The occult is a category that involves the studying of the supernatural which cannot be described using the scientific method, and is not technically a religion, although cults have been born from studying the occult. Occultism cover a wide range of subjects including sorcery and witchcraft, alchemy, mysticism, astrology, demonology, clairvoyance, Ouija and séances, vampirism, lycanthropy, palmistry, tarot reading, or spiritual mediums, and anything else in the Metaphysical domain.
The word occult, as you’d expect, is derived from Latin, and is taken from the word occultare, which means secret, or clandestine, and occulere which means conceal. The occult has taken on a dark undertone due to some of the subjects related to it, and some of the people in history that have studied the dark arts to gain an advantage over others. Many religions frown upon the occult as they consider in direct opposition to their gods, and the Torah commands anyone who selves in sorcery to be executed, and the Qur’an treats it as treason, and the accused will most certainly face the death penalty in Islamic theocracies.
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” – Exodus 22:18
One of the most notable figures in history to have obsessed over the Grenzwissenschaft (pseudosciences of the occult) was the Nazi leader, ‘Adolf Hitler‘, and he yearned to discover some demonic force that would allow him to defeat the Allied armies. One quote by ‘Ernst Schertel‘ inspired both Hitler and his devout senior officials to study the dark arts extensively.
“He who does not carry demonic seeds within him will never give birth to a new world” – Dr. Ernst Schertel
‘Heinrich Himmler‘, the Reichsführer-SS, was just as obsessed, if not more so, and the SS even had a witchcraft division where they hunted for evidence of wizardry and witchcraft. Their aim was to turn the Aryan race into Übermensch (superior beings). He was also obsessed with devil worship, and was convinced, as were many other top Nazi officials that Jesus wasn’t a Jew, but was the first true Aryan, and his blood was the first of the master race.
The World Ice Theory, or Welteislehre, was a key belief in the Nazi party, which was a theory put forward by ‘Hanns Hörbiger‘, in which he claimed the ice was the basic cosmic element, and it helped form the universe and all within it. The idea was two stars collided, and one was dead and frozen, and that created a massive amount of energy that propelled into empty space creating all of the stars and planets. This became the antithesis to the Jewish ways of thinking, and especially Einstein’s theory of relativity. Hitler and Himmler believed that it was significant enough to replace Jewish religions.
“…the word occult, despite conjuring images of devil worship, actually means ‘hidden’ or ‘obscured.’ In times of religious oppression, knowledge that was counterdoctrinal had to be kept hidden or ‘occult,’ and because the church felt threatened by this, they redefined anything ‘occult’ as evil, and the prejudice survived.” – Dan Brown
It’s hardly surprising that science has entertained areas of the occult, as science has its limits within the physical world, but the people involved is rather surprising, and consist of non other then one of the most famous theist scientists, ‘Sir Isaac Newton‘, and the extremely eccentric genius that was ‘Nikola Tesla‘. Tesla was obsessed with attempting to contact the paranormal, and Newton was obsessed with alchemy. In the field of psychology and neuroscience, both ‘Carl Jung‘, and ‘Sigmund Freud‘ were fascinated with telepathic and psychic phenomena. ‘Pierre and Marie Curie‘, were both also keen believers of the paranormal and often organised séances. Both contributed heavily into scientific research, but they were unable to explain how the paranormal worked.
‘Thomas Edison‘, who invented the phonograph, movie camera, and the controversial light bulb, also worked on a device that he wished to communicate with the dead through. ‘Alfred Russel Wallace‘, who was one of the co-developers of the theory of evolutionary natural selection along with ‘Charles Darwin‘ was heavily into spiritualism and the paranormal and many people in the scientific community distanced themselves from him as he had a habit of bringing it up at inappropriate venues and science seminars.
“I have been at work for some time building an apparatus to see if it is possible for personalities which have left this earth to communicate with us” – Thomas Edison
In 1866 a group of Freemasons set up the ‘Societas Rosicruciana‘, who were fascinated by 15th century doctor called ‘Christian Rosenkreutz’, who studied the occult and was associated with a number of occult authors, and this started the Rosicrucianism movement. In 1888 three members broke away and formed the ‘The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn‘, who were dedicated to studying the occult, mysticism and metaphysics. Their aim was to promote and encourage the teachings of Hermetic Kaballah, Astrology, Tarot, Geomancy, and Alchemy, whose rituals became known as ‘Rosae Rubae et Aureae Crucis‘ (Ruby Rose and Golden Cross) and they created the Isis-Urania Temple in London. Several years later the society had grown in numbers and was in the hundreds, and ranged from doctors, lawyers and other high ranking Masonic members. One of the most famous was a certain ‘Aleister Crowley’. By the turn of the century, however, the movement splintered and the now two temples, Amen-Ra and Isis-Urania, separated.
Aleister Crowley was a self declared prophet who founded the Thelema occultist movement, which literally meant ‘to will‘ in Ancient Greek ‘θέλημα’. Due to an alleged spiritual encounter in Egypt, Crowley believed himself to be the ‘Æon of Horus’. Thelemites were known as ‘one who does their will‘, they use magick and study of the occult for self-exploration, and follow the guidelines written in Crowley’s book ‘Liber Legis’ (book of law), which he claimed was dictated to him by an angel named ‘Aiwass‘, who critics believe was the image of ‘Satan‘.
”If one were to take the bible seriously one would go mad. But to take the bible seriously, one must be already mad” – Aleister Crowley
• “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”
• “Every Man and Every Woman Is a Star”
• “Love Is the law. Law Under will”
“The three most commonly discussed deities in Thelema are Nuit, Hadit, and Ra Hoor Khuit, commonly equated to the Egyptian deities Isis, Osiris and Horus.” – Source
Crowley was accused of being a Satanist in the sense that he admired Satan, and freely adopted Satanic images, and he’s been quoted as wishing to be his public relations officer. He adopted the status of being the ‘wickedest man in the world‘, due to his anti-Christian views and his admiration for the Book of Revelations. Even after his death, his spirit is considered to be one of the most influential in modern paganism, and Thelema is steadily growing around the world, and he was particularly admired by ‘Anton LaVey‘, who formed the atheist movement, ‘The Church of Satan‘, who was also extremely interested in the occult