Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Occult" versus "Religion": What is the difference?

What is the difference between the occult and religion?

I find myself answering this question, usually not quite so concisely worded, fairly often. The wording is usually more like, "So, by Occultist do you mean Wiccan?" or "You don't actually believe you can talk to spirits, do you?" or "You don't need all that magic stuff, just pray and trust in God." but the essence of statements like these, is the same. A challenge, to explain why to the label of occultist rather than a religious label. But more specifically it seems to be a challenge from the questioner asking if I think I'm better than them or that what I do is more effective than what they do.

I imagine most practitioners of the occult have similar experiences. And most have probably considered those questions themselves. Why do we do magic? Why don't we just pray? What is the difference? And is there even a difference at all? So I will endeavor here, to explain the difference, as I have come to understand it. Your experiences may differ.

Religion is a set of rules to live by, mythology to understand the world by, and terminology to define one's own spirituality with.

The Occult,  on the other hand, is a set of tools to change one's life, meathod of communication to demand answers from the world with, and methods to take an active roll in one's own spirituality.

Those who follow a religion are passive observers in their spiritual world, whereas those who practice the occult have chosen to take an active role in the spiritual world around them and within them.

Occultists don't pray to their gods, they communicate with their gods.

Occultists don't say, "everything has a reason," they demand an explanation from everything.

Occultists don't sit back and hope for a miracle, they create the miracle they need.

The occult is the math of the spirit. To study the occult is to choose to know the inner workings of the spirit, the inner depths of the mind, and the science of spirits. The Occultist chooses to learn how to use the tools of the gods, and indeed take their place among the gods and demi-gods of lore.

My favorite quote from a modern work of fiction sums up my feelings precisely: “It's one of the perks of the job... we don't have to operate on faith. We can know for sure. Don't you want to know for sure?”

That is what the occult is. Religion operates on faith. Occultists operate on experiment and practice to garner true knowledge about the spiritual. Religious adherents “believe” in angels. Occultists talk directly with them. Religion fears demons. The Occult cages them and puts them demands labor from them. Religion interprets the words of the gods. The Occult draws the gods down to ask for clarification.

In short, what is the difference between the occult and religion? Religion is faith. Occult is knowledge.

12 comments:

  1. I have some questions. How does one become an Occultist? Does it take a certain amount of practice to become one? Could you be born as one? If so, how would you know if you were born as one?

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    1. I don't know that you can be born an Occultist. You can be born with a propensity for magic: psychic sensitivity, a willingness to surrender to trance states, an enjoyment of the adrenaline that comes from experience with the non-physical.

      But, "an Occultist?" That requires training, hard work, and enough study and practice to drive even a doctoral student mad. It also helps to be just a touch crazy.

      If you're interested in the Occult there are many places one could start. The writings of Peter Carrol, or Aleister Crowley, or Lon Milo Duquette. If you have a love for the classics start with the Arbatel, Key of Solomon, the Magus, the Three Books of Occult Philosophy, or the Book of Abramelin. Or if yoyr idea of the Occult is more Pagan/Religious in nature then try Traditional Witchcraft, such as 1734 or Cunning Craft.

      But above all, the secret to becoming an occultist is constant and vigorous practice. You have to love magic and have a constant yearning to crack the secrets of the universe that takes precedence over all other concerns. There will be long spans of practice that seem to get you no where, and a multitude of hours working on tiny little mental skills that will feel futile. So your love of the process must get you through the 'dark nights' until you crack the code.

      In short: "How does one become an Occultist?" Obsession. That's how.

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  2. So as far as Solomonic magic I hear there have been a lot of dark path nonsense added to it, including use of blood, dead animals etc

    Would you say in its purest form its as legit as what I hear being called natural magic, such as Feng Shui etc
    the manipulation of the elements at certain times of the day/night to invoke certain desires etc

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    1. Yes and no.

      That depends on what you mean when you say "Solomnic Magic."

      If you are referring to the writings specifically attributed to Solomon then there is indeed a grimoiric precedent for the use of blood, specifically using animal blood as ink if I remember correctly. Far from being "dark" or "nonesense" the use of blood and sacrifice in religious ceremony is well documented in many faiths, including Judaism, and in many magical practices such as Vodou / Hoodoo, the merits or flaws of which would require far more discussion than can be permitted in a comment. Perhaps I'll do a post on it soon.

      If, instead, you are referring to Ceremonial Magic, which is sometimes called "Solomnic Magic" then some would argue that yes it is energy manipulation and elemental magic; yet others would argue that "Solomnic Magic" is quite different from Feng Shui because it is defined by its communication and use of spirits to do the magician's bidding.

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  4. The site makes an interesting and cultivated first impression in my opinion. Thanks for your clarifications.

    "Those who treat the art of Magic with spiritual contempt receive exactly what they ask for — and deserve.The true Magi are those who live Magic, and not merely tinker with it. Magicians are not made, they make themselves." -> Dr. Israel Regardie

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  5. This is very important post for that person who are interested in spirituality and meditation. It’s really usefull for us. Must read it.

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  6. So are Occults good or evil? Or it depends on who use them? Like religion can be used for good or evil.

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  7. So are Occults good or evil? Or it depends on who use them? Like religion can be used for good or evil.

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  8. Occult just means "Hidden". And the practice of the occult is just the use of lost knowledge and magic. But in all things in life, it has of course 2 sided. You can practice white magic or black magic. The one being for good and the other for evil purposes. Maybe check out my website, I cover stuff about the occult and more, maybe you will get a better understanding of it all. http://www.cultofamonra.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Occult just means "Hidden". And the practice of the occult is just the use of lost knowledge and magic. But in all things in life, it has of course 2 sided. You can practice white magic or black magic. The one being for good and the other for evil purposes. Maybe check out my website, I cover stuff about the occult and more, maybe you will get a better understanding of it all. http://www.cultofamonra.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete