, palmistry, numerology, phrenology, crystal gazing, clairvoyance, clairaudience, automatic writing and tea leaf reading. Also in the occult section were books on séances, astral projection, Ouija boards, mind-reading, auras, ghosts, haunted houses, vampirism, lycanthropy, fairies, brownies and sprites, herbalism, numerology, communicating with elemental forces, reincarnation, past lives, trances, spirit boxes, witchcraft, sorcerers and their familiars, and ritual magic. In addition, there were books on demonology, angelic communication, the dark arts, mind control, ESP for fun and profit and a personal favorite of mine, a book on how to hypnotize chickens. Every single one of these books was in the occult section.
A Shadow Is Cast
Exactly when the word “occult” began to connote something dark and sinister is a mystery to me. I noticed the beginnings of it in the mid-1970s, when the whole spiritual movement seemed to take on a different tone, one of the necessity of having to choose sides. This may have, in part, arisen due to the rise in popularity of Satanic
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