Definitions

occultism

occultism

[uh-kuhl-tiz-uhm]
occultism, belief in supernatural sciences or powers, such as magic, astrology, alchemy, theosophy, and spiritism, either for the purpose of enlarging man's powers, of protecting him from evil forces, or of predicting the future. All the so-called natural sciences were in a sense occult in their beginnings; most early scientists were considered magicians or sorcerers because of the mystery attending their investigations. In the modern world occultism has centered in small groups that seek to perpetuate secret knowledge and rites alleged to be derived from the ancients.

Theories, practices, and rituals based on esoteric knowledge of the world of spirits and unknown forces. The wide range of occult beliefs and practices includes astrology, alchemy, divination, magic, and witchcraft and sorcery. Devotees of occultism seek to explore spiritual mysteries through what they regard as higher powers of the mind. The Western tradition of occultism has its roots in Hellenistic magic and alchemy (especially the Hermetic writings ascribed to Thoth) and in the Jewish mysticism associated with the Kabbala.

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