Historical and Sociological Overview of the Occult

Historical and Sociological Overview of the Occult

Ever since the beginning of mankind and its power to question reality and try to explain it, there was a need for a higher being, spirit, gods and goddesses, angels and deamons, and other spiritual creatures which influenced the world to be as such. To understand this, one must think with the mind of our primitive ancestors. Imagine that you experience the rain for twenty years, and you just instinctively move to a dry place, only because your body tells you that it is not going to end up great if you get wet. Imagine that you wake up one day and start questioning the rain. You ask yourself a series of questions:

– Why do I have to move to cover when it rains?
– Why can I catch cold and experience fever if I get wet?
– Where does the rain come from and why?
– Can I summon or stop the rain with my own will?

Most of the questions could be answered using only observation and logical conclusion, but the last question is vital for certain civilisations. If people are living in a dry place with little to no rain during the whole year, they would certainly use someone who could summon the rain. They are praying to God to bring the rain, so that their crops could grow.
Occultism represents a collection of different theoretical and practical systems beyond traditional knowledge. Its name comes from a latin word “occult”, which means – hidden, secret, thus occultism means the secret or hidden knowledge, dealing with the deeper spiritual realities beyond the physical realm. There are a series of different teachings, but all have the same purpose – to spiritually develop a human being into a state of eternal bliss.

Hermetism, or hermeticism, is, to put it in simple words, a synonym for occultism. Its name originates from the writings of Hermes Trismegistus (Thrice Great). It is used to describe mainly western esoteric traditions, with the main principle “As above, so below”, meaning that as you act on a higher level, so will you achieve on the material level.
Every civilisation had a shaman or a conjurer or some sort of magi, to ask the gods for blessings, abundance of food and water, to protect their village or to summon the rain. There were also a destructive wishes, such as to conquer enemies, to starve them to death, etc. Shamans had a power to heal people and animals, not just by knowing every medicinal plant and how to prepare them, but, when no herb could help, they would still heal people using his own divine power. In Slavic languages there is a word “vrach”, which means shaman in some Slavic languages, but in Russian language (also a Slavic language), it means a medical doctor.

Let’s say that the occult practices offer a great help from above, it is only up to its practitioner to choose if he/she will use it for constructive or destructive purposes.
Imagine that you were presented with a key that unlocks every door in your neighborhood. What would you do? Would you enter everyone’s home and take what you need? Would you spy on your neighbour’s wife when she takes a shower? Would you secretly poison someone who has done something wrong to you and your family? Or would you enter everyone’s house and see what needs to be fixed and fix it? Start a charity funding and secretly give funds to the ones in need? It is up to you to decide what to do with that key. But there’s a catch! Along with that key, you are presented with a great level of responsibility. If someone notices that something is missing in their house, they will complain, and your key will disappear, along with some of your possessions. Remember that you are not a judge, so don’t judge. You are not a God, so don’t act like one.

The world of occult introduces many different practices, including ESP (extra sensory perception), telekinesis, telepathy, divination (predicting the future), Qabalah (Kabbalah), ritual or ceremonial magic, and many other supernatural phenomena that defy known physical laws.

The majority of civilizations agreed that the known universe was created with four basic elements (earth, water, fire, air) which are just interpretation of different realms that influences our lives here on Earth. Air would represent the forming of thought or idea in our consciousness, fire would represent adding emotions to that idea, forming the chain of events that leads to the materialization of that idea, spreading it to all possible directions; water represents constriction of the events to just one specific direction (presumably the shortest one); earth symbolizes the materialization of the main idea. This principle can be applied to our everyday life.

One must not forget that every element represents also a certain realm, each one greater and more pure than the other. In Hindu scripts, there is a fifth element called akasha or aether. It is equal to kabbalistic ain soph aur – the limitless light. It is a timeless and spaceless element, uncreated, unmaterialized, indescribable. It is the purest form of consciousness. This is the state every magi strives to achieve and every buddhist wants to dwell in. If acting from that principle, everything is possible.

In conclusion, every civilisation knew that there is something far beyond our physical realm and there were people who had a divine power to communicate with higher realms and materialize, or bring to the physical realm what was needed, whether it is healing, food, water, rain or peace. Understanding the main principle of Hermes Trismegistus, every person in this world can follow occult teaching, but before practicing, one must be totally clean of Ego, which is a topic for another article.

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