Occultism is the study of occult or Ageless Wisdom Teachings. The word occult comes from the Latin occultus (clandestine, hidden, secret), referring to "knowledge of the hidden". Many students study the occult reading material published by or in association with the Theosophical Society, Lucis Trust, and/or the Agni Yoga Society.
- Occultism is the metaphysics of dunces.
- Theodor W. Adorno, "Theses Against Occultism" in Minima Moralia, (1951), p. 238-41
- It is occult students for whom search is now being made, and not mystics; it is for clear-thinking men and women that the call has gone forth, and not for the fanatic or for the person who sees nothing but the ideal, and who is unable to work successfully with situations and things as they are, and who cannot, therefore, apply the necessary and unavoidable compromise.
- Alice Bailey, "The Externalization of the Hierarchy" (1957) p. 654
- Occult blindness is spiritually induced, and "blacks out" the glory and the promised attainment and reward. The disciple is thrown back upon himself. All he can see is his problem, his tiny field of experience, and his - to him - feeble and limited equipment... The beauty of the immediate, the glory of the present opportunity, and the need to focus upon the task and service of the moment, are the rewards of moving forward into the apparently impenetrable darkness.
- The mystic is not necessarily an occultist, but the occultist embraces the mystic. Mysticism is but one step on the path of occultism. By finding the kingdom of God within himself, and by the study of the laws of his own being, the mystic becomes proficient in the laws which govern the universe, of which he is a part. The occultist recognises the kingdom of God in nature or the system, and regards himself as a small part of that greater whole, and therefore, governed by the same laws... To make it more simple for general comprehension: after initiation, the mystic is merged in the occultist, for he has become a student of occult law; he has to work with matter, with its manipulation and uses, and he has to master and control all lower forms of manifestation, and learn the rules... yet he will still have to find the God within his own being, before he can safely venture on the path of occult law.
- Alice Bailey, in Letters on Occult Meditation, p. 147, (1922)
- The mystic seeks to work from the emotional to the intuitional, and thence to the Monad or Spirit. The occultist works from the physical to the mental, and thence to the atma or Spirit. One works along the line of love; the other along the line of will. The mystic fails in the purpose of his being - that of love demonstrated in activity - unless he co-ordinates the whole through the use of intelligent will. Therefore, he has to become the occultist... The occultist similarly fails, and becomes only a selfish exponent of power, working through the intelligence, unless he finds a purpose for that will and knowledge, by an animating love, which will give to him sufficient motive for all that he attempts.
- Alice Bailey, in Letters on Occult Meditation, p. 149, (1922)
- How, then, can it be thought possible for a man to enter the “straight gate” of occultism when his daily and hourly thoughts are bound up with worldly things, desires of possession and power, with lust, ambition, and duties which, however honorable, are still of the earth...? Even the love for wife and family — the purest as the most unselfish of human affections is a barrier to real occultism... What lover... would not break the happiness of every other man and woman around him to satisfy the desire of one whom he loves? This is but natural... in the light of the code of human affections; less so, in that of divine universal love.
- For, while the heart is full of thoughts for a little group of selves, near and dear to us, how shall the rest of mankind fare in our souls? What percentage of love and care will there remain to bestow on the “great orphan”? And how shall the “still small voice” make itself heard in a soul entirely occupied with its own privileged tenants? What room is there left for the needs of Humanity en bloc...? He who would profit by the wisdom of the universal mind, has to reach it through the whole of Humanity without distinction of race, complexion, religion, or social status. It is altruism, not ego-ism even in its most legal and noble conception, that can lead the unit to merge its little Self in the Universal Selves. It is... to this work that the true disciple of true Occultism has to devote himself if he would obtain... divine Wisdom and Knowledge.
- H.P. Blavatsky, Practical Occultism, p. 62, (1888)
- It is not by studying Occultism for selfish ends, for the gratification of one’s personal ambition, pride, or vanity, that one can ever reach the true goal:that of helping suffering mankind.
- Look around you and observe. While two-thirds of civilized society ridicule the mere notion that there is anything in Theosophy, Occultism, Spiritualism, or in the Kabala, the other third is composed of the most heterogeneous and opposite elements. Some believe ... but each believes in his own way.
- A man may be a very good Theosophist indeed, whether in or outside of the Society, without being in any way an Occultist. But no one can be a true Occultist without being a real Theosophist; otherwise he is simply a black magician, whether conscious or unconscious.
- Science tells us that heat may be shown to develop electricity, electricity produce heat; and magnetism to evolve electricity, and vice versa. Motion, they tell us, results from motion itself, and so on, ad infinitum. This is the A B C of occultism and of the earliest alchemists. The indestructibility of matter and force being discovered and proved, the great problem of eternity is solved.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, (1877), Chapter VII
- Occultism is not magic. It is comparatively easy to learn the trick of spells and the methods of using the subtler, but still material, forces of physical nature; the powers of the animal soul in man are soon awakened; the forces which his love, his hate, his passion, can call into operation, are readily developed. But this is Black Magic—Sorcery. For it is the motive, and the motive alone, which makes any exercise of power become black, malignant, or white, beneficent Magic. It is impossible to employ spiritual forces if there is the slightest tinge of selfishness remaining in the operator. For, unless the intention is entirely unalloyed, the spiritual will transform itself into the psychic, act on the astral plane, and dire results may be produced by it.
- Magic is a dual power: nothing is easier than to turn it into Sorcery; an evil thought suffices for it. Therefore while theoretical Occultism is harmless, and may do good, practical Magic, or the fruits of the Tree of Life and Knowledge, or otherwise the “Science of Good and Evil,” is fraught with dangers and perils. For the study of theoretical Occultism there are, no doubt, a number of works that may be read with profit, besides such books... in Latin by the mediaeval Philosophers, generally known as Alchemists and Rosicrucians, are plentiful. But even the perusal of these may prove dangerous for the unguided student. If approached without the right key to them, and if the student is unfit, owing to mental incapacity, for Magic, and is thus unable to discern the Right from the Left Path, let him take our advice and leave this study alone; he will only bring on himself and on his family unexpected woes and sorrows, never suspecting whence they come, nor what are the powers awakened by his mind being bent on them...
- H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 3, Section VI. The Dangers of Practical Magic (1888)
- Both [esoteric and occult] mean hidden... for a given time, not for all time — but hidden because, at this point in the evolution of the race, it is largely unknown and unacceptable to all but a relatively small number... To humanity in general it is unknown, therefore esoteric or occult. The word `occult' has been given, by various religious groups, a rather bad connotation; it is seen as something dark, evil, to do with nefarious practices, devil worship, and so on. This is a complete misunderstanding of the word occult. Occult simply means hidden, and specifically the hidden knowledge or science of the energies behind the evolutionary process.Esotericism might be seen more as the philosophy of the evolutionary process, and occultism as the science of the energies which bring that process about.
- I understand that the word ‘occult’ means hidden, but surely that is not meant to be the final state of all this information, hidden forever. I don’t see why there is any need to further obscure things that are actually lucid and bright. Language and strange terminology – to keep them as some private mystery. I think there is too much darkness in magic. I can understand that it is part of the theatre. I can understand Aleister Crowley – who I think was a great intellect that was sometimes let down by his own flair for showmanship — but he did a lot to generate the scary aura of the magician that you find these sad, Crowleyite fucks making a fetish of. The ones who say ‘oh we’re into Aleister Crowley because he was the wickedest man in the world, and we’re also into Charles Manson because we’re bad. And we are middle-class as well, but we’re bad’. There are some people who seek evil – I don’t think there is such a thing as evil – but there are people who seek it as a kind of Goth thing. That just adds to the murk to what to me is a very lucid and flourescent subject. What occultism needs is someone to open the window, it’s too stuffy and it smells. Let’s get some fresh air, throw open the curtains – I can’t go for that posturing, spooky guy stuff. When they wanted me to do Fortean TV it became apparent that they wanted me to be Spooky Bloke. But I’m not actually trying to look spooky. I dress in black because it makes me look less fat, it’s as simple as that. It’s not a gothic flourish. I don’t want to be thought of as a figure of mystery or a master of the occult, surely this is about illumination, casting light on things. I’m an illuminist, that’d do for me.
- Alan Moore De Abaitua interview (1998)
- The more I look at most of the art movements, it’s all occultism, when you get down to it. The Surrealists were openly talking about being magicians.
- Alan Moore De Abaitua interview (1998)
- Annie Besant’s book where she put forward the idea that theosophical mystical energies could be portrayed as colours or abstract shapes was practically the invention of abstract art. A lot of artists rushed out and read it and suddenly thought, ‘oh God you could, you could portray love as a colour, or depression as a colour” All of a sudden abstract art happens, a flowering out of occultism.
- Alan Moore De Abaitua interview (1998)
- To label Seth as a spirit guide is to limit an understanding of what he is . . . The minute I found out after my first book was published that this automatically put me in what people called the psychic field . . . I was so humiliated I could hardly hold my head up. I'm using my writing [and] my life to transform intuitive, sometimes revelationary material into art, where it can be enjoyed, understood to varying degrees, and stand free of the stupid interpretations . . . The whole psychic bit as it is, is intellectually and morally psychologically outrageous as far as I'm concerned and I want no part of it or the vocabulary or the ideas.
- Avoid all magic and pseudo-occultism! Without the proper development and broadening of consciousness, all the widespread suggestions for the sliding out of the astrosom, and other externalizations, conjurations and other manifestations, might be harmful.
- Helena Roerich Letters of Helena Roerich I, (28 August 1931)
- Everything you say about the so-called occult groups does not surprise us but confirms what we expected, as we know of the sad situation within many organizations and we know that human nature is everywhere similar. The evil is always the same: lack of tolerance and a terrible exclusiveness which destroys all foundations. The presidents of numerous societies and lodges pretend to have an exclusive monopoly and authority over everything concerning the Teaching given by the Great White Brotherhood. In addition, some wish to be the sole channel through which the High Teaching may be introduced. But in the poverty of their imagination they fail to see that the Great Brotherhood, which leads the evolution of the whole of humanity, cannot limit itself to one or even ten currents or recipients who are, in any case, just temporary!
- Helena Roerich Letters of Helena Roerich I, (17 February 1934)
- No tricks of pseudo-occultism and magic will lead to true... In order to... one has to establish the corresponding high vibrations. The application in life of the Living Ethics is the quickest way to reach the goal. And now one more warning: theoretical occultism is most dangerous. Many most harmful books flood the market.... As it is said, "Many of them are the creation of hands that are lacking in beauty, knowledge and honesty."
- Helena Roerich Letters of Helena Roerich I, (6 May 1934)
- There are many ways of resisting evil. First of all, by the power of spirit—certainly, resistance performed without hatred, occultly speaking, is a hundredfold stronger. All these assertions of Christ prove that He was an Initiate, and that He knew the strength of the reversed blow. Similarly, one should understand the words from Deuteronomy (the book of Moses): "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense." The Apostle Paul uses this very apophthegm in his Epistle to the Romans. Again, we see that Christ came not to destroy the law but to fulfil it.
- Helena Roerich Letters of Helena Roerich I, (26 May 1934)
The Occult World by A.P. SinnettEdit
Fifth American edition, from the Fourth English Edition with the Author's Corrections and a New Preface, (1888)
(full text online)
- There is a school of Philosophy still in existence of which modern culture has lost sight. Glimpses of it are discernible in the ancient philosophies with which all educated men are familiar, but these are hardly more intelligible than fragments of forgotten sculpture,-less so, for we comprehend the human form, and can give imaginary limbs to a torso; but we can give no imaginary meaning to the truth coming down to us from Plato or Pythagoras, pointing, for those who hold the clue to their significance, to the secret knowledge of the ancient world. Side lights, nevertheless, may enable us to decipher such language, and a very rich intellectual reward offers itself to persons who are willing to attempt the investigation. (Introduction)
- For, strange as the statement will appear at first sight, modern metaphysics, and to a large extent modern physical science, have been groping for centuries blindly after knowledge which occult philosophy has enjoyed in full measure all the while. Owing to a train of fortunate circumstances, I have come to know that this is the case; I have come into some contact with persons who are heirs of a greater knowledge concerning the mysteries of Nature and humanity than modern culture has yet evolved; and my present wish is to sketch the outlines of this knowledge, to record with exactitude the experimental proofs I have obtained that occult science invest its adepts with a control of natural forces superior to that enjoyed by physicists of the ordinary type, and the grounds there are for bestowing the most respectful consideration on the theories entertained by occult science concerning the constitution and destinies of the human soul. (Introduction)
- People in the present day will be slow to believe that any knowledge worth considering can be found outside the bright focus of Western culture. Modern science has accomplished grand results by the open method of investigation, and is very impatient of the theory that persons who ever attained to real knowledge, either in sciences or metaphysics, could have been content to hide their light under a bushel. So the tendency has been to conceive that occult philosophers of old- Egyptian priests, Chaldean Magi, Essenes, Gnostics, theurgic Neo-Platonists, and the rest-who kept their knowledge secret, must have adopted that policy to conceal the fact that they knew very little. Mystery can only have been loved by charlatans who wished to mystify. The conclusion is pardonable from the modern point of view, but it has given rise to an impression in the popular mind that the ancient mystics have actually been turned inside out, and found to know very little. This impression is absolutely erroneous. (Introduction)
- Men of science in former ages worked in secret, and instead of publishing their discoveries, taught them in secret to carefully selected pupils. Their motives for adopting that policy are readily intelligible, even if the merits of the policy may seem still open to discussion. At all events, their teaching has not been forgotten; it has been transmitted by secret initiation to men of our own time, and while its methods and its practical achievements remain secrets in their hands, it is open to any patient and earnest student of the question to satisfy himself that these methods are of supreme efficacy, and these achievements far more admirable than any yet standing to the credit of modern science. (Introduction)
- The trials through which the neophyte has to pass are no fantastic mockeries, or mimicries of awful peril. Nor, do I take it, are they artificial barriers set up by the masters of occultism, to try the nerve of their pupils, as a riding-master might put up fences in his school. It is inherent in the nature of the science that has to be explored, that its revelations shall stagger the reason and try the most resolute courage. It is in his own interest that the candidate's character and fixity of purpose, and perhaps his physical and mental attributes, are tested and watched with infinite care and patience in the first instance, before he is allowed to take the final plunge into the sea of strange experiences through which he must swim with the strength of his own right arm, or perish. (Occultism and the Adepts I)
- For the present let us consider the position of the adepts as they now exist, or, to use the designation more generally employed in India, of "the Mahatmas." [Mahatma -Great Soul, or Great Spirit, derived from Maha and Atma.]
They constitute a Brotherhood, or Secret Association, which ramifies all over the East, but the principal seat of which for the present I gather to be in Tibet. But India has not yet been deserted by the adepts, and from that country they still receive many recruits. For the great fraternity is at once the least and the most exclusive organization in the world, and fresh recruits from any race or country are welcome, provided they possess the needed qualifications. The door, as I have been told by one who is himself an adept, is always open to the right man who knocks, but the road that has to be travelled before the door is reached is one which none but very determined travellers can hope to pass. It is manifestly impossible that I can describe its perils in any but very general terms, but it is not necessary to have learned any secrets of initiation to understand the character of the training through which a neophyte must pass before he attains the dignity of a proficient in occultism. The adept is not made: he becomes, as I have been constantly assured, and the process of becoming is mainly in his own hands. (Occultism and the Adepts II)
An Outline of Occult Science by Rudolf SteinerEdit
AnthropoSophic Press, New York (1922)
(full text online)
- One who undertakes to represent certain results of scientific spiritual research of the kind recorded in this book, must above all things be prepared to find that this kind of investigation is at the present time almost universally regarded as impossible. For things are related in the following pages about which those who are today esteemed exact thinkers, assert that they will probably remain altogether indeterminable by human intelligence. One who knows and can respect the reasons which prompt many a serious person to assert this impossibility, would fain make the attempt again and again to show what misunderstandings are really at the bottom of the belief that it is not given to human knowledge to penetrate into the superphysical worlds. (Preface to the Fourth Edition)
- At the present time the words “occult science” are apt to arouse the most varied feelings. Upon some people they work like a magic charm, like the announcement of something to which they feel attracted by the innermost powers of their soul; to others there is in the words something repellent, calling forth contempt, derision, or a compassionate smile. By many, occult science is looked upon as a lofty goal of human effort, the crown of all other knowledge and cognition; others, who are devoting themselves with the greatest earnestness and noble love of truth to that which appears to them true science, deem occult science mere idle dreaming and fantasy, in the same category with what is called superstition. To some, occult science is like a light without which life would be valueless; to others, it represents a spiritual danger, calculated to lead astray immature minds and weak souls, while between these two extremes is to be found every possible intermediate shade of opinion. (Chapter I. The Character of Occult Science)
- Through occult science man gains the conviction that from a higher standpoint the weal and woe of the individual are intimately bound up with the weal and woe of the whole world. This is a means by which man comes to see that he is inflicting an injury on the entire world and every being within it, if he does not develop his own powers in the right way. If a man makes his life desolate by losing touch with the unseen, he not only destroys in his inner self something, the decay of which may eventually drive him to despair, but through his weakness he constitutes a hindrance to the evolution of the whole world in which he lives. (Chapter I. The Character of Occult Science)
- It is impossible to know anything in the occult sense of the present and future of human or planetary evolution without understanding that evolution in the past. For, that which presents itself to the occult student's observation when he watches the hidden events of the past, contains at the same time everything that he can learn of the present and future. In this book we have spoken of the Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth evolutions. We cannot follow the evolution of the earth, as the occultist understands it, unless we observe the events of preceding evolutionary periods. For what meets us today, within the bounds of our earthly globe, comprises in a certain sense the facts of the evolution of the Moon, Sun and Saturn. The beings and things that took part in the evolution of the Moon have gone on developing, and all that now belongs to the earth, is the outcome of that development. (Chapter VI. The Present and Future Evolution of the World and of Humanity)
- Everything which the ego is able to unfold within itself must give birth to love. The all-embracing archetype of love is set forth in the revelation of... the Christ Mystery. Through Him the germ of love is planted in the innermost core of the human being; and from this starting-point it must flow through the whole of evolution. Just as the wisdom previously formed manifests in the forces of the earthly sense-world, in the “elementary forces” of to-day, so love itself will manifest in the future, in all phenomena, as the new “elementary force.” p. 401 (Chapter VI. The Present and Future Evolution of the World and of Humanity)
- The secret of all future development is a recognition that everything achieved by man from a right comprehension of evolution is a sowing of seed which must ripen into love. And the greater the amount of love-force, so much the greater will be the creative force available for the future. In that which will grow from love, will lie the mighty forces leading to that culminating point of spiritualization described above. The greater the amount of spiritual knowledge that flows into human and terrestrial evolution, so much more living and fruitful seed will be stored up for the future. Spiritual knowledge is transmuted through its own nature into love... The wisdom of the outer world becomes inner wisdom in man from the Earth period onward and when it is concentrated in him, it becomes the germ of love. Wisdom is the necessary preliminary condition for love; love is the fruit of wisdom, reborn in the ego. p. 402 (Chapter VI. The Present and Future Evolution of the World and of Humanity)