Occult

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Occult method of communicating with the spirit world, this group consults the dead through a ouija board, which moves from letter to letter to spell out words. Fortean Picture Library.

Occult

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The word occult means "to hide from view" or "to conceal." Occult practices are those that claim to deal, in a secret or hidden manner, with supernatural forces or agencies. In the religious sense, "the occult" is usually applied to those secret rituals that attempt to worship, serve, or invoke the power of a devil or demonic figures.

This large and vague description, fitting a host of undefined but almost superstitiously feared practices, is revealing. Those who practice traditional, established religion tend to use the word "occult" whenever faced with describing something they don't understand, fear greatly, or wish to condemn.

Mary is dealing in the occult. Tom joined a Satan-worshiping group. Mike's son is hooked on the Dungeons and Dragons board game. Susan plays with Ouija boards. Voodoo and tarot cards deal in the occult. The implication is that the occult is evil, devil-worshiping, and demonically controlled. Unspeakable evils go on in dark places. Illicit sex with captured virgins is somehow implied, and black magic lurks at the center. The occult is always thought to be weaker than God but stronger than the power of one's own religious friends. Occultism, unproved but accepted as real, is viewed as an attempt to sell one's soul to the devil and bend supernatural powers to human control.

Perhaps the word's strongest power resides in the human tendency to keep mysteries in the dark by never examining them. At various times the secret rituals of the Masonic organization, the practice of being "slain in the spirit" in the Pentecostal Church down the street, and the mysterious rites of the Catholic Church have been all that are needed to accuse those organizations of practicing the occult.

The reality is that few people have ever experienced a real, dark occultic ritual, except in the movies. But the practice of using the word—covering the unknown in a veil of secrecy—leaves occultism in the dark. And, as with most fear-inducing things, the dark is where it is most powerful. In the light of day, the occult seems to disappear. Indeed, the most potent weapon of those who claim to practice occultism is secrecy itself.

Occult

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

That which is hidden, secret, or esoteric. Occultism is the study of the occult—of psychic phenomena and supernormal influences, magic, and divination. The word is from the Latin occulere, meaning "to conceal."

O D I N see WODEN

Occult; Occultism

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

“Occult” is from the Latin occulere, “to conceal.” It is that which is concealed or hidden, in the sense of keeping secret. It is something which is hidden behind external appearances and must be studied in order to be revealed. It is usually associated with the mystical and the magical and therefore is a part of Initiation. To some the word occult has a sinister inference, probably stemming from fear of the unknown.

According to Shepard, “Occultism is a philosophical system of theories and practices on, and for the attainment of, the higher powers of mind and spirit. Its practical side connects with psychical phenomena.”

Sources:

Bletzer, June G.: The Encyclopedia Psychic Dictionary. Lithia Springs: New Leaf, 1998
Shepard, Leslie A: Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. New York: Avon Books, 1978

Occult

(dreams)

In the same way in which the term New Age came to have negative associations after the wave of media attention it received in the late 1980s, the term occult acquired negative connotations after a similar wave of media coverage in the 1970s. Occultism calls to mind images of robed figures conducting arcane rituals for socially undesirable ends. Occult comes from a root word meaning “hidden” and originally referred to a body of esoteric beliefs and practices that were in some sense “hidden” from the average person (e.g., practices and knowledge that remain inaccessible until after an initiation). The term occult also refers to practices dealing with energies that are normally imperceptible and thus hidden from the ordinary person (e.g., magical and astrological forces).

Certain aspects of dreams and dream practices have often been associated with occultism. For example, the practice of astral projection, during which the spiritual body is “projected” outside the physical body during a trancelike state, has been thought of as a kind of dream experience. There are also certain esoteric practices of lucid dreaming in both Western and Eastern occultism. Finally, there are various approaches to the esoteric interpretation of dreams (e.g., certain Sufi practices) that are “occult” in some sense.

References in periodicals archive ?
Screening with guaiac-based fecal occult blood tests (gFOBT), followed by colonoscopy for patients who test positive, was associated with a reduction of 15% to 33% in colorectal cancer (CRC)-related mortality in 3 large, randomized clinical trials.
Hazazi et al., "A quantitative immunochemical fecal occult blood test for colorectal neoplasia," Annals of Internal Medicine, vol.
The cumulative risk of false-positive fecal occult blood test after 10 years of colorectal cancer screening.
* There is direct evidence from randomized controlled trials that endoscopic evaluation and fecal occult blood tests reduce mortality from CRC.
Nonetheless, about half of participants never underwent the Pap test, breast exam and fecal occult blood test. About a quarter of them never underwent the prostate and skin exam (table 2, 3).
Lottier's misleading information about fecal occult blood tests was a reminder that proper education about colon cancer screening is essential to successful early detection and prevention.
Leshno et al., "Can patients at high risk for significant colorectal neoplasms and having normal quantitative faecal occult blood test postpone elective colonoscopy?" Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, vol.
Fecal occult blood tests. Life savers or outdated colorectal screening tools?
Among the older effective tests were annual high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing and flexible sigmoido scopy every five years with interim high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test at two to three years.
The new joint consensus guidelines on screening for colorectal cancer recommend against the use of the most common form of the fecal occult blood test and add stool DNA testing and computed tomographic colonography to a list of the recommended screening options.
The faecal occult blood test looks for blood in the stools - one of the main indicators of cancerous changes in the gut.