Religion represents the community with great number of followers, where only a few (priests, for example) are given a right to know much more than it is presented to the common people. Religious teachings are very well connected with the occult principles, but since the religion is a mainstream, profitable system, it’s no wonder that the religion wanted to ban the use of the occult practices, especially the catholic church. If you only read a few articles on Kabbalah, you would see that the majority of rituals come from that Hebrew secret teaching. Even the cross has its origin in the same system. I don’t recommend studying Kabbalah because it takes a few decades to understand the most of this system, but you will still be amazed how much is there to learn. There are much more simple systems.
On the other hand, in different Hindu religions, occult practices are permitted, and even promoted among the common people.
We have all heard about the power of the prayer. It is a very powerful tool if used correctly. This is why religions are very close to the occult knowledge. There are even some authors who consider them as the same.
In the book named The Book of Ceremonial Magic By Arthur Edward Waite, there are rituals for summoning angels and demons, under the authority of Jesus Christ. The book contains many examples of black magic and exorcism rituals. Some of those rituals were even practiced by the Catholic Church.
However, the Church would deny access to such knowledge to a common man. There is a reason for that. A common man has many worries, has even more wishes, and is full of prejudices and pride, which represent weak spots to which “a devil” could adhere, and lead you away from the path of God. This is why Christian Churches insist on confession of the sins and the resolution of the same. One would have to be free from the bonds of the material world in order to use such a powerful tool. If you think that you would get away from confessing your sins by practicing hermetism, you will be only fooling yourself. You cannot advance to the higher level if there are bonds which bind you here. It is well described on the 15th major arcane of Tarot. There are man and woman depicted there, bound in chains, and they could easily free themselves, but it is only up to their own will. It is not the devil who binds us, but only our will, our wishes and our bonds with the material world.
When we talk about the connection between the Church and the occult, it is almost certain that the first thing that pops in our head is the witch hunt. It is a cruel act, issued by the Catholic Church, in which thousand man and women were brutally tortured and executed. Such times were the main reason for the occult practices to remain hidden and secret. It later lead to the forming of the secret societies, some of which are the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Ordo Templi Orientis, Thule, etc. Until recently, many of those societies remained secret and their teachings were kept amongst their members. Some of those teachings followed “the dark side”, but the majority followed the principle ”An it harm none, do what ye will”.
In conclusion, there are only a few differences between religions and practitioners of the occult. The goal is the same for both, but the occult can give you a “shortcut”. Be carefull of that “shortcut” because, along with it, there comes much greater responsibility and you can easily feel lost without a proper guide. If you received a divine gift, don’t waste it. Some people can tell future others can easily travel within the astral realm. Some of them can lift objects using only the power of their mind. Some people can easily achieve silence and their every prayer is heard and answered. Within the silence of yourself, try to find out what you can do, what you wish to do and you will be getting an answer on how to do it. Until then, blessed be! Thanks!