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Branches and Sources of The Western Occult Tradition


Read about the many branches of occult study, particularly that of the western occult tradition, which is the root of the majority of paths followed by occultists in the West today.
  1. What is the Occult?
  2. Kabbalah
  3. Tarot Cards and Other Divination Methods
  4. Renaissance Occult Thought
  1. 19th Century Occultism
  2. Thelema
  3. Elemental Correspondences
  4. Nazi Occultism and Paganism

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.


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.

Tarot Cards and Other Divination Methods

Tarot Cards

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.

Renaissance Occult Thought

Robert Fludd - Cosmology

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.

19th Century Occultism

Baphomet - The Goat of Mendes

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.

Elemental Correspondences

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.

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.

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