We’re going to backtrack a little bit to actually look at what the occult really is. Not in the literal or historic sense— which is an article in its own right —but more from a philosophical standpoint. There’s obviously still quite a bit of confusion, and I’ve noticed quite a few things going on here that are troubling to myself and Jordan. Perhaps I should have followed up “The Reception and Acquisition of Knowledge” with this article rather than jumping straight into “Three Pillars, One Goal.” I suppose this was my own mistake, but this is how we learn. So let’s actually look at what the occult really is, and depending on how this goes will actually decide if I’ll continue writing here. Oh, and for those of you that wanted rant time: Rant Mode Enabled.
That Scary “O” Word
“Occult,” how scary. A tiny little two syllable word that means “secret or obscure knowledge,” how menacing. The reality is that virtually everything we discuss on this site, not just myself but everyone, actually falls under the heading of “Occult” whether anyone wants to admit it or not. Astral travel, tarot reading, willing things to happen (magick), everything actually belongs to the occult because these are all things we practice regularly, and in fact the “New Age” movement is born of the occult revival of the late 19th to early 20th century, without it nobody here would even know this stuff exists. In “Magick part I” I revealed that you do unconscious magick all the time. Ryan has shown that we unconsciously project ourselves all the time (OBEs anyone?). Tarot reading is just a way for us to tap into a part of ourselves (higher self) that few, if any of us, actually has access to, using the symbolism of the cards (we are human; our chief defining characteristic is our use of tools).
Here’s the thing we humans, all of us, have these wicked little egos that make us try to inflate ourselves, make us bigger than life (there’s a seven page rant on the next person that tells me “I’m part/reincarnated from [insert mythical creature here]”), and in turn we have to divide everything, give it titles to make us feel better about ourselves. Alchemist, chemist, magician, physicist, these are just titles people need to express their specialization in a field, but the fact is anyone can learn them, they’re not limited to a select few that hoard the knowledge (at least not anymore). Just like picking a major in college we all focus on this area or that area, I for instance prefer to focus on magick when it comes to the Hermetic sciences, and use the title of “magician” or “occultist” when referring to myself in this manner. The reality is that we’re all just people in the end. In essence it’s not being able to see the forest before the trees.
Why the Occult is so Powerful
This, believe it or not, is a one word answer. Why is the occult so powerful? FEAR. It is human nature to fear what we do not understand. As people we are highly limited in what we can learn and understand, so when something defies everything we’ve always learned, especially when it comes to our militant beliefs on certain issues, we go into terror mode (kill it or run!) “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown,” –H. P. Lovecraft. By being afraid of anything you turn your power and possibility of control or understanding of it, over to it. This inflates it in your mind and in so doing you then put that into the super-conscious of all mankind. Certain groups can then harness that fear to get themselves even greater power and control. The occult belongs to all of us, not just one group or another.
AAAAGH! A SPIRIT!
While we’re on the subject of fear let’s look at another disturbing trend. For several months now people have been showing a deepening paranoia and fear of spirits of all kinds. Here’s the thing: Not all spirits are “out to get us,” nor are all of them helpful. They are intelligent beings in their own rights, and the reality is that the majority of them could care less about us either way. The reality is that they are from higher levels of existence to us, and the majority of their reactions isn’t that dissimilar from us seeing a wild animal nearby. They observe and do nothing. There are among them those that don’t really care for us, that’s true. Likewise, some are legitimately helpful. You have to side with caution with them though, and look at their track records before you decide what they think of us (good, ill, or indifferent).
You Want Me to Drink WHAT?!
By now I’m sure a lot of you have received an e-mail, probably from an anonymous source, claiming that he/she has discovered the secrets to create the Philosopher’s Stone, with the chief ingredient being urine. While it is true that urine does have some qualities that can be useful (kills jellyfish sting, cures athletes foot, among many more) it cannot possible create the Stone. In “Three Pillars, One Goal” I explained that the Stone is symbolic of The Great Work (the ascension process). In fact if you follow the steps he/she outlines I can only see three results:
1) You’ll make yourself horribly ill.
2) You’ll create a form of birth control known to Chinese medicine.
3) You’ll create the military grade incendiary weapon: White Phosphorus, and promptly kill yourself.
Alchemy’s goal is to master the applied part of the Hermetic Arts. Again, “Turns any base metal (we flawed humans) into gold (perfect, ascended masters). There’s also the question of why I didn’t just outright explain things like planetary tinctures, holy water, oleum salis, etc. back in “Salt of the Salt,” the answer was simple: You needed to learn other things first. Yes you can go on-line (that is how you’re reading this right now after all) and find out how to make say, a planetary tincture for Saturn. The problem is that a lot of the sites I looked at give deadly poisonous plants and herbs in the list of what can be used for the tincture, which is obviously not safe. Likewise, you wouldn’t know how to perform certain magick necessary to create them, and without understanding astrology at all (namely planetary attributions), you wouldn’t have known where to begin. Remember, I write these for people that don’t know where to start.
Silly Names = Worthless!
Okay, I didn’t want to come straight out and say this, but there are a lot of authors out there whose entire published work is only worth kindling. I put a warning about this up once, but now I’m naming names. Here are the keys to remember if you want to read into occultism.
1) Llewellyn publishing is 90% trash, and I’m being generous.
2) If the author’s name sounds stupid, then they don’t know what they’re talking about, and if you get any response expect something bad to happen. Example: Silver Ravenwolf, Zell Oberon Ravenheart, Konstantinos, etc.
3) Weiser Publishing is very trustworthy (look for an Ankh as their trademark).
4) Wicca does not equal Occult. Wicca is in fact an offshoot of Thelema (as is Scientology). The joke about Wicca among Thelemites is that it’s Thelema-lite. Gerald Gardner, founder of Wicca, was an initiate in Thelema’s, Ordo Templi Orientis.
Not What You Think
In “The Reception and Acquisition of Knowledge,” we looked at what the word occult really means: secret or obscure knowledge. From there it was ascertained that that which is occult today becomes common knowledge in the future. This is true, we looked at examples to prove this claim (mathematics, literacy, astronomy, etc.), but there still seems to be a lot that has a bad rap. From here I’m going to let this turn into a Q&A session. Feel free to post your questions, comments, and concerns. Let’s kick fear and ego out of this place! Oh, and sorry about the lack of art.
Contacting and Connecting
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