Branches and Sources of The Western Occult Tradition
By Catherine Beyer, About.com Guide
What is the Occult?
Learn about what people are commonly meaning when they speak of occult studies and how it often relates to highly spiritual practices.
- Introduction to the Western Occult Tradition
- Paths of the Western Occult Tradition
- White Magic and Black Magic
- Left-hand and Right-Hand Paths
- Is Freemasonry a Religion? Is It Involved in the Occult?
- Why Do Some Religions Keep Secrets?
- Sex Magic
- Why is the Occult so Associated with Satanism?
- Gender and the Occult
Kabbalah originated within Jewish mysticism. However, Kabbalistic practices have been adopted in the West for at least six centuries by non-Jews who still find meaning and purpose in the teachings. Sometimes it it taught as a stand-alone system, while others have incorporated it into much larger esoteric systems.
- Introduction to Kabbalah as Discussed on Alternative Religion
- Jewish Objections to the Kabbalah Centre and Other Non-Jewish Kabbalah
- 72 Names of God / 72 Angels Making Up the Shemhamphorasch
- Kabbalah as Jewish Mysticism
- The Tetragrammaton
Tarot Cards and Other Divination Methods
A variety of faiths accept the possibility of humans being able to connect with a power greater than themselves either directly or through observation of certain events in order to gain insight on their lives. investigate some of the methods employed and how to evaluate available resources.
- Tarot Cards and How Readings Work
- How Do I Know If a Tarot Reader Is Legitimate?
- Religious Objections to Divination
- Should I Trust a Free Online Reading?
Renaissance Occult Thought
Much of the modern Western occult tradition was codified during the Renaissance, when large amounts of information were being discovered or rediscovered in Western Europe. The foundations of these writings were often much older, such as coming from Hermeticism, Kabbalah, and Neopatonism.
- Cosmology in the Renaissance
- Planetary Occult Correspondences
- Robert Fludd's Spiral Cosmology - Intermediary Steps Between Matter and Spirit
- The Soul of the World
- Created Universe as Reflection of God
- The Pentagram
- Astrological Symbols
- Planetary Seals
- Sigil of the Intelligences
- Sigil of the Spirits
- Magic Squares
- Famous Renaissance Occultists
19th Century Occultism
The 19th century saw a great resurgence of occult interest through religions such as Theosophy and organizations such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
Founded by Aleister Crowley, Thelema encompasses a wide variety of religious and magical beliefs and practices centered around finding and following one's True Will, or divine purpose.
Correspondences are a central part of many occult practices. It associates certain desired qualities with other ideas and objects that can then be used ritually. Working off elemental correspondences (fire, air, water, earth and sometimes spirit) is a very common system, and a variety of other items are associated with one of those elements to help understand their occult value.
- Elements and their Symbols
- Elemental Qualities of Hot/Cold and Moist/Dry
- Associating Zodiac Signs with the Elements
- Correspondences with Cardinal Directions, Seasons, Time of Day, Moon Phases
- Planets and Elements
- Elemental Pentagram
Nazi Occultism and Paganism
While Naziism is certainly not a religion on its own, it borrowed symbols from a variety of pagan sources, particularly Germanic paganism. In addition, there is a potentially occult component to the choice of these symbols.